This has been a happy month for me. This last month Costco had pork on sale. One of my families favorites! You could by it in chop or roast form. I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about buying meat in bulk and how I store it. I like to buy my meat from a wholesale type store because in general it is priced better. Not all the time, but usually. It is always a good idea to keep your normal grocery store adds handy because they can have some really great deals, but when they are all lacking, the wholesale stores like Costco can save you a few dollars. I also like to buy my meat in bulk because it saves me trips to the grocery store, which saves me money in impulse buys (you never know when you are going to need the sandwich cutter that leaves the sandwiches in the shapes of a dolphin…) as well as saving me time. And lets face it, we are all trying to find ways to be better in our time management. :) In our house pork goes a long way. We fry, bake and slow cook it in all its forms. Yummy! Needless to say, we were pretty happy when we saw the coupon for $3 off per package at our local Costco. While I was there, I decided to buy hamburger meat as well, since, well, we were out.
Here is what I bought. As you can tell, I forgot to take a picture of the roast before I split it and bagged it. But you will get the idea as I move along to the chops and the hamburger meat.
The first thing I do when I get home with the meat is tell myself that I DO in fact have the energy left from shopping with my 4 year old to put the meat away the proper way and not save it for later, which never comes. Then I get out my Ziplock Quart Freezer bags. I love these bags. They hold so many different wonderful things. :) Not to mention the box tops that come with the Brand. My kids love them. It has become a little bit of an addiction in our house.
The next thing I do is label each bag. If you wait till the meat is in the bag to label them, the pen or sharpie has a harder time writing for a few reasons. The meat is a soft surface when you need a hard one to write on. Reason 2, your fingers are usually covered with meat juice and I personally don’t like to get my pens all slimy. Reason 3, the meat causes condensation to form on the outside of the bag and the pens don’t like to write in the moisture. When I label my bags, I put the amount of the meat, either in pounds or in this case the number of chops, in each bag. I also put the date so that I know when I froze them and thereby know when I need to use them. Here are my labeled bags.
Now, there is a fair amount of controversy when it comes to my next step. If you choose not to follow me, there is nothing wrong with you. I promise. I cut the chops in half. Much to the chagrin of my husband, sometimes. He prefers them thick. But I don’t like to cook them thick. Occasionally I will just to spice things up, but usually I cut them in half to make my life easier. Storing them is easier, cooking them is easier, and it makes our pork chops last much longer AANND it helps us to eat a little bit less and watch out portion control. Anyway, I cut them in half length wise.
After I cut them in half, I put them into the bags. I know that for my family I need 6 chops for a meal. One for each of us and one for my husband for lunch the next day. Unless we are super hungry, then he just takes a sandwich or he eats out. I put them in stacks of 3 and shove them in the bag.
Whaa Laa!! 6 dinners all ready to go. Throw them into the freezer and use them within the next 3 months and you are golden! That is only 2 pork chop meals a month which is just enough to savor it but not too much that you will get tired of them. Next I tackeld the hamburger meat. As you can see in the picture at the top, I chose to buy the meat that is in the nice handy pre-rounded stacks. This saves me the trouble of splitting the mound and measuring it to get the pound I am looking for for each baggie. The meat is the same price per pound regardless of the way you chose to purchase it. I try to buy the packages that are between 6 and 6 1/2 pounds so that I know that each stack is “about” one pound of meat. This makes the separating SUPER easy! I label my bags then throw a stack in each.
And there it is. 6 more meals ready to thaw at my whim and put into dinner deliciousness. And last but of course not least is the roast I purchased with the chops and the hamburger. It was a 7 pound roast and I split it in 2 so there is atleast 4 more meals for us. Yes, I said 4, not 2. Yes, I can add. :) The roasts make enough shredded pork (which is what I almost always do to it after it has been sitting in my crockpot for the day) for 2-3 meals. We make Cafe Rio style salads, Pork Nachos, Pork sandwiches, Pork Quesadillas….whatever your pork imagination can come up with. I should also mention that a 3 – 3 1/2 pound roast will not fit in a Quart baggie. I use the freezer Gallon Bags for these beauties.
I only have pictures of one of my pork roast halves because the other one is in my crockpot as we speak. Ohh yummy salad here I come!!
It makes me happy. There are 16-18 meals ready and waiting for my family for dinner. All in manageable sizes to be thawed early or in the microwave at the last minute when you forget that you have nothing planned for dinner. The freezer bags will keep the meat freshest for 3-4 months. If you are like me, sometimes it sits in there a lot longer then that, and it still tastes fine to me. But if you want to store your meat for longer then that intentionally, I would wrap it up differently to avoid freezer burn. But that is a post for a different day.