Vera Heinman's Noodle Dish x

Vera Hinman’s Noodle Dish . $2.38

We never had Hamburger Helper when I was growing up – not that it wasn’t available, but Mom scorned such things. Luckily, though, we had Vera Hinman’s Noodle dish so we didn’t feel deprived. For you younger folks, not having Hamburger Helper was like not having, well…Hot Pockets, I suppose.

Vera Heinman's Noodle Dish
Vera Hinman’s Noodle Dish

I did a little searching around and found out that my Mom got this recipe from the Des Moines Register, 28 of June, 1970. Vera Hinman and her friend, Flo Hopewell, were featured, two families who lived on houseboats, at least part of the year, near Muscatine, Iowa. Our family has ALWAYS used her name, somewhat reverently, whenever we’ve spoken of this dish. It really was a favorite. Ok, well sometimes we smiled – say it out loud – you can’t help but smile!

This is a perfect example of how a home-made dish often beats out price and quality of a box dinner like a Hamburger Helper. When my kids were young, I was never able to afford the extravagance of the more expensive Hamburger Helper – a quick look at the ingredients was all it took to realize that a few simple vegetables and some noodles were much less expensive than the box with it’s dehydrated and additive full ingredients.

Heinmann’s Noodle Dish is not too fancy but it is downright comforting: Thank you, Vera, whoever you are!  This recipe cost me $2.38.

Recipe:  Vera Hinman’s Noodle Dish {Print}

serves 8 (or in our family, serves 4)

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups v-8® vegetable juice or tomato juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 ounces egg noodles, wide

In a Dutch oven, brown hamburger, drain.  Add vegetables and seasonings, and cook till onion is tender.

Add juice and water, bring to a boil. Add noodles and simmer until cooked through, about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, especially at the end.  Don’t stir too much, or you will end up with mush.

If this becomes too dry, add a bit more water.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.


Per Serving: 278 Calories; 13g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 69mg Cholesterol; 278mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • You can vary your ingredients by season, add more or less, or put in whatever you like.  The original recipe called for jarred mushrooms, but we omitted them…put them back in, or saute your own and add if you like them.
  • The small amount of seasoning lets the flavors shine through – you can certainly up the spiciness and add anything you’d like to flavor this.
  • My son likes his with cheese; personally, I think that’s an abomination, but I let it go because he doesn’t know he’s eating veggies!

My Payoff:  A 30 minute meal that’s easy and satisfying, cheaper, tastier and better for you than Hamburger Helper, and only a few more minutes longer to make.  (I need to do a rant on that convenience food!)

Frugality:  Here is the link for $5 Dinner Mom’s Bargain Meal of the Week, where local cooks from all over the country pick an item from their store’s ad, use it in a recipe, and blog about the results.

Last made:  October 2011

Discussion:  What are your favorite easy hamburger dishes?  What are your favorites to serve without relying on boxed dinners?

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