Author Topic: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat  (Read 10711 times)

Anti-ComplainyPants

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Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« on: November 06, 2013, 08:52:08 AM »
I'm one of those self-proclaimed carnivores - I definitely love to eat meat. Unfortunately chicken, beef, and super cheap steaks-in-a-box are what drive up most of my grocery bill. I love to cook, but I'm just not familiar with many "meat-substitutes" so to speak.

What goes with rice? Meat. Got some pasta? Throw some chicken, shrimp, or meatballs in it. I'm looking for suggestions of ingredients that I can occasionally exchange for my usual meat-portion of most meals that will be similarly filling and delicious. I have no interest in cutting out meat, but if I can make it last longer in my fridge/freezer but learning some other ideas, my grocery  bill will go down.

Recipes are welcome, but I'm most interested in flexible meat-substitutes for lunch/dinners; I can always search for some recipes with any given ingredient. And I always enjoy the challenge of whipping up something creative and delicious!

Looking forward to seeing what's for dinner tonight!

Jimbo

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 09:05:55 AM »
Let me be the first to say it: tofu.

I used to hate everything about tofu except its price. I still kinda do.

But I found a recipe (in french, so unsure if I should link to it) for General Tao tofu. It is awesome, in the sense that it makes you forget you are eating not-chicken. I usually toss some chicken with the tofu, just for betterness. Basically, general tao sauce (homemade, of course), sauté/frying in a pan, and voila. But with tofu.

Best way to eat it, in my opinion.

simonsez

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2013, 09:31:10 AM »
You asked for something similarly filling.  Well, on a unit basis, nothing sates our appetites more than protein.  I personally love Baby Bella mushrooms but per pound they are usually more expensive than ground beef, on sale steak, boneless chicken breasts, pork chops, bacon, and on sale WC fish where I shop.  Eggs might work.

Nuts, seeds, and spinach also deserve consideration although the first two are generally more expensive per unit and the latter item isn't as filling or as tasty.

I cook stir fry multiple times per week and mushrooms, eggs, nuts, and seeds are omnipresent although I usually don't phase out the meat completely but having other proteins in there allows me to use less meat.

Pardon me for imposing my food theories but if you start eating more nuts and seeds (as well as legumes or just meat/eggs that may have been affected by hormones, antibiotics, etc.), your Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio will change and I'd recommend taking some fish oil as well to rebalance.

If your concern is bottom line amount spent on groceries only, transition away from protein and look for unprocessed carbs.  Carbs are cheap but realize they won't fill you up as much.  Yes a gram of carb and a gram of protein are both ~4 calories but protein will make you feel full quicker.  I could talk about the insulin spike and drop resulting in more snacking/eating from more carbs ceteris paribus but I digress if you are just slashing the food budget.

Good luck!

footenote

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2013, 09:42:44 AM »
Three years ago I committed to becoming more flexitarian. It was easier than I thought it would be.

Basically I came up with "standing" breakfasts and lunches I loved that were vegetarian. They are vegetable, bean and egg heavy and keep me from being hungry between meals. Eating these five days / week = 10 meals per week vegetarian.

Then I halved the animal protein the remaining meals. Instead of an entire chicken portion or steak or chop each for DH and me, I divided one portion between us. I doubled the vegetables, brown rice or salad in the meal. Another good trick was cutting the animal protein in a stir fry in half, increasing the veggies. We both adjusted to the 1/2 protein portions as "normal" very quickly.

Now half or more of my meals each week are vegetarian, I'm eating better, and the grocery bill is lower. For me, that type of change was much more palatable (forgive the pun) than trying to substitute something entirely for animal protein. (Which, like you, I enjoy.)

Everything in Moderation

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2013, 09:51:29 AM »
I cut back, but still eat meat with most meals.  I have just seriously reduced portions. 

Instead of a piece of chicken or a steak each, I cut the meat into strips or cubes, and 1 piece of meat will feed 2-3 people.  I then serve a lot of veggies, salads.  The stripes of meat make it seem normal to be eating a smaller portion. 

