Ask the Readers: Hamburger, What to Do With It? (A Chance to win $20!)

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  • Comment #109 -I usually brown ground beef  Submitted by Gina on January 7, 2010 - 18:00  "I usually brown ground beef and then add it to any vegetarian chili recipe--it makes it heartier!"
  • char_anderson  I love making Cincinnati Chili with hamburger. I live 2000 miles from Cincinnati so have a friend send me the seasoning. #WBAsk 6 days ago from Seesmic

Everyone knows that in most instances, hamburger is an affordable meat option. You can brown it, bake it, patty it, or fry it. Problem gets a bit tiring when it's the ONLY meat you can afford. With so many people using hamburger in the world, why can't we move beyond our traditional meals of spaghetti, pizza, meatloaf, and sloppy joes? Certainly some of you have inspiration for something extra special you can make with ground beef!

We want to hear your unique dish ideas for the ground stuff. Maybe you have an ethnic treat that you've adapted to accommodate lean ground round. Perhaps you've managed to turn it into a gourmet masterpiece that we've never heard of. (We encourage you to link to your own blog posts if you've blogged a recipe on your own site.) Share your thoughts, tips, or tricks here in our comment thread or on Twitter, and you'll be entered to win one of two $20 Amazon giveaways. (Yes, that's right! We've doubled our prize money!) Dozens of readers have already won. You could be next!

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Guest's picture

Taco meat with lots of cumin and a little red pepper (and finely diced onions, of course).

Meatballs (with spaghetti!)

Shepherd's pie with ground beef instead of lamb.

Onion burgers (use liption onion soup packs...mmmm)

Guest's picture

An option is to season the meat (basil, oregano, thyme for Italian; cumin and oregano for Mexican; chili powder/taco mix; cumin, coriander, garlic for Indian; allspice, red pepper, thyme for Carribean - to suggest a few) then form meat "logs" on a skewer and grill them up. Known as koobideh in Persian cuisine. Chapli kabobs are Afghan spicy meat patties. Serve with rice and veggies. Maybe a cooling sauce like a yogurt sauce (depends on your choice of seasonings). Alternately, you could make meatballs or patties and pan fry if grilling is not an option.

For me, most of the boredom with hamburger stems from overuse of a tomato base (either in hot dishes/casseroles, pasta/hamburger helpers or sloppy joes). Different spice combinations are ways to keep it fresh and exciting. Even different shapes help. Anything so you don't look at a dish and say, "Not hamburger again!"

Guest's picture

Don't eat meat. Then you don't have to spend any money on it!

Home made black bean burgers are where its at, and beans are pretty darn cheap.

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this works only if you're a vegetarian. some of us truly enjoy meat, but want to work around occasional (or regular) financial constraints.

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I brown it with peppers and onions, and mix it in with spaghetti sauce. Then I make a casserole with pasta, corn, cheese, and the meat mixture. Delicious and a change from regular pasta.

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This is one of the first things my wife made for me when we started dating. It's simple, fast, and delicious!

Dog Food (the final product kinda looks like dog food, but it's good!)

- one pound hamburger meat
- one can refried beans
- one package Velveeta shells and cheese (but I'm sure any brand of easy mac and cheese will do)

In a large pot, start the mac and cheese first according to the box directions. This pot needs to be big enough to hold all ingredients for mixing. While that is going, put the refried beans in a smaller pot or saucepan and cook them according to directions. We usually add a little water to thin the beans out. Cook hamburger meat in a skillet until done. When macaroni is done boiling, drain the water and add the cheese. Stir that up, then add hamburger meat and refried beans to the pot with the mac and cheese in it. Stir all that together. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and something like cayenne pepper or chili powder if you want it spicy. We usually eat ours in bowls.

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Very similar to what one of my roommates used to make. She would brown the ground beef, add refried beans, add grated cheese and then season with lots of pepper. Very tasty.

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We pick grape leaves from our back yard and stuff them with rice and ground meat and a few spices. It is supposed to be a Greek appetizer, but we love it so much we turn it into a meal. Just do a search for "Stuffed Grape Leaves" to find many examples.

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I make what I call Green Chile Beef Soup... Brown the ground beef w/ onions and mix it together with a can of cream of mushroom soup, diced green chiles and shredded cheese. Stir in the pot until everything is melted/combined and serve with grilled corn tortillas on the side!

It's a quick, filling recipe and easy to customize if you want to add other veggies and/or cut down calories (i.e., using a leaner package of hamburger, using fat-free cream of mushroom soup, etc.).

Guest's picture

This British dish is actually really tasty! (and it's only a shepherd's pie if you're using ground lamb)

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Becky H

Taco Pizza is my favorite pizza and a good change of pace from the norm (and it uses less cheese). The beef can be substituted with anything ground; ground turkey is really good and sometimes cheaper than beef.
1lb covers 2 pizzas. Prepare meat just like you were making tacos.
Cover the crust (pre baked) with refried beans and meat. Cook until crispy. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese.

