Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lunch for Two Weeks $2.37

How can I cut down on my lunch expense, when I work outside the home? I typically pick up lots of those frozen dinners when they are on sale for $1.98 then pop them in the freezer for use as needed. I don't purchase lunch at the office cafeteria very often, in fact seldom ever. Although subsidized, the typical wrap with chips OR soda is $6, a plain sandwich $4, then add the drink or chips. No, I won't pay $30 or better each week for lunch.

I thought it was a bargain at $10 until we discovered bonesless, skinless prepackaged, name brand chicken breasts at SaveALot, $2.37 for three breasts. We have chickens but we don't raise these for meat, not yet at least, so we typically purchase a hog or half cow from friends or the butcher and then fill in with chicken or lately, deer.

I thought why not cook all three of these breasts, seasoned with garlic and Montreal Steak in a little bacon grease. I chopped them up in bite sized pieces portioned them into individual servings double wrapped in baggies and then sealed all the baggies into a freezer bag. I'm not a big meat eater so these three breasts will cover me for 10 days, or two weeks of lunch. Each portion costs me about $0.24 plus the minimal costs of seasoning and cheap baggies.

Supplement it with some sliced peaches or fresh vegetables and there you have it, lunch on less than $1.50 per day and it isn't frozen and full of sodium. Plus it has meat. My frozen dinners were pasta with broccoli or cheese, no meat at all. Now this has to be much healthier.

Now, what about dinner?

My husband cooked up some mostacholi sauce today using deer meat he was given by a neighbor. We had purchased canned goods a few years ago (remember, expiration dates are suggestions, a best by date). The entire crock pot of sauce probably cost less than $3. The deer meat has almost no fat and cooks up tender as a mother's love plus it shredded beautifully.

We cooked some rigatoni noodles and topped them with the sauce. We had a little garlic bread on the side as well. We used only a portion of the sauce, under $1 for the two of us so dinner today was $3 or less. A little more if you enjoy a side salad.

He will put the remainder of the sauce in bowls, placing them in the freezer just until firm and holds it shape. Remove it from the freezer and pop it out of the bowl. With our vacuum sealer we will be able to package up an individual day's serving of sauce for two. Then back into the freezer for longer term storage or until one has a yearning for mostacholi or spaghetti.

There are times where we lose sight of meat in our large deep freezer only to discover it later all freezer burnt. It makes a good day for the cats but to us it's throwing money out the door. My friend recently tossed out a $17 roast after finding it too freezer burnt to even stew. From now on we will purchase in quantity when we find a good sale and portion it in the vacuum bags. My neighbor has many other great ideas on using the vacuum sealer so I'll be pumping her for information in the days to come!

Frugal and prepared.


Michelle said...

I am going to try the vaccum seal ideal. We vacuum seal all the time. But have never done it after it's frozen.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

You might have to wrap the frozen sauce in an inexpensive baggie and then use the vacuum bag, just so it won't suck the juices through and prevent a seal, if it's unfrozen at all.

Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures said...

Thanks for leaving your post here as part of the Living Well link-up! We appreciate the contribution!

Laurie Neverman, The Common Sense Woman said...

Thanks for linking up to the Living Well Blog Hop, and thanks for linking to me on your sidebar. I just bought a new vacuum sealer last week after my old one finally stopped working after over ten years of service. I love not having freezer burned foods.