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The contents of each box are combined with browned ground beef, water, and occasionally milk to create a complete dish. The product line also features products with other starches, such as rice or potatoes.
In 2013, the company shortened the line's name to simply "Helper".
The basic and most popular version of Hamburger Helper is a box of dried pasta with seasoning that requires it to be cooked with ground beef. Hamburger Helper offers a variety of flavors that include lasagna, Cheeseburger Macaroni, bacon cheeseburger, Philly Cheesesteak and others. There are also variations using other meats such as tuna and chicken. These are named "Tuna Helper" and "Chicken Helper," respectively.
Tuna Helper was the second variety to appear on the market, in 1972.
Fruit Helper was introduced in 1973. These were dessert products made with canned or fresh fruit. The Fruit Helper line has since been discontinued.
Chicken Helper was first introduced in 1984 in response to the wide availability of inexpensive boneless and skinless chicken breasts.
Asian Helper is a selection of four Asian-American-style dishes; three made with chicken and one with beef.
Pork Helper was introduced in 2003. Varieties of "Pork Helper" include pork fried rice and pork chops with stuffing. The product was discontinued shortly after its introduction.
Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles were introduced in 2006. This product requires water and a brief cooking in the microwave to produce a single serving portion of some of the most popular flavors. Chicken Helper flavors were added in 2007 though the brand was discontinued shortly thereafter. It returned in 2013 as Chicken and Chili Helper.
In popular culture
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On April 1, 2016, General Mills in collaboration with Twin Cities-based rappers DEQUEXATRON X000, Bobby Raps, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip, Retro Spectro, Daniel Davis and GenReal, released the mixtape, an April Fools' Day prank, titled "Watch the Stove". According to a press release, the mixtape was produced for General Mills by a team at St. Paul, Minnesota's McNally Smith College of Music. The mixtape, whose name is a parody of the Jay-Z and Kanye collaborative album Watch the Throne, contains five songs, all of which are about Hamburger Helper. The mixtape instantly achieved viral status, garnering over 4 million listens on SoundCloud in less than three days. The mixtape comes under the artist moniker of the Hamburger Helper mascot, Lefty. The mixtape was also dropped alongside two new music videos, where Lefty can be seen flirting with a mysterious woman at a club.
- The Catering Industry Employee: Official Journal of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees' International Alliance and Bartenders' International League of America. 82 & 83. The Alliance. 1973. p. 7. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- Hughlett, Mike (2013-07-06). "General Mills relaunches Hamburger Helper". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- Weissman, Saya (2013-11-23). "Hamburger Helper Is Awesome at Twitter. Really.". Digiday. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "General Mills relaunches Hamburger Helper". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
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- Carolyn Wyman (2004). Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods that Changed the Way We Eat. Quirk Books. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-931686-42-6. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Betty Crocker Website
- "Pasta | The Whole Grains Council". wholegrainscouncil.org. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "Hamburger Helper Announces ``Better Tasting Product Line | Business Wire". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "Sam Raimi is Killed by Hamburger Helper in This Early Short Film | News Article". FEARnet. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Hamburger Helper Enters the Rap Scene With (Shockingly Great) 'Watch the Stove' Mixtape". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- "Here's The Story Behind Hamburger Helper's Viral Mixtape 'Watch the Stove' has been played over 4 million times". Adweek. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2016-04-09.