With the cost of meat on the rise and stock low with limits on what stores do have more families are looking for ways to reduce their meat consumption. Cooking with less meat is a great way to save money and keep your family fed in these strange times. These tips will help you cook with less meat so your family notices less of a change.
Bulk up ground meats.
When browning ground meat for pasta, tacos, and your other favorite ground meat dishes you can bulk up the meat making it seem like there is more meat in the batch while adding hidden nutrition.
My favorite way to do this is to add a couple handfuls of plain quick oats when I am browning ground beef. The oats soak up the fat taking on the flavor of the beef and cook right in with the texture of the meat so that you can’t really tell it is there unless you are paying close attention.
Another trick I use when cooking something that uses a lot of ground beef like tacos, meatloaf, or meatballs, in our home is to add in ground turkey. This meat is usually cheaper when found on sale and can make a great way to spread what ground beef you do have.
One successful way to bulk up ground meat and keep it high protein is to mash cooked beans into the ground beef as you brown it. The beans will take on a similar texture and help bulk up the meal without being highly noticeable.
Cut meats up when cooking
While meat and potatoes are a staple in most homes this is the time to get creative. Cutting up meat makes it go further when serving. Adding a large slab of meat to a plate will serve fewer meals than slicing the meat. You can use sliced meat to make several dishes that help your meats go further.
Swap for other proteins.
Sometimes it can be a great idea to think outside the box. Skip meat a couple of times a week and bulk up with other protein sources. My favorite way to do this is to make breakfast for dinner and serve eggs for the protein. No one around here complains about french toast with eggs and fruit for a quick and easy dinner.
Mushrooms make a great alternative to meats in some of your favorite dishes.
Beans are well known for their protein.
Give Meatless Monday recipes a try.
Bulk up meats with heavy sides
Sides are your best friend for helping to reduce your family’s meat intake. By filling them up with homemade bread, potatoes, and fun side dishes like steakhouse onion chips you help to fill them up and reduce how much meat they eat before feeling full. Rice is a great way to add nutrition to your meals along with a filling side.
Leave the meat out
Some pasta dishes can easy leave out the meat without anyone noticing. Just tonight I made shells, tossed in a pan with pasta sauce, and topped with a bunch of cheese before tossing into the oven. The kids had leftover chicken from last night for lunch so we did a meatless dinner to reduce our meat consumption.