Frugal Living · Recipes

Cooking in Quarantine: Making the Most of your Meat

Meal planning during this current quarantine/meat shortage has brought me back to my newlywed days. 9 years ago we were living on a very tight budget which required me to stretch meat as far as I could.

The uncertainty of these times causes me to revert back to those extra frugal days, and the reality of the meat availability in our grocery stores forces me to stretch my precious pounds of ground turkey as far as I can!

I know a lot of you are in a similar situation. Today I’ve rounded up 5 main dish recipes that help you make the most of your meat supply!

#1 Crab Cakes

I’m trying to think of recipes that use things most people aren’t buying in bulk. These crab cakes use imitation crab meat, which is sold very inexpensively at Aldi and my local grocery stores.

The fresh ingredients that the recipe calls for – lemon juice and fresh onions – definitely elevate the dish, but don’t be afraid to use bottled lemon juice or onion powder. It will still be good!

I serve these with “Red Lobster” baked potatoes: wash and dry your potatoes, then brush them with cooking spray, oil or butter. Roll in coarse salt (or whatever salt you have on hand!) and pierce with a knife. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for and hour (or until done!).

Garlic Green Beans are both delicious with this meal and pretty on the plate!

#2 Taco Casserole

This meal uses one of my newlywed meat saving strategies – use meat as a garnish! When meat is not the main dish of the meal but simply added to the main dish, you use a lot less while feeling like you’re getting the same amount. šŸ™‚

Making the layered version of this recipe and adding the beans, tomatoes and spinach to the layers of the casserole makes a taco meal stretch a lot farther than just cooking up taco meat to serve on tortillas!

You could serve this with some Quick and Easy Mexican Rice or Sauteed Corn!

TIP: When I went to the grocery store last week, I couldn’t find canned black beans. The canned goods aisle was wiped clean. I headed over to the “International” aisle and found plenty of black beans and refried beans over there!

#3 Smoky Chicken Alfredo Pasta

If you can find Chicken Sausage, it’s a great thing to stock up on because it lasts for week in the fridge! I love that this meal can be customized to use up whatever veggies you have on hand.

#4 Picky Eater Approved Chicken Pot Pie

This is another delicious comfort food meal that you can stretch even farther by packing it full of frozen veggies! I like to serve this with a side salad, but Joanna Gaines serves hers over mashed potatoes. With the delicious sauce that this recipe makes, I think she’s on to something. šŸ™‚

#5 Taco Mac and Cheese

This is one of the most popular recipes on my site – and with good reason! It’s simple, cheap and delicious – what’s not to love? I haven’t made this in a long time, but I have a feeling it will be on the menu really soon.


Read More: 5 More Shelf Stable Meal Ideas!

4 thoughts on “Cooking in Quarantine: Making the Most of your Meat

  1. We were thinking alike talking about meat being in short supply these days! We’ve been enjoying keilbasa sausage, bacon, ham, sausage and ground turkey instead of ground beef lately. I love chicken pot pie and would happily go heavy on the veggies and light on the meat. Great tips!

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