Friday, January 30, 2015

Saving Money on Ground Beef - Taco Meat Recipe






Meat is often the most expensive part of any meal, especially if you try to buy high quality organic grass fed ground beef like us. Even after shopping around we still pay $4.99/lb at Costco, but we looking into buying part of a cow from a local farmer (post to come!).  An easy way we have found to save money on meat is simply to use less with each meal. Meals with meat as an ingredient such as chicken noodle soup, lasagna, or enchiladas use a lot less meat than a meat centered dish such as steak, pork chops, or marinated chicken. You can easily decreased your grocery bill by replacing one meat-centered meal a week with a vegetable or bean-centered dish.

Another method to reduce your meat budget is to stretch your meat! Not with artificial fillers like many fast food restaurants, but instead with wholesome legumes such as lentils. The easiest example of this is with taco meat. After cooking our ground beef we add cooked lentils and then season them both with taco seasoning. Most people can hardly tell the difference which we observed when we cook tacos for a group of young adults at a weekend retreat. Cooking for 40 people on a small non-profit budget teaches you to be frugal!



The ratio of meat to lentils is up to you and can easily be adjusted. For those that are not used to lentils we recommend starting with 75% meat to 25% lentils and transitioning to 50/50 (we go even further and usually use 75% lentils to only 25% meat). With anything, change can be hard so gradually transitioning to more lentils is usually better. When you first start eating more beans and lentils you may notice increased flatulence (farting! lol). The good news is that your body adjusts within two weeks. So that old saying schoolyard saying - Beans, beans...



.. is only half true! Even if you only cut your meat from 100% to 75% your price will be greatly reduced.



For those that need proof: Let’s figure a family of 4 (two adults and two children) are going to be eating tacos for dinner. To be generous we will estimate that each person will eat 1/2lb of taco meat.
4 people X ½ lb =2 lbs
2lb meat x $5/lb= $10 meat


If you replace 50% of the meat with lentils which usually cost less than $2 for a 1lb bag (5 cups cooked) you can cut your cost by $4.20.
50% meat= 2 cups (1lb)
50% lentils= 2 cups cooked lentils


with lentils being $2 for 1lb bag or 5 cups cooked
$2/5 cups= $0.40/cup


Total total of “taco meat” (50% meat 50% lentils)= $5.80
Total Savings using 50/50 “taco meat”= $4.20
(Of course bigger families would save even more!)


Still not convinced? Let’s pretend you make our “taco meat” once a month you would save $50.40/year. That is not including using lentils in enchiladas, burritos, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, sloppy Joe's, Shepard's pie, etc.


  1. Rinse lentils in a strainer
  2. Cover with water in a saucepan or pot (use the same one you plan to cook them in to save dishes)
  3. Soak overnight on the counter
  4. Drain and cover with water again
  5. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20- 30 minutes or until soft. Drain any remaining water.
No time to soak or forgot to plan ahead: Follow the same directions but increase cook time to 30-45 minutes.


How to Cook Lentils (Dry and NOT Soaked)
  1. Rinse lentils in a strainer
  2. Cover with water in a saucepan or pot
  3. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until soft. Drain any remaining water.


Time Saving Tips (Time is Money!)
When cooking lentils you can cooked the whole bag and freeze in two cup portions for using later. Two cups of frozen lentils quickly thaw when placed in the pan with cooked ground beef. Make sure you have enough seasoning (link) for both the lentils and beef after they are mix together. If it becomes too dry add some water you saved after draining cooked lentils.


Save even more money by making your own taco seasoning. I make a triple batch of the spicy version and save it in an airtight container. Here is the recipe for homemade taco seasoning(link):




Taco Seasoning


2 TBSP chili powder (spicy version: 2 1/2 TBSP)
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne (spicy version: ½ tsp cayenne)


Directions: Mix together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. If you want a spicy version add more of the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Those that do not like spicy feel free to reduce chili powder and cayenne or completely leave out.  To make a smoky version add smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the blog please subscribe by entering your email into the email update box on the right column.

FFF

1 comment:

  1. Play United Casino is certainly m.scr888.com download iphone not a new one, having entered the world of online gaming in 2003. However, in 2009 it did undergo a complete facelift and even changed software providers to prove that they’re always on the cusp of industry changes to provide players with the best experience possible. With a name like Play United, you’d expect that this is one online casino that may cater to the UK market. They do, but they really cater to the International market; they accomplish this in name, in a variety of accepted currencies; and a website that has been translated into a variety of languages. Unfortunately, US players are not accepted at Play United Casino, though their North American counterparts in Canada are welcome to join and play as many Canadians do!

    Play United Casino is owned and operated by Play United and is licensed in Khanawake. It is an international casino through and though, focusing upon the UK and European market. US players are not welcome, though USD is a currency is accepted to accommodate players. Of course, Euros and Great Britain Pounds are also accepted. The website itself has been designed so it’s sleek and modern, but most importantly, it is also available in a total of 17 languages so all players can browse through and see everything that the casino has to offer and join in on the fun and excitement. Some online casinos go overboard with their design of websites, but this one is simple yet modern. They do advertise key features like the promotions and the latest games, but it’s all done in a tasteful way.

    Since upgrading casino software to the Playtech platform, Play United features some of the best online casino games in the world from blackjack and roulette to wide variety of video poker and online slots, including over 10 progressive jackpot games. The more popular progressive games include Beach Life and the 2010 release of X-Men Marvel slots which has a network-wide progressive feature that is triggered when a player gets hot and hits a sequence of specific winning combinations. Regardless of your taste in casino games, Play United has a great selection that is sure to satisfy your needs.

    All players look for great bonuses when they join to play at a casino that’s new to them. Play United Casino offers all new players a total of $750, though not all on one deposit. When they first join, players are eligible to receive 100% deposit matching up to $150. Wagering requirements for players from most countries are 25x and games are essentially limited to the slots to fulfill the terms. Other casino bonuses available are a $500 high roller bonus with a $1000 minimum deposit, plus there are 100% deposit matching bonuses of $100 available to players once a month for their first year.

    Beyond the welcome bonuses, Play United Casino has a loyalty setup with cash back rewards for players. At this casino, players automatically move up the ranks of the VIP Club Program and as they progress, there are greater incentives available to them with cash back on raked hands and point accumulation for cash!

    Though no live chat is available for Customer Support, Play United goes along way when it come to giving players options for help. With toll-free numbers for different countries, players can cell for free and be connected to operators who speak their language. There is also email support and some information available on the website. The focus on customer experience carries through with the banking options that include moneybookers, Ukash, NETeller, wire transfer, Mastercard, Eco Card, Click2Pay, Visa.

    With Playtech software, a wealth of promotions and a focus on positive customer experience, Play United Casino is one that players just can’t miss!
    https://scr888games.com/

    ReplyDelete