Previously, I shared one of the key strategies I use to save money buying meat. But there are two more keys strategies I use to keep our meat grocery costs low: 1) how much I buy and 2) when I do the prep work.
Using these strategies, I not only save money on groceries, but also in eating out, and in time it takes to prepare meals.
Basically, when meat, especially boneless, skinless chicken breasts or ground meat, is on sale at my buy price, it usually is in large quantities (sometimes called family-size or bulk packs). So I buy as much as I can afford or that meets the purchase limit.
For example, this week, boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.47/lb – definitely below my buy price, but with a purchase limit of two. So I purchased the two. Sometimes I’ll go back on another day and buy the limit again.
So right now there are two trays of chicken breasts in my refrigerator. Now I what I do, is within a day or two of buying the meat, I’ll take 15-20 minutes and prepare it all into meal size packages and freeze it.
My husband and I discovered this tactic when it was just the two of us; and we’ve been doing it for the last 15 years – with chicken, with ground turkey, and with ground beef (our staple meats). Granted the size of our “meal-size” package has changed over the years as we grew from us the two of us to six of us; but the process is exactly the same and the savings both in time and money is significant.
For ground beef or turkey, I simply break the bulk or family size pack into meal size chunks, and put each chunk into a quart-size, Freezer Ziploc bag. I press it flat to save space in the freezer. Then, we squeeze out the air out of each bag and seal them. And finally, we nealy stack them in the freezer, in an area I’ve designated for that type of meat.
When I need meat, then I just pull a package from the freezer and put it directly into the pan. And, it’s the exact amount that I need with no other prep work involved.
Next in this series, I’ll show how I process boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It takes a little more work than ground meat, but makes cooking with chicken very fast and very simple!
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