FRUGAL LIVING: Stretch your meat budget
Meat prices are rising. If you’re not interested in eating a plant-based diet, stretching meat is an acceptable option, within the boundaries of proper nutrition. You can slice meat into strips for stir-fry, fajitas, sandwiches or salad.
You can cube it to include in fried rice, quesadillas or shish kebabs or pound, stuff and roll meat. Add crackers, rice, cooked dried beans, breadcrumbs or shredded vegetables to ground beef to make it go further. Meat such as roasts or chicken can be shredded, too.
The first reader shares how he stretches meat:
STRETCH GROUND BEEF: We bought a large can of beef-flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein) for less than $11, and it equates to 12 pounds of hamburger. You might not even notice a flavor or texture difference if you mix it with regular hamburger in an Italian or Mexican meal. A month or so ago we found some roasts for $2.99 per pound at the grocery store and asked the butcher to grind it for us (it’s free). The fat content was less than 5 percent! I’ve heard of mixing in oatmeal to make meat go further, too. — A.T., Idaho
CLEANING GLASS PANS: I find that spraying dirty glass bakeware with oven-cleaner spray, letting it sit for an hour or so and then lightly scrubbing it makes it look brand-new.
The process may have to be repeated if it is really dirty. I have had the same glass bakeware for many years, and it still looks like new.
Note: Do not do this on metal or aluminum. — Betsy, Pennsylvania
BAKED EGGS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using oil or butter, grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Put one egg into each cup of the tin and bake for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on how well-done you want your eggs to be. You can place a slice of soft precooked bacon around the edge of each cup and then put the egg in, that way you have both your bacon and egg.
They should slide out easily.
Or you could put a small circle of ham on the bottom of each tin and lay ﾼ of a slice of cheese on top of the egg. This is great if you are cooking for a crowd — it beats frying or scrambling. — S.H.P., Louisiana
CRISPY TREATS: I saw marshmallow treats made from various cereals other than Rice Krispies during a recent trip to the grocery store, and I immediately started making them for myself at home.
You can make all kinds of tasty marshmallow treats from a wide variety of cereals. — Linda, Illinois
GLASS COOK-TOP CLEANING: Soak a dishtowel in hot, soapy water (made with dish soap). Sprinkle baking soda on the cook-top surface.
Place the wet towel on top of cook-top and let it sit for 20 minutes, then use the dishtowel to lightly scrub and clean the cook-top surface. Rinse the towel and clean up any residue. — Mindy, Michigan
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email email@example.com.