Hamburger Helper for dinner was a staple of my childhood dinners. The blend of beef, pasta, and mysterious powdered sauce mix never failed to appease my brother and me. Still, the folks over at Betty Crocker, realizing that they might be losing revenue to the new disdain toward white flour products, and have launched a line of Wholesome (Whole Grain) Helpers.
I picked up the Stroganoff flavor, and upon looking at the ingredients, I realized that this contains no mushrooms, which is what makes a stroganoff. Well then, I went out and bought 8 ounces of mushrooms to slice and add to this, realizing full and well that I could be making this from scratch with only slightly more effort.
I sauteed my lean ground beef, mushrooms, and an onion until the meat browned and the vegetables softened. I then added the required milk and water, the whole grain noodles, and that mysterious flavored powder. I simmered it for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and let it sit for 2 mins. The noodles were tender but not mushy, and the sauce had thickened nicely. As for the flavor, I thought that it wasn't too shabby. It was a bit salty, but not overwhelmingly so. The sauce even had a bit of tang, like a real stroganoff should, and overall I enjoyed this walk down memory lane.
Each box of Hamburger Helper Wholesome Classics Stroganoff contains 5 servings, which are 1/2 cup each. This provides 100 calories, no fat, 27% of the daily value for sodium (660 mg), 4 grams of protein and 21 grams of total carbohydrates which includes 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of sugars. You can use any ground meat, so the amount of calories after cooking will vary on how lean your beef is or if you use poultry. The sodium is astronomical, which is typical for boxed mixes, and really, a couple grams of fiber is the only real difference between this and the regular version.
The ingredients list starts with enriched pasta and includes partially hydrogenated oils. It doesn't appear particularly healthy. One box cost me $1.50, but you have to factor in the meat, and in my case, vegetables. It was good for nostalgia, but next time I'll just make it all from scratch; it'll be cheaper, less salty, and better.