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Keep It Fresh With These 13 Healthy Hamburger Helper Hacks

When we’re craving comfort foods, we often reach for items we loved to eat as kids. For some, a HUGE helping of mac and cheese is in order, while for others, healthier alternatives like egg sandwiches are perfect for crushing those comfort food cravings. Hamburger Helper is one meal many of us savored as young’uns that we tend to forget all about now that we’re grown-ups and trying to eat healthier. That’s okay, though, because there are some *genius* hacks out there that can help you recreate the warm, heavy, cheesy taste of Hamburger Helper without the box (or the guilt). Here are 13 of our favorite ideas.

1. One Pot Hamburger Helper Lasagna: Who’d have thought all those elements in your Hamburger Helper packet could easily be recreated with spices and seasonings from our own cupboard? This recipe employs a delicious concoction of flavors alongside lasagna-style noodles for a savory treat. (via Jo Cooks)


2. Unprocessed Hamburger Helper: If you thought cheesy pasta had to come from a box in order to be delicious, well, you were wrong! There’s nothing unappealing about this recipe, which is free of dyes, coloring, maltodextrin, sugar, trans fats and MSG. (via 3 Boys Unprocessed)

3. Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper: This recipe makes a classic HH copycat that’s SUPER easy to make. As a bonus, it’s also incredibly easy to double, making it a fantastic candidate for cooking ahead of time and then re-heating throughout the week when you’re in a time crunch. (via The Recipe Rebel)


4. Lightened-Up Homemade Hamburger Helper: In addition to being homemade, this Hamburger Helper alternative is completely dairy-free. It uses vegan cheese and almond milk to create that gooey, creamy texture and flavor we all love, and it’s made with whole wheat pasta. (via Diethood)


5. Homemade Healthier “Hamburger Helper”: Using farfalle pasta, this recipe will give you a heaping bowl of adorable bows flavored with ground turkey, low-fat milk, chili, paprika, garlic, cayenne and Mexican cheese. Can you say “yum”? (via Betsy Life)


6. Homemade One Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni: Did you ever really conceptualize that HH is basically a cheeseburger in pasta form? MIND. BLOWN. Here’a a homemade alternative that’s lighter on processed ingredients but just as heavy on flavor. (via Spend With Pennies)


7. Vegan Macaroni Skillet: Went vegan and having a hardcore HH craving? We’ve got your back! This totally plant-based skillet uses vegan ground “meat” and nacho “cheeze,” making it perfectly appropriate for vegans. (via Hot for Food)


8. Homemade Hamburger Helper: This gluten- and dairy-free dupe is perfect for anyone who wants a lightened-up version of HH. PRO TIP: After removing from the heat, let the noodles sit in the sauce for about five minutes with the lid closed. They’ll be better able to absorb the flavors of the sauce. (via Whole New Mom)

9. Healthier Slow Cooker Hamburger Helper: If you often find yourself in a rush at dinnertime, this slow-cooker recipe is perfect for you. Simply let the meat sauce cook all day long, and whip up your noodles right before suppertime. Easy peasy. (via Recipe Rebel)


10. Homemade Hamburger Helper: Here’s another Hamburger Helper-inspired noodle dish that pretty much looks and tastes EXACTLY like the original, only — well, better. Bonus healthy girl points for chopping up some zucchini and mixing it in. (via Countryside Cravings)


11. Slow Cooker Beef and Cheese Pasta: Why bother with the box when you can enjoy THIS gourmet-looking pasta dish? Be sure to cook your noodles al dente (slightly firm) so you don’t accidentally overcook them — no one wants mushy pasta. (via The Cooking Jar)


12. Skillet Cheeseburger Helper: Here’s a great option for all of those who are watching their carb intake. Sub black bean or quinoa pasta in for regular noodles to keep this recipe low-carb and/or gluten-free. Not watching carbs? No worries, this will still work with regular pasta. (via Gwen’s Nest)


13. One Skillet Vegan Hamburger Helper: If you want a truly fresh and completely vegan alternative, go for this recipe. In addition to being made of wholesome, plant-based ingredients, it’s also served with a made-from-scratch vegan cheese sauce that’s totally to die for. (via Neurotic Mommy)

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Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)