Budget Family Meals-Quick Ground Beef Recipes

May 9, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

I have found an easy meatball recipe that your family will love and if you’re a busy mom looking for meals to serve a large family that’s affordable and won’t break the grocery budget, this is it. Ground beef is inexpensive and filling if I purchase it when the grocery store has it on sale and I try and make meatloaf or meatballs a few times a month and freeze until ready to use. Meatballs are so versatile; I serve them on pasta in a red pasta sauce or with gravy over mashed potatoes or even meatloaf sub sandwiches. I bake them in the oven, cool, and freeze in zip-lock bags.  I use the same mixture for meatloaf as for the meatballs, just in a different shape of course. I freeze the meatloaf uncooked. Onthe day I plan to serve for dinner, I thaw the loaf and bake fresh for dinner dressed with a little ketchup. Occasionally, I’ll make mini loaves to slice up for school lunches.

One affordable and budget friendly meal for your family is Spaghetti and Meatballs. Serve with garlic bread and a simle green salad. I can make this meal all within 30 minutes from getting off of work. The key is to have the meatballs already made up then as the meatballs are cooking in the oven, boil the pasta on the stove.  Having access to weekly dinner menus that are affordable and easy to prepare can make your grocery budget go a ong way.

Meatball/Meatloaf Recipe~ 1 batch


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teapoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix just enough to distribute ingredients throughout mixture.
  • Form into meatballs or divide into and form a meatloaf.
  • For meatballs, bake in 350° oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through for meatballs. Cool, label, and freeze.
  • For meatloaf, wrap, label and freeze. When ready to serve, thaw and bake 45-60 minutes or until cooked through.

Noel’s Note: Increase ground beef to 4 pounds for 4 meatloaves or a larger quantity of meatballs.


Cinco de Mayo:Have A Taco Fiesta!

May 5, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

Tacos are a casual, partial messy, and fun to assemble-in short, they make great party food. Celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Have a Taco Fiesta with a Taco Bar! Cook your beef, pork or chicken, rice and have plenty of corn or flour tortillas along with all the fillings and condiments.  I decided on throwing a beef chuck roast in the slow cooker for a delicious Family Taco Fiesta.

Shredded Beef Tacos


2 pounds beeef (boneless chuck roast)
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (leave seeds if you want it hotter)
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2-3 slices fresh lime
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon Taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups water
Flour Tortillas
Favorite taco toppings – lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, lime, cilantro, etc.


  • Place first 10 ingredients in slow cooker. Cover with lid. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred with fork.
  • Place beef on flour tortilla and top some of the mixture from the slow cooker and with your favorite toppings.
  • Serve with black bean and corn salad.

Veggie-Beef Burgers

April 26, 2011 · Posted in Beef, Vegetables · View Comments 

Tonight, I’m serving hamburgers that have an added healthy twist–quickly pureed beans and spinach. If you use frozen spinach in this recipe, thaw it, then squeeze out the liquid before adding to the meat mixture. I’m serving the hamburgers on a toasted multi-seed roll, but they are delicious served alone or with a flavorful sauce such as tomato or mango chutney, which is available at many grocery stores or just simply make your own.

Veggie-Beef Burgers



1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup garbanzo beans, cooked and mashed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 buns or rolls


  • Combine beef, spinach, gabanzo beans, onion, salt and pepper.
  • Form into hamburge patties
  • Cook patties for 10 minutes (medium-well)  in oven pre-heated to 350 degrees or on grill.
  • Serve

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


Busy Mom’s Budget Dinner Casserole

April 20, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

As far as I’m concerned, you simply can’t have enough satisfying recipes like this one than can be whipped up in no time and feed 6-8 people. I like to call them one-dish comfort foods. And the best part is they’re afforable and quick! We have these one-dish comfort foods at least once a week. Here’s my Busy Mom’s Budget Dinner Casserole:

Busy Mom’s Dinner Casserole



16 ounces Bow-tie pasta
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
Salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  •  Heat a large skillet; add the onion, and garlic, and saute until soft. Add the ground beef or turkey and mushrooms and saute until browned.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, to taste, and the cumin, and oregano.
  • Add pasta to ground beef mixture. Add 2 cups shredded cheese. Stir until combined.
  • Spread this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or a Deep Covered Baker.
  • Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

Some Favorite Casserole Toppers:

  • Canned French-fried onions
  • Crumbled crackers, such as Ritz or soda crackers
  • Toasted bread crumbs
  • Crumbled potato chips or tortilla chips
  • Nuts, such as sliced almonds or finely chopped pecans (you don’t have to toast these, they’ll toast as they bake.)

