Category Archives: Beef

Beefy Cauliflower Pasta

This week in my food co-op I got some green cauliflower. I don’t know why it’s green. It tastes the same as regular cauliflower and cooks the same; it just looks different. Well, I needed a good recipe for this green cauliflower because I knew that a certain kiddo of mine wouldn’t eat it just the way it was. Enter Beefy Cauliflower Pasta.

First brown some ground beef in a skillet. Drain the excess fat.

Add some salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. I also added some onion powder and some garlic powder just for some added taste.

Next, cook 1/2 pound of pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, chop your cauliflower (mine is green cauliflower, remember: 🙂 ). Add the cauliflower to the pasta water for the last 5-10 minutes until both it and the pasta are cooked through.

Next, add some cream cheese and shredded cheese to your deliciously seasoned beef. I only added about 1/4 of the cream cheese block, but I wish I had added a lot more. The cream cheese acts as a binder so everything will stick together. The meal tasted good, but it didn’t really stick together at all. It felt like it needed more sauce or something. I think more cream cheese would have helped considerably.

Now, mix everything together and serve it to your very impressed family.

By the way, yes I am aware that this meal is a little more than five bucks. I don’t expect every single meal on here to be five bucks or less. I do try my best to get them as close to five bucks as possible. This one counts as close. 🙂

Beefy Cauliflower Pasta, $5.85

1 lb. ground beef ($2)

1/2 lb. pasta ($ .50)

1 tsp. salt ($ .05)

1 tsp. onion powder ($ .05)

1/2 tsp. garlic powder ($ .05)

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce ($ .20)

1 box of frozen chopped cauliflower or 1 head fresh cauliflower ($1)

2 oz. cream cheese (you might want to add more like 4-8 oz.) ($1.25)

1 C shredded cheese ($ .75)

Directions: Brown ground beef in a skillet and drain excess fat. Season beef with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 1/2 lb. of pasta according to package direction. Add the cauliflower to the pasta water for the last 5-10 minutes. Drain pasta and cauliflower. Mix cream cheese and shredded cheese into the beef until it melts. Add the pasta and cauliflower.

Tips to Make this Healthier: Use whole wheat pasta or half whole wheat, half white pasta. You could make a homemade white sauce in place of the cream cheese. As always, serve with an extra vegetable and fruit. Use less shredded cheese.


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Meaty Cornbread Pie

If you are looking for a cheap, delicious dinner that the kids will love, look no further than this recipe. It is one yummy meal that costs just five bucks. First, get a box of cornbread and make it according to package directions. As you can see, my cornbread actually came in a pouch, not a box, but it works fine, too.

Pour the batter into a pie pan and bake according to package directions. While it’s cooking, begin browning the ground beef with your onion and spices. I used onion powder because there are some picky eaters in my family that don’t like the texture of onions, but do like the taste (um, yeah, it’s me. I hate the texture of onions. 🙂 )

I added the spices right as I started browning the beef and then added the tomato sauce after the spices were blended in little. You can’t tell from the picture, but the meat was still pretty red when I added the tomato sauce.

After the cornbread has been in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until it is golden brown), take it out of the oven. I am CLEARLY not a photographer and don’t know anything about lighting, so sorry about the yellow in this picture. I don’t know why this was the only picture that was so yellow. I guess it just wanted to show you how “golden” the cornbread should be.

Now, put the meat mixture on top of the cornbread and spread around until it covers the cornbread completely.

Now, sprinkle on the cheese. I may have added a little more than 1/2 C, but we got a ton of shredded cheese at an incredible price, so I can afford to use a little more. 😉

Put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. It should look like this when it is done. I know it doesn’t look that amazing, but it sure is tasty. My husband LOVED this. My preschooler really didn’t want to eat it because it looked weird to him. We made him try at least one bite after which he realized that it tasted delicious. He even wanted seconds. (Booyah, for making him try just one bite! Works every time).

Mexican Meatza, $5


1 box cornbread mix ($ .90)

1 lb. ground beef ($1.90)

1/2 an onion, chopped ($ .50)

1 Tbsp. chili powder ($ .20)

2 tsp. ground cumin ($ .10)

1 tsp. salt ($ .05)

1 can tomato sauce ($ .60)

1/2 C cheese ($ .75)

Directions: Prepare the box of cornbread mix according to package directions. Pour cornbread batter into a greased pie plate. Pun in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. While cooking, brown 1 lb. ground beef in a skillet with the chopped onion. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and tomato sauce. Remove cornbread from oven when ready and top with meat and then with cheese. Put pie pan back in oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Tips to Make this Healthier: Serve this with a salad! I used whatever veggies I could find in the fridge. I even added some bacon bits, chicken chunks, and cheese chunks because I needed to get rid of them. You could also make your cornbread homemade and add less cheese. Besides that, it’s pretty good, just watch your portion size because it’s so yummy you’ll just want more and more and more and…. just have some more salad. 🙂

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Loose Beef Hamburgers

You know, sometimes I wish that people’s brains all worked the same way. Okay, not really, but it sure would make meal planning easier. I’ve looked at all sorts of ways to organize meal planning. I’ve created a bridal shower game centered on how to meal plan. I’ve personally created and used several different meal planning systems. What have a learned from all of this? Every meal plan is different.

