Budget Meals w/ Ground Beef #1: Grandma’s Macaroni Skillet

My grandmother used to call this “goulash” though I can’t find much resemblance to what I think of as goulash.  What it amounts to is an inexpensive and filling meal for several hungry people (even cheaper if you’re using leftover pot roast or brisket in place of the ground meat).  Pair it with a good salad, some cut-up fruit, or a crusty loaf of bread and it’s all you need!

serves 7-8
under $15

1- 1.5 lb ground beef, pork, turkey, or other ground meat
1 lb bag of macaroni
1 lb onion, chopped
15 oz can of diced tomatoes with their juice
1 lb bag of corn kernels, thawed (in microwave is fine)
1/2 c hot water
11 oz can of V8 juice
8 oz shredded cheese (your choice — we like cheddar, jack, or colby — Grandma used Velveta)
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t granulated or powdered garlic
1 t chili powder
pinch of oregano

  • Thoroughly BROWN the ground beef over med-low heat.  This will take a little time (about 1/2 hr) but will be well worth it.  Everything goes fast after this.
  • Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, and then boil macaroni for 7 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  • Add onions and seasonings to the meat and cook on med until the onions are clear.
  • Deglaze the pan with water, then add tomatoes and sauce,  and V8 juice.  Stir until mixed well.  Additional water or V8 can be added to make more sauce if the macaroni absorbs too much.
  • When the pan has reached a low bubblling stage, add corn kernels and bring back up to full heat again — then add shredded cheese and mix thoroughly.  Reseason to taste.

-In place of the corn — substitute 1 can of either Ranch Style Beans, or Pork and Beans
-In place of half the onion, substitute either chopped bell pepper or add sliced button mushrooms at the end of the cooking process.
-Try adding 1/4 c BBQ sauce

This recipe should easily feed 7-8 people, for less than 15.00.


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