Monday, February 18, 2008

1950s budget menu: roast beef, 3 meals

I thought I knew a lot about reducing food waste.

I have a lot to learn. This budget menu alternates "company fare" with meatless meals and leftovers, creatively repackaged.

Take yesterday's pot roast. Tonight, it's thinly sliced against the grain. The pan juices reduced to a gravy for french dip with rolls.

Normally, I would stop right there. But tomorrow we are scheduled to lunch on beef hash.

I chopped the "irregular" end of the roast beef and cubed the remaining pot roast potatoes. Leftovers will be shredded and thrown in the mix.

Thus a $5 sirloin tip roast stretches through 3 meals, '50s style.

What do you do to stretch roast beef?

Click here to return to the complete 1950s budget cooking experiment!


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a great way to stretch a Pot Roast! I want to know where you found the great bargain, I could really use those prices and savings too :)

Anonymous said...

well, I love the 1950's menu. I have always got 3-4 meals with a roast. I have used the last bit of the roast to go into a big pot of soup. Not so much the hash, but that sounds really good too. I like to make hot roast beef sandwiches and serve it on home made rolls with lots of gravy and mashed potatoes. (I am a girl of the South) Thanks for taking the time to share your menu. The pictures are great. Roxie

Martha said...

I follow in my mother's footsteps - and make a stew with remaining beef. If I have a lot left over I will also shred it and make BBQ's for sandwiches during the lunch hour the next day.

I love what you are doing with your week. I keep checking in to see how it is coming.


Anonymous said...

Leftover shredded beef can be simmered with Italian seasonings/dressing and a few pepperochinis and some of their juice. Aldi carries these in their pickle section. 1/3 jar or to taste per recipe. Serve on a toasted roll with or without melted cheese for an Italian beef sandwich. I have served this to casual company. It is great made ahead in the crockpot. When I do it with the whole roast instead of leftovers, I use the Italian dressing mix packet that Aldi's carries.

Or, you can use your fave tex-mex seasonings/salsa to simmer it and the result is taco/burrito/enchilada filling. It is great with a few black beans added as atopping for a taco salad.

This is a great series. It always gives me good ideas to see how someone converts a week's worth of groceries efficiently and creatively into a week's worth of meals. Thanks - Melissa

Anonymous said...

Stew is the best made with leftover roast and veggies. I made some for the first time recently and it is the best stew I have ever had(if I do say so myself). :)


Anonymous said...

I make soup with leftover pot roast. The soup usually lasts for two meals.

BTW, did anyone else see the Aldi insert in the Sunday paper? I got all excited when I saw the headline that said something like "Feed a Family of 4 for $10." At first I thought it was talking about $10 for a week's worth of dinners, but it really meant $10 for one dinner! I couldn't believe it. If I spent $10 for each dinner, we'd be broke! I truly expected better from Aldi. To be fair, the portions were large, and they included some things, like parmesan cheese, that would be used more than once, but still!

Love this series, Meredith!

Anonymous said...

I am very curious as to what the average family of 4 spends per week in groceries. I have a feeling that I spend WAY more than a lot of you do. I am working on a new budget and wonder what a realistic food budget could be. I am willing (indeed, want and need) to economize but still want very healthy food for my family. This series is interesting and the photos make leftovers look appealing (although I suspect you will sick of that roast by the time it is gone!)

Anonymous said...

We like to do hash with our roast beef. I also recently discovered veggie hash. Just take a bunch of random veggies from your fridge, chop them up small, and fry like meat/potato hash. It's really good for leftover bits of veggies and forgotten carrots or other things from the back of the veggie drawer. The only trick is to separate the slow-cooking veg from the fast-cooking, or fully-cooked. So good. I am finding lots of good things to do with leftovers, and I think that one skill is the most frugal, most money-saving thing I've ever done.

Anyway, back to roast beef. You can chop up your beef and potatoes as for hash, then wrap them in a pie crust, and you have pasties. I'm enjoying your week of 1950's eating!

Momma Nic said...

