Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saving on Meat- Part One

The Reward: 12 cups chicken broth, 22 cups chicken, and 13 cups ham.

Yesterday I was busy making granola, doing laundry, walking to the farmer's market and putting some food in our freezer. Meat to be exact- chicken and ham.

One of the ways I save money and time (time is money, right?) is by buying meat when it is on sale and then freezing it for use later. I have found it is almost always the least expensive to buy meat in family sized packs (5 to 10 lbs.). You don't have to have a huge family to buy this size package you know! We are only a family of three, but we have no trouble using the meat up before it spoils. You see, when I bring the meat home, I do one of several things with it.

1. I separate it out buy weight or pieces into freezer bags, date it and put it in the freezer. I try to put it in portions that I would often use, such as 1 lb. hamburger, 1 whole chicken breast etc.

2. I cook it and then put it in freezer bags or containers. Often when I get hamburger, I put some of it in the freezer raw and then cook up the rest of it. Once it is browned, I let it cool and then separate it into 1 lb. portions and freeze it. This makes it super easy to prepare a meal that calls for cooked hamburger. I simply pull out the cooked meat and if it needs thawing and I haven't planned ahead very well (shocking, I know!) I place the sealed container in a dishpan of hot water. It is soon thawed and ready to use. If I am making soup, I can easily just throw the meat in unthawed.

I do the same with chicken. I will cook chicken breast then chop it up into little pieces and freeze it in 1 cup, 2 cup, and 3 cup portions. Making Scalloped Chicken Easy Basil Ranch Chicken Wraps or Salsa Chicken Soup is now super easy.

3. Some meat such as ham sometimes comes pre-cooked, which obviously means I can skip the cooking step and just slice or chop it and then freeze it in whatever portion size I want. One of my favorite recipes that takes ham is Cream Cheese Potato Soup.

Yes, I may spend half a day cooking chicken and chopping it up for the freezer, but in the long run it saves me time.

Next week I plan to share a few more ways that I have found to save on meat, so stay tuned!

Do you think I'm crazy or do you do this too? How do you save money on meat? What have you found that works for you? Please share with us!


  1. Thanks for the tips. I am definitely going to do this now. Sounds like a huge time saver!

  2. I am totally with you on this one! Somehow if I have my meat ready, the rest of the meal seems to fall together easily. I like brown some ground beef with onions and peppers since it seems like almost every recipe that I use ground beef in includes these ingredients. A little extra work now - but I only need to wash my pan once - and that is worth while use of time to me!

  3. Kim, you are welcome! I'd love to know what you think once you try it.

    Gina, good idea to add the onions/peppers. I so often forget to do that. :( Then I usually end up adding onion powder instead.


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