Tag Archives: ground beef

Cheap Recipe: Cheddar, Sour Cream & Onion Ruffle Meatloaf

18 Oct
(Sigh.) Is there anything better?

Cheap Recipe: Skillet Spaghetti Primavera

20 Nov

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Fresh vegetables and TWO secret ingredients make this spaghetti’s flavor stand out from the rest.

This is the spaghetti I grew up on. It’s flavor is unlike any other spaghetti I’ve ever tasted, and it remains today at the top of my “comfort food” list. I love going to my parents’ house and opening the fridge to find leftovers tucked neatly away in Tupperware for me to chow down on! (Yes, it’s just as delicious the second day, which is something you can’t always say for other pastas…)

Brown meat, veggies and spices together.

Heat a large, deep skillet (or wok!) over MEDIUM HIGH burner setting. Meanwhile, cut one yellow onion and one fresh green pepper into long, thin slivers. When skillet is warm, begin to brown 1 lb. thawed ground beef (or TVP/meat blend).

Once a small amount of grease starts to appear from the meat, add the onions and peppers. Now is also a good time to start boiling water for the pasta.

While it browns, sprinkle the following spices over the skillet mixture: 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons oregano and salt/pepper to taste.

And now for the two secret ingredients(!): Add 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds to the meat and veggies; stir well. Here’s why this works: The cocoa powder does an excellent job of masking the acidity of tomatoes without

The pantry stuff.

 sweetening the sauce like sugar does, and the fennel seed really, really makes the flavors of the fresh produce just pop out so they don’t get lost in the finished sauce. I’ve never seen anyone but my parents use fennel seed in their sauce, but it’s just delicious.

Once water is boiling, add 1 box angel hair spaghetti or vermicelli and reduce heat to medium. The thin spaghetti will cook quickly, and you want it a little bit undercooked when you drain it since it’s being added to the sauce later. No one wants mushy pasta, so keep checking on it!

Let the sauce simmer with the meat and veggies a few minutes before adding pasta.

While pasta cooks, add the following canned goods to your sauce: 2 regular cans diced tomatoes (drained), 2 regular cans tomato sauce♥ and 1 (4-oz) can mushroom pieces & stems (drained). Stir

Add the cooked spaghetti over the sauce...

 into the simmering meat and vegetables and continue to heat while pasta cooks.

Chef’s Note: If you’re not planning on eating all of the spaghetti right away and will be saving some for leftovers, you might want to add an additional one can of tomato sauce, since some of the sauce will be absorbed into the pasta overnight in your fridge.

...and stir well.

Once pasta is about 2/3 way cooked, drain it well and dump the spaghetti into the sauce skillet. Stir until mixed well and serve under a mountain of grated

Pop some garlic toast into the oven for a cheap and easy side!

 Parmesan cheese. Texas toast with garlic, butter and oregano makes a great quickie side.


Cheap Recipe: Ranch Skillet Bean Dip

9 Nov

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This ain’t your ordinary bean dip. It’s about a million times better.

This quick dinner came about after an extremely long weekend when I realized it was Sunday night and I still hadn’t made it to the grocery store.

After a quick scan of the cabinet and fridge, I found a recipe in Taste of Home’s Dinner on a Dime that I decided I could modify to suit the contents of my poorly-stocked kitchen. The end result was wowing, and I knew I had to jot this new meal down before I forgot what I’d done!


Brown meat and onions together.


Ranch seasoning packet from ALDI.

Brown 1 lb. ground beef (or ground beef & TVP mixture) over medium heat in large skillet with a slivered yellow onion. Once meat is thoroughly cooked, drain if necessary and add contents of a 1-ounce ranch seasoning packet. Stir well.

Drain a 15-ounce can of whole kernel corn and add to skillet. Pour in a 16-ounce can (undrained!) of baked beans, any variety.

Next, make three small mounds of condiment in skillet–about 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, about 1/4 cup ketchup, and about 1 tablespoon spicy mustard.


Mix condiments and canned ingredients into the meat.

Stir all mounds together until mixture is evenly coated. Allow to heat thoroughly (about 5-10 minutes) on stovetop. Once heat has returned to skillet,


Gradually stir in shredded cheese.

gradually sprinkle in 2 cups of any shredded Mexican cheese blend (Colby, Jack, Cheddar, whatever…), stirring often between additions.

Once all cheese has melted and blended into the mixture, turn off heat and serve immediately. This can be eaten with a fork or on top of tortilla chips.

I topped mine with green onions, but after tasting it, I REALLY wished I had diced a fresh tomato over the top of it, which would have been awesome. Seriously, buy a


This is one "accidental" recipe I can't wait to make again!

 tomato and do this. It will be wonderful.