Today I'm making a long and involved split pea soup with the hambone leftover from last Sunday's roast. It's necessary to make every food dollar stretch these days so that you can afford little luxuries- like asparagus- for holidays. This will make roughly a gallon of soup. Along with boiling off the meat still on the bone, I've added carrots, celery and lots of onion, all still affordable, a couple bay leaves and some worcestershire. The split peas were on sale- 99 cents for the pound and a half. After it cools I'll freeze it in pint containers and have hearty soup that will still be good come the Fall. I'm an ant by nature. My freezer is my friend. One bit of meat may live in my freezer in 3 incarnations before it's gone.
First, I buy in "bulk" sizes. Chicken leg quarters go on sale for 99 cents a pound, in a 6 or 7 pound package. At home, they get wrapped individually and frozen. Two legs later are defrosted and baked. After that dinner, leftovers (bones and all) go into a pot with seasonings, bouillion cubes and vegetables that need using. Remove the bones, season the broth and voila! Dinner number two. The remaining soup will be divided, frozen and later defrosted and thickened into stew with the addition of potatoes, or rice, or topped with dumplings. Dinner number three. And so on with the rest of the legs, with them ending up at last in tomato sauces, burritos, a la King... always started as plain chicken, always ending in a combo dish. Getting 3 meals from a cut of meat is ecological as well as economical.
Living alone, I'm searching around for simpler things. Spring is here. I've been cooking for 45 years. I don't always have it in me to go through a big procedure. And so I'm happy to see ideas like these pop up-
Tuna has never been my favorite thing, and now that there's so much tsuris with the mercury and the practices and the shortages, I'm happy to go for mackerel and sardines. Usually cheaper anyway, they're small fish so no mercury issue, have those good fatty acids, and most are governed by fishery management agencies. However, some areas are being overfished
so there's always that problem. Honestly, if I could, I'd go back to being vegetarian. But this old body doesn't function well without meat, it's just the way it is. So I try to make the most of what I get.
If you can still afford beef and lamb, get creative and find ways to stretch your meat dollar. Meat will only get costlier and less eco-friendly. It behooves us to use every bit of it, to make the most of our food budget and to learn the ways to get the most value and nutrition we can from our purchases.
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