Partly because of some reading I’ve been doing about fats and cooking more frugally, I’ve been doing a few things differently.
My dad every now and then would cut fat from a steak and cook it in its own grease. Tasted great. We hardly eat beef these days, mostly because of cost, but there’s also environmental concerns.
We also eat very little fish, that’s been true much longer, I decided back in the 1980s we were over fishing and stopped using fish as a regular food.
That leaves poultry. Recently, I’ve been doing Dad’s trick, but with chicken. I take the skin/fat off the pieces of meat, and use the chicken fat to grease the pan. This is easiest when the chicken is partly frozen, but the fat is a resource I’ve frequently ignored in the past. Laying chicken skin, fat side down in the pan where you’re cooking onions you’ll add to the chicken a bit later isn’t all that hard, tastes good, creates less waste, and costs $0! (Remove the skins with a fork after the fat melts, or you can make them cracklings, I rarely do.)
I finally found a recipe for schmaltz, but have yet to make it. If I’m skinning the chicken and not using the fat otherwise, I’ve been freezing the skins/fat, with the idea that I’ll make schmaltz. Not quite enough in the freezer yet…soon!
Don’t know what schmaltz is? It’s rendered chicken fat. Here’s a recipe.
The spring CSA we’re a part of this year put up an expected harvest chart, so I’ve spent much of the morning figuring what to make with it. On average, the produce cost us $3-$4/lb, not including the overhead to get it. That price is right in line/a little bit cheaper than organic produce at the local market. It will be fresher, local, and supporting a local farm too. All good!
I found a youtube channel with a woman doing extreme frugality for a family of 6. It was interesting to watch her make up 126 meals for $31. Don’t know that I’d like to eat all the food she made without additions — but it sure reminded me how nice it is to have a backlog of herbs/spices/condiments to just casually add to make a meal more satisfying!
You can find her youtube video here.
Things I don’t do that she does?
- I don’t shop at Walmart.
- I don’t use house brands.
- I don’t use chicken boullion.
- I can’t eat tomato paste out of a can without having a major stomach upset, so I don’t.
I could do all of that and if I need to in the future, I will. I’ve admitted before that we’re food snobs. We are. But I’m also a realist.
My job, as long as we can manage it, is to keep the food as we like it, at a price we can afford. If our economics changes? Obviously, other things change too.
She’s making 126 meals for $31 — I spend on average $50 a week to make lunch/dinner, or 10-14 meals, with staples and other items set aside towards future meals.
In the video, she says one criticism she’s gotten is using foods she already has in stock, so she didn’t do that in this extreme frugality post.