Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Homemade Beefaroni Is A Favorite Meal

The starting place for frugal meals!

As the price of everything keeps going up, cooking more of your food from scratch is a big money saver. It can also  improve the quality of the foods you eat. Part of preparing meals means finding ways to purchase the most  for your dollars. I did that the day I discovered a local restaurant supply store in my area, about 30 miles away, Mainesource, which is located in Binghamton, NY.


Ground Angus Beef!

I decided to stock up on ingredients to make some pasta dishes and homemade salad dressings. They make a filling meal at a good low price. I purchased ground Angus beef to make a homemade Beefaroni dish. Even though I did purchase a 25 lb. bag of onions there, I did not put any in this dish. My husband does not eat onions, so I don't put them in. First I cook the ground beef in a cast iron skillet before I add the garlic.  If you are adding onions, I would fry them with the beef and garlic, before I added the tomatoes.

A good way to stock up!

A much cheaper alternative to processed spaghetti sauces is to purchase the large cans (6 lb. 6 oz.) of diced tomatoes instead of sauce. It makes for a lighter pasta dish, which is how we like it. The brand I purchase from Mainesource is one that does not contain sugar or any sweetening products. Be sure to read your labels. They also sell canned whole tomatoes, tomato sauces, stewed tomatoes and tomato paste. Big variety there and good for stocking up.

Diced tomatoes

I drain off the grease, though with this Angus ground beef, there is not that much. Add some chopped cloves of fresh garlic. Then spoon in some diced tomatoes and juice. I do not measure it. Just eyeball it according to how much I want in it. We do not like it overpowered by the tomatoes. I was making a pan full, so I added maybe half the can. Mix it all together. Then add the uncooked elbow macaroni. I like equal amounts of all three of these ingredients. This is the type of dish you can adjust to make it the way your family likes it. More tomatoes, more beef or more pasta. If company is coming, you can make it much bigger.


Garlic, diced tomatoes and pasta added to the beef

After the elbow macaroni is added, I pour in about 2-3 cups of water. The elbows will cook in the liquid. Don't put too much water in or it will be soup. I then add my seasonings, like garlic, oregano and parsley. You can put whatever seasonings in that you like. Add some hot peppers for a spicier dish. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees. I don't time it. I just check on it from time to time. When the elbows are soft, I add some grated Parmesan cheese. Mix it in real good. They cook up a lot faster than you think they will. When it has finished cooking, I put shredded cheddar cheese on top and put the cover back on. Let it sit for about five minutes. 


Adding Parmesan Cheese

You can use whatever types of cheeses you like. Make it Mexican with taco seasoning and cheeses. It is easy to make and quick too.  It smelled wonderful! My husband and son couldn't wait to eat. It came out perfect and there were no leftovers. One meal from the food I purchased in large quantities. I have enough for many more meals. Canning up the  ground beef and the diced tomatoes for future meals. These foods can be stored frozen also. 


Shredded cheddar cheese on top

 katlupe's Beefaroni Recipe


1-2 pound ground beef,
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni
Parmesan cheese to taste
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until evenly browned. Drain. Add the chopped garlic and fry lightly.

Transfer to a large casserole dish or roasting pan, and mix in the diced tomatoes, and elbow macaroni and water. When it has been heated thoroughly, add the Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated thoroughly and bubbly.

Put the shredded cheddar cheese on top and cover for about five minutes until it melts.

* The amounts of the ingredients can be changed to make it larger or to suit your taste.



Perfect!

Each shopping trip for me is one where I focus on a certain item needed for the pantry. This trip I needed ingredients to make pasta dishes and homemade salad dressings. I will be doing a post in the near future on homemade salad dressings. Both are frugal additions to your meal plans as well as a big improvement over buying processed or fast foods.  What kind of foods do you purchase in bulk? Are you finding it saves you money too?





Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

According to the FTC Blogging Disclosure, I have to let you know that Mainesource did contact me about writing a post about how to save money by shopping in bulk. That was after I had posted about their store in several past posts, since it is my regular store. In no way did they influence me on what I wrote!
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