When the kids were younger, our 3rd meal from a roast was always, a barley stew, from the beef and a large can of tomato juice, plus barley and a few veggies. Oh yeah, and corn bread. Yum

Anonymous said...

I will share with you that my weekly food budget for our family of 4 (husband, 2 boys, age 8 and 6and myself) is about $100.00 a week. That is breakfast, lunchs, and our supper. I also use the local bread outlet store. I make most of our food from scratch. That is also to feed our 4 dogs. That is not our cleaning supplies. (cleaning supplies comes from my home keeping budget) I am in south central Texas. We do not have an Aldi store. I shop the local stores H.E.B. and Randall's. Sometimes I venture into Wal*Mart. (I am not a huge fan of Wal*Mart) I shop for loss leaders, I keep a stocked pantry. I also have 3 freezers and 2 full size fridges. (why? Because I buy food for a day care full of kids, but I keep that food budget seperate)
I also have a garden. Here in Texas we are lucky to be able to grow a lot year round. We are getting spinach and lettuce now. Roxie

Patti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robyn said...

We used to have "recycled" roast over several meals every single week, when I was growing up.

Meal one: roast, with roasted potatoes and carrots

Meal two: roast beef sandwiches

Meal three: beef stew, corn muffins

Meal four: chow mein over rice

Meal five: bbq beef sandwiches = shred roast, add bbq sauce, serve on buns.

Meal six: use the rest in soup

It was comforting to have the same cycle repeat each week with the saturday roast. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith,
Please share your hash recipe and let us know how it is. I'd like to try that with my leftover roast. I also am very interested in what other's grocery budgets are, and how they stay within those limits. I know I spend way too much and seriously need to find ways to economize! A series on grocery budgets would be helpful and fun!

TJ said...

Very much like what you are doing. Some leftovers become soup (which I love because it's so tender) others are sandwiches (french dips or BBQ), or even more often Stroganoff, also I like to take the chunky end and cook it in spicy tomato sauce and shred for tacos.

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

Sounds like you are really having fun with this. :) Yummy!!

Unknown said...

My grandmother ( a 50's housewife)used to finely chop the last of the roast and mix it with a little mayo and sweet pickle relish. I loved it and still make it when I have leftovers.

Jennifer said...

You are so adventurous to be trying this menu, way to go. I usually stop after the french dip sandwiches, next time will have to try the hash.

Jamie - Family Focused Fun said...

This is a very intriguing series you are writing here! What a marvelous experiment!

Mary said...

I used leftover roast for many of the same things others mentioned - soup, sandwiches, stew. One thing not mentioned that goes over well is pot pie. I mix the meat and veggies (leftover &/or frozen) with beef gravy and top it with a pie crust or leftover mashed potatoes.

Kacie said...

I really love these posts! It's so inspiring to hear different ways of stretching things. Keep it up!

Jeana said...

Chop it and mix it with BBQ sauce to make BBQ sandwiches. And, of course, beef stew.

dixymiss said...

Nothing unique to add, eXcept to echo previous comments... I use leftover roast beef (or steak) to make soup, pot pie, stew or sammies. However, we rarely have enough meat left for two make-overs ~ I usually only get one bonus meal. Hmm, what does this mean...? Am I just fiXing a smaller roast? Or, are we a pack of ravinous carnivores?! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I was going to suggest a couple of things others have posted, so I won't repeat. But just wanted to say I learned of more ways to stretch a pot roast from this post and the others comments. Thanks!

April said...

I don't think anyone mentioned shepherd's pie? That's a great one to stretch leftover meat by using lots of veggies, a little gravy and lots of inexpensive potatoes.

We're a big fan of dead animals here. The live ones are hard to bite into. :)

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Hmmm... I don't really know how to answer this because I don't generally make new meals out of old. We just keep eating the leftovers for lunch until they're gone or we're sick of them.

However, I guess I do economize to some degree because I usually cut roasts in half before freezing or using. It's just two of us, so a big roast is too much.

On the odd occasion we haven't finished off a roast as leftovers, then I might toss the meat into a soup.

