Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stretching our Meat Budget

I did a brief and completely unscientific poll on facebook about how my friends save money on their meat budget. While I did receive a few of the answer I expected (buying what's on sale and freezing it) I got a lot of answers that surprised me. One I saw quite a lot more than I expected was cutting down/cutting meat out.
A few others answers that I appreciated was using co-ops and local farmers, as well as trade. And one smartie who suggested trading a vegetable budget for a meat budget. Joker.

I realize that people cut out meat for many reasons aside from budgetary, but the quantity still took me off guard. For the most part I'm on side with those friends. I find it easy to cut down/cut out meat, I lived on no red meat for years, and loved it; but living with a self-proclaimed meatatarian means that I needed to find a new creative solution to eat meat at almost every meal without breaking our bank.

In our household, the solution was trickery. I couldn't cut meat out of too many meals, because no matter how delicious the food was, I would still receive a pout and a, "Where's the meat?" And that bugged me.
So instead of cutting it OUT, it gets cut in half, and "filled in." And the filler is usually a vegetable, sometimes rice or beans, but I generally try to camouflage it in a way that doesn't betray a cutting to the meat. At first I thought I was getting away with it, completely unnoticed, but a yelled, "I see you adding carrots to everything" from across the room revealed I am nowhere as covert as I once thought.
Hubby's pretty patient though with my "Rabbit food" way of eating. I think he appreciates a goal of a financially and physically fitter family, and whatever the means are to make a cash grocery budget last as long as it needs to. As long as it doesn't mean saying goodbye to meat completely.


Lindsey said...

Meatatarian, LOL! Like, carnivore?
A friend of mine who's Lebanese eats a ton of rice and bean dishes - it's a staple in her culture. I think flavour is what it's all about when you're cutting out an ingredient.

And I don't know what it is with dudes and vegtable hate.

Chris Sheach said...

So, having married a former vegetarian like you, I can sympathize with your man. However, we've found a compromise in chicken. It is often a lot cheaper than beef. Another alternative is to spread the red with a sauce. We throw steak slivers into a veggie stirfry or a noodle dish, or beef tips in a sauce over rice or with potatoes. When you mix, you use less. 2-4 oz. per person is more than enough per meal. One more thing - I tend to order red meat when we go out, to satisfy my cravings.

Carolee LeBlanc said...

Hey; Have you ever heard of "once-a-month" cooking? It works well, especially when you combine it with the sales that are on....

I often shorten the "once-a-month" cooking to just mass cooking the meat and packaging it into the sizes I use for various dishes. When I do this, I always add the onions and green peppers to the hamburger.

Having the meals/meat prepared in advance stops one from impluse buying just for one supper when you're too tired/frustrated to think about cooking a meal.

Blessings, Carolee