Chicken or pork fried rice:  small portion of meat, with a ton of frozen veggies and eggs in it. 

I also focus on not wasting food.  This allows more room in my budget for meat.  Also, buy in bulk. 

Peanut butter:  PB&Js or on an apple.  Great protein source. 

If I cook a chicken, I then make stock and soup with every last piece of meat.  Nothing wasted. 

You have to be careful with reducing meat.  It is easy to carb it up and gain a lot of weight.  Seeds and nuts are also pretty expensive.  It can be done, but you have to be smart about it. 

footenote

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2013, 09:56:40 AM »
Here's one of our favorite cold weather recipes, refried bean soup:
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/fast-refried-bean-soup

It's tasty, filling, healthy and stupid-easy to make. (Just my speed!) If you try it and like it, you can make it even more mustachian by making the refried beans from dried pinto beans. I make a big batch from 3 lbs of pinto beans and it yields 6 pounds (=6 cans).

It's very easy to make and crazy cheap: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/09/the-best-refried-beans-made-in-the-slow-cooker-and-fat-free.html

Lans Holman

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 10:54:31 AM »
If you do try tofu, it really helps to press it first.  Put your block of tofu between two plates, put a phone book or two on top, leave it like that for an hour to press out as much of the water as you can.  Helps a lot with the consistency and texture.

swick

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2013, 11:57:52 AM »
Buy bigger pieces of meat :)

Buying bigger cuts is usually cheaper per pound and gives you tons of options. We tend to use meat as either a flavoring or stretched out. A whole brined and crock potted chicken will give us  tons of stock, shredded chicken that can be used for soups, tajine, sandwiches, stews, pot pies etc. The fat can be saved for cooking too.

A crock potted pork shoulder can make pulled pork, fried rice, steamed buns, soups and on and on.

We usually use the meat as an element buy add bulkers to it.  My favorites are split read lentils and bulgur  (for things such as soups) since they cook really fast and don't need pre-cooking. Flaked Pinto and Black Beans are also a super easy solution to bulking things up, you can get them in bulk and throw them in anything that has liquid to help thicken and bulk it up.

It usually helps my creativity if I think of meat as an ingredient instead of a large portion on a plate that i have to build a meal around.

Tonight I am making beef barley soup with short ribs, If I used the meat as is, I might feed the three of us one meal, by making it into soup and using lots of barley and Veg, I will be able to easily make 12 portions.

GuitarStv

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 12:20:36 PM »
You can make some pretty awesome 'meatballs' out of ground chickpeas with tahini paste, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Grill em on a frying pan and make dozens of them to throw in with pasta.  Chickpeas cost nothing when you buy them dried.

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2013, 12:29:50 PM »
Just replace all that meat with veggies!  Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, peas, carrots, kohlrabi, sauteed greens- kale, collards, spinach, chard.  Turnips.  Eggplant!  Yum, I love my veggies.  We eat lots of soups and salads around here.  We've been cutting back on grain consumption to address some digestive issues, too.  Which I was kind of disappointed about, because rice and pasta are such cheap staples, but I think health is a bigger priority.

I agree with the sentiment that meat needn't be the meal.  I'm a vegetarian- the lacto-ovo-pesco type.  I will occasionally eat a salmon filet with veggies on the side, like one would eat a steak, but that's infrequent, maybe once or twice a month. 

Tonight we are having crustless broccoli cheddar quiche for dinner.

Winter's Tale

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2013, 12:37:57 PM »
I often use bacon or sausage as seasoning because the flavor is so great. 