How often do you serve one-dish meals? Do you have any favorite casserole toppings?


Slow-Cooked Meat Loaf

April 12, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

What could honestly be more comforting to come home to than a moist and tender home-made meat loaf to gather your family around the dinner table?  This meat loaf retains its shape in the slow cooker and slices beautifully. Served with a spring salad mixand cottage cheese topped with peaches, this is truly an afforable comforting meal your family will love!


Slow-Cooked Meat Loaf


1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 slices day-old bread, cubed
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons green pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup ketchup, plus 1 Tablespoon


  • In a bowl, beat egg and milk. Stir in the bread cubes, onion, green pepper, 1 Tablespoon ketchup, salt and pepper.
  •  Add the beef and mix well. Shape into a round or oval loaf. Place in slow-cooker.
  • Cover and cook on high setting for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low setting; cover and cook 7-8 hours longer or until no pink remains in the meat.

Noel’s Quick Notes: Meat loaf can be prepared the night before and placed in the refrigerator until ready to use. To save even more time,  meat loaf can also be frozen. Pull out the night before and thaw in the refrigerator. I use the same ingredients in this recipe to make meatballs too.

Variations: The meat loaf would also taste good with potatoes and carrots. Arrange carrots around loaf. Peel a strip around the center of each potato; place potatoes over carrots. Because potatoes and carrots cook along with it, the entire dinner is ready at the same time.

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 8-9 hours

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 8-9 hours

Meal Type: Dinner ( Leftovers make great sandwiches for lunch)

My Family Rating: 5


Meals That Freeze Well:Spinach Lasagna

February 14, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

I usually thaw the meals I make ahead in the refrigerator while I’m at work during the day. When I get home, they are ready to be cooked or re-heated and served. Tonight’s Valentine’s dinner is Spinach Lasagna served with a green salad. With Lasagna, it does require a longer cooking time; simple cook it on the weekend, let cool, then freeze. You could also freeze it in smaller portions.

Spinach Lasagna

A simple and delicious Lasagna recipe that freezes well.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 bag fresh spinach leaves
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, dvided
2 cups Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. grated and divided
1 egg, beaten
4 cups red sauce
Salt and pepper


In a mixing bowl, combine egg, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese,  and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir until well blended.

In a skillet, brown the meat with the onion and garlic. Drain excess grease and return to skillet. Add the sauce.

In another skillet, cook the spinach with just the water that still clings to the leaves from washing. Fold the cooked spinach at the bottom of the pan over the uncooked leaves at the top. Keep adding leaves as the spinach cooks down. The spinach is cooked when the leaves are wilted completely but still bright green, which takes about 2 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper in and stir.  Add to meat sauce.

Spread one cup of the meat mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Top with a layer of four lasagna noodles, one-third of the cheese mixture and one cup meat sauce. Repeat the layers twice. Top with lasagna noodles and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until cheese is lightly  brown and bubbly and noodles are tender. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.  



Meal Plans For Busy Moms:Spaghetti Beef Stroganoff

January 18, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

This is a delicious re-vamp of an all time classic family favorite.  Egg noodles are the typical pasta used in this dish, however, when looking in the pantry I found regular spaghetti noodles that served the same purpose. When we talk about meal planning and making meals ahead of time, I often freeze the sauce and then when I need it, thaw, heat, and before serving, and then add the sour cream. Good for those last minute meal ideas! I prefer to serve the Stroganoff with noodles, but it can also be served with rice or potatoes.

Spaghetti Stroganoff


1 pound boneless, tender round steak cut into 1/8 strips
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup  warm water
1 10-ounce can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or red wine
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cooked peas
Chopped parsley, chives or green onions


Rub round steak with garlic. Cut meat into 1/8-inch strips by 2 1/2 inches long.

In a small mixing bowl, stir tpogether flour, salt and pepper. Toss meat strips in flour mixture, coating well.

