Posted by: meriambull | April 3, 2009

Planning Ahead

Many years ago a book came out that was full of recipes of how to cook for an entire month in one day.  At the time we only had Emily and I thought it would be a good thing for us since we were so busy with church stuff.   Yeah.  So, I tried it once.  It was a trend that worked for some but did not work for others.  What did not work for me was the recipes that I thought my family would like weren’t so hot or they all just seemed to be the same.  Most of all they did not work because the expensive ingredients, mostly the meats, weren’t always on a good sale the week I needed to cook. Fast forward to today and I still haven’t mastered the program.  (I’m not always the sharpest crayon in the box.)  But I am trying.  What does work for  is to do partial meals.  Pre chop the meat and put it in a marinade, pre cook the meat and have it in recipe size portions, etc.  I haven’t done it much lately, but as summer is getting started and we are getting busier, now is a good time to start again.  Here is the plan I am following for this month, not including any recipes.

A few weeks ago a friend told me about a place here in town where you can get boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.60 a pound.  The catch is you have to buy forty pounds at a time.  Now pick your jaw up off the floor and I will tell you how to make this work.  First of all I did not buy forty pounds of chicken.  Well, I did, but then one friend took ten pounds of it and another friend took twenty.  (She is more ambitious and organized.)  I also bought a ten pound roll of ground chuck for $1.79 a pound, just for some variety in our meal planning.  By splitting up the chicken that makes it very much more manageable.  Now that I have put away ten pounds of chicken, though, I might just do twenty next time.

First,  I made a list of the meals I thought we might have and picked out some new recipes and then wrote down how much chicken I needed for each and how it needed to be prepared.  For two of the dishes it was just a matter of cutting them into strips or chunks and then pouring a marinade over all.  For two others it was cutting them into chunks for homemade nuggets and serving sized pieces for a baked dish.  The chicken breasts are jumbo sized and just huge so out of one breast i was able to get three serving pieces.  The rest I put in my crockpot to cook through and then I will chop that up and put it into two cup portions for casseroles.  It’s still cooking so I’m not sure how much there will be, but I think I will have enough for eight to ten meals out of a ten pound bag of chicken.  And it took me less then an hour to cut up all that chicken and start the crock pot.

For the hamburger roll I am going to make some mini meatloaves, a few hamburgers, some Salisberry steaks, and cook the rest and freeze in two cup portions for casseroles.   One pound of cooked hamburger is two pounds.  This should be enough for another eight meals and that will take care of the month of April for me.  Plus I did not spend so much out of our food budget that I don’t feel like I can’t get enough food for breakfasts and lunches, plus a roast if one is on sale.

If you are worried about having the freezer space, don’t be.  I store everything in Ziploc Freezer Bags (do not go generic on this) and squeeze all the air out and flatten.  Make sure they lay flat while freezing and they won’t take up as much room in the freezer AND (most important) they will not take as long to thaw.  The Press and Seal Wrap is also great for burgers and such.  By wrapping them all individually it helps me  to only get out what I need, especially for when Ron and Emily are at camp or on a retreat.

Well, hopefully that will help you out some.  I will try to post some of the recipes I’m using as we go through the month.  Plus my friend Jason says I am a blogging slacker and I’m tired of his whining.  (Just kidding, Jason.)  If you live in the Knoxville area and want to know more about my chicken place send me an email or Facebook me and I will give you the information.


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