Cooking cheaply, easily, and yummy(ly)
I wanted to share some ideas of how I cook for a lot of people, but do it in a quick, easy, and inexpensive way.
First of all, I buy bigger items which tend to be cheaper. For example, I buy a whole frozen turkey which is usually the cheapest way to buy poultry. I also have two upright freezers that I can fill, so I will buy many turkeys when they go on sale, which typically happens around holidays.
I then make a Spanish turkey (and many times I just simply peel the wrapping off and stick the whole big frozen turkey in the roaster pan with the liquid). Later, when it is partially cooked, I pull out he inside stuff (on both ends) cut off excess fat and skin, and keep cooking it.
I keep the roaster pan on high until the meat is falling off the bones (even at the breast bone as well). Then I know it is truly done the way I like it. Tender, soft meat that is juicy and has the flavor of the juice cooked into the meat.
Sometimes, this first meal will be turned into Bolios /Tortas, which is a Spanish submarine sandwich or perhaps I will just make mashed potatoes, Spanish corn, maybe heat up some peas or green beans, make or buy some rolls, and so on. Almost like a Thanksgiving meal, except a turkey cooked this way is much moister and has more flavor.
After the meal, and when the turkey has cooled down, I de-bone the turkey. I take a couple of paper plates and begin to grab the bones, veins, fat, pieces of skin, etc. put them on the plates then throw them away. This does not go to the chickens or in the compost.
Turkey is 10 times easier to de-bone than a chicken as the bones are larger and it goes very quickly. Likewise, as I cooked it until the meat separated from the bones makes de-boning it much easier.
I put the pieces of meat in a large metal bowl, add some of the broth so that the meat stays extra moist and then put the rest of the broth into quart jars, wipe off the rims with a Clorox wipe, put a lid and rim on it, and either can it that night or stick the jars in the fridge to can another day.
I put foil on top of the metal bowl and the turkey goes into the fridge for future meals. Any of the following will do: Enchiladas, Chicken (Turkey) Quesadillas, Tamales, Bolios, Parmesan Chicken Pasta, or Chicken Spaghetti; as each of these uses pieces of chicken/turkey.
This way, one large turkey that costs around $20+ will provide 3-5 meals for 7 people or so. Not only is this a cheap way to feed your family, it is less work to de-bone a large turkey one time than to have to prepare the meat for every meal.
I also buy large hams (with the bone) when I can find them on sale. I bake them in the oven in a large baking dish. I put an inch of water in the bottom of the pan and add some brown sugar and pineapple to it for flavor. I then completely cover it with heavy duty foil so no air can escape, thereby, keeping in the moisture and ensuring a very moist and tasty ham.
This first meal, I do the same as the turkey…perhaps some Guatemalan New Potatoes, Spanish corn, or sweet potatoes and maybe green beans. Beets or peas. Whatever one feels like at the time. I must add though, that I always drain vegetables then add butter, salt, and pepper for flavor. I also add a little bacon grease to green beans, and sometimes the corn. Bacon grease and butter can make just about any vegetable taste better.
Then I do the same as the turkey. After the meal, I cut off all the remaining meat, cut it into small pieces, and put it into a freezer bag or bowl to use for future meals. The bone and skin I save in another bag to use with a pot of beans started from scratch for another meal.
I use the ham pieces for pizza, baked potatoes, ham and eggs, with Ramen Noodles, Guatemalan New potatoes with pieces of ham, perhaps a soup or sandwiches.
This is also when I would use hamburger in one of my Hamburger Recipes or when the children cook as it is easier for them to learn with the hamburger recipes as these are easier.