A plate of food on a table, with Ground beef

One Pound Ground Beef Makes a Meal

Recently, I had the perfect opportunity to test this tip sent in by a reader: “Before you pay full price for ground beef, look at other cuts of beef that might be on sale. If the price is better, ask the butcher to grind that roast or steak.”

A plate of food on a table, with Ground beef 

This particular day 80-percent lean ground beef was $4.99 a pound, but boneless flank steak was that week’s loss leader at $2.47 a pound. Wow! What a difference.

I selected three large flank steaks that had the best marbling and the butcher was more than happy to grind them. Just like that, I saved $2.52 a pound. When I got home I broke it down into six packages of about one pound each and froze them. 

So what can you do with just one pound of ground beef when you have many mouths to feed? Check out three of favorite family-friendly, comfort-food meals, just perfect for a cold wintry day!

Cheeseburger Soup

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup minced onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 cups shredded Velveeta* process cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add crumbled beef and cook until it is no longer pink. Drain beef and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter, onion, carrots, celery basil, until vegetables are tender 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add potatoes, ground beef, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender about 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a small skillet, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter and add flour stirring and cooking until bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt, and pepper; cook until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and then blend in sour cream. Servings: 8.

Note: Why Velveeta? Because it melts so well and remains smooth and creamy, making it the perfect choice for this soup. However, you can substitute with American cheese or your choice of cheese that melts well without seizing or becoming clumpy.

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Quick Meatball Stroganoff

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (or 1-2 slices day-old bread torn into small pieces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (more as necessary)
  • 1 can (10.5 ounce) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. In a bowl, mix together beef, egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup water, onion, salt, and pepper. Form into about 20 meatballs.
  2. Brown on all sides in the oil (adding more oil if the meat is very lean). Drain off excess fat and push meatballs to one side of the pan.
  3. Add soup, 1/2 cup water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Mix well. Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Blend in sour cream and heat thoroughly, but do not allow to come to a boil once you have added the sour cream. Serve over hot rice or noodles. Servings: 4 to 6.


Chili Skillet

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 cup canned or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add beans, tomato juice, water, chili powder, oregano, salt, and rice; simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 25 minutes.

Stir in corn and olives, as wanted; cover and cook 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese; cook covered, until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with green onions. Servings: 4 to 6.


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3 replies
  1. Sue B. says:

    For the cheeseburger soup, do I add the contents of the skillet to the saucepan? Or do you add a dollop on top of a serving? Cooking is not a strong point for me! And btw, I have been reading your column and receiving your newsletters for over 30 years. You have been instrumental in getting me debt free with 2 paid off houses!
    Love you!


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