Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meat Miser

We don't eat a lot of meat.  It's expensive.  It's also not the healthiest thing for you.  Jamey and I were both vegetarians for a period of about five years (I was for the three or four years before that as well), so we learned to cook (and eat, obviously) without it.

We started eating meat again when we were trying to get pregnant the first time.  While the extra protein may have been a good idea, it was likely an excuse.   We were ready to start eating meat again.  What we weren't ready to do was make it the main focus of every meal.  Fast forward nine years and we're still not eating much meat.  Maybe once or twice a week, we'll incorporate a little into a meal, but it is almost never a stand alone.

 diced turkey
Instead, we try to make meat go as far as we can make it.  For example, we were given some turkey leftovers to take home after Thanksgiving- a whole cool whip container full.  And, recently, a neighbor gave us an even larger container of honey-baked ham that he knew he wouldn't be able to eat.  In both cases, I treated that meat like gold, dicing it up into small, bite-sized pieces, dividing it into sandwich-sized plastic bags, and squirreling those bags into the freezer.  I do this with our own chickens as well (cooking the whole bird and then shredding and freezing small portions).  There is no way we were going to sit down to a huge meal of turkey or ham, using it up in a day or two.

diced ham

A little meat goes a long way when it comes to flavor and protein.  Having smaller portions on hand to add to pot pies, stews, quiche (think ham and asparagus or broccoli), pasta, you name it, makes working with meat easy and it regulates our intake so we're sure not to over do it.  And this makes holiday meals with family really special. 

If you'd like to make some changes and eat less meat for your health and your wallets and need some ideas, I have a Vegetarian Main Dishes section in the "Recipes by Category" link just below the header picture at the top.

C'mon.  Be a miser with me. Pin It


  1. I've been thinking I need to include a vegetarian category in my index. You've inspired me.

    1. Just had to pop by to try out this new "reply" feature. IT IS AWESOME!!!

  2. I'm already there with you. Every once in a while we do a burger or sloppy joe night but most of the time meat is the supporting character in our meals. So mush easier on the pocket book. Ham and asparagus sounds yummy. Robin in SoCal

  3. Me thinks we think alike as far as left-overs and saving for a rainy day meal or even a planned meal-I have a ham bone to take out of the freezer [ thanks for reminding me ] to make split pea soup-oh,I know there is not much meat left on the bone,but thats OK

  4. I agree with you meat is not really good for you,but we eat it anyway,I would like to eat less of it,and I will be checking out your recipes,thank you. Blessings Jane

  5. Love this! I often get veg recipes from your site! Thanks for thinking of this. We have cut down significantly on our meat eating due to cost. There are just so many wonderful veg foods to eat!

  6. Most of your recipes have cheese, though. Oddly enough, we eat more meat because we get a local, pastured cow and lamb every year and eat almost no cheese because of 1) two dairy allergies, 2) no local, reasonably-priced source.
    I am making a concerted effort to add more legumes to our diet. We never eat beans because I dislike them- it's a texture thing. I am really excited to try your Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito recipe. Maybe if they're hiding in my favorite vegetable, I'll like them!

  7. I think I could pretty happily eat mainly vegetarian dishes with a little meat from time to time. My husband, though, would not be quite so content!

    Since I have started trying to eat healthier & incorporate more vegetables into my diet, I've found that now I actually crave them! I'm definitely checking out your index.

  8. Oh, how wise you be! I could have written this post myself. (Not that I'm calling myself wise . . . oh heck, you know what I mean. :o\ ) We were vegetarian for about 15 years and have never gotten back to eating a lot of meat. The typical American diet has way more protein than our bodies need. Also meat is acidic in nature and our systems don't function very well in this over-acidic state but rather would be healthier being more alkaline. I'll be checking out your Vegetarian Main Dishes section this winter to come up with more yummy, new (to me) recipes. Thanks for putting them all in one convenient spot.

  9. Jane, first let me say how much I enjoy reading your blog! I found a link to it a few weeks ago from an MCC site, and I've since read many of your older posts as well.

    Your article on less meat is timely. I recently reduced my protein and fat intake while awaiting gall bladder surgery, and I was amazed to find that my psoriasis symptoms lessened greatly during this time(along with the gall bladder pain).

    My goal from here on out is to continue to keep my animal protein and fat intake low and increase the variety of vegetables that I eat. Your recipe posts help me do just that. Thank you!

  10. So happy someone else out there does the same thing I do!!! My parents always get a honey ham for the main meal at Christmas and my Mom sends us home with some leftovers. I chop it up and put it in small freezer bags and it lasts us until she gets a ham at Easter. I made a quiche just yeaterday with tons of veggies and only about 1/4 cup of ham.

  11. We grew up on very little meat....5 kids, no money. We had lots of soup beans seasoned with a ham hock, and fried potatoes and corn bread. That's still one of my favorite meals...I add a little onion and jalapenos to my fried potatoes now and I season my soups/beans with either chicken broth or a smoked turkey wing...gives the same flavor as hambone without all the fat. On the other hand my husband grew up on meat and getting him to eat anything else is futile...

  12. Truthfully, we eat Paleo. We used to do vegetarian, and we were always always sick, with the focus on beans and grains. It doesn't help that we are mostly all dairy intolerant....but there is a lot of information going around that non-meat focus is not inherently healthy. Even while gaining weight, people on a low-protein diet reduced their lean body mass......

  13. We don't eat Paleo, but feel much better on a high protein diet. As much as possible, we use local pastured meats, though, which are very different health-wise from factory-farmed meats. Though we aren't fully grain/legume-free, we are trying to minimize those foods due to food allergies and I find it hard to find vegetarian high-protein dishes without grains or legumes in them. Will be checking out what you have...thanks!

  14. this is EXACTLY how we treat meat at our house! And because we use so little, I can buy the good stuff from the local farmers and feel good about supporting my community and not using fuel to ship things all over the creation. I like your phrase, meat miser :)

  15. We love our meat in my family but I am like you...I try to stretch it as far as I can. Meat is expensive and a little does go a long way. I too have little baggies of meat in my freezer! Nice to know there are others out there like me.


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