Bell Pepper Hamburger Delight

When I was a little kid my mother made everything from scratch, and I mean EVERYTHING!  From icing to cookies to spaghetti sauce to chicken noodle soup.  At the time I thought there was something definitely wrong.  I would go to my friend's house and they would have icing from a can and rolls of cookie dough (that their mom let them eat WHENEVER they wanted!).  My dream as a child was to eat icing out of one of those plastic, preservative filled tubs of icing. 

When my husband and I first got married we lived off of Hamburger Helper.  We had it at least once a week.  We also bought all of the other things my mom wouldn't buy like sugar coated cereal (Lucky Charms, sigh) and had ice cream every night for dessert. 

When I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis all of that prepacked food glory came to an end.  The medical condition in some ways was a positive thing for me because it forced me to make almost everything from scratch.  And honestly, I now realize that my mom probably knew a thing or two.  1)  This is a healthier option 2) it can be a lot cheaper and 3) unless you are my husband, you will think it tastes better.

Hamburger Helper still tempted me though.  Even though I knew I couldn't have it, every time I watched a commercial for Hamburger Helper, my mouth would water.  And so my journey into experimental cooking began.  The first time I made a version of this recipe it was kind of bland.  Something was missing.  I kept on adding spices, working with the flour and broth combo, until finally I got it right.  Then I added cream cheese (cue chorus of angels and blowing trumpets).  This dish turned a boring IC friendly meal into a wondrous dish that made my mouth tingle.  And you always know it is good when your husband gets seconds and thirds, feigning hunger pains. 

*Please note not everyone with IC can tolerate the same spices and foods.  If you are making this for someone with IC that isn't me (and I would be more than happy to eat it if you were making it for me), make sure to ask them if they can tolerate these ingredients.  Their bladder will thank you!

Bell Pepper Hamburger Delight

  • 2 TBSPs (Tablespoons) of olive oil
  • Four garlic cloves/minced (or approximately 2 TBSPs)
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 chopped green bell pepper (If you cannot tolerate green peppers use a second red pepper)
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I prefer the 90/10% fat option) 
  • Four TBSPs of whole wheat flour (you can also use white flour)
  • 2 TBSP of dried parsley (you can use fresh as well)
  • 1 TSP (Teaspoons) of onion powder 
  • 1 TBSP of dried paprika
  • 1 TBSP of dried cumin
  • 1 TSP of dried basil
  • 2 Cups of beef broth (I use Aldi beef broth, but you can also use water if there is not an IC friendly beef broth that you can find,  I also always freeze the broth I make when I cook a roast in the crock pot.  Never throw that stuff away!)
  • 6 oz. of whole wheat egg noodles, cooked.
  • Optional:  2 oz. of low fat or fat free cream cheese


1.  Measure olive oil into large/deep sauce pan.  Heat oil on medium heat.

2.  While the oil is heating cook your egg noodles in a large pot. 

3.  Add minced garlic and saute until garlic starts to sizzle a bit (you don't want it too brown).

4.  Add chopped red and green bell pepper.

*Note if you are feeling adventurous you can add chopped carrots for extra nutrients.  You will have to let it cook longer.  Peel 3-4 carrots and mince in food processor.  Add the carrots at this point. 

5.   When peppers are tender add ground beef.  I use a wooden spatula that is flat at the end to chop my ground beef into small pieces while cooking.  Brown the ground beef.

*Note if you are making hamburgers one night and won't use all of the beef for the burgers, you can cook the beef ahead of time and freeze it.  This makes for a quick and easy dinner.  If you do this instead of step four, you can defroast beef in the microwave and then add it to the garlic and peppers.  Let it get warm before you add the flour.

6.  Once the beef is browned add flour and thoroughly coat beef. 

7.  Add dried herbs and mix well.  Allow herbs to heat for a few minutes so that the flavor comes out. 

8.  Slowly add beef broth 1/4 to a 1/2 Cup at a time.  Slowly mix the other ingredients with the broth so it forms into a gravy. 

9.  Once broth is added you can add the cream cheese.  Stir until it melts.  (The dish is still tasty without the cream cheese, it just adds and extra pazaaz.)

10.  After the sauce has thickened to your liking, slowly mix in the egg noodles. 


  1. Isn't it funny the things that make us feel different as kids? ha ha! I'm glad you have been able to make a healthier copy-cat of a favorite - that's always exciting!

    1. I know, especially with a restricted diet! And I think mine tastes way better, not so "boxed" tasting.


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