Something I’ve been trying to do more is cooking in advance. What I mean by that is cooking one or two days a week for the full weeks menu. I’ve found a great way to do this is buying from the big, bulk stores (Costco, Sams, etc.). I noticed that when I did not have these items in my freezer, I was going to the store almost daily and this was costing a fortune. Usually due to the fact that I would purchase more than I planned. Having a bag of frozen chicken and fish as well as a big bag of frozen organic veggies gives me options. And by getting a little creative, you can come up with some great meals! With the cooked chicken, for example, I can make chicken soup, stir fry, chicken lettuce wraps or perhaps a chicken with rosemary and mushroom glaze. Having the food already cooked not only is saving me money, it’s also saving time. By not having to make so many trips to the store and cook five nights a week, my life is a little less stressful.
One thing I will probably not be buying from the big stores are the massive amounts of fresh veggies. Veggies do not do well sitting for periods of time so there is a process you must perform so they do not go bad. Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It obviously takes a little time so it may be worth it to just buy the big bag of frozen veggies and buy fresh when needed.
I made the trip to Costco just over two weeks ago and have not to go back since (I have had to make a couple trips to the grocery store for some small items). I bought a bag of chicken breasts, a bag of mahi mahi, pork tenderloins (they come in two packages with two in each pack), a bag of frozen organic veggies, blackberries, strawberries, celery, a BIG bag of little carrots and some hummus. And believe me, this goes a LONG way. I cut my grocery bill in half and have great paleo/primal meals daily. One night I cooked six chicken breasts and saved four for leftovers (it’s just my wife and me), another night I cooked two of the pork loins and they lasted three days. I only cook the fish I plan on eating that night because I don’t like fish sitting for any length of time.
Something else I HIGHLY recommend if possible. There are a lot of grocery stores out there that sell things such as nuts and seeds in bulk. You can save a LOT of money buying things like almonds or sunflower seeds this way.
I was never one to visit these big store because I though not only was it a waste of money buying bulk items, I also didn’t want to pay the membership fee. But having gone there a few times now, I’m beginning to think it’s well worth it.