Easy Swaps for 8 Feel Good Beef Recipes

Easy Swaps for 8 Feel Good Beef Recipes


This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, as part of my role as a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.

During the pandemic, you may not find all the ingredients you need for dishes you want to cook. Some stores are low on certain foods and ingredients, while delivery services don’t always deliver everything you requested (due to high demand). You can still enjoy your favorite comfort foods by making a few simple swaps. Here are suggestions for ways you can still enjoy delicious beef favorites.


Spaghetti and Meatballs

You can make lots of easy swaps to this Lean Baked Meatballs and Marinara recipe. If you’re having a tough time finding breadcrumbs (I did one day at the store), try swapping traditional breadcrumbs with panko or even make your own by using a food processor. Simply blend a few slices a bread into a crumb consistency, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F for about 10 minutes.

Also, if you can’t find spaghetti, this recipe works great with nearly any type of pasta like  angel hair, linguine or any type of long noodle.

Beef Lasagna

Classic Beef Lasagna is a favorite in my home. If you’re having a tough time finding mozzarella cheese, swap for another type of shredded cheese that will melt well like an Italian blend or a Mexican blend. You can swap  frozen spinach for fresh and sauté it over medium heat for a few minutes until it wilts or choose another fresh vegetable like shredded carrots or sliced/spiralized zucchini. And if no-cook lasagna noodles are not available, regular noodles  will work, too. Just be sure to cook before using in your dish.

Beef Stew

Who doesn’t love to cozy up to a comforting bowl of Cowboy Beef Stew? But if diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions aren’t on store shelves, choose a plain variety or even an Italian blend. Fresh vegetables work too! You can also swap the beef broth for beef bouillon or vegetable broth or even water.

Sloppy Joe’s

Classic Beef Sloppy Joe’s brings out the child in all of us! If you can’t find lean beef 93% of leaner, remember you can always drain and rinse ground beef to lower the fat content. If your store is out of sweet onion, swap with yellow onion or shallots. You can also swap the green bell pepper for shredded carrots or just add more onions instead. If buns aren’t available, serve in lettuce leaves (iceberg or Romaine) for a twist on a lettuce wrap.


Enjoy Classic Beef Meatloaf using the leanest ground beef you can find. If panko isn’t in your pantry or store, swap for flavored or plain bread crumbs. The Worcestershire sauce can be swapped for some barbecue sauce and minced garlic for garlic powder. Serve with a side of mashed or baked russet potatoes or sweet potatoes and your favorite steamed vegetables (fresh or frozen).



This recipe for Wrangler’s Beef Chili will be a winner in your home. Choose the leanest beef you can find and swap the pinto beans with black or pink beans. If you can’t find canned beans, then opt for dry beans and soak and cook before using. If frozen corn isn’t available, swap for the canned variety or use frozen or canned carrots, mixed vegetables, green beans, or peas. You can also use fresh chopped carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower.



Stuffed Peppers

When I was a girl, my grandma made killer stuffed peppers. This feel good memory makes this food comforting as an adult. These Classic Beef Stuffed Peppers take 45 minutes to make and incorporates three food groups in one dish. Use the leanest Ground Beef you can find and if garlic and onion aren’t available, swap for the powder form. Canned diced tomatoes are likely on store shelves, but maybe not the exact flavor you need. Choose a plain variety or one with Italian spices. If you’re out of brown or white rice, try farro or barley. To cook farro, mix 1 cup of dry farro with 2½ cups of water or broth and cook until farro is tender, about 40 minutes. To cook barley, mix 1 cup dry barley with 3 cups water or broth and cook until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.



Whip up these Lean Mean Cheeseburgers using the leanest Ground Beef you can find. Swap the oats for panko or traditional breadcrumbs. If you can’t find hamburger buns, try a pita, rolls, or even mini buns.

Check out BIWFD for more recipe inspiration, including 30-minute meals, one-pan meals and ways to repurpose leftovers.


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