Last week I went on one of my late night grocery trips. I go to my 24 hr grocery store at 3:00-4:30 AM because that's when all of the best mark downs happen (as the night crew restocks shelves, and marks down the items nearing the sell-by date or that have damaged packaging) and I can walk out with almost free food. I was armed with a sales ad and lots of coupons. One of the coupons that I had was a Catalina coupon from a previous trip. It was good for $2 off any meat or seafood purchase. It didn't have any restrictions on how much I had to spend to use the coupon.
After I finished most of the grocery shopping, I stopped by the meat department to look for some great bargains. I lucked out! There had been a lot of markdowns that night in the poultry department. I found a 4+ lb package of chicken quarters for $2.89. I used my $2 off coupon and got it for $.89, or around $.20 a pound.
That night I cooked up all of the chicken on the stove top. Once it was cooked through, I cut it into bite sized pieces. Over the next few days, this was used to make stir fry twice (for two) and once for wraps with lettuce, tomato and cheese (for two).
After that, I was left with the bones and skins. I put it all in a pot along with the onion skins and carrot peels left over from the stir fry, and covered with water. I covered and simmered for 3 hours. I strained the resulting broth and poured it into re-used plastic containers. I got around 1 1/2 quarts of broth. I put the broth into the freezer for later use in soup making. I picked through the bones and was able to salvage around a cup of meat. This meat was just bits and pieces, but that's perfect for soup. I put that in the freezer also. I will be able to use the broth and chicken, along with carrots, onions, celery and pasta, to make 4 servings of chicken noodle soup.
So for $.89, I got enough chicken to make 10 meals (5 meals for two), for a cost per serving of $.09. To keep my meat costs low, I first look for a great deal when purchasing the meat. Then I chose meals that use meat as simply an ingredient, rather than the main course. Meals such as stir-fry, soup, casseroles, omelets, wraps, and tacos can use meat for flavor but not as the main ingredient. Then I make sure that I don't waste anything.