The Great Mince Meat Challenge!
I love Nigella Lawson! She totally encapsulates the essence of a ‘Domestic Goddess’. With grace and beauty she flows around her kitchen creating joyful food. I’m a ‘Domestic Soldier’ which is far less glamorous! I see cooking as less a pleasure and more of a chore. Sometimes the best ideas are when you turn a mundane chore you hate into a challenge. It has the potential to motivate you in an area that you usually perceived as a burden.
Turning a chore into a challenge can motivate you during the day.
As most mothers know, your household budget dictates a lot food choices. The price of meat has recently gone up and feeding a family of 5 can be a strain. Sometimes all I can afford are the cheaper cuts, especially as I spend a lot on fruit and vegetables. So instead of being defeated I set up my own mini challenge using my unassuming family as guinea pigs. Very simply: How many mince based meals could I serve them before they complained. The rule was that it had to be mince but could be any type (beef, lamb pork etc). The goal was to give them variety and flavour but on a ‘budget cut’ menu.
We have loads of resources it’s just a matter of looking.
In many ways this challenge took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be creative. It took time to research recipes and to plan my weekly menus. The site taste.com provided me with loads of recipes and inspiration when I adopted dinners to suit my family. Risotto & spicy meatballs, moussaka, shepherds pie, pasta bakes, chicken meatballs with cous cous, tacos, lamb flat breads, chilli beef were just some of the dishes that I made. There were so many recipes available and they were really easy to adapt to suit my family’s palette.
We all have a little creativity.
I got 12 nights out of it until my husband requested something like fish or roast chicken for the next night. A pretty good run. For me this challenge really helped my budget because it forced me to follow a strict shopping list and search for the best prices. As a result I found a really good butcher who sells good quality products at really affordable prices. This helped to break my habit of buying everything at the local major supermarket. Finally, I enjoyed the personal challenge which was the main reason I started it in the first place.
- I used a variety of starch/ cereal products to bulk up my meals during this challenge. Products like rice, pasta, cous cous etc are inexpensive and a good way to add variety.
- Also I used loads of vegetables in the recipes. My family loves carrot and broccoli which is a bonus. Potato and pumpkin are great because they can be cooked in loads of tasty recipes.
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