A Single Person’s Guide to the Grocery Store

Elise does a great job in her blog post discussing tips on shopping and cooking for one. In our household of two, we cook regular size meals and have leftovers for lunch. I often freeze leftovers too and enjoy the flexibility to pull them out of the freezer in portion sized servings when no one feels like cooking or time is short. The Hubs and I also started planning our meals the week before. We grocery shop for just those items, and it decreases the chance that food will spoil as we know we will use it within the next week.

The Kiwi Hoosier

My favorite food from the dining courts. I would be okay with someone buying me a Purdue waffle (Boiler)maker. My favorite food from the dining courts. I would be perfectly okay with someone finding me a Purdue waffle (Boiler)maker.

For nearly nine years, I’ve lived on my own. I’ve had various roommates in houses and apartments, and I’ve lived in the university residence halls, eating dining hall meals, microwavable dinners or fast food. However, for a year and a half, I lived with only my dog, Evie. (She eats most anything.) I found the food situation to be vastly different when I lived alone than when I lived with roommates.

During this year and a half, I lived in the country, and greatly enjoyed it. I worked in the city but didn’t want to have to stop at the grocery store every day because of bad planning. When I lived on the farm, we only went to the grocery store once or twice a month for all five of us. I liked that approach.

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Tips on saving money at the meat counter

Happy Monday! Since grilling season is upon us I thought I would share a couple of tips on how to save some money at the meat counter, I mean who wouldn’t love to do that right!? Plus with Memorial weekend coming up, many retailers will push meat sales, and you might be able to find additional bargains! A win-win 🙂

I am also trying out another delivery method – video demonstrations! Watching yourself on camera is like hearing your recorded voice, kinda weird. Certainly not perfect…my videographer (aka the hubs) and I both need a little work, but that will come with time.

Today I want to show you how to take a bulk meat item and break it down into individual portions. In this example, I use a pork loin.

Pork loin from a local retailer.

Sometimes buying meat in bulk can give us sticker shock since a lot of money can be spent quickly. But keep reading to see how many portions I made for the hubs and I.

Pork loin in all of its glory…but it can be awkward to work with if you have never broken one down before…

Remember to make sure all of your work surfaces, utensils, and hands are clean. Food safety is always important to practice. Also, notice how the cutting board I am using has the groove around the outside edge, this is great for cutting meat as it catches all of the juices, and helps keep your work space much cleaner.

Pork chops! Using your knife to measure thickness works great for keeping all of the chops consistent in size.
Prepare your bags. I like to make them all at once. I fold down the top before I put the meat (or anything else) in. Folding helps the top of the bag stay clean, ensuring a good (non-leaking) seal.
Slide the chops into your bags. Three is the perfect amount for my family. Notice how the top of the bag is clean?! It’s the small things 🙂
FoodSaver doing its thing…the package should be air free.

As a recap, I paid $15.65 for an 8.37 pound pork loin. I was able to package it for seven meals for my family size (the hubs and I). Each package, or meat that will be on our plate for seven meals cost $2.24 per meal! Or if you really want to break it down that is $0.75 per pork chop! To me that is a heck of a deal. The convenience of the cut chops and in individual portions also fits great into my crazy schedule .

As a reminder, the internal cooking temperature of a pork chop is 145 degrees F, the same as it is for beef, veal, and lamb (this can be measured with a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chop). One of the quickest ways to have a bad eating experience is to overcook your meat! My mantra when grilling is low and slow; the meat reaches the ideal degree of doneness without burning the outside.

Do you buy meat in bulk and portion it out? What great tips can you share with me?

** Note: I am not promoting one brand over another. I use what I have, what works for me, and what I have had good luck with.