How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation?

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2013/04/01 01:09:34
How many of you have separate freezers and try and control costs by either breaking large pieces of meat, purchasing in bulk when prices are low or institutional, or put up precooked potrtions such as spaghetti sauce, pulled pork, or make up large amounts of flash frozen needs such as chopped onion or peppers for example when prices are very low?
Do you make up batch bases that you use commonly such as mirapoix, onions and peppers or other bases? How about reductions from what you'd normally throw away and used for latter flavoring or making up stocks? Saving rendred chicken fat or bacon drippings? Freezing what would be considered vegetable trash such as peelings, onion ends, celery trimmings for latter use in stocks? 
I don't can as there is no economic or seasonal reason to do so down here where the savings would be worth it. I try to stay about a month ahead and no more, so freezer burn isn't an issue. My efforts are more about trying to save a buck and time efficiency to get a different home cooked meal made daily made with savings of time and around the limitations of cooking for two. There's also another motive should the we have outages because of weather, we have at least 2 weeks of resources that can be backed up with emergency power. That extends to a build up of canned, unpersishables,water, and fuel around April/May in anticipation of the storm season for a maximum of expectations of 2 weeks to a month without power which from past history is the norm.
Do many of you do any of this? I dont know what the savings are, but I'm sure we save a bundle each year. I try to save when items are bogo and buy as much as I can  store for things we use recurringly. Coupons are generally a waste of time if store brands are involved. Otherwise, they do help on brand name products. None of the stores down here have allowed doubling or competitve discounts, so we don't have that advantage of multiple chains competing. 
Filet Mignon
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 01:39:40
I don't obsess about it like some folks do, but since there are only two of us I quite regularly buy things in the larger packaging (meat, especially) and then split it out into portions that make a meal for us. I certainly don't keep separate freezers, nor do I make a point of having enough food to feed us for a month in the event of the apocalypse, but I do have quite a store of food on hand most of the time.
Saving bacon drippings doesn't fall into this category for me, as I do it because I love how things taste when fried in it. Has nothing to do with saving money. Most things like sauces and stocks I do several gallons at a time not through some effort to save money but because I don't know how to make less than that much, so I always have some in the freezer. Whether or not I save vegetable parts that would normally get thrown out depends on how much room I have in my freezer, but I pretty much always have a ham bone or two, at least a couple of chickens' worth of bones, and various containers of pan drippings if I didn't make gravy when roasting something.
The only time I buy things ahead specifically to freeze because they're cheap is in summer, when local produce is practically being given away. I chop onions and peppers to freeze, and my niece and I just started doing our own broccoli and cauliflower last summer. I also freeze or dry herbs from my garden, but that's not so much about saving money as the fact that they simply have more flavour, and what I preserve will last until more grows.
More than shopping ahead, I shop on sale. Rarely do I buy anything outside of the staples that isn't on sale that week, although I will make an exception if I have a specific recipe in mind or a party to attend. Most often, I end up basing my meals for the week based on what is on sale coupled with what I have in my house.
And then there are the days it comes in handy, like today. I found out on Friday I had to make Easter dinner, but I was working solidly all weekend and couldn't get to the store. I had bought a ham purely because they were on sale, and the rest of the dinner came from my freezer and pantry.
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 09:40:09
I don't spend but a few dollars at the Supermarket with mfr. coupons (double sometimes triple). The more coupons used the more likely Catalina (register printed) coupons for save $x off the next shopping order will roll-out.

I juice most of my vegetables rather than eat them. I use a local Butcher that supplies bacon ends chicken fat & whatever scrap I want or need...for a very low price.

I have a stockpile of Coco Puffs large enough to survive any disaster. We just had a natural disaster that was as bad as it could be...and the thing I know is that when that happens...preparing meals at home is the last concern I have.

