Hamburger, Potato & Tomato Skillet Dinner: Easier! Faster!

If you’re looking for a quick, one-pan meal idea for hamburger, there’s no need to turn to a box on the shelf. My hamburger, potato and tomato skillet dinner is one of the most popular recipes on Urban Cottage Life and I’ve just made it even easier and faster for you!

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes | © UrbanCottageLife.comWe all need a few super-quick and easy, family-approved dinners for those days when you have to get dinner on the table in a hurry without a lot of fuss. Yes, even empty-nester food bloggers!

When my kids were young, I used to buy that packaged dish that you add to a base of browned hamburger — you know the one! I mostly cooked simple meals from scratch, but I wasn’t above some shortcuts for convenience. And hey, something that all three kids liked was a dish to be repeated. A few years ago, though, I came up with a meal based on a similar idea, but entirely from scratch.

Recently I’ve noticed that my Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes and Tomatoes is one of the most-viewed recipes on the blog. So, I took another look at the recipe and found a few ways to make it even easier and even faster. The whole thing is ready now in about 45 minutes, including prep time. And that’s with 25 minutes of cooking time during which you can set the table, read the mail, open a bottle of wine or beer … or do all three. Here are the improvements that make this popular recipe even better now.

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes | © UrbanCottageLife.com

  1. No peeling of the potatoes — just buy the cleanest ones you can find and give them a quick scrub.
  2. No pre-cooking of the potatoes — now I add a bit of water to the mixture and cook the potatoes completely in it.
  3. Cooking time is reduced by up to 15 minutes or so.

This meal is so satisfying … it’s comfort food that takes me back to my childhood and the days when my kids were little. And, it makes a big amount of dinner. If you don’t have four people around your table, it’s the kind of dish that refrigerates well for a day or two and tastes even better reheated.

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes | © UrbanCottageLife.com

Hamburger, Potato & Tomato Skillet Dinner

  • Servings: Four Servings
  • Print

© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life.com 2017

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes | © UrbanCottageLife.comIf you’re comfortable multi-tasking in the kitchen, you can prep the veggies for this meal while browning the hamburger. If you’d rather focus more in the kitchen, no problem — just cut up the onions, garlic and potatoes and then move on to cooking the hamburger. 

A tip: buy tubes of tomato paste (yes, like toothpaste!). You can squeeze out the amount you need, recap and pop into the fridge until next time. I mean really, who ever uses up leftovers from those little cans?

  • 1 lb lean hamburger
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried red chili pepper (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 28-oz can tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup water

Place the hamburger in a large skillet with high sides (mine is 10 inches in diameter and about 3 inches deep), over fairly high heat. There’s no need to add oil, and you can start with the skillet cold. Use a heat proof spatula to break up the meat, and move it around from time to time until it’s browned. It doesn’t have to be completely cooked at this stage, as it will continue to cook.

Add the onion and garlic, and stir for a couple of minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Now add the tomato paste, along with the basil, oregano, pepper and salt and and cook, stirring, for a minute or so (this mellows that harsh rawness). No worries if a dark crust is starting to form on the bottom of the pan … that means flavour!

Stir in the can of tomatoes with their juices, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen and incorporate all the goodness there into the mixture. Add the potatoes and water and stir again. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, checking a couple of times to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Check a potato cube for doneness — ideally they’ll be cooked through but not soft, but really, it’s how you like your potatoes that counts! If the potatoes are still too firm, cook for about 5 minutes more, adding a bit more water if the mixture seems too dry. If the mix seems too juicy, finish cooking with the lid off.

And there you go, dinner is ready! Be prepared to dish out seconds.

Looking for another easy dinner but one that’s meatless? How about this Green Bean, Tomato and Chickpea Salad?

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