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mama’s meat sauce.

I’m totally getting into this whole organic thing.

A lot of people ask me what I do about incorporating organic food into our budget and here’s where I’m at on it:

1.  I buy organic as often as I can for the items that we (and especially the kids) eat the most.  Applesauce, milk, apples, berries, grapes, lettuce, etc.

2.  If I can, I’ll incorporate additional organic foods into the budget.  This includes additional fruits and veggies on the organic totem pole, as well as meats like chicken and beef.  Especially if they’re on sale.

SO last week I found organic, grass-fed beef for $3.99/pound and I put it to use on this super easy meat sauce which I tossed on pasta.  The kids went ga-ga for it.  No joke.  I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.  Emma didn’t seem to care that there were massively large pieces of onions in the sauce which I (quite lazily) chopped.

What about you?  What’s your take on incorporating organic into your budget?

Where’s the beef?

It’s right here, with my gargantuan onion pieces.

10 minutes of chopping and cooking, 1 hour of simmering, and you’re good to go!

I harvested the basil from our garden – save some cash by growing your own herbs!

Easy.  Breezy.  Yummy.  Kid-friendly.


Easy Breezy Meat Sauce

(a FFF original – serves 6)

What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey or chicken

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 cup chopped italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped basil

2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1/4 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese


Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add garlic and stir frequently, cooking 1 minute.

Add ground meat to the onions and cook until brown. Drain most of the excess fat. Add salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and basil. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes with their juice.  Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover skillet. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Stir in cheese and serve.

TOTAL:  $9.63, or about $1.60 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


283 calories per serving (based on ground beef)

12 grams of fat

7 carbs

36 grams protein

Did you give it a try?  Leave me a comment below or head over to Facebook and let me know what you think!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. The only issue I have with organic beef in my town is that it comes all the way from Australia! That’s crazy. I’m on the hunt for local, grass-fed beef that doesn’t travel thousands of miles to get here. Sometimes eating healthy can be so difficult!

    Love your recipe, though – your photos have my mouth watering right now at 7:52 am!

    October 18, 2012
  2. Yum! Looks excellent. I wish I could afford local organic meats right now, I feel like if I don’t do it all the time then how would I benefit from it some of the time (if that makes any sense!)? Did you find that there was a discernible taste difference in the meat, or was it just overall excellent?

    October 18, 2012
    • I found the meat to be more flavorful, but probably if I had it without all the extra flavors I would have noticed it even more. We buy it when we can too, which isn’t a lot. I’ve actually switched to more vegetarian dishes in light of that.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      October 19, 2012
  3. Liz #

    We buy most of our food from local markets and so most of what we eat is grown or raised according to organic principles. Taste is totally the driver for us! And your meat sauce looks awesome!

    October 19, 2012

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