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Aug 20, 2012 06:30 PM

Budget meals stretching ground beef?


As I have posted before, my husband and I are trying to get by on extremely little at the moment. I am trying to be an extremely frugal housekeeper and, as such, am looking to stretch my last 6 ounces of ground beef that are currently residing in my freezer. How can I turn this into a dinner for two?

Thank you all so very much. I'm just starting out, and I think of you all as my aunts and uncles stretching across the country (and around the world!) and appreciate all of your wisdom so much.

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  1. What else is in the fridge/freezer/pantry? :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: DuchessNukem

      I have a very well-stocked spice rack (lots of Indian spices and curry pastes in addition to the more everyday spices) and lots of grains and pulses (short- and long-grain brown rice, bulgur, lentils, red beans, black beans.) I have onions, shallots, garlic, and a few basic veggies (carrots, celery, cilantro, jalapenos.) I'm happy to pick up inexpensive items, though, that I don't have on hand.

      1. re: oldfangled

        Combine an equal amount of ground beef and uncooked rice. Season with your favorite spice mixture. Garam masala might work or if you have them, a blend of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and coriander. Stuff the combination into blanched onions you have peeled and cored. Braise in tomato sauce with lemon juice, parsley and hot pepper until the stuffing is cooked through.

        1. re: oldfangled

          I'd make a kheema with that bit of ground beef, your spices. You could stretch it with some added rice, peas, and homemade naan. Good eats, cheap.

          1. re: oldfangled

            I find that combining lentils and ground beef at a 1:2 or even a 1:1 ratio is almost unnoticeable, especially if they're the brown lentils. I do it for health reasons, but it'll save money. I can do this no matter what I'm cooking with the beef - meatloaf, shepherd's pie, sloppy joes - whatever! Rice will stretch it further, of course.

        2. Add a rinsed and drained can of black beans, some seasoning, and a cup of cooked rice and you have the makings for 3-4 burritos!

          1. Sounds like pantry is well provided. I kinda see veggies missing.

            I'm on a beans-greens-sausage (or other meats) kick right now. One idea is to panfry the ground beef and then sauce to taste, and add beans and a sauteed green (chard, spinach, steamed zucchini, chopped broccoli, etc.). Place in bowl and add raw garnishes (chopped onions, peppers, cilantro, avocado, chopped tomatoes) and enjoy.

            1. Here’s an inexpensive, filling, and tasty Moroccan-style dish based on a recipe from Copeland Marks’ “The Great Book of Couscous”:

              Meatballs: Combine ground beef with small amounts of salt, pepper, ground cumin, slightly more paprika, 1 chopped shallot or 1/4 - 1/3 chopped onion. Form into balls about ¾ inch in diameter. Don’t go too light on the spices because they also flavour the sauce.

              Sauce: Combine 1 can diced tomatoes, 4 tbsp. olive oil or other oil or fat, ¼ cup water.

              Bring sauce ingredients to a low simmer and continue covered for 15 minutes. Add meatballs and cook for 15 minutes. (Can also add an egg toward the end and poach until firm but with a loose yolk.)

              Serve with rice and perhaps sprinkle some cilantro on top.

              1. Dirty rice.... ground beef with rice, onion, celery, carrot, and favorite seasonings. You could stretch it to make 4 good sized servings.