Examples:

-pasta, white beans, caramelized onions, broccoli, and a bit of sausage.
-pasta, white beans, caramelized onions, peas, and bacon
-a bit of sausage or bacon with sauteed cabbage and potatoes or noodles
-a bit of sausage or bacon in a bean soup like this: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/09/slow-cooker-white-bean-soup/ 
-a big pot of chili with one pound of meat and lots of beans and veggies

I find that caramelized onions, roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes/other root veggies, and chile/chipotle, and cheese often give me that savory, satiating feeling that meat does.   I think there's a lot to be said for cutting down on unhealthy/expensive things rather than eliminating them completely.  Every once in a while, make a steak and really enjoy it!  My grandfather always said "everything in moderation, including moderation."

zinnie

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2013, 01:07:02 PM »
We have started buying textured soy protein recently--the stuff I get is sold by the spices in mexican markets. It is good both to use as a meat substitute, and to use so that you can halve the amount of meat you use in a given meal. We have used it in tacos, chili, and indian curry so far and it worked really well in those. Very reasonably priced too--I think a bag was $3.99 and my husband and I probably got four meals out of it because it expands a lot when it becomes re-hydrated. It is dried so it lasts a long time in the cabinet and is nice to have on hand when you are low on fresh ingredients.

Beyond that: nuts/ nut butter, and beans! Bean can replace meat in so many things I make.

Greg

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 01:39:54 PM »
Similarly filling and delicious could be as easy as a ton of grilled/sautéed/roasted veggies.  If you do a lot of cooking, save bones, skins, fats, meat and veggie scraps in the freezer and occasionally make stock in a crock pot.  Use the stock to make your rice and other things, it will add that meaty, savory flavor to simple veggie dishes.

farmstache

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2013, 02:16:55 PM »
I'm with everyone that says it's easy if you don't make meat the center of the meal. We had a hard time adjusting to eating less meat here, because we absolutely hate soy and tofu as substitutes in a meal that would usually have meat.

So, my tips:
1. Don't use anything as meat substitute (as in, use the same recipe as always but put something instead of meat). It's different, and psychologically you might feel disgusted. Instead, try cooking recipes that don't even try to pretend being meat (broccoli burger with soy protein is awesome and doesn't try to fool you - soy only burger is disgusting). If you like it, though, just go ahead.
2. Start adding lots and lots of veggies to everything. We make the local beans recipe with carrots and pumpkin instead of sausage and it turned out great.
3. I think only in the US pasta goes well with meat. I almost never eat pasta with meat, at most a little chopped bacon to season a recipe. Look into other sauces!
4. When cutting meat and adding proteic stuff (legumes - soy, beans, chickpeas, lentils - mushrooms, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy), don't forget the fat. Meat is one of our main sources of fat, and fat takes longer to digest, so if you cut the fat out, you'll be hungry much earlier than average. Avoid substituting the meat volume with staples too. Our first weeks were some hungry one because of the excess carbs.

For me meat is cut up and part of a much bigger recipe. Much cheaper that way

Not only because it reduces the amount you eat, but also because then you don't need to buy the best meat in a large piece.

farmstache

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2013, 02:25:23 PM »
Ohhh, and on a recipe tip, if you like lasagna: try a veggie lasagna.

Just pile up: tomato sauce, zucchini slices, white sauce, cheese slices, tomato sauce, eggplant slices, white sauce, cheese slices (then start over with tomato sauce). Just be careful not to put too much sauce (you don't want it to become a soup).

It's sooooo good, soooo cheap, soooo fatty. :) I'd sooner add a few ham slices to the pile than the pasta, actually.

Anti-ComplainyPants

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2013, 03:54:44 PM »
These are wonderful suggestions, thank you!

I'm a little embarrassed to admit I hadn't thought of this before: Considering meat an ingredient instead of making a meal around the meat. It should be a very tolerable adjustment to simply reduce my meat portions and increase my starch/veggie portions more often!

plainjane

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2013, 04:51:52 PM »
What goes with rice? Meat. Got some pasta? Throw some chicken, shrimp, or meatballs in it. I'm looking for suggestions of ingredients that I can occasionally exchange for my usual meat-portion of most meals that will be similarly filling and delicious. I have no interest in cutting out meat, but if I can make it last longer in my fridge/freezer but learning some other ideas, my grocery  bill will go down.

people have made some great suggestions.  I do a number of these things because I have a carnivore at home (I'd likely be closer to veggie if I was solo).

