Re-Inventing The Meal
Earlier this week, I asked the At Home Woman Facebook community “What are some of the at home tasks or needs you struggle with?”
The most common response was the need for quick, easy and budget friendly meal ideas. In this economy and with our days getting busier and busier, it’s getting harder and harder to eat well and have the time to prepare nutritious meals. I decided to do what I can to help you with by sharing some of the things I do here at home.
I re-invent meals. I start out with double the usual sized protein dish for a family meal, then take the left-overs and re-invent them into completely different meals in the following days, getting at least 2-3 family meals out of one main protein source. Or I’ll cook up several lbs. of meat just to make several different dishes.
Plan & Save. If you plan it out ahead of time and work your grocery shopping well, you can buy your protein source such as beef, chicken, pork or turkey when it’s on sale or in bulk to save money. Family packs are a cheaper per lb. option as well. Sometimes the savings can be up to 40% or so. You’ll also save energy costs by cooking a larger amount all at once. After the initial cooking time involved, it only takes about 30 minutes to get a great meal on the table.
What about nutrition? The key to nutrition is color. A colorful meal offers lots of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. I always shoot for a green, a yellow or orange and/or a red veggie with meals. Put 2 or 3 “colorful” dishes with a 3-6 oz serving of protein plus a starch and you got it going on with major food group nutrition. I advice that you save the fruit for snacks combined with a small amount of protein (ex. apple & cheese, orange & almonds, banana & peanut butter). This will satisfy your taste for sweet, help keep blood sugar leveled off and provide fiber.
These meal ideas are geared toward a family of 2-4 but you can adjust to meet your needs. Because there are so many ideas, I think I’ll break them into series posts by category. Today, we’ll cover beef.
Each re-invented meal idea I give here is geared toward about 1 lb. of pre-cooked beef roast or ground beef. Adjust that if you want to feed fewer people. Many can be prepped ahead of time and can be frozen if desired. An awesome user friendly recipe site where you can find thousands of recipes with detailed instructions, user ratings and suggestions is Food.com . It’s my go to site when I need a new recipe. Plus, it’s FREE to use! That equals more cha-ching in your pocket.
4-6 lb. Beef Roast – cooked to your favorite recipe. This is one meal itself (if you want it to be). Since a family of 4 will only eat about 1-1/2 to 2 lbs of the roast at that first meal, that will leave 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 lbs for future re-inventing.
4-6 lbs. ground beef, cooked and crumbled.
RE-INVENTED MEAL IDEAS
Meat absorbs liquid and swells making it go farther. It takes just a little meat to make a lot of BBQ, or other saucy meat mixture for your re-invented dishes.
Slow cooked BBQ –. Warm 1 lb. beef (this one is more for the beef roast) with your favorite BBQ sauce in a crock pot on low for a few hours. Serve as sandwiches with cole slaw and corn on the cob, as a plate meal with roasted potatoes, cole slaw and a green veggie or use to stuff baked potatoes, with cheese and sour cream on top and serve with a side salad of with colorful greens and veggies.
Stroganoff – Sauté’ one diced onion and about 8 oz. sliced mushrooms in equal parts of butter and olive oil until tender. Add 1 or 1-1/2 lbs beef to onion mushroom mixture. When beef is warm, add 2 cups beef broth, 1 lg. can tomato sauce and 1 tbsp. worshcheshire. Heat throughout, letting mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Stir in one 8 oz. container of sour cream. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles or rice, with your favorite veggie or side salad.
Open Faced Beef Sandwiches – Warm beef slowly in the oven or in a crock pot with 2- 3 cups prepared brown gravy. Caramelize onions, peppers & jullienne carrots for toppers to jazz up your entree even further. Serve on thick sliced bread, topped with caramelized veggies with mashed potatoes & gravy and broccoli or other green veggie on the side.
Beef Pot Pie – In skillet with 1 tbsp. cooking oil, cook chopped potatoes, carrots and finely chopped onions until tender. Adding a little water or beef broth will keep them from frying or getting crispy. Add 1 lb beef to vegetables. Pour about 2 – 3 cups prepared brown gravy over meat and veggies. Add 1 cup frozen or canned green peas (drained) and 1 cup frozen or canned corn (drained). Pour into 9”x13” greased baking dish. Top with flattened canned biscuits or a batter of 1-1/2 cup self rising flour, 1 cup milk and 2 tbsp. melted butter. Bake in 375* oven until crust topping is golden brown and done completely. *Alternative – use frozen mixed veggies in place of veggies listed.
Skillet Hash – Sauté diced onion, green pepper, carrots and potatoes in 2 tbsp. cooking oil until tender. Add minced or dried garlic to taste. Turn up heat to medium high. Add 1 lb. beef. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook throughout allowing hash to get a little crispy if desired. Serve with seasoned green beans, broccoli or other green veggie.
Mexican Beef Wraps/Soft Tacos – Sauté sliced onions and bell peppers until tender. Remove from skillet. Heat 1 lb.beef in same skillet. Add taco seasoning mix according to directions. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Heat 1 can refried beans until warm throughout. Take flour or corn tortillas, slightly warmed. Smear a hefty spoonful of refried beans all over one side of tortillas. Spoon seasoned beef mixture onto center of coated tortilla. Add cooked onions & peppers. Top with shredded Mexican cheese and any or all of the following: diced tomato, black olives, jalapeños, shredded lettuce, guacamole, avocado, salsa, sour cream. Wrap it up and enjoy.
Chipped Beef On Toast – Make a country gravy or light colored beef/brown gravy, adding onion powder, salt, pepper and paprika to season. Add 1 lb. beef. Simmer for 15 – 30 minutes. Serve on thick toast with favorite veggie side dish.
Italian Beef Supper – Simmer 1 lb. beef with a jar of spaghetti sauce on the stove or in crock pot. Add extra herbs and garlic to taste, if desired. In baking dish, pour meat sauce over cooked penne pasta, make lasagna rolls or use to stuff manicotti. Top with extra sauce and Italian blend shredded cheese. Heat in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with salad and garlic bread.
Loose Meat Sliders – Heat meat until hot. Use a little broth to keep meat moist. Serve on dinner rolls, sliced down the middle with sliced cheese and the following of choice: pickle, tomato, lettuce, onions, and condiments with a side of homemade fries or chips.
Beef & Broccoli – Use beef in your own favorite recipe for beef & broccoli served with rice and another vegetable.
Other ideas are casseroles, soups, stews, po’boys, shepard’s pie, turnovers, sandwiches, or just reheating and serving with vegetables. Really, just about anything goes with re-inventing the meal.
Do you have a family favorite re-invented meal using beef? Care to share with the At Home Woman community?
If you would have a re-invented meal idea that you want me to include in future blog postings, email them to me here or firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll make sure you get credit in the article if I use it.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
Enjoy your at home world!
- Cast Iron Skillet “Shepherd’s Pie” (thoughtsalonglifeshighway.com)
- Barbecue Beef Quesadillas (Using Leftovers) (cookingwithcorinna.wordpress.com)
- Roasted Fall Vegetable Sandwiches (dutchlakefarm.wordpress.com)
- Bulk Meal Prep (simplysjb.wordpress.com)
- Shepherd’s Pie Made Easy (answers.com)
- Homemade lasagne (theitalianfork.com)
- Butternut Squash Stew / Khoresh’e Kadu Halvai (faestwistandtango.wordpress.com)
Posted on October 10, 2012, in At Home Extras & Tidbits, At Home Recipes, At Home Tips, Uncategorized and tagged beef, budget, cook, Home, inexpensive, leftovers, meals, re-inventing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.