Eating on a Budget – Three Mince Meat Recipes

I was delighted to receive a message about @CheckersSA butchers bargain for lean beef mince for R38.99/kg usually R58.99/kg. BIG savings! Mincemeat is such a versatile ingredient. It is quite simple to prepare and if you make one batch of yummy mince, you can get three different delicious meals out of it. Considering I am cash strapped, like so many others,after the festive season, eating on a budget is a reality for myself and my husband during the month of January. Without compromising on taste or quality, it is still possible to enjoy yourself on budget.

cash strapped

I have used my three meal mince recipe quite often. It is particularly good for a busy lifestyle when you dont want to be stuck cooking every evening for hours on end and don’t want to resort to the infamous take out menu draw.

Ground beef, beef mince, minced meat, hamburger is a ground meat made of beef, finely chopped by a meat grinder. It is used in many recipes including hamburgers and cottage pie. In some parts of the world, a meat grinder is called a mincer.

mince meat

I am not an expert in the kitchen, but I do like to try new things and I am very blessed to have a husband who will always eat my mistakes afterwards. Sometimes, my husband and I will cook together and we find ways to work as a team. Creating something that we can both enjoy is quite satisfying and full of fun. One of the first meals I ever learnt to make was Garfields favourite meal- the infamous lasagne. An easy way to feed hungry students, I quickly became known as the lasagne queen in our group of friends. Not only is lasagne yummy, it is a fantastic meal to enjoy when drunk. I have shared my lasagne on many drunken occasions with girlfriends.

Once you have made mince, there are three easy meals that you can make with your mince namely:

  1. Lasagne
  2. Spaghetti Bolognaise
  3. Cottage Pie (Commonly known as Shephards Pie in Scottish circles)

To make the mince meat, you will need a large pot and big wooden spoon.


500g – 750g Lean Beef Mince

3 Tbs of Cooking Oil

1 Chopped Onion*

2 Chopped Tomatoes *

*You can replace the fresh onion and tomatoes with canned tomato and onion mix

1 Carrot chopped

1 packet of Tomato paste

250ml of beef stock

5ml Oreganum (fresh or dried)

5ml Basil (fresh or dried)

5ml mustard powder or 1tsp of Dijon Mustard

5ml mixed herbs

2 Tbs Tomato Sauce

2  Tbs Chutney

1 Tbs Sweet and Sour Chilli Sauce

1 tsp Traditional Syrup (Optional)

5ml Freshly ground black pepper

5ml Salt

5ml Worcestershire Sauce

3 Bay leaves

Method of Madness

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the carrots,  tomatoes and onions for about 5 minutes or until onions appear glossy. While you are frying the tomatoes and onions, boil 250ml of water and mix it with one beef stock cube. Set aside the beef stock.

2. Add the defrosted mince to the pot, broken up into pieces and brown for about 5 minutes

3. Add the beef stock to the pot and let the mince boil.

4. Add more water as you go to keep the meat saucy. As little or as much as you like.

5. Add the oreganum, basil, mustard, mixed herbs, black pepper, salt,tomato sauce, tomato paste, chutney, sweet chilli sauce, syrup, worcestershire sauce and bay leaves and mix.

6. Boil and let meat brown for about 30 – 40 minutes. Put your feet up and come and mix occasionally. Be sure to leave the pot lid off to prevent spillage.

7. Add salt or desired veggies to taste.

8. Remove the three bay leaves from teh pot before serving.

Day 1

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Measure 2 portions of spaghetti and place in separate pot of boiling water. Add salt to the water and a drizzle of oil to stop the spaghetti from sticking. Boil until done. The way to test spaghetti is to throw a piece of it on the wall, if it sticks, it is ready. Alternatively you taste it. Rinse the spaghetti with hot water to get rid of any starchy residue and taste. Serve with mince, add a bit of grate parmesan or cheese and voila. Meal 1 done.


Day 2


You will need to make a white sauce that you will layer with the mince alternately in a glass dish.

To make the white sauce:

1oog butter

125ml Flour

500 – 750 ml milk (depends how runny you like your sauce)

125ml chedder cheese

5ml mustard powder

5ml paprika powder

5ml salt

  1. Melt the butter in a pot
  2. Add flour and mix with butter to make a roux
  3. Add the milk to your roux
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Add the mustard powder, salt, paprika, cheese  and whisk to make a smoothe sauce

Layer a glass dish with hot white sauce, lasagne sheets, hot mince and lasagne sheets. Repeat this sequence and end with a thick a layer of white sauce and grated cheese. Let is stand for about 20 minutes.

Bake in an oven at 180 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

Grill for 5 minutes to crisp the cheese. Voila, your day 2 meal is done.


Day 3 

Cottage Pie 

You will need to peel and boil about 4 large potatoes. Once the potatoes are oiled to a point of mushiness, drain the water and mash the potatoes with 1/2 – 1 cup of milk, 1 Tbs of butter and salt to taste.

Layer a glass dish with mince and top with the mashed potatoe.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes. Grill for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are brown.

Voila, day three meal is done.

cottage pie

Three meals for the price of one! Thats my kinda budget cooking!

Till next time. Xoxo

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