Buying bulk meat–large packages of chicken breasts, pork chops, etc–when it is on sale is one way that I save a lot of money at the grocery store.
But what do you do with this huge package of meat when you get home?
If you leave it in the fridge too long, it goes bad (ask me how I know this…).
Freezer bags are a great option, but they are expensive.
I’ve found the best way to store my bulk meat, keep it fresh meal after meal, AND save money on packaging, is to use Freezer Paper.
There are tons of blog posts out there about using freezer paper for arts and crafts (in fact, that’s why I originally bought some) but it is great for its original purpose too: Storing food in the freezer (Imagine that)!
So, here is what you need to utilize this cheap and easy method of storing your bulk meats in the freezer (and keeping all that extra money you’re saving in your pocket!)
Freezer Paper (look for it in the aisle with the plastic wrap and foil)
1 gallon size freezer bag
Bulk Meat (For me, chicken breasts!)
First, figure out how many packages of meat you will be storing and cut several sheets of freezer paper. (BTW, This stuff lasts forever. I’ve been using this storage method for years and I am only on my 2nd roll!).
Next, for chicken, I trim of the fat and slice each breast lengthwise. I like to do this for a few reasons:
1. Half a chicken breast is a good size serving of meat for most people.
2. Slicing before freezing means that I don’t have to mess with cutting raw meat again when I make dinner. It saves time (and gross chicken mess)
Makes sure you use a sharp knife. Start at the fat end of the breast and, placing your hand firmly on top of the breast to hold it still, slice through the middle, moving your knife gently back and forth.
It takes practice to get identical halves. I still mess up and get some wonky pieces of chicken. But I save those not-so-perfect pieces for meals that require chopped or shredded chicken (I like to cook the breasts whole, then chop or shred. It keeps the chicken from drying out).
Next, lay out a sheet of freezer paper, shiny plastic side up. Portion out the chicken you want for one dinner (two breasts, or 4 halves, are plenty for our family of 6: 2 adults, 2 medium kids, one small kid, and a baby).
Fold the sides in…
…until you have a neat package. The directions on the freezer paper box say to “secure with freezer paper tape.” But I don’t do this. Sometime I use scotch tape (it doesn’t stick very well) but lately I just utilize the plastic freezer bag.
If you want (or need to), write what’s inside the package on the outside. This package only has one chicken breast in it so I didn’t want to accidentally pull it out for dinner.
Once you’ve packaged all your meat, slip all the packages inside the gallon freezer bag. I like this method because:
1. I only have to use one freezer bag (they are expensive!)
2. I can slip out a package of meat for dinner and then reseal the bag.
3. I can reuse the bag over and over again (until it gets worn out).
4. Most importantly, it provides a double barrier to freezer burn.
I bought a package of chicken for $10.83 and, sliced and portioned, I have enough meat for 3 dinners and one pot of soup for lunch. (My family doesn’t like this Chicken Tortilla soup. What is wrong with them?! It’s my favorite.)
The tally comes to $2.70/meal. Not bad!
Buying in bulk saves a lot of money, and using freezer paper to store your meat is smart, easy, and economical!