Heather Anne said...

The U.P.'ers in upper MI would make a mean Pasty with your left overs - and I would too since my hubby loves them! Mmmmm! It's an old Cornish miner's fare (that's what we were told)- hearty, portable and satisfying - but hard on the heart ( lard pastry). Best suited to a physically hard working - calorie burning person I guess!
We just finished a roast that was delicious - and lasted 4 meals - the children are making up for a month of poor appetites, so it didn't stretch as far as I'd hoped!

50s Housewife said...

I make "pot roast ragu" if we have enough left over. We love it and it uses up both the roast itself and the leftover vegetables. The recipe is here.

Anonymous said...

I shred it and make a simple tomato sauce with cumin, saute some onions and peppers - and voila! Ropa vieja! I serve with white rice and black beans.

Then I use the leftover black beans and do black bean quesadillas with (of course) leftover corn that we grilled a previous night that I cut off the cob and froze. I'll throw in a little red onion - and cilantro if I've got any in the garden - and maybe even a little bbq sauce. And of course cheese. :)

I always try to get my menus to morph into one another - it really does save so much money and is really a good, efficient way to use leftovers (which my hubby thinks he hates, but which ironically he gets all the time unbeknownst to him!)


Huskerbabe said...

Great use of your leftovers! My mom always used to make hash and then put in the oven with biscuits on top. YUM.
I like cornish pasties but my favorite use of leftover roast beef is to mix it with homemade egg noodles and serve over mashed potatoes.

VoiceInTheWilderness said...

I found your blog through a search for local health food stores/co-ops. I am really enjoying the 50s menu posts!

rural momma said...

"Stuff on a Shingle"
and even at times.......
Dog Food!!! ;0)

We are a family of 6 and have been spending $100.00-$150.00 a week in groceries. This includes everything from food to paper products to pet food.

We use the discount food store, bread store, coupons, rebates, ect...

I would love to get our budget down more, so I keep working at it. :0)

Marsha said...

I save bits and bobs of meats (roasts, the one or two slices of bacon left in the package before we go away, a smidge of a summer's London broil indulgence) in a large freezer container and make bigos at least once in the winter. It's a Polish "hunters' stew" of chopped meats, sour kraut, cabbage, onion, mushrooms and the remainders of an unfinished bottle of heart read wine. It's wonderful, warming and and nicely finishes all those unfinished meats in one go.

Stir fry is on the menu here, too, to use up leftovers of both meats and veggies. You'd be amazed at what can go deliciously on top of a pizza, too!

Cyndi Lewis said...


We don't have leftovers very often because there usually aren't any. Should I be cooking bigger portions? We are a family of six (38, 38, 11, 9, 7 and 3)and spend about $125 a week on food.

Diane said...

I will make a 3 - 4 pound pot roast in the slow cooker. I'm single, and get a LOT of milage out of it -

As is, with oven roasted veggies (and ususally with company over)

Chop up and freeze some in leftover gravy, to have over baked potatoes, noodles or rice

Slice some and freeze in sandwich-size portions

Use about 8 ounces in "Hearty Vegetable Stew seasoned with Beef" - potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, peas in a rich thickened broth, with just that bit of beef for flavor

I have the pleasure of eating beef more often, with only having had to do the long cooking thing once.

Anonymous said...

I have fixed roast soup with our leftovers for a long while now. Our family and everyone who tries it, loves it! Here's a link to when I had posted the recipe on my blog.

Anonymous said...

This is the link. I somehow didn't put the whole addy to it. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Here, leftover roast is made into a number of things: pot pie is a favorite (and any vegetables served with the roast on the first go 'round will be part of this), French dip sandwiches (if I have held back any of the roast juice from making gravy), beef barley soup, & a sandwich filling made with chopped dill pickle, the beef chopped very fine, & some mayonnaise (I'm not particularly crazy about this but my husband loves it!).

I'm loving your week of experimenting with this menu, Meredith. It's a good series!


Anonymous said...

I'm sure other's have already said this one....but I make Beef Stew.

