Are you spending way too much money on groceries? For many of us, the cost of meat is eating up a major portion of our grocery budget. The answer to this dilemma is simple – buy less meat! The trick to serving less meat is in the vegetables and other protein choices. Vegetarian options can stretch your grocery dollars while providing filling, healthy meals your family will love.
The next time you plan your menu for the week, instead of planning on enough meat to feed your family for seven days, substitute 2-3 vegetarian meals for your dinner. This one change can save you 30% to 50% on what you normally spend for meat.
If the thought of no meat shocks you, with the right recipes, you can even stretch bits of meat, like a small amount of left-over meat, to make a satisfying meal for everyone in your family.
Consider these menu ideas your family and wallet will love:
- Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and your favorite salad.
- Quesadillas: Grilled tortillas with cheese, pico de gallo, and bits of taco meat if you like.
- Bean and cheese chalupas with avocado. Add some bits of grilled chicken for variety.
- Cheese enchiladas, Spanish rice, and refried or borracho beans
- Mexican style pinto or black beans, corn bread, and a fresh garden salad
- Chef salad with lots of different vegetables, boiled egg, and cheeses. Add bits of ham, bacon, or chicken to suit your tastes.
- Mini pizzas, home-made with a variety of grated cheeses, Italian-spiced tomato sauce, and other toppings as desired. Some great ideas include fresh tomatoes, chives, walnuts, and spinach. Let everyone design their own concoctions.
- Tortellini stuffed with cheese and mixed with herb and garlic flavored feta cheese, chopped tomato, kidney beans and a bit of olive oil. Serve on a plate of baby spinach.
- Roasted vegetable casserole with potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cream of mushroom soup, carrots, and cheese. Add some left-over chicken if desired.
- Fried rice with soy sauce, bits of egg, corn, and chopped carrots. Serve with egg rolls.
- For a fun change, fix omelets for supper using eggs, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach. Bits of ham or bacon flavor it nicely while using only a small amount of meat. Put out a variety of “fixin’s” for everyone to choose from.
These menu ideas are just the beginning. Explore, experiment, and get your family involved in the process. Make it fun! There’s nothing like good old family time in the kitchen. Only your wallet will know that you’re saving a lot of money in the process!