Cheap & Healthy Series: Make Ground Beef Go Further

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I’ve realized that most of the time we think that eating food that is nourishing for our bodies automatically costs more. Granted, this can be true much of the time.  Not always, though.  There are ways I’ve found (and I’m on the lookout for more!) that you can feed your family much healthier food for cheaper than you normally would, with a few tricks.

In this series, I want to share some of those tricks.  The first one is to make your ground beef go further with oatmeal.

Now, if you don’t like oatmeal, don’t stop reading yet.  I’m not a fan of oatmeal myself, and the first time I read about this trick, I was VERY skeptical.  However, I’ve tried it a couple of times and have been amazed at how you cannot taste the oatmeal, and it really works!

Plus, consider the cost savings.  A half pound of ground beef will cost $1-$2 depending on what you buy.  Replacing that with 1/2 cup of oats (costing about $0.15), will save well over a dollar for that dish.  Depending on how much you use ground beef in recipes that this will work with, this could be over $5.00 per month savings itself.  And we haven’t even started on the other benefits!

Not only can oatmeal allow you to halve the ground beef you use in certain dishes, it also does something else that I think it really neat.  Because oatmeal is loaded with fiber – which makes you full – you get are satisfied with less food.  That also stretches the meal because it automatically will feed more people.

Oatmeal is a very nutritious grain.  I already mentioned the fiber – 4 grams in a 1/2 cup, but it also has 6 grams of protein and decent amount of iron.  So you can feel confident that this is actually better for your family than the full serving of ground beef!

How do you incorporate oatmeal with ground beef?  I’ve used it in casseroles, and I’m sure it could be used in tacos. (I’ve wondered if you could add it to meatballs, too?)

Here’s the method to use in taco casseroles and tacos:

Brown 1/2 pound ground beef and drain.  Return to skillet and add 1/2 cup old fashioned whole grain oats (not instant) and 1 cup water.  (For taco casserole and tacos, add 2 tbsp. taco seasoning and another cup of water.)  Bring to a boil and then turn to simmer.  Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.  That’s it!

Need more specific instructions?  Here is my own Taco Casserole. I made this last week and added oatmeal since we were feeding more people at dinner than I originally planned, and I only had a half pound of ground beef. It worked out great and I had lots of leftovers!

Jill’s Taco Casserole

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup oats
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
1 cup salsa (I used this and it was delicious!)
2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Lay crescent roll dough flat in a 9×13 casserole dish, pinching to cover seams.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef and drain.  Add oatmeal and taco seasoning, stir until combined.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Take casserole dish out of the oven and cover with salsa (if you don’t use a salsa heavy with onions, you might add 1/2 cup onions).  Add ground beef mixture. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.  Serves 8.

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One thought on “Cheap & Healthy Series: Make Ground Beef Go Further

  1. After reading this yesterday, we tried it as a substitute in spaghetti last night. We wanted to double the batch so we could put half in the freezer for a later time. It looked a little different, but taste wise was great. And normally when the Kids would be having seconds., they were full! Win, win id say.

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