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Tuesday
Sep172013

Sandwich Meat vs. Shredded Meat

 

 

My son loves Applegate® hot dogs.

I tell him he can't live on them.

He tells me otherwise.

I won't lie, I love Applegate, too. Their deli meats and hot dogs are so convenient. Applegate is a company with standards and guarantees their products to be free of added nitrates and nitrites, fillers, antibiotics, and hormones. That gives me some peace of mind. 

However, that peace of mind comes at a cost. For natural and organic products like Applegate, you fork over a pretty penny. 

With school in full swing I'm back to packing lunches and this year have been paying attention to how much each lunch is costing. Not surprising, the bulk of the cost is in the meat. Organic turkey deli meat is costing me over $1 a slice!

While cruising Whole Foods the other day, I decided to pass by the deli meats and head for the rotisserie chickens. I picked up a gluten-free, organic bird for a whopping 13 bucks because ... I wanted to try something.

Here is what I did with it when I got home ...

The chicken was an average 4-pounder and yielded roughly 3 cups of meat (about 17 ounces). After shredding the meat I packaged it into 9 2-ounce servings, tossed them into a container, and froze them (I also froze the carcass for broth making when the weather cools down).

Voila! Pre-packaged 2-ounce servings of protein!

My son loves the chicken as is, but if I feel like changing it up a bit I will include a side of barbecue or gluten-free teriyaki dipping sauce with it.

Anyhow, for what it's worth I thought I would share my little cost comparison with you. I will continue to buy Applegate—the price of their hot dogs (even the organic ones) will be hard to beat—but I really like the idea of buying a whole rotisserie chicken, shredding it, and packaging the meat into 8-10 unprocessed lunch servings. 

If you have money-saving school lunch tips, what are they? I am all ears!

Reader Comments (4)

I do this also! One step further, when I know I'm going to be home on a Sat/Sun I will buy 2 roasting chickens (hopefully on sale) and roast both at the same time in the oven and shred them both. They usually yield quite a bit more meat than the grocery store rotisserie chickens and the overall cost is less also. This gives me plenty of meat for lunches and also for soups, casseroles, chicken tacos etc.

September 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

We make our own corned beef and do something similar, thinly slicing and freezing. Organic Prairie sells wonderful organic deli meat online, and if you watch them for deals, you can sometimes get sandwich meat half off. It comes already frozen, we buy in bulk when its on sale and keep it in the freezer.

September 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

One word: "Torihamu" (chicken ham)

Before discovering Torihamu I used to poach large quantities of chicken breasts and freeze them sliced. But I found I always had to make a sauce of some kind to eat it with because despite flavoring the water it had an unpleasant chicken taste that I wanted to cover up.

Torihamu is homemade deli meat made out of boneless skinless chicken breast. It's one of those almost magical recipes to me. "Just Bento" has detailed instructions. I buy at least 6 chicken breasts from Costco so I get a large quantity done all at once. When they're cooked and cool I slice the breasts somewhat thin and wrap each breast in parchment and then put them all in a bag in the freezer. Since they're sliced it's easy to break off as many slices as I need and then defrost at room temp in about 10 minutes. Or they can be defrosted in the fridge in a few hours. My kids like it so much I give it to them with pancakes in lieu of ham.

3 tips: 1.Torihamu can be made with only salt, pepper, and no honey. It is tastier with the honey but it's still great without. While you can add spices to the chicken, I never add more than salt, pepper and honey and it tastes great. (Of course you could use any of your favorite sweeteners: agave, sugar, whatever.) 2.Desalinate the raw meat with 2-3 changes of water or it will be too salty to consume in large quantities.... or maybe try reducing the salt. (Haven't experimented with that yet.) 3.Tying up the chicken has not been worth it for me. The logs just break apart as I slice the meat. Now I just bake the breasts all spread out on a pan in the oven. Enjoy!

September 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoppertoe

Coppertoe .... THANK YOU for this great idea! I will head on over to Just Bento for the instructions. For those also curious I found it here: http://justbento.com/handbook/johbisai/torihamu-homemade-chicken-ham.

So excited to try this.

xoLexie

September 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

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