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Where’s the Beef?

 

In case you have not heard, beef prices are rising again. Seems the drought in the southwest, especially in Texas and Oklahoma is having huge economic consequences in many areas of life. If so inclined you can read more here: Beef.

I have noticed rising beef prices for several months now. I predict it will continue for several years and get much worse before it ends.

So today I am sharing some ways to live, cook, and eat with less beef. Hopefully we won’t have to give up all beef.

The obvious answer of course is to eat more chicken and pork. However, I have noticed prices are going up here too, especially with chicken. There are other ways though.

Make more stews and soups. But use less beef in those recipes. These days when I make either Chili Con Carne or Beef Stew instead of buying a whole pound or more of ground beef,  I use three-fourth a pound or two-thirds of a pound of beef. I am prepared to go down to half a pound. Makes the beef stretch a bit further. With the stew I also add more potatoes, tomatoes, and peas too.

If you save bacon drippings, as I often suggest you do with my recipes, you can use bacon drippings to add flavor to your stews and chili. Substitute bacon drippings for olive or vegetable oil when sautéing onions and garlic.

Getting drippings is one of the side benefits of frying your bacon instead of always nuking it.

Bacon rose in price a few years ago but seems to have stabilized a bit and even gone down in price.

Instead of making Beef Stroganoff make Mushroom Stroganoff using this very same recipe. Just omit the beef and add more mushrooms. You can slice the mushrooms or even leave them whole. Use bacon grease in place of the vegetable oil. Add a few more tablespoons of butter for delicious flavor without the beef.

If you find beef on sale load up. Or if you have the storage space, buy beef in bulk and you can save too. Many meat and butcher stores have sales every year for bulk buys. Then make an All Purpose Meat Mix and freeze it to make meals at a later date.

Go meatless a few times a month. I have some great tasting meatless recipes I have shared with you before. Here are three of the best of them:

Sautéed Scallions, Mushrooms, and Asparagus

Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms

Mushroom Toast

Meatless tomato sauces for spaghetti or any pasta are also a great alternative. Not all pasta sauces have to be tomato based either. Try butter or cream style pasta sauces. Great taste, but no beef.

Simple Tomato Sauce with Butter

Easy Pasta With Butter Herb Sauce

Tuna Fish is a great substitute for beef too.

Pasta Shells with Tuna, Olives, and Capers

Eat more eggs. They are filling and have lots of protein.

Baked Eggs with Bacon & Chives in Tomato Cups

I know the virtue of fresh fruits and vegetables, but frozen are generally less expensive. Use more frozen fruits and veggies in your soups and stews.

As we move into 2012 and beyond I will share with you some more quick, easy, inexpensive, yet delicious, tasty and flavorful beefless and meatless meals. Just because it is meatless does not mean we have to eat food that tastes like cardboard.

Together we will make it through these tough economic. And we won’t have to say, Where’s the Beef?  Either!

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Featured Recipe        Cream of Corn Soup

Sticking with the no beef theme of today’s post I share this easy, meatless, (if you don’t count the bacon garnish!) and totally delicious Cream of Corn Soup.

Best part is this dish is easy and fast enough to make on a busy weeknight. It is also a very filling meal.

Since this is a milk based soup, you will want to refrigerate any leftovers as soon as possible.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

2 cans cream-style corn

1 ½ -2 cups milk *

1 cup light or heavy cream

4 teaspoons chicken granules

Salt and pepper taste **

6 tablespoons butter

Optional: Bacon crumbles and sliced green onions for garnish.

* For a less expensive soup and/or a less thick soup substitute chicken broth for the milk.

** If you have white pepper use it. It is too expensive for me to buy right now.

Here is what you do:

If using the bacon and green onions fry or microwave the bacon and crumble; and wash and slice the green onion, white and green parts. Place aside.

Slice the butter into six separate tablespoons. Set aside.

Over medium low heat combine the corn, milk, cream, and chicken granules in a large pot and mix well.

NOTE: If you want a creamier soup mix these ingredients in a bowl and them puree in a processor or using a hand help mixer before heating.

Add some salt and pepper to the mix and bring too a boil stirring constantly for about 5-10 minutes. You will see the soup begin to thicken within a couple of minutes.

Add additional milk or cream to the soup to get the desired consistency you like. I like a slightly thick consistency so I added no more milk.

NOTE: Should you add more milk than you want, or if the soup does not thicken up, add about half a teaspoon of corn starch and mix in well. That should do the trick.

When the soup is hot and thick, add the butter one tablespoon at a time and stir until it all melts. The only reason I cut the butter up is it melts faster. Remember! I am The Lazy Cook too.

Cook the soup a minute or two longer. Then ladle into soup dishes and garnish with bacon and green onions, if using.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with bread and butter and/or a salad, and or a sandwich. Pita bread would be great with this soup too.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

2 cans cream-style corn                   $1.98

1 ½ -2 cups milk                             $0.84 (1½)                             

1 cup light or heavy cream               $1.79

4 teaspoons chicken granules           $0.10

6 tablespoons butter                        $0.54

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost =                                       $5.25
Cost per person =                              $1.31

Optional: Bacon crumbles and sliced green onions for garnish.

3 slices bacon ($0.69) and 6 green onions ($0.48) would add a $1.17, or $0.29 extra per person,  to the cost of  this soup.

Quote of the Day

Where’s the Beef?

Wendy’s commercial.

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