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5 spice beef and rice is great...we are gluten free here so we have made some adjustments

1 lb. hamburger

Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp EACH: thyme, garlic powder, oregano
1 cup Renee's caesar dressing
1 (11 oz.) can tomatoes or sauce
1 c. cooked brown rice.


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Make "Train Wreck" - an ol' campfire fave! Brown onions, add crushed tomatoes, cooked noodles (like elbows), and browned burger. Also known as Tomato/Beef/Noodle casserole, but Train Wreck is SOOOO much more fun :)

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Brown it with onions, then add it to Mac and Cheese with a bit of worcestershire sauce. Easy, cheap, and surprisingly delicious.

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In addition to tacos, shepherds pie and what one commenter called "dog food" we also make these things my husband devised called BBQ Bagels. Brown the ground beef and add your favorite barbecue sauce. Meanwhile, take the bagel of your choice and split it, then using a spoon hollow out a little canal all the way around each half. Then fill that little trough with the bbq beef! You can sprinkle grated cheese, or melt an entire slice over the top if you like, or add cole slaw if you like bbq that way. They're ridiculously yummy, no matter how odd they sound!

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1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces mixed vegetables (such as carrots, peas, and corn) drained can or frozen
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Cheddar (optional)
1 16-ounce of mashed potatoes (leftover or frozen and thawed will do)

Heat oven to 400° F.

Place the beef in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes. Drain off any fat. Stir in the ketchup and Worcestershire. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Spoon the beef mixture into a baking dish.

Mix the cheese (if using) with the potatoes in a medium bowl. Spread the potatoes over the beef and bake until heated through and lightly browned, 10-20 minutes.

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I think my favorite way is just the old fashioned hamburger grilled on a BBQ. Season it with whatever you want to make it your own and grill it to your content.

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1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove crushed garlic
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups vegetable oil, divided
1/2 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
Hot sauce (preferably Jamaican)
About 30 dumpling or wonton wrappers

Cook scallion, onion, curry powder, and thyme in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef and bread crumbs and cook until meat is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with hot sauce. Cool.

Put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with water, then fold in half (diagonally if square) and press to seal. Form remaining dumplings.

Heat 1 inch oil to 350°F in a 12-inch skillet. Fry dumplings in 3 batches, turning once or twice, until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch.

Serve garnished with sliced green onion and purchased Thai Chili Dipping sauce (Trader Joe's makes a great one!)

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Brown the onions and the meat, and add the finely chopped cabbage at the end, just letting it warm through, so that it is still crunchy. Serve with pasta or rice.

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We don't typically eat hamburger, but ground venison is always around. My family likes to go hunting, and while I don't go, I tend to prefer eating an animal that's had a life free of antibiotics and tiny little awful pens.

Recently we made a shepherd's pie with browned meat cooked in red wine and rosemary and topped it with layers of corn, carrots, onions, green beans, and mashed potatoes. It came out rather well!

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My mom would make this when I was growing up and it is more than simple. Patty up regular ground beef into small burgers. Fry them in a pan with salt & pepper for seasoning and serve them topped with sauted onions & brown gravy. (similar to salisbury steak) Mashed potatoes & green beans were always my favorite sides. Delicious comfort food on a cold day.

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This is probably next in the list after sloppy joe's anyway, but taco meat is a staple in our house. When I make tacos, I always make lots of extra meat and freeze it. Then I have "Mexican night" whenever I need in a flash:
Tex-Mex Salad (like tacos but healthier)
Taco casserole (layer taco stuff with lots of enchilada sauce if you're dieting, cheese if you're not)

The trick is to add in a bunch of beans with the meat which adds all sorts of good-for-you stuff and cuts down on the bad-for-you-stuff. We also almost always fry up some onions and peppers either on the side or incorporated.

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This was a favorite in my house growing up. My parents would brown meat, drain then cook with whatever veggies they had around, usually onion and green pepper. Then they would add either cream of mushroom/or celery/or chicken soup and a can or two (if large batch) of corn or green beans. Add a little garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, then serve over steamed rice.

For the more health concious, I have added a large can of stewed tomatoes instead of the cream soup and it works well too.

It's looks a little funky but it was quick easy and cheap and us kids loved it!

Guest's picture

er, the above comment was directed toward the veggie-only suggestion earlier in the conversation.

Guest's picture
Emily Lauren

A Hungarian dish that is WONDERFUL!

Long story short: cook the ground beef with onions, green peppers, hot wax peppers, salt and pepper and a bunch of paprika. Make a sour-cream white sauce with onion, paprika. Pour some sauce into the beef and mix so it's like taco filling or even a bit more 'pasty'.
Whip up some savory crepes and stuff them with the filling, rolling them up like egg rolls. Put them in a baking dish, top with the rest of the sauce. Bake until a little bubbly.


