I have to say I am rather impressed with how far we can make our grocery budget stretch. Many people will tell you there secret to stretching groceries is “couponing”. I have to say, I am not one of them. Coupons work really well for some people just not me. Maybe it is because no one has ever really showed me how. But every time I try to try it, the only coupons I can find would require me to purchase something I wouldn’t really purchase anyway. So I would end up spending $1.00 (for extra product) in order to save .20 on that same product. For me (so far) it just hasn’t been worth it. But if someone could show me the trick to coming home with getting paid for buying toothpaste, I would probably reconsider.

Since I don’t coupon, my “secret” is simple:

Buy Bulk.

Generally speaking, the larger the quantity something is sold in the cheaper per unit it costs. Last week I once again, struck gold. Our local bulk foods market ran a sweet special. Boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.59/lb if you bought 40lb boxes. So I of course did! In fact I bought 2! I split one of the boxes with mom, so I ended up with 60 lb of chicken breast. Unfrozen, just waiting for me to do wonderful things to it.

Now I will tell you, it was a lot of work up front. But it will save me TONS more time and money in my grocery budget for the next several months. Here is what I did:

My set up

Step one was trimming the chicken. I cut off all the fat, then measured it using a kitchen scale. I cut each breast into 3.5-4 oz (the recommended serving size) pieces. If a piece was smaller than that I set it to the side to be used for stir fry.

Pre- packaged individual meal servings.

After it was all sectioned I put 3 pieces into one quart freezer bag. If it was the “scraps”  it got cut up into stir fry pieces and 10 oz went into one quart bag.

Yumminess!

Once it was bagged I added the marinades to each quart bag. This will help out already knowing what to do with it in the future. This time I used, Raspberry Chipotle BBQ, Italian and home made Teriyaki. I also left  some just plain so as to allow for creativity in the future.

Who says pre-cooked meals can't be yummy?

Some Chicken I didn’t marinade, I cooked it on my (mom’s much larger) George Forman grill. Then bagged 3 of those. This way if I need something SUPER quick it is ready, or to grab for a quick lunch. Better than deli meat in my opinion =)

Meals for the winter/spring.

Meals for the winter/spring.

Once each quart bag was marinaded (or not) I put quart bags into larger freezer bags, and labeled. I fit about 7 quart size into 1 gallon size. The reason is two-fold. First extra protection against freezer burn, and second. This made for a more organized freezer.

All in all, I ended up with 84 meals worth. Which breaks down to $1.07 a meal for meat total, or .37 per person per meal. And I now have  “convenience” food without the convenience food price!

But just to be clear, any dish I take anywhere this winter, will involve chicken 🙂

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