Stretching $$ - Rethnking What I Know

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I was sure we already had a thread for money saving tips, but I can't seem to find it, so I'm starting a new one. In particular, I'm looking for new ways to shave a little (or a lot) off my expenses. I'm going to share some things I've been doing, and I hope you will share your ideas as well.

Most recently, after weeks of grocery store sticker shock, I've been challenging myself to try to use every bit of what I buy (at the grocery store). I'm challenging myself to reconsider what I've always known to be true about what is edible and what isn't. I'm now looking at the food I cook in a new light, questioning whether I can find tasty ways to eat parts I had previously considered inedible. I'm NOT going to eat anything that I don't truly enjoy, but for the 1st time I'm going to think about ways to prepare and use those 'unusable' parts instead of just tossing them as I've always done w/o even questioning the behavior. My goal now is to use 100% of what I purchase (or grow if I ever get my garden going again). I know I won't likely achieve the goal of 100% utilization, but already I've found surprising ways to eat and enjoy some things I had been tossing all my life - and I've only just begun.

Why not come along with me. Share some of your ideas and consider trying a few of mine. Who knows. You may also find some favorites among the things you've been tossing. You may not agree with all of my ideas, and that's ok, too. I invite you to share not only your ideas but also your thoughts on mine - and if you find something you like, let me know that, too. Some ideas may work out. Others probably won't, but we'll never know for sure until we try.

(I have to get to work right now, but I'll be back later to start posting some of my ideas. Also, please excuse the rather gratuitous picture of my cat sleeping. I had chosen a photo to post. Then when I changed my mind, the app refused to let me cancel the picture unless I replaced it with another, so that's how we ended up with this pic of Kitty added to appease the app so I could upload my post.)

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Quote from DreamOfSpring :
but for the 1st time I'm going to think about ways to prepare and use those 'unusable' parts instead of just tossing them as I've always done w/o even questioning the behavior.

That's how the meat companies came up with pink slime, not always the best idea

but great idea not to stock your fridge and pantry with stuff you're not going to eat

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi flowAjen,

I hear you. LOL. I'm definitely not talking about going that far. Promise. I did mention that I'm not going to eat anything I don't truly enjoy, didn't I? Perhaps I should also add that I'm not going to eat (or recommend that you consider eating) anything I find repulsive.

This is also how they came up with that broccoli slaw stuff sold in the produce department. It appears to be a successful product, and they are making a hefty price from the part of the broccoli I've been tossing in the trash. That is closer to what I have in mind here.

Thanks for the feedback though. :-)

Back later with more info.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

That broccoli slaw the one with the raisins? YUM

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I eat my Land's Quarters and Purslane - two common weeds. The Lamb's Quarters can be used as a spinach subsitiute and I pickle the purslane and then use the pickling vinegar on my salads.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

In my opinion, you can never have too many cute kitty pictures! A few of my personal food-saving techniques:

If leftovers don't get eaten within a couple days, they go in the freezer for later meals.

Uncontaminated (see below) vegetative matter never goes into the trash - it's either dumped into the compost bin or directly into flower beds.

The carcass of a roast chicken gets simmered in a pot of water and the resulting broth saved (frozen) for chicken and dumplings, or soup. This is also a good place to drop in onion/carrot/etc. peels for extra flavor. (They will get strained out but don't get composted because of the contact with the chicken.)

I recently read something about using peach skins in jelly (or something like that) but don't have details. You should be able to do a search to find out more info.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi AYankeeCat,

Now that is very much the kind of thing I had in mind. Growing your own food is a fabulous idea, but if you can just walk out back and harvest what nature provides, no effort required, that's the absolute best - and eating 'weeds' is really 'getting over'.

Do you actually pick the weeds that grow wild in your lawn and flower beds, or do you plant those 2 as crops? If you pick them from the lawn, are you careful to avoid pesticides that are not ok for food crops? I'm guessing you actually like those 2 plants, right? Have you tried them in any other recipes? I'm thinking maybe chopped in with kale and other greens or added in small amounts as seasoning to a pilaf, something like that.

I'm going to have to look those 2 plants up. I've heard of both of them, but don't recall what they look like off-hand. If I have them in my yard, I'm tempted to try them. My other concern, however, is the risk of poisoning myself with look-alikes. How did you learn to identify and eat these particular plants? Did someone else point them out, or did you just learn this on your own?

There is another common lawn weed that is edible, usually cooked like kale or other 'greens'. For the life of me I cannot recall the name, but it has to be the most common of all edible lawn weeds. I've considered giving it a try as I do get some in my yard. It's said to be a very bitter green, but I positively love collards, and they, too, can be quite bitter. It is also used in salads. I've seen it offered for sale at Earth Fare, and at a hefty price considering it grows for free in most yards. If by chance you know the one, I wonder if you have tried it?

