Category Archives: Freezer Friday

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Freezer Friday! Let’s Talk about Steak on a Budget! Plus a Steak Sauce Recipe

This week, we are going to talk about steak. I love a good steak, but we don’t have it often. My favorite is ribeye, Mr. Incredible likes a New York Strip. From a budget-conscious perspective, though, beef in general, let alone steak, isn’t always at the top of the list.

I’ve been around the LC crowd for a lot of years, and sometimes, it seems like everyone is eating foie gras, colossal shrimp, lobster, and prime rib. It’s easy to feel left out when you look down at your extremely-tasty-but-$1-cost omelet again. When it comes to mealtime, I have champagne tastes and a beer budget so, over time, I’ve learned certain tricks when it comes to satisfying my desire to eat a pricey cut of meat. This is one of those tricks.

There’s a small grocer here who occasionally does a great sale on T-bones. One day, while I was online, obsessing over food, I was reading about cuts of beef. It turns out that the T-bone (and its friend, the Porterhouse) is comprised of two different pieces of beef. One side is where they cut the NY Strip and the other side is where they cut the tenderloin. I had to read that twice. What?

I stayed fixated on that fact for months. It’s not uncommon to find T-bones on sale here for as low as $5/lb, but I wanted to wait for just the right deal. Then, they went on sale for $3.99/lb with a two pack limit. Now, keep in mind that this is not Wagyu beef, but it’s still good enough steak. I went in twice and bought two packs each time, which I brought home so I could play “Butcher Shop”.

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As you can see, there’s a decent amount of beef on each side of the bone. I looked through the available packages to find the bigger ones while the other shoppers seemed more interested in the smaller ones.

When I got these home, I set up my cutting board and sliced down the side of the strip steak, right along the bone. I did the same on the loin side, and made two separate stacks. I also set the bones aside. Once I had gone through the steaks, I bagged all of the bones and stuck them in the freezer. I will roast those later and make a few quarts of beef stock but right now, I’m full up on quarts of turkey stock, leftover from the holidays.

I didn’t take any more pics, but there were 16 steaks total from my four packs. It was payday week, so I invested $65 in them. I packed 8 two packs of strips, and four 4 packs of loins with my foodsaver, so they will not be in danger of becoming freezer burnt.
On sale, beef loin runs $10-13 per pound and strips run about $8, so I would estimate my savings on the meat alone at about $100, then I’ll probably get another 4 quarts of beef stock at around $1-2 per quart.

With this deal, we will have steak to last till sometime during grilling season, when I’ll catch a truckload sale and get more. Whether it’s my favorite or his favorite, who knows, and who cares as long as it’s a great steak!

While we are on the subject of steak, here is a steak sauce recipe I came up with several months back. I eat mine plain with S&P and butter, but the husband likes to slather his food in sauce. It doesn’t matter what food it is, or how great of a cook I am, the meat gets sauced. I don’t take it personally, when it comes to condiments, that man has serious issues.

20 minute low carb, sugar free steak sauce

One half cup of crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
T of chili powder
T of Worcestershire
T of vinegar
One squirt of yellow mustard
A packet of sweetener

Whisk it all together, bring it to a simmer on the stove, turn off the fire then let it cool.
This keeps well in the fridge in a jar.

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Frozen Crustless Pizza aka Low Carb Pizza

For a couple of years now, I’ve been making crustless pizza. We call them Pizza Bowls and everyone here gets excited about it when they are on the menu, except the eldest. According to him, pizza without crust is “Unnatural”.

Last month, when I wrote up my second $25 Dollar Tree menu, I called them Crustless Pizza, which makes more sense for many people. So here I am, going to put the recipe separately with a twist on cooking them as convenience food frozen pizza. I tried it out today and it works GREAT.

One reason I make these is because, while I really love LC pizza crusts, it’s not uncommon for nuts to be something that can stall weight loss, and that includes almond flour crusts. It’s also not uncommon for large quantities cheese to stall weight loss, and another main ingredient in many crusts is cheese. It’s easy to keep track of your cheese intake by doing it this way, and there are no nuts.

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If you’re going to cook these straight from fresh, preheat the oven to 425.

To make these to stick in the freezer, you need some freezer to oven type pans. I used some aluminum pans I found at the Dollar Tree that come with flimsy-but-acceptable cardboard lids. If you don’t have a Dollar Tree (or your store is out, like mine is), you can get them HERE in my Amazon Affiliate shop or just see what they look like.   I made three of these, two in regular round cake pans, and one in an aluminum pan with a lid (which I froze overnight). I ate that one, myself, because I am my own beta tester.

