Here are a few ideas to try so you can stretch that dollar further, without upsetting the meat loving family members.
turkey: buy them in October and November when they are at their cheapest and keep in the freezer- get enough for the whole year, because they'll keep. When using, either thaw and cut to cook in several dishes or roast and reheat/reinvent leftovers.
lunch meat: the pre-sliced packages and deli meats can get super expensive. Consider buying a precooked boneless package (sometimes referred to as a chub) and asking the meat department to slice it for you (they do it for free) or if you prefer, buy bone-in or uncooked and prep it yourself at home.
To store the large amounts, simply divide into smaller portions and place in a freezer bag in the freezer. When thawing add a paper towel to the bag to absorb excess moisture.
|$14.26 worth (just shy of 9lbs) ready for the freezer|
special cuts: If you'd like pork chops, but don't like their price, look for a pork loin and ask the meat department to cut it for you.
I've been told they'll prep it however you like at no additional charge. Our family doesn't eat a large variety of meats, so I don't know all the particulars, but let this idea be your guide for other cuts of meat.
If you're unsure, talk to the person in charge at the meat department. You'll usually find them quite knowledgeable on what you can do with the various cuts.
scraps- I have found that when I'm trimming up meat (especially pork) there is quite a bit of meat marbled in with the fat. Instead of tossing it out with the fat, I take the extra time to cut it out and then when I'm all done I bag it up and stick it in the freezer to use later in a stir fry (or anything that uses smaller pieces of meat)
bones- I often find the bone-in pieces of meat to be less expensive, so if you're trying to stretch each penny, look for the bone-in variety.
After prepping your meat, put the bones and a little water in a slow cooker for several hours to create broth or stock. For more flavor add onions and/or other vegetables. Strain through cheesecloth to separate the broth/stock from everything else.
If you don't want to deal with cutting the meat from the bones, slow cooking the meat in a liquid (I recommend broths, stocks, or cream of soups) for several hours will help it fall off the bone
Stretch it even further: take the fat you trimmed off and make soap. Seriously, all you need is some lye (a product of ashes and water) and fat. You can technically use any fat, but it's best to use fat from beef (Tallo). I haven't tried it yet, but if my husband has anything to say about it, we'll be making our own soap at least once in the future.