I love this idea. Thanks very much for sharing!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi Amaryllisgal,

All great ideas. Thanks for sharing. These, too, are the kinds of things I'm looking for.

I've adopted some of these already in the past year or two, before that I have to confess that I was terrible about wasting food. I thought I was the only such wasteful person, but experts say that roughly 1/3 of all grocery purchases in the US are thrown away. Now I am very careful to use things in the proper order so as to avoid letting them spoil (something I was very guilty of in the past), and, like you, I've become very good at freezing left overs and other things I don't use right away. I've also learned recently to save even very small quantities of left overs, as long as it is something I like. Even a single spoonful of a coveted dish makes a nice snack the next day when you otherwise have none. (I used to toss those little bits as not worth saving. Now I have a set of 1/2 cup and 1cup containers just for them.)

I compost, too, but I have a few other 'stops' for things I don't eat, before they get to the compost heap. My dog is 1st on that list. He loves most vegetables and will often eat things I don't like. I'm careful not to give him anything salty, too spicy, fatty, or anything containing items dogs should not have (onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate, etc). I'll cover some of the 'throw away' items that he eats later. I also feed some wildlife. They are 2nd on the list and get those 'throw away' items which they like. If I'm not sure, I put them on the open compost pile where they can get use what they want, and the rest will be composted. I happy to say, however, that lately very little goes to either the dog or the wildlife, as I am learning much better ways of using what I purchase.

I used to toss the dripping from chicken and other meats, but I'm learning ways to make use of almost all of them. It started last year when I saved the drippings from a baked ham. I refrigerated the drippings & removed the layer of fat when cold. What remained was an aspic or gelatin rich with lots of natural ham flavors and some tiny bits of browned meat. I spooned this into qt size, zip lock bags, and lay them flat in the freezer (about 1/2in thick). This allowed me to break off a piece to flavor a dish if I didn't need an entire bag full. I was wonderful in all kinds of things: soups, stews, pilafs, and even some vegetables (southern thing). I have since done this with baked chickens and beef roasts.

In addition to saving the drippings, I have also begun experimenting with saving bones (cooked or raw). I save all ham bones no matter how large or how small. These are great in soups, stews, legumes, rice dishes, and some vegetables. My mother used to take a hack saw to the ones too large for a pot. In the south, no ham should ever go to waste. I also save chicken bones. I save the carcass from baked or roasted chickens, and since I'm just cooking for me, I even save the bones left from individual chicken pieces. I collect them in a bag in the freezer to make stock. I had completely forgotten that peels from carrots and onions could be used in the stock along with any left over and badly wilted celery. Thanks for that reminder. I think I will start a bag of those trimmings in the freezer as well.

Interesting about the peach skins. I usually eat peaches raw, skins included, but I'm going to keep that in mind should I ever have left over skins.

I have also managed to find a use for fat. Of course being southern, I save all bacon drippings to flavor a variety of foods. A small amount of rendered ham fat (skimmed from drippings) kept in the freezer can be used instead of butter or oils to flavor rice, soups, etc. I'm talking about substituting a teaspoon of ham fat for the butter in a pot of rice or added to a pot of green beans to impart a smoky flavor.

I save all other fats (rendered from meat drippings), everything from hamburger drippings to the fat that cooks off sausage, the fat from baked ham and roasts, etc in a single (marked) container in the freezer and use it when making dog biscuits. My regular dog biscuit recipe calls for about 1/4 cup of fat or oil, not enough to be noticed at all in the finished product. Using fat from cooked meats in this way serves a number of purposes. 1st and foremost, it makes the dog happy (and the biscuits taste better). 2nd, I save money. 3rd, I don't have to figure out how to toss fats w/o harming the environment. It's a win - win - win. I really don't get a lot of fats from meat drippings anyhow. I don't eat that much meat anyhow and I buy the 97% hamburger, so most of the time, I'm lucky if I have the 1/4 cup I need for the dog biscuit recipe.

I'll discuss the dog biscuits in more detail later. I don't really like to cook, and I hate to clean, but I have gotten this dog biscuit thing down to a pretty descent science. I can make them in about 10min (not including cook time) with only one bowl to wash. I make them almost entirely from things I would have tossed (like the meat drippings) plus some flour, rice, etc, and my dog loves them. Plus, unlike bought dog treats, I know exactly what is in them and how they are made. My dog Widget is extremely picky (my fault). He won't even touch most purchased dog treats, even expensive ones from pet stores, but he begs for the ones I make from 'throw away' products. This method of using up meat fats (and other scraps) is one of my crowning achievements.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I apologize for taking so long to get back to this thread. Sometimes it's just very difficult for me to even keep up with my regular threads. I'd like to share a few more ideas for now. I have many more for later.

