Friday, April 15, 2011

Financial Friday: Stretching Your Protein

Protein/Meat is the most expensive part of a meal.  We had no chicken breasts in our fridge, no ground beef, no lunch meat, no protein at all except for a turkey!  With the cost of ground beef going up and the fact that we wanted to see how long we can go without buying meat, Brian and I tried something that we would recommend to anyone!

I got this idea last year (don't remember where - sorry!)  During November/December, when prices are at their lowest, buy 12 turkeys (1 for each month). The key is to buy 1 bird, and try to make it last for as many meals as possible. I didn't want to blow thru $150 this last year, nor did we have the room in our freezer for 12 turkeys, but thought I would at least buy 1 turkey (~$12 I think) and see how it would work out for our wittle family of 2.

We decided to go ahead and cook up the turkey and see how long we could make it many meals we could get out of it.

Meal #1 - Whole Turkey & Veggies - I made a spice rub to put under the skin, poured in some chicken broth (saved from last chicken boilin'), added some potatoes, onion, carrots and celery, let it cook for 5 hours in the roaster.

*After this meal, I trimmed ALL of the turkey off each and every bone and strained the broth (for soup).*

Meal #2 - Breakfast Casserole (a turkey version of THIS RECIPE)

Meal #3 - Homemade Pizza - Instead of pepperoni, we used leftover turkey

Meal #4 - Turkey Pot Pie - I used frozen veggies and the pie crust I got HERE

Meal #5 - Turkey Soup - Used the broth & turkey saved from the first meal, add some veggies & taters, served with bread

Meal #6 - Turkey Sandwich - We both used the turkey trimmings as our sandwich lunch meat to take to work

Meal #7 - Nachos - Brian made some nachos with the turkey meat instead of ground beef

We still have a little turkey left, and will finish that up this weekend.  Now...eating the same meat for 2 weeks straight would get a little monotonous & bland.  So you can add in chicken meals, fish meals, etc. if your family is getting sick of eating turkey.  Brian and I didn't seem to mind, though.

We made our 1 turkey last for 2 weeks - breakfasts, lunches and dinners ALL included.  2 weeks of protein for your meals for ONLY $12 - that's less than $1.00 PER DAY!  That's pretty dang good!  The more meals you can get out of 1 bird, the cheaper it makes your protein in each meal.  Like I said earlier, the key is eating meals that require minimal protein.

Another benefit besides the financial benefit is TIME!  I spent less time in the kitchen because I already had the meat cooked and ready to go.  I just had to assemble everything.  It was marvelous!

I recommend that you try this at least once.  See how many meals you can get out of it.  It's totally worth it!

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