I take remaining roast, carrots, potatoes, onions...chop them up into bite sized bits...throw them in a stew pot...add enough water to just cover them...throw in a beef boullion cube or spoonful of beef base...a small can of tomato sauce or paste (depending on whats on hand)...bring to a simmer and serve :).

Off to read what other's have done!

nancyr said...

Beef and barley soup.

Harmony said...

I'm with EwokGirl. We just eat the roast until it's done. That way we only have to buy ingredients for one meal (no barley for soup, no bread for french dips, etc).

When my husband was single, he used to cook enough spaghetti for a month, and then eat only spaghetti for that month. Needless to say, he doesn't really care about eating one roast for three or four days. :-)

But I do love how creative all you ladies are!

Amy said...

I'd just like to find the tip roast for $5, to start with! :) I always buy reduced meat, but I think the cheapest I've paid is about $8.

I like to use leftover roast in tortillas with a little salsa and cheese. I've also done beef & noodles with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I could not take it any more. I am new to reading your blogand I love it !!

I also have so enjoyed reading about your 1950's menu and recipes so I clicked on the link and bought the book this morning. I can't wait to get it.

Thanks for your wonder post and pic's.

I plan on coming here often to read more.
Pat in Tenn

Anonymous said...

I try to stretch roast beef in to at least 3 meals. I'll make the pot roast for the first meal. Then I'll use half the leftover meat and make beef salad for sandwiches -- just grind up the meat, add a little mayo, sweet relish, salt and pepper and serve on sandwich bread. The third meal I will take the remaining meat & vegies from the pot roast and make a pot of beef and noodles or vegie beef soup (adding more vegies if needed). So yummy.


Susie said...


I'm really into stretching out potroast (I do this every few weeks). I also make sandwiches with pepperochini and cheese. Or shredded with salsa and taco seasoning for tacos/enchiladas/burritos. Or put the roast with some gravy over toast for openfaced beef sandwiches. In fact, yesterday I used a roast (cut it in half, raw) and made my dad's hungarian goulash (meat, peppers, onions, papprika, oregano) that can be served with potatoes, spaetzle, or egg noodles. The other half, I thinly sliced and put in a fajita marinade.

You've inspired me with these posts, as I have dusted off grandma's cookbook from the 30's to see what gems I could make.


Sandy said...

I stretch and stretch and stretch! Even if I have a little bit leftover, I'll freeze. Then pull out several bags of "leftovers in the freezer" to make ONE meal!
YAY for leftovers!

Tammy and Parker said...

I can get two meals from one pot roast if I take out what I need for the second meal before I serve the first.

I feed a family of 8 each day. The only way I could get more than two meals is if I cooked the roast but didn't serve a roast dinner.....just used it as an ingredient in other meals.

I use leftover roast in my chili instead of hamburger. We love it.

The best thing I have done in a very long time is purchase a half of cow. My friend's dad raises just a few head of beef a year. The way they are raised would classify them as organic beef.

At a half a cow we pay .98 a pound. For everything from hamburger to roasts. It comes wrapped and ready to freeze.

Tammy and Parker

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying this series! We are a family of 9, soooo...a $5 pot roast would just about be 1 meal at our house. If I'm lucky there's a piece leftover for my dh to take to work on a sandwich the next day.

Martha A. said...

Beef is so expensive usually, so we do not usually ever have roast....
But i would do what you did usually! We love hash!!

Anonymous said...

Enough with the pot roast already! You are probably too busy to put up another post what with having to bake a cake for dinner, get that hot potato salad going, etc. I'm sorry, but personally, I would have to pass on tonight's dinner and do some major subsitution (except for the cake, of course!lol) Will your children really eat boiled cabbage and hot potato salad?

Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) said...

Amazing! My dad does this kind of thing so well, and while I picked up his handyman around the house traits... I soooo didn't pick up the ability to use food wisely. :-(

Amy said...

I would have never thought to make hash out of it. Wow! It sounds like you are learning a lot just as much as you are teaching! Can't wait to see what else you cook up.