1) My cat loves Fancy Feast. She gets one tiny can per day plus unlimited dry food. It is not inexpensive. Recently, I figured out (where I shop) store brand tuna (human grade) costs 2.4 cents LESS per ounce than Fancy Feast. My cat likes tuna even more, so I bought 6 cans of tuna to sub for some of the FF. I figure that saved me some $.26 and my cat will be very happy. My tip, along the theme of rethinking the known, is if you have a cat that eats those pricy cans of cat food, keep a check on how those things compare to tuna and other meat/fish/egg/cheese, etc. You wouldn't expect tuna to be cheaper, but I've found that it can be.

Cats only need one nutrient (vitamin or mineral) that they can't manufacture from what they eat. All cat foods contain this nutrient. For this reason, I figure it's a good idea to make sure your cat gets some cat food for insurance - although when I was growing up all of our cats ate meat scraps and were fine. Since my cat gets unlimited dry food daily, I don't figure substituting 2.5-3oz of tuna for her canned food will hurt anything. Human foods are held to a higher standard than pet foods, so I figure it's probably better for her.

2) Grocery sales. We all know about them and think we use them, but I'm talking about really using them. Before I go shopping, I go online and check the sales at the 4 grocery chains near me. I look for BOGO (buy one, get one) and any other sales which are near 1/2 price. I try to buy as little as possible of anything that is not 1/2 price. In my area, most things except for a few staples like eggs, lettuce, and yogurt go on BOGO every few months. I try to stock up then, so I don't have to buy them at regular price. This differs considerably from what most of us do which is buy what we want and feel good about the few sale items included. Even meats like chicken, pork loin, and bacon are regularly sold on BOGO, and they freeze well in between the sales. I do buy a little fresh produce (fruits/veggies) when not 1/2 price, but even there I lean toward anything which is on sale. Last week I bought 4 quarts of fresh strawberries on BOGO, ate some, froze some - great for smoothies.

3) Hamburger. Is this getting outrageous, or what? I just cooked a lb of the 97% fat free (or so it said). I paid $6/lb for that stuff. Ouch! Even worse, while I don't usually notice this with the 97% ground beef, this one cooked up a good 1/2 cup of water plus a bit more fat that I expected. The 97% stuff usually cooks up so dry there is nothing to drain away. I'm thinking the store added water (and a bit more fat that stated) while trying to find ways to save. I had to pull the meat to the sides of the pan to cook off the water so it wouldn't boil instead of brown. Ridiculous at that price. I buy the 97% stuff because it's healthier and because I hate the taste of the higher fat stuff even when it's drained. The lean ground beef seems to be made with better quality meat.

So here's my idea. I'm wondering if any of you have tried this before and can offer any advice/tips. I'm thinking of grinding my own. I don't have a meat grinder, but I do have a device that can grind meat. At $6/lb I could grind sirloin or rib-eye with money to spare. Better yet, I could get a round steak or roast for around $3/lb, maybe less on sale, and make excellent, very low fat ground beef for less than the price of the regular, high fat hamburger, or so I think. Anyone tried this? Seems like a no brainer. Am I wrong?

I don't use tons of ground beef, just the occasional lb, mostly for spaghetti, chili, meat loaf, that sort of thing. I'm also considering grinding my own nut butters, peanut, cashew, almond, etc. My machine does that, too. I figure it should be healthier and probably cheaper, too. Anyone doing this?

4) Collards. Some of you probably don't eat collards and among those who do, many will likely consider this idea tantamount to heresy, but I offer it for your consideration anyhow as it probably works with kale and other 'greens', too. So far I've only tried it with collards. I'm not sure if this grew out of a desire to save money or to have more collards. I love collards and have never had too many.

Normally, we pull the leaf away from the stem before cooking. Recently, I got tired of seeing that huge stack of stalks, more than 1/2 my purchase, go to waste. In a pinch, I've eaten canned and frozen greens, so I know that they usually include the stems. I decided to test the known and try cooking some stems. The 1st time I only chopped and cooked about 4 stems, so as not to ruin a whole pot of collards if I hated the stems.

Unlike the canned/frozen ones in which the leaf and stalk are chopped together, I folded the leaves and cut the stalk away from it. I like to chiffonade the leaves. I chopped the 4 stems separately, about 1/2in size. I cooked leaves and stems together and was surprised to find that I actually liked the texture variety added by the chopped stems. I also found that by chopping leaves and stems separately, they were easy to separate, if someone didn't want any stems, for instance. The chopped stems did not mix in with the greens but rather tended to fall to the bottom of the pot/dish.

