You know it, and boy do you LOVE IT, it’s my HAMBURGER MAC AND CHEESE!! This has become one of my most popular recipes and it’s clear why. It is basically a healthy version of a homemade hamburger helper recipe. You know, a Mac and cheese burger recipe. It’s packed with protein, rich, creamy and insanely delicious. Bowls, forks and pots are licked CLEAN when this is made! Worth EVERY point. (Oh, and try stopping at just one serving!) It is not your typical chicken and Mac and cheese. Obviously, that is why it is called hamburger Mac and cheese. It combines all the flavors you love about a hamburger, like ketchup, with a creamy Mac and cheese sauce. Could you think of a better combo.
If I could pick the first dish of mine for anyone to make, it would be this one. I have tons of favorite recipes of mine, sweet and sour chicken, sweet asian taco meat or a bloomin onion (click the links for those recipes), but hamburger Mac and cheese, specifically this chicken and Mac and cheese version, is the ultimate recipe. It is everything you love about not being "on a diet" while also being "on a diet", except WW is far from a diet.
Substitutions in This Hamburger Helper Recipe
I make this dish with ground chicken. That is my preference, I love chicken and Mac and cheese together. I have tried it out with ground beef, and while it is amazing, I much prefer the chicken with this recipe. But with that being said, I do lean more towards liking chicken, while the beef version is amazing, I am a chicken gal.
I also have a pretty similar recipe called pizza Mac and cheese. Similar to this one but has some more pepperoni pizza flavors in it. In addition, I have a bacon burger Mac and cheese, this one is made with beef and has bacon in it. Highly recommend that one as well. You can also try some similar Mac and cheese burger recipes such as my Big Mac and cheese, taco Mac and cheese or just my normal Mac and cheese recipe.
Let's take a moment to appreciate how amazing this looks!!!
Here Is What You Need for a Homemade Hamburger Helper
For this hamburger helper recipe, here is what you will need. Okay, it kinda seems like there are a lot of ingredients for this dish but I promise it is not that bad and totally worth it. I like to create most of my recipes with things I (and you) would typically have in your pantry. While I obviously need to pick up some fresh chicken, you get the point.
Reduced fat cream cheese and chicken broth are staples in my pantry! Definitely stock up on those.
- Minced garlic
- Ground chicken breast
- Tomato sauce
- Chicken broth
- Sugar-free ketchup
- ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- Shredded cheddar cheese
For the pasta, I use elbow shaped noodles. You can use any shape but I like the elbow, it gives a classic Mac and cheese look. There are many times when I randomly crave this homemade hamburger helper style mean and grab any pasta I have in the cabinet. It all tastes the same, here's a rotini version. The elbows look better, and more like Mac and cheese, but it really does not matter.
I use ground chicken breast because it is essentially fat free. That is my preference, I love chicken and Mac and cheese together. This is a healthy hamburger helper recipe after all. However, you are more than welcome to use a different percentage of chicken.
99.9999% of the time I will make my homemade tomato sauce. But you can substitute with a bottled sauce or just crushed tomatoes if you do not want to make a whole homemade sauce.
My favorite sugar free ketchup is G Hughes, but I ran out and so did Publix. So I grabbed some sugar free Heinz. It is higher in calories, if you are counting that, but is zero-points as well, if you go that direction. I recommend stocking up on some G Hughes from amazon. You can order that here.
To make this homemade hamburger helper recipe, you will need a medium sized pot, for the pasta, and a large pan with tall sides for the chicken and sauce. Lastly, and my favorite little utensil, is this meat masher. It breaks up ground meat perfectly and makes cooking a breeze. Grab that here!
Here is What to Do:
The first step for this hamburger Mac and cheese is to measure to 6 ounces of pasta, for the Mac and cheese part. Six ounces of pasta is 'technically' 3 servings and this dish serves 4. But I find that with all the added protein and sauce, this dish works great at 4 servings. Just measure out 6 ounces of the pasta, dry.
I get my pot filled with water and place it on the stove over high heat, then lease that there to start boiling while I begin other steps. First, I dice my onion and grab all my ingredients while the water boils.
Once the water starts boiling, add in the pasta and cook that according to the package instructions, once that is finished, drain it well and set aside.
Meanwhile we will begin on the chicken/sauce. It is a creamy and delicious sauce, you will not believe this recipe is a healthy hamburger helper recipe once you try it!
Heat you pan over medium/high heat. Chop the onion up fine as to not have huge chunks of onion in your hamburger Mac and cheese. Add the minced garlic and diced onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
The garlic and onion will look something like this when it is ready for the next step.
Add ground chicken, breaking it apart while cooking. Once slightly broken up, season with the seasonings. Cook almost through, until almost all the pink is gone. It will look like this.
Mix in the tomato sauce, broth, ketchup and stir to combine. Allow chicken to cook completely.
Stir in cream cheese and stir in until melted. Add in cheddar cheese and stir until melted. It will look a look soupy, but we want that. It will provide a great sauce base for the pasta we are about to add in.
Add in the pasta and stir to combine in the sauce. Now you have an amazing Mac and cheese burger all in one dish!
I always top my dishes with fresh parsley!
The assistant absolutely goes crazy over this healthy hamburger helper too. She was having a full on panic attack while I was shooting pictures. She doesn't get like this always, it has to be a really good cheesy dish, such as this homemade hamburger helper. Look how funny she is!
But don't worry, I paid her by letting her clean up a few of the shredded cheese strands that were left behind. Her favorite part is the clean up! Now, if only she could do dishes too.
This dish makes four serving at one heaping cup per serving. I measured out a heaping cup and left the other portions for my husband's dinner and lunches.
It is a lot of food and keeps me really full. I just decided to use the biggest bowl on the planet!!
Seriously one of the best dishes ever!! How good does this look.
Okay, Okay, enough talking, let's get to this recipe.
Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- 6 ounces elbow pasta dry
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces ground chicken breast or 99% fat free ground turkey breast
- ¼ onion diced
- 5 tablespoons Allie Carte homemade tomato sauce recipe linked below
- 4 tablespoons chicken broth fat-free
- 2 tablespoons sugar free ketchup (G Hughes brand)
- 2 ounces ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- ½ cup reduced fat, 2% milk cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Cook pasta according to the package directions, drain well and set aside
- Heat a large pan on the stove over medium/high heat. Spray with cooking spray
- Add minced garlic and cook for one minute. Add diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes
- Place ground chicken into the pan, breaking it apart while cooking. Once slightly broken up, season with the seasonings. Cook almost through, until almost all the pink is gone
- Pour in tomato sauce, broth, ketchup and stir to combine. Allow chicken to cook completely
- Stir in cream cheese and stir in until melted. Add in cheddar cheese and stir until melted
- Add in the pasta and stir to combine in the sauce
- Divide evenly into four bowls
One HEAPING cup per serving
I also make this dish with lean ground beef. If you prefer beef, try it out!
How many WW points is this now?! Click on the link below and it will take you to the recipe I made within your own WW app. Your specific points will be calculated, and you can track that.
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