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Beef Tamale Skillet Dinner – $5 Dinner Challenge

Posted By Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom On January 17, 2011 @ 6:09 pm In $5 Dinner Challenge,Recipes | 12 Comments

Last night I was rummaging through the freezer again, taking an inventory of what needs to be used and what needs to be re-stockpiled.  I uncovered some corn tortillas and ground beef and recalled a recipe that Marissa sent a l.o.n.g. time ago under the “recipes” tab in my inbox. I dug it up and went looking for the rest of the ingredients…

(And in the process did a little jig as I opened the pantry door, as I’m quite thrilled with the fact that my long term memory is still working!)

Thankfully I had salsa and corn in my pantry, as well as green peppers in the freezer [5]. I found that the recipe needed a little more sauce and liquid for the tortillas, so I grabbed a can of $.33 tomato sauce from the pantry. Perfect!!!

Here’s how it went down in the skillet…

After adding the salsa, corn and green peppers to the ground beef, I could tell that we were going to need some more liquid and sauce.  While I didn’t want mushy tortillas, I also didn’t want dried out tortillas.

I added a can of tomato sauce plus about a can’s worth of water, so that the tortillas would have something to soak up!

Stir, stir, stir.

Simmer, simmer, simmer.

But only for a few minutes.

I leave you with my variation of the recipe…

Beef Tamale Skillet Dinner

Adapted from a reader recipe, similar to this one from Taste of Home [6]


  • About 1.3 lb. ground beef ($2.32)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced ($.33 [5])
  • 1 15 oz can corn ($.50)
  • 2 cups salsa ($1)
  • 10 corn tortillas, cut into short strips ($.69)
  • 1 8 oz tomato sauce ($.33)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($.05)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream, shredded cheese, optional
  • 2 broccoli heads ($.75)


  1. Brown and drain the ground beef. Return to the skillet.
  2. Add the green pepper, corn, salsa, corn tortillas, tomato sauce plus 1 cans worth of water, ground cumin, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until the tortilla strips are mostly covered with liquid. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for no more than 8 minutes. OR maybe 10…depending on how your stove, your pot, the humidity…(no, not really…but you just have to watch and not let the tortillas get too mushy!)
  3. Steam broccoli.
  4. Serve Beef Tamale Skillet Dinner with side of broccoli or other veggie.

Cost $5.97

(With Leftovers!!!)


Have a Frugal and Healthy Recipe to share?

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[5] green peppers in the freezer: http://www.5dollardinners.com/2010/07/cut-green-pepper.html

[6] this one from Taste of Home: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Skillet-Beef-Tamales

[7] here: http://www.5dollardinners.com/2007/01/5-dinner-challenge.html

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