This experiment went so well that for my next pot, I chopped all but the tougher ends (3in or so) of the stems, all of them. Again, I really enjoyed the texture the stems added, and this time I noticed a HUGE difference in yield. To avoid hanging out in the kitchen, I cook my collards in the crock pot, a large oval one. A store bought bunch of collards usually cooks down to just over 1/2 a pot, but once I added in the chopped stems it was all that I could do to get the top on even after the greens had cooked down. Stems, it seems, don't shrink the way leaves do. Instead of a few days of greens, I enjoyed a week or more of greens. Yum.

For my last pot of collards, I am proud to say that I managed to use and enjoy every single cm, including even the central stalk! This time I chopped all of the stems right down to the ends and crammed them into the pot. The crock pot does a very good job of softening those stems. When I had finished chopping stems I looked at that thick central stalk that remained, and a light bulb went off. I was on a roll. I peeled away just the thinnest green outer part (ok, I guess I didn't eat every cm after all) and then sliced the stalk into thin wafers about the thickness of water chestnuts (1/8 to 1/4in). I tasted one, and was amazed to find that it was delicious (raw). Why hadn't anyone ever mentioned this? Why had even my ultra miserly grandmother ever served this?

I ate them all while standing at the kitchen counter. They were that good, but then I love vegetables. I don't know what to compare them to. Both the texture and flavor were much better than that of broccoli stalks. They were crunchy with none of the fibrous texture often seen in broccoli stalks and they had a pronounced sweetness one would not expect from collards and was a little spicy. While I didn't actually taste the leaf stems raw, it seemed like the central stalk had a very different texture and flavor from that of the collard stems and leaves.

While I enjoyed the raw central stalk (cut into thin disks) plain, I was thinking that it might also be good on a crudites tray with ranch dressing or hummus (kind of an exotic addition to the usual offerings) or added to salad. I found the stalk exceptionally tasty and look forward to having that again; however, I have since realized that I need to check to see if there is any reason why it should not be eaten raw. Some very common veggies contain a form of cyanide which when cooked converts to a harmless chemical. I didn't notice any ill effects from eating the entire stalk that day; however, I just found out that rutabagas contain cyanide and should not be eaten raw. I love them raw and have been eating them that way since I was a kid. It's not something I eat often or in large quantities, and I've never notice any ill effects from doing so. Until now I never knew they were not to be eaten raw. They don't come with instructions or a warning label.

That's enough for now, I think.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

One more thing on the subject of chopping and cooking the collard stems along with the leaves - or maybe separately if you can't handle the idea of them together, although be advised that I've not tried cooking them separately.

Even if you decide you don't like the stems, they make a good addition to your dog's food (if you have a dog). My dog loves collards. He is a 5lb Maltese and he will eat all the collards he can get and still beg for more. I don't like to share my collards - because I like them - but he pouts if I don't give him any. (Seriously, he goes to the far side of the room and lies on his tummy with his head (and body) pointed away from me, if I don't give him any. It's his way of saying, "I'm not speaking to you anymore then.")

Since I started cooking the chopped stems, it's a little easier to share them with him than the leaves. He loves the stems, and will eat all he can get. Plus the stems are easier for him to eat w/o making a mess (think collard leaves dripping down the side of the face of a small dog with long, white hair.) If I didn't like the stems, I would consider cooking them for him, maybe giving him a small bowl a day. Seems like a better use of them than even the compost pile (money wise), and since they tend to fall to the bottom of the pot, it's easy to separate them out of the greens.

If you try adding the stems, whether for you or the dog, I suggest you go slowly as I did. Start by chopping just a few stems into the pot to see how you like them before going for the full effect.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi Dream of Spring... as always, good ideas you are sharing. Thanks.

I do like the gratuitous cat photo and will add to your suggestion of tuna, try canned chicken. You can find it on sale fairly reasonably priced. The cats like the broth as well as the chicken for a treat. My feline collection actually likes it better than the tuna. I also treat with a tin of sardines on occasion.

I don't know much about the collards having grown up in the north but I am reticent about eating peelings on store bought fruits and vegetables. Now, from my own garden spot, no problem. Even if I peel them, I'll freeze the peelings for cooking in soups, stews or desserts.

I understand you not being ready to get back into the gardening yet but why don't you fix some large pots with small edibles that you like to eat. It will make you feel so pious when you walk through the vegetable department at the grocery. Also, if you have a farmers market in your area, you will find fresher foods and more volume for the dollars spent.

