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Hamburger, Not So Much the Helper

Hamburger, Not So Much the Helper

Here’s a surprise, at least to us: You can actually find cuts of pot roast on sale for less money per pound than regular-priced hamburger. And, oddly enough, there’s just as much you can do with a pot roast as there is with hamburger. So, you get to save a little money, have something different, and you can have delicious meals with the leftovers! For anyone trying to live frugally, making inexpensive and tasty meals is often a challenge.

Ok, we know what you’re thinking: that’s great and all, but pot roast takes a LONG time to cook. This is true, but you can throw it in a crock pot on low before work and it will be perfect by the time you get home in the evening. That part is totally up to you, but the best time frame for a perfect roast is 7-8 hours. Anything less than that, and it’s usually not as tender.

Once you’ve had your initial meal, you can store the leftovers in their original juices in the refrigerator. Next day, skim the fat off the top of the juice and use the meat for the following hearty meals.

Sloppy Joes

Mix your meat with your favorite sloppy joe mix and serve on the bread of your choice. It makes for a nice variation from a traditional favorite – and frankly, they’re not as messy!


Get a large flour tortilla and layer one half with shredded beef, beans, onions, and cheese. Fold the other half over and spray each side with a cooking spray, then toast in a skillet until crisp. Serve with a dollop of salsa or sour cream.

The sloppy joes we’ve tried before and they are delicious—not to mention cheap to make. We got the idea for quesadillas from Wisebread where they also have some other great recipe ideas for frugal chefs.

What do you think? Is hamburger still cheaper to buy in your local grocery store? What other cost effective recipes can you share using pot roast or another favorite protein?

Posted: 8/4/08

re: hamburger - Taco Bell combines ground beef with soy nuggets - which explains why their prices are so low. I'm fairly certain other fast food places do also.

re: roast beef - using leftover slices or chunks, put back in crock pot, cover with a can of beer and a package of onion soup mix. Add one shot of brandy and in 2-3 hours you'll have the most wonderful sandwich imaginable !!! Serve with horseradish sauce and YUM !!


The suggestions recommended for the leftover roast sound really good!! You might want to buy a little extra for other meals. The meat can be frozen after cooking, waiting for the next dish.

Here's a few more . . . . .

Stir fried veggies with mushrooms, spices. Include meat cubes the last minute -- just to heat. Serve with rice.

Beef stroganoff with some cottage cheese & low-fat sour cream, fresh or canned mushrooms, steamed frozen peas, maybe onions, your choice of spices, corn starch thickened beef roast juice, serve on noodles, mashed potatoes or rice.

American beef chow mein -- onions, celery, jacima, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, mushrooms, soy sauce, spices, with chow mein noodles & rice.

Homemade chili with cubed beef, with/without beans.

Tacos with shredded beef, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheddar, sour cream, salsa.

Have you ever bought roast & had the butcher grind it for hamburger. It tastes a lot better than the usual hamburger -- without much fat.


A friend recently told me to stock up on potatoes as I get ready for the new school year (without a meal plan = cooking weekly meals). She said that there is a lot that you can do with potatoes; French fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, bake your own potato chips, and etc!