HamBULKer Helper

HamBULKer Helper

This HamBULKer Helper is a weight gain friendly meal prep with over 1,000 calories per dish to help you easily get in the energy you need to grow muscle. A combination of pasta, beef, potatoes and cheese make up the bulk of the calories but this meal still includes a decent serving of vegetables too.
30 Minutes
30 Minutes

Per Serving – Makes 5

1000 Calories

94g C | 62g P | 42g F

How to Make HamBULKer Helper

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Need a lower calorie version? Check out this recipe.

HamBULKer Helper

4.62 from 99 votes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, meal prep
Keyword: beef, gluten free, meal prep
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 1000kcal
This HamBULKer Helper is a weight gain friendly meal prep with over 1,000 calories per dish to help you easily get in the energy you need to grow muscle. A combination of pasta, beef, potatoes and cheese make up the bulk of the calories but this meal still includes a decent serving of vegetables too.
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  • 2 lbs (908 g) ground beef 85/15
  • 1 medium (200 g) onion
  • 4 medium (227 g) carrots
  • 4 stalks (112 g) celery
  • 3 medium (500 g) potatoes
  • 12 oz (340 g) elbow pasta gluten free if needed
  • 14.5 oz (411 g) petite diced tomatoes canned
  • 6 oz (170 g) spinach
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) minced garlic
  • 2 cups (480 g) 2% milk
  • 3 cups (720 g) chicken broth
  • 1 cup (112 g) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup (60 g) grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (68 g) ketchup
  • 1 tbsp (3 g) dried basil
  • 1 tsbp (6 g) paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the Beef

  • In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add the beef and allow it to brown and the fat to render off.
  • Once browned, remove it from the pot, keeping all of the fat that was rendered off inside the pot. This will be used to cook the vegetables.

For the Vegetables

  • While the beef is cooking, wash and cut the onion, carrots, and celery into a small dice of roughly the same size. Grate the garlic. Cut the potatoes into a medium dice of about ½" cubes. Roughly chop the spinach into smaller pieces.
  • Once the beef has finished and only the fat remains left in the pot, add in the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season lightly with salt to encourage the water to come out quicker. Allow this to brown and soften for 8-10 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables have softened, season with 1 each of dried basil and paprika.
  • Add in the potatoes, 2 cups of milk, 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, the beef and 12oz of elbow pasta.
  • Bring this mixture to a light boil, stirring occasionally then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes have softened and the noodles have finished.
  • Test the potatoes for doneness by sticking a fork into them. Once they have softened, add in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup of ketchup, and all of the spinach you chopped earlier.
  • Mix well to incorporate the cheeses and wilt the spinach. Taste test, season with salt and pepper to adjust flavor as needed.


  • This recipe makes 5 servings. Divide the mixture of the pot evenly 5 ways.



Calories: 1000kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 42g


The information in the following table are estimates for the total nutrition of the recipe, as written.  If you follow the recipe listed above, as written, you can use these tables to determine the nutrition information if you wanted to split the recipe, as written, into more or less servings than what is originally listed.  If you update the number of servings in the “Servings” field of the recipe above, the information in these tables are no longer accurate as you have updated the ingredients.

4998.6 cals

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This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Sara w

    5 stars
    So good! I added a bit more basil and paprika to really amp up the flavor, and ended up adding the meat back in after the potatoes and pasta were partly cooked. Yum!

      1. Ed powell

        5 stars
        Delicious recipe, but how big does the container need to be for it?

  2. Daniel Cardenas

    Easiest 1k calories ever! Gonna try the cheeseburger Mac for this week

  3. Ayush

    5 stars
    10/10, just started watching your stuff and been looking to put on weight with some hi cal meals, this is the one.

  4. Rob P

    This was great! Any tips on how to not burn a layer of pasta/veg to the bottom of the pot?

    1. Josh Cortis

      Hmm, i didnt have this issue. I guess just stirring every few minutes would help

    2. Brandon

      I’m sure there’s simple math here but in hopes that it’s already been done for me, how can extend these portions from 5 servings to 7?

      1. Brandon

        I created an account and found out that you’re able to adjust the servings and it automatically updates the recipe for you. Thank you very much!

    3. William

      I had the same issue, I felt like there wasn’t enough liquid. I had to add a little extra broth and milk.

      Very good otherwise.

  5. Lisa

    5 stars
    I was skeptical about this recipe. I guess it’s cause it’s a mess of ingredients haha. Sorry josh. (I did for-go the ketchup) But WOW was I wrong. It was delicious. I love eating this.

    1. skyler

      please stop talking no one cares about your opinion lisa

  6. Ariel

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! Colorful and flavorful!

  7. Bobby

    5 stars
    Doesn’t say to re add the ground beef although it may be obvious. Great recipe.

  8. Mitchel

    Looks like it’s missing the step where you add the meat back in, which I missed because I didn’t watch the video first. Unless I missed something.


  9. Barbara Stine

    5 stars
    Just made this one for the week, perfect, I made these the night before. So when I ate them, the flavor had soaked into the noodles. I like that I can add seasoning afterward (garlic and onion powder for me), because there is nothing like ruining a meal after just spending all that time preparing it. Thank you so much for these recipes.

  10. chunkymunky1

    Hi Josh,
    This looks really delicious and I’d love to try it buuuuuut I am definitely not looking to gain weight. Would it still work if I split it into 10 meals instead of 5 for weight loss? Or would you recommend I change something in your recipe to make it more weight loss friendly??

    1. chunkymunky1

      disregard, my blurry eyes finally saw a link to your lower calorie version 🙂

  11. Michael Guty

    Was the 340g of pasta the dry weight amount? I needed up with way more than the batch you did

  12. Dan

    3 stars
    Haven’t tasted yet but I have a HUGE pot and it still isn’t enough to fit all this stuff in, very frustrating

    1. john

      just buy a bigger pot… they’re like $20 on amazon lol

  13. Brandon

    I work almost 60 hours every week and have a child on the weekend. Your recipes have been a godsend. This one especially. The days of rice, chicken, and broccoli are all but a distant memory. Thanks a bunch Josh! You are the goat of meal prep. Keep these recipes coming 👌

  14. Lightfoot

    Any ideas on how to make this dairy free? I’m thinking using that heavy coconut milk that you put in curry and some vegan cheese would work but idk if that would give it a weird coconut taste.

    1. Xman1013

      5 stars
      I subbed the milk for the same amount with oat milk and it still tastes great!😎

  15. john carver

    5 stars
    love this recipe. truthfully, all of the meals i’ve tried from him are top-tier. 10/10

  16. Jason Callahan

    5 stars
    Very good.

    But be forewarned. You need a REALLY big pot to cook this in. I used a 6qt pot and was overwhelmed. Even my 8qt mixing bowl wasn’t even. I would say 12qt pot might be the bare minimum. Not sure how big the one Josh uses in the video is.

    Also give yourself plenty of time. It took me an hour just to cut the vegetables!

    And the portions are huge. Prepare to be earning that bulk by stuffing your face well after you feel full!

  17. Mark

    2 stars
    This was a wet mess. I had the opposite problem as others. Followed the liquid amounts and it’s more of a soup. I’ll eat it but I won’t make it again

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