Friday, December 16, 2011

S-t-r-e-c-h-i-n-g Meat

Chili, burrito pie, and my lunch (burrito pie served on top of spring greens and tomatoes.

I try to make meat stretch by adding starches, veggies and/or beans. On Sunday, after a two week grocery strike in which I only prepared foods found in my freezer and pantry, I bought my groceries for the week. I know all the planners and home organization/management gurus stress the importance of menu planning BEFORE grocery shopping but I do it a little backwards. I had a vague menu planned before heading out but my planning often occurs in the meat department after I find what meats are CHEAP. I would love to say that I buy only organic, grass fed meats but my budget doesn't make this a reality. Compromise is sometimes necessary. So on Sunday night I found that ground beef was cheap ($2.24/lb) and I also found a 4lb. ham on sale for $5.99. Now I was able to come up with a menu and shop for the needed supplies.

I bought two pounds of ground beef which created two burrito pies (I usually make burritos but have learned that burrito pie also stretches the ingredients into two meals rather than one) and a batch of chili which would feed us one night, feed The Boy on the night of ham and bean soup (he prefers chili over ham and bean), and also feed The Boy on leftover night (good thing The Boy likes chili). One burrito pie was used for dinner on Monday night and one was lunch for the daycare kiddos on Tuesday.

The ends were sliced off, covered with water and northern beans, and allowed to cook in the crock pot all day. After slicing the ends off I sliced up half of the remaining ham for hubby to use in his lunch time sandwiches. The other remaining half was diced up. I filled three containers for the freezer which can be used for ham fried rice, more soup, omelet, etc. A handful of the diced ham went into the soup and another handful was used to make ham fried rice.

Monday ~      lunch: homemade Mac and Cheese
                      dinner: Burrito Pie
Tuesday ~       lunch: Burrito Pie
                      dinner: Chili
Wednesday ~ lunch: Ham Fried Rice
                      dinner: Bean and Ham Soup
Thursday ~     lunch: Ham Sandwiches and leftover fried rice
                      dinner: Finish up chili and soup

I still have a bowl of soup leftover which will be a good lunch for someone on Saturday.

Burrito Pie (makes two pies) ~ Easy, easy, easy.
1 lb. ground beef
Can of refried beans (I need to try making these myself)
Salsa (amount determined by your preference)
6 tortillas
2-3 cups of shredded cheese
Seasonings (I used Wildtree's Fajita seasonings)

Brown meat, add beans and salsa. Layer in pie tin one tortilla, a scoop of meat mixture, sprinkle on a little cheese, repeat, add final tortilla and top with cheese. Cover in foil and bake 15-30minutes (baking time depends on if you are cooking this all in one shot or fixing ahead of time). These can also be made ahead of time and put in the freezer.  Top with any fixings your heart desires ~ I like guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and diced tomatoes!

Ham and Bean Soup is so SIMPLE!
I know, a ham bone would be preferred, however this soup is still very good. Before going to bed I put my beans in water to soak overnight. In the morning I drained and rinsed the beans and put them into the crock pot along with the ends of ham, a handful of diced ham and topped it with water. I let it cook ALL day. I didn't add any seasonings but the soup had great flavor. If I would have had time I'd have added dumplings. Next time.

My chili is also easy. Hamburger, onions, home canned tomatoes, kidney beans (again I used dry beans which I soaked overnight), and Wildtree "Leslie's Chili Blend". Brown meat and onions, place in crock pot with the remaining ingredients and simmer all day.

Stir fried Rice is simply two cups of cooked rice (I usually make brown rice), onions, ham, eggs, soy sauce.
I heat a little grapeseed oil and saute the onions (I used green onion which I had dried this fall), scramble two eggs, and then add the rice, ham and soy sauce. Again, easy.

I like easy. I also like cheap.

Shared on Frugally Sustainable's Frugal Ways, Sustainable Days

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