Guest's picture

I love using ground meat (I usually use turkey or chicken, but you could certainly use beef). Here's my favorite recipe from

And of course, chili! I have a great recipe from America's Test Kitchen, Best of Light Recipes (so they use turkey). The key is to brown half the meat, then clump the other half into little meatballs to get a really great, meaty chili!

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I second the chili suggestion. There are so many different ways to make chili and they're just about all delicious and very easy.

I make mine with 2 cans no-salt diced tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 can pinto beans (yeah, I know, beans don't belong in chili.. whatever!), 1/2 cup salsa, 1 tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, sprinkle of black pepper, salt, and red pepper. I brown the beef (or ground turkey) with the onions, then stick it in the crockpot for 5+ hours.

Guest's picture

I use it in everything listed above - spaghetti, taco meat, homemade pizza, shepherd's pie, etc. We also enjoy chili, all kinds of casseroles, homemade hamburgers on homemade bread, meatloaf, etc. One big thing that we always do is use WAY less than any recipe calls for. If the chili recipe requires 1 lb. of ground beef, I'll use 1/8 - 1/4 lb. This enables us to use the good stuff at $3+/lb. and still come out very low on the grocery budget. I maybe buy a roast or a cut of whole (not ground) beef six times a year. Otherwise it's all ground beef or chicken.

Guest's picture

I brown it up a couple lbs at a time with shallots, garlic, mushrooms, green pepper, pablanos or what ever else I have on hand.

then i spread out on a cookie sheet and freeze until flash frozen. I then have 2-3 meals worth of pre-cooked meat - to use for enchiladas, tacos, spagetti, casseroles, what have you.

With the lb I have left, I mix the browned meat and veggies - with a few tbsp of cream cheese and cook until cream cheese is melted. then I mix in 1 large tbsp of pesto. spread on a roll with a little bit of cheese. (add mayo to taste) -- pretty tasty and easy :)

my favorite- Open faced stroganoff sandwiches. I usually mix with a 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup and a few generous dallops of real sour cream.
Cut a large loaf of french bread down the center to form 2 halves and spread the meat mix on top of it. Then top with cheese and broil until cheese is melted.

Or--- take the meat mixture above, and stuff into lightly fried pita shells.. MMMMM good.

OR-- Mix 1 lb of browned meat with a container of chive and onion cream cheese. Open a can of cresent rolls- separating into 4 large squares. Spread the meat mix on then fold and bake the cresents until done. (this is a kid favorite!)

Guest's picture

The great thing about ground beef is it is just so darn versatile. When having it as a burger you can top it with blue cheese and carmalized onions and have it taste different than if you topped it with avocado and cheddar. In spaghetti or in tacos a little bit can go a long way if you consider add in such as beans with tacos or mushrooms, green pepper and onion with spaghetti.

Since you specificly asked for something different than the above though How about a strognaoff?

I even add some green pepper into mine or you could serve it with some green beans.


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Moussaka is pretty good!

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I like to make a picadillo with ground beef. It is a Latin American dish you can find in many countries, such as Cuba. Picadillo recipes tend to fall into two categories, one mixing the ground meat with cubed potatoes and carrots, the other with raisins and olives. Both are delicious.

Guest's picture
Debbie M

1 pound hamburger
1 package taco seasoning
1 onion
1 - 2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes (tomatoes and green chilis)
1 can corn
1 can hominy
2 - 3 cans beans (I like black, pinto, and red kidney)

Brown hamburger with onion and taco seasoning until onions are soft. Drain and discard the fat.

Add all canned things, including their liquids. Add additional water if necessary. Simmer.

Serve with grated cheese, cornbread and a green leafy salad.

Serves probably 8 or more. Lots of people like this stuff.


I generally mix my hamburger 50/50 with the dried soy fake beef—it’s just as yummy to me, much cheaper, and the fake stuff saves well, doesn’t take up valuable fridge space, and never gets freezer burn.


Other favorite dishes include enchiladas, lasagna or baked ziti, Swedish meatballs (I use a recipe from an onion soup mix--I substitute fat-free sour cream), and quiche with hamburger, green onions, and cheddar.


Finally, I’d also like to see an actual recipe for sloppy joes that doesn’t involve a mix or barbecue sauce. Just tell me about the tomato sauce and the vinegar and whatever else there is.

Guest's picture

To be honest, I don't come up with anything all that special or unique. We usually do tacos, taco pizza, and spaghetti sauce as well as just regular hamburgers. But I'm enjoying reading others' ideas and recipes in this thread. Thank you!

Guest's picture

You could deep fry it like they do at Dyer's burgers, or take it to the next level and dip it in batter and then deep fry it the way they do at Joe's Gizzard City. Yummy!

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You could use ground beef for burritos, wontons, dumplings (pot stickers and the like), empanadas, and stuffed peppers.

My favorite, though, is to have tacos for dinner and then use the leftovers to make taco salad for lunch the next day.

Guest's picture
Lisa B

My favorite thing with any ground meat is chili.

