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Meal Planning with Less Meat

source: Simple Organized Living

If any of you celebrated Thanksgiving like we did, you’re probably still completely stuffed from all the turkey you consumed these past few days!

And while I love a great cut of meat as much as the next person, I also realize that using less meat is one of the simplest ways to stretch a small grocery budget. So if you’re looking for another way to reduce your monthly expenses, try switching up your weekly meal plans to include a variety of these low-meat meals.

1. Mexican:

You’d be surprised how many people you can feed with one pound of ground beef or shredded chicken when you mix it with refried beans, onions, peppers, and rice.

I’ve made so many different Mexican dishes over the years and I almost always use half as much meat as they call for — and then supplement with beans and rice. No one ever knows the difference!

2. Pasta:

Although I usually like to make my own homemade pasta sauce, we always have a variety of pasta and jarred sauces in our pantry for last-minute meals when plans change and we’re in a hurry.

And while some of our favorite pasta dishes use small amounts of meat, others are totally vegetarian — yet still so rich and delicious that we don’t even miss the meat!

3. Soup and Salad:

We love eating different soups and main-dish salads for dinner throughout the year — both of which use very little meat.

Some of our favorite soups are tomato, cheese tortellini, chicken and rice, vegetable beef, and broccoli cheese — and if the recipe calls for meat, I always use a little less and supplement with more veggies.

Our favorite salad toppings include lots of veggies, dried fruits, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and only small amounts of meat.

4. Pizza:

Homemade pizza is another great vegetarian meal that will still please even your pickiest eaters. Of course, pizza tastes great with meat too; but even just a small amount of your favorite meat adds the necessary flavor for a delicious low-meat meal.

5. Breakfast:

We eat some type of breakfast food for dinner every single week. Either omelets, pancakes, stuffed french toast, quiche, or other breakfast casseroles.

Sometimes I’ll include small amounts of sausage, ham, or bacon; but we usually just consider the eggs to be our main source of protein for these meals. And you know how much cheaper eggs are than meat!


With just a few simple alterations to your weekly meal plan, you can enjoy a nice savings on your grocery bill… just in time for some holiday shopping 🙂

What are your best tips for using less meat?

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