Between making sure elderly folks in the neighborhood that have a difficult time getting around have or can find their prescriptions a location for a dialysis treatment etc. and the coffee drinkers have time for cooking meals.. When the coffee drinkers don't have out. I learned that.
post edited by CCinNJ - 2013/04/01 09:41:31
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 11:07:03
I'll do it with meat, usually I can find at least chicken or pork on sale in bulk or "family" packs. The store I usually get meat from has them all in the same big pack, so I will individually wrap each breast or chop for the freezer. If Wegmans has meat on sale, I'll buy a family pack, and each piece is already portioned off in it's own little shrink-wrapped section, so I just roll it up and stick it in the freezer. I can then just cut one out of the pack when I need to.
Other things I don't bother with, since I'm usually just cooking for me, so I don't need to have much on hand. But I am hoping within the next year or two to be moved and into a new house, where I'd like to start a garden and maybe a small greenhouse, then either eat right away or preserve what I'd grow, and not have to buy a lot of things at the store.
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 11:56:57
I try to freeze as little as possible and go to the grocery store nearly every day to buy fresh.  Giant Eagle did have whole chickens buy one get one free so there is a whole chicken in the freezer.  We go to an Italian specialty store and buy a couple of pounds of hot sausage which I portion and freeze.  I do the same with Carle's brats.  My kitchen cabinets are mostly empty as I buy things when I need them.
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 12:10:22
I buy cases of Vodka and put them in the freezer, I do this a couple of times a week!
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 16:55:36
At least 6 months ahead....when it comes to alcohol. If I had to listen to the Super Loud 5000 generators for a few more hours...there would have been more disaster.

I found very cute canning jars...just for fun. I wouldn't survive long...if nature and outdoors were involved.
Filet Mignon
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 17:07:29
We don't stock up that much. Only the 2 of us and one is vegetarian. We have  a lot of dry beans, lentils and such on hand. We buy vegetable stock in those containers like juice drinks come in and now Hunt's sells tomato sauce in the same kind of container which last longer. Rarely buy any kind of meat. We could eat out of our dry pantry for a few weeks.
ann peeples
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 19:51:41
I used to stock up, not so much anymore. If my favorite butcher puts his ground beef on sale, I will.I honestly dont have time to.Being on a bus, with an 8 hour day, exhausts me from shopping as I used to.
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 21:04:16
Our local IGA still has an in house butcher THANK GOD!
They do a first 10 days of the month a 10lbs sale.
10lbs of:
whole fryers
1/4 fryers
ground beef
ground chuck
ground sirloin
pork chops (various styles)
sausage (various styles)
various steaks
and more
I will usually buy Ground Beef (it's realllllllllllllly good stuff ground several times a day)
boneless center cut pork chops
chicken thighs
bulk sausage
I have a vacuum sealer and break it down into 1 - 2 lbs and vac it and freeze it.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/01 22:28:07
I've been working 6-7 days a week, so I don't get to menu plan like I used to. I usually stop on my way home every night. I spend a lot more money that way but I just don't have the time to plan ahead. I do, however, cook a fresh meal at least 5 to 6 nights a week. We usually get take out once or twice a week. No frozen or packaged prepared foods though.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/02 19:00:56
There's only 2 of us now; semi-fixed income.  I buy bulk and re-package, often stuff on sale or pink slipped for the last day of sale and freeze. Leftovers get frozen or eaten in 2 days. Bones get saved in the freezer for making soups and stews.   Sometimes when there is small morsel of meat left, it gets frozen and then a bunch ground together to stuff shells, make lasagna, a "revised" meatloaf, etc.
Things like veggies and potatoes get close "portion control"  Leftovers, if any, get made into something else.  Same with rice.
If my wife did the shopping, food costs would skyrocket 3-4X. I do 95% of the cooking.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:How Many of You Do Portioning and Pre-preparation? 2013/04/07 11:09:42
There are only two of us, also. I buy some things at Sam's (they have great pork chops) and freeze in meal sized portions. They have really good pork loins, but they are huge. I cut them into more manageable portions and freeze.
I freeze vegetables in summer when farmer's market has them fairly cheap.