DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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26 November 2013

Frugal food - savoury mince

Often when you have to save money on food one of the things that suffers is flavour.  This is a good dish that uses a small amount of meat but it's still very tasty. About 300 grams/10.5oz topside mince will feed four, including hungry meat eaters. Along with the meat, you'll use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I used two carrots, two sticks of celery, a quarter capsicum/pepper, a small amount of cabbage, garlic and two onions, plus frozen peas right at the end. It's also handy to keep in mind that frozen vegetables such as peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach etc, are easy to store in the freezer and, depending on the season, can be cheaper than the fresh vegetables. Often, in our summer here, the frozen vegetables are cheaper than fresh. If you're cooking something like this dish, you really don't need fresh vegetables but you'll still get the nutrients you expect to because frozen vegetables are generally snap frozen very soon after it's harvested.



Minced steak, topside mince, ground beef or whatever you call it where you live is a fairly cheap choice if you want to put meat on the table that everyone will eat. You can make it into meat balls or serve in a tomato sauce with pasta but bulking it up with vegetables and spices will allow you to get away with using less meat.  This meat cost $7.99 a kilo, so the 300gram portion I used here cost about $2.50.

I served this with mashed potato and the following day with rice. Both were delicious. You could also make up some flaky pastry or use a pre-made square of butter puff to make a large family meat pie. Just the thing for those colder nights my friends in the norther hemisphere are having.


Being frugal folk we always need to use all our leftovers as well. If you make up too much of this for one meal, the leftovers are very tasty the next day warmed up with toast, or in a toasted sandwich made in a sandwich press, or placed, warm, into lettuce cups and eaten as a loose lettuce roll. I haven't had it but I think a very spicy savoury mince would go well with a fried egg too. Let's face it, there are a lot of options with this kind of frugal food.

RECIPE and METHOD
  • 300grams - 10.5oz of minced steak/ground beef
  • splash of cooking oil - I always use olive oil
  • vegetables of your choice
  • seasonings
  • curry powder or chilli flakes
  • cornflour and water
Heat the frying pan and when it's hot, add the broken up beef. Stir it around in the pan to break it up so you have no lumps of beef. Allow beef to cook and become brown - that develops the flavour, so don't bypass this step. While the beef is browning, prepare the vegetables.

Vegetables of your choice. Use what you have in the fridge, or use frozen from the freezer. I think the one vegetable you have to use is onion. It gives you a good foundation for the rest of the strong flavours.

When the beef is brown, add your chopped vegetables and continue cooking. Allow everything to brown slightly. If you use frozen vegetables this will take a little longer because of the ice. When the mix is nicely brown, add your seasonings.

The seasonings will include salt and pepper to your taste along with some curry powder or chilli flakes. I used two flat dessertspoons of curry powder in mine. Use a good a quality powder or a paste. Mix it all together and add one teaspoon of sugar. Add water to cover the mix, bring it to the boil then let it simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes. The spices need to cook for a while to develop their flavours. When the liquid has reduced by half, add a thickener.  I used two tablespoons of cornflour mixed with two tablespoons of water - mixed to a smooth paste and added to the mix. Stir it in and let it simmer for another two minutes. Then serve.

This meal will freeze really well so if you want something in the freezer, packed in portion sizes to suit your family, this is the one to go for. It will improve in flavour the longer it sits, but use it within four to six weeks to get the full measure of it.


26 comments:

  1. Sounds delicious-we'll be trying this!

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  2. The first time I skimmed the title to this post I missed the letter "n," making it "Frugal Food--Savoury Mice."

    Well, that would be a way to save money . . .

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  3. Thank you, Rhonda, for being there (http://daybydaylovinglife.blogspot.pt/2013/11/ao-longo-das-ultimas-semanas-procurei.html)

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  4. This is something very basic, but I don't think of it very often! Thanks.

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  5. We make something similar and I just love it. Another of our favourite mince dishes is meat loaf made with any sort of mince, pork, chicken, veal, beef and there are many ways to flavor it, chilli, curry, Thai, and 550 - 600 grams will do two meals for the two of us plus some left for a sandwich or wrap each. I use breadcrumbs and egg when I make it and serve it with mashed potatoes and veggies and gravy. Yum yum. Like the idea of wrapping it in lettuce Ronda....will give that a try next time. Thanks and have a top day.

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  6. Sounds delicious, I love a meal that there are always some left overs that you can freeze to take to work or just heat up when you are having a lazy day x

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  7. Your first picture is so delicious looking.. We make this but a little different .. I must try this with the veggies added to the meat..A very frugal meal.. Thanks..

