Today is National Retro Day.
National Retro Day was created for us to look back on a time before the internet, smartphones, and social media—a simpler time without distractions. A time with amazing music, food, movies, shows, cartoons, celebrities and so much more.
America in the 1970s was a time of great transition and development, and the decade’s food trends do an incredible job at reflecting that history. Loosened immigration laws brought in more international cuisine, while existing immigrant communities honed in on their stylistic changes. A record number of women entered the workforce, making simple meals and the almighty slow cooker more important than ever.
Of course, many of these trends were in good fun, too: Hors d’ouvres and sharable dishes like fondue brought an increased social aspect to food, and regional favorites like salmon patties.
The 1970s was the decade of cool cereals, slimming snacks and show-off dinner parties. When Generation X were children, the Egg McMuffin came out, cheese fondue was fashionable, Watergate salad became a family favorite and Blue Nun was the drink of choice. Hamburger Helper also came in the scene in 1973. People were all about finger food in the 1970s, and cheese balls were especially popular. Cheese balls were a common appetizer for the same reasons they’re still beloved today: they’re simple to make, super sharable, and please crowds no matter where they’re served.
Being a food blogger, I am going to post a recipe from my era in the 70’s. I will be revamping it a bit to make it a little healthier.
What is Hamburger Helper?
Hamburger Helper is an American packaged product with boxed dried pasta and seasonings in a packet. These ingredients are then cooked by adding browned ground beef, water, and other varieties, like milk for instance, to make a flash-like-a-lightning one-pot hamburger mac and cheese dinner.
This HEALTHY HAMBURGER HELPER is a one skillet supper that is suggestive of one of my preferred youth dinners – Cheeseburger Macaroni! I was addicted to this as well as my siblings.
Substituting Certain Ingredients
- You can substitute the pasta with gluten free pasta, chopped cauliflower, cabbage or miracle noodles.
- You can replace the ground meat with ground turkey , if you prefer.
- Heavy Cream can be substituted with regular, coconut or almond milk
- Flour can be substituted with corn starch or xanthan gum
- Grated cheese can be substituted with dairy free cheese (you can use nutritional yeast)
Retro Food Revamped- Healthy Hamburger HelperCourse: DinnerCuisine: American
This low carb version of hamburger helper uses alternative items instead of pasta. This recipe is kid-friendly and perfect for a low carb gluten free or keto diet!
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
1 medium onion , finely chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch or xanthan gum
2 teaspoons minced thyme
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 cup beef broth or water
1 cup heavy cream (or 2/3 cup milk alternative)
2 cups gluten free pasta, cauliflower florets, shredded cabbage or miracle noodles
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup shredded yellow cheese (optional)
- Heat oil a large skillet or cast iron over medium high heat. Once heated add ground beef, breaking it up and stirring for about a minute or so.
- Next, add onions and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, or until onions are soft.
- Add cornstarch or xanthan gum, thyme, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, and chili powder over browned meat and stir well to fully incorporate all the spices; cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour beef broth or water, heavy cream, gluten free pasta, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for about 8-11 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the pasta is al dente or to desired doneness. It might take more or less minutes, depending on the pasta use.
- Remove from the heat, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Sauce will thicken as it cools down. .
- Feel free to add a bit more of water – starting with 1/4 cup – if you think your skillet is running out of liquid with still a lot of cooking time left.