Spring Garden Special Recipe

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A classic lunch served at school across America, the Spring Garden Special is full of vegetables and ground beef. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles for a complete meal.

A classic lunch served at school across America, the Spring Garden Special is full of vegetables and ground beef. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles for a complete meal.

Back to school season is in full swing! A few months ago I was chatting with my newsletter friends about old school cafeteria recipes that they remember from their childhood. One of my favorites is peanut butter squares. Another reader mentioned Texas Straw Hat (AKA Frito Chili Pie). This ground beef and vegetable dinner called Spring Garden Special is another one that I just had to try!

plate of veggies and potatoes

From what I can see, this beef skillet and vegetable recipe dates back to the 1940’s. They really don’t make school lunches like they used to, do they?

Making this School Cafeteria Recipe

This recipe is fairly straightforward. Brown the ground beef and onion, drain the fat, then add in the remaining ingredients to simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. We like our vegetables with a little firmness. If you’d like to ensure your vegetables are 100% soft, you can steam them or cook them as you desire ahead of time, then add them into the beef mixture after it simmers on the stove.

How to Serve Spring Garden Special

We like to serve the beef and vegetables over mashed potatoes, but you can also serve it over noodles, or even a slice of garlic bread. The mashed potatoes or noodles can cook in a separate pot alongside the beef and vegetables.

Spring Garden Special: an old fashioned served in school lunchrooms

What You Need to Make This Easy Dinner Recipe

Ground Beef Meat Chopper: I recently got one of these and don’t know how I lived without it!
Dutch Oven: This is my favorite saucepan. It has a lid strainer for easily draining off the fat from meats.
Ninja Express Chop: For chopping onions with no tears.

Easy Ground Beef Dinner Idea with carrots and green beans
Easy Ground Beef Dinner Idea with carrots and green beans

Spring Garden Special Recipe

4.39 from 13 votes
A classic lunch served at school across America, the Spring Garden Special is full of vegetables and ground beef. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles for a complete meal.
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes (canned, with juice)
  • 16 ounces frozen green beans (thawed)
  • 6 cups julienned carrots
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 8 cups mashed potatoes

Instructions
 

  • Saute onions and ground beef in a large saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Drain off the fat.
  • Add tomatoes, green beans, julienned carrots and seasonings. Cover and cook 30 minutes over low heat.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.

Video

Notes

*If you like, can steam cook the carrots and green beans until they are tender and add them in at the end of the ground beef simmering in the sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 1663mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 16695IU | Vitamin C: 46.5mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 9.9mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 348

Recipe Source Cooks.com.

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Mary B
5 years ago

Looking for a good pumpkin cookie recipe that is simple and easy.