Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Storing Meat and Why Whole Foods is Awesome

To me, being frugal is not just about saving money but it is also about saving time. I have three little monsters to deal with all day which means I try to go to the store as little as possible. One way I avoid the stores is by stocking up on meat. We eat meat at pretty much each meal as we are not the beans and rice hippie vegan type of family so having it on hand is a must.

This is why I stock up- we always have something to eat for dinner and I don't have to drag the kids out to the store for a last minute ingredient. The most important thing about stocking up is being able to store the meat properly. I know others just wrap it up in some plastic wrap and aluminum foil but I use my awesome Food Saver which we've had for over six years and is still going strong. I am very picky about food quality so I like to vacuum pack my food to eliminate freezer burn and any hint of ice crystals. The food also lasts way longer in the freezer when vacuum packed and in my opinion, tastes better. The bags can be pricey but I usually wait to buy them when Kohl's has a 30% off coupon. It is well worth the price of the bags though because like I said, I won't eat meat from the freezer unless it's vacuum packed.

This morning when the baby was sleeping and my other two kids were beating the crap out of each other I packaged up chicken breasts and ground beef that my husband bought on Sunday. He got 6 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast from Whole Foods which was on sale for $2.99 a pound (and wow, is their chicken breast so much better tasting than the stuff from the grocery store plus I barely had to trim any fat off of it whereas the chicken breast I buy at the regular grocery store has tons of nastiness on it I have to trim) and he got about 7 pounds of 90% ground beef from BJ's for $2.89 a pound (regular price-if you buy the huge tubes it is $2.69 a pound).

I put two chicken breasts in each Food Saver bag which ended up being enough for five meals (we ate two chicken breast for dinner last night). As for the ground beef, I put aside one and a half pounds to make meatloaf for dinner tonight and then portioned out the rest in 10 ounce servings for future dinners (I use a scale to do this).

Here is the packaged up chicken. I made sure to lay it flat in the bags so that it would defrost quickly in cold water.

That is how I save time and money. I buy meat when it is on sale and then I freeze it so that I won't have to drag myself and the lovely children to the store more than I have to.

And just a side note about Whole Foods- the nearest store is about twenty minutes from my house. My husband made a trip there especially for the chicken breast but when he got there they were all out of it. The wonderful people who work there told him that because they were out of the value packs of chicken that he could get the more expensive chicken breast from the meat counter for the same price. What awesome customer service! Stop and Shop and Shaws would have given a rain check and told him to go screw (rain checks are great but not when you need the food that day and not when you don't feel like having to truck your butt out of the house again to buy it, especially when the particular store is out of your way). This is just another reason that I love Whole Foods and really wish that they were closer to me so that I could shop there more often. Plus, their meat and produce is far superior to what I can get at the two crap-holes I mentioned before,

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