Saturday, January 16, 2010
buying in bulk
I usually buy my chicken at Sam's Club.
You can get a ten pound bag of boneless-skinless frozen chicken breasts for $22.00.
Yesterday when I went grocery shopping though, I was really hoping I wouldn't have to go to Sam's.... I was really hoping I'd find a good deal on chicken at HEB (our local grocery chain).
And you know what?
I totally did.
First of all, regular boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.99 a pound. PERFECT I thought. That is going to save me a trip to Sam's for today.
But then, my little school skipping daughter says, "hey Mom, look at these, they are marked down."
The "this" she was referring to was the all natural chicken breasts that sit next to the processed, additives added chicken I was buying.

Here's the thing, dear reader, I love organic. I love all natural. I buy it whenever I can possibly manage to because I know it's better for us. But most of the time, it is twice the price and I just can't afford all that.
This time it wasn't twice the price, it was less than the regular chicken I had been about to buy. Why? Because it's sell by date was two days away.
I care not for sell by dates because I freeze everything in my trusty stand alone freezer in the laundry room.
When I started loading up, I almost chickened out (pun so totally intended) because I saw that about half of them were bone in, skin on. Now, I can debone a chicken breast pronto, and I will if I need to. But mostly, I am all about convenience. I don't want to have to mess with it all.
I hesitated.
And then I had the shocking realization that by buying these, I would not only save money on the chicken, but I could also cross the organic, four dollars a quart chicken stock I had on my list off. Why? Because I could make my own.

Here is the break down of the cash:
I bought 19.57lbs of chicken for $28.67, roughly $1.50 a pound!
(That is almost twice the amount of chicken I would have got at Sam's for only six bucks more!)
Additionally I was able to make almost a gallon of all natural chicken stock using the bones and all of my veggie scraps. A gallon of all natural chicken stock would have cost me about $16.00 at the store.

So, as you can see - I SAVED.

BUT what did I do with all of it?
Well, first I took it all off the bone and removed the skin. I had three large bowls. One for the skin (which I don't use or keep), one for the bones (for the stock) and one for the chicken.
Once I had it all separated, I threw away the skins and put the bones on to cook in a big pot of water.

Then I had to figure out what to do with the chicken.

In a few quart sized bags, I put about six cloves of minced garlic...

and a half a cup of buttermilk and about eight chicken breasts cut into two inch chunks. This will be for me to fry chicken nuggets with later. Labeled and into the freezer it goes.

I then cut the whole breasts in half, length-wise, creating two smaller but still whole chicken breasts. (I find that the girls and I can very rarely eat a whole chicken breast by ourselves.) Then I grabbed the bottle of Italian dressing I had bought just for this very purpose...

And put about six to eight of them into a labeled bag headed to the freezer....

Then I put the remaining chicken, six to eight breasts at a time, into quart sized bags unseasoned (I don't know what I might want to do with them later)...
By the time I was done, I had EIGHT bags of chicken in the freezer and three breasts left out for the dinner I was making that night.

I went through my veggie drawer and grabbed anything that was about to get bad and chunked it into the pot, I also started cleaning all of the vegetables I had bought, throwing their stems and extra parts into the stock. Additionally, I cleaned up the kale I was using for my two experiment dinner/snack items I was making that night and threw the kale stems in.
This is what it all looked like when I turned it off to cool.

It smelled amazing. The girls kept coming in to tell me as much. I let it cool for about an hour and then strained it and poured it into a gallon pitcher. I wanted it to cool completely before I put it into bags and into the freezer.

In the midst of all of this I cooked two different recipes which I will be posting later and I also prepared beef in a marinade for something I will make later this week and froze it as well as a meatloaf which I also made and froze.
Pictures got scarce about four hours in ;-)

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 7:37 AM
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