Ms. Lillie's "Kill Hungry" Macaroni Recipe | PBS Food

Ms. Lillie’s “Kill Hungry” Macaroni

This is the original “Hamburger Helper” and as Ms. Lillie and Mrs. Mary say, “It kills hungry.” Use home canned tomatoes if you are lucky enough to have a jar. Don’t fret if not; store-­bought canned tomatoes will achieve the same results.

Course: ,


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 large white onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28­ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or your favorite small tubular pasta


  1. Heat oil up in a Dutch oven or high­sided cast­iron skillet over medium­high heat. Add ground beef and stir to fully brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. While onions cook, bring water to a boil in a large pot.
  3. Add tomatoes to beef and use wooden spoon or spatula to break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Add tomato paste or ketchup, stir to dissolve. Lower heat and simmer until pasta is done.
  4. Cook pasta, according to package directions. Drain pasta. Combine noodles with sauce and it’s ready to kill hungry.
Presented by: