If you have been following this series of articles, by now you have some ideas on how to keep your food costs low.
This part is all about meat. Think about how much of your food budget goes for meat.
Consider having 1 or more meatless dinners each week. Meat is more expensive than plant proteins usually. Learn how to combine incomplete proteins to make complete proteins so that you get enough protein in your diet. I’ll post about that in Part 4. Eggplant, onions & mushrooms can give a meaty flavor to many meals. Tofu is a source of protein that can taste like meat sometimes. It takes on the flavors of the recipe it’s in. So look into some tofu recipes. Eggs make a quick meal, whether in omelets, or scrambled eggs.
Start using less meat in meals where you won’t notice it much. Instead of making meatballs, make meat sauce & use less meat. You can add grated carrots or chopped onions to that sauce & it is good. Use less sauce on the pasta. Instead of big chunks of chicken or pork in a dish, shred it & use more sparingly.
Another option for “stretching” ground meat is to use recipes that add other ingredients to make things like meatballs, meatloaf, Salisbury steak, etc. Recipes for all of these are on this blog. Just do a search for them with the search widget at the upper right of the blog.
You can try cheaper meats in some recipes to save. Switch to ground turkey instead of ground beef for many recipes. If you’d planned to have one kind of meat, but a different one is one sale, change your menu to fit the cheaper one.
Stir-fry recipes are a good way to use small amounts of meat with lots of veggies & great taste. Think of the meat as more of a condiment than the main event.
Try ethnic recipes where meat is not the main item. A burrito can have some meat, but lots of beans, rice, & veggies as well.
Have more side dishes at a meal. My mom used to put out pickled beets with every meal. My DMIL always serves carrot & celery sticks.
Save every bit of leftovers whether meat or not. Freeze them right after the meal while you are cleaning up the table so you don’t forget. Prevent freezer burn by putting a layer of clear plastic wrap between the lid & the container. I write on the plastic wrap with a Sharpie to label the contents & the date. We save leftover spaghetti sauce or chili & when we get enough leftovers of that kind we combine them for a meal. Why throw money down the drain?
Click title for a discussion of ways to save at the grocery store at Frugal Living. They are saying mostly what I already wrote in Parts 1 & 2, but maybe they will say it in a way that makes more sense to you.