But you can also use biscuit dough or crescent roll dough to make a nice meat pie.

Guest's picture

What about good old fashioned meat loaf. You probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

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My favorite ways to use ground beef (other than burgers and spaghetti):

*potstickers/gyoza: inexpensive (wrappers are cheap, and a little beef goes a long way) and fun to make

*in egg drop soup, with corn and/or peas and a can of crab meat

*mixed with egg, bread crumbs, and diced vegetables and stuffed in peppers

Guest's picture

I have made ground beef into patties, browned them in a skillet, then added gravy and braised them. They are great served with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Guest's picture

You can make many variations of casseroles using beef... Shepherd's Pie, Poor-Man's Casserole, Hamburger Chinese Noodle Casserole, and (my favorite) Upside-Down Pizza Casserole, just to name a few.

Or you can make different kinds of meatballs, like BBQ meatballs or sweet & sour meatballs.

Of course, there are always different chili recipes to try out, and you can decrease the amount of meat you use in the chili to reduce costs even further.

There are websites where you can type in the ingredients you have and find recipes using those ingredients as well as looking up specific recipes. And experiment. Changing up one or two things can turn a blah meal into a family favorite.

Guest's picture

Ground meat works in a variety of asian dishes, but this is my fave - makes a nice light appetizer:

Fry garlic and ginger in a pan with some peanut oil. Brown mince, then add grated carrot, water chestnuts, oyster sauce, sweet thick soy sauce and a little sesame oil. Stir until sauce thickens.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Put in iceberg lettuce cups, fold and eat!

Guest's picture

and the other asian dish i like is ground beef chow mein. You can basically do your beef the same way, then add noodles or rice!

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We brown the meat, then add onion and pour over salad greens. Add chopped black olives, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado and then scrunch Doritos on top. There you have taco salad.

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Jessica P

I like cheeseburger salad, or triple cheese delight (or as my grandpa called it, gag-a-maggot). I saw the cheeseburger pie at a pampered chef party once- it tastes just like a cheeseburger, only with lots of lettuce. For cheeseburger salad, just cook your hamburger like you normally would, except not in patties, just crumbled, slice and toast the hamburger buns in the oven. Add any type of toppings to the salad portion (tomatos, onions, etc.) that you would like on a cheeseburger. When the hamburger has been cooked, add ketchup, mustard and relish and mix together. Put that on top of the salad with some shredded cheese, and top with the toasted buns.

For triple cheese delight, brown hamburger with some finely chopped celery and onion. Add tomato sauce (the plain tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce), spices- such as oregano, salt, pepper, etc., along with cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream. Cook egg noodles while hamburger is cooking. Put cooked egg noodles and meat/cheese mixture in a casserole dish together and bake. I'm not sure of the measurements off hand, you can play around with it until it tastes good to you. Bake until bubbly, probably at 350 degrees. It's soo good!

Guest's picture

Heart-healthy and a great way to stretch a pound of beef into several meals. Wix with several cans of beans of any kind-chili, black, pinto, some corn, canned tomatos and either shredded or velveeta. Spice it up with your favorite taco-style seasons and mix well in a 9 X 13 pan. Top with cornbread, prepared as directed, and spread evenly across mixture. Bake and presto! A hearty dinner with guaranteed leftovers.

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My current favorite is Taco Soup (recipe here: The recipe calls for a full pound of ground meat, but I'm going to use only 1/2 pound next time.

Another fave is a variation on a cheeseburger, using pimiento cheese instead of plain old, ordinary cheese. Spread the top bun with pimiento cheese and place it on top of the cooked burger about a minute before removing from pan or grill. (I usually toss the bottom bun into the pan for toasting at the same time.) Dee-lish!

Guest's picture

My mom used to make this "Hamburger Pizza" that we loved as kids. The crust was hamburger (and spices) and it was topped with corn, black beans/kidney beans, and of course CHEESE. Hmmmmm, I should ask her for that recipe :)

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I love Hamburger Pizza. It's a non-traditional use of an old favorite.

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barbara wright

Hamburger is really good in chili. Chili is a great comfort food, and it's SOOOO great for warming you up when it's so frigidly cold outside.

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I brown hamburger with taco seasoning, drain add chopped up tamales and ( you can use corn, black beans, or most anything you like.) I layer in crushed corn chips, refried beans, cheese, and top it off with black olives,tomatos and lettuce

Guest's picture

Why not use wonton wrappers along with the ground meat, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, a little sesame oil or whatever you like (i like Japanese rice seasoning) in dumplings? Put them in the wonton wrappers and fry the bottoms for a little then add water to steam or just steam them. Add a salad on the side with a little sesame ginger dressing (I like Newman's Own) and you have a faux gourmet meal.

Guest's picture

Make empanadas! Something adults and kids both like.

Brown chopped meat, drain. Add a splash of tomato sauce, splash of white wine if you have it, green olives with pimentos, and cubed potatoes. Simmer all for about 5 minutes.

