Grocery Budget Tips: Tip 11 – We do some meatless meals

Welcome back to the grocery budget series I am in the middle of writing.  In this series, I will share the top 20 ways that I can think of that our large family uses to keep the grocery budget from getting out of line.  To learn more, visit our introduction.  Here is tip 11:

We do some meatless meals. We enjoy our meals with meat, but we also like some meatless meals at least once a week.  I’d like to grow this to more than once a week and am continually saving recipes that look promising.  Bean burritos are a big favorite around here, and if I use home-canned (previously dry) beans, they are so affordable for my crew!

My mom is a vegan and has introduced us to some meatless meals that are a big hit with the kids – a favorite involves braised chickpeas with spinach and sun dried tomatoes.  we have home-canned chickpeas, home-grown spinach, tomatoes that we grew ourselves and dehydrated  tomatoes (for the sun dried tomatoes).  All we have to buy is coconut milk for that recipe.  That is a very affordable meal that leaves meat in the freezer for another day.

Another idea is lentil tacos (instead of ground beef or other meat), and spaghetti sauce with lentils in place of beef.  Another lunch type meal the kids enjoy is mixing greens with salsa (home-canned from the garden, of course!) and sometimes avocado (if I can find them on sale, otherwise we do without) and other veggies that sound good (cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, whatever can add some crunch of flavor), make our own hummus and wrap it all up on a tortilla.  If I can find avocado affordably, I will make some guacamole to add to the tortilla.  For added flavor, you can make or buy soft tortillas flavored with vegetables, too.  There are so many ways to make meatless but still filling and healthy wraps.

Beans stretch many meals.  As well as rice, pasta, breads – all basic, simple, affordable ingredients.  When we need to reduce our grocery budget I look to bulk our meals up with ingredients like this and lay off the meals that use large amounts of meat as the main ingredient.

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