Last week I attended a blogging event and was able to meet some local New England bloggers and it was such a wonderful opportunity. While having lunch I was chatting with Wendy Thomas from Simple Thrift about an experiment she’s been working on called The Great Hamburger Experiment. As I listened on I was so intrigued I asked her if she would write a Guest Post and share this experiment with my readers so hear it is. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
The Great Hamburger Experiment
by Wendy Thomas of Simple Thrift
Early one Monday morning, after my 6 kids had all gotten on their respective school buses, I grabbed my cup of coffee and began going through the major news websites before I started my work for the day.
On article on the ABCnews.com site in particular grabbed my attention. Written by Scott Mayerowitz of the ABC News Business Unit, it was called: Recession Bargain or Fool’s Challenge? Meet the 50-pound Burger: Over sized Eating Could Be Your Ticket to Free Meal on ET.
Always interested in finding ways to cut our food bills I anxiously pulled up the story and started reading. Instead of finding any sort of food bargains, though it was an article about restaurants that offered enormous food challenges, the implication being that it was a good deal if you could complete the challenge as most restaurants would then wave your bill.
Mayerowitz described 72 oz. steaks served with a baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail FREE if you could finish all of that in 60 minutes (apparently the record for consuming this was 8 minutes and 52 seconds).
Not wanting to lose out on the experience, Mayerowitz along with a super-sized friend decide to take the challenge of the 50 pound burger. With its homemade bun and a carpet of cheese, it also includes a full head of lettuce and several tomatoes. They had 3 hours in which to finish the burger.
They only made it half-way and got the rest boxed to go. The bill? A mere 159.95.
After I finished this article, I left the following comment and started my day.
At a writer’s group meeting, the story still haunted me and I my friends about the story. I was just floored at the sheer waste of food and the comment that these sorts of food challenges made about our obese and over-indulgent society.
I started to imagine how I could feed my family of 6 children and 2 adults with those 50 pounds of hamburger. Our food budget is frugal as it is, with our weekly food bill rarely going over 140.00, but if I had 50 pounds of beef to supply some protein? I wondered how long I could make that stretch, and then I started to come up with actual meals I could make.
I left another message on the ABCnews website:
And so a plan was hatched. My children not being new to my history of crazy plans, (we’ve decluttered the house and removed 5,000 pounds of stuff and we’ve had a Holiday celebration on a budget of 0.00) all rolled their eyes. Mom is up to it again murmured the oldest one. But when I explained to them about the article and how that 50 pounds of meet could be used for so much more instead of just being wasted like that on two people they started to get interested.
We could make chili said one, mini hamburgers, add it to red sauce and pasta said the others. Before long we had a list of meals that could be made from those 50 pounds of beef.
So let’s try it I said to the kids. With a small amount of reluctance they and my husband all agreed.
Here is meal number 7.
Meal 7 – Taco Bake with Cheddar Biscuits
This is also one of those great recipes where if you need to make more, you just raid the pantry and add more vegetables. Sliced potatoes would have worked, as would have peas, broccoli, cauliflower, or anything else you have on hand.
I’ve had requests from the kids to make this dish again soon and to put it in the “family favorites” folder.
For this meal I used 1 pound of ground beef.
1 pound ground beef
1 can Corn (15 oz.)
1 can Vegall (15 oz)
1 large can white beans (1lb 13 oz)
1 large jar of salsa
1 package taco seasoning mix
3 cups of biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup of water or milk (I used water)
Brown the ground beef and drain. In the fry pan add the corn, Vegall, beans, salsa, and taco seasoning. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Place the taco mixture into a large 9 by 13 casserole dish. In a separate bowl combine the biscuit mix, the water or milk, and the shredded cheddar. Drop by spoonful on top of the taco bake mixture. (Smaller biscuits work better than dropping large ones on top). Bake in a 425 oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the biscuits have slightly browned. Serve with salad, although this can make a meal in itself.
Wendy has a column in the Nashua Telegraph and is a free lance journalist for regional newspapers and magazines. She also write for the Examiner.com/Manchester. Visit Wendy at Simple Thrift to follow her along on The Great Hamburger Experiment