Using either corn or flour "discs": fill each round disc with a few spoons of meat. Fold over like a turnover. Fry in canola oil on both sides until golden.


Guest's picture
Joanne Schultz

lots of variety of beans, bbq sauce and ground beef in crockpot makes a great and easy meal!

Guest's picture

The beauty of hamburger meat is the versatility. It can be your basic burger/salisbury steak/meatloaf/meatballs, or you can use it in casseroles/tacos/soups/pizza topping. When I was growing up, we ate it ALL the time, as it was cheaper than chicken!!
One of my frugal favorites has always been "Cheeseburger Ramen"...kind of a made up version of hamburger helper with ramen noodles, onions, and cheese mixed neices STILL ask for it when they come over!
I no longer eat red meat, but continue to make all of my "hamburger" favorites, with ground turkey! Tastes just as good, better for you - and if you don't tell, they will not know the difference!

Guest's picture
Lesa S.

Recently with all the recalls I say just don't buy the stuff. And I haven't been for over a year probably except for farm raised--in NJ I can find it marked down to about the same price as "regular" beef. If you look where your beef is coming from its usually Canada and Mexico anyway....why is that? The quality of ground beef also just isn't what it used to be and has a odd odor to me so I just dont cook much of it any more. I love steak though and roasts.

But for the stew. Its's easy:

Brown a pound or so of ground beef. Add about half a onion diced or some dehydrated ones (about a tablespoon). Add a pound can of chopped tomatoes and a small can of tomatoe paste. Add a can of diced pototatoes and 1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies. Season as you like. We're originally from SoCa so I tend to like Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Garlic, Paprika and Tobasco. Others might like to add Just Oregano and Garlic for a more Italian flair. Simmer for about 39 minutes. Fast and easy. Not much thinking required.

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greek seasoned ground beef (oregano is a dominant flavor) with feta cheese, kalamata olive, red onion in a soft warm pita bread. we also do a little shredded lettuce.

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Anyone have a recipe on how to make a homemade beef loaf for gyros?

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Nick's Completely Inauthentic, Totally Delicious Picadillo (aka "That Olive Thing," as my mom calls it)

1lb (or less, depending on your level of frugality) hamburger
1 onion
1 green pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 small can tomato sauce, or equivalent of other tomatoey product
1 can beef bouillon
cumin to taste (read: lots)
chili powder to taste
1 small bottle chopped or whole green olives
1-2 kid-size box(es) raisins

Saute the aromatics, which you've chopped and/or minced according to your preference. Add ground beef and brown. Drain this whole mess, then throw it back in the pan with the bouillon, tomato product, and spices. Cook until the sauce is reduced somewhat and everything is tender and cooked and delicious-smelling. Add the olives and the raisins; heat through.

Serve over brown rice if you want to feel virtuous; white if you're feeling indulgent.

Cheap, healthy(ish), a great way to stretch the meat, and tastes even better leftover. And it's got that whole sweet/salty thang goin' on. What's not to love?

Guest's picture

Tacos come to mind, or nachos. Yum!

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Make burritos with taco seasoning, cheese, spanish rice, & ground beef in a heated wrap.

Serve with some home-made guacamole, salsa and sprinkle in some jalapeno peppers.


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Take the ground beef, add sauteed onions, celery, garlic and bread crumbs. Season it with Italian Seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add a beaten egg to the mixture and combine thoroughly. Cut the top off of large peppers, whatever kind of pepper you like, could be Red, Green, Yellow or any large pepper variety. Clean the seed out of the pepper and stuff pepper with beef mixture. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Top Peppers with your favorite cheese, I like to use a pepperjack cheese for the spicy flavor and return peppers bake to the oven for 20 to 30 more minutes. These are a deliciously different way to serve ground beef.

Guest's picture

Consider finding some friends to split a side or quarter of pastured beef, if you live anywhere near a farming area. Then it's all the same (relatively) low price per pound for steaks *and* ground, and E.coli, the plague of cheap feedlot beef, is much less likely. It also tastes better and is healthier.

If you do get your beef this way, consider tartare: slice an inch from each side of a roast for stew meat, and mince the interior.

Try chopped raw onions and parsley, olive oil, and s/p mixed just before serving with ground meat sauteed in small pieces.

Curry it, grill it spiced, on a stick, fry with almonds and Middle Eastern spices to go over hummus or rice or in a pita, make tiny meatballs for Pho or Italian Wedding Soup. Stuff onions, peppers, tomatoes; mix with pork to stuff squash and sautee in larger pieces for potato or squash soup. Make nontraditional meatloaf of chopped vegetables with just enough ground meat and egg to hold it all together.

Buy a $3 package of sausage casings and stuff your own, heavy on the garlic or juniper and orange peel...

Guest's picture

2 lbs of meatballs (recipe of your choice)
14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
12 oz bottle Heinz Chilli sauce

Cook med-low in sauce pan until sauce is smooth.