approaches we use:
- stretch ground/shredded meat with shredded carrot, zucchini or sweet potato, eat with hummus & naan
- small amounts of bacon go a long way
- stretch shredded meat with napa cabbage for asian meals
- add chickpeas to curry
- roast other things with meats and use them later (e.g. brussel sprouts added to a roast a duck leg when it was 1/2 price were eaten with gnocchi a couple of days later and it was one of the best meals ever)
- leverage the fat from meat in other cooking (bacon, chicken, beef, duck and pork fats all store well in the freezer and can be used for more than just onions, mushrooms & potatoes - I recommend avoiding the lamb)

rufflina

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2013, 06:20:52 PM »
Amazing vegetarian recipe that was always a total hit at college and still is a hit at BBQ parties - even the meat eaters devour 1-2. It's also very filling!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/addictive-sweet-potato-burritos/

SondraRose

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2013, 06:56:28 PM »
Yikes!  Has no one read this blog post?

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/18/the-amazing-waist-slimming-wallet-fattening-nutrient/

Eating high fat/low carb has been amazing for my wallet and my waistline!

frompa

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2013, 07:09:25 PM »
I agree that fat is the food that is most satisfying.  Try a salad loaded w veggies and include a chopped up avocado (good fat) and some toasted sunflower seeds.  Keeps you full for hours.  For a quickie breakfast, try whipping a few tablespoons of heavy cream and tossing in some fresh or thawed (formerly frozen) raspberries/blueberries/peaches/combination of all of them.  WOW! You don't need to add any sugar, and this tastes like you died and went to heaven and keeps you full til mid afternoon! I'm looking forward to enjoying some of the other posters' suggestions.... isn't food fun??

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2013, 08:17:24 PM »
I'm one of those self-proclaimed carnivores - I definitely love to eat meat. Unfortunately chicken, beef, and super cheap steaks-in-a-box are what drive up most of my grocery bill. I love to cook, but I'm just not familiar with many "meat-substitutes" so to speak.

What goes with rice? Meat. Got some pasta? Throw some chicken, shrimp, or meatballs in it. I'm looking for suggestions of ingredients that I can occasionally exchange for my usual meat-portion of most meals that will be similarly filling and delicious. I have no interest in cutting out meat, but if I can make it last longer in my fridge/freezer but learning some other ideas, my grocery  bill will go down.

Recipes are welcome, but I'm most interested in flexible meat-substitutes for lunch/dinners; I can always search for some recipes with any given ingredient. And I always enjoy the challenge of whipping up something creative and delicious!

Looking forward to seeing what's for dinner tonight!

You are an omnivore, not a carnivore.

gooki

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2013, 01:02:33 AM »
Just throwing in my 2 cents. Don't limit yourself to simply looking for meat replacements.

dcheesi

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2013, 05:13:09 AM »
I find that the items designed and marketed as "meat substitutes" are often just as expensive as the meat they replace, if not more. Less-processed options like plain tofu or bulk TVP are cheaper, but I find that they don't replicate the texture of meat very well (flavor is not a problem if you use sauces).

My menu recently has included a lot of beans and cheese. Black bean burritos can be pretty awesome, and quesadillas and flatbread pizza both work very well. I tend to use lower-carb flatbread/tortilla options so I'm not overloading on refined starches.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2013, 07:27:06 AM »
I often use bacon or sausage as seasoning because the flavor is so great. 

Examples:

-pasta, white beans, caramelized onions, broccoli, and a bit of sausage.
-pasta, white beans, caramelized onions, peas, and bacon
-a bit of sausage or bacon with sauteed cabbage and potatoes or noodles
-a bit of sausage or bacon in a bean soup like this: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/09/slow-cooker-white-bean-soup/ 
-a big pot of chili with one pound of meat and lots of beans and veggies

Yeah! this is how I like to eat too. Don't kill me but I don't even like bacon that much on its own (!)... but it's AMAZING as a kind of "meat condiment." pretty much makes every single pasta dish taste better.

I'm with the people who say "replace the meat with veggies." And I guess beans if you want protein. Eggs are amazing too, and they are cheap! I LOVE eggs.

