I admit that we spend a lot on groceries. While eating healthfully doesn’t necessarily equal a high food bill, when you toss in the stipulation that grains and most legumes must be avoided too, well, you can only go so low. Fortunately, I still find ways to cut costs. I buy quality meats through a co-op, make the most of my Costco membership, comparison-shop like mad, cook from scratch almost exclusively (i.e., no convenience items), buy my eggs from a farmer who doesn’t know his real worth (I wrestle weekly with wanting to tell him that he really should be charging more and yet wanting to keep getting a steal of deal), and try to focus on low-cost cuts of meat and cheap vegetables and fruits.
Lately, I’ve also been trying to build an arsenal of frugal, grain-free, legume-free recipes. Most of them aren’t fancy, but as long as they taste good and don’t kill our budget, we’re happy. The best meals for us are those that work great with the addition of rice or quinoa for my hubby, who needs the carbs. Poor Man’s Rosemary Beef and Vegetables is just such a dish. A few weeks ago, I found myself in a real pinch without a menu plan and a dwindling supply of ingredients in my fridge and pantry. Panicky, I threw a few items together and came up with what turned out to be a new favorite. It’s not elegant, and it’s not pretty, but, boy, is it tasty! We liked it so much that we’ve made it a couple of times since, and I have it on the menu for tonight too.
Made with ground beef (can it get any cheaper?) and the most frugal of vegetables, this recipe is my contribution to The Nourishing Gourmet’s Nourishing Frugal Recipes Carnival. It stretches a pound of meat a long, long way, especially if you eat it with the rice. To spread the meat even thinner, try adding diced potatoes to the mix.
Poor Man’s Rosemary Beef and Vegetables
1 pound ground beef
6 to 8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 medium stalks celery, diced
1/2 small-medium head of cabbage (red or green), thinly sliced
28 ounces petite diced canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
Brown the beef with the garlic and onions. Drain.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve alone or over cooked brown rice.