In a large skillet with lid, heat butter. In hot butter, brown meat strips, stirring frequently to brown evenly. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, or until golden.

Add water and chicken soup, red wine vinegar stirring to blend. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 1-1 1/2 hours over very low heat.

Just before serving, stir in sour cream and peas. Heat just to boiling point.

Pour into a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, chives or green onions.

Just before s


Dante’s Fabulous Meatloaf-Cooking With Kids Week

January 11, 2011 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

I can’t tell you enough how wonderful our kitchen smells right now. We’re making another easy kids classic meal as we move into our Cooking With Kids Week~Kids In The Kitchen Week. This week on Noel’s Kitchen Tips.com, the kids and I are sharing simple menus and step-by-step instructions for a variety of dinner dishes that can be prepared by your kids alone. We’ll also share and discuss basic cooking techniques and equipment.

Today we are making Dante’s Famous Meatloaf. 

Meatloaf  to me is the definition of comfort food and this sweet and savory version really shines when our family gathers for a meal and conversaton around the dinner table.  That’s it! Simple and Tasty!

Dante’s Fabulous Meatloaf

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour


1 pound lean ground round hamburger meat

1 egg

1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup parsley

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup red bell pepper (can use green bell pepper to substitute)


Bacon strip (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together in a large bowl, the meat, egg, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  Form the meat mixture into a loaf and place in a bread pan coated lightly with cooking spray or non stick baking pan.

Sprinkle parsley over the top. Press garlic cloves over the top of meatloaf and finish topping with onion and bell pepper. Drizzle ketchup over the top and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cook through. Carefully remove from oven. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 4-6 servings

Serve meatloaf with roasted red potatoes, peas and a green salad with vegetables and dressings of your choice. ( Vegetables used for the salad will depend on what you have on hand or what was on sale at the grocery store.)


Simple Recipes To Get Dinner On The Table Fast

November 15, 2010 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

This is a quick and easy way to prepare dinner for the family. It’s a hamburger casserole with a Mexican flair. Try it with some shredded cheese sprinkled on top.

Simple Recipes To Get Dinner On The Table Fast

Hamburger Casserole


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
16 ounces Rotini pasta noodles
1 (15 ounce) can chili
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup Mozzerella cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the ground beef and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until the meat is browned and the onion is tender. Drain the fat and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, cook noodles according to package directions. When cooked, drain the water and stir in the meat mixture, tomatoes, corn, salsa and taco seasoning mix. Mix well and place entire mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with cheese.

Bake  for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.


My Favorite Frugal Comfort Recipes:Pizza Casserole

November 9, 2010 · Posted in Beef · View Comments 

My Favorite Frugal Comfort Recipes

My Deep Covered Baker  is the best investment I’ve made when it comes to kitchen products. I use it at least 3-4 times per week and I can make a variety of great dishes that are quick and easy. Plus, I can make the meal ahead of time and place in the refrigerator until just before dinner. It will make your life in the kitchen easier and your family will LOVE the wonderful meals you make! Both oven and microwave safe, the Deep Covered Baker is very versatile. 

With the season changing, this week, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite frugal comfort recipes that are frugal on your wallet, easy to make and you can make a HUGE amount! I highly suggest this meal as a family-kid friendly meal. Just think of all the different additions you could add!

 Pizza Casserole


1 pound ground beef

2 cups Mostaccioli noodles (or your favorite pasta noodles)

1 9.75 ounce jar Prego Chunky Garden Mushroom Supreme with Baby Portobello Italian Sauce

1 cup pepperoni slices

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzerella cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef. While browning beef, boil the pasta noodles. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add them to the cooked ground beef along with pasta sauce, pepperoni slices and oregano. Stir until ingredients are combined.

Add 1 cup of the Mozzerella cheese. Together in the skillet, mix all ingredients, stirring thoroughly. Add to Deep Dish Baker, top with remaining cheese. Cover with baker lid and bake for 3o minutes.

Freezing Directions:

Prepare up to the point of baking, do not bake. Instead, place in a freezable aluminum pan, cover and freeze. To serve: Thaw in refrigerator. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 3o minutes.

Recipe Note: Try adding green bell peppers, red bell peppers, olives, sausage and onion for a Combo Pizza Casserole

Next week, I will share my favorite side dish to share at a holiday party.


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