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Frugal Recipe: Beef Stew

With the positive response from my last frugal chicken recipe, I will post another one of my favorite recipes.  Beef Stew is high in protein and flavour, low in fat and cost.  In addition, beef stew is usually cooked in bulk so that it will feed a large family and/or multiple meals.

What you'll need:

  • 1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or other oil of choice. 
  • 1lb Stewing beef
  • 1 tsp Oregano/Rosemary (or other herb of choice)
  • 1 large can of diced tomato
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4-5 fresh mushrooms
  • 1-2 tbsp corn starch

How to prepare/cook:

  1. Wash then slice and dice potatoes, celery, carrot and mushrooms to bite sized pieces.
  2. Heat up a large pot over the stove and add olive oil.
  3. When it's nice and hot (starts to bubble), put in the stewing beef cook only a few minutes until sides are brown.  You want to leave the center a bit undone as it will slowly cook itself during the rest of the process.
  4. Add salt and pepper to the beef.
  5. Add celery, potato, mushrooms, carrots.  Stir for a few minutes.
  6. Add can of diced tomatoes, pepper, sugar, oregano (or herb of choice)
  7. Bring to boil, let simmer on low heat for around 30-45 min.
  8. Prepare small bowl of 1-2 tablespoon(s) corn starch and a few ml's of water.  Add enough water so that the corn starch has a thick consistency when stirred.
  9. If the stew isn't thick enough after simmering for the alloted time, stir and add a mixture of cornstarch and water.

Voila, supper for the whole family with perhaps enough for lunch the next day.  I can see this recipe working great in a slow cooker also.

photo credit: jetalone

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Geoff April 22, 2008, 11:22 am


  • Avatar Dividendgrowth April 22, 2008, 11:42 am

    A pretty frugal recipe is to eat a lentil soup or a beans soup. With lentils costing about 60 cents for a packet, you can buy some seasonings for 1-2 dollars, a diced tomatoes and tomatoe sauce cans for 50-70 cents and there you go- a meal that would last for one person for about 5 days ( lunch and dinner).

  • Avatar MikeG April 22, 2008, 12:21 pm

    @ DividendGrowth

    I love to quinoa and brown rice mixed with lentils and some sauces or spices. Its extremely cheap, quite healthy (frozen veggies can be “healthier” (in a vitamins sense) than fresh depending on how long after being picked they are consumed).

    Another frugal tip: Eat less in general, many north americans overeat, if you’re gaining weight, odds are you’re eating too much. Also some people believe you may live longer if you eat less (see http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/2004/07/09/calorierestriction.php or google “live longer eat less” )

    With a possible worldwide famine coming, you can help mitigate the rising costs of food by eating less.


  • Avatar Canadian Dream April 22, 2008, 1:06 pm


    You’ve been in my cookbook again! Actually I use almost the same recipe, but I put the the entire thing in a slow cooker first thing in the morning. Then I cook it all day and just about 30 minutes before eating I add the finishing touch: 1 tsp curry. Don’t ask me why it works so great, but I love that taste of this in my stew.


  • Avatar Paolo April 22, 2008, 1:58 pm

    Mmmm. Add polenta to the side, and it’s just like nonna’s.

  • Avatar JR April 22, 2008, 2:39 pm


    To add.

    Take the wonderful FT succulent stew with the curry added, placed in a casserole dish & topped with a flakey pastry crust then baked for 30-minutes.

    Alternate to crust, dumplings inside, served with polenta (made with yellow flour) or for those on a diet, simply serve the basic FT stew with swiss chard on the side

  • Avatar JR April 22, 2008, 8:59 pm


    I believe that everyone has made your recipe of FT stew, eaten it, and are now happily full and sleepy.

    Quiet 2-nite FT

  • Avatar Sarlock April 22, 2008, 11:46 pm

    Great choice… there are so many varieties of the above recipe… just substitute a few ingredients for others and you have an endless array of flavour combinations that will keep your stews interesting and delicious.

    And not only are stews frugal from a money perspective, they are also frugal on the time… they take a while to prepare, but subsequent servings are as easy as 10 minutes in the microwave. Very helpful for families with two working parents!

  • Avatar Diana Walker April 19, 2010, 10:19 pm

    I like to do my stews in pressure cooker, retains vitamins and very frugal on energy. Cook a stew in less than 15 mins and mostly on Min setting(Once the steam is brought to pressure, usually about 5 mins) The meat is pull apart tender every time.

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