My boys love the different names for eaters: carnivore, omnivore, herbivore, dessertivore, etc. Most of them would choose to be carnivores, if they could. (OK, dessertivore is in close competition.) When we have grilled meat such as tri-tip, those nearby need to stand back. The FishBoys go after it like a pack of hungry wolves.
Unfortunately, in this endeavor to dig out of debt, meat is not a big menu item. This prompts more than a few whines, “But is there any meat in it?” I’ve discovered that the children will hush up and eat if there’s some meat in a dish. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes that include meat, though it plays only a supporting role. I stock up when it’s on sale, and then ration it — bigtime. They’re like little pirates, searching for buried treasure. We also have a lot less waste.
- Chili with just a small amount of browned, ground meat.
- Tomato-based pasta sauce with just a small, bit of ground or shredded meat.
- Rachel Ray’s Perfect Paella – I do not use the saffron this calls for, but have substituted it with the less expensive turmeric. I also have reduced and varied the meats and seafoods, eliminating the mussles entirely and using Italian or bulk sausage and just a few shrimp as well as some chicken. This is very yummy and there’s very little leftover.
- Emeril’s Cajun Jambalaya – I used bulk sausage and reduced all the amounts of meat.
- Pioneer Woman’s Most Favorite Salad Ever – I add a little grilled chicken and vary the other ingredients depending on cost and availability.
Recipe: Peanut Butter Chicken
Summary: A family favorite that they scarf down though there is very little meat in the dish. It’s also known as “Chicken and Sesame Noodles,” but we like our name for it better.
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped
- scant 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- generous 1/3 cup oil
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon peeled, grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 16 ounces linguini or thin spaghetti pasta
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 cup chopped green onions (you can get by with less)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Whisk together 1/3 cup oil and vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and red pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare pasta. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until very hot. Cook carrot 1 min. Add chicken and green onion to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is cooked.
- Drain pasta and toss with sauce and cilantro. You may toss chicken in as well, but we like to serve it atop the noodles. Otherwise, the chicken drops to the bottom and is not evenly distributed.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
- To freeze: store the sauce and the cooked chicken mixture in separate containers. Thaw completely in the refrigerator. Reheat before tossing with fresh cooked pasta.