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Taste Test: Helper Ultimates

Our editors put three new Ultimate Hamburger Helper flavors to the test. 

Ultimate Hamburger Helper Three Cheese Marinara
Let’s be honest, the new Ultimate Hamburger Helper Three Cheese Marinara doesn’t need help from me. With marinara sauce, real cheddar, parmesan and ricotta in every bite, it’s a weeknight delight all on its own. (Something I was pleasantly surprised to learn having never made a box before this taste test!) But in the spirit of kitchen adventure, I experimented with single servings by using cupcake liners and a muffin tin. Make the Helper recipe according to box, but reduce the cook time by 5 to 10 minutes. Next, create the crunchy topping by mixing 2 tablespoons melted butter with 1/3 cup Progresso Panko Italian Style Bread Crumbs. Fill each liner (we found foil worked best) 3/4 full of the Helper recipe, then sprinkle with the crumb mixture and bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until the crumbs are golden brown. Don’t tell the others, but I think this was the winner of the test. And making it couldn’t be easier! —Kayla Knudson, managing editor Ultimate Chicken Helper Creamy Parmesan
I love the richness of parmesan, especially when it’s paired with pasta. So when it came time to taste test the new line of Helper Ultimates, I called dibs on the Creamy Parmesan variety. To up the texture ante, I stirred in ½ cup of chopped sundried tomatoes, and for protein, I threw in with a couple of chopped cooked chicken breasts. For a perky finish, I added more parmesan (of course!) and fresh basil. The resulting dish was cheesy, easy and oh-so delicious. —Meghan McAndrews, senior editor Ultimate Chicken Helper Cheddar Broccoli
I didn’t grow up eating Hamburger Helper—which surprised a lot of people around here!—so I was really excited about my maiden Helper taste-test voyage. I chose the new Chicken Helper Cheddar Broccoli because it sounded like something my grandma Elsie would have made for my brother, sister and me when we got off the bus at her house after school. But instead of chicken, I opted for a couple of thick slices of applewood-smoked country ham, which I chopped and set aside. Then I melted a pat of butter and sautéed two cloves of minced garlic before making the recipe according to the box directions (minus the chicken). Once everything was ready, I folded in the ham and a few coarsely chopped broccoli florets and finished it with a sprinkle of chives. The smoky ham and creamy cheddar were a perfect match, and the extra handful of fresh broccoli will make me feel better about making this dish in a pinch. —Erin Madsen, executive editor

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