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Posts Tagged ‘economical main dishes’

Economical main dish #4

We've been busy lately around the house working on a few small projects. Next week is my last week at work, so I've been trying to remove all my personal items and leave things in good order for my replacement. We have several family anniversaries and birthdays that we will be celebrating in the next couple of weeks. After things settle into a more normal schedule I hope to post with a bit more regularity. 🙂 Anyway, here's another good ground beef recipe. My photo isn't the best, but the finished product is very tasty. We love meatloaf and I have several different recipes for it. This one came from Pillsbury and it's pretty enough to serve for company.

picture of stuffed meatloaf

Layered Italian Meat Loaf

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
8 oz. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
pepper to taste
Italian Seasoning to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
9 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (I wring it out in a dish towel)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with foil (directions follow.) Spray with pan spray. In a large bowl mix the ground beef 1/2 cup sauce, egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Pat half the mixture into the loaf pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Spread the spinach over the cheese, sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese, and then add the remaining meat in another layer on top. At this point I like to carefully remove the loaf from the loaf pan using the ends of the foil and place it in a 9" x 13" baking pan or roaster. I don't like to bake meat loaf in a loaf pan because I prefer that the fat drain off of the meat rather than accumulate in the bottom. Bake the meat loaf for about an hour and 15 mins. or until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. Carefully place the loaf onto a platter and slice and serve. Heat the remaining tomato sauce and pour on top of the loaf. (I usually slice the loaf and then arrange the slices nicely on the platter if I care about the presentation.) This is good with mashed potatoes.


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Economical main dish #3

picture of Hamburger Stew

I have to admit that I love potatoes. We don't eat them as frequently as we used to, but I really do enjoy them. They are especially tasty in this dish.
This recipe is sort of a compilation of several that I have tried over the years. You can vary the meal by using what you have available.

Ground Beef Stew

*1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)
4 medium red potatoes cut in half and then sliced
2-3 carrots, sliced
**1 can tomato soup
1-2 cups water (you can adjust the amount to make your desired consistency)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping cup frozen peas

In a large skillet cook ground beef, celery, and onion until beef is no longer pink. Drain off grease. Add the tomato soup and water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook until tender. Season with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the frozen peas and continue cooking just until they are heated through. Add fruit or salad and bread and you have an easy meal to put on the table.

*I like to buy large packages of ground beef and cook the meat with some onions, drain, package and freeze. This makes meals like this go together in a flash.

**If you don't have tomato soup you can use 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and a bit more water.

**If you don't care for tomatoes you can just use 2-3 cups of water or beef broth. This will still be very good in MHO. 🙂


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Economical main dish #2

I know I said in my last post that I would be posting some ground beef recipes, but then I remembered this tasty dish. 🙂 I saw a recipe similar to this awhile back and tweaked it to my taste. It is very colorful and delicious.

picture of Roast Veg Primavera

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera

1 medium zucchini, sliced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red or yellow pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. smoked sausage sliced
8 oz. dry pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place vegetables in a large shallow roasting pan. Add oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bake 15 mins. and then stir and add sausage. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package directions. Top the cooked pasta with the sausage and vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4-6 servings.

This reminds me of another tip I have been wanting to share. Until just the last couple of years the only Parmesan cheese I ever purchased was in a green can. While this was O.K. and helped with a tight grocery budget I have discovered that freshly grated Parmesan is tastier. It is quite expensive and I had worried that it might mold and have to be thrown out before I would use it all. I have learned that since it is a very dry cheese it keeps quite well for several months. I buy a large wedge and then cut off a small piece that is more manageable for handling and then wrap the pieces in plastic wrap. I have not yet had to throw any away. So, if you can afford the initial investment I would encourage you to take the plunge.

picture of Fresh Parm

On Sunday Mark, Katie, Ryan, and Nora came over for lunch. Unfortunately, Topher had to work. We all enjoyed seeing Ryan who is now eight weeks old, weighs about thirteen pounds and has been sleeping through the night.

picture of Ryan 6-2

While he was here he ate, slept, and had a much needed diaper change. We had set up the pack'n play in case it was needed for a nap. I started taking it down Wednesday while I was fixing supper, but didn't finish. When we returned from church we kept hearing muffled meows and Clementine had jumped in and since the upper layer was partially unhooked she landed in the bottom and couldn't climb or jump out. Here is a fuzzy shot of a ruffled cat:

picture of Clemmie Trapped


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Economical main dishes

Since before Nora and Topher's wedding I have been thinking of posting some recipes for economical main dishes. I have always tried to plan meals within my food budget, especially when all three of the children were at home. The food budget is a little more liberal these days with just the two of us at the table for most meals, but many of these meals have become our favorites.

I'm going to start with this recipe that I found in a magazine years ago:

picture of Herbed Meatballs

Meatballs with Herb Gravy

2 Tbsps. butter or margarine
2 Tbsps. flour
1 1/3 cup water
2/3 cup evaporated milk (can use evaporated skim milk)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
two dozen fully cooked meatballs (your own or purchased)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley

Melt the margarine in a large skillet and then blend in the flour to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the water, evaporated milk, and bouillon cubes. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a simmer and then add the meatalls and herbs and simmer gently for about 5-10 mins. being careful not to let it scorch. This is delicious served over mashed potatoes.

Here is a recipe for freezer meatballs if you would like to make your own:
4 lbs. lean hamburger
4 eggs
2 cups dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsps. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend well and shape into 1" balls. Place in baking pans and bake for 10-15 mins. or until browned. Remove the meatballs from the pans and drain on absorbent paper. When cooled divide into portions in 1 quart freezer bags and freeze. Use within three months. Makes about 144 meatballs.

I plan to post a series of ground beef dishes for the next few posts.


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