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Trying to Cut Back on Meat?

If you’re like me – you were raised on meat and potatoes. (My Father was a meat salesmen — so we had plenty of it.) I can also add dumplings,  canned peas and spinach with an occasional piece of iceberg lettuce thrown in for good measure on a sandwich made with Wonder Bread and tomatoes. And of course, homemade apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, fudge and ice cream.  What a diet!  Is it any wonder my “insides” were sick until I was past 30!

Lucky for me I learned how to eat more healthfully and made a change. But let me tell you — and you already know this if you grew up that way — it takes some doing to make a turn around. It’s not an easy road.  But Bill and I are living proof it can be done.

Even as early as a year or so ago Bill and I would compromise by eating conventionally raised meat from time to time if we were invited to a friend’s home or if we wanted to go to a nice place to eat.

Then I started learning even more about the unsanitary conditions and the harmful things in conventionally raised meat —not to mention the harmful possible effects of the GMOs passed from the meat to you. It’s too bad they don’t have a sign on it at the store warning: Eat at your own risk — because literally — that’s what you do.

Garden and a small amount of Organic Meat

We now depend heavily on our garden for food almost year round.  We very seldom eat meat. When we do — it is strictly organic – either chicken or grass fed organic beef. Our portions are 1/3 or even 1/4 of what we were eating in out teens and twenties. Like everyone – we have our problems – but believe me — how you eat makes a difference.

How a Pound of Ground Beef Can Serve 2 People for 4 Meals

Here’s a way to fix ground beef that makes it go a long way, is satisfying and easy on the wallet. It’s versatile and I change it all the time depending on what I have available. The idea is to get a lot of good nutritious extenders into the beef and yet have it taste good so that you’ll feel satisfied.

To save time, I make it up 2 pounds at a time and freeze it in the shape of meatballs that are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in circumference. (You can flatten the meatballs when they thaw if you want a burger.)  You’ll get about 25 to 32 meatballs depending on how big you make them.  I freeze 4 at a time wrapped in saran wrap and then place them in a gallon freezer bag. Take the air out with a straw.

I get a minimum of 8 meals (for two people) out of 2 lbs of ground beef. More often I get 12 meals.

Fresh ingredients like onions and parsley will change depending on what’s in season. Use what you have on hand. I’ll give you some variations at the end.

Ground Beef Mixture for Meat Balls and Burgers

Using your hand, brush organic vinegar over the ground beef.  This helps kill bacteria that might be there.

In a large bowl place the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of grass fed organic beef
  • 2 cups of finely chopped onions (out of my garden)
  • 1 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley (out of my garden)
  • 2 cups of organic unprocessed fine bran (I use bran sold by Shiloh Farms)

Whisk together the following 3 ingredients and add to the mix:

  • 1/3 cup of Poupon mustard (Doesn’t have to be exactly 1/3 cup.)
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup of organic milk (Feel free to substitute organic soy milk, zucchini milk, or even water if necessary)

Combine ingredients by kneading (maybe a minute) as if you would bread. Then use your fingers to “smush” it so it will be more uniform and stay together.

Form the meatballs. Freeze most for future use.

Cook in preheated 360 degree oven:

  • 20 minutes for 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
  • 25 minutes for 2 inch meatballs.

Do NOT overcook.
Keep in mind that grass fed organic beef will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven. You’ll get the time down pat once you do it a few times.

Cooked correctly this ground beef mixture will be melt in your mouth tender and very tasty.

Serve as meat for any meal. Tastes good with just about everything.  And of course it’s great with spaghetti and homemade roasted tomato sauce.

Ingredient Variations

  • If you can get organic celery or if you grow your own, it’s wonderful in this mixture.
  • You can substitute celery for onions or add half celery and half onions.
  • Any herbs that you like will be fine.  I love the fresh parsley and use lots of it in the mixture.  If I don’t have it, I’ll use 2 tablespoons of dried thyme.
  • I’ve also used basil, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.  Use whatever you like.

Final Thought
Eating meat (especially eating big portions) is a habit you can break. If you use this recipe I think it will help you succeed in breaking the habit and still be satisfied.

___________

Organic Gardening is easy, efficient, effective — and it’s a lot healthier.

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All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved


3 comments to Trying to Cut Back on Meat?

  • Alice Bowers

    Hip, Hip, Hooray. Thanks for the great recipe. I will forward this to my children. My husband and I made the “less meat”less meals transition about 1 1/2 years ago and feel super. The garden keeps me fit and the food from the garden gives me the energy to work in the garden. Thanks for your great blog. You write like I think and so much of what you publish is helpful and usable.

  • Theresa

    Sure appreciate the Hip, Hip, Hooray, Alice.
    Thanks too for sharing that you and your husband made the “less meat” transition. It’s amazing how cutting back on meat give so much more energy. I guess it’s because meat is one of the hardest things to digest,

    Glad I write like you think. I’ll strive to make even more of what I write helpful and usable.
    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Best of success in the garden this year!
    Theresa

  • CateK

    I was a vegetarian for years and kept getting fatter and sicker. Two years ago, my friend dragged me to the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference in Philly. Now I eat only pastured meat, raw milk and try very hard to eat only organic vegetables and fruit. Turns out I’m allergic to soy and wheat according to the doctor. We have always had a vegetable garden and we tripled it’s size this year. I’m buying only local pastured meat directly from the farmers who raise them. Thankfully, living in the Northern Neck, there are many excellent sources for locally raised pastured animals.

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