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You can also sub grape jelly for the cranberry sauce.

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One of the issues with dishes involving hamburger meat is that so often it is a hot dish. We love the following for a delicious summertime meal:

** 1 box "Suddenly Pasta Salad" Chipotle Ranch flavored, prepared according to directions **
1 lb of ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, chilled.
12 oz of "fresh" tomato salsa (Some areas sell it as "pico de gallo")

Just mix all the items together after they are at refrigerator temperature. Amazing, zesty, and wonderful as a one-dish-meal for the summertime. Works great for make-ahead, too.

**: A note on the boxed pasta salad - I know that's not the most economical, but I buy my kits from Amazon in big packs so they're not all that expensive. Still, I have been trying to duplicate the pasta salad portion of the recipe with a home-made version to get the cost down, but am thus far unsuccessful. For anyone who does make this boxed pasta salad, the pasta needs to boil for only half the time the package indicates and should be immediately chilled, unless you like pulverized, mushy pasta.

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Empanadas. Cook up the beef, add onion, seasonings, maybe a potatoe. Wrap in a dough (biscuit dough, bread dough, pie crust). Bake up and then freeze individually.

Soup with ground beef or meatballs. Soup is very forgiving and easy to make.

Yea, beans work too.


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I make a traditional Chinese dish called Mapo Tofu - ground beef stirred with tofu with a special sauce (available in Asian markets for less than $2). It's much better than it sounds!

Or my own concoction - stir fry ground beef with diced celery, then at the last minute, layer some shredded cheese on it and serve it with rice or macaroni. Yum!

Guest's picture
S. Carvalho

Ooh I did this the other day and it came out great!

Make small kebabs by mixing in spices and herbs like garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and parsley and rolling into small balls, about falafel size. Fry on a lightly greased pan till cooked, or bake. Then serve on warmed pita bread with hummus spread generously and if you can find it cheap ( I have a henry's nearby that sells it), add a good heaping tablespoon or two of tabbouleh.

Delicious, healthy and balanced!


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I am going to try to keep this to a minimum, but I could go on for days. I love these cheap and quick meals.

My all time favorite:
Mexican Meatloaf
mix up a pound or two of ground beef (or turkey, whichever is cheaper) with an egg, crush some tortilla chips (or to save money, cut corn tortillas into triangles and bake them for a few minutes), mix in some salsa, and add some onions and garlic to taste. I am a HUGE fan of cumin, so I add that, too. AMAZING! You can vary this to your liking, but the goal is to replace traditional meatloaf ingredients with "mexican" ingredients.

My husband's favorite:
Mexican Lasagna or Cheesy 'Chilada
brown some beef with onion and green pepper, then add a can of drained kidney beans, an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, about 1 cup of salsa and heat through. Put a layer of the mixture in a 9X13 casserole dish then add some cheese on top. Cover the cheese with a layer of flour tortillas. Repeat until you have two or three of these meat-cheese-tortilla combos (it depends on how much I put in each layer, but you want to end with the tortilla on top) Cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the aluminum foil off and add some cheese. Return it to the oven until the cheese it melted-about 5 minutes. After the cheese is melted, top this with some lettuce, dice up a tomato, and add some sour cream. YUM!

Somebody else already mentioned lettuce wraps - and they are a yummy option - if you use iceburg lettuce, it is incredibly inexpensive, too.

Also, another great one is a beef and cornbread skillet (sometimes called tamale pie)
In an ovenproof skillet (I love my cast iron), brown beef and onion (garlic, spices as you like- I love cumin!) and add a can of diced tomatoes (not drained) and a can of corn. In a bowl mix up a cornbread muffin mix as the directions say or mix a cornbread recipe from scratch and pour that over the top of the beef mixture. Bake it at 400 degrees F for 15-30 minutes, depending on your mixture. You can put some cheese - and experiment with the way you like it - you can put it on top of the meat mixture before you pour the cornbread batter, you can mix it in with the cornbread batter, or you can add it after the cornbread batter has baked and just throw it back in the oven to let it melt on top.

MMM, I just had dinner, but I am already hungry again!

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I use it for the knock off red robin banzai burger recipe online. It's our favorite.

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We make Norwegian tacos. They are really good and different. Not Mexican at all, so we call them norcos.

Make ground beef with taco seasoning of your choice.
Serve with grated white cheese, not cheddar. Swiss is good.
Serve with chopped cucumber. The english ones in plastic. Don't peel them.
Serve with chopped apple or pineapple. Don't peel the apple.
Serve with a can of corn, put into a bowl. No need to heat.
Serve with either soft shells or hard shells or lettuce if you want taco salad.

The above are required.
You should also have:

Sour cream

Everybody makes their own. Each taco should use at least a quarter cup of cucumber and a quarter cup of apple.

These are so good we have them much more than American tacos now. We still eat Mexican tacos at the taco stands, which are a completely different thing.

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My previous comment was supposed to be a reply to the dogfood post.

