Poor Man’s Meal

This is one of my favorite “comfort foods” in the entire world. There’s not much to it. It’s pretty simple. It won’t be winning any awards for most distinguished culinary dish ever, but that’s not why I love it so much. The holidays bring lots of memories and they always, always make me think of my dad. This was our third Christmas without him and I always get a little too weepy thinking about it. I miss him so much. He was real salt of the earth type of man. He was a good man. He worked hard every single day of his life to make sure that his family was taken care of, that we had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted. It wasn’t always like that though. My parents had some tough times when they were first married, my dad was a welder and he was laid off many times before he found serious stability around the time my older sister was born. This was a meal that he and my mom made because back then apparently ground beef was about 50 cents per pound. How amazing would that be now? I’ve heard my mom say many times that she had to get super creative to feed the two of them. Now-a-days, all groceries are expensive so I don’t feel like the title is perfect, but It’s what I grew up calling it so, I’ll continue to call it Poor Man’s Meal. Even when things got much better for my parents my dad stayed fairly true to himself. He was a simple man who was happy with food in his belly, t-shirts and jeans, socks, peanut butter & crackers, and his girls by his side. Honestly, that’s all he really ever wanted if I really had to pin point it. He’d be a little annoyed with you if you got him anything more than a nice card for a gift. To see his girls taken care of was all that mattered to him. I admire him for that. I really do, and I think we could all take a page or two from his book and think about how sometimes, Simple is just perfect. All in all, this meal continued to be one of his absolute favorites for his entire life. Simple meat & potatoes! He didn’t like a lot of spices. He didn’t like a lot of fuss. He just wanted a hot plate of food after a long days of work.  There was a certain delicious smell that comes from the kitchen when my mom would make this and I remember always being so excited about it the moment it hit my lil nose. Fast forward, 15-ish years and here I am making this dish for my family. Pepper loves it!  I found that not only is it insanely easy to throw together on a busier night, it’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand, and to my surprise by using lean ground beef instead of ground chuck it’s quite calorie/point friendly! I always figure anything in my life that I used to eat on a regular basis is terrible for me, but that’s so not the case. Sometimes I just need to change one or two things up and I’m able to revisit childhood favorites with no problem. And sometimes, I just need to use a measuring cup!

Here’s what you do!


Poor Man's Meal

Throw a pound of lean ground beef in a large skillet and generously salt and pepper it before it browns.

Poor Man's Meal

When the beef is browned. Set aside. The ground beef I use on a regular basis is not very fatty at all. It’s 93/7. I left a little of the grease which probably wasn’t even a teaspoon in the pan to cook the potatoes with along with the vegetable oil.

Poor Man's Meal

Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil into the skillet along with your frozen hash brown potatoes. I also lightly spray the top of the potatoes with cooking spray because it’s a lot of potatoes so you want them all to get a little oil to cook up nicely.

Poor Man's Meal

Add about 2 teaspoons of Season Salt. (Yep, that’s the only seasoning you’ll need for this one, folks! (okay, besides a little pepper!) Season Salt was a staple in my house growing up. It was simple. It was good. It was easy. I still use it in a lot of my cooking. It’s honestly perfect. I do try to watch my salt intake while eating healthier, but honestly… I just drink more water if I’m eating something with higher sodium. It works for me!

Poor Man's Meal

Continue cooking the potatoes until cooked through and a little brown. About 10-12 minutes over medium-high heat.

Poor Man's Meal

Add in some corn with the potatoes when they are done cooking. Stir it up a cook another couple minutes.

Poor Man's Meal

Add your ground beef back in with the corn and potatoes. Salt & Pepper to taste!

Poor Man's Meal

And that’s it! You’re all done. It’s simple, it’s quick. It tastes like my childhood. It’s something my meat and potato lovin’ midwestern heart really needs every once and awhile!

Poor Man's Meal Poor Man's Meal

And… well, if you have been reading this little ol blog for awhile. You might know that I love cheese. I add cheese on top of just about everything I eat. So in true DDOP fashion… I topped it with a couple tablespoons of reduced fat Colby Jack! Ahh… Perfection. BUT, It doesn’t need it. You don’t have to do it!

Poor Man' Meal

And on top of that? a little ketchup, because it’s perfect that way.


I hope you enjoy this simple little skillet meal! I’ve made it so much that I figured I share it with you all. I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot more than usual lately and I really wanted to put one of his favorites on here for other families to enjoy!

