As of late, beef prices have been on the rise. In fact, according to USA Today, “The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners – and relief isn’t likely anytime soon.”
They go on to note, “A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.”
But we aren’t letting higher-beef prices deter our family from creating reasonably-priced meals. Instead, we’re finding options to help us reduce the amount of beef we use in our meals, yet still have affordable family dinners.
Pulled pork sandwiches
Pulled pork sandwiches is probably the easiest option on this list if you have a slow cooker. We tend to dice up an onion or two, put it in with the pork and barbeque sauce and let it slow cook all day on low. Sometimes we substitute chicken for pork and it works out just as well. Then we shred the meat once it’s cooked, add more barbeque sauce if necessary, and then either serve the meat on buns or sometimes tortillas with corn and sour cream.
For the longest time we bought frozen pizzas that we never found quite to our liking. There was either too little cheese, not enough sauce, the crust was too thin, or we had some other issue. And going out for pizza, with a family of four, was starting to get a little costly and was difficult with a newborn. Therefore, I looked up how to make our own pizza dough.
I was surprised at just how easy and affordable the process can be. Yeast, flour, water, salt, sugar, and water and we had our dough ready to go to create our own pizza. We could make it as big or little as we wanted, make the crust the thickness we preferred, and add the toppings and sauce that we liked best. And maybe best of all, the cost to feed our family of four fell into the $5 to $6 range, often with leftovers for lunch the following day!
If we’re looking for a quick, easy, affordable, and family-pleasing option for all, we might just go with pasta night. Served with a little butter and salt for the kids, turning it into mac ‘n cheese, or adding some alfredo, marinara, or regular pasta sauce depending on our moods, this can be a winning option for all involved. Sometimes, we add extra veggies or just a little (a quarter pound or so) ground pork or beef it we want to give our pasta sauce a little more fortitude, and at times we add a side salad or garlic toast if we’re really hungry and feel like going to the extra effort.
Bean and rice enchiladas
Sometimes we’re in the mood for something a little healthier, yet that’s still quick, easy, and affordable. This is when we go for bean and rice enchiladas. A little rice (to us, it doesn’t really matter if it’s brown, white, dirty or otherwise), some refried beans, placed on tortillas with some melted cheese (we like either mozzarella or Chihuahua cheese) can work wonders to placate those hunger pangs. I add a little hot enchilada sauce to mine to liven things up, and sometimes we toss in some shredded chicken or sautéed veggies (peppers and mushrooms are our favorites) to bulk up our meal a little.
If we’re really hungry, we might have some chips and salsa on the side to extend our meal.
And with these recipes in our meal arsenal, we’re better equipped to avoid higher beef prices while still enjoying some culinary treats and add variety to our palettes.
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The author is not a licensed financial, culinary, dietary or health professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.