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Mix 16 oz. ground beef with 1 cup of feta cheese, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and ground black pepper to taste and you have Greek burgers. Yummy. :)

I usually make these with ground turkey, but beef would probably work too.

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We mix it with taco seasoning and then use tostitos to dip it out. Sort of like tacos, but less mess.

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We like tacos that have a lot of beans and just a little hamburger

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Ely V

perfect for party/BBQ/games

ground beef
skinless chicken fillets/strips
nacho cheese

fully cook ground beef and chop up chicken fillets and fully cook chicken. stir meat in to a pot of heated nacho cheese. You can either use a cock-pot or a regular deep dish pan. =) serve warm with chips.

*works great with little smokies sausages too.

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Campfire Stew
Browned hamburger
Veggie Soup with Alphabet Noodles (I use beef & veggie broth)
Homemade Dumplings(1 beaten egg, 1 cup flour, and milk to make a dough to shape into bite-sized pieces)

Mix together. You can scale it to the amount you need and how chunky you like your stew. Just boil until the dumplings are moist throughout. I sometimes make this from scratch, boiling fresh veggies in broth. This is also great in a dutch oven over a campfire.

Meatballs & Rice
2 lbs burger
1 c Onion
1 t Morton Meat Magic
Pepper to taste
Mix together and shape into meatballs. Brown the meatballs in the broiler or a skillet until done. Use the drippings & beef broth to make gravy. I make a bunch & freeze them for future meals, this is a quick & easy meal.

For the rice, sautee some onions in butter, then cook your desired amount of rice with the onions in chicken broth instead of water until done. Serve the meatballs & gravy over the rice.

Meatloaf- lots of different recipes

Cowboy Supper
Browned burger, onions, and a can of pork 'n beans



Cheesy Burger - Mix browned burger with shredded cheese, let melt.


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Johnny Marzetti. A "cafeteria food" favorite of mine that's super easy to make at home. :-)

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I had a great appetizer at Thanksgiving: meatballs in a sauce of half cranberry sauce and half enchilada sauce. Perfect sweet/spicy combo!

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I'm with the commenter who said don't eat it, but if that's not an option, how about meatballs? However, throw some uncooked rice in your mixture and boil/steam them rather than baking.

Makes for a more filling dish and the taste is right up there too.

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Mom often made "Hamburger Pie". I've changed the recipe up a bit.

1 can crescent rolls
1 lb hamburger browned with onion and garlic
1 medium jar salsa
3-4 green peppers - cut into bite size pieces (or 1 1lb bag of frozen broccoli - defrosted)
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese - shredded

Grease 9 inch deep dish pie plate (or 9 inch square pan or something that's roughly that size)
Unroll crescent rolls and put into pan to form crust, piecing dough together as needed.
Combine browned hamburger, salsa, vegetables and white pepper.
Spoon into crust.
Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is all melty and bubbly.

Makes about 4-6 servings depending on how hungry everyone is.

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Around Christmas I made Italian Wedding Soup. Start with chicken and cook it as for broth with some celery, carrots and onions. I like using four legs, some stripped of skin and some not, in about two quarts of water. Simmer about an hour. Run broth through a cheescloth. Pick meat off the bones, chop up and add to broth. Make savory little meat balls and bake them at 350 for 20 minutes. (Mix a 1/2 to 3/4 lb. meat, egg, bread crumbs, basil, garlic powder, a little oreagno, salt, and roll them into large marble-sized balls.) Add cooked meat balls to broth, bring pot to simmer, add two packages chopped frozen spinach or chopped fresh if you have it. Simmer till done. Adjust seasonings, add water if it looks too thick. In a small bowl whisk together an egg and a good handful of grated parmesan, swirl it through the simmering soup and it's ready to serve.

I'll add my vote to the picadillo and mousakka suggestions, both are better the second day (if they last that long). Empanadas sound like they'd be fun to try.

Ground beef curry is easy and cheap. Cook the meat, drain fat, add water, chopped celery, sliced carrot, diced potatoes, chopped onions, etc. season with curry powder and salt, cook until veggies are done, thicken a bit with flour, serve over rice. Especially fun with sweet sides like finely chopped apple, raisons, coconut, chutney or diced peaches. If it's too spicy for you, top with yoghurt.

Pizza meat loaf. Roll a pound of ground beef into a rectangle, on a large piece of aluminum foil. Top with mozzerella and pepperoni. Slather with some pizza sauce (about half a small can), add whatever you like, chopped onion, green pepper, mushrooms. Using the aluminum foil, roll up jelly roll fashion, lay in a breadpan, top with more sauce and bake. The meat tends to break apart the more you stuff it with. Layering in a bread pan also works.

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I substitute hamburger for the called-for meat:for example steak=firmly packed patties in an oval shape; BBQ boneless pork=medium meatballs; chicken tenders=finger sized patties coated with seasoned flour. The trick is to use the called for seasonings, adjust the cooking time, be sure you have good side dishes and don't be apologetic for what you are serving (no explanations are needed), and be aware of the presentation of the dish.

