Friday, March 16, 2012

Meat Me in the Middle

Meat is the most expensive portion of our monthly food budget. I have really had to find ways to stretch our money in this area. Here are the ways I use to make my money stretch in the meat isle:

1. Only buy meat when it is on sale or when it has been reduced for quick sale, ( I visit the store early every morning to see what meat has been put on reduced sale.)

2. Buy bone in or whole fryer chicken and utilize every part of the bird, (I can usually get three meals out of one chicken, plus depending on how I use my chicken I will make a stock that I either can or freeze, from the bones.)

3. Use less expensive protein options, like beans, in your meals, (You don’t have to become vegan, just eat one or two meatless meals every week.)

4. Don’t buy deli meat or lunch meats. Instead buy a roast (beef, turkey, pork, etc.) cook and slice it thin yourself. (It is much easier to slice the meat thin when it is cold, so refrigerate it first.)

I grew up in a meat and potatoes kind of family. We always had meat for dinner. Beans were completely foreign to me when I got married. The only time I ever remember my mom cooking beans was when she made chili. Jacob on the other hand really liked beans and wished that I would use them more.  Another thing that was foreign to me was bone- in or whole chicken. It was boneless, skinless all the way baby.  My mom is a great cook. I attribute my love for cooking and baking to her and my Grandma. There are some things that I have changed and learned throughout the years, however, and now you will rarely see boneless, skinless chicken in my home and vegan meals using various types of beans are becoming more frequent and popular with my family. Most of these changes have come about to help trim our monthly food expenses, but as a result we have found that we actually find beans and bone-in chicken very enjoyable and most often preferred over the alternative. It has taken some time and I am still learning how to utilize these things to their fullest. I am slowly learning how to use beans in everyday cooking and in our meals as both a main dish and a side dish. It really is helping reduce our monthly food costs and it is a much healthier alternative.

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