How to Stretch a Protein

Rethink the meat-focused dinner model with satisfying, crowd-pleasing recipes that maximize pared-down portions of beef, chicken and more with less expensive ingredients.

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Satisfying Meals by Any Stretch

Plate-sized steaks, colossal chicken breasts, lavish fish fillets and double-patty burgers may once have served as the heart of your family's dinners, but no longer. A new age of meat eating has arrived, and it centers around a fresh mantra: Maximize, maximize, maximize. By bulking up smaller portions of meat with cheaper vegetables, grains and more, you can stretch what you buy (and what you spend).

Pot Roast Stir-Fry

The classic pot roast may be slow to cook and huge in size, but this budget-friendly take is neither. With all the flavor of the original, this quick-cooking, stir-fried take extends just a half-pound of meat to feed four people, thanks to filling egg noodles and potatoes.

Get the Recipe: Pot Roast Stir-Fry

Grilled Hoisin Pork Chop Noodle Bowl

If your standard pork chop dinner means one chop per person, it's time to rethink. Bulked up with grilled eggplant and green beans, this hearty Asian-style meal stretches a half-pound of pork to feed a family of four.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Hoisin Pork Chop Noodle Bowl

Shrimp Kebabs with Lentil-Herb Salad

Serve just a half-pound of shrimp kebab style, pairing it all with a super-filling lentil salad side. That way, you can feed a party of four without shelling out a ton of money for pricey shrimp.

Get the Recipe: Shrimp Kebabs with Lentil-Herb Salad

Glazed Salmon Miso Soup Rice Bowl

Though serving up a fish dinner for the whole family may not sound like the most fiscally responsible move, breaking out of the one-fillet-per-person mindset makes it doable. This satisfying miso-based soup stretches just a half-pound of salmon to feed four people. At only two ounces of fish per person, you may be able to spring for the ocean-friendly wild-caught variety.

Get the Recipe: Glazed Salmon Miso Soup Rice Bowl

Tandoori Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Your family won't miss slicing into their very own chicken breasts when presented with this spiced, Indian-inspired meal. Broiled cauliflower helps bulk up these well-rounded rice bowls, stretching two chicken breasts to feed four people.

Get the Recipe: Tandoori Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Beef and Bulgur Patties

If the only beef patties you've ever downed have been in burger form, this clever recipe is here to change things up. It calls for only a half-pound of ground beef, bulking each patty up with cracked bulgur wheat, and is served with a refreshing pomegranate side salad.

Get the Recipe: Beef and Bulgur Patties

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