One of the ways we've kept our grocery budget low is to buy our meats in bulk. There are a lot of resources available for ways to get your meat fresh from farmers in large quantities. As I've shared on here before we've found farmers in our area that sell grass fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef, pork and chicken. They also sell milk and eggs too. We've opted to use different farmers for each kind because of the benefits we've found that way. Anyway, we order our fresh, natural chicken in 40lb boxes. Last year our box lasted us about 11 months. This month I ordered again and I'm hoping it'll last us about the same length of time. So for $79 I'll have nearly a year's worth of chicken. That ends up being around $7 per month if you average it out. It's much less then what I'd be spending each month on a large pack of chicken, plus it's so convenient to have it on hand.
So yesterday was pick up day and I spent about an hour and a half preparing all my chicken.
I like to package it by serving size, so most bags have 2 large breasts in them because typically that's what our family can eat. If there are really large breasts, which there were, then I'll just put one in each package. One of the things I do to simplify my dinner preparations later in the year is to pre season and marinate some of the breasts before freezing them. Yesterday I seasoned enough for about 10-15 meals worth and left the rest plain.
I know that seasoning really doesn't take that much time, but one of the main benefits I've found to having some meat pre-seasoned is that you don't have to thaw it before cooking it. You can literally go from freezer to oven/grill to table. :) It will only take about 30 minutes for your chicken to go from freezer to this:
And, it saves the "what should I do with this chicken?" question too! :)
I did also chop some of them into chunks for easier preparation too. I have about 5 bags worth of chopped chicken, all unseasoned, so they can be easily used for pastas, fajitas, soups, and casseroles.
One less step on a busy evening!
**To local readers: if you're interested in the finding out about the local farmers that will sell bulk meat, please let me know. I'd love to pass on some information to you.