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How Do YOU Save Money on Meat? Share Your Best Tips!

12/29/2010 2:47:37 PM

Tags: question to readers, vegetarian recipes, flexitarian recipes, meatless meals, saving money on food

Does your household have rules about how often you eat meat? Are you a pro at saving cash on pricey meats and stretching their flavors? Do you call yourself a flexitarian? If you have great almost-meatless recipes and ideas for planning meals to save more money, share them with our community of eager readers by posting a comment below. And we’ll publish some of the best entries in upcoming issues. 

 



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Ashli Price
5/12/2011 11:14:29 AM
As a lover of food, an avid cook, and an owner of a small food business, I am constantly striving to be creative and money conscious when it comes to buying meats, without sacrificing quality. One idea that works well in my home and for clients, is to buy a large piece of meat, like a pork shoulder, and utilize it in several different ways. First, I slow cook the pork on a grill or in a crock pot imparting flavor with herbs, veggies and spices, and create a wonderful meal like Indian Spiced Pork over Bulgar Wheat with Coconut Ginger Tomato sauce. Then, I portion out the remaining protein. I use some of the pork to create tacos or quesadillas later in the week. The rest goes into the freezer in small portions that I can pull out to make Cuban sandwiches on a busy night. The same method works for cooking a whole chicken, or roasting a split turkey breast. I come up with one main idea, and several follow-up ideas to enjoy the meat in different ways. It's generally less expensive to buy the larger cut of meat as opposed to smaller cuts that a butcher has to prepare. Planning is the key in this situation! It makes me so excited to smell a chicken roasting, knowing that I'll be devouring it as a main dish, an arugula salad topper, and as enchiladas! My brain is constantly playing with this question, and it is so much fun to come up with new solutions. I find my clients are grateful to have a plan that prevents them from wasting food and stretches their dollar.

Ashli Price
5/12/2011 11:13:58 AM
As a lover of food, an avid cook, and an owner of a small food business, I am constantly striving to be creative and money conscious when it comes to buying meats, without sacrificing quality. One idea that works well in my home and for clients, is to buy a large piece of meat, like a pork shoulder, and utilize it in several different ways. First, I slow cook the pork on a grill or in a crock pot imparting flavor with herbs, veggies and spices, and create a wonderful meal like Indian Spiced Pork over Bulgar Wheat with Coconut Ginger Tomato sauce. Then, I portion out the remaining protein. I use some of the pork to create tacos or quesadillas later in the week. The rest goes into the freezer in small portions that I can pull out to make Cuban sandwiches on a busy night. The same method works for cooking a whole chicken, or roasting a split turkey breast. I come up with one main idea, and several follow-up ideas to enjoy the meat in different ways. It's generally less expensive to buy the larger cut of meat as opposed to smaller cuts that a butcher has to prepare. Planning is the key in this situation! It makes me so excited to smell a chicken roasting, knowing that I'll be devouring it as a main dish, an arugula salad topper, and as enchiladas! My brain is constantly playing with this question, and it is so much fun to come up with new solutions. I find my clients are grateful to have a plan that prevents them from wasting food and stretches their dollar.

Sondra_1
1/25/2011 4:27:50 PM
I like to substitute beans for part or all of the meat in a recipe. For instance, cutting down the beef in a stew, and adding some kidney beans to make Minestrone instead. My all time favorite is chickpeas instead of chicken in Indian Butter chicken. So good!

CoyoteRidgeFarms
1/19/2011 1:30:07 PM
Because we started distrusting the food system in 2006-07 (and those were better times) we started a small farm/ranch, with just a few animals. Our ranch started with nothing more than a few chickens, some sheep and a Scottish Highlander cow, name Caitlin. Chickens grow the quickest so we ate lots of our free-range chicken & eggs. When I say free-range, it simply means they ran about the yard at that time. We were small-scale chicken ranchers, I guess. The next year we had grass-fed lambs. Since cattle grow so much slower, lamb was our substitute for beef. Lamburger, chops and lamb roasts were our cheap meat... even less than beef in the store. Since then, we have acquired more Highlanders and now eat real beef, as well as sell to others. The funny thing is, we can sell our naturally-raised, pastured, grass-fed, "specialty" meat, without the hormones and antibiotics for less than the "stuff" at the super-markets. If you want better meat at a better price, contact a local farmer. I'm sure most would love to help. I know we would. Rich & Carol http://www.minnesotahighlanders.com/news.html

Becky Palsgrove
1/19/2011 11:30:25 AM
I could never afford to buy steaks and roasts, especially if I wanted high-quality, pastured beef, pork, lamb, or poultry. so I eat lots of organ meats (liver, tongue, heart, kidney, tail, tripe, etc.), bone marrow, and bone broth - most farmers have a hard time selling these parts, even to their customers who buy a whole or half animal, so they sell them very cheaply. besides being tasty and nutritious, eating with offal makes me a better cook because I have to get creative! may not be for everyone, but I love it.

