Divide and Freeze Your Meats!

Saving money is hard! Especially when it seems like every time you go to the grocery store the prices go up. One way to save money is to shop the ads. Pay attention to what meats are on sale. Around the summer holiday weekends a lot of stores will have good sales. Many stores will put their family or value size meat/pork/chicken packages on sale. Those are typically 5lbs or more. You see that and you say we’ll we are a small family. We won’t use that much. That’s ok! You can freeze meat! We are a family of 3 so when I go and buy a 5lb package of ground beef that’s on sale, we divide the package up; same thing with chicken, and pork chops. We take out what we need for a meal and then freeze the rest or, if it is just a really good deal, I will go ahead and buy it, divide it up, and freeze it all until I need it.  When you get home from the store, you can immediately divide the meat up or if you don’t have time, throw it in the fridge but I would divide it up within 24 hours of brining it home.

Sometimes we will go ahead and pre-make sets of hamburger patties (place parchment paper between patties when stacking them and wrapping them in freezer paper).  Literally all you have to do is thaw the meat and marinate it!!! You can thaw the meat out the night before. Put the patties in a pan and throw some marinade on them before heading off to work. When you get home they are ready for the grill!!

What you need: Freezer paper (comes on a roll just like aluminum foil or saran wrap), tape (we use the blue painters tape), and a sharpie.

1. Get your paper ready. Roll it out and tear/cut it.  You need the paper big enough to securely wrap your meat. Stack your papers SHINY SIDE UP for however many sections you are going to freeze. (i.e. if you are going to divide it into 5lbs you’ll want 5 pieces ready to go; if you are going to do 1 – 2lb package and 3 – 1 lb packages you’ll need 1 piece bigger than the other 3).

2. If dividing up ground beef, score it. Using your hand or knife gently make lines to score your meat evenly into the sizes you want to freeze. I generally freeze them in 1 lb sizes. If you are dividing up the chicken de-skin it first. (i.e. if you are doing drumsticks, go ahead and take the skins off.  It is much easier to do this before freezing them and it saves you time because it cuts down on your meal prep time!)

3. Place your beef/chicken/pork in the middle of a piece of freezer paper (Shiny side should be touching the meat!). Tightly wrap the meat and fold the ends to the center.  Using Tape, securely tape all seams.

4. Using a sharpie, clearly label what is in your package and include the date you are freezing it. (i.e. 1lb ground beef 5/29/14 or 6 chicken legs 5/29/14).

To thaw, I usually pull it out the night before and place in the fridge if you are cooking it when you get home from work the next day or you can set it out overnight on the stove. I ALWAYS place my package on a plate when thawing out. When you are ready to cook just take it out of the package and you are ready to go!

Meat/Pork/Chicken that has been divided for the freezer

Meat/Pork/Chicken that has been divided for the freezer

 

Make Two Wreaths Out of One!

I saw this tip on Pinterest: http://thatsmyletter.blogspot.com/2011/12/s-is-for-sister.html (original blog post). The first time I tried it this way, my wreath broke using the bread knife. I was still able to use 1 side of it but I was disappointed that I didn’t get my 2 for 1. The next time, I bought a Foam Tool package kit and it turned out great!

What you need: A foam wreath (if you buy it at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s make sure to use a coupon to save even more!); Foam Tools Kit (again use a coupon) and a Bread Knife (optional).wreath & kit

Step 1: Take the foam wreath and the scoring tool (the one on the right) and in the center of the wreath make an indention and go around the entire length.

This is the indention where you'll cut.

This is the indention where you’ll cut.

2. Taking your cutting tool (the center tool that looks like a knife) and place it in the center of the scored line you just made and start cutting.  Gently cut into the foam turning the wreath as you go. As you go around the wreath multiple times, your cut will get deeper and deeper.  Once you get over 1/2 way, you could use the bread knife, but you’ll need to be careful because too much pressure and it will break. I used my foam knife the entire time and it worked great. I did have to take breaks because my hand got tired.

The knife will get deeper - keep it in the groove and continue turning while you cut to keep it even.

The knife will get deeper – keep it in the groove and continue turning while you cut to keep it even.

3. Eventually your foam knife will break through to the other side and just continue around the wreath until the whole thing separates into 2 wreaths. Take the filing tool (the one on the left) and gently file down the edges on both wreaths. This is a great way to save money and get 2 for the price of 1!

finished product

Finished product – 2 wreaths from one