We are all beginning to feel the cost of higher prices. Our grocery budget use to be $100 per week for the two of us. Trying to prepare 3 meals per day for that price is getting more and more difficult to do.
Meat seems to be the most difficult thing to find at a price I want to pay these days. So I thought I would list some money saving tips.
1. Shop the sales - then stock up. We all have heard this before. My maximum price per pound of meat use to be $2 per pound. This is getting harder and harder to find. When I do find meat at a price below that I buy as much as I can afford.
2. Use it all. Bits and pieces of meats and vegetables can be made into pot pies, pocket sandwiches, and casseroles. Bones can be made into delicious broth. To make broth I add the bones, some onion tops (with the skins still on), carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper to a pot of water. Boil until you have a rich broth. Strain and freeze.
3. Use your freezer. If you don't have one I would suggest searching Craig's List for one. I bought one about 5 years ago for $15 and just got rid of it this summer. Freezers are great for being able to stock up and saving those little bits of leftovers. I keep a bowl in the freezer and when there is just a spoonful of vegetables leftover, I scrape it into the bowl, broth and all. When the bowl is full all I need to do is add it to some broth, some leftover meat, and maybe some tomatoes, and I have soup. Think about the frozen dinners you buy at the grocery. If they can freeze it, so can you.
4. Stretch you meat. Ground meat is easy to stretch, What you use to stretch it depends on what you are making. If you are making a meatloaf or burger, add oatmeal. It is very filling and adds fiber. You can also add shredded vegetables. We all need more vegetables, carrots make an excellent addition. Bread crumbs and rice also, make good stretchers.
6. Make it yourself. The web has a knockoff recipe for just about anything you want to make. Recipes for boxed pasta & rice dishes, meal helpers, most convenience foods can be found on the web. If you make it yourself, you can add more pasta or rice and less meat. Even if you do buy the box meal, use 1 pound of meat for 2 boxes, or 1/2 the meat called for. Or you could just add a 1/2 cup more pasta or rice than comes in the box, then add about twice as much water as you do rice or pasta. You will never be able to tell the difference.
7. Don't waste. Keep an eye on what's in your fridge so that you can use it up before it goes bad.
8. Use the web. Search for recipes on using leftovers, casseroles, soups, stews. There are recipes out there for even the pickiest eaters.
9. Shop early in the morning. Or ask the someone in the meat department of your grocery store, when they mark down meat. Managers Specials are often a really good deal. Most stores still guarantee the meat. I have had about 3 incidents when the meat was bad and got my money back every time. The most recent time was from WalMart, I didn't even take the meat back to them. I just told them it was bad and they refunded my money. I learned today that the Honey Baked ham store sells ham bones. I am going to test this out and see if it's worth it or not. They are said to still have up to 3 pounds of meat on them. I will let you know what I find out.
10. Be open minded and creative. So you have never cooked the cut of meat that's on sale, I'll bet if you try it, you'll like it.
11. Use that slow cooker. It can turn a tough cut of meat into a melt in your mouth feast.
Hope this is useful to someone. I know it helps to remind myself sometimes.