Yesterday, I went by the local dollar store. I buy cleaning supplies, cat food, etc. there at a far better price than our small town grocery store. An older gal I know was ahead of me in the check out line. She was buying primarily groceries. When they told her how much her bill was, she turned and told me what that same merchandise would have cost at the grocery store, almost twice as high. The dollar stores now handle a wide selection of brand name foods and dairy. The only thing lacking is fresh fruits and vegetables. That might be another avenue to look at prices... Kristi

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Lamb's Quarters video
Purslane video

Olympia, WA

I wish my cat WOULD eat something other than cat food!!!!!!! It is almost as if "no human food shall touch my lips and whiskers!
At least I don't have to worry about their prowling the counter tops at night for something to nibble.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Thanks, AYankeeCat!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)


I have two cats. One loves chicken, tuna, cheese, etc. The other, like yours, loves his dry cat food, and will not touch anything else - except tuna, that is. The one that loves his cat food, and only his cat food, is much easier to feed.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)


It's too late for this year, but I'm going to try to get a pot or two of vegetables growing next spring. That will be my goal.

Good catch with the peelings. Using them to make broth used to be a great idea, but maybe not so much these days when it's no telling what chemicals may be on them. If you buy organic vegetables, it's probably safe to use the peelings - but only if you scrub them really well to be sure they aren't contaminated with e-coli and such.

About the water drained off the chicken, you should probably taste to check for salinity. I used to give it to my cat and dog. Then one day I noticed that my dog was drinking a LOT of water. The next time I opened a can of chicken, I tasted the liquid and found that it was very salty, not the chicken just the liquid. As a result, I've stopped giving it to my pets. I don't notice the same problem with tuna, just chicken. That said, I've recently learned that it's probably not a good idea to give pets tuna too often, either, due to potential mercury contamination. More later on this (If it ain't one thing, it's another.)

Seems like there is always something, doesn't it? Can't use the peelings due to pesticides. Can't use the tuna due to mercury. Can't use the chicken liquid due to salt. It's like every time you find a way to save, there is always some way in which manufacturers have ruined it for you.

Actually, I live in the city of Charleston. While it's not a major metropolis, we do have numerous large grocery stores here, including several of those WalMart super centers that sell groceries (I don't care for the Wally World groceries, but they are probably the cheapest). I'm thinking this is largely a regional thing, but here the bigger savings are at grocery stores. One I use offers several dozen items at 1/2 price ea wk, and I get $1/gal or more off gas when I fill my car (based on grocery purchases. Last week I got $1.35/gal off!)

I've heard wonderful things about farmer's markets in other areas. We have a few, but ours do not seem to be like what people elsewhere describe. No small farmers/gardeners selling their stuff. All of the ones I've tried around here are selling fruits and vegetables that are trucked in, some from SC, many from other states, basically the same produce in grocery stores, and the prices are considerably HIGHER at the farmer's markets. Last week, my grocery store was selling large, seedless watermelons 2 for $4.99 (regular price is $4.99 to $5.99). The farmer's market down the street sells the same melons for $8.99 each.

I've also not been impressed at all with the Dollar stores here. They mostly sell cheap stuff from China plus a few name brands here and there. You can't actually buy groceries at our dollar stores. You can only pick up odds and ends. These days, I would be leery of those unknown brands at dollar stores. There was a time when it didn't matter so much, but those days have gone. There have been a number of warnings about products from China in recent years, and dollar stores are mentioned in the warnings as a prime source of the tainted products. Exception to this include cleaning products and maybe shampoo, both of which experts say are a good buy at dollar stores, although I would be leery of the shampoo possibly being contaminated.

A couple years ago there was a warning about toothpaste from China sold at dollar stores under several names. It was found to contain high quantities of lead. Recently, Consumer Reports recommended avoiding off-brand vitamins from dollar stores. Their tests found big discrepancies between what was in the products vs what the labels said. There have been others. These are just the ones I recall offhand. Sadly, due to globalization and changes in import rules, it's potentially dangerous to buy unknown brands (esp from China) of anything you or your pets will eat or put in your mouth or on your skin, and a lot of the items in dollar stores fall in this category. (Consumer's unions also say that off-brand batteries from dollar stores are not a good buy as many do not last long and, worse, do not meet specs for correct voltage, and may even be bad for sensitive elex.) Too much to cover here, but lately China is really bad about dangerously contaminated products.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

If we don't finish a container of milk before it "turns", I keep it for baking. It's great for pancakes, muffins and other quick breads. I hate to throw anything away!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)


That's very interesting. Is there any limit on how long you can continue to use milk that has 'turned'?

On a related note, I keep forgetting to mention this tip for keeping milk fresh longer. When you open the milk, drop in a small pinch of salt, just a few grains. Close again & shake well. No one will notice a difference, except that the milk will stay good for an extra week or two. I even do this when I buy a qt of chocolate milk.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

I use it as long as it's still liquid. Usually several weeks after "use by" date.

Virginia Beach, VA

interesting!!I threw milk when it turns sour.


