Ground beef is the first meat we think of when preparing things like tacos and chili, but you’ve probably noticed that beef prices are higher these days. We have 8 children in our family and are always looking for ways to save money, and that means substituting other ingredients. But you don’t have to sacrifice flavor!
Chili: Instead of ground beef, try bulk sausage (whatever is on sale). Pork adds a more savory flavor and pairs well with all the ingredients that you would normally use in chili. I started using half beef and half pork last year, but the pork was such a big hit that I use it almost all the time now. Ground turkey is another alternative, but it can’t compete with the richness of pork, so you might consider amping up the spices. Think outside the box and don’t limit yourself to just ground meat, either. There’s also vegetarian chili, chicken chili, and yes – even seafood chili!
Spaghetti: Bulk Italian sausage may be cheaper than beef, or you can substitute any other bulk sausage that may be on sale. To save even more money, use only half of the meat than you normally would, and add more of the other traditional spaghetti ingredients (tomatoes, mushrooms, marinara, etc.).
Manicotti: Substitute a package of frozen spinach for beef in your favorite manicotti recipe. Less cost, more fiber, and it’s still loaded with Italian flavor.
Tacos: We can’t get enough of tacos, so I always make a big batch of the meat. But since beef is more expensive, once again I do half beef and half bulk sausage. It’s delicious! You can also do half beef and half canned beans for taco filling, or just go all veggie. Ground turkey is another good substitute, but it will benefit from being spiced up since it’s a bit bland.
Hamburgers: Use ground turkey and a mix of veggies for a summer burger that’s tasty but moist.
Burritos and Enchiladas: Opt for chicken, turkey, shredded pork, beans or cheese instead of beef for these Mexican favorites. Veggies and rice also go well together for filling.
Shepherd’s Pie: Early versions of this meat and potato pie were made with lamb, but Americans adapted it for beef. How about adapting it again? Try bulk sausage (the sage variety is good), shredded chicken or ground turkey. You can also cook and chop up cuts of meat that are on sale like boneless chops. Or chop up and use leftover meat from a previous meal.
Meatloaf: I’ve seen some real show-stoppers on Pinterest, slathered in gourmet cheeses and bacon, but at its heart the great American meatloaf is a budget-friendly way for mama to stretch a meal and feed more mouths. Try cutting back on the meat and bulking up your loaf with grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, Stove Top stuffing mix) and vegetables. You can also make it with half beef and half ground pork, or with ground chicken and turkey.
Do you have any tasty ground beef alternatives to share?