Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Multiplying your Food: Breadcrumbs and Meat Mixing

My bread "collection"

Frugal habits (like making your own laundry detergent- see here) may seem like too much work at first, but if you practice the habit, it will easily become a part of your normal routine, improve the quality of what you use, and free up more income!

     In the Scriptures, there are several examples of food multiplication.  Remember when the Lord extended a handful of flour and a little oil through Elijah in 1 Kings 17:10-16, and when the Lord Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes twice? Once he fed over five thousand people (Matthew 14:21) and another time over four thousand people (Matthew 15:38).  In addition to feeding all of these people from a small amount to begin with, Jesus also insisted they gather the leftovers. There is much in the Scriptures about bread and even crumbs! (Matthew 15:27).
     When feeding a large family, Mamas soon learn many ways to stretch the dollar and multiply what little may be left in the pantry. No one can multiply like the Lord, so always pray about your needs; but in addition to that, gather up your leftovers and use what you have left as well. Ironically, breadcrumbs can be a very valuable and convenient multiplication tool.

You can see the variety of bread I have in the dehydrator: forgotten toast I found in the toaster, cornbread, potato as well as white and rye bread end pieces. I even had a layer of leftover hamburger buns. The bread was still frozen when I placed it onto the dehydrator.

     When purchasing bread, it is unfortunate that my family is not particularly keen on the end pieces. Now if the bread is homemade and fresh out of the oven, that is another story! It also seems as though there is always an extra hamburger or hot dog bun left behind. Before these items can go bad, I gather what is being ignored or forgotten and add it to my "bread collection" bag I keep in my freezer.  Every few weeks, I take out my bag and make homemade breadcrumbs.
     Although I will be happy to demonstrate this easy process, it is not the method of bread crumb making that I want to share. My desire is to inspire you to make your own. Folks throw this stuff away all the time without even thinking of using it!  Ground beef is an expensive, but well loved luxury in our home, so I multiply it by adding breadcrumbs to meatloaf, burgers, and meatballs.  By topping a casserole with buttered breadcrumbs, there is a little more flavor and texture (as well as belly filler) added to the dish.  I also make my own "Shake and Bake" by pouring some of my own breadcrumbs into a shallow dish and seasoning it before dredging pork chops, chicken, etc.

I break apart the dried bread into smaller chunks, and grind the dried bread pieces in my mini Black & Decker "Handy Chopper".  I love, love, love this little gadget!  I've had it for years. Obviously, you can also use a standard food processor. This little guy is just so easy!

    Finally, you can also multiply your ground beef by combining it with another less expensive ground meat such as turkey or venison.  I have purchased a chuck roast at less per pound than ground chuck and ground it myself for better quality meat at a better price! On my last shopping trip I purchased two large packages of ground beef and two packages of the less expensive ground turkey.When I got home from shopping, I ground up several venison cube steaks I had been storing in the freezer.  I filled three freezer bags with a combination of these meats for future meals.  For sloppy joes, I had fairly equal portions of each meat.  For the meat loaf bag, I used a larger portion of the ground beef, and for the tacos bag, I used the least amount of the beef.  The more seasoned the dish, the less noticeable the replacement meat.  I labeled  the bags and put them in the freezer, ready to go.  This made more than three meals, because there were leftovers.

 Ta da! You can see the different shades from the variety of bread used.

 I close the containers, give them a good shake, and pop them into the freezer.  Because they're dry, they'll last for months, but I'll use them up and refill them long before that!

     But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs."
   And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
  Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 15:26-28


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