Dawna Carpenter
1/19/2011 10:17:53 AM
I'll cut up strips of 1 or two large chicken breasts or a single london broil, saute, and toss with veggies to make a big stir fry or mix with pasta and different sauces... Doing this usually feeds our family of 6 plus a couple of drop in guests.

Michelle
1/19/2011 9:55:14 AM
I buy my beef from a local Grassfed farm. Because I don't have to cut off extra fat the price per pound is equivalent to local grocers. The taste is fabulous!

GiGi
1/8/2011 8:44:56 PM
Before I compromise on the quality of the meat, I rather don't eat any or go out hunting or fishing. The farm animals have to be raised on organic pasture, be grass-fed (beef, lamb), or supplemented with organic feed (chicken, pork etc). To save money I would just eat it 1 to 2 times a week and buy ground beef or other cheaper cuts.

Linda Albonico
1/6/2011 8:41:26 AM
Our family loves all wild game and fish but my husband is not a hunter or fisherman. We have friends who are so we trade my home canned goods for game and fish. It is a win-win situation for both families. I make sure when I am in the height of canning season to can extra of things that are usually most requested, ie salsa, jam, tomato soup, relishes, etc.

Yia Yia
1/5/2011 12:29:14 PM
I shop specials and buy the best cuts of beef, chicken and turkey I can get. We do not eat pork. I freeze what I will not use that day. I use the crock pot often to cook the meat. I add a stock and then when done strain the stock into a mason jar and refrigerate. I make several dishes from one cut of meat and then use the stock to make rice, gravy or soup adding bits of leftover meat in that final use. Recently I added the use of an electric wok. Very little meat is used to make a huge amount of stir fry or fried rice. We do not eat meat everyday. Some days we add dried beans, eggs or other protein to our meals. I run a standard kitchen but I do not waste food. Leftovers are planned in advance. That is the biggest savings tip.

Jessykah
1/3/2011 11:42:45 AM
I raise meat rabbits. To some this may sound cruel, but then so is raising cows, pigs, chickens, etc. Unlike most meat animals, rabbits can be raised in urban areas or in the country, if you have a little bit of yard or shed or garage. All you need for the average family is a breeding trio (2 females and an unrelated male). Research what it takes to raise the rabbits before you purchase any. There's much information on the internet, or in books at the library (Storey's Guide To Raising Rabbits is one of the best books). Some butchers will process the rabbits for you in exchange for a bit of rabbit for themselves(depending on where you live). Rabbits are less expensive and easier to raise than chickens(and quieter). They are the leanest meat, with the most protein, low cholesterol, and the list goes on. As a bonus, unlike other animals' manure, their manure doesn't have to be aged or composted. It can be put right on the vegetable or flower garden. There's just so much to be said about raising rabbits...but I've said lots enough......think about it.

Mandy Lange
1/2/2011 7:47:09 PM
We tend to buy meat when it is on sale at the store. For example, when 10 pound tubes of beef are on sale, we buy the whole tube, take it home and wrap it in 1-2 pound packages and store it in the freezer. Same thing goes for pork roast, we buy it on sale and divide it down into smaller packages for later use. We limit our intake of red meat and eat more fish and chicken. Sometimes we substitute beans for meat by using certain soup recipes or a bean chili recipe, etc. The deep frrezer has to b e the best tool to have on hand if you are a thrifty shopper. The key is to buy meat on sale and have your menus based on what you have bought vs. buying specific meat for specific recipes which tends to be so much more expensive.

Carmin Simons
1/2/2011 5:05:27 PM
I agree with Sreija. In our area we get phone calls from SPIDER. They work with the local police when there is a vehicle kill and the meat is wonderful. Sure some times we have to have the deer processed mostly as burger but it is so lean and wonderful and we are helping to NOT let Gods gift of the deer go to waist. And you can use venison burger just like beef but it has a lot less fat in it. We also purchase turkeys on sale and smoke them, then vacuum seal individual meals, and freeze them for later use. Vacuum seal everything that goes into the freezer it helps with longer shelf life. We are blessed with an outlet for good beef. No hormones,antibiotics or steroids. We buy 1/2 a beef at a time. I'm looking for a local chicken and pork outlet for my family. We eat meat, the best we can get.

Rick Cofer Sr.
1/2/2011 1:27:16 PM
My wife and myself buy in bulk[meat] when it is on sale. We buy 10 pounds of hamberg and break it down into 2 pound packs. Also pork when it is on sale. We will a whole loin and smoke it then cut it up and freeze it for later meals. Buying half a beef is a money saver in the long run. We done it before we have butcherthat buys from local farmers and then sells half or quater. Great savings if the price is right.

