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Frugal Friday: Meat in Budget Meals (Recipe: Peanut Butter Chicken)

Posted By Jessica Fisher On May 16, 2008 @ 11:13 am In Budget Living,Main Dishes,Meal Planning,Recipes | 19 Comments

chicken on the grill

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.

Here are some ideas for you to try as well as a few fantastic recipes:
  • 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 [3] – 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 [4] – I used bulk sausage and reduced all the amounts of meat.
  • Pioneer Woman’s Most Favorite Salad Ever [5] – I add a little grilled chicken and vary the other ingredients depending on cost and availability.

and finally,


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[3] Perfect Paella: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_21217,00.html

[4] Jambalaya: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_9525,00.html

[5] Most Favorite Salad Ever: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/03/my_most_favorite_salad_ever_ever_ever_ever/

[6] Peanut Butter Chicken: http://lifeasmom.com/2008/05/frugal-friday-stretching-meats.html

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