Olympia, WA

Milk never sours at my house - it doesn't get a chance!!!!! I LOVE milk!

columbia, TN(Zone 7a)

I got a meat grinder at amazon, and love it.. it's also a pasta maker, cost about $26, as I too was tired of the ground beef prices rising. when London broil or any boneless roast goes on sale for under $2 a pound, I stock up and grind. It helps to have the meat slightly frozen and cut into thin strips to grind, also do it with chicken breast and pork. Love the bags of frozen stirfry veges, but at 1.89 a pound, now only buy green beans, corn, broccoli and peas at 99 cents a pound. I then buy anything else on sale in the fresh dept, peppers onions etc and chop and freeze and make my own stir fry mixes.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

Love the meat grinder idea! I think my stand mixer has a place to put a grinder attachment. Need to check it out...

Virginia Beach, VA

I too grind my own hamburger. I used top or bottom round when they go on sale.
I have a kitchen aid that has a meat grinder attachment.

Here is a quick recipe for ground beef:

1 lb ground beef
1 medium diced sweet onions
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup lo sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper if needed--optional

combine all ingredients and mix beef thoroughly and marinate for 1 hour or more'
Heat skillet till hot, pour marinated beef and cook for few minutes only. Do not over cook.

You may add more lemon juice if you wish.

I like to add hot pepper
normally serve with rice.

Enjoy!! My family loves this quick meal.


Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Thanks, kobwebz & Belle,

Thanks for input on grinding your own ground beef. I've been thinking about doing that for a while now. I have the machine & it appears to me from price comparisons that I should be able to produce higher quality ground beef for less. In my area the high quality, 97% fat free ground beef costs $6/lb. I can buy a pretty decent roast or steak for that price. The 30% fat ground beef is close to $4/lb, and I don't know what they have ground into that, although it probably does contain pink slime.

For the same price ($4/lb) or less (esp on sale) I can buy a round steak or roast and grind that to produce a product which is both high quality and low in fat, plus I will know exactly what is in it, nothing but steak or roast, no pink slime, and nothing I wouldn't eat if I saw it before it was ground.

I was hoping to hear from someone who had already done this to see if there were any issues I hadn't considered. Have you run into any problems when grinding your own hamburger, or is it pretty much straight forward? When grinding, do you add any fat? If so, what kind, and where do you get it? I ask this because it's my understanding that you may need a small amount of fat to get the right texture and get it to hold together. The 97% ground beef at the super market probably doesn't contain any added fat. The 97% doesn't 'scramble' well. It tends to hold together in clumps in the skillet, but I prefer it anyhow because I know it's better for me.

As soon as I use up the ground beef from the freezer, I'm going to grind some myself. I'll report back on the cost, how the process goes, and the taste and texture of the result.

Thanks for the recipe, Belle. Looks yummy. I'm going to mark it to try later (when I get some ginger).

columbia, TN(Zone 7a)

I grind almost any cut of beef I can get my hands on if, it is on sale, usually cut the fatty parts off or most of it. I then freeze it into meal size portions. I don't add any oil to it at all. If I want to make burgers I do however spray a bit of canola in the pan and cook slowly. The same with chicken and pork pattys. You can season as you like either before or while cooking. It really helps to slightly freeze the meat and cut into thin strips (3/4") before grinding.Even if the price goes down I will continue grinding my own. It takes time, but at least you know what is in it and that it was ground in a clean grinder. I am a homophobe and do not ever eat out, It is a cleanliness thing and I am a bit of a control freak. I ordered a pizza years ago and it was 90 degrees out. When I went to pick up the pizza, the guy making them stopped me on my way out to tell me about Mondays specialls on pizza and he was putting toppings on another pizza with sweat running off his face dripping all over the pizza he was preparing. Don't mean to gross anyone out, but that did it for me.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I hate eating out and have to block it from my mind if/when we do.

But on the burger. I wash all meat that I cook and dislike burger as you don't know how it was prepared.
If you grind your own, you can wash the steak or roast surface before grinding... good thought!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi podster,

Not only can you "wash the meat before grinding", but, truth be told, I'm guessing that, as with sausage, they are tossing things into the grinder other than steaks and roasts, things we are better off not knowing about. Once it's ground, parts you would never eat look the same as the good parts. They can sell steaks and roasts for a good price, so why grind them. What likely goes into average, 30% ground beef is odds and ends, bits and pieces left over from other cuts, plus some parts I will refrain from mentioning.

Lots of good reasons to grind our own if time allows: quality (including what's in there), price, health (including fat content and what's in there), and probably taste, as well. Ground round steak has to taste better than pink slime. I only use a small amount of ground beef here and there. I figure it shouldn't take all that long to grind it. At least, that's the plan.

