Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How do I save at the meat counter?

I have been asked this question a lot lately.  You can find coupons for most everything at the grocery store, but finding coupons for meat are rare and its one on the comst expesive items you buy...  Well, here are a few tips to save on meat. 
1. Boneless is expensive...  You are paying for pure convinience.  Yes, its easy to pull out a bag of boneless breasts and begin cooking supper.  But, it also costs more...  To save additional money, I will buy whole fryer chickens (these are usually smaller).  I stick the entire bird in the crock pot and cook for a few hours on high and then turn it to low and let it cook for the night.  In the morning, the meat has basically fallen off the bone.  I let it cool and seperate the meat from the bone.  You can freeze cooked chicken in airtight bags.  I also freeze the broth.  This chicken is great for casseroles, pot pies, soups, chicken tacos or any recipe that calls for cooked/chopped chicken.  You can season it before freezing.  It does take a few minutes to pull the chicken off the bone, but you are ready to use it straight out of the freezer.  A good buy on whole fryers will be .65 or less per pound.

2. Reduced for quick sale beef/meat...  I usually do not buy meat/beef unless it has a quick sale sticker on it.  Check the sell by date just to make sure the product has not been overlooked and needs to be pulled from the shelf.  You will find that most reduced meat still has 2-3 days shelf life remaining.  If you do not have plans to cook it right away, just stick it in the freezer.  It will freeze well for a couple months or more.  Keep in mind, that it is best to remove the meat from the foam/plastic tray and put it in a freezer bag.  The trays are not really designed to be frozen.

Try to get creative with your meat purchases, if you see a cut of meat on sale and you are not sure how to prepare it.  Ask the butcher, he/she can give you a few ideas of how to prepare the particular cut of meat. 

I cook a lot of soups in the winter and having frozen beef and chicken on hand along with frozen broth, can make a very cheap dinner or two!

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