Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chicken Anyone?

You may have noticed that several of my recipes contain chicken. You might be thinking to yourself, "How can she afford to use chicken all the time when it's so expensive?"

I'm so glad you asked. After watching my grocery ads and seeing that even when on sale, chicken breast is just plain expensive. So what's a girl to do when she is a chicken fanatic?

Now this may not be for everyone, but for our family it is the cheapest and most frugal way we have found to be able to save money yet not sacrifice quality on the meats we love.

The other week HEB had boneless chicken breasts on sale for $1.97-lb, with a $10 minimum purchase. Since my groceries were already bought and the pantry stocked that meant I would have to buy $10 worth if items I didn't need in order to get my chicken. But check the fine print..."limit 2 pkgs." So what benefit was that for me? NONE!

Kroger had theirs on sale as well but for a few cents higher. Now would it behoove me to pay more for something in order to bypass the $10 minimum purchase stipulation. I think not!

In addition to watching my prices, I have also seen a trend (at least in my opinion) where you pay more and actually get less. What I mean by this is...have you really looked at the size of the chicken breasts you get in the stores? At one time, one breast could feed 2 people. Now it seems like the chickens they are slaughtering to feed us have shrunk. One breast now only feeds 1 person (if that depending on their appetite.) Am I the only one that has noticed this? Hmmm...just curious.

Well, you would think that there seems to be no answer or way around this. But GOD! GOD isn't into gambling (at least not in my opinion) but HE did give me an ace up my sleeve. It's called "the local meat market." I went in and saw the size of the chicken breast they had for sale and boy did it open my eyes. I don't know where Pilgrim's, Tyson or the store brands get their poultry from but I can tell isn't from the same place as the meat market! These chicken really must have been Texans! They were B-I-G!

Ok, I can hear your minds turning and thinking..."well, they must have come with a pretty price too, huh?" For what you get, I don't think it was a bad price. They were marked $2.99-lb. But still, something told me that there's got to be a cheaper price yet. So I inquired about buying in bulk. The price was VERY reasonable - $1.79-lb. So I placed my order for 40-lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. It only took a few short days for my order to come in. Here's a peek at our lovely poultry...

Each breast was so large that I was able to cut them into two. This was even after trimming what little fat was on them. I had buffet pan after buffet pan loaded with these big boys just waiting to be bagged up. I packaged them into bags of 2 breast, 3 breasts, strips, and even cubes (for stir fry & such.) Then off to the freezer they went. Now we have a plethora of chicken for our many meals.

How much did all this cost me...$71.60. What did this yield us for that amount of money? 57 variety bags of 2 or 3 breasts, 12 (1-lb)bags of tenders, 5 bags of cubed chicken. Now you tell me...did I get the better deal or what? I may have had to buy in bulk but it was cheaper, better quality, larger portions for my money and I didn't have to buy any "minimum" amount of items I didn't need nor was I limited on how many packages I could buy. Not only that, but I have saved time and money on fuel as I won't have to drive to the store to buy meat each week. What we have in the freezer will last us quite awhile to say the least.

o you have any money saving frugal tips? I'd love to hear them.


Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Thanks for the info, I always buy at a meat market but never thought about buying in bulk. Will have to give it a try. I love to keep my freezer stocked.

Heather said...

buying in bulk is so often the way to go - we used to think we couldn't afford to have so much of the budget tied up in one category, but the savings is so great, it is worth it for sure!
We call the butcher shoppe chicken 'Dolly Parton' chicken - and one breast does us for two people as well! It is often much cheaper and so much more flavorful!
We save best on meats by contacting local farmers who take their herds to butcher. Last month we bought drug/hormone free, grain fed pork for $1.08 per pound. We have 400 pounds of sausage, hams, ham steaks, wonderful lean bacon, ribs, roasts, chops and hocks - the farmer asked .40 per pound and the rest was the butchering fee. It is all vacuum sealed and frozen, and we have already been able to bless other families with the bounty! Next week we will pick up our 1/4 of beef - the better cuts are in the hind which we chose, so it is more expensive - about $1.75 per pound. We haven't dealt with this butcher before, but the processing fee should be about .75, bringing the total to $2.50 per pound for drug free lean beef - we will have 190 pounds of steaks, roasts and ground beef (30-40 pounds)cut to our specifications, and packaged according to our families needs. When you compare this to Laura's Lean or Kroger's new line of organic meats, it's about 1/3 to 1/4 the price.
We buy huge wonderful eggs for $1.50 a dozen - they are so free range you have to make sure you don't hit one pulling into the yard! Our milk is farm fresh too - for $2 a gallon (we take out our own washed and sanitized heavy duty plastic jugs each week)- it isn't certified organic yet, but the farmer is working on it.
Eating as close to the source as possible makes so much sense! Less process, travel and packaging equates to great savings.

cranky grandma said...

I just wanted to add a quick note of agreement on your question about the size of chicken breasts these days. I couldn't agree more! It's so frustrating to buy two, thinking you've got two solid meals for two, and end up using the entire amount for one meal!
I'm like you, I'm a real chicken nut, and I just can't wrap my little brain around dark meat for some reason! I used to love thighs and legs, but the older I get, the less I like it. Sigh.
Thanks for the tip, I can't wait to check that out!

Ronda said...

Oh wow, what a fab deal you got. You have also got me to thinking about doing just this very thing. What a great idea, I'm gonna borrow this one from you...hehe.


Love & Prayers,