Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frugal Friday - Stretch your ground beef.

When ground beef is on sale, I'll buy 10 pounds or more and freeze in one-pound portions for later. I can just pull out what I need and thaw. Now I've discovered a way to make that ground beef stretch further. I replace up to a cup of ground beef with the same amount of cooked lentils in my beef recipes. Simple, frugal...and very good for you!

Lentils are cheap and easy to prepare. If you can boil water, you can cook lentils. You can even make them in a rice cooker if you have one. Cool the lentils and freeze in one cup portions to add to your ground beef dishes. This week I've added lentils to meatloaf and cheeseburger soup. This weekend I'll be making chili and adding lentils. And I will have only used 2 pounds of ground beef for the 3 dishes instead of 1 pound per dish.

Here's a pic of the yummy cheeseburger soup we had for supper tonight. On this cold wintry day, warm cheesy soup really hit the spot!

For more frugal tips, visit Life as Mom's Frugal Friday. And post a tip yourself if you have one. I love getting frugal ideas from others!


  1. This is a great, thrifty idea. I would love to have you link up for Thrifty Thursday.

  2. Do you slightly under-cook the lentils before freezing them? I have cooked with lentils some in the past. I've noticed that they can get pretty mushy. But I guess for Meatloaf & hamburgers, etc, mushy wouldn't matter. How long do you typically boil them? Just curious. I love your idea about putting the lentils along with the beef to stretch it. Thanks!

  3. Stephanie, I just follow the package directions, 15-20 minutes. I don't mind lentils being mushy. I mash them a bit for meatloaf and soups anyway.

  4. I have never used lentils or bought them. I may have to try them. The soups look delicious. I would love the recipe!