A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on how to get 18 meals out of one ham. Well, after boasting about what I could do with a ham, I figured I better share a few of my recipes for stretching meat.
You have to understand that I’m not talking about having sliced ham and sweet potatoes for 18 nights in a row. The key to saving money on the grocery budget, and stretching a ham, is to use the meat as a compliment to the meal, not the focus. Therefore, in the following recipes, the meat is just another ingredient.
Also, I wrote about a ham. I do the same thing with turkeys and chickens, too; although the most I’ve gotten out of a chicken is 4-5 meals. But it’s still stretching.
The casseroles I referred to in my last post were macaroni and cheese.
Macaroni and cheese with ham
To make macaroni and cheese, I do NOT use Kraft (or any other brand in a box, for that matter). I cook a box of elbow noodles, make a soupy cheese sauce with mostly American, but some cheddar, cheese. You can get a good recipe out of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I add to the mix a pint jar of diced tomatoes and a couple cups of diced ham. After mixing in a large bowl, I spread it in a 9×13 casserole, sprinkle cheddar on the top, and bake till the top melts.
Like I said, you can do this with chicken or turkey, too. I take chunks of the meat and pulverize it in my little Black and Decker Chopper. After transferring to a bowl, I chop up some celery and onion and add that to the meat. Next, I add some mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. This is delicious on bread for a sandwich with some lettuce and tomato, or spread on crackers.
I mentioned making omelettes in the previous post. For an omelette I simply saute a 1/2 cup or so of chopped ham, peppers, and onions. Leaving this in the skillet, I pour the beaten eggs over and let cook for a minute or two, then flip. After flipping, I add a handful or so of grated cheddar cheese, turn off the skillet and let sit just till cheese starts to melt. If you let it sit too long, the eggs will get too done.
Gravy and whatever
What about all that broth? I use the chicken/turkey stock and the ham broth that I make from the bones primarily for two purposes. First, I will mix a quart jar of broth with a quart jar of mixed vegetables and have soup. Second, I make gravy. We will have the gravy over rice, potatoes, or toast and serve green beans, carrots, butternut squash and/or applesauce on the side. This is so nice for a quick meal on those days when we have our homeschool support group meetings.
I didn’t mention this in the ham post but I’m throwing it in because it is what we had for dinner this evening and is another way to stretch the meat in your freezer. I took one large chicken breast out and boiled it until thawed through. I then removed the breast from the broth, strained the gookies out, and returned it to a larger pot. I measured it first and added 1/4 cup of soy sauce and enough water to make six cups total. To this I added a bag of frozen broccoli and brought to a boil. While waiting for the liquid to boil, I cut and cubed the meat from the bone and sauteed it till just done. When the water started boiling, I added three cups of rice, the chicken, a handful of slivered almonds, and a good squirt of olive oil, turned it down to low, and let cook, covered, until the rice was done.
My husband and I were all dressed to go out for a Valentine’s date when I took this off the stove for the boys. After one whiff, he decided we would eat at home and go out for dessert.
I’m sure I could share more ideas for stretching meat, but I would love to hear your ideas, too.