Virginia Beach, VA

I had been grinding my beef for a long time that is why I got the kitchen aid.
I do eye of round as well as top or bottom round because they do not have a lot of fat. I do however trim the fat before grinding. I use ground beef for stir fry, meat loaf and the easy recipe that I posted. I do not do patties for hamburger because we eat rice instead of bread.

If you do patties then the lean ground will crumble so I would add bread crumb and really mix well. I think soy bean paste will also do the job. You can buy soy bean paste at the oriental store.

Chuck roast will have marbling so it might be better for patties.


This message was edited Jul 7, 2012 8:15 AM

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Hi guys, I came across this thread. It has some great ideas. I have'nt ground any beef but my DH was an avid hunter and we've ground many a deer. We added some pork fat to it.(It does'nt take much.) We tried beef fat but the texture was'nt really that good in ground meat. We washed the meat also but allowed it to dry before we put it in the grinder.
Another place to look for food bargains is some chain drugstores like Freds.
Early dandelion greens are good but only young ones. My rule of thumb for using a new kind of wild food is to have at least 3 different sources of different books, magazines,online etc.
Your local county agent will probably have info on local foods. If you have'nt gone to your county agent. It'll be worth a visit and you pay for it thru taxes.

Dahlonega, GA

I cut up all my wild game and process myself . I use a Tasin T S 108 , about 150.00 and also bought one for my son's Christmas . It doesn't gum up with strings from the meat , cutting right through it . Three times cheaper than same power grinders that cost three or four times more from Cabela's and other outlets .
I peel shrimp and save the shells and tails , boil , freeze drained liquid for seasoning .
Use Jack mackerel instead of tuna or salmon mixed in cat food or dog biscuits
Boil all the scrap meat and bones from game in an 18 qt cooker , cool pick bones out and scrap pieces , freeze for mixing in dog food or freeze in small bags for treats .
make sure all pieces of bone are removed , then chop cooked meat for chili ,spaghetti , stews ,other dishes , freeze with some liquid . Don't have to cook all day
Grind some of the meat and freeze with juice in small packages for your own lunch meat spread , with added spices .
Mix lemon juice with heated sour milk , let curdle , strain water off for feta cheese.Or you can use fresh milk if you have enough . Better than store bought (recipe on line ) Or ,freeze sour milk in pint containers for baking biscuits , pancakes , etc .
Those paper towels that don't come apart are good for Swiffer mop and can be rinsed , used again , or the cheaper ones for one time use . Mix a few drops of cheap dish washing liquid with water to fill the Swiffer mop container
Left over , cooked veggies frozen ,for soup or stew. Add to already cooked , chopped , meat that you have frozen ,and fast meal , add spices , done .
Self rising yellow cornmeal , egg , milk , really good cornbread ,
Wilted veggies , cook in water or broth and puree , frozen , for soup , add seasoning .
Left over chicken or any other meat for wonderful addition in salads .
Soap nuts for the laundry . Can reuse once or twice . They can be left in the rinse water too .Find on line .
Warmed vinegar to soak callouses off feet , better than store bought which also uses acid .
Left over biscuits for biscuit pudding or to crumble in stews , soup, for thickner .Or slice in half with sugar , cinnamon , butter , toasted for breakfast or treat .Good with milk poured over . Kids like this too.
I'm tired , Going to quit for now . Hope some of my savings can be used for your savings .


Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Digger, Can I have your biscuit pudding receipe? That is homemade biscuits? My DH loved homemade biscuits so I made them alot.

Hayden, AL(Zone 8b)

