Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How To Strech Your Meat Purchases - WFMW


Here's another good question....

Hi Gayle,

I was noticing that you don't buy meat (and by "meat", I mean raw, needs to be cooked meat - not canned chili, tuna, etc) very often, to the tune of "rarely". This year you've purchased meat 17 weeks out of however many we're up to so far. Ok, so I noticed that some of those weeks you got alot, but most weeks you got just a little - like 5 lbs of beef, or 9 chic. legs, or a pack of hotdogs...

So I'm wondering how you make it stretch?


Well....you noticed right. I don't buy a whole lot of meat. What I DO buy is protein. Sometimes it's in meat form, sometimes it's beans, cottage cheese, tofu, eggs, nuts, nut butters, soy products, dairy products and seeds.

According to the USDA, adult men and women need 5-6 ounces of protein per day and children up to age 18 are between 2 -6 ounces. (See chart HERE.) That can come from baking with eggs and milk, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, or straight from meat or beans.

And since the cost of meat is so outrageous I make the most of the other sources of protein.

But when I do purchase meat I like to stretch it as much as possible.
When I buy 5 lbs of hamburger, instead of splitting it into 1 lb packages for recipes I would probably stretch it into 3/4 lb packages for my freezer. Who says you need to use the full pound in each recipe?

When I buy bone-in chicken, which is SO much cheaper than boneless skinless breasts, I not only make a meal out of my initial purchase but I can also get 2 more meals out of it by boiling the meat off the bones to save for another recipe and then using the broth for a homemade soup night.

So even though we are eating our protein through various sources, I only use meat once or twice a week as our primary source.

Which saves me a bundle and keeps my budget intact.

Go visit Rocks In My Dryer for other great ideas.

13 comments:

Baby Tunnel Exodus said...

I like it! We do eat a lot of meat, but I'd never thought to freeze smaller portions to stretch it a bit. That's a great tip; thanks! Blessings, Whitney

magpie said...

Not to mention that it's healthier to get protein from non-meat sources! Meat occasionally is okay, but Americans tend to eat it so much.

MochaWolf said...

When I do buy meat, I have found a local butcher who does freezer packs. I buy a large pack and get a whole lot of stuff for relatively cheap. I have bought two for the year, and that will last me the entire year.

Miriam said...

Thanks for the insight!! This gives me more ideas and stuff to think about. I'm starting to really scale back on the meat I put into recipes... or usually I'll add extra of the "other" stuff to make a larger batch, and freeze the leftovers for a later meal. Yesterday I made taco soup, it called for 1 1/2 - 2lbs of hamburger. I used 1 lb. (well, less since I do like you and divide the "5lb" packs into 6 portions).

Elizabeth said...

My husband's a carnivore. I wish I could get away with using other protein sources. I made a lentil soup once and he stared at it and asked me where the beef was. I do like your idea of only using 3/4 of a pound of ground beef in recipes. I'm going to try that this week and see if he notices a difference :) Thanks!

Halfmoon Girl said...

You are my grocery shopping hero!!!!

EEEEMommy said...

You're really stretching me you know. I'm a carnivore. My struggle is that when I don't use meat (take vegetable stir-fry for example) I am not satisfied and end up craving it later. I'm also like the husband above who is searching for the pieces of meat that just aren't there. I wonder if there's a biological/phisiological reason for that, or if it's just conditioning...I am doing well using beans or mushrooms or other vegetables to stretch the meat though, and I am working towards more meatless meals thanks to your inspiration! :)

pippi said...

My husband's rule is that if it has never motivated under its own power, it's not a meal. Chili-OK, Omelets-not OK, lentil soup-not OK unless you add bits of ham. See what I mean? So the stretching tips are especially helpful!

kittyhox said...

I never thought about reducing the amount of meat in a recipe. Better for us and much cheaper!

Dustybug said...

Great tips! I, too, have a carnivore husband who says that a meal is not a meal if there is no meat. He refuses to eat soup as a meal as well, which makes it extremely difficult to pinch pennies on our grocery list. He even notices when I cut back on the amount of meat! lol.

Miriam said...

he he:) I tagged you, you're it! Check out my post for my change to the rules! But don't feel obligated to, I know you've done lots of tags already.

Sally said...

I just visited your blog, linking up from Miriam's blog. I used to stretch meat too, until I recently became a diabetic. Now, I am having to redo a whole lot in the food department. I am someone who has a big appetite and for some reason, have never really been overweight. So, now, having to eat lo-carb and still try not to be raging hungry most of the time, meat is on the menu.

Anonymous said...

Gayle,
I am interested in your journey to spend much less on groceries. I read how you got started with it all but I am interested in how long it took you to perfect it. Did you go from spending 700-800 a month to 200.00 in a single month or did you do it gradually? We are a family of four and have been spending close to 600.00 a month and it needs to stop.-we have some debt I would like to pay down.
Sorry to post as anonymous but I don't have a blog.
Thanks,
Anna