Meat prices have suddenly risen at my local grocery stores and in an effort to combat rising prices, I decided to try and cook with other ingredients. In the past I could easily come in under my $2 per pound budget and now even pork is around that price. I say “even” because I always figured that if I was spending $2 per pound for meat it better be beef!
Meat goes on sale at your local store every 6-12 weeks and when it’s cheap it’s a good time to find a little extra room in your budget to stock up. I always have around $15 to grab some cheap meat and put it in my freezer as I know it won’t cycle around that cheap for another few weeks and if I have to pay more I just blew my budget.
Over Memorial Day I made hamburgers and added oatmeal to stretch the meat a little further. I’ve done it plenty of times before but as it surprised many of my Facebook readers (facebook.com/mummydeals.org) I thought I’d share some other great ways to stretch meat.
I just add in the whole oats and mix with ground beef or turkey to bulk it up. If you’re adding seasonings like Lawry’s for burgers or taco mix for tacos, it’s a lot easier to disguise. As oats really have no tastes I guarantee no-one will know but you can grind it up just to be sure.
You may never have added a cup of rice to your taco meat to make it go further but it’s a great filler and if you get brown rice it’s good for you.
Packed with protein and very cheap, beans are an ideal way to get protein on a budget but if you’re not a beans lover, add them to meat. To make great tasting turkey burgers, use 1/2 cup white beans drained, rinsed and smashed with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 pound ground turkey. Add an egg, a little minced garlic and salt and pepper and finish off with finely diced chives or peppers for extra flavor.
A really tasty option for meatloaf is to mix with a box of stuffing. This also works on meatballs. Simply soak the bread crumbs/stuffing in milk, blend a bit and mix in the meat. As you can get bread very inexpensively consider buying some extra and stocking up in your freezer.
5) Cut It In Half
Some of the cuts of meat I get from the store are huge and although I’m tempted to serve it all, I’ll cut it in half and freeze some. You can easily cut chicken breasts in half and pound them out. They look like twice the meat so you eat less.
6) Meatless Days
I cook for a ‘˜meat and potato’ kinda guy but we’re sticking to a budget and sometimes I’ll serve a nice egg breakfast casserole for dinner or a simple spaghetti with lots of mushrooms and no meat.
There are lots of great recipes out there that use other proteins instead of meat and as food prices continue to rise, it’s time to update your recipe box and cook up more vegetables and lean proteins to stay on a budget.