Original post- June 11, 2013
I did it. I hopped on the freezer bandwagon. This isn’t my first attempt at buying meat in bulk and using my freezer. This is, however, my first time buying in bulk, turning the meat into a meal , and then freezing it.
My first attempt was in March 2011. I thought I was a genius. I bought about $200 worth of meat from Sam’s Club. I don’t recall getting a very good deal on the meat, but I did get a lot so I was really excited. I went home and spent a good 3 or 4 hours labeling, sorting, etc. It was going pretty well until April 27, 2011. I live in North Alabama and my little town got hit hard by the tornado outbreak. I lost power to my house for five days. Luckily, I live close to my parents so we had a place to stay so the kids would be comfortable, but my meat did not survive. I probably lost $100+ worth of meat. We got reimbursed a little with FEMA, but it felt wrong to take money when so many lost their so much and we were just slightly inconvenienced. We decided not to restock the freezer immediately.
I tried again in March 2013. (What is it with the March attempts?!) I didn’t do so great this time. I spent a lot AGAIN, and then froze the meat divided up into bags of two or three pieces. I lost so many bags in the bottom of the freezer! When I began my new freezer attempt Sunday, I noticed there were about six bags in the base of the freezer ranging from stew meat to three lbs of bone-in porkchops! I will be using the bags I found first since they have been there three months. I was just shocked that I had let that many slip away!
Sunday I went shopping at Sam’s again. I was ready this time. I researched recipes for weeks leading up to the shopping day. I went into Excel and made a preliminary list. I then went over the recipes and grouped items and figured out what I had and what I needed to purchase. I made a master list on Excel and called my sister-in-law to go shopping with me. (I may have a mission, but it’s always fun to have someone come along.)
When I got to Sam’s I started grabbing things not on the list first…BAD! I hate that store. Okay, not really, but it always gets me into trouble with the husband. Chelsey (my sister-in-law) and I headed to the produce and meat section. My cart filled up really fast and I found some great deals. Most notably, they had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.88 a lb! Yay! I felt like I had won the lottery…or at least got a good deal! I headed home optimistic that I may actually be able to pull this off.
I quickly realized I did not have everything I needed and I had not even began purchasing the things I needed for the baking portion. I guess I should mention I had intentions of making dinner AND breakfast for the freezer. I’m still not positive this was a great idea. That is DEFINITELY a future blog topic though. Anyhow, I somehow convinced my husband to let me spend more money at Publix to finish up buying the products that I did not need in bulk and a few other odds and ends. I spent almost $200 more. EEK! I did get extremely lucky that I went so close to closing time. The butcher was pulling meat and putting sale stickers on the things expiring the next day. I didn’t need anything except ground beef (Sam’s was out!), but he asked me if I would like a few whole chickens. The chickens were about 3 lbs. a piece and I was about to decline until he told me that he would be marking them down to .34 cents a lb. I think I actually physically held my mouth open. I took home two of the chickens and stuck them in my fridge. I will just have to add roasted chicken to my menu this month!
It took me two days, but I finally finished all the dinners. I made casseroles, crock-pot meals, and things that were ready to be thrown into the oven straight from the freezer. I’m pretty excited about the prospects. I believe I have somewhere between 30-40 meals prepped. Of course, there will be some humor along the way as I still have no idea what I’m doing.
Now, who wants to help me tackle making breakfast meals?!