According to nutrition experts, a healthy serving of cooked meatis 3 ounces. That’s about 4 ounces raw. If you’re eating meat for dinner aim for it to take up no more than one-quarter of your plate. Fill half the plate with vegetables and the final quarter with a wholegrain. Eating less meat is better for your health and your budget.
Tip 2: Cook ’em low and slow.
Tougher cuts of beefand pork are a lot cheaper than steaks and chops (about $2 to $6 per pound for many cuts compared with $10 or more per pound for steaks), but no one wants to eat a piece of leather for dinner. The best way to cook tough cuts of meat: cook them low and slow, usually for 3 or more hours, often in liquid, to make them melt-in-your-mouth tender
Tip 3: Bring out the roast.
Roasting a big piece of meat is an easy way to feed a crowd. Of course, a crown rib roast or beef tenderloin(unless your market is running an amazing special) isn’t an economical choice. So choose cuts, such as leg of lamb,turkey breastor pork shoulder, and roast them.
Tip 4: Add pasta or rice.
Got a few vegetables or a little leftover meat? Maybe you have some fixings for a salad or a light soup, but it’s not quite dinner. Pasta and rice are cheap, healthy pantry items that let you turn a few leftovers into a meal. Try quickly sautéing peppers and onions and toss them with noodles, herbs and a little cheese, or add rice into avegetable soupto make it more satisfying
Tip 5: Stir-fry for dinner.
Stir-frying with plenty of vegetables and just a little bit of meatis an obvious choice when you want to make a quick and healthy dinner. It’s also very forgiving, so if you have a little extra onionor half a leftover zucchini you want to use up, just throw it in your stir-fry.
Tip 6: Cook once, eat twice.
We like to double recipes so that we can get ahead on our cooking and have a dinner or lunch ready for later. The added benefit is it helps use up ingredients that we bought for that recipe (a bunch of herbs, for instance). Recipes that freeze well, like Rich Chicken Stew, Oven Barbecued Brisket and Hungarian Beef Goulash (pictured) are great ones to double. Also consider cooking an extra chickenor more meat than you need. The leftovers are great in soups, salads,quesadillasor hash later in the week.
Tip 7: Pack a lunch.
When you’re making dinner, think about what you’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow. If you’re making asaladfor dinner, make a little extra and put it in a container, undressed, for lunch the next day. And what about your leftovers from dinner? Is there a little extra chickenor maybe part of a can of beans? Toss that in with your lunch salad. Packing lunch is a great way to make sure you’re not wasting any leftovers—and to help you eat healthy, save money and save time throughout the day.
Tip 8: Feed yourself (not the birds) with stale bread.
Turn stale bread into croutons for saladsor soups. Just toss cubes with oil and some seasoningsand bake them. Or turn stale bread into breadcrumbs
Tip 9: Hold onto brown bananas.
Freeze overripe bananas (peeled) if you don’t have time to use them immediately. Throw them intosmoothiesor defrost them when you want to make some banana bread or muffins.
Tip 10: Squeeze your lemons.
We like to keep citrus on hand because it’s a great way to perk up a sauceor a salad dressing. Keep lemons and limes in the refrigerator and if they start to get dried, shriveled or have brown spots on the skin, squeeze the juiceand store it covered in the refrigerator or freezer.
Tip 11: Seal it up.
Yes, it sounds like hyperbole, but vacuum-sealing tools are truly revolutionary when it comes to preserving food in the freezer. They ensure that your food—leftovers, meats, fruits, vegetable or extra stuff you bought in bulk—stays delicious, without freezer burn, for months.
Tip 12: Keep it fresh.
Make sure you have sealable storage containers on hand to save leftovers. You can buy inexpensive clear plastic or glass ones at the supermarket. When they're clear you can tell what's in them at a glance, and may be more likely to eat the leftovers.
Tip 13: Plug in the slow cooker.
If you don't have hours to be at home tending a braise on the stove, try a slow cooker. It will give you the same effect (i.e., it gets tough, inexpensivecuts ofmeatmeltingly tender), but you can plug it in, leave for the day and come home to a dinner like Rich Chicken Stew or Hungarian Beef Goulash. Look for used slow cookers at garage sales or make the investment in a new one that is programmable and will automatically switch to a "keep warm" setting when it's done cooking. They start at about $40.