|June 24, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips, Recipes: Beef|
After WLS you are told to focus on protein first. While there are varying amounts of protein in other foods usually the main source for most people is meat. If you purchase any type of meat the one thing you’ve probably noticed is prices are rising. Because I’m trying to stay within a budget I tend to look for ways to save money especially on items that are increasing in price.
The one thing I’ve noticed is the price of the different cuts of meat increases if the butcher has to do more work preparing the meat. Which makes sense. If the cut of meat, such as a steak, removes a lot of trimmings in order to get that particular cut then the price goes up. Sure the trimmings are used to make ground beef but the butcher still had to do more work to get that cut. Which is where you can save some money.
Beef stew meat in my area, just south of Boston, usually runs about $3.99 or more a pound. A sale might drop the price down to $3.49. If I purchase stew meat I still usually end up cutting it into smaller pieces once I get it home. Rather than shell out the extra money for the butcher to chop a larger piece of meat into smaller bits I do it myself. You can actually create your own stew meat by using a boneless chuck roast. It’s basically the same cut of meat and usually sells for less. Often times, when chuck roasts go on sale, I can get them for $2.79 to $2.99 a pound.
This weekend there was a sale on chuck roasts and I picked up four of them to make beef stew meat. The roasts were selling for $2.79 a pound plus I found one that was even lower since it had reached the “sell by” date so it was discounted even further.
Making your own stew meat doesn’t get any easier than this. First, purchase your boneless chuck roasts. Unwrap and begin dicing into the sized pieces you desire. Along the way I usually remove larger pieces of fat and any tough connective tissue. These get thrown out. In the end I removed about half a pound of fat in total from all four roasts. It only took me about 20 minutes to dice them all up.
Once I’m done cutting all the meat into the size pieces I desire I bag them into premeasured amounts in freezer bags. Now, when I’m ready to make beef stew or some other meal, I remove a bag from the freezer, thaw it and it’s ready to be used. I originally started my beef stew making adventure with about 11 pounds of meat. Once the fat was removed there was about 10 1/2 pounds left. I divided the meat into freezer bags that contained about 1 1/2 pounds of meat which is the perfect amount for a pot of stew in my house. I got 6 bags of prepared stew beef from the four roasts. Total savings: $13.80 for about 20 minutes worth of work. Plus, I won’t have to spend any extra time cutting store bought stew beef into smaller pieces.
Here’s some pictures of the beef stew making process. It really is super easy to do:
Click on the pictures if you want to enlarge the collage. After this I place three of the quart sized bags into one larger gallon sized freezer bag. There’s two purposes for doing this. One, it reduces freezer burn because there are now two bags protecting the meat. The second reason is I always place an index card in the larger bag with information about what’s in the bag and the date I put it there. In the past I’ve had a few too many mystery items pulled from the freezer. Now I mark everything. It not only saves time but it saves money because I know exactly what I have and when it was put there.
How about you? What do you do to save money on purchasing meat for you and your family? Leave a comment below and share a tip.
|June 18, 2013||Filled under Product Reviews, WLS Books||
If you thought that cooking meals after weight loss surgery had to be boring then this book will change your mind. While some recipes fall under what I would call comfort type foods many others are what you would expect to find served at a fine dinning restaurant.
The book begins with a small section on hints for preparing, cooking and eating. There is nothing here that most likely wasn’t covered by your doctor or nutritionist before surgery. This is followed by a section on stocking your pantry and refrigerator. The ingredients listed here are the ones that are found in the recipes which is helpful in keeping items on hand to quickly pull together a meal.
The chapters with the recipes are broken down in a logical order by meal type: breakfast, soup, vegetables, main course, etc. Each recipe includes nutritional information for each serving. It also includes a breakdown of how much would be considered a serving for each type of weight loss surgery. Some of the recipes sound like they would be fussy and time consuming to make but a quick look at the directions reveals that they are quite easy.
The main course section is broken down by protein type. The one surprising thing that I have not seen in other books is the wide variety of proteins used to create meals. You will find the usual chicken, turkey, pork and beef meals but there is also veal, lamb, tofu and a variety of seafood such as swordfish, mussels and catfish.
The book finishes with chapters featuring a variety of desserts as well as sweet and savory sauces. The addition of sauce recipes is a big help immediately after surgery when it seems like every type of protein feels too dry or coarse to swallow. A nice sauce not only adds additional flavor but helps you get in the protein that is needed. Each sauce recipe includes hints such as if the sauce would make a great base for pureed meals. There are also serving suggestions telling you which recipes in the book would go great with that particular sauce.
If your a simple meat and potatoes kind of person this cookbook may or may not work for you. The recipes may be a bit too different than what you and your family are familiar with eating. On the other hand, this book might help to expand your horizons. I think you would be surprised at the many new things you’ll start to enjoy since having weight loss surgery. If you already love to cook then this book will be a welcome addition to your cookbook collection.
Got a favorite WLS book? Leave a comment below and let others know which books you found helpful during your journey.