Ara Morenberg_2
1/2/2011 2:40:30 AM
I'm with gina_30. I buy grass-fed beef only from a small family ranch in the middle of the state so I'm staying as local as possible (closest ranch I could find). I buy a quarter at a time that lasts my husband and me on average 11 months and could easily be stretched to a year. While we pay more for ground beef than one would in a grocery store, we save tremendously on the more expensive cuts because we are paying the same price per pound that would be prohibitive in a grocery store. The health and flavor benefits are immeasurable. Because we're dealing with a small ranch, they are quite open to making available cuts one doesn't see in a grocery store like tongue, heart, kidneys, dog bones, etc. The ranch also has a drop-off point about an hour away from me that I drive to to pickup our orders so that we are not shipping. All the meat comes vacuum packed and labeled with weights. They are now carrying Berkshire pork and lamb, both of which I'd like to try, but they will have to wait for a new solar freezer.

WYoMom
1/1/2011 11:34:16 PM
A pound of ground beef will make several meals for our family of 5 (including 3 growing boys!). For instance if I make Chili I use 2 bags of dried beans to extend the meat. Then we have a bowl of chili one night, frito chili cheese wraps another, hot dogs with chili on another night and baked potatoes with chili for another. I feel this makes for pretty economical use of a pound of ground beef. We have even added left over chili to omlets for breakfast! We also use a lot of leftovers to make soup. Another thing we do to save money on lunch meat is I will buy roasts (if I do not have one in the freezer) when it is on sale (top round, bottom round etc) and cook one or tow at a time. Once they are cool I slice thinly and we have sandwich meat. We raise our own pigs - about 4 each year for ourselves and a few paying friends. We also raise 2-3 steers/heifers that are often late born or orphan calves that a local farmer wants to be rid of for cheap. We have hens for fresh eggs and we use dual purpose hens so when they stop laying we have meat. My husband and 12 year old son hunt and we also use meat from any harvest they get. I find that elk meat is a great tasty sub for beef!

Kayaker
1/1/2011 4:11:10 PM
One word: venison! It's rather silly to give up on meat completely. ("Vegetarian" is an old indian word for 'bad hunter'). There's nothing quite so satisfying as sinking one's teeth into a thick juicy steak. Where I live the white tail deer are plentiful. All one needs is a shotgun, a few slugs, and a quiet spot to sit. One can even butcher it out and save the processing money. The meat is lean and tasty. To supplement my supply, I get a half or quarter of a hand-raised, grass fed buffalo every winter. The animals are raised locally and kept on pasture, no drugs, no grains. Cheaper than store-bought meat, and SO much healthier!

josie elmstrom
1/1/2011 1:28:40 PM
I quit buying meat altogether; and no, I do not slather everything in cheese instead. I buy beans now. They are barely 99 cents a pound. Beans can be subbed in for any recipie out there. One is not limited to bean soup or bean burritos.

Natalie Delorey
1/1/2011 9:50:32 AM
Interested in saving a lot of money on organic, free-range, "grass fed" meat? If you live in an area of high deer populations, and public aversion to hunting, deer/ vehicle collisions are frequent. Many police departments maintain call lists of people seeking to pick up the animals fresh from the scene. We have gotten many deer that have minimal damage and yield quite a bit of high quality venison, excellent on the grill, in stews and chili, and in sausage. Home processing of venison is not difficult, and any unsalvagable areas are appreciated winter bounty for wildlife.

Tim
1/1/2011 9:13:54 AM
I buy a whole chicken for sale at 99 cents a pound versus boneless breast for 2.50 and drumsticks for the same or better then I butcher the chicken myself boil the skeleton for chicken broth and get more than one dinner from a 7 dollar roaster

CARMEN ORTIZ
1/1/2011 6:23:56 AM
Where I buy, the meat is reduced the day before the sell by date (not the same as expiration) by 40% (biggest company). I always check the meats I want for that date, then I'm there very early (6:00). Sometimes if they have too much left they will reduce it two days before by about 20%. I then tell the person in meats that it "expires" the next day and I get the additional 40% discount for a saving of 60%. Most people don't know you can do that. Also, when I'm using recipes, I reduce the amount of meat by half. As long as there is meat no one seems to notice. My favorites are the pork ribs, because they are so pricy a few are usually left over, at 60% off I buy as many as I can, bring them home, put them in the oven with BBQ sauce to cook, when they are to the point of coming off the bone I pack them individually and freeze them. When I'm BBQing it's just a matter of heating them up in the grill. They taste great.