With love from my kitchen to yours, 


5 from 6 votes

Poor Man's Meal

A hearty midwestern skillet full of flavorful ground beef, corn, and potatoes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Author Star


  • 1 lb lean ground beef , raw
  • 7 cups frozen hash brown potatoes , I use Ore Ida
  • 1 1/2 cups corn , fresh, or canned
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tsp Season Salt
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper , to taste
  • Cooking Spray


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown the ground beef. Generously season the beef with salt and pepper before the meat is cooked. When cooked thoroughly remove from heat and set aside in a separate dish. In the same large skillet, add vegetable oil and hash brown potatoes. (I also spray a bit of cooking spray on top of the potatoes) Cook on medium high-heat until the potatoes are lightly crispy and cooked through- about 10 minutes. Sprinkle season salt and pepper onto the potatoes and add corn. Cook for a couple minutes until corn is warm. Add ground beef back into skillet and mix thoroughly. Salt & Pepper to taste. Top with some cheddar, if you want!, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups 

6 Freestyle Smart Points (calculated with Weight Watchers Recipe Builder)

7 Smart Points (calculated with Weight Watchers Recipe Builder)

7 Points Plus (calculated with My Score Plus)

285 Calories 8g of fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 36g of carbohydrates, 4g of fiber, 3g of sugar, 20g of protein (calculated with My Fitness Pal) 


  1. This post and recipe reminds me of my stepfather – he liked simple meals too! Thanks for sharing your sweet memories and inspiring my own. Recipe looks delicious and easy, and you had me at ketchup…. (though I might throw some diced tomatoes in too!)

  2. As soon as I started reading this recipe I said to myself, a bit if cheese on top would make this perfect! Then I read to the bottom and saw uou added some cheese!! Yes! This looks so simply delicious and I cant wait to make/eat it!

  3. I made this recipe last week. The only thing I did differently was add a diced onion to the ground beef when it was almost done cooking. It was so yummy! Thank you for sharing. I love the blog.

  4. Hi! I’m getting ready to make this tonight and I just plugged the nutrition info in the calculator for smart points and it came out as 8! Just wanted to pass that along! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Thanks for the info, Elyse. Different brands can mean different points! I’m glad you double checked. Enjoy dinner!

      • Yes I know that! I’m sorry I meant when I put in the nutrition info listed after the recipe. But it was very delicious and soooo easy!

  5. I made this for lunch today! Super easy to make and YUM! Might try ground turkey next time. I added just a tiny bit of shredded cheddar on the top. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Just bought ingredients for a few of them!

  6. We have always made this with leftover roast beef and potatoes. This was a first of trying it with hamburger and frozen potatoes. My husband says it is one to keep in the rotation. Thanks for another great recipe.

  7. Patricia scott

    I love the different.recipes. give me something to cook

  8. This was absolutely delicious! Hubby and I are currently eating some leftovers for lunch!! I added cheese and ketchup too! Love your recipes!

  9. Thank you for this amazing recipe. My parents made something similar when I was growing up. Add a can of cream of mushroom soup and instead of hash browns, throw it over some mashed potatoes. I loved reading about your dad, he sounds like the man I hope to be one day. He reminds me alot of my father-in-law, he inspires me to be a better person. Clearly your father has inspired you, and I thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you for the kind comment. He was a great man and I’m definitely the woman I am because of both my parents. So happy you enjoyed this dish because it’s a lil taste of home for me!

  10. Geni Campbell

    Poor Mans Meal was called Ground Beef Hash when I was growing up.

    For a treat my mom served it with a scrambled egg on the side and southern gravy when affordable. I serve it to my kids with tortillas – seems to be the thing nowadays.

    Great for breakfast, brunch, or upside down day (breakfast for dinner)!

    • Sounds great. I’ve never seen anyone else make it before! I ate it a lot growing up as well. It’s one of those things that just taste like home to me. The addition of the egg and/or tortilla sounds really delicious. I’ll definitely be trying it that way next time I make it!

  11. Hi, I made this tonight and it was delish the only thing is that it was dry.. followed the recipe perfectly…I was supposed to drain the corn right? I did since the recipe didn’t say not to.. It was delish anyway.. Loved it..

    • Hi there! I am so happy you loved it despite being a bit dry. The only thing I can guess is that the hamburger may have gotten a bit over cooked possibly? And yes, the corn gets added when being drained. I can’t say for sure what could have gone wrong. I’m sorry to not be that much of help!

  12. This is a favorite in our house. My 2 year old loves it and so do her parents 🙂

  13. Elena Calsetta Haskew

    I made the recipe as instructed and then made a package of the white gravy that you use in the biscuits and gravy recipe. After it was ready I mixed it in the poor man’s dinner and it was delicious and so worth a few extra points. Thanks for another great recipe!

  14. Do you know the Spanish name for this recipe?

  15. Wendy Lopez

    One of our favorites Hamburger/Potato Burittosa lil taco sauce and sour cream or some cheese . Great keep on budget meal

  16. Similar to a sheppard’s Pie without all the work of mashing the potatoes. I love it!

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