Amy said...

Oh my gosh, my husband wishes I could do things like this. My mom is pretty good at it but it isn't natual to me. I could spend a lot of my weekend figuring out how to plan and do it but, sadly, I don't. Maybe reading you will inspire me! (It was good to meet you last night!)

Unknown said...

Great ideas! I'll do stew, then recycle that the next night by thickening it then adding a biscuit or pie crust topping--pot pie! Easy, and the kids love it.

Meredith said...

BTW, did anyone else see the Aldi insert in the Sunday paper? I got all excited when I saw the headline that said something like "Feed a Family of 4 for $10."

I think Aldi already attract those of us who know our rock-bottom grocery prices.

I'd say that ad was directed to families just becoming more conscious of food prices--in the same way that Goodwill rolled out a huge TV ad campaign to attract middle class shoppers who could afford to shop elsewhere.

Meredith said...

Please share your hash recipe and let us know how it is.

I believe our readers have given us some great hash ideas. I've never made it before,so I followed directions I found in another vintage book.

I simply diced the leftover cooked potatoes and finely chopped the roast beef along with any of the gravy/juices that were left.

I heated a small iron skillet with a tiny bit of butter, then put the chopped meat/potatoes to a depth of 1/2 inch. I let them cook (reheat) for several minutes letting a sort of crust develop on the bottom.

Then I flipped it out onto a plate. My grandmother used to eat this with ketchup.

I was pleasantly surprised at how changing the texture of the roast beef also changed the taste.

Meanwhile, my toddler could not get enough of it. Excellent kid food!

Meredith said...

We don't have leftovers very often because there usually aren't any. Should I be cooking bigger portions?

I think the idea is not to produce leftovers as it is to use what you do have leftover creatively.

You might save yourself time by deliberately buying a larger roast and cooking it all at once, planning to set aside half for a different meal the next day.

I agree with one of the other commenters that it is important to set aside the planned portion BEFORE serving the first portion. Otherwise, the family can eat to empty the platter provided!

Another key aspect of these 1950's meals that I've noticed is the plethora of side dishes and breads. All those extras reduce the total amount of meat eaten at one meal, making you feel more satisfied.

I know I usually cook just one protein and two vegetables, so having the experience of all these side dishes is a pleasant surprise!

Meredith said...

I'd just like to find the tip roast for $5, to start with! :) I always buy reduced meat, but I think the cheapest I've paid is about $8.

Amazingly, this roast was not on the reduced rack. Sirloin tip roast was on sale for $2.79/lb this week. That's more than I would usually pay for beef--compared to my reduced rack prices--but it was the cheapest I could find for the purposes of this menu.

Remember, I lost everything in my freezer and fridge the week before.

To compensate for the price, I had to buy a 2.4 lb roast instead of the 4 lb. roast suggested. I wasn't sure if I'd have enough left to stretch into today's lunch, but I did.

Hurrah for sirloin tip roast! It was very lean compared to the chuck I normally buy, with almost no fat in the refrigerated juices.

Meredith said...

I'm sorry, but personally, I would have to pass on tonight's dinner and do some major subsitution (except for the cake, of course!lol) Will your children really eat boiled cabbage and hot potato salad?

I guess we'll find out!

We were lying in bed last night looking over today's menu and giggling at the horribleness of tonight's dinner.

Oh, well, it's all part of the learning experience!

Meredith said...

Oops! Regarding how much our family spends on groceries:

$50 a week, or $200 a month

Primarily through shopping loss leaders and cooking what's on sale seasonally

Meredith said...

Thanks to everyone who offered great suggestions and recipes for stretching roast beef!

I have tried to answer many of the comments above.

Anonymous said...

I must say I am very impressed that can feed a family of 4 on only $50 a week. That just sounds impossible to me. (It seems that just fruit would take a healthy bite out of that.) I would love to see a "normal" menu for a week for your family after this 50's experiment is over.

Kathy said...

