Saturday, April 28, 2012

Feeding a Family on a Budget, Part 5

Bean soup made with a ham bone and the little meat left on the bone.

Stretching the Meat If you really like having meat in every meal or have a family member who does, then you could just stretch the meat. Some common ways of stretching meat is something like meatloaf where you add crushed crackers, bread crumbs, oatmeal, etc. to the meat. You do the same thing with meatballs. I also will make chicken or salmon patties from leftover shredded chicken (or salmon).

Another option is to make lots of casseroles and soups. You can easily cut the meat in ½ without most people noticing. I can get away with making a casserole with only one pound of meat for my family of 11 without anyone complaining. With some meals, I have to prepare 3-4 lbs of meat to feed all of us.

You could replace ½ the meat called for in a recipe with beans or lentils. For example, I have a recipe I call Sloppy Cornbread. It takes a minimum of two pounds of meat for my family (they LOVE it when I use 3 lbs!), but I found that I can use one pound of meat and an equal amount of lentils (even better if you cook the lentils in beef broth to give a beefy flavor) and my family doesn’t complain. You could do the same with chili (using black, pinto or kidney beans), Spanish/Mexican rice (lentils, black, pinto, or kidney beans), or even meatloaf (use a mashed bean or lentil).

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