Monday, January 31, 2011

Chick Chick Chicken!

This is going to be a Frugal February at Freshly Rooted. Saving money is a resolution for many people, so we thought we'd give you a month full of thrifty ideas. Today is Monday, so I'm going to tell you how your chicken could be saving you money.

I'm blessed to be a part of a mom's group at my church (the Sanctuary Downtown) called the Well. We meet twice a month to pray, talk and gain some wisdom or expertise from the speakers that present to our group. When I told Whitney and my mom that we had learned to cut up chickens at the Well, they both sounded especially confused and asked me to explain exactly what the Well was again. Yes, yes...I learned how to cut up a whole chicken with a bunch of other moms at church. But, here's why: it really saves you money.

Red Bird Farms is a Colorado based company that sells natural, never frozen chicken. An interesting fact I learned about most chicken is that companies will take the meat down just below freezing in order to ship it, but they can still label it as fresh. A member of our church, who works at Red Bird Farms gave us a free demonstration of how to cut up a whole chicken in the most economical way and he gave us the meat for free! So, check into local companies and see if they have a "chicken educator" who will visit a group that you're a part of to do a little class, as well. Free is pretty frugal, right?

Secondly, learn how to cut up your own chicken. Just buying skinless, boneless chicken breasts is expensive--often two breasts cost the same as a whole chicken. But, they are actually quite easy to cut away from the chicken when it's raw. The video below shows a simple technique for your chicken chopping needs. Just make sure that you have a very sharp knife. The video is part of a demonstration for Pampered Chef cutlery, but the explanation is solid. Vegetarians, beware!

I learned a few other tips during our chicken education. Save the wings in a freezer bag. Each time you get a chicken, add the wings to the bag. After a while, you'll have enough to have a hot wings night. Use the leftover parts to make a chicken stock. Add some carrots and celery, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for several hours. Then, cool it in the fridge or on the porch and remove the fat. Of course, watch for sales. Talk to the people who work at your grocery and find out if there is a big sale coming up. You might just find that a certain day of the week is best for your shopping. Is Wednesday double coupon day? Is there a buy one, get one sale at the end of the month? Be educated and save.

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