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Ways to Stretch Expensive Cuts of Meat

Even when on a strict budget you can purchase more expensive cuts of meat and justify the expense by using the leftover in many and varied ways.  By alternating the leftover and using it every other night your family will not feel they are eating the same thing every day.  Here are some examples.

Buy a whole or half ham - depending on your family size - with the bone in.  The taste is superior to boneless hams.  Serve it as a special dinner such as New Years or Easter.  Then slice several pieces thinly and make sandwiches.  I like grilled ham and cheese, cold ham with exotic mustards and lettuce or a good club house.  Slice a little thicker and use with eggs for breakfast.  Chop some coarsely, brown slightly and use in scrambled eggs.  Using a meat grinder or food processor, mince or grind some of the ham.  Then add chopped sweet pickle or a relish of your choice, a little mustard and either salad dressing or mayonnaise to moisten.  This is fantastic as a sandwich spread or to serve on crackers as a quick appetizer.  Finally, take that bone with some ham left on it and use it to make split pea soup or some type of lentil such as black-eyed peas or baked beans.  How about a ham soufflé?

Buy a whole turkey or a frozen turkey breast.  Serve it as a special dinner such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or company dinner.  Then slice it for a hot turkey sandwich using the leftover gravy.  Cold sliced turkey or club sandwiches for lunch are wonderful on variety breads with some fun spreads mixing salad dressings and exotic mustards with mayonnaise.  Add lettuce and tomatoes.  Make a cold fruit salad with cubed turkey and curry in the dressing.  This can make a whole meal when served with hot rolls and a dessert.  Make a hot cheese sauce with cubed turkey and leftover vegetables and serve on rice or noodles.  Use the meat grinder or food processor and grind some of the meat up and add relish and salad dressing or mayonnaise and make a spread for sandwiches or a topping for crackers as an appetizer.  Finally take the bone, add water onions, celery, carrots, parsley and herbs of your choice.  Simmer for a couple of hours.  Strain, retaining broth and make a soup such as noodle or vegetable soup. 

Buy a standing rib roast or other beef roast.  Serve it for the holiday occasion or a special dinner for company.  I ask the butcher to cut away the bone and tie it to the roast which will add flavor.  Just cut the strings and it sure makes it easier to carve later.  Butchers usually don't charge for doing this.  Buy enough to have one more dinner as a leftover.  You can chill meat and then slice it thick enough for a serving and zap it in the microwave for a minute or two each slice at 70% power.  Meat cooks quickly in the microwave so don't overcook.  Then thinly slice some of the meat and make French Dip sandwiches using a really good sourdough hogey roll.  Buy the French Dip powder for a quick dipping broth.  Of course cold roast beef sandwiches are great using a mixture of horseradish and sour cream, exotic mustards and or mayonnaise/salad dressing.  Add lettuce and tomato slices for a hearty sandwich.  Again use the meat grinder or food processor and grind some of the meat (or steak if you have some of that left over), add a little bit of chopped sweet onion and/or celery and mayonnaise or salad dressing to moisten.  Again a super sandwich or topping for crackers as an appetizer.  Last of all you have those bones to utilize.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and place rib bones in a pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes to slightly brown the meat on the bone.  Then place it in a stock pot with water, onion and vegetables of your choice and make a broth.  Cook for a couple of hours, remove meat from bone and add to broth and make a great beef barley or beef noodle soup.

Now pork isn't as easy to spread out.  I like to buy a couple of nice pork loins a nice rolled pork roast.  Make a regular dinner using a bottled plum sauce as a topping and roast according to cookbook instructions.  Another loin can be used to make barbecued pork, Chinese style.  Another thing that I really like to do is make my own pork sausage.  That way I know what is in it rather than guessing at the ingredients.  You can use a food processor to grind it, but I find that a hand crank meat grinder or one that attaches to your mixer is best.  There are some very good cookbooks that have great recipes for not only pork sausage, but salami and other luncheon meats using all kinds of ingredients such as game meats and foul, beef, pork, etc.  It is fun and easy.  Go ahead and freeze after making it.  For pork sausages, I make the patties, lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze them (covered), then place the frozen patties in individual freezer bags for use in making my own sausage/egg breakfast sandwich.  I use the Australian toaster muffins (toasted), a fried or poached egg (yolk broken), a fried pork sausage patty and a slice of cheese of your choice.  I try to place the cheese on the muffin and melt in my toaster oven, but the broiler works fine too.

Buy a good corned beef brisket and make a New England boiled dinner.  Try to find one with the spice packet enclosed, but if you don't find one, use some pickling spice - about two tablespoons.  Simmer 3 to 4 hours depending on size.  About 45 minutes before done, add carrots that have been sliced into quarters lengthwise.  You can also add small boiling onions that are really good.  About 20 minutes before meat is done add potatoes (small red potatoes, new potatoes or regular russets that have been peeled and chunked are all very good).  If you like cooked cabbage, add quarters of a firm cabbage just about 10 minutes prior to the end of the cooking time.  Slice the corned beef against the grain.  Serve with exotic mustards, pickles, a mixture of horseradish and sour cream or any other toppings of your choice.  If you aren't using cooked cabbage, a good cole slaw and rye bread and butter round out this great winter meal.  Use leftover meat to make sandwiches.  My favorite is a Rueben using sauerkraut which has been rinsed and wrung dry to get rid of some of the salt, Monterey Jack cheese slices (or Swiss) and sliced corned beef.  Heat the sauerkraut first if you plan to grill it.  Use exotic mustards or any other toppings you choose.  Spread bread of your choice with mayonnaise on the outside rather than butter and grill at medium heat in a skillet.  For those that don't like sauerkraut, just corned beef and cheese grilled is good.  I don't grind up corned beef because it doesn't work well as it is grainy.

All of the above mentioned recipes can be found in our cookbooks on the CD.

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