Stretching the meat budget

23 Jan

So, in the on-going effort to make the almighty dollar stretch ever further, I have started looking for ways to “increase my meat”.

Now, this may seem counter-intuitive to you given that a meat diet is generally more expensive than a vegetarian diet. And everywhere we look there is an article or post by some good-intentioned advice-giver on how if we cut out two meat meals per week and serve vegetarian instead, we can reduce our impact on the environment, our health will improve and our budgets will love us.

I don’t disagree with this. I’m all for cutting out meat from time to time. The problem I have is…Picky Eaters.

And vegetables, beans, legumes, etc. don’t cut it.

So, I stick with ground beef for the most part and sometimes throw in chicken in various forms.

But when you add puréed green veggies to ground beef, the beef changes colour. So that’s a no-go in my house. Besides, you can’t add enough puréed veggies to increase the volume of the meat.

Recently, I discovered a combination that goes over like gang busters at the dinner table.

Plain and simple: it’s ghoulash. Rotini, ground beef, pasta sauce, some salt and pepper, and I top it with grated cheddar cheese.

Enhanced Ghoulash

Still looks like regular meat, pasta and pasta sauce. Nothing yucky here! ;)

And, my pièce to resistance: puréed kidney beans and frozen squash.

They change the flavour of the ghoulash, but not enough to turn off a hungry child. But they don’t really change the colour of the ghoulash. And this is key when feeding children who eat with their eyes.

The bonus: by adding 1 1/2 cups of kidney beans and 300 g of frozen squash to one pound of ground beef, I doubled the meat volume.

In my house, that equals dinner for me and the kids (the husband always works late), left-overs for lunch for me and the husband, and dinner the following night for me and the kids. That’s three meals from one pound of beef.

The added bonus: My kids loved it! (Here’s the proof.)

Money saved. Happy kids. Pleased as pie Mommy. :)

6 Responses to “Stretching the meat budget”

  1. shoes January 23, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Nice job momma! If only my kids would eat tomato based sauces on their pasta I would be all about giving this a try.

    • Nancy January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Oh no! Really? They won’t eat tomato based sauces? I’ll consider myself lucky then. I don’t know what I’d feed my kids that also satisfies my desire to provide nutritious food if they didn’t eat tomato based sauces.

  2. dusterbed January 23, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Sneaky veggie trickery. My favourite line: children who eat with their eyes. SO TRUE! (I do this too…)
    I should try this when extending my meat budget :D I love SQUASH!

    • Nancy January 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      It was quite yummy! And super easy to make.

  3. JT January 25, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    Came across your great blog and can’t wait to read more! =) As a working mother of 3, I’m always on the look out for great parenting/money-saving/sanity-keeping ideas! =)

    • Nancy January 25, 2012 at 7:51 am #

      Welcome! I like your comment: “sanity-keeping” instead of “sanity-saving”. If we “kept” our sanity in the first place, it wouldn’t need “saving”! ;) Life really does take over and as a working mother of two, most days I’m chasing my sanity. LOL! I can only imagine how much more work 3 might be! So glad you’re here to share this with me.

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