Please please PLEASE don’t get sucked into the hysteria! Don’t Doomsday-prep and run out to every grocery store in a 50 mile radius and buy up each piece of meat you can get your hands on because the internet said you won’t be able to even buy meat within a month. The word shortage means a lack of, or deficit. It does not mean NONE. We need to be smarter than the toilet paper hoarders.
I understand that our society is used to having what we want, when we want it, but right now there is little to no room for “I want what I want when I want it.” I, I, I! What about we? What about all the other people in the community who want meat for their families too? What about the ground beef for their burgers? What about the bacon for their breakfast? We can all eat, we can all grill our burgers and pork chops- as long as people don’t lose their minds and hoard! If you believe that we are all in this together, then show it! Prove your sense of community and unity by staying calm. I’m gonna help you out.
Here is my plan for whatever is to come in the meat department: it’ll be alright! I do not have to serve my family meat each night at dinner to count us fed. Sure, meat on the plate is normal in my house, but meat doesn’t make it dinner. My first post on this blog was about breakfast for dinner- check it out, it’s pretty good. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, toast, biscuits, waffles are all incredibly delicious foods, and they are not meat. They are, by the way, waaaaaaayyyy cheaper than a steak or a pound of ground beef. So, I can still eat dinner and save a little cash? Yes ma’am! That saved cash may just come in handy when you do buy some ground beef for burgers and discover that it’s a couple dollars more per pound than it was a month ago. You are welcome.
If you are like me, there’s probably some meat in your refrigerator right this very minute that doesn’t have a home. Maybe it’s the stew meat you bought when it was cold the other morning because you had an epiphany in the store about a hearty, hot stew, but then it was 80 degrees and your stew idea turned to a salad because the heat reminded you that summer is quickly approaching. Or maybe it’s that half pound of ground beef that was too much for the recipe you were making, but not enough to stand on its own. Let’s get that meat working for you! Take 5-10 minutes and bless your future self with a treat. Cut the stew meat into smaller pieces, throw in a freezer bag, add some red wine or Worcestershire sauce or both, squeeze out all the air, and lay flat in the freezer-stew meat for the next cold front that moves in, or some beef and noodles next week. Now for the ground beef. My 2 favorite things to do with that are (1) form raw hamburger patties, season, and freeze, or (2) brown the hamburger with onion, salt & pepper, portion into a freezer bag, lay flat, and freeze. Throw in your spaghetti sauce next week for a quick dinner. The point is- DON’T LET IT GO BAD AND BE UNUSED! Little Guy loves him some hamburgers, so having a spare patty or 2 ready at all times means lunchtime is a breeze. I do the browned hamburger in the freezer thing regularly because every time I am running short on time and can grab a bag out of the freezer, throw in the microwave to thaw, and complete dinner super quick, I am my own super hero. Seriously, you cannot believe how proud of myself and grateful to my past-self I am for cooked hamburger in the freezer! I may have curtsied in the kitchen a time or two for this very thing. Ok, you got me- I totally have curtsied 🙂 When life returns to “normal” please remember this for when you discover ground beef on sale- buy an extra package and become your own hero. I always buy the 3# packages because it’s cheaper like that at my local store, and cook up the whole thing while I make dinner, that way I use my time efficiently.
So what can I make for dinner if meat is not readily-available or it’s too stinking expensive and I don’t want to resort to selling my kidneys? Here are 3 weeks (21 days) worth of meat-free recipe ideas. Try 2 or 3 a week and you won’t miss the meat.
- Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
- Grilled Summer Veggies w EVOO and Herbs de Provance over Rice
- Scrambled Eggs and Toast
- Potato Soup
- Veggie Stir Fry
- Homemade Cheese Pizza
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Fried Egg Sandwiches
- Taco dip (meatless)
- Fresh Asparagus, quickly sautéed, and Over-Easy Eggs
- Spinach and Swiss Quiche
- Corn and Black Bean Tacos
- Spinach Salad with Summer Veggies (leftovers from Grilled Summer Veggies)
- Cheese Quesadillas
- Fried Potatoes and Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
- Veggie Fried Rice
- Grilled Portobella Cap “Burger”
- Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Black Bean Burgers
See, it’s not an emergency. There is no need to lose our minds and stuff our freezers until overflowing. This pandemic is hopefully teaching our generations that a little sacrifice on our part for the greater good won’t hurt us, a concept that (tough love, here) has not been practiced much since WW2 and the Great Depression. It is good to think of others. It is alright to not have instant gratification in every aspect of our existence. A little struggle is good for the soul. Teaching our children, and ourselves, that working together and doing what is right, rather than what I want to do this minute, are skills that move us forward together, instead of walking all over each other.
There are a few lessons I have learned during this pandemic that I hope stay with me forever. I have learned that the people I really miss seeing and sharing my life with are the ones I will spend time with as soon as I can, and as often as I can. During a real coming-to-Jesus moment a few weeks ago in the middle of working from home and e-learning and Outage and cabin fever, it occurred to me that my attitude and unreal expectations were overtaking me, and I needed to get my shit together! Dishes in the sink, dog hair, and laundry are always gonna be, but Little Guy and Sissay are only gonna be home with me for so long, and I better appreciate what is in front of me before this season, hectic as it it, is over. I have also learned that we need to give each other heaps and heaps of grace on a daily basis, because this is not easy, but grace makes it better. Each of us has our own families, emotions, and responsibilities to deal with, and none of us do it perfectly. So if I go from my day pajamas to my night pajamas without a shower in between, or take a 2:00 nap because e-learning for 3 people is so freaking stressful and exhausting, or put a little RumChata in my morning coffee or have 2 glasses of wine before bed, it’s alright! Even the crazies hoarding meat and toilet paper are going to be alright. We are all going to be alright! And that thought nourishes my heart.