This is the first in my series of frugal and nutritious recipes. Since my goal is to cut my food budget in half, I am going to be making meals that are less expensive but still very nutritious.
Hamburger meat is a classic budget-friendly staple. Of course, I only use organic grass-fed beef from local farmers, which is more expensive but worth every penny when it comes to nutrition.
One of the biggest reasons to eat grass-fed beef is for the CLA:
Meat and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” or CLA. When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their products contain from three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets. (A steak from the most marbled grass-fed animals will have the most CLA, as much of the CLA is stored in fat cells.)
CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA — a mere 0.1 percent of total calories — greatly reduced tumor growth.
There is new evidence that CLA may also reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Switching from grain-fed to grassfed meat and dairy products places women in this lowest risk category.
Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grassfed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grain-fed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection. Source: Eat Wild
I can get grass-fed ground beef for $4 per pound which is a real bargain. So you can expect a lot of menus with ground beef this winter.
The other GREAT thing about ground beef is that it is so easy to sneak in highly nutritious organ meats without your family even knowing! I like to add ground beef heart. All you do is add 1/2 pound beef heart for every pound of ground beef. Just grind the beef heart with a meat grinder or in your food processor. I know it sounds gross but isn’t — and it’s REALLY easy.
This recipe for pasta with meat sauce is extremely fast and easy to make, and it’s delicious. I used rice pasta because it’s lower in phytates (anti-nutrients that bind with minerals and block absorption). Add the beef heart if you have some on hand. Even without that, the meal is still very nutritious.
You can also make this recipe in a crockpot in the morning, and you’ll have a hearty, yummy meal ready in the time it takes to boil water (rice pasta cooks in about 10 minutes).