Like most people I am trying to "watch my pennies" in this economy and I have been discovering the joy of meatless meals! Even ground beef is expensive, and now that stores are eliminating "pink slime" from the mix, it's going to get worse! Substituting beans, or veggies for meat is moneysaving - and maybe a little more healthy!?
The Sauce Makes the Spaghetti
I love spaghetti but I usually add meat to whatever (cheap!) sauce I buy - a $1 can of sauce almost begs for something to make it more tasty. But I've started keeping an eye out for coupons for name brand spaghetti sauces. The name brands are usually thicker, and more flavorful, than the cheaper sauces so they lend themselves better to meatless meals.
I had come across a coupon a while back for Newman's Own Sockerooni Sauce - I love this sauce! My sister had made spaghetti for me for my birthday one year using this sauce and since then I have been standing and drooling over it in the grocery store before I reach for the cheaper, canned sauce! Anyhow, I found a coupon for fifty cents off of a jar of Newman's Own Sockerooni Sauce, so I held onto it and watched out for a sale - finally, the Giant store had Newman's Own Sauces on sale for $2 per jar - my fifty cents off coupon doubled to $1 so I got this delicious sauce for only $1! I added the sauce to a bunch of San Giorgio Spaghetti, which I'd bought at "Sav-A-Lot" for $1, and hubby and I had enough spaghetti for dinner, and lunch the next day - for only $2! Using this yummy sauce, which contains tasty ingredients like peppers, onions, and mushrooms, the spaghetti didn't need meat.
Easy Beans and Rice
Another meatless dish I've started enjoying is beans and rice. I just cook up some rice - (you can use long cooking rice, or instant white rice) - and then dump in a can of chili beans and heat through. The beans add substance to the rice, so I don't miss having meat in this dish, and chili beans are already flavored with chili sauce, so there is no need to add extra spices. Super simple and tasty!
I substitute veggies for meat in stir-fry and fajitas. Instead of using a pound of meat for stir-fry, I use a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend.
I precook the frozen veggies a little first (because I like more tender veggies), and drain them. Then I add a packet of stir-fry seasoning and soy sauce and/or whatever is listed to add on the stir-fry seasoning packet, and stir-fry the mix until blended. I serve this veggie stir-fry over rice. The broccoli, cauliflower and carrots also have 'substance', so I don't miss the meat in this dish, either!
Note - If I don't have stir-fry seasoning on hand, I just mix up some soy sauce, ground ginger, and powdered garlic in some water and add to the veggies!
A broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix can also be used as a meat substitute in fajitas - I precook the veggies a bit, and drain. Then I add a packet of taco seasoning and the amount of water called for on the packet and cook as directed.
I warm up some tortillas, spoon in the seasoned veggie mix, top with some shredded mild chedder cheese, and roll up the tortillas. Then I bake them for a few minutes so the cheese melts and the fajitas get hot and a little crispy. Yum!
A dollar saved here and there by substituting inexpensive beans, veggies, or flavorful sauce for meat in a dish adds up!
Do You Have A Favorite Meatless Dish?