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A comment above has a recipe for "Shepherd's Pie". If that dish is made with ground beef, it's called "Cottage Pie". If it's made with ground lamb, it is called "Shepherd's Pie".

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I eat mostly vegetarian but when the 'rents come to visit, I have to cook meat dishes. We much prefer ground pork. But once during college I accidentally bought ground beef. Ended up mixing with bread crumbs, chopped onions, celery, carrots, even leftover rice. That's my version of meatballs...guess not suited to everyone =)

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We make a Garden Garbage meal---meaning I fry up the hamburger, toss in finely shopped vegetables we have ready in the garden or sitting in the fridge and toss in some cooked macaroni. Then I put in on plates and sprinkle with cheese, which I brown under the broiler. You would be amazed what vegetables taste great in this---the fine chopping is what does it, I think. Cabbage, marinated artichoke hearts, greens, tomatoes...the only thing I don't add is very starchy vegetables such as potatoes or root vegetables.

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I just follow a recipe for stroganoff and use ground beef. Shhh, don't tell my kids but sometimes I even substitute blended tofu for the sour cream. They gobble it up!

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Very easy to make (cooks in a crock pot), cheap, and delicious!

1 pound ground beef (browned and drained)
7 cups water
2-3 cups potatoes (diced)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes
7 oz. can of diced green chilis
1 package taco seasoning
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
2 tbsp. beef broth concentrate such as “Better than Bouillon”
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine everything in large crockpot and cook for ~6 hours on the low setting. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream. Awesome!

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This is a delicious casserole and makes a complete meal for 4.

Season 1 lb. ground beef with salt, pepper, season salt and a light garlic powder and cook until done. Then drain fat.

While the hamburger is cooking prepare a family size box of Kraft Velveeta macaroni and cheese.

Combine the macaroni and cheese and cooked hamburger in a large casserole pan and add:
1 - 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes and chili peppers
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Stir and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until top begins to get crispy. Serve and enjoy!

This is a simple recipe, but it is a complete meal and turns hamburger into something more than plain ol' plain ol'.

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My personal choice is not to buy it at all, go veggy instead. But if you must use it, then stretch it by adding beans or rice or soy or leftover chopped vegetables. (Just not something like hamburger helper!)

Then make it into your regular family favorite recipe, add a bit more of your spices; the taste change will be hardly detectable. Get creative, and you may have invented a new family favorite!

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You can never go wrong with a burger. To mix it up once in a while, add a very small amount of blue or gorgonzola cheese (a little goes a long way!) and cranberry sauce. Takes the burger in a whole new direction.

The cheese costs $2 for a small block and the cranberry sauce is $1 or less a can. Tastes like a gourmet meal for a budget price.

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Emily Manuola

Meat is NOT the star of the show. we have begun using it for flavor. We have chopped veggies, cheese, added rice and seasonings and stuffed squash, peppers or even mushrooms. Eating less meat has cut our grocery bill and made us healther (including a little lighter!).

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Marla Yuhas

I buy packs of hamburger in family size packages and bring it home and brown it all with garlic and onion seasoning and then package in ziploc bags of about 1 pound each. This makes for very quick and easy hamburger dishes for those nights when time is limited. Thank you for the awesome giveaway.

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Actually, we resolved to give up buying/eating ground beef this year, for health and ethical reasons. But last year, it was all about chili. Especially in the winter. There are so many different ways to make it, plus you don't need *that* much meat to make it happen.

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Basically, it's meatloaf that is rolled up with ham and swiss cheese in the middle. But it is way better than regular meatloaf!

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This is great after a long night or just for a quick meal
You will need:
Ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken)
Diced onions and diced garlic
Hot pepper

You can also add:
Mushrooms and any other vegetable you have around the house

First cook the meat with the onion and garlic, then add the hot pepper. Scramble the eggs and pour over the mix.
If you want to add the rest of the vegetables either cook them in a different pan - if they are a soggy-ish vegetable like squash or take a while to cook like potatoes and carrots. Then dump the veggie mix over the ground meat mix, mix them up and dump the eggs over.
When all is done, put on a plate and sprinkle some shredded cheese. The cheese will melt in a minute - no need to cook it with the omelet.
This is great with buttered toast on the side and/or some pickles.

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1 lb hamburger
Homemade (or jarred) alfredo sauce
1/4 c chopped onions
1 bag frozen California mix (broccoli/cauliflower/carrots)

Brown hamburger w/onions. Make alfredo sauce (or open jar!) and add to hamburger. Add California mix and heat through.

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Here's a cheap dish that my husband and I make on occasion;

1lb Ground beef
Cream of Mushroom soup

Use ground beef to make hamburgers on the George Foreman grill. Put cooked hamburgers in a casserole dish and cover with Cream of Mushroom soup. Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes at 350.