2 Simple Poor Man's Dinner Ideas You Can Make With Ground Beef

I’m going to be making two dinner recipes that I call “Poor Man’s Meals.” These poor man’s dinner ideas are really good. I’m going to use half a pound of hamburger (ground beef) for each meal. It will stretch and feed my family of five and even have leftovers.

Poor man's dinner ideas video

Poorman’s beef stroganoff

I priced out the ingredients at my local Aldi and Walmart, as of October 2022 in Tennessee.

  • 4 ounces cream cheese .80c
  • 8 ounces sour cream .85c 
  • ½ pound of hamburger $1.92
  • Can of mushrooms $1.16
  • Garlic and onion powder
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 16 ounces of egg noodles .72c

I’ll use half the ground beef, half the cream cheese, half of the sour cream, and half the package of egg noodles. I’ll use the whole 4-ounce can of mushrooms for the homemade cream of mushroom. You’ll need spices.

Making homemade cream of mushroom

Homemade cream of mushroom


  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 heaping TBSP flour
  • ⅓ of the can of mushrooms and a TBS juice
  • 1 cup of milk

1. Cook the mushrooms

The first thing we need is 2 tablespoons of butter to melt in a saucepan. As it melts, open the can of mushrooms. Put a couple of dollops of mushrooms and juice into the pan while the butter is melting. When the butter is melted, let the mushrooms cook in the butter for about 30 seconds to a minute. 

Adding flour

2. Add flour

Put 2 heaping tablespoons of flour into the pot with the melted butter and mushrooms. It will look like thick playdough, which is the consistency I want. Stir and cook constantly for a minute. 

Adding milk

3. Add milk

Add in 1 cup milk–I eyeballed it so I can’t give you an exact measurement but you’ll know how much to add. Whisk it in the pot to thicken it. 

Letting the homemade cream of mushroom thicken

4. Let it thicken

That’s how you make homemade cream of mushroom soup. It’ll thicken up as you let the pot sit for a few minutes. Set the pot aside.

Browning the beef

5. Brown the beef

Put half a pound of ground hamburger meat into a skillet to brown it.

Seasoning the ground beef

6. Season the beef

Add seasoning to your taste, such as onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Cooking the noodles

7. Cook the egg noodles

While the beef is cooking, begin cooking the noodles. Put a half package in a pot of hot water to boil.

Poor man's dinner with ground beef

8. Drain beef

Drain the fat from the cooked beef. Once it’s drained, add it back to the pan and add the cream of mushroom soup. 

Adding sour cream

9. Add sour cream

Add 8 ounces of sour cream to the pan.

Adding cream cheese

10. Add cream cheese

Add 4 ounces of cream cheese to the pan.

Adding garlic powder

11. Add garlic powder

Put a big teaspoon of garlic powder into the mixture.


Adding mushrooms

12. Add mushrooms

Add the remaining mushrooms from the can and mix it all up. 

Mixing the ingredients together to melt the cream cheese

13. Mix the sauce

As you mix the sauce the cream cheese will melt. Here’s the result.

Mixing noodles and sauce together

14. Mix noodles and sauce

Mix the cooked noodles and sauce together to make the final result.

Poor man's dinner ideas with ground beef

Poorman’s beef stew

  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • ½ pound of hamburger meat
  • Can of tomato paste
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of water

This recipe goes in the crockpot in the morning. It cooks on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 

Browning the beef

1. Brown the beef

First, you’ll brown the half pound of ground hamburger beef you have left. 

Filling the crockpot

2. Fill the crockpot

As the beef browns, add items to the crockpot, including carrots, potatoes (I cut them in half), 2 cups of water and a whole can of tomato paste.

Adding seasoning
Garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano

3. Add spices

I added spices like 2 to 5 pinches of garlic powder and onion powder, and 2 pinches of oregano. 

Adding the ground beef to the crockpot

4. Add beef

Dump in the beef and add a few pinches of salt and pepper on top.

Stirring the crockpot

5. Stir 

Stir the mixture in the crockpot, cover, and cook.

Poor man's dinner ideas

Here’s the stew once it’s done. There’s something about the warmth of beef stew in the winter and in the cold. I love it, it’s so cozy.

Poor man's dinner ideas

Those were two of our favorite poor man’s meals. They are so delicious, cheap, and easy to make. Let me know if you have any great poor man's dinner ideas with ground beef or other meal ideas you’d like to share.

Join the conversation
3 of 10 comments
  • Nysaya708 Nysaya708 on Nov 12, 2022

    As a child we had a dish also call "Poor Man Dinner" we used Macaroni mix with crush tomatoes (you can buy)

    cook macaroni-

    cook 3 strips of bacon, in the fat, soften chopped onions, then put in canned crush tomatoes and 1Tsp sugar ( cut acid) mix macaroni tomato mixture together in a dish, the cook bacon put over the top of macaroni mixture and put into oven at 350 covered with foil for 30 min. Discard the bacon after cooking. Serve with cornbread or biscuits. Note: This do not have to be cooked in oven, just keep in a pot. Don't over cook pasta.

  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jan 03, 2024

    What is TBS juice?