Stretch Your Ground Beef and A Cookbook Review

Yesterday I was reading another library cookbook.  This I do because it’s FREE, and I love, love, love cookbooks.  I almost always learn a new tip, trick or fabulous flavor combination.  Oh, I love online recipe sites, but these wintry days call for a good book and a cup of tea.

This book is The $7 A Meal Cookbook by Linda Larsen.  (I have it for a little longer, so don’t go grabbing for it.)  The first chapter offers some great tips to folks new to budget cooking.  Many of them I still do.  Her writing style is very easy-to-read, and the book flows well.  But I came for the recipes and tips.  Here’s what she says in the chapter on beef:

“A recommended serving size of beef is 3 ounces, not 1/4 pound.  So if you substitute 3/4 pound of beef for a full pound in any recipe that serves four, save the 1/4 pound in the freezer.  Do this three times, and you’ll have another portion of beef to use with little pain in your wallet.”

She’s right!  Three ounces is the RDA for beef for the average adult.  And if you’re using ground beef in a recipe to serve four normal people, this is one of the best tips ever!  If you have a young family, or appetites on the reasonable side of normal, try it.  I would not recommend it for burgers, though, due to shrinkage.

Unfortunately, I have a teen and a tween, both young men with appetites on the other side of normal.  The full pound is needed, and I make enough of any dish to feed 5 to 6 so that they get enough.  But that’s the point.  We adults eat recommended portions, and the growing boys eat more.  Which –sigh!- I’m told really is normal.

Still, I am enjoying this cookbook and the tips inside.  The recipes are great if you don’t already have favorites in your arsenal.  There are many recipes for each food type covered, which doesn’t always happen.  And, aside from calling for whole wheat, there are no unusual ingredients recommended.  It’s very budget friendly.

OF COURSE….. we can make most of these recipes for less, using sales, coupons, and freezer-filling techniques,  can’t we?  That’s the other great thing about this book: I can envision using her recipes and techniques, with our lower-priced groceries.

So, when I’m done, y’all can scramble for the book.  Make note of the tips and recipes you want, and return it quickly so the next frugalista can borrow it.



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