Your initial post ("what goes with rice? MEAT! what goes with pasta? MEAT!") made me laugh I literally think the exact opposite. After living and cooking with my boyfriend for a year I am starting to rely on meat more regularly... but when I mostly cooked for myself, my staple meals were rice with black beans/pepper jack/veggies and pasta with veggies/cheese/maybe some cannellini beans... so basically the staple meat-replacers in a meal for me are beans/cheese/veggies. My personal food philosophy is that it's better to go with these "whole food" kinda things rather than straight up "meat-replacers"... although I do love Morningstar's fake breakfast sausage patties (SO GOOD), and once in a while a little tofu (diced or crumbled and then sauteed... eaten with pasta/rice and veggies) is delish.

Oh yeah, and I'm sure you already know this but dried beans are cheap as hell and VERY easy to cook in the slow cooker and then freeze in small portions. My boyfriend kinda makes fun of me because I have our freezer so full of shit in random Ziploc bags, but I cooked up two pounds of black beans last night...

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2013, 08:19:50 AM »
Falafel is great as a sandwich.  I love to make pasta with lots of veggies and then crack an egg on top.  I put my plate in the oven and cook the egg but leave the yolk just a little runny which makes a nice "sauce".  Also, I make "tuna" salad sandwiches with parsnips instead of tuna. 

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2013, 09:09:06 AM »
Beans are so cheap and delicious. Try making dishes like chickpea salad instead of chicken salad, bean soups instead of meaty soups, and beans and rice instead of meat and rice. You also don't have to worry about comparing the dishes to meat when you do this; since beans aren't a "meat replacement" directly, just find dishes where you enjoy the taste of the beans and there's no need to compare.

I also agree that tofu and TVP are cheap and efficient if you do like them. TVP can be used in most instances where ground beef is used.

I also find that eggplant and mushrooms are good main dish material, though at times they are not cheap.

gillstone

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2013, 09:26:10 AM »
We recently cut back our meat to offset the price shift to buying our protein locally.  Lentils have been great to substitute with and if you sprout them you can capture (almost) all the proteins you miss from meat.  Chickpeas puree well and make a great thickener and when whole add  heft to vegetable dishes that may seem too light.  Finally consider the wonders of bacon ends and pieces.  We can get 1.5 lb of locally processed bacon ends & pieces for roughly $4.  This lasts us for at least two weeks and keeps us from going nuts when we really crave meat.

This bacon lentil recipe makes enough to feed 2 adults for four days if you have a vegtable side-dish and tastse awesome
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/bacon-lentils-recipe/index.html

Its also dirt cheap
- 1/4lb bacon pieces - $.50
- 1 lb organic local lentils - $4.25
- carrot, onion, celery - $2
- homemade stock - $.75
basically a dollar a serving if you round up or buy stock rather than making it

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2013, 09:37:12 AM »
Finally consider the wonders of bacon ends and pieces.  We can get 1.5 lb of locally processed bacon ends & pieces for roughly $4.  This lasts us for at least two weeks and keeps us from going nuts when we really crave meat.

I recently discovered the wonders of bacon ends and pieces when I finally realized that 75%+ of the time, I'm using bacon as a flavorant and not as a dish. Awesome.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2013, 10:24:06 AM »
Finally consider the wonders of bacon ends and pieces.  We can get 1.5 lb of locally processed bacon ends & pieces for roughly $4.  This lasts us for at least two weeks and keeps us from going nuts when we really crave meat.

What?!? I didn't even know this was a possibility! Amazing! Going to research right now :)

dodojojo

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2013, 06:14:42 PM »
Trader Joe's sells bacon bits and ends.  Good and cheap to use if you need for seasoning and not for the bacon itself.

I cut down on my meat consumption as I switched to buying from local farmers and along with that are the higher prices/pound.  I get really hungry if I do not have meaty protein in my meals (and no, tofu/beans don't cut it...sometimes not even eggs and seafood).  I just make sure I have a little bit in most of my meals and that sates me.

