This is more of a discussion question than an actual recipe: what are your favorite tips for cooking good food while also (1) keeping the food bill down or (2) making the cooking quicker and more convenient? Discuss. Use examples. (That's my short stint in teaching composition coming through).
I'll start. Our local Walmart sells a 10 lb bag of chicken legs for under $5. That's the thigh and drumstick still in one piece, with bones and skins still very much in evidence. They're not even the handy Individual Quick Frozen variety. Okay, they're so cheap I can't pass them up, but they're obviously inconvenient.
So lately (now that my oven is available again), I buy this package, dump the pieces in a big ol' mixing bowl with marinade and somehow manage to shove it into my fridge. Sometime later when I remember, I throw it all in the oven and cook until the meat is falling off the bones. I usually have baked chicken with potatoes that night for dinner, which for the two of us barely makes a dent in the amount of chicken produced. So I let the rest of it cool, pull the meat off, and keep enough for three or four individual meals in freezer bags in the freezer.
I guess that is a lot of steps, but it doesn't seem like extra work, and then you've got chicken ready to throw into just about anything (chicken quesadillas at the drop of a hat). Someday I guess I'll have to weigh the meat and compare it to the weight of the bones, skin, gristle, fat and all that gets thrown out. What is the real price per pound here?
Oh, and I have to mention that you can drain off the fat and keep the juices. Is that the stock or is stock something different? Anyway, it gels in the fridge (really, like jell-o), and you can put a couple of spoonfulls into lovely sauces.
Now it's your turn. What do you do?