Friday, December 11, 2009


Meatloaf. Just like mom makes it. I haven't had her meatloaf since last April when I last saw her and I've been craving it ever since. No one else's comes close. It plus other yummies like mashed potatoes, corn, and even croissants or breadsticks make for a perfect meal. I ended up not making a bread option since I was in a bit of a rush to finish the meal.

**This was by far the most expensive meal we've made at home, due to the fresh, extra lean ground beef being used. Also, the potatoes we used for this dinner are the remnants of the 10lb. bag Daren's dad bought us last month, so they were actually of no cost to us, though still including in the overall price; as was the corn.

  • 1 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 package Lipton onion-mushroom soup mix
  • 1 cup Progresso original bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4-5 small potatoes
  • 3 Tbl. butter
  • 1/2 - 1/3 cup milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can corn
  • loaf pan
  • medium mixing bowl
  • saucepan
  • hand or electric mixer
  • small skillet
Spread out the ground beef in the bowl. Add the egg, some of the breadcrumbs, the ketchup, and the onion-mushroom mix to the middle. Work with your fingers, kneading it thoroughly. Continue to add the remainder of the ingredients -- the breadcrumbs and hot water -- a little at a time. Once all the ingredients are mixed into the meat, form into a loaf to fit into the pan.

Heat the oven to 350. Place loaf pan inside for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the meat. It will start to turn golden brown and work itself into more of a deep brown. Cut into the meat with a knife to make sure the insides are fully cooked. Mine was still slightly pink at the 30 minute mark, so I cut the loaf into smaller pieces so it could continue to cook. By the time I took it out of the oven, it was all brown, but had a light hue of red in it, from the ketchup.

The potatoes should be peeled and diced into small pieces. Add to the sauce pan with enough water to cover them by about half an inch or so. Boil on high heat until they are tender and barely crumbling. Drain the water from the pot and add some of the milk, salt, pepper, and butter to the potatoes. Use a hand or electric mixer to mash the potatoes. If they look dry, add more milk. Continue this process until they are smooth and creamy.

Put the corn with its juices into a small pan to heat. You can start heating the corn on 2 or 3 at the beginning of boiling the potatoes or you can heat them on high right before the meal is served.

Serve the meatloaf, corn, and potatoes.

The grand total for this meal with 2 large pieces of meatloaf and a 32oz tupperware container of mashed potatoes left over is $7.69.

  • egg 16¢
  • ground beef 4.43$
  • onion mushroom mix 89¢
  • breadcrumbs 12¢
  • ketchup 6¢
  • potatoes 1.00$
  • corn 69¢
  • milk 16¢
  • butter 18¢

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beef Stew with Pumpkin

The one flaw Daren found with this concoction of his was that the pumpkin absorbed too much of the flavor. I will provide the directions he used to make this particular meal, however, it should be noted that he said in the future he would heat the pumpkin with some water into a sauce in a separate pan before adding it to the overall stew. That way, it's not so thick and doesn't steal the taste.

  • 8 oz. beef
  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 - 2 cups water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • basil
  • small soup pot or large saucepan
In the pot, add all the dry ingredients together, including the uncooked beef, which will cook as it stews. Add the beer to the mixture. Fill with water until the ingredients are covered by about an inch of water. The amount of water you add will be different for every person due to size of pot being used. If it seems like too much water, it will boil down. Put on medium heat to cook, allowing for about an hour to ensure the meat is cooked and it has thickened into a stew. Taste test for flavor, adding additional amounts of the above spices until desired result.

Serve as is or with a side of bread.

The grand total for this meal which left a 32oz tupperware container full is $3.71.

  • beef 59¢
  • pumpkin 1.19$
  • beer 91¢
  • celery 16¢
  • potatoes 60¢
  • carrot 20¢
  • onion 6¢

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beef & Gravy with Water Chestnuts over Rice

This one might sound a little weird, but it's absolutely delicious. Especially if you like beef and water chestnuts. A simple recipe for a hearty meal.

  • 8 oz. beef
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbl. butter
  • packet brown gravy mix
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • fixings for salad, optional
  • small saucepan
  • medium saucepan
  • medium saucepan lid
  • skillet
Start by cooking the rice. As always, follow the instructions on your bag or box to get the best results. I threw a cup of rice with nearly 2 cups of water and the butter into the medium saucepan and boiled on high with the lid on. Following instructions, after it reached a full boil, I lowered the heat to about a 3 and let the water absorb into the rice. Once done, I turned off the heat, but let the pot sit on the cooling stove.

In the small saucepan, add the brown gravy packet with the instructed amount of water. Let boil together, stirring occasionally to get the thicker chunks unstuck from the bottom. When it is finished and has turned a nice dark brown color, turn off the stove and let sit to simmer on the cooling coils.

In the skillet, add the beef [either frozen or fresh] and 1/2 cup of water with salt, pepper, and garlic. Let the meat cook on high, boiling in the water until the exterior is dark brown in color. The middles will be entirely cooked by this point. Remove from the remainder fatty drippings and clean the pan out. Return the cooked beef to the skillet. Add the water chestnuts and the gravy. Stir them together until they're covered with the gravy, heating on medium, about a 5 or 6.

Serve beef, water chestnuts, and gravy over rice. Add salad if desired.

The grand total for this meal that allowed for four total servings is $3.74, which included two small salads with croutons.

  • beef 59¢
  • water chestnuts 99¢
  • rice 37¢
  • gravy 79¢
  • salad 1$