Admit it, you think it would be easier if someone created an extremely organized system for planning meals that worked for every person’s brain and situation in life. That would be great! I’ve seen simple meal plans and ridiculously complicated meal plans. I’ve seen free ones and grossly expensive ones. I’ve seen everything in between. All I really know from all my research is that none of these systems work well for me.

I have only had one system that worked really well and that I loved. Unfortunately, it’s not one I can use now. Why? Because my husband I and were both in college and we didn’t have any kids (at least not one that was old enough to eat our same food). I made a meal plan for a semester at a time. I made shopping lists a week at a time based on the recipes for that week. I made enough for four and we had the same thing for lunch the next day. It was easy. We only bought what we needed for those week’s meals, plus breakfast (usually cereal), and some snacks (usually baby carrots, pretzels, and something sugary). Oh the simplicity of only feeding two. 🙂

In some ways it is easier now and I definitely don’t waste as much food, but having children really throws a wrench into my meal planning system. Mostly because I have to be more flexible now. I like things that are organized and set in stone. I liked knowing that every meal for a whole semester was already planned. With children, things don’t always go as planned. I’ve tried planning a month in advance and my beautiful, clean-looking calendar has millions of meals crossed out and re-written. Maybe I’m a teensy bit OCD, but I CAN’T handle the cross outs. They drive me nuts.

Sigh, I will conquer meal planning someday. Maybe a brand new set of cheap recipes that are five bucks a meal will help with that. I’ll keep you posted on my meal planning status. For now, enjoy a delicious dinner that is under five dollars.


Loose Beef Hamburgers, ($4.85)


1 lb. ground beef ($2)

1 can chicken broth ($ .90)

1 package hamburger buns ($1.15)

Condiments – ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, etc. ($ .80)



Brown ground beef with the chicken broth. Do not over cook. Drain well and serve on buns with condiments. Serve with a salad or other vegetable. Note: the beef should be loose, not shaped into a patty like most hamburgers.

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Simple Goulash

Sometimes I just want to be a super mom. That’s not too much to ask, right? I know super heroes don’t really exist, but we all like to pretend they do. Why can’t I pretend that someday I’ll be a super mom? I just want my house to be sparkling clean, all laundry to be impeccably washed and neatly folded, my children to be smiling and playing nicely, dinners to be gourmet extraordinaire, etc., etc.


Maybe it sounds silly, but that dream is what keeps me going on days where nothing seems to be going right. I just think, “Today is imperfect, but tomorrow I can put on a smile and try to be a super mom again.” I get such a sense of accomplishment when things do go right. “Yes! I got all the laundry done and I mopped the kitchen floors. Yes! My children have been playing happily for 2 hours and my bathroom is sparkling clean and I even made the beds before breakfast.”

My dream doesn’t make me feel horrible that I can never do it all (because sometimes I have done it all, and those days feel great). My dream gives me something to aspire to. It gives me purpose when I’m feeling down. I want to be the best that I can be and each day I am given a chance to be a little better.


Cooking dinners every night has made me feel more like a super mom. It makes me feel one step closer to my ultimate goal. Saving more money on food is just the icing on the cake. Each night as I put the dinner on the table I feel so darn accomplished. I love that feeling. Is it normal for it to be so rewarding to make dinner? I mean, it’s not like it’s actually that hard (okay, some days it is). No matter how difficult or time consuming or frustrating it is, I feel so great by the end. I can always put food on the table and think, “I made that. I’m kind of a super mom.”

Surprisingly, I don’t feel this way about the dishes. That’s the one household task that I just can’t seem to make myself feel good about. I guess that’ll be my last step to becoming a super mom. 🙂


Today’s dinner is a very simple goulash. There is another goulash coming up, but this one is as easy as it gets.

Simple Goulash, $5


1 lb. ground beef ($2)

1/2 bag elbow macaroni, cooked and drained ($1.25)

1/2 – 1 Jar spaghetti sauce ($1)

5-6 Sliced mushrooms ($ .65)

a pinch of brown sugar ($ .10)

Directions: Brown ground beef. Add cooked elbow macaroni, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, and a pinch of brown sugar.


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