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You start with your sauce. Add 1/4 cup of sauce to your pan and spread it around. Then add your toppings. I used cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, bacon, olives, mushrooms, peppers, and onions.
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Glorious cheese! I added about half a cup per pizza.

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For frozen: You put the lid on next and put it in the freezer. If you use some other type of pan, just use foil. To cook from frozen, throw away the paper lid.

To cook them straight from fresh, put them in your preheated, 425 oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, till the cheese is gooey and melted. Eat it with a fork, straight from the pan.

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To cook from frozen, take them from the freezer and throw away the lid. Then put it into your preheated, 425 oven, but cook for closer to 20 minutes. You can take them out of the freezer and thaw them beforehand, but if you do, then use the directions for cooking from fresh.

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And that’s it! These stack up well in the pans and can be an easy item to pull out of the freezer on a busy night and cook in just a short amount of time so you’re just minutes away from hot, gooey deliciousness.

Don’t forget to find me on facebook , set a bookmark, or subscribe to my emails in the upper right corner. I’m really looking forward to making, testing, and sharing more of these menus, and extreme budget recipes really are one of my passions.

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Freezer Friday! Saving Money on Ham

This will be the first  ever installment of what I’m going to call “Freezer Friday”. It’s going to be a day of the week where we talk about things we put in our freezers in order to save substantial amounts of money or took out of our freezers from our previous adventures and what we cooked.

This week, the sales are a little slow around here, so I think next week, I’m going to do what I call “Eating straight from the freezer” which means unless I stumble across a rock bottom price on markdowns, my meat budget should be zero. I might do this for a few weeks, because grilling season is rapidly approaching and there are going to be a ton of great meat sales I might want to partake in (last year for my birthday in April, I bought two whole, uncut ribeyes for a song and had the butcher slice them for me). Eating from the freezer is also something I do every year around the holidays, not because I want to fill it up, but because it makes my meat budget zero.

I have a 22 Cubic foot, upright freezer that I purchased at the Salvation Army in Conway, Arkansas about 12 years ago. It cost $125. It does not self defrost, so every few months, I unpack everything, check dates, defrost, wipe it down, and repack, putting what needs used first in the front. I’m sure it uses more energy than a new one, but it is labeled Energy Star, so I don’t worry too much.

I really like to eat well. I like to have a lot of variety, as a family, we enjoy lots of different things, and most of my cooking is done from scratch. The thing is, though, that I run a pretty tight budget, so I’m constantly watching for sales and markdowns because I don’t like to pay full price. So I grab items when I find a great sale, and pack them for freezing. Then, regardless of what’s on sale that week, we have plenty of variety in our meals.

Now, I’m going to talk about convenience foods. Do you ever buy these little packs of diced ham?

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Great for casseroles, omelettes, and salads, right? But at $2.79 for 8 ounces, that translates to $5.58 per pound! You can get a whole ham for .99/lb if you just keep an eye on your sales and here’s a thing: The cheaper ones always go on sale around Easter and the holidays for a rock bottom price and you can catch the really expensive ones as markdowns around the first few weeks of February. If you have freezer space, pick up a couple and put them away. Then you have ham when you want it without having to pay full price.

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A few weeks back, I picked up a cute little boneless sandwich ham for  .99/lb. we ate sliced ham and veggies for a couple of meals, ham and eggs for breakfast, then I cubed the remainder in small bits, just like those pricey packs.

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I spread it out on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the freezer. After about half an hour, I took it out, stirred the pieces around with my hands, and put it back in till they were frozen. Then, I bagged them up and now I have about three or four pounds of ham for recipes readily available and it only cost me effort and .99/lb. this is something that is still doable even if your freezer is small. That bag doesn’t take up much space in the door. It’s a gallon sized, by the way.

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Whenever I run out of ham bits, I plan a day where I cook another and do the same thing over again. I should run out of these close to Easter, so already have that plan in place.

Just by doing this simple step yourself, you can save over $4.00 per pound on convenience ham.

What about you guys? What do you do to save money on convenience foods? I love hearing other people’s tips and tricks, because that’s how we learn!

Don’t forget to find me on facebook , set a bookmark, or subscribe to my emails in the upper right corner.