Ok, you asked for it! From time to time, I'm going to give you a recipe that is cheap to make, feeds hungry children, and includes most food groups. The following is one I've made forever. It isn't the best, but it seldom ends up in the freezer either, if you know what I mean -
First, don't let the name fool you. You can use ground beef, turkey, or a "Ground Italian Sausage" you can find at your grocery store. You choose!
2 tblsp and 1 tsp olive oil
4 cups of water
2 cups rice of your choice
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground meat of your choice
1 onion (large, cheap, and as fresh as possible)
1 large bag of frozen veggies (I use either corn or a 'fiesta' mix with corn, beans and peppers) but hey, you choose!
2 cans diced tomatoes with the variant of your choice (onions, garlic, jalapenos, etc) 14.5 oz per can
1 package dry onion soup mix
Bring water to boil, add 1 tsp olive oil and 2 cups rice. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Saute ground meat in 1 tblsp olive oil. When thoroughly cooked, place in LARGE casserole.
Chop onions, then saute in 1 tblsp olive oil 'til clear. When done, put in same large casserole.
Zap veggies in microwave until at least defrosted, add to same large casserole.
Add 2 cans of tomatoes to same large casserole.
Add dry onion soup mix (that same large casserole).
By then your rice should be done. Add cooked rice to large casserole (the same one!) and thoroughly mix. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven, at 350 for 1 hour.
You may wonder why I emphasize 'the same large casserole.' The story is obvious, one of my kids made it with more than one casserole dish.
It has a grain (rice) protein (meat) fruit (tomatoes) veggies (zapped corn and onion). Served with a nice big glass of milk and a green salad and you can pat yourself on the back.
My boys would whine and complain, but they also shoveled it down. Any leftovers can be put into freezer containers and then into the freezer for zapping in the microwave on soccer night or date night.