Stretching Ground Beef

With a recipe such as Chili or Tacos…..or even Lasagna I add a cup to a cup and a half of beans to every pound of browned ground beef. You can use any kind of beans.  Canned.  Homemade. Refried.  It doesn’t matter.  Today I used dehydrated pinto beans that I brought back to life.  This little trick works wonders when a pound of ground beef isn’t enough, but two pounds just isn’t in the food budget. 

Dehydrated Pinto Beans

I live with some of the pickiest eaters on the face of the planet.  If I added whole beans to my Chili nobody would eat it.  There’s nothing more pathetic than watching a hungry Reed picking out individual beans from his bowl of Chili.

But mash them beans up some, add them into the just browned ground beef, cook a bit longer while stirring, and nobody knows.  (Unless, of course, one of you guys rat me out.)

Stretching ground beef with beans

I know people who substitute  rice or cracked, soaked wheat berries instead of beans.  I know if any of my family found a wheat berry in their tacos they’d run screaming into the night.


I prefer to add beans.  Just one cup of beans adds 15.4g of dietary fiber as well as 15 grams of protein.  Beans are low in fat, and you’ll also gain heart-healthy fatty acids including 234mg of omega-3s and 168mg of omega-6s.

Compared to the price of ground beef, beans are cheap.  I have something like a zillion tons downstairs.  I was able to pick up a lot of dehydrated beans for a little over .25 cents a pound a few months ago.

You can even grind white beans into flour and use that flour as a fat substitute when making baked goods.  Or, mash up canned white beans instead.

Don’t want to take the time to make your own beans?  (Which, btw, are totally easy to cook in a crockpot and then freeze in individual containers.)  Our local Winco just had cans of beans on sale for .68 a can and this week Fresh Market has organic canned beans on sale for .89 cents a can.

How do you make things stretch at your house?


  1. Becky Roe Apr 16, 13
  2. FunMumx3 Apr 16, 13
  3. Wendy Apr 17, 13
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