My mother says you should never throw meat away. She’s been saying this for as long as I can remember, and now, only now, I am beginning to understand where my interest in frugal living comes from.
Freezers can assist enormously when it comes to saving money on meat. Meat from the freezer dept is often cheaper than fresh (but not always so check!)
Whenever you find reduced meat in the supermarket even though its short coded meat, buy it, if you will use it. It should be immediately frozen unless you can make a meal the same day from it
If larger packs work out cheaper, and you can afford to make the investment, break the pack in to family meal sized portions before freezing.
Consider portion sizes when buying meat, for example the standard size of a gammon steak would adequately feed an adult and a child.
Consider the trimmings to the meat – you will need less of the expensive meat if you can bulk the meal out with e.g. stuffing, or a fried egg. Additionally, you will need less meat to complete a meal if you are serving it with a pasta based dish.
Don’t forget about bacon, a little bacon goes miles, a packet of bacon lardons can make a whole meal for four, bacon freezes well – if you buy it fresh inter-leave grease-proofed paper between the rashers before freezing, to make the reclaiming of the exact ingredients for a recipe easier. Tesco and other supermarkets to a super packet of ‘value’ cooking bacon, it has a long code, keep it in a sealed box in the fridge and use it whenever a recipe calls for lardons. If you pick through it you can find enough for a bacon sandwich for the family on a Sunday and use the rest in recipes over the next two weeks. You get a lot of bacon for 75p this way.
From time to time review what you have as ‘left overs’ in your freezer, one of the favourite dishes in our house are mixed meat kebabs. Commonly our metal skewers host a mixture of chunks of sausage (cut in to inch lengths/quarters) inter-spaced with pieces of frying steak, streaky bacon (folded in to quarters) and bay leaves. Other types of meat work well too and if you are a lover of black pudding, Mushrooms, onions, bell peppers…….well the list is pretty comprehensive. Cook under the grill and serve in pittas or home made flat breads. Flat breads can be made by combining 300g of plain flour, pinch of salt and a tablespoon (or so) of oil. Kneed in to a dough and leave to rest for 15 minutes, before dividing in to 8 pieces. Roll each piece in to a circle and cook individually in a hot, dry frying pan. Keep warm in a clean tea towel whilst you finish. Dont leave this job to the last minute it takes time to cook all eight breads.
Consider making a snack in to a whole meal. Try taking four cheese and ham sandwiches (Ill have grainy mustard in mine too please), cut in to quarters and put in to an oven proof dish. Pour over a batter mix made from four eggs whisked with 150g milk and four tablespoons of worcestershire sauce. Pour over the sandwiches and leave overnight in a fridge to soak in. Sprinkle over a little grated cheese, Cook in a pre-heated oven (200C) for around 20 minutes until the topping has turned a golden brown. Serve hot with a green salad.