Saturday, 2 February 2013

Cooking in Advance

It's hard to calculate how much money I'm saving with my new habit, but it's more than I thought! I think in meat we've saved over $100/month simply due to good meal-planning.

Today's advice is this: plan your whole month's meals in advance and calculate how many portions of meat you will need to make them. For example, every Monday I'm making Creamy Chicken. The recipe calls for 3 chicken breasts. Husband will eat one, and baby & I will split one, leaving one for his brown-bag lunch the next day. When I cook with chicken-legs, I use 5 pieces per recipe (he eats 2, I eat 1, baby eats 1, and he takes 1 to work the next day). Therefore I can calculate exactly how much meat we'll go through for the month. Meat is the most expensive item on our menu, and being married to a carnivore means we are obligated to spend that money.

Planning your month's meals in advance and then spending one solid day cooking-and-freezing will save you money AND time. I spread my cooking out over three days since I have a toddler underfoot and because I usually have three different items that require 8 hours in the slow-cooker.

To save even more money, talk to a small local grocer and ask if they'll give you a discount on bulk-ordering. I talked to my local grocer (a Korean couple who I've befriended) and they basically gave me two cases of chicken breasts for zero profit.