Ok, what are your best ways to "dress up" (ie make tasty food from) cheap cuts of meat?
The cheapest, toughest roast: put it in a crockpot on low with a half bottle of ketchup and a can of Coke, all day. It will be tender with a barbecue flavor when you get home from work.
Leftover, dry cooked poultry: "marinate" it in gravy all day (in the fridge, for heaven's sake!), then bake it in the oven (cover each piece with a mixture of melted light cream cheese, light mayo, and parmesan cheese)
cheap hot dogs: cut them super thin and mix them into mac and cheese, baked beans, etc.
Ooh, one of my friends collects cookbooks from the 1920s-1940s, which are chock-full of meat-extending recipes. Not only do they offer ideas for using less meat in each meal, but they deal with cuts of meat that today we would consider unsavory: tongue, kidney, brain, heart -- and types of meat most folks don't eat these days: elk, squirrel, possum. I kid you not. There were possum recipes. This particular publication was put out by the USDA.
Wish I could dredge up the book from my friend, but he's across the country. It had hundreds of recipes. If all else fails, maybe your grandmother has kept cookbooks from that era, and would be willing to let you root through them.
Depression-era cookbooks are a treasure trove for that kind of information. Also for "household tips & tricks" like how to get ring-around-the-collar out without using special preparations like Shout, making your own lemon oil furniture polish, stuff like that. I love reading them.
hahaha...look in your "Joy of Cooking". Mine still has a diagram of how to skin a squirrel!
My tip is to invest in one of the hand-held meat tenderizers. Not a mallet, but the type with the teeth blades. It punches holes clean thru the meat and whatever you marinade it in just absorbs right up.
Also try using a pressure cooker. My mom always used it for beef heart or tongue (yuumy!) which is not easy to cook. The new models are very easy, quick and safe.
sadly, my gram was born at the end of the depression and doesn't remember anything about it. She might have some of her mothers old cookbooks somewhere, though, i'll have to ask...
This is a great marinade for flank steak. I have used it for steaks on the grill and for chopped up steak to use as taco filling. It tenderizes the meat very well. I have marinated for up to 3 days- it only gets better- but 1 hour is sufficient.
* Exported from MasterCook *
Steak Taco Filling
Recipe By : Meghan
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :1:30
Categories : Meats
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 pounds flank steaks
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup tomatillo salsa
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Combine onion, salsa, hot sauce, and chili powder in a large ziploc bag. Add steak and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Heat skillet or grill and cook steak until desired degree of doneness. For taco filling, chop the steak into bite-sized pieces before marinading.
I do all the suggestions, marinate, pressure cook, slow cook....and I love it when we have "bits of" say porkchop or chili or steak left...I do all kinds of leftover stuff .....meat pies, stirfry, macaroni casserole....I find I can use up the stuff easily and get another meal for the family without wasting a thing. Some are really successful and some have mixed reviews but they all get eaten!
I love marinates too and also do a lot of slow cooker and pressure cooking. My pressure cooker works great for tender beef. I love good old fashioned beef and noodles.
"make tasty food from cheap cuts of meat?"
They are cheap because they can't be thrown on a grill for a quick meat, or are not fashionable in that area. I used to get really cheap beef shanks in Virginia, but here they are widely used in a Mexican soup, and not nearly as cheap unless I'm shopping in a moistly anglo neighborhood.
Careful use of spices, marinating, slow cooking and good side dishes.
Chicken and dumplings, good beef stew with lots of perfectly cooked potatos and carrots and onions and french bread to sop up the juice ... yum! A nice fluffy denver omelet ... also YUM!
For meatloaf, you can take ketchup and grape jelly, or any jelly for that matter, and mix together for a sauce. Yum!
Sometimes I add chunks, or slices, of fruit, like peaches, apples, etc. Lemons are good also. Onions, rosemary, both good with soy sauce on meats.
Our easy favorite is chuck steak in the crockpot with a package of onion soup. You can add some stale carbonated cola drink (why throw anything out)
OR whole chickens when they get very inexpensive: rub with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 package dried ranch/or italian dressing. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. You can add potatoes and carrots to the bowl to get the residue off the bowl you used for rubbing the chicken and roast those too.
You can add oatmeal and mashed pinto beans to any ground beef dish to stretch it.