What's Cookin' In Your Kitchen? How I Stretch My Meals

I've started to notice Facebook statuses and other comments from young wives who spend a lot of money on groceries each month.  I am a bargain hunter by nature, but I can't stand spending the time to ad-match and extreme coupon down to every last item I purchase.  Since many are the same way as I am, I thought I would do a few posts on how I grocery shop, cook, and menu plan on a budget. 

Stretching my  meals is one of the best things I have figured out since I've been married.
My meats to use are:
a pot roast, ham, ground beef, and chicken.

Pot Roast
Usually I will buy a small pot roast, and prepare it in the crockpot.
I'll do the chopped onion, carrots, and potatoes with Lipton Onion soup mix.
The first meal, that's how we eat it--like a traditional Sunday dinner pot roast.  It's delicious and easy!

When the meat has cooled, freeze it to use for a later time (so you don't eat the same meat for every meal of the week) if you want to.

Other meals I use the left over meat for:
BBQ sandwiches (I love KC Masterpiece Hot 'N' Spicy BBQ Sauce)

There is 4 meals from that small roast.

For the ham, I'll put it in the crockpot and use brown sugar and then top it off with a little bit of glaze (that it comes with) right before serving. 

First meal, we eat this as sliced ham with a salad, green beans, and potatoes (mashed or baked).

When the ham has cooled, chop it into cubes and freeze it for a later time.  SAVE THE HAM HAWK (BONE) AND FREEZE IT FOR A LATER TIME!

Other meals I use with this left over ham:
ham sandwiches
ham and pineapple homemade pizza
ham and bean soup (boil the ham bone with 6 cups of water and then simmer for 3 hours to make a stock)
ham and potato casserole
added to potato soup

There is at least 6 recipes from that ham!

Ground Beef
I typicallly buy ground beef and portion in out raw and place it in the freezer.  When I buy a 2 lb. package (I try to get at least 90% lean), I usually portion it out into 3-4 different bags to freeze.  Usually recipes call for more ground beef than needed. 

A few of our favorite meals to make using ground beef are:
taco salad
*chili (strech this meal too!)
hand-squashed hamburger patties
sloppy joes
spaghetti meat sauce

There are 6 recipes (+1 if use chili suggestion below) for ground beef.

*Another meal I like to stretch, is chili.  This is especially great for the cool weather that is here!
I make a big batch in the crockpot. 

The first evening we eat the chili topped with sour cream and cheese, and some cornbread on the side.  Then for dinner a few days later, we eat baked potatoes with the leftover chili on top. 

Either buy a rotisserie chicken, boil, or use the crockpot to get some pre-cooked shredded chicken and pop it in smaller portions in the freezer.  If you use a rotisserie chicken, be sure to save the bones/skin and boil and then simmer them in water with onions and carrots for an easy and healthy chicken stock! 

Meals we frequently use shredded chicken to enjoy:
chicken noodle soup
chicken pot pie
other soups

Here are 4 recipe ideas to use chicken!
For a previous post on using a rotisserie chicken, check here.

All of these meals are super simple, and only require a little planning to use every last bit!
Brett almost always takes left overs to work for lunch the next day.  We rarely throw leftover food out because of this, and he is the envy of the break room when they get a smell of his homemade leftovers!

And don't forget, you don't have to have meat in every meal...throw in some meatless dinners in between (which usually cost less), and you have lots of delicious dinners on a budget!
How do you stretch your meals?  I would love more ideas!


  1. This is great Tia! Such a smart idea! I like to buy large amounts of ground turkey (instead of beef) and portion it out and freeze it too! Lasts us forever!

  2. This is not an intentional reference to my current post, but I use up any leftovers/food I don't know what to do with by putting them on nachos. Sometimes I change it up and make the beans optional!