Good information. Thanks, seriously! I am definitely getting a grinder. I shop local food world and Winn Dixie for my meat. I buy canned vegetables at 2/$1.00 sometimes, wherever. I go to 3/4 stores on shop day, lay out circle route to hit them all and only buy if BIG sale or have to have:) I used to can all the time, then we moved and I had to build my soil just to get gardening here. I did freeze some mixed greens, collards are almost perinneals here:). I plan on canning a lot this year if all goes well. Saves a fortune. The other day had soup, two quart jars canned zucchini, left one chunky, blended others, threw in pint of frozen greens, onions, handful of rice, can of tomato sauce, all out (always tomatos first to go), small 1/2 pound fried hamburger mostly for flavor, fresh parsley chopped from garden, delicious! For a snack I sliced a few of my canned dill pickles from summer stash, dipped in flour seasoned with tsp mrs. Dash and had my version of fried restaurant pickles, yum! During season if you can't find friend or neighbor with extra fruit, like when we first moved here, I bought all the .79 and .99 fruit trays on sale I could grab, ton. After I use the fruit juice first strained to get jelly, I then throw in some fruit chunks for 2nd juice- jam, then I throw in all the rinds, cores, even extra 1/2 cup juice, etc. leftover in fridge and then I have third run"butter"! I buy the gigantic bags of potatos when on sale, or big mark down when they try to move potatos about to go and can them really cheap, I use these up so fast, greAt just to dump in for instant soups, mashed potatos. The one afternoon of canning is sooo worth coming home to DONE dinner. Love that! I had just one short row of green beans and we didn't buy a bean last summer! Lettuce is so high, I grow here until heat strikes! I have some top set and bottom set onions that once you get you never run out. Love. I make lots of bread with SAMs $6.00 big bags and freeze the extra for garlic bread, etc. got a great recipe for 1/2 borax, 1/2 baking soda for dish wash powder (haven't tried it, yet:). At the end of growing season, everything goes in the pot, little of everything and I process using longest time for "added" veggie, etc. my garden, as little as it is saves me hundreds at the store. I also use radish greens and the radish chopped like a turnip, spicy and they are so easy to grow! Grew some of those garden huckleberries for jelly, I only had 4/5 bushes, tall and skinny (also grew the short kind one year). And had two gallon bags to jelly up. Picked lemons off roadside lemon I spotted growing next to tree line and finally found a recipe for lemon marmalade, delicious zingy flavor, made some great christmas gifts- the worst was chopping peel so small, no gadgets! Labor of love:) Husband is meat eater, so I buy every .79/.99 cent lb. turkey on sale before thanksgiving and rely heavily on .99 ham, 1.29lb pork and bacon sausage 2 for $5 usually, sometimes better. The burger I try to not pay more than $2.50, but ridiculous having to wait on hamburger! I'll definitely try the grinder!!! Love that. My best sure veggies are tomatos, summer squash zucchini grey and green, yellow crook neck, onions, radishes cherry belle, icicle, black seeded Simpson lettuce, georgia collards, 'Reba'. (Friends family heirloom) green beans, parsley, okra, garden huckleberries. These always give and give. Oh, and I just bought one of those dried bags with 15 different beans, because I read they sprout and I can't resist finding out what springs up for 2.40. If these all come up I will have to buy more jars! Happy Gardening! Bellsp.
Picture scuppernong, friends, I'm growing several from seeds. Hope they set this year:). Other is 'Reba' bean.

Thumbnail by Bellsp Thumbnail by Bellsp
Dahlonega, GA

Vickie , it's all by sight . I crumble 6 or 8 biscuits in a baking dish and add enough sugar to suit me , then soak with milk for awhile . ,making it soupy, leave the chunks of biscuits ,about marble size, add 6 or 8 eggs , beat 'em up good , add cinnamon mixed with a little more sugar if I forgot it earlier . I use a lot of butter , about 3/4 cup mixed in . I like to add enough milk for it to make a custard on the bottom and the biscuits make pudding on top of that and the chunks of biscuits make a chunky crust on the top . This is the way I like it so it may not suit you . Don't forget a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and vanilla flavoring . Or rum flavor if you like .when it gets cold and sliced , you have three textures .
We leave here in 6 weeks , The last 10 days are hectic . If you don't make it this year , then plan on next fall before cold weather . Hugs

Dahlonega, GA

I use a lot of your shopping prices too . I don't grow a garden any more , just buy frozen stuff .Ribs just came off the grill , so more later . I hongry. Thats Texas for hungry !lol

Virginia Beach, VA

You keep very busy!! How many in the family??

I am going to try your custard. Sounds delish!!

I used to do a lot of canning but DH donated all my canning jars because we could not finist it and and also running out of space.


Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Thanks Digger, Sounds so-o-o-o good!
Do you ever make fried pies using canned biscuits?

Dahlonega, GA

I tried them once , but I guess I didn't roll the dough out thin enough . I make my crust and have several recipes for it . Something fast and delish ' , is regular bread toasted dry in the skillet on one side , put fruit in , then put toasted sides together , butter the untoasted sides and fry in butter . Kids love these and soooo easy . My sweet, departed MIL told me about these .

Hayden, AL(Zone 8b)

Sorry about your jars Bellieg! If you ever decide to have a go again I find them pretty cheap all the time at yard sales and thrift stores, so no worries. Moves are tough-lose everything:) I barely have an inch to spare myself-downsized ha ha! I have two grown married sons. Just me, DH and Dear Old Dad these days. Still they ate 3 pans of corn muffins in a day and half LOL! Keeping them fed is a little job:). That was a good idea on the fruit pies/sandwich bread Digger! I planted a pear tree and am patiently waiting on first fruit and I am going to have daughter-in-lovely save me some apples this year off her tree! Yea-apple jelly-I can't wait, I ran out and store just isn't the same! I did plant papaya in backyard, so maybe papaya jelly? Smile
Happy Gardening!

Thumbnail by Bellsp
Virginia Beach, VA

I have to go to the thrift shops or garage sales to find some canning jars

To save money I also check the clearance veggies or fruits and i find some good ones.


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