I mentioned before that grocery stores have selling cycles for their meat…depending on the store, it runs 6,7 or 8 weeks before they repeat. If you don’t believe me, you can save the weekly adds for your store of choice and check it out yourself.
HOW does this knowledge help you? it can cut the amount you spend on meat by 50-70%! Let me show you how:
Easter is this weekend, no surprise if you have been watching the calendar — but Ham is the hot sale item of the week. Most stores will have a deal where it runs about $.88 a pound versus the normal $3-5! Don’t just look at this week while you are making the grocery list — plan ahead a little as it freezes beautifully!
First of all, I prefer a bone – in ham. That ham bone, when boiled down makes a fantastic base for soups like bean or split pea. That flavor simply can not be created with soup base! My Easter hams (we cook 2-3 ‘cuz we have a large family) will all be bone in and then the bones will be frozen after any excess meat is trimmed off.
I like a couple of no-bone hams to prep for future meals. Most stores, if they have a deli inside them, will take the ham and cut it for you – no extra charge. I usually get 3-5 hams
Ham steaks – take TWO hams and have them make nice half inch slices that are easy to pan fry for a quick supper or great for a brunch. One of the hams you will dice the slices when you get home, package in 2 cup portions and freeze. You now have diced ham ready for omelets, to add to soups, to add to scalloped potatoes, and more!
Sandwiches – take one ham and have them slice a little thinner and trim to English Muffin size for those quick and easy ham/egg/cheese sandwiches…or great for lunch meat!
Shaved – take one ham and have them shave half of it thin. This is great for everything from wrapping around fresh asparagus (deeply discounted right now too!) and baking to making the appetizers where you spread cream cheese on it and wrap around a dill pickle spear and slice. Keep in mind that Deli shaved at the store is usually $4.99 a pound!
Grind it – This is where you use the other half of the ham that the deli didn’t shave! One of my favorite and SUPER easy to make is this sandwich spread: coarsely grind up 1# of ham and dump in a large bowl. Then grind up 1/2 # of cheddar cheese and add to that same bowl, then grind 1 large jar of Milwaukee Dill or Sweet pickles (drained first) and add to that bowl. Grab a spatula and stir all three items to evenly combine. You can either freeze this mix to finish later or go right ahead and stir in Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise until it is the consistency you like. It is a very flavorful and easy sandwich spread that even doubles as an appetizer in a pinch when put on crackers! I gave you the ratio, it is SOOOOO easy to make double, triple batches and freeze, but you must only freeze the mix before you add the white stuff…it won’t freeze well if you have the white stuff already added.
Just look – we have ham ready for Easter and added 4 hams to the freezer, all ready for future meals. I find the average ham is 4 pounds..so that is 16 pounds of ham/meat for $14.08 instead of (at $4/#) $64.00 — you saved at least $50!!
My store has an 8 week cycle which means ham will be on sale only six times this year…six times, saving $50 = another $300 saved in a year!
Ham dinner – ham and eggs – soups – scalloped potatoes with ham – omelettes – egg sandwiches – lunch meat – ham mornay – ham and asparagus bundles (topped with hollandaise sauce!) – ham pickle roll ups – sandwich spread – canapes and ore for just $14.
What do you like to do with ham? Share with us!