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8 Great Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey

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Ground beef or turkey are often the most economical meats. Good thing! They can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground meats, check out these recipes.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks..

I remember when I could get a ti-tip for $1.99/pound untrimmed. Today, I’m lucky if I can find it under 8 bucks! Times are a changing and with them go the meat prices.

In the six years since our family moved back to California, I’ve seen meat prices jump dramatically — a few times. The amount that our family eats has changed, as a result. Admittedly, part of that is because I won’t buy the cheapest of the cheap any longer. I’ve upped the quality of our meat — as well as the quantity, I suppose. Since my six kids are now six years older, they consume a lot more.

One of my go-to proteins these days is the ground turkey I buy at Trader Joe’s. It’s typically about $2.99 per pound, a dollar more if I buy the hormone- and antibiotic-free. I love it because it has great flavor and texture and I can stretch it into any number of recipes.

(I don’t buy ground beef as often, simply because it’s several dollars more per pound than turkey.)

That’s one of the beauties of ground beef or turkey. Not only does it use up scraps and trimmings on the butcher’s end, but it also can go farther since the meat is already ground for you.

Plus, it’s easy to cook from frozen when you forget to thaw. Ahem.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that use ground meat.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Spicy Turkey Sausage Patties with Garlic and Basil

You can avoid the high-cost and dubious ingredients of breakfast sausage by making your own with ground turkey. These homemade Spicy Turkey Patties with Garlic and Basil mix up together quickly and bake in the oven. They can also be frozen (cooked or uncooked) to be enjoyed later.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Spicy Turkey Egg Bake

This Spicy Turkey Egg Bake was an experiment with turkey. My kids are seemingly hungry all the time, so I wanted to provide a breakfast that stuck to the ribs and gave them staying power. This was it: an egg casserole stuffed with meat, chiles, and pepper jack cheese. It’s also freezer-friendly and really works well for any meal of the day.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Tarragon Turkey Burgers with Bleu Cheese and Chipotle Mayo

Although these burgers were created originally with turkey, you could certainly substitute ground beef. The spices mixed into the meat and the cheese and chipotle mayo make this Tarragon Turkey Burger special. You can also freeze the patties ahead of time to make dinner come together that much more quickly.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Quick Meat Sauce for Pasta

Stir up a pot of this quick meat sauce that is perfect on spaghetti or other pasta. Quick to prepare and freezer-friendly, it’s a great addition to your meal rotation. Use whatever ground meat you have on hand — ground turkey, beef, or chicken will all work.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Turkey and Black Bean Tacos

Adding black beans to your taco filling can help stretch your meal and make it a bit more economical. This Turkey and Black Bean Taco recipe makes delicious tacos. You can also use mix up this Taco Seasoning Mix with some cooked ground meat and stash it in the freezer for an easy taco night.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Meatballs

Meatballs are a fantastic way to use ground meat to make a convenient and versatile meal. They are incredibly freezer-friendly and can be served with mashed potatoes and gravy, over pasta with red sauce, or even tossed in a slow cooker to make Slow Cooked Sweet and Sour Meatballs.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Chili

The variations of chili are endless. This Easy Slow Cooker Chili really is easy. Cook up meat and onions, open some cans, dump some spices, and put it all in the slow cooker and walk away. If you don’t plan ahead, this Jalapeno Chili can be ready in just 30 minutes.

8 Ways to Use Ground Beef or Turkey from GoodCheapEats.com | Ground meat can make so many versatile and freezer-friendly meals. If you need some inspiration on how to use ground beef, check out these recipes for meatballs, pasta sauce, chili, tacos, sausage patties, turkey egg bake, burgers, and chili stacks.

Chili Stacks

Chili Stacks, a taste of my childhood, are an easy and economical dish to pull together. You can assemble it and cook it in less than 30 minutes.

What’s your favorite way to use ground meat?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the inspiration Jessica! I have several packs of ground turkey in my freezer and was contemplating what to do with them. Perfect timing on this post!

  2. There is an actual index for the cost of certain goods – ground beef is tracked. It has risen in price by 90% over the last 5 years. That is a shocking statistic.
    We did purchase the Zaycon ground beef in July and it is super lean. I packaged it into 1lb packs for the freezer. I sometimes mix it with ground pork for meatloaf and meatballs.
    I have recently started buying ground turkey – so far I have gotten the Nature’s Place brand at Food Lion and the Jennie-O. Both were marked down packages at my store. We have two stores in our area that mark down meat – lots of competition out there for the good stuff.
    Basically our menus don’t include beef anymore other than the Zaycon – we have been eating more chicken and pork.

    Thanks for all you do, I am excited to give your newest cookbook as a Christmas gift this year!
    Melissa

  3. Yup, even ground beef has gotten so high that I rarely buy it anymore. I eat less beef at home, and more when I’m dining out and the cost of a beef meal is comparable to the chicken or seafood meal. That said, this past weekend I splurged and got a pound of ground beef ($4.99) to add into the spaghetti sauce I was doctoring up with extra veggies and spices. It was the only item on my receipt that was full price. I figured my wife needed an indulgence (and some extra protein) because she’s been working so hard during our move – 2 jobs, college courses, and hauling truckloads of furniture in the evenings and on “days off” makes for a hectic schedule.

    • It’s true. It’s better to have beef when dining out because the markup isn’t as high as it is on other proteins. At least that’s my justification for a steak burrito at chipotle.

  4. A few of our favorite ground beef/turkey dishes are Asian inspired. One is what we affectionately call Asian Curry Noodles, based on a recipe from Nina Simonds’ Asian Noodles cookbook. It’s hearty comfort food w/noodles, ground meat, madras curry, onion, peas, water chestnuts, and a soy-based sauce. It is SO GOOD and uses all freezer/pantry ingredients so is also a great go-to. The other is a Thai inspired ground turkey (I kind of make it up as I go, based on some magazine recipe, but generally fish sauce, chili peppers, cilantro, basil, etc) to eat over rice or in lettuce wraps. Also, SO GOOD. We also use ground turkey or beef in chili, tacos/anything Mexican, soup, pasta sauce. Like most people. 🙂

  5. When I get ground beef it’s usually because the store is having a sale on one of the big 4 pound packages. So I take a pound each to make spaghetti sauce, chili, taco meat, and sloppy joes. I usually add beans to the chili and taco meat so that they stretch even further. As a single person, I can get a lot of dinners out of one afternoon of cooking.

  6. We still buy a lot of ground beef. My husband is diabetic and does better with his blood sugar levels if he has meat with his meals. However, with the rising price we have been substituting ground pork in many recipes. This works really well in chili, casseroles, and meat sauce.

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