Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's tip: Divide meat up into meal portions and freeze it

Today's tip is to purchase discounted bulk meat packages and divide them up to make several meals. (This is what I do when I don't buy a side of home kill beef, which is even more frugal.)

Every few weeks I take the car to our local Pak'N'Save to do a big shop. (The rest of the time we walk to our local New World and buy a few groceries, which we pack into L's stroller.) At Pak'N'Save I look for the best deals on meat, which usually come in bulk purchases.

Last time the Pak'N'Save specials were on lamb so I stocked up on that. Today all the specials were on beef, so that's mostly what I got.

Here's a breakdown of the the meat I bought and how I divided it up at home:

  1. A 1200g pack of beef mince that I split into three portions of 400g. I froze these in labelled ziploc bags. Most of my recipes use about 400g mince, so that's why I divided it up so. You might find you want more or less mince than that.
  2. A 4-pack of porterhouse steak that I split out into two 2-packs. That will make two steak meals for Paul and I.
  3. A 3-pack of rump steak, which I sliced into stir-fry strips before storing in two zip-lock bags in the freezer, as well as one takeaway container in the fridge for tomorrow night's dinner. It will be so nice the next three times I make beef stir-fry as my meat will already be sliced, saving time on dinner prep and clean up.
  4. A 3-pack of free range chicken breast. It wasn't on special - I don't think I've ever seen it on special. To make it stretch, I divided it into three ziploc bags to use for three different dinners.
  5. Two 400g packs of casserole meat, which I froze as is. If these had come in bulk packages, I would have diced them up before freezing them in smaller bags, to save prep time and clean up later. 
  6.  One whole free range chicken, which went straight into the freezer.

With one shop (and six meat packages) I bought enough meat for 14+ dinners. The whole chicken will stretch to a few meals, especially after I make chicken stock with its bones. The casserole will also likely stretch to a couple of meals each, as I like to make mini pies with the leftovers. And all the other meals should make enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

The only exception is the rump steak, which is a bit of a special treat that will be eaten whole. I've found I can stretch meat further if I slice or dice it up and mix it into a meal, rather than eat it as a solid chunk. It still feels as satisfying to eat, and we get all the meat we need, but it's a lot more affordable.


  1. Great tips! Even better if you can find a local butcher if give you a good deal so you don't have to use the supermarket. We also bought a mincer and made our own mince (then you know what's in it), but that took SO long, and was very messy! If you go too cheap the meat might be tough, but then all you need is a decent slow cooker :) When we got the first steer killed we got a bigger freezer and a vacuum sealer, that lets us keep the meat for longer. You are so good making proper chicken stock, I am too lazy, but I should give it a try.....

  2. Hi Emma, I just saw this blog about buying a side of beef from a butcher, there may be further savings to be had! http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2011/04/saving-money-on-meat-buying-in-bulk.html

  3. Thanks Liz. I hadn't thought about asking our butcher for bulk orders. Since we moved to Wellington we can't get home kill through my sister any more, so I wasn't sure what my plan to replace that was going to be. I'll look into this though.


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