Stretching Those Meats

Sandwiches for dinner are one of the ways to stretch your meats. Honi and I eat sandwiches made only from eggs, tomatoes, fish, BLT’s, cutlets, leftover roasts, chicken, and our favorites, hamburgers (be it ground beef or pork) and those delicious sausages. With lettuce, tomato and pickles, you have a pretty complete meal. Add some fresh fruit slices on the side (not a lot, just a little) and you are there. Most of us think of sandwiches as lunch. Think outside the box on this one. The sandwich makes a fine dinner and stretches your meat supply at the same time.

Soups, beans and sauces are another and are time-savers as well because it’s as easy to make a lot as it is to make one. The Big Fat Hen gives an example. We roast it then eat a breast and hind quarter the first night, same thing the second night and then trim the scraps for sandwiches the third night. After that, the carcass goes into the stew pot with onion, carrot and sea salt until it has reduced by ½. After removing the bone and scraping the scraps of meat into the pot, in go the soup condiments for four more delicious servings.

Beans? Start with some sauteed vegetables and ground meat or sausage or bacon get the idea. Then the beans simmer until soft, served over rice. Lots of meals there - beans and rice was a Monday laundry day staple where I grew up.  Still love it. At least 6 servings here.  Sauces? Buy a good marinara, bell pepper, garlic and onion at the market. Cook your ground pork or beef with the vegetables, pour on the marinara and serve over spaghetti with parmesan and parsley for decor. You’ll easily make four adult servings with one pound of meat. Or do the same thing with Italian sausage. Be smart in the kitchen. You’ll feed your family well and raise them healthy.   It’s a good thing.

Real food is the bargain. Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grass-fed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of naturally-raised meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grain-fed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection, says Dhiman. But it is not so much a question of Dhiman’s extrapolation about the benefits of the omega 3's, vitamins, and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) found in grassfed products that is my point here but the cost/benefit ratio found in grass-fed versus grain-fed products. Perhaps the most frequent criticism planted by Big Food is that grass-fed is more expensive than grain-fed — and it is if you are looking only at the price point for a pound of each. Hey, if cheap does it for you, go for it.

Let’s take Dhiman’s hypothesis and apply a cost/benefit analysis to it. Isn’t he saying you could spend 5 times more for Real Food over the cost of Big Food before breaking even on cost? So you would have to pay $11.95 per pound for grass-fed against the current cost of $2.39 per pound of grain-fed ground beef at the grocery store before the costs were equalized. What is the average cost of grass-fed ground beef in the Houston area? I put it at $6.00 on the low end to $7.00 on the high end. It’s about ½ the price of grain-fed if you are comparing nutritional values. Naturally-raised and grass-fed from start to finish is the real bargain. See here for more examples of this proposition.