We bought a quarter cow recently, which means our freezer is filled to bursting with grass fed (grain finished) beef from a local farm, and we are working on finding new and different ways to use the meat. On weeknights especially, this means something quick and easy, that can be made with basic ingredients that we already have on hand, which keeps the price per meal down quite a bit, and reducing trips to the grocery store was a large part of what reined in our food budget in general.
Since we purchased the beef in bulk, our price per pound was considerably less than the $7 listed on the package, but even that is a great deal considering we pay that amount for generic organic ground beef at the grocery store.
While eating a vegetarian diet would be cheaper and generally easier on the planet, I live with two carnivore males who would revolt if we didn’t eat meat regularly. Honestly, I’ve never seen a 2 year old love meat as much as my son. And I enjoy it as well, though I do go meat-free for the majority of my breakfasts and lunches.
However, I am conscious about how we can be the best consumers possible, so I focus on buying in bulk and supplementing with wild game.
Pinterest had yet to make its debut when I got married at the ripe old age of 21, so I never used it for planning my wedding like many of my friend since (which probably helped keep our wedding costs down quite a bit!), but I do find it really helpful for looking up recipes both for dinner and for canning/pickling.
We had just gone through pounds and pounds of ground venison to clear out the freezer in preparation for the beef we just picked up, so I wanted to do something different than some variation of tacos or meatloaf, our two main stand ins. Enter in Korean Ground Beef And Rice Bowls courtesy of The Recipe Critic.
Short form of the recipe, with tweaks by me:
- Sauté 2lbs ground beef (hooray! Using the first of our bulk purchase), 1 coarsely chopped red bell pepper, and 4 large garlic scapes right out of the garden.
- Mix 4 tsp hot chili oil (we didn’t have any sesame oil, and I think the chili oil gave it great additional flavor), 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp white pepper (I always use white pepper for Asian recipes, but black would be fine), 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and 1/2 cup brown sugar.
- Add sauce to ground beef and simmer for a half hour while your rice (1.5 cups) cooks.
- Eat over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
This recipe made enough for the three of us with enough leftovers for me to take to work (my husband works construction with an appetite to match and my toddler eats more than my grandma, so portion sizes in our house look a little different than average). It was a quick meal to have on a weeknight and one we will definitely make again.
We planted garlic in with our raspberries 4 years ago and because we’ve never been good about pulling every last bulb out of the ground at the end of the season, it’s spread like a tasty, tasty weed.
Any recipe I can load up on garlic during the summer is a great one because we have such an abundance in our garden. Growing up, my husband would take tubes of garlic paste and eat them straight, and he now snacks on fermented black garlic with our son on a regular basis. And I’ve previously been known to grow 10 different heirloom varieties at a time and have garlic tastings at the end of the year, so you could say that we love our garlic around here. Bonus that it comes out of our yard and eliminates one more item from the grocery store.
We may only have a 1/4 acre, but we do our best to make it count. Any meal that comes mostly from local, humanely raised meat and produce out of our garden is a good one in my book, and this is one I will definitely make again – and enjoy again for lunch tomorrow, of course.