Though our weather bounces back and forth between Summer and Fall here in southwestern Ohio, I keep thinking that I should start getting the house ready for the upcoming cold weather. Outdoor furniture is still being used on warmer afternoons, but flowers in pots have died and need to be emptied and put in the shed, the hot tub needs to be drained, and the vegetable garden needs to be tilled and put to bed.
Today I did stock up - on meat for my freezer. A local newspaper ad caught my attention - 150 pounds of beef plus 50 lbs of chicken and pork - for $150! Sound too good to be true? Of course it was. By the time we figured out the cuts of meat I wanted, the cost was around $300. But I did, indeed, get 150 lbs of beef - sirloin steaks, sirloin tips, porterhouse, oven roasts, pot roasts, chuck steaks, stew meat, and ground beef, as well as 2 whole chickens, 10 lbs. of chicken breasts, 5 lbs of sausage, two bone-in pork roasts and two boneless pork roasts, 15 pork chops, 5 lbs bacon - PLUS 4 lbs frozen brocolli, 2 lbs frozen corn, 2 lbs frozen stew vegetables, 5 lbs french fries, 2 lbs frozen carrots, and I honestly can't remember what else. I paid $2 per pound for the meats (the veggies were a freebie "introductory" bonus) and ohhhh my - it is good! It is USDA inspected Angus beef, and (gasp!) it actually TASTES like beef! I believe I saved somewhere around 40% on the meat, over what I would pay at the grocery store, on sale.
You may wonder why I have bottles of frozen water in my freezer. These bottles actually serve several purposes. First, unlike a refrigerator, a freezer is most efficient when it is packed full. These water bottles take up otherwise empty space. More important, the frozen bottles are in preparation for a power outage. Should my power go out these bottles will help keep the freezer cold, and therefore allow the food inside the freezer to last longer (hopefully until the power comes back on!). Also, you can grab one of these bottles to use in your drink/picnic cooler in place of ice!
Starting this week, I'll be returning to my Monday meal planning to make sure this amount of meat is used wisely and frugally. I would love not to have to buy anymore meat for at least four months - and six months would be even better!