When I step up to the meat counter at the grocery store, I get a little nervous. There are dozens of choices, a wide range of prices, and a smiling person waiting patiently on the other side of the counter. I do my best to come into this situation prepared, but it can still be nerve wracking. This week and next week, I am going to write a little bit about how I make decisions about what to buy at the meat counter when I go grocery shopping.
Here are some of the things I do before visiting the meat counter:
- Check out what I have on hand. I like to see what I have on hand and then decide what meat I can buy to go along with it. Right now, I have a lot of potatoes from my family’s garden, so I would like to get some meat that I can put on the grill along with the potatoes.
- Check the grocery ads. I like to see what is available at a reasonable price before I go to the store. It does not mean I am locked into buying what is in the ads, but it does give me an idea of what meat might fit into my budget.
- Check my freezer space. I like to freeze meat when I can get it at a good price. The grocery store where I shop occasionally sells ground beef and chicken hindquarters in large quantities. These are meats my family eats a lot of, so, if I have the freezer space, I will buy the larger quantities at the discounted price and then freeze them in smaller portions for another week. Some grocery stores also sell meat bundles – these may be a good deal if you have the freezer space (and the money) available.
- Check my schedule. I like to take time to cook a great meal for my family, but time is not always on my side. The meat I purchase has to fit into my family’s schedule for the week. If it is going to be a busy week, I usually look for a whole chicken or a roast that I can cook on the weekend and then use the leftovers to make quick meals the rest of the week. If we have more time, I will plan to grill or try a new recipe.
Shopping at the meat counter can be intimidating, but planning ahead can help a lot. If you have suggestions for planning ahead that I missed here, please let me know in the comments.