Lynne Aldridge
1/1/2011 6:03:51 AM
I grew up on cheap cuts. My mother grew up in wartime Britain, and the lessons learnt then stayed with her. To this day, I prefer pork belly, rabbit, ham hock and breast of lamb to all other cuts of meat. Even oxtail or brisket are deemed extravagant. We're lucky to have a traditional butcher nearby - something that fewer and fewer are able to access in the UK. A few years back, I passed on some of my Jerusalem Artichoke harvest to a smallholding contact. He planned to follow an idea from John Seymour's Fat Of The Land, and plant a field with JA's for his pigs to root out the following Winter & Spring. A few weeks later, I received an unexpected chiller box full of meat from his farm - plenty of sausages, lamb, mutton and goat meat, some fantastic pork chops and assorted other cuts. There was also some rump steak. I know I should have flash fried or grilled it to get the best out of it, but true to form I slow braised it with onions and potatoes and got two meals from it.

marla_2
12/31/2010 10:30:00 PM
I shop for marked down beef, chicken and porkat a couple of stores here in North Florida-then I freeze everything until I need something. With dishes such as chili, beef stew and spaghetti sauce I use half or one third ground beef for flavor and for the rest I use TVP which I get from mail order. I pay about $.50 per pound instead of 2.00 per pound doing this--my husband hasn't noticed yet! Also, for burritos I use TVP chunks along with a small amount of chicken or for chicken stew. The beef colored TVP is brown and the chicken chunks are chicken colored.Next I'm going to try making lasagna with the beef-colored TVP.

Veronica Vatter
12/31/2010 7:05:43 PM
Do you want to save 12, 15, even 20%? Stop buying meat from the grocery store. they add up to 20% solution in the meat. Buying it at a butcher often costs less and they don't add broth or salt water to the meat to increase the weight. I also cook larger chickens and make several meals and broth out of them. Ground meat can be streched by adding brown rice to it. Buying a whole beef loin is quite economical if you buy the whole thing, then cut it up at home. You can get 15-20 steaks from a $60 loin, thats 3-4 dollars a steak for filet mingon!

Robin Besotes
12/31/2010 2:17:55 PM
Purchasing beef or pork (either whole or half) is the best way to save on meat. If you have a local "butcher", not a grocery store butcher, but an acutal butcher give him a call. I'm sure he has clients who are looking to split the cost on meat. We raise our own and have priced it out - overall being much less expensive. In addition, we know what the animal has been fed and that's very important to me. Let your neighbors, family and friends know you're looking to buy or share a butcher animal. We put our neighbor who for the first time would be butchering beef and another person we know together. They were both happy! One for being able to sell their half of a beef (to reduce their butchers costs too) and the other who lives in the city and prefers not to purchase store-bought beef. A win-win for both. When we have the need to purchase lunch mean, I will only use coupons in addition to a sale (never purchase a regular price). I do purchase hot dogs, but only the Hewbrew National (without fillers, etc.). These can be expensive, but again, I will wait until they are on-sale and use coupons - again never purchasing at full price. Then I freeze the hot dogs until we need them. I'm sure as the rest of you, when baking a ham, we use the leftovers for scrambled eggs & ham, or ham sandwiches, or scalloped potatoe with ham, etc. Same with a chicken or turkey, purchase a good quality on sale and use up the leftovers for chicken or turkey soup, etc.

Charles Tutt
12/31/2010 8:46:36 AM
I like slow cooking in a crock pot using meat merely as seasoning for the veggies and whole grains. For example: chili, stew, chicken rice gumbo, etc. Actually, I rarely follow a specific recipe. I just throw whatever I find in the pantry, freezer or fridge that appeals to me, spice it up a little and walla', a signature one-of-a-kind original masterpiece!

gina_30
12/30/2010 6:04:25 PM
I spend far less money by buying meat only from grassfed animals on smaller farms. It goes so much farther than meat in regular grocery stores. I end up eating less and being totally satisfied with it because it is denser with good fat and nutrients. The texture is wonderful and it tastes tremendous. Grassfed beef or pork from animals fed only good foods without chemicals have made me healthier, so I also don't have the added costs of healthcare.

Erin
12/30/2010 7:32:28 AM
Our family purchased a portion of an entire cow this year. We saved many dollars per pound for a local, organic, grass-fed, grass-finished cow that will last us all year.

Jo _4
12/30/2010 5:39:28 AM
I roast whole turkeys then use them for lunch meat. I think it is heathlier too. We freeze both ground and chunks in small bags and thaw what is needed for the week.

Blaine
12/29/2010 7:28:04 PM
I make my own bulk sausage without casings. Found some recipes online. Both breakfast and italian style are easy to make. I bought a cast iron hand grinder. Use pork shoulder and store bought spices, or homegrown. All said and done the cost of homemade sausage is at least 1/2!










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