What also helps is to buy cheaper cuts of meat.  I talked to the vendors at my farmer's market and I have been able to buy unlisted  items.  Right now, I have beef heart, kidney and cheek in my freezer.  I used a portion of the heart and cheek to make 7 meals worth of beef and vegetable soup.    I will also buy the cheapest boneless pork cut rather than buying the more expensive ground pork and use the food processor to grind it myself.  Sometimes do the same for beef if I can find an appropriate cut cheaper than ground beef

apoclater

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2013, 07:45:44 PM »
I'm sure this has been said already--but if you like meat, just prioritize it in your budget.  Frankly, I think that eating a high fat, high protein, low carb diet has ridiculous benefits to your wallet, your health, and your overall happiness.  Yes, it's significantly more expensive, but it's awesome being strong and in shape when my friends are complaining that they're starting to get man boobs.

I've been eating paleo for 2 years and recently had a work retreat that was 3 weeks of high-carb, low fat SAD (Standard American diet).  I was miserable the entire time.  I thought it was work at first, but the last three days when I finally manned up and asked if I could do gluten free (no one really seems to know paleo in the hotel restaurant world yet) they gave me eggs and bacon for breakfast and skinless chicken breasts and vegetables for lunch/dinner.  I felt a light go on.  My energy was way up, I was alert, and I felt motivated.  When I got back on my paleo diet I was back to my old self.

My take on it: don't sacrifice things like gym memberships and eating habits.  I pay for a gym because I want a power rack, bench press, dip bars, etc and can't put one in my apartment.  I pay for high quality meat and vegetables because it's thinking long term and takes into account our most important asset (your body). 

Mickijune

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2013, 08:48:13 AM »
I have recently learned that replacing bite size chicken with bite size cauliflower works well for us! Don't miss the chicken and it cuts down the calories!

Miss Growing Green

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2013, 09:06:32 AM »
Be careful with tofu.  Eating more than 3-5 servings a day can be bad for your health- in the form of plant estrogens.  My recommendation for cooking it though is to cut it into small cubes (smaller than playing dice) and saute in for 10-15 minutes until it is golden brown on all sides.  Then splash some soy sauce on there and cook 2-3 more minutes.  That way you avoid the mushy tofu texture.

I have been meat free for years now, so I have lots of recommendations :)

-With rice?  curry with potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms
-giant chipotle style burritos with beans, cilantro-lime rice, grilled veggies.  Instead of meat pile on some pico de gallo and lots of fresh avocado
-homemade pizza with veggie toppings.  I personally love red onion and pear on white sauce.
-meatless lunch sandwich? a bagel with lots of hummus, sprouts, spinach, shredded carrots, and avocado
-crock pot soup- vegetarian chili or minestrone- hearty and easy and cheap
-with pasta? thai peanut sauce topped with fresh shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and peanuts, and grilled cubed tofu if you want

It's great that you're trying to cut back on meat to financial reasons.  But it will be good for your health and the environment, too.  Meat, unless you're buying hormone and antibiotic free, is full of nasty hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.  Meat production also accounts for nearly 20% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and is directly responsible for the decimation of rainforests :(.  So, good job!


Rural

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2013, 09:42:49 AM »
I recently discovered a great tip for improving the texture of tofu: cube it up and freeze it. Once it has been frozen, it becomes much firmer and more meat-like. Plus, that way, you can pull out smaller amounts as needed to use in a recipe if you don't need the whole batch at once.

dcheesi

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2013, 11:21:59 AM »
I recently discovered a great tip for improving the texture of tofu: cube it up and freeze it. Once it has been frozen, it becomes much firmer and more meat-like. Plus, that way, you can pull out smaller amounts as needed to use in a recipe if you don't need the whole batch at once.
I will have to try this; I keep buying tofu and then not using it, so if nothing else this should cut down on food waste.

footenote

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Re: Delicious suggestions for cutting back on meat
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2013, 11:29:25 AM »
Off topic (unless OP is eating meat for dessert), but check out Tofu Chocolate pudding:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/dining/20mini.html

Made with high quality chocolate, this is a winner. (Unfortunately, given how expensive chocolate is, not a Mustachian winner. : (