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!
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.
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.
Spring Garden Special Recipe
- 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
- 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.
Recipe Source Cooks.com.