How many of you have seen or had Hamburger Helper? Growing up, we ate Hamburger Helper regularly and now, as an adult, I see why. It was cheap, easy, and a full one pot meal. These days as a dietitian, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Hamburger Helper to my patients (600 mg per ⅓ cup!), so I decided to make my own, minus the sugar, artificial coloring, and MSG (see here).


One pot meals have been pretty trendy these days, and I see why. Easy clean up, generally fast times, and no oven to preheat makes these types of recipes desirable. I wanted to make a recipe that had common on hand ingredients and that had plenty of fiber and veggies (⅓ cup per serving!)


Your actual first step is to find the largest pot you have in your house! We will be sauteeing veggies, browning meat, and boil pasta all in one pot, so the bigger the better to hold all the ingredients.

The first step in cooking the recipe is to saute your chopped onion until soft. Next, add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, then add the seasonings.


Combine your liquids, broth, milk, tomato sauce,  add the pasta to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. As the pasta cooks, the liquid will thicken due to evaporation and the pasta absorbing the liquid.


Once the pasta is al dente, decrease heat to medium-low. Stir in cheese and spinach. Once the spinach is well combined and has decreased in size, you are ready to serve!


“Dietitian Helper” One Pot Creamy Tomato and Basil Pasta

by Lisa Kay, MS, RD




1 lb whole wheat pasta (we used Penne)

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 15 oz no salt added tomato sauce

½ cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup skim milk

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups fresh spinach, packed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp sage

1 tsp basil

2 tsp fennel

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp thyme



  1. On medium heat, cook onion and large pot for about 3 minutes until onion is soft.
  2. Add ground turkey and seasoning plus garlic. Cook until no longer pink.
  3. Add seasoning; fennel, red pepper, basil, sage, and thyme.
  4. Increase heat to high. Add pasta, chicken broth, milk, tomato sauce.  Boil pasta until tender, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken as pasta cooks.
  5. Decrease heat to medium-low. Stir in parmesan cheese and spinach. Severe when mixed well and spinach wilts.



Top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Severe with a side salad.



Calories: 543

Fat (g): 13

Sodium (mg): 526

Protein (g): 42

Carbs (g): 68

Fiber (g): 8 dfg