This is the meal I made tonight. I am going to have to think of the cost of everything I put in there, and how much I put in.
1 pound ground beef = $1.49 (Yes, I know it is cheap. It's why I drive over an hour one way to the commissary)
1 cup fresh parsley (chopped small)= $1.00
2 eggs = $0.24
1-2 cups Panko breadcrumbs = $1.00
5-6 medium to large potatoes $0.50
1-2 teaspoon butter $0.13
1-2 tablespoons fat free milk = $0.10
1-2 cups sliced carrots = $0.25
1 teaspoon butter = $0.07
1 teaspoon sugar = $0.09
1/2 cup beef broth = $0.40
1 can cream of mushroom = $1.49
2 teaspoons plain yogurt = $0.10
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar = $0.15
1/8 teaspoon fresh pepper
Salt to taste
So about $6.50 for two slices of meat each, potatoes (I made rice too as my SO and one daughter don't eat potatoes, but at $0.80/lb, I think I can make them plenty), gravy for the meat and potatoes, and carrots to feed two adults and three kids, plus one serving of left overs. I even have gravy left over for biscuits and gravy in the morning.
I have tried Alton Brown's meatloaf recipe, without the family liking it much. This is what I came up with for meatloaf and meatballs and they love it. Quick and simple, and it freezes well if you make bigger batches.
Mix the ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, and fresh parsley together until well blended. Yes, I use my hands. Yes, it's very messy. But I like to play with my food.
Form into meatloaf, or meatballs.
Meatballs: pan fry until done, drain on paper towels.
Meatloaf: Form meatloaf in a loaf pan or a loaf shape. Bake at 350 for about an hour, check internal temperature with a thermometer (if you have one, if not make a slice and see if the juices run clear. Remove from pan or loaf after it cools for a few minutes, and let rest on a plate or cutting board. Slice and serve with gravy or ketchup (My kids don't eat tomatoes or anything made of it very often).
Boil cubed potatoes until soft; drain; add butter and milk; use mixer to get smooth consistency . If you are more the garlicy potato type, add three cloves of pealed garlic to the boiling water with the potatoes and just leave in when you mix with everything else. You can also add yogurt or sour cream for a little bite to them, but if you do, omit the milk.
Boil sliced carrots until soft; drain; add butter and sugar; stir gently and serve.
Gravy: (Ok, I know how to make gravy with pan drippings, with flour or cornstarch, but this is my favorite flavor when something doesn't give drippings to work with. It also makes a good stroganoff flavored sauce. Works well on so many dishes.)
1/2 cup broth, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 2 teaspoons yogurt, and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar to a low boil over medium heat. Stir or use mixer until smooth consistency. Add pepper to taste, then salt to taste.
Be careful on the salt in this one. Beef broth tends to add to the saltiness quickly. I usually wait to salt this one after I taste it with my food.