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  8. I just jumped on the computer before I do my study to check your blog, and this post is perfect! I literally was trying to think of what to cook for tea tonight and when opening the freezer decided to get the mince out to defrost (no idea what how I was going to cook it though) and then I find this, PERFECT :) You've just made my day so much easier (and delicious!).
    -Amanda

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  9. We make something here a lot like your recipe but your picture looks prettier than my finished dish :) have a great day!

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    1. HA! As long as it tastes good, that's the main thing.

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  10. Yum, this sounds really tasty. I think my family would enjoy it as a 'Shepard's pie' with mashed potato on top and maybe some roasted pumpkin and corn on the cob as sides. Thanks for the recipe :)

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  11. I love savoury mince. It's the meal I make when I can't think of anything else to make:)

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  12. This is a favourite in our house. It always reminds me of my Nan who used to serve it every Saturday night with mashed potato, and the mince on top, with gravy running down the sides. We used to have great fund mixing it all together! Thanks for the memory Rhonda :) Cheers, Tanya

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  13. Hi Rhonda, I have at last started my own blog about our sea change from Tasmania to Karratha, Western Australia.
    It is something that I have wanted to do for ages and at last, I have a lot to say and a bit of time to do it in. ;)
    I have mentioned you and your blog there, I hope that is Ok. I hope that I have creditted you correctly.
    Please let me know if this is not Ok and I will edit my entry.
    Hope you and Hanno are both keeping really well. Jamie is growing uo so quickly, he is adorable.
    oh the blog is called Tassie to Karratha and is on Google blogger.

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  14. This is the dinner I prepare quite frequently for my husband and myself. The seasonings are different (I use salt and pepper, ginger and turmeric..... but the result is always the same, a scrumptious meal that we eat every bite and feel great for it.

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  15. You inspired me to cook tonight so as well as our meal tonight I have another three for the freezer, not bad for about 30 minutes work. I made mine with a Mexican flavour - capsicum, tomatoes, onion, carrot and celery for the vegies and paprika, cumin and chilli for the spices. Thanks for reminding me how easy it is to prepare a tasty and nutritious meal.

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  16. Hi Rhonda, like so many others here, the savoury mince is a great standby in my kitchen too. I deliberately make double what I need for one meal, so I can freeze half and have it the following week.

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  17. Mince and tatties is a very popular Scottish dish which I ate every week as a child. These days I tend to use mince (lean or steak) to make a huge batch of bolognaise which I freeze in portions. We have it with pasta, or lasagne or chilli. As you say, it's a cheap way to serve meat, especially when you add vegetables and lentils to it. I also make home made burgers and freeze half of them to cook at a later date.

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  18. Such a great standby this one - and of course with the addition of spices it can make a curry, ideal for topping baked potatoes or for filling a pasty or as you say a pie. Yum!

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  19. You can cook for me any day!I love mince, but it has to be the lean mince, not hamburger mince which I find too fatty in flavour, In 1989 when the interest rates were 17 percent, we had mince in a thousand different ways so we could afford to pay the mortgage. You CAN feed a family for next to nothing, aim for nutrients and you'll get it right. Like you, I add more veges than meat, even in spag bol, in which I add celery and carrots also.Yummmmm.

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  20. This sounds like a wonderful dish for a cold day and a great way to use up small amounts of veggies in the frig.

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  21. This looks so delicious. A must try. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  22. I make something like this once a week or so...but never with mashed potatoes but that looks yummy!! Going to try that next time...

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  23. Yes another winner here Rhonda. I also do it a little differently but will try yours for a change. Good hearty food, and all these veggies we grow here in own garden. Still loving this blog and always finding little bits that I can use in my own homemaking. Just about to dehydrate some oregano as my jar is running low.
    Blessings Gail

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  24. Dear Rhonda,

    I enjoy reading your blog and posts, and often refer to your book for inspiration. Today I would like to ask you for an advice - not sure if it is the right place here on the blog, please excuse me if it is not - what food processor would you recommend? I decided to get rid of mine, because it gives me constant headaches every time I use it: it does not do anything properly and there is lots of washing afterwards, very purely designed, although it was rated as one of the best on the market by Consumer and was very expensive (it is Kenwood multi pro). I decided I'd rather ask which one do you use and if you are happy with it? Many thanks. Ana

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ana, I replace my old Sunbeam with a Jamie Oliver Philips food processor and I LOVE it. It's really easy to wash and use. It's got a powerful 1000W motor. Best food processor I've ever used. I nearly didn't buy it because of the name but I went ahead and have never regretted it. I've made pastry, scones, cakes in it and chopped all sorts of vegetables and fruit. It makes up a great coleslaw - very finely chopped cabbage just as I like it. I think I paid about $150 for it. Good luck!

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