Firefighter’s Macaroni Goulash + 20 More Frugal Ground Meat Recipes

ground beef dinners

Today’s post is dedicated to the humble, yet oh-so-versatile, “pound of ground beef!” I don’t know what I would have done without this invaluable money-stretcher when my kids were little and money was tight.

But beyond money, a pound of ground beef (or turkey) can also save time in the kitchen because it cooks up so quickly. And you can save even more time by precooking your ground meat and freezing it—learn how to brown meat in your slow cooker here.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite ground meat recipes passed down to me from my dad, who used to make it for a bunch of hungry firefighters when he was a young man working for the Long Beach Fire Department many years ago in California. It has definitely stood the test of time!

And after this recipe, I’ll share 20 more delicious recipes from around the web that feature ground beef or turkey as a core ingredient. (I thought I’d made every ground meat recipe imaginable, but these recipes proved me wrong!)

ground beef dinners

Firefighter’s Macaroni Goulash

Ingredients:

(1) 13 oz box elbow macaroni noodles
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried minced onions
Salt and pepper
(1) 15 oz can whole corn, drained
(1) 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
(2) 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Cook the macaroni noodles according to the directions on the package. While the macaroni cooks, brown the ground beef in a large pot, and season it with the garlic powder, minced onions, and salt and pepper.

Once the beef is cooked through, add the corn, cream of mushroom soup, and tomato sauce, and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar to the ground beef mixture, then cook over medium/low heat until everything is warmed through.

Add the drained macaroni to the ground beef mixture and stir to combine, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top of the ground beef and noodles. Put a lid on the pot and place over low heat until the cheese is melted, then serve.

20 More Delicious Ground Meat Dinner Ideas

Here are 20 more ideas for easy ground meat dinners from my site and around the web.

ground beef dinners

1. Korean Ground Beef

from One Good Thing by Jillee

Deliciously seasoned with a slightly sweet and salty sauce with a kick of ginger, this frugal and nutritious dish serves four. It packs a big punch of flavor along with a hint of crunch from broccoli and peppers.

ground beef dinners

2. Mini Meatloaves

from One Good Thing by Jillee

These tasty mini loaves cook faster than a big meatloaf — perfect for dinner in a hurry. They’ve become one of our favorite dishes!

ground beef dinners

3. Five-Bean Hot Dish

from One Good Thing by Jillee

I’ve been making this dish for over thirty years! The recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law shorty after I married into the Nystul family, and it’s still one of our favorite dishes — and great for potlucks!

ground beef dinners

4. Baked Tacos

from One Good Thing by Jillee

Quick, easy, and delicious tacos… what’s not to love? Use store-bought shells or make your own baked taco shells. (The instructions for homemade shells are included in the recipe!)

ground beef dinners

5. Chili Soup

from One Good Thing by Jillee

Somewhere between chili and a soup, this hearty dish with beef, beans, and veggies is delicious and comforting. Pair it with cornbread for a filling and fantastic meal.

ground beef dinners

6. Lasagna Soup

from One Good Thing by Jillee

This comforting soup has all the flavor of lasagna without all the effort. It’s so easy to make in the slow cooker and it’s absolutely delicious!

ground beef dinners

7. Perfect Meatloaf

from One Good Thing by Jillee

This post begins with 11 tips that produce moist, flavorful, and delicious meatloaf every time, and ends with a great meatloaf recipe I know you’re going to love.

ground beef dinners

8. Crockpot Picadillo

from Skinny Taste

Picadillo is a flavor-packed Cuban dish made with ground beef, tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers and spices. It is incredibly tasty served over rice, stuffed into peppers, or spooned over cheese crisps — good thing the recipe makes a lot!

ground beef dinners

9. Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

from Primavera Kitchen

Healthy, gluten-free, one-pan comfort food perfectly describes this fabulous skillet meal. A little bit spicy, a little bit cheesy — and best of all, it’s on the table in 30 minutes!

ground beef dinners

10. Taco-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

from Skinny Taste

Taco Tuesday is easier than ever with these low-carb turkey taco zucchini boats. They’re easy to make and you can even prepare them ahead of time and just pop them in the oven. So yummy and cheesy!

ground beef dinners

11. Shepherd’s Pie

from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Meat, gravy, and vegetables with a blanket of mashed potatoes on top? Yes, please! Use a fork to make swirls in the potatoes and crisp them under the broiler just before serving for a skillet dinner as good as it looks.

ground beef dinners

12. Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Pie

from The Healthy Foodie

This one takes a bit of time but it’s so beautiful and so delicious it’s totally worth it. A mandolin will make slicing the sweet potatoes fast and easy!

