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Frugal Ground Beef Recipes

Updated on April 5, 2013

Ground Beef Makes Delicious Frugal Family Meals

Choosing cheap ground beef recipes for dinner is one of the best ways to stretch your family's grocery dollar. It can form the base for many great recipes from soups and crockpot chili to ground beef casseroles and barbequed dishes. These recipes are some of my family's favourites, and are easily adaptable to be more or less spicy and can also be doubled for larger families. All of these good ground beef recipes freeze well, with the exception of the Beef Nacho Casserole (the chips can become soggy), but with teenage boys in the house there usually aren't any leftovers anymore. For families looking for money saving grocery ideas, ground beef is a versatile, healthy and cheap dinner ingredient. Happy cooking!


Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Black Bean and Corn Crockpot Chili

This is a great Crockpot Chili recipe for pot lucks or last minute company as it has only 5 simple ingredients!

1 pound lean ground beef, browned

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes **DO NOT DRAIN**

1 19 oz can of black beans **DO NOT DRAIN**

1 can of corn kernels, drained, or 2 cups of frozen corn niblets

1 envelope of taco seasoning.

This amount feeds three hungry adults well, or four adults with bread and salad.

Combine all ingredients, simmer in slow cooker on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 4 hours. Best if simmered on low. Can be easily doubled or tripled. Serve with rice, buns, toast, or egg noodles.

Ground Beef Stretches Chunky Tomato Sauce for Pasta Dishes
Ground Beef Stretches Chunky Tomato Sauce for Pasta Dishes | Source
"A Pound of Ground" is a protein-rich frugal staple for family dinners.
"A Pound of Ground" is a protein-rich frugal staple for family dinners.

Meat and Chunky Tomato Sauce for Pasta

This is one of the first ground hamburger recipes I attempted over twenty years ago.  It began as a pretty basic ground beef and spaghetti sauce dish, but we have added herbs and spices to our liking.

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil

1/2 onion, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped, or 3 teaspoons of crushed garlic in oil

1 large can of Hunts Thick and Rich Tomato Sauce, or Primo's Spaghetti Sauce, or 3 1/2 cups of homemade tomato sauce

Half a 28 oz can of Aylmer's Seasoned Diced Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/2 tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar

In a large saucepan, with heat on medium/high, cook chopped onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil, just until the onion is translucent. Add ground beef, and cook until browned. Lower the heat to medium/low and add all remaining ingredients. Sometimes I will add 1/2 a small zucchini if the kids have been lacking in veggies for the day. Cook until just bubbling. Serve over cooked pasta or even boiled potatoes. This makes enough for about 6 hungry adults, and leftover sauce freezes very well.

Parsley adds a nice flavour to lasagna if your family doesn't like spinach.
Parsley adds a nice flavour to lasagna if your family doesn't like spinach.
Lasagna is a great economical meal for large family gatherings
Lasagna is a great economical meal for large family gatherings
Ensure your oven-ready lasagna noodles have some space between them to expand as they cook.
Ensure your oven-ready lasagna noodles have some space between them to expand as they cook. | Source


One of the most popular ground beef recipes has to be for lasagna!

***Using 1 pound of ground beef, make the Spaghetti Sauce as above omitting the diced tomatoes if you prefer a smoother lasagna.

1 500 ml tub of small curd, low fat cottage cheese

2 eggs

2 cups of shredded, low fat mozzarella cheese

1 package of processed mozzarella cheese (optional)

1 box of oven ready lasagna noodles

fresh, finely chopped parsley or dried parsley

Set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix cottage cheese with eggs. In a 9 x 13 inch lasagna dish, place one generous layer of meat sauce. Cover with oven ready lasagna noodles (these don't need to be cooked prior to use - make sure your sauce is a little more liquid than usual as the lasagna noodles will soak it up as they cook in the oven). Spoon a layer of cottage cheese/egg mixture over the lasagna noodles. Cover with a layer of processed mozzarella cheese if you are using it, then a handful or two of shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle dried parsley or fresh chopped parsley over top. Then layer oven ready lasagna, meat sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and parsley again. Repeat until all of your meat sauce and cheese mixture are used up, finishing with cheese mixture and shredded mozzarella sprinkled with parsley on the top. Cook for about 35 - 40 minutes. Check to make sure the lasagna noodles are cooked (soft) at about 35 minutes. Let the lasagna sit for 3-5 minutes prior to serving.


Beef Nacho Casserole

I believe that this recipe initially came from an advertisement for Miracle Whip some twenty years ago. It is an easy beef recipe that has been adjusted over the years to our family's taste, and now it is a frugal favourite!

1 pound of ground beef

1/2 cooking onion

1 large jar of mild salsa

2 cups of frozen corn niblets

1 1/2 cups of Miracle Whip or Hellman's Mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon or 2 frozen tabs of cilantro

2 cups shredded old cheddar (orange) cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination of both

1 bag of restaurant style Corn Chips or Crisp Tortilla Chips

Brown ground beef and onion in a saucepan. Add Salsa, Corn, Miracle Whip or Hellman's Mayonnaise, Chili Powder, and Cilantro, and mix well. Make sure it does NOT boil - you just want to heat the mixture. Meanwhile, turn your oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a 6 cup Corningware Casserole, but use whatever type of casserole you have (I have also made this in a glass 9 inch by 13 inch lasagna dish). Place a layer of meat mixture in the bottom of the pan, cover it with a layer of crushed corn or tortilla chips, then a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat until all of your meat mixture is gone, and ending with a layer of cheese. Pop it in the oven, uncovered, and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.


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