I realized that most of the recipes I use call for meat. Meat can be very expensive, so I suggest a few ideas to get protein without going overbudget.
1. when a recipe calls for 1 lb, use 1/2 that. You'll still get a bit of meat, but it will go twice as far!
2. Beans are a GREAT inexpensive source of protein, and have the added bonus of fiber!
3. The egg. Eat them. You can beat them and add to soups for more protein.
4. Use Wheat as a meat extender. Here's how: Simply crack the wheat in a blender, grinder, or mill on a coarse setting. Cook your hamburger, drain the fat, then add 2 cups of water and a half cup cracked wheat. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes, then add to your favorite recipes. Try it as a meat extender for hamburgers, meatloaf, lasagna, pizza, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, chili, or soups. And again, wheat is SO good for you!
5. At costco, ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef, and has only a fraction of the fat (18 grams vs. 27 grams)
6. Never pay more than $1.89/lb for b/s chicken breasts. They are always on sale somewhere. Plan in your food budget to buy extra when they are on sale.
7. B/s thighs are cheaper, and juicier, than breasts. A little more fat to cut off, but try them!
On the subject of meat: here is a great way an old roommate taught me how to separate ground meats. Get quart-sized ziplock bags, and put the desired amount of meat inside. Before sealing, squeeze the meat flat to fill in the entire bag. This way, you can stack the bags of meat easier, and they thaw MUCH more quickly!