Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe is now on the blog, here. It’s faster, easier and has much better photographs (like the one below)!

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes | ©

Here’s our quick Monday evening skillet dinner, featuring hamburger, potatoes and tomatoes. Easy to make, satisfying in flavour and filling. When the kids were living at home, sometimes I would make that certain packaged dish that always had hamburger as its base. Tonight’s dinner tasted better, I know exactly what’s in it, and it took barely any more effort to make. I’m not a total purist, but it’s so much better to avoid processed foods if you can. (I think this would be a fine dish to serve my grandchildren, perhaps with a little less spice, and it’s simple for a busy Mum or Dad to make.)

It’s great to have a few quick and easy dishes like this in the repertoire, to provide a good dinner without fuss. It’s not fancy, but so tasty and comforting that I’m not sure the leftovers will survive past the end of the evening. (As I write this, I sense the Culinary Enthusiast eying the refrigerator…)

The directions for how I made this dish are below. You can follow the recipe, for sure, but feel free to modify it according to your taste and what you happen to have on hand. (As a suggestion to get your improv thinking started, you could add some partially cooked penne or rotini instead of potatoes.)

Hamburger Skillet Dinner with Potatoes & Tomatoes

This served the two of us, with another portion left over.

  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound extra lean hamburger
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • about 1/2 tsp dried red chile pepper
  • about 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp or so dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 28-oz can tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Cook the potatoes until cooked through but still firm. Drain and set aside. Brown the hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat (just put the meat directly into the cold pan – no need to add oil), breaking it up well with a spatula. When mostly cooked, add the onion, garlic, dried chile and pepper and stir. When the onions are translucent, add the tomato paste and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes to develop the flavour, then add the tomatoes, herbs and salt. (if using whole tomatoes, break up with the spatula). Add the potatoes and stir well. Put the lid on the skillet (the photo above shows it ready to be covered), and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. If you want to reduce the liquid, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking time.

The potatoes will be soft and flavoured with the other ingredients, and their starch will have thickened the tomato juice. Mmm, so tasty!

Enjoy this easy dinner with crusty bread, and perhaps a simple salad on the side.


  1. This does look delicious and you’re right to try your hand at making the dinner from scratch before buying the pre-packaged stuff. I make a similar dish, with pasta in place of the potatoes, but that’s just how I roll. 🙂

    Speaking of pasta, I made Pizzoccheri last night. I really enjoyed your recipe, especially the use of Fontina cheese. I did not not enjoy the noodles I made. Although they tasted fine, they were too fragile and broke into half-inch, or so, pieces when I combined them with the garlic, sage, butter and parmesan. Testing has been halted while I finish a 9X13″ pyrex dish filled with Pizzoccheri. I’ve consulted with Zia and should be ready for another test this weekend. I think I’ll halve the recipe. 🙂

    • I was happy to see you made the Pizzoccheri, and that you’re enjoying it, although it sounds like there’s a little fine-tuning to do. One of the challenges of all this food blogging is all the food we end up with! You’re smart to halve the recipe next time (it feeds a small army, don’t you think?). We have a friend who likes getting leftovers, which works out well as I have lots of those.

      Anyway, I look forward to hearing how your next batch of this pasta turns out. If you decide to blog about it I’ll be quite interested to read and seeing if you have any touches that make this good recipe even better!

  2. This is exactly the recipe I have been looking for. It was a staple in my house when I was growing up, it was the only thing I remember my father ever cooking! He always referred to it as “goulash”.We always had sidedish of errors beans and ate it with tortillas. Thanks so much for posting this! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Oh, how wonderful to hear that my recipe is what you were looking for to capture the dish your father used to make for you. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for sharing this story with me, Dani.

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