Cheesy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper

Cheesy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper

Last night I made a KILLER Shepherd’s Pie, like seriously, it was amazing. BUT our packages of ground beef from the farm come in 2lb packages, so that means tonight I still had a pound of ground beef left to use up. I wasn’t in the mood for casserole but I also didn’t feel like anything that was going to make a lot of dishes, long story short, I was feeling lazy.  Mister Chris loves anything that resembles Hamburger Helper, he grew up on that (I did NOT) so he loves when I make it homemade.  I wanted something with some protein in it so I wanted to use some beans. I had absolutely no clue what dinner would end up being.

I browned up the meat, added salt, pepper, the usual suspects of spices, garlic and onion powders, some parsley and let it get nice and brown. Then I figured no matter what I was going to turn it into, it would be saucy, thus requiring roux. I let that cook for a few minutes and then added beef broth, the pasta would have to cook in something right? So then I tossed in half a box of shells and set that to cook.  While I let it cook I really had no clue where it was headed. I was craving stroganoff but had no mushrooms or heavy cream, and then I was thinking about the beans again…hmmmmm what if I made it like a cheesy taco? Mmmmm Velveeta (there is a Velveeta shortage on the horizon so watch out!!) sounds soooo good, I know it’s not my usual kind of food but darnit I love Velveeta cheese once in a while! So to the broth I added: paprika, chili powder, more garlic and onion powder, some dried chives, some lime juice and let that cook along with 2 cans of beans. It was smelling GOOD. It got to 4minutes on the timer, I tasted it, adjusted the spices and let it finish. When the pasta was done I turned off the heat and dumped in some Velveeta. (again folks, there might be a Velveeta shortage….gird your loins!)

Can I just say, that my dinner with no direction ended up being AWESOME!! Like really really good. It might not photograph well, it might not be fancy or CIA worthy, but it was GOOD. The hubs ate two servings and Riley begged but got none. So here is my easy peasy no direction cheesy taco homemade hamburger helper!

Cheesy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2lb medium shells
  • 2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 Can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1/2 Tablespoon each Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried chives
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 4-6 slices of Velveeta, each about 1/4″ thick (more or less depending on your taste)
  1. Over medium high heat brown the ground beef along with salt pepper and all the dried spices
  2. When sufficiently browned drain the fat off
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour and butter, it will coat the meat and may stick to the pan a bit, just keep stirring it constantly for about 3 minutes, making sure the flour and butter is well mixed throughout and continue to cook.
  4. After that 3 minutes, return to medium high head and add the beef broth and water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally
  5. When it boils add the pasta, lime juice, the beans and cover, cook for 10 minutes with the heat at medium high, stirring occasionally
  6. After that 10 minutes, uncover, and continue to cook at medium high for about 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Test for doneness,
  8. IF done, add the Velveeta then immediately cover and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 7-10 minutes for the cheese to melt, then stir to combine and disperse cheese throughout.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Cheesy Taco Velveeta Homemade Hamburger Helper

Cheesy Taco Velveeta Homemade Hamburger Helper

Good Morning French Toast Bake

Good Morning French Toast Bake

166Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day, I know I know I’ve told you this a million times and you know all about my monogamous relationship with Overnight Oats…. But apparently other people need to eat in the morning! Can you believe it? The audacity! French toast is C’s favorite breakfast ever, but honestly the last thing I usually want to do in the morning is stand at a stove and cook. I do love me some Quiche, anything flavored, as long as there is cheese I love it. And it cooks itself in the oven, awesome! So I was thinking, why can’t French Toast cook itself too? So I searched on pinterest (duh) and found that lots of people make baked French Toast, score!! So I figured why not make my own? So I did.


If you follow Burlap and Butter Knives on face book  there is no doubt you have seen LOTS of early morning French Toast pictures, I have become obsessed with this recipe!! My friend Jenn came up for the weekend a few weeks ago, there was kind of a blizzard and we wanted something warm and delicious for breakfast so I made this, and now she is hooked too!


It really couldn’t be easier, and you make it the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is toss it in the oven! Ok, maybe not exactly toss, more like gently place. Trust me on this, you NEED this in your life!!!


Soaked overnight and ready to be topped


Topping is on and it is ready for the oven!

Topping is on and it is ready for the oven!

Overnight French Toast Bake


  • 6-8 Slices thick cut Challah  or French Toast bread, or any bread you have around, let it dry out for about a day or so before using.
  • Softened Butter for greasing the pan, about a tablespoon
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk, Heavy Cream or Half and Half. Honestly any dairy will do, the creamier the better, obviously.
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon (A solid pinch) Nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  • 6 Tablespoons Softened Butter (separate from the above Butter)
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon Flour

Buttery Maple Syrup Pour Over


  • Allow bread slices to dry out for a day or so. If you only have fresh bread and don’t want to let it dry out then just make this the morning of rather than night before.
  • Using the first softened butter schmear it all over the inside of a 13×9 baking dish.
  • Arrange bread slices in the pan, you want them to be a little snug, and touch but not be layered.
  •  Whisk  together the eggs, milk (or cream or half and half), brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread slices making sure all slices are well coated. If you need to help them out you can do so by flipping them over or using a spoon to spoon mixture over pieces that didn’t get any.
  • Cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap makes contact with the top of the wet slices of bread, you don’t want air bubbles, give a little push down just to solidify everything. And put it in the fridge overnight.
  • When you wake up, preheat your oven to 375, make some coffee while it heats up
  • Also while it is heating, make your topping, I usually toss all the ingredients in my food processor. If you don’t have one, a handheld pastry blender works just fine, and honestly in a pinch so do forks. Just mix it all together well and then sprinkle the toping evenly across the top of the French toasts. (make sure to take the plastic off first)
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, until all the bread is nice and puffy and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  • While the French Toast is baking make your Buttery Maple Syrup. Just heat the butter and syrup together in a pan over low heat and whisk together. It doesn’t need to get too hot just melt together.
  • When the French toast is done remove it from the oven and IMMEDIATELY pour the syrup over the entire thing. (keeping it in the dish of course)
  • I usually let it sit about 5 minutes to soak in, and cool down enough to eat.
  • Dig in! Serves about 6, more or less depending on how much your clan eats.  (also it does reheat just fine in the microwave for the next morning’s breakfast or dessert at night with some vanilla ice cream)
Bananas Foster French Toast Bake

Bananas Foster French Toast Bake


  • I’ve added sausage to the bottom of the pan under the bread, that was a hit
  • Bananas are great for a bananas foster version
  • Strawberries are also delicious
  • You can add some pumpkin to the egg mix for a pumpkin French Toast, that is AWESOME
  • You *could* layer the bread and fill the middle with cream cheese… it doesn’t come out as fluffy but it sure is delicious!!!
  • anything else your heart desires!
  • Whipped Cream is always good!


2013 in review

Thank you, yes YOU, for being such an important part of Burlap and Butter Knives very first year!! Take a moment and check out the year in review!!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.