Get 8 Meals from 4 Lbs of Ground Beef

To see a list of over 35 Ground Beef Recipes to help stretch your food dollar and keep

things lively at the supper table, please click here.

 Most folks I know are trying to figure out how to stretch an already tight grocery budget so I’ve set out to bring you a few tips that may help the process a bit.

Today’s post is how I divide up my uncooked ground beef to get the most meals out of it.

I’ll keep these short and sweet, which is a rarity for me, so enjoy it while it lasts 🙂

Here we go, four pounds of ground beef.

Now if I were to just cook beef right out of the package for supper, I’d likely grab two pounds of it. We’d have an awfully meaty dish, but I’d be doing good to get one or two meals out of the entire tray.

Instead, I take my tray and cut the ground beef into eight different sections like this.

Package each section into a quart sized zipper seal freezer bag.

Flatten each bag with the heel of my hand and let squeeze out as much air as I can before sealing.

I flatten it for two reasons:

  1. This takes up less space in the freezer
  2. It thaws REALLY quickly when it’s all thinned out like this.

Stack all of the layers (if you want) and freeze.

Each bag now has about 1/2 pound of ground beef in it.

This will work for most ground beef recipes. If a recipe calls for more, you have two options:

  1. Make the recipe with less beef
  2. Use two bags of beef
  3. Substitute 1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice for 1/2 of the beef. This works especially well in skillet meals, casseroles where beef is it’s own layer, and fillings such as sloppy joes or tacos. There are tons of recipes like that at the link below!

To see a list of over 35 Ground Beef Recipes to help stretch your food dollar and keep

things lively at the supper table, please click here.


“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Thanks to Jackie for submitting this! Click here to see more and submit your own.

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  1. I brown my hamburger meat sometimes adding finely chopped onion, sometimes not. After I brown the hamburger I drain & rinse. I use 1-1 1/2 cups per quart bag. Push out as much air as I can, Flatten out, pop into the freezer. If I’m making chili, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes no need to thaw, just toss it in 🙂

  2. Love all the money saving posts from everyone. I do the hamburger meat the same way too. I sometimes make patties for my family. I reuse the boxed cereal bags to keep my patties, or chicken from sticking together. I just empty the bags completely then I cut pieces to fit between each patty or piece. I then just place in a plastic zip lock bag. The meat is so easy to separate. Linda 🙂

    1. I use the cheap foldtop sandwich bags, measure 5.3oz-1/3lb meat(1/4lb patties aren’t big enough, we’re big meat eaters here) in a ball, put it in a baggie, and mash it to patty shape, them I put all those in a gallon freezer bag. I can re-use the gallon freezer bag after I wash it.
      I grind most of my meats myself. I buy a couple of whole turkeys when on sale during the holidays to freeze for when I’m ready to grind. I also buy whole round roast when on sale for $2.99lb or less at sav a lot(usually 10-13lbs each), I trim most the fat off the roast(no more than 10% fat in my ground meats), grind it, put in frige, skin the turkey and remove most the fat, romove it from the bone, put that turkey carcus in a stock pot and simmer an hour or so, while I’m grinding the turkey meat. I mix the ground turkey 50/50 with most of the grnd bf, divy it in 1 and 1/4 freezer bags. For hambrgr patties I only use 1/3lb turkey to 1lb beef so it tastes more like real hambrgr, my mom and I split the cost of the meat, I supply the work and bags. This is how I stretch my ground meat budget, with turkey. I can’t do the starch thing to meat unless it’s for meatloaf(it just absorbs all that fat and you eat it). My accident from 15yrs ago has made me cut out a lot of fat coz I lost 1/3 of my digestive system and now fats don’t get processed, they get stored(I get fat), but sugar is diffrent, it goes right thru me and both sides of my family are diabetics. Luckily I’m not and am 10yrs passed the age when they all got it.

  3. Some great money saving tips from you Christy, and i love that your readers also add some more ideas.
    One that may help some, if you have an oriental store in your town, you save much money on many items in bulks, way more than anywhere else. Rice for instance is way cheaper in 10-25lb bags, but you may need to find someone to share it with. My hubs is from Hawaii and early on taught me to cook rice and NOT TO RAISE THE LID PERIOD. That was a hard lesson b/c you know how you like to look in on the food. You need a big enough heavy pot, measure accordingly, let it come to a boil then turn off or real low for 20 min. Depending on if you have one of the stoves that holds the heat longer. I have no clue how to do this on a gas stove when i visit people with gas stoves? It needs that sitting time to steam. Also the reason we wash rice is not because it is dirty but to wash out some of the starch. If you like it sticky, don’t wash the short grain rice. The sushi style short grain will also sub out fine for those Italian rissoto dishes.
    Save your day old cooked rice for fried rice……..celery, onion, carrot, broc, etc then whatever small amt of meat you have. my fave is breakfast sausage links sliced in. top with scrambled egg and your leftover rice is a deluxe meal…… spice it however you like, soy etc.
    You can also make your own rice a roni mixtures that taste better and way better price. Break spaghetti w/ your rice and brown. My fave flavor boosters are the Better than Bullion jars of flavor.
    Keep the food a coming Christy!

  4. I bought 4.50 pounds and divided mine with four packages of 1/2 pound and four with 3/4 pound for those days when we have company. thanks for the hints

  5. This article brought back memories for me too. My mama used to always use bread crumbs or oatmeal to stretch hamburger. Dee, you are lucky to have Winn-Dixie! We don’t have those in NC anymore, and they had the best meat ever! I worked there in the deli bakery back in the day.

    1. One of the best stores we lost in NC was Winn-Dixie…my hubby was the Meat Dept. Manager for 30 years until WD closed it’s doors…I loved their meats shopped there for years never dreamed I would marry the guy that gave me recipe ideas for preparing good meals…they had good sales often through out the store and that was one store with very friendly employees they all seemed to enjoy their jobs and their co-workers…my hubby loved working there I wish they would bring WD back to NC…I would definitely shop there again !

  6. I try to give myself $2 per pound of meat limit, sometimes it’s hard because ground beef can be expensive. I like to buy the BOGO beef roasts at my local Winn-Dixie and have the butcher grind it up into ground beef. This saves me money, and my family prefers ground beef to roast anyway. I haven’t been able to get any BOGO deals lately, so I bought some ground beef, ground chicken and ground turkey (g. turkey was on sale for $1 for a 12 oz pkg.). I take 1# of g. beef, 1# of g. chicken and 1 pkg (12 oz) g. turkey, 1- 2 chopped onions, and 2 – 4 minced garlic cloves. I cook all this together until done, then divide in 1/2. I use 1/2 of the mixture for that nights meal, then freeze the other 1/2 flat in a freezer bag for another meal (if I remember correctly, gb $2.49 + gc $2.5 + gt $1 = $5.99 / 2 = $2.995 for each meal). There are 9 of us in the family, so I have to double most recipes anyway. I’ve also been cooking up chicken and pork roasts to freeze as well. After I am done with the chicken and pork, I make bone broth with the bones, refrigerate, scrape off and toss solidified fat at the top, then freeze flat in 2 and 4 cup measurements in freezer bags. I’ve even cooked up some bacon and froze it too. Makes meals come together so much quicker.

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