Thanks for telling us how you made the hash, I will try that when I make my next roast. I'm sure my toddler will like it, too, he's a little "meat and potatoes" guy! And I impressed that you feed your family of 4 on $50 per week, I am spending too much even as I try to cut back! I buy a lot of fresh fruit and veggies and they aren't inexpensive! Please share more of your secrets!! Where do you shop? Use coupons? Stock up when on sale? I'm newer to your blog, I'm sure you have addressed some of those questions in earlier posts, but maybe you could share again.

Cyndi Lewis said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Meredith!

Laura said...

Wow, such great suggestions. I wrote many of them down. I am trying to learn to be creative with my leftovers. :)
Thanks for sharing your recipe for hash! I am trying that next time too.

Victorian Lady said...

shred, mix with salsa and wrap in a flour tortilla...burrito!


Anonymous said...

Love this series! My mom has cooked a roast every Sunday for as long as I can remember. On Monday, she makes more gravy, puts shredded roast beef in it and serves over rice. On Tuesday, she makes a beef stew (in winter) or vegetable beef soup with cornbread. Her roast was at least 3 lbs. b/c she fed a family of five before my sister and I married...then our husbands and children joined Sunday dinners, which cut down on leftovers. That tradition is almost extinct now, but Dad stills expects to eat roast beef on Sunday, so she has her leftovers back. I didn't imitate her tradition b/c my dear mil raised my hubby on sandwiches and soup for Sunday lunch---something light for churchgoers.
When I do cook a roast, I tend to copy my mom's leftover recipes, which also include BBQ beef sandwiches or beef stroganoff. I've even made shepherd's pie. tchrmomto3

Gini (Hallquist) Young said...

now that's what I'm talking about. I love that kind of "waste not" mentality. I could use a little more of these types of reminders.

Anonymous said...

I usually use my leftover roast to make stovies

I remember my husband once throwing out the leftover roast, he never did that again lol

after reading the comments on here i think i will try making chow mein with some of it next time

I love reading your blog.

Amiyrah said...

I absolutely love your blog! I'm new to it but gravitated right away to your 50's budget posts. When I make a beef roast, it usually gets re-used in a sheppard's pie(get to re-use the potatoes too!), teriyaki beef(I make my own teriyaki sauce....with no mirren in it...its an expensive ingredient) and last but not least a hearty soup, usually with some type of rice or noodle in it. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I feed a family of 6 (sometimes 7 when eldest is home) for 75.00-80.00 a week. I concentrate on produce and meat for the most part and not on packaged foods,snacks,etc. They do get ice cream though.
I have always stretched my meats to last two to three meals. But not as leftovers but as creative makeovers. That roast beef may be roast beef with potatoes first day,second day roast beef sandwiches,third day Chinese fried rice or stroganoff and if there is any leftover at all I would make French onion soup with the leftover diced meat.

I do the same with roast chicken. First day Asian roast chicken and rice and corn/ & salad,second day chow mein or Lettuce wraps with hoisin sauce served with rice or my Thai peanut butter noodles and any leftovers at all(I shred it from the carcass) would be minced into Chinese corn soup with tofu and sesame oil with green onions diced over it.

If it is a Mexican/Spanish chicken roast I make-I make burritos,green chicken enchiladas and at the very end since you need alittle meat only chicken and cheese quesadillas. The trick is at the end make a dish that needs only a little meat which will work.

Anonymous said...

I use my slow cooker roast beef leftovers as a burrito filling.

Next Day.
Shred the amount of Roast Beef you'll need for your burriot's.

Use 1 Burrito season pack and instead of putting in water use Spicy V8. It makes a great sause, add your shredded roast beef and let it simmer down so the liquid is almost gone. Beef has taken in all the good flavor.

Prepare your burrito's with your favorite fillings. Mine is Refried Beans, Tomato's, Black Olives, White Onion diced, Sliced Avacada, Shredded Cheese & Cilantra.

After filling you can either pan fry with a light amount of oil or just pop it in the microwave to heat to taste (I prefer pan fried, the shell is crisp).

Hope you like and it's a great way to stretch a buck.