Hey you know what? It’s almost the end of tax month! Huzzah! We may or may not have had to actually pay this year. 🙁 It was definitely time to step up my frugal game. Going back through my notes on grad school for the Living on $13,000 or Less series was a good reminder that I needed, bringing up forgotten habits and recipes. If any of you got bitten by the tax bug I’ve got the meal for you.
I’ve dubbed today’s recipe ‘End of the Month Tacos.’ You know, for when you’ve got more month than money. I actually like these better than my normal tacos and it only takes one or two easy extra steps.
How they’re frugal
Skip the shells
Shells are pretty expensive. Or at least they are when you compare them to rice. So we replace the shells with rice, a carb for a carb. If you miss some crunch or corn flavor just crush some tortilla chips over the top. It’ll really help give flavor while also being much less expensive than shells.
Stretch the meat
Okay not literally, no carnivorous gymnastic classes here (although if you try it send me pictures ;-). With meat prices climbing and climbing, I add beans to make the meat go farther. Beans are much less expensive, especially on sale. I do black beans because I like their flavor and they’re so nutrient packed. Doing so will usually double our meat mixture—plus it tastes better!
Back in our grad school days we opted to cut down our condiment consumption. Doing that here is also helpful. We don’t typically do sour cream or hot sauce. In fact only the hubster uses salsa-the rest of us don’t do condiments at all. Do what you like, just question if you really want the extras or if it’s out of habit.
Experiment and see if you like it better without any or try a different condiment all together. Or maybe try your hand at making a condiment. I actually came up with my own pico de gaillo recipe during hard times. It helped our budget not feel so tight, because we could ‘afford’ the luxury of something extra.
If needed, thaw 1 lb ground beef (we like Costco’s which comes really lean-but frozen). Once you have thawed ground beef start cooking it in a skillet on high. As soon as you have that going start your rice, watch it intermittently as you take care of the meat.
When the ground beef is mostly cooked and still has some grease in the pan add a cup of beans (or a drained can) to the meat. Mix it around to coat the beans in the grease—this will extend some of the meat flavor. Then add your favorite taco seasoning, we usually add 2 ½-3 T. Once mixed take it off the heat—done!
While the rice is still cooking chop/shred your veggies. We typically do lettuce and tomato, sometimes green onion. It’s still a challenge to get our kids to eat lettuce so I’ll also add some corn to round out the meal–do what works for you. When the rice is cooked, plate it up. We’ll stack it; rice, meat, cheese, salsa, corn, fresh veggies, and lastly crushed chips.
Then it’s time to call the hungry horde to the table.
End of the Month Tacos
Recipe by Somethin Outta Nothin
Cook time: 30-40 (once meat is thawed)
1 cup rice
1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked beans (or 1 can, drained)
2-3 T taco seasoning
1 cup corn (optional)
1 roma tomato, chopped
½ cup lettuce, chopped
1. Thaw meat
2. Cook rice and meat in their respective pots
3. Add beans, then taco seasoning
4. Chop veggies
5. Plate it up
What’s your favorite meal on the cheap?