ground beef dinners

13. Taco Potatoes

from Life in the Lofthouse

Skip the shell and put all the taco fixings on a baked potato! The whole family will love these delicious taco potatoes, and they’re super fast and easy.

ground beef dinners

14. Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey

from The Weary Chef

This easy meal is ready in less than half an hour, and is amazing served over rice. Make it as spicy or as mild as you like — it’s a great meal for a busy day!

ground beef dinners

15. Curried Ground Turkey with Potatoes

from Simply Recipes

Inspired by an Indian dish called Aloo Keema, this warmly spicy and satisfying dish makes great leftovers too. The recipe is flexible with regard to spices, and you can serve it alone or with flatbread or rice. So yummy!

ground beef dinners

16. Instant Pot Salisbury Steak

from Pressure Cook Recipes

I absolutely love my Instant Pot (as I’m sure you know!), and this recipe is one of my favorites. Delicious homemade Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy is the perfect comfort food.

ground beef dinners

17. Swedish Meatballs

from The Modern Proper

Simple, quick, and easy, these amazing Swedish meatballs are fantastic served with potatoes, noodles, veggies, or even on their own. Aromatic spices like allspice and nutmeg combine with the buttery cream sauce to make these meatballs irresistible.

ground beef dinners

18. Simple Bolognese

from The Food Network

Ready in an hour, this Bolognese is easy to make and full of Italian flavor. All you need to add is some pasta!

ground beef dinners

19. Homemade Hamburger Helper

from The Novice Chef Blog

Pasta and ground beef covered with a creamy tomato and cheese sauce? I’m in! Budget friendly and easy to make, this is an ideal family dinner for a busy day.

ground beef dinners

20. Stuffed Peppers

from Ahead of Thyme

These stuffed peppers are a healthy, balanced meal thanks to the beef, rice, and veggies. They also make great leftovers and are even freezer friendly!

What’s your favorite ground meat meal?

Two bowls of macaroni and cheese topped with ground meat on a table.

Firefighter’s Macaroni Goulash

Jill Nystul
This is one of my favorite ground meat recipes! It was passed down to me from my dad, who used to make it for his fellow firefighters when he was a young man working for the Long Beach Fire Department many years ago. It's tried and true!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 692 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 13 oz macaroni noodles
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 oz canned whole corn drained
  • 10 oz canned cream of mushroom soup
  • 30 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cook the macaroni noodles according to the directions on the package.
  • While the macaroni cooks, brown the ground beef in a large pot, and season it with the garlic powder, minced onions, and salt and pepper.
  • Once the beef is cooked through, add the corn, cream of mushroom soup, and tomato sauce, and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar to the ground beef mixture, then cook over medium/low heat until everything is warmed through.
  • Add the drained macaroni to the ground beef mixture and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top of the ground beef and noodles.
  • Put a lid on the pot and place over low heat until the cheese is melted, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 692kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 36gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1482mgPotassium: 1008mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 991IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 322mgIron: 4mg

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

MORE IDEAS FROM

Bright Ideas

  • We all love stuffed cabbage but it is such a time consuming dinner at the end of the day. To give them the same thing I just take the tomato mixture that they bake in and mix that with the meat and rice and then cut up the cabbage in chunks, mix together and in the oven for 30 minutes while I get the rest of dinner done. I also do a nice dinner with ground turkey, seasonings, a can or two of diced tomatoes, courgettes and then steamed potato slices on the top with a mixture of cheese and cream baked to a crispy brown.

  • […] 40 Easy, Money-Saving Ground Beef {Or Turkey} Dinners – One … – Mar 3, 2015 … You can save even more time by pre-cooking your ground meat and freezing it! Click here … Life in the Lofthouse via One Good Thing by Jillee. […]

  • Oh my good golly!
    I just made the macaroni goulash for dinner (although I used cream of celery soup and jack and Colby cheese ’cause that’s what we had!). So yummy! A new favorite for sure.

  • Love all the recipes!! So nice that everyone helps each other out especially since food prices have gone through the roof!! Thanks Jillee for this article!!

  • All these recipes look yummy. A good many of them I’ve used being a single mom with 3 kids you have to find economical meals and yet are nutritious. Thanks Jillee for all the good inspirational meals. Even now that our kids are grown and gone my husband still loves all these comfort and cheap meals. There’s always enough leftover that he can take for his lunch the next day.

  • I have a question for you Jillee. What could I use instead of the Mushroom Soup? I really don’t like the taste of it at all. Any recipe that calls for it tastes weird to me.
    Thanks

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