Due to the economic downturn, many people are looking for ways to feed their families on a tight budget. One way to make significant savings is to learn to cook using cheaper types of meat. When prepared correctly, these can be just as palatable as much more expensive cuts. Here are some suggestions for making the most out of chicken wings and other supermarket bargains.
Chicken wings are the least costly form of white meat available and are naturally moist and succulent. Sauces or marinades such as barbecue, sweet and sour, hoi sin, honey-mustard, teriyaki or satay can introduce wings to a world of flavors. Dust wing sections with flour or corn starch then coat with the sauce of your choice. Arrange on an oiled baking tray and cook for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Ground pork is often less expensive than ground beef with a similar fat content. The two types of meat can be used interchangeably in most recipes. If the dish involves herbs or spices, many people won’t notice a difference in taste. Try adding pork to spicy Mexican foods such as chili or burritos. Use it to make meatloaf and meat balls or add it to tomato-based pasta sauces.
A package of bacon ends and pieces (cooking bacon) costs less than half the price of a similar weight of bacon rashers and is just as tasty. Wrap the whole lump of bacon in a piece of foil. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven as through it were a ham. Drain off the liquid and roughly chop the meat. Add to dishes such as macaroni and cheese, chicken pie or pasta carbonara.
Braising steak is one of the most economical types of beef. When properly cooked it is fork-tender and melts in the mouth. For a hearty beef stew, chop the steak into bite-sized cubes. Fry in a little oil until browned. Add to a pot with beef stock, garlic, herbs and seasoning. Simmer for an hour and a half. Add chopped vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms. Simmer for another half hour. Stir in a flour and butter mixture to thicken the gravy.
Sausages are relatively cheap compared to many kinds of meat. The best value for money can be had by buying high quality brands in bulk when they are on sale and storing extra packets in the freezer. Cooked, sliced sausages add flavor and texture to stews, casseroles, frittatas and pasta dishes.
Ham hocks are a type of meat that is low in cost and high in flavor. Smoked hocks have long been used to enhance dishes made with peas, beans, lentils or greens. Let the hock simmer in water overnight in a slow cooker, then take it out and allow it to cool. Separate the meat from the rind and bone and add to soup or stew.
A pot roast made from rolled beef brisket is a delicious low-priced alternative to roast beef made from expensive cuts. The leftovers are great for sandwiches. Add beef stock to a casserole dish along with a bottle of dark beer or a glass of red wine. Throw in roughly chopped garlic, shallots and carrots. Place the brisket in the casserole, cover and cook at 350 F for about two hours or until tender.
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