Save with beef

Farm Forum

I love summer, but sometimes it can provide challenges when trying to feed the family healthy, enjoyable meals while staying within a budget. As my children have grown over the past few years, so have their appetites and food preferences. The one thing that has stayed true and that I can count on is their love for beef’s great flavor, which thankfully pairs well with many fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In my quest not to break the bank on groceries, I’m going to share some easy tips to keep the family happy and healthy with beef’s saving value.

Here are a few basic suggestions when shopping for beef.

1. Consider cost-per-serving ratio. One serving of protein is equivalent to 4-ounces of raw or 3-ounces of cooked beef. On average, one pound (16-ounces) of beef is about $4. That yields about $1 per 3-ounce cooked serving. Beef is packed with 10 essential vitamins and minerals and that makes a lot of delicious nutrients in $1. Now that’s value you can count on.

2. Purchase family-size packs/bundles. Look for family packs or bundles in the meat case that have a variety of items for a lower price-per-pound. If you can’t use all the items at one meal then simply freeze them or use the cooked leftovers for sandwiches, salads or stir-fry the next day.

3. Go small. If you don’t need a full pound of beef then only purchase the amount needed. Simply visit the meat case to find perfectly portioned steaks and roasts. You will get high-quality beef at just the right size and just the right price.

4. Buy in bulk and cut your own. By purchasing larger cuts of beef and slicing them into steaks at home you will save at least $1 or $2 per pound. You can then freeze individually or use for your next meal.

5. Hunt for bargains. Every week your local grocers will

offer specials on beef. Watch the paper for coupons and deals. When you find a good deal be sure to buy enough to stock your freezer. Uncooked ground beef can be properly stored in the freezer for approximately 3-4 months. Uncooked steaks and roasts can be frozen for approximately 4-12 months.

6. Ask for help. Talk to your local butcher or meat counter clerk. Their job is to help you find the most appropriate cut of meat to suit your needs. You can also look for corner recipe labels on packages of beef for helpful information. Or, if you have a smart phone, you can visit, even while shopping, to find helpful information regarding cuts, nutrition and recipes.

This delicious Two-Bite Burgers recipe is a great value for any meal. Pair it with your favorite fruit, vegetable and a serving of low-fat or non-fat dairy and you have a no-sweat, budget friendly meal. For more healthy beef recipes and information contact Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, at 605-224-4722 or visit

Two-bite Burgers


1 pound Ground Beef (96% lean)

9 whole wheat small hamburger or slider buns, split, divided

1/4 cup minced onion

1 egg white, slightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Topping Variations

Mango-Pineapple Salsa, Spicy Caramelized Onions or Creamy Yogurt-Feta Sauce


1. Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Cover; pulse on and off, to form fine crumbs.

2. Combine Ground Beef, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, onion, egg white, garlic, salt and pepper in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight 1/2-inch thick mini patties.

3. Place patties on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 9 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 10 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 F, turning occasionally. About 1-1/2 minutes before burgers are done, place rolls, cut sides down, on grid. Grill until lightly toasted.

4. Serve burgers in buns with Topping(s) Variation(s), as desired. Close sandwiches.

Mango-Pineapple Salsa: Combine 1/2 cup finely diced ripe mango or 1/2 cup finely diced drained jarred ripe mango, 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or 1/3 cup drained canned crushed pineapple, 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato, 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalape–o pepper, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 1 cup.

Spicy Caramelized Onions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 3 cups thinly sliced yellow onions and 2 to 3 medium thinly sliced red or green jalape–o peppers or 6 thinly sliced baby sweet red bell peppers. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Cook 15 to 18 minutes or until onions are very tender and golden brown, stirring frequently. Season with salt, as desired. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Creamy Yogurt-Feta Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup reduced-fat or nonfat plain or Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup reduced-fat or regular crumbled feta cheese, 2 tablespoons minced onion and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Test Kitchen Tips: To broil burgers, preheat broiler. Place burgers on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat element. Broil 9 to 10 minutes to medium (160 F) doneness, turning the burgers once. Place buns, cut sides up, on broiler pan so surface is 2 to 3 inches from heat element. Broil 45 to 60 seconds or until lightly toasted.

Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program.