Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The $12 beef roast

Grocery shopping yesterday, I purchased a nice beef roast with the challenge in mind to see how many meals I could stretch it into.  The purchase prince was $12.06 at my local Walmart Super Center.

Final tally:
3 meals with roast beef, steamed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions) and gravy
2 packages of slices to each make a BIG roast beef sandwich
1 package of shredded beef mixed with BBQ sauce (easily 2 sandwiches worth)
3 very large dishes of beef stew
3 packages of beef broth for future soup making (like French Onion Soup later in the week!)

All but the one meal of roast beef, vegetables and gravy that I ate for dinner last night went right to the freezer.  Counting it... that's 13 meals from the one roast.  I think that's pretty darned frugal!

And in all honesty, the beef stew dishes are big enough that I could easily scoop out about 1/3 and add some more vegetables and a topping of pie crust or biscuit dough and make an additional pot pie meal from each of them... stretching my grand total to 16 meals.  Not a huge fan of beef pot pie though so we'll have to wait and see if that happens.

Yes, I am only feeding 1 person.  If you have a family, you'll obviously need more of everything but should be able to achieve the same per portion cost results.

How did I do it?

My slow cooker is the key!  (It's similar to a crock pot except it will brown meat and is a little smaller overall.)  I came home from shopping and got it hot enough to brown the roast on both sides.  Next, on top of the meat, I filled it with onions chopped into approximate 2 inch pieces, baby carrots and celery stalks cut to about the same size as the carrots.  When these vegetables were partially cooked, and there was room to add them, potatoes cut into approximate 2 inch pieces went on top and I filled the cooking chamber up with water.  Added a spoonful of beef base for flavor and let it all simmer for a few hours.  Oh... it smelled so good!!

When all was cooked, I removed almost all the vegetables to a bowl and set the meat to rest on my cutting board.  Then I used my hand blender to puree the remaining vegetable pieces, added more water to the slow cooker and seasoned the broth to my liking.  While it was still relatively cool, I ladled out 3 zipper bagsful and put them in the freezer.  While the remaining broth was reheating to a boil, I cut, divided and packaged the meat and vegetables.  Then I added a slurry of cornstarch mixed with water to the boiling broth and spooned out gravy on the 3 meals of roast beef and vegetables.  Then I added the portion of cubed meat back to the pot with the remainder of the vegetables, a couple of chopped tomatoes (probably the last of the season from this year's garden) and some frozen peas and corn, and let it simmer while I ate my dinner.  After the stew cooled I packaged it and added it to my freezer stash.

Now, I get to reheat and enjoy the fruits of my labor over the next month with frugal, healthy, tasty, quick meals.  Hard to beat that plan!!

Next up I'm going to try it with the $10 family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts I found on sale for cheaper than a whole chicken...


Angela said...

Love it!!! I have a family of 5 and I also get very creative when it comes to stretching the food. I try to stay away from convenience foods, they are more expensive,and all you are really doing is trading money for time. Slice, season, mix, and cook it yourself!!!!

Brad's gaggle of girls said...

Fantastic! I did similar yesterday withe a pork roast. One meal so far and counting...but I am feeding 5 ish... Ha ha does cat count as 3?

latter-daymom said...

Great planning, Kathy! You are very creative!