Is a that's what she said too obvious here? I don't want to take a cheap shot...
Recently on Facebook, I asked readers what they might like to read more about on ye olde blog. Two people mentioned "getting the most bang for your buck". That can be a pretty broad topic, but I'll focus on just one aspect today - how to wring every single penny you can from "expensive" food.
My example today involves an organic pastured whole chicken. The benefits of buying pastured chicken is that your meal has spent its life living outside, eating bugs, scratching, and generally being a chicken. It wasn't cramped in a tiny cage with a ton of other chickens. It wasn't fed cow feedlot "waste". Picture the two scenarios and then try to imagine which one you'd prefer to put in your body...
I buy my whole chickens from our local butcher for $2.49 a pound which seems quite spendy (and it is), but shelling out $10 for a chicken can still be a frugal choice. And I'll explain to you why I'm willing to shell that out when other grocery stores are advertising whole chickens for $.89 a pound.
1) Starting with a whole chicken, I'll either roast it in the oven, or in the crockpot. That chicken will make for the star of our evening meal. I typically treat meat as an accompaniment to our dinner, and not the focus of our dinner. So the chicken might be served as "just chicken", or as part of tacos, chicken parmesan, etc.
Total spent for meat for this meal: about $10 depending on the weight of the bird.
2) After dinner, I'll pick all the leftover meat off of the carcass (yummers), and will turn it in to chicken salad. That will make sandwiches for Troy and I for lunch the next day.
Total spent for meat for this meal: $0. It's all "leftovers" at this point.
3) The picked over carcass is combined with veggie scraps from the freezer to become crockpot stock. I'll get about 2-3 quarts of organic free-range chicken broth from that batch. That could run you at least $5 at the grocery store. The stock will get canned, and then be used at a later time for soups, sautees, rice, veggies, etc.
Total spent for this: $0!! The best part is that it was made with items that would likely be thrown out anyway.
My $10 chicken has now produced three meals for my family to the tune of $3.33 per meal, or $1.11 per serving. Yes, other ingredients were included in the dishes, but quality meat is usually the most expensive aspect of preparing a meal.
I believe that a $10 chicken making three meals definitely falls in to the "getting the most bang for your buck" category! And a plus is that I'm eating something that had a great life (and one bad day), and I'm keeping my moola local.
How about you reader? Any tips you'd like to share?