Spending Strike: Day 26 - My Mother and Ground Beef. True Love.

I bet your momma is a good cook.


I bet your mom can crank out one heck of a meal in a short amount of time, using whatever ingredients she has in her pantry or freezer, and it will probably taste nothing short of amazing. She's a bangin' cook. And rightfully so, she's probably had years of practice feeding your hungry brood :)

My momma is a good cook, too. My grandma Carol - her mother-in-law - compliments my mom on being a flavorful cook. She totally is. My mom cooks meals with lots of spices, flavors, and textures. I've written about some of my favorite meals my mother makes, you should check out that post first.

Today, in honor of our spending strike, I want to share some of my favorite meals that mom has made using one of the most affordable types of meat out there: Ground Beef.

My parents are farmers, and we get all of our beef and pork from their farm. We're lucky, I know. We're very, very lucky to have access to quality beef and pork for dirt cheap prices thanks to the generosity of my parents.

As a result of growing up with access to all sorts of cuts of meat, we had the luxury of eating fat, juicy steaks on special occasions. However, there were many, many times when my mother had to stretch her grocery dollar to feed our family. Oftentimes that meant using ground beef in creative ways in order to feed us on a dime.

Mom had to be frugal, and there's nothing wrong with that. Am I right?

Some of those meals with ground beef are among my favorites, even today. That's why I'm proud to share some of those recipes with you. Be advised that my mom, as a cook, doesn't usually measure. She eyeballs it, uses her hands, and tastes along the way to get it right. For that reason, the recipes you see below will require you to do the same. {Whatever. I know you cook like this at home, too. Don't lie.}


Take a pound of ground beef, a handful of onions, green peppers, a huge handful of bread crumbs, an egg, some fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper, a few dashes or Worcestershire and mix it all up in a bowl with your hands. Shape it into a loaf and bake for about an hour at 350*. During the last 20 minutes of baking, or so, brush on some barbecue sauce or a ketchup and brown sugar mixture. Serve it up with a frozen vegetable from the garden or a baked potato.


Make the meatloaf recipe above, but instead of shaping it into a loaf, shape a bunch of small meatballs. Bake in a 9x13 baking dish for about 25 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, brush with barbecue sauce. Or, you can serve these meatballs plain with spaghetti and pasta sauce {canned from your summer garden, of course}.


Cook a pound of ground beef in a skillet with a handful of onions, some garlic, and some diced green pepper until the ground beef is no longer pink. Simmer it with about a half-pint of your home canned enchilada (or taco) sauce. Then, fill and roll the meat mixture into tortillas and place in a 9x13 pan. When the pan is full, top the enchiladas with the remaining half-pint of enchilada sauce, some additional onions, and a bunch of grated cheese. Cook the enchiladas at 350* until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

When ready to serve, set up a bunch of enchilada toppings so people can dress their plates buffet-style. Some topping ideas are: Sour cream, tomatoes, black olives, salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce, diced onions, and diced peppers.
Steak burgers (bunless)

Pasta bake

Brown a pound of ground beef with some fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper, and cook some egg noodles until al dente. While those things are cooking, mix about a half of a container of sour cream and a pint of home canned pasta sauce, some mushrooms, black olives and onions. When the ground beef and noodles are done, mix those in with the 'sauce'. Pour it all into a 9x13 pan and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350* until the cheese is melted and golden brown.


Brown some ground beef - about a 1/2 pound and add it to your slow cooker. To the slow cooker, dump in some whole tomatoes, some chili beans, a big handful of onions and peppers, a healthy scoop of chili powder, salt and pepper, maybe some cumin, and about a half pint of water. Let it simmer all day, and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches, or oyster crackers. You can also top with sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese.


You guys know how to make tacos.

Mock 'Maid Rites'

Brown a pound of ground beef with a big handful of onions, a little beef stock, a few dashes of Worcestershire. a small spoon of brown sugar, salt and pepper. Serve on a bun with pickles, mustard, and ketchup (if you feel so inclined).

Beef Stroganoff

Brown some ground beef - like a 1/2 pound. Meanwhile, cook some egg noodles until al dente. When the beef is almost done, add some mushrooms, onions, minced garlic, a few 'glugs' of beef stock, and salt and pepper. Add the cooked noodles and a big, hearty spoonful of sour cream. You can also add a little butter, if you want. Stir it all up until creamy, and eat it with a garden fresh or garden-frozen veggie.

Mock Fillet

Take your ground beef - you'll want about a 1/3 pound for each person - and sprinkle garlic salt, pepper, and a few dashes of soy sauce. Mix it all up with your hands and shape 1/3 pound hamburger patties. Wrap the outer edge of each patty with a slice of bacon (or two) and fasten the bacon to the burger with a toothpick (or two). Grill the 'mock fillet' low and slow, and baste with barbecue, if you want. Top with sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers, maybe a slice of swiss cheese. Serve this up with some sweet corn from the freezer, but whatever you do, don't put this 'fillet' on a bun. Eat it with a knife and fork…like fancy people.

Here are the numbers -

Money Spent Today: $0
Running Total: $75
Money We Didn't Spend: $0

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