Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days: Day 7 - Are you Chicken?

If this is your first visit I welcome you to my little corner of the world!  You might want to start at the introduction of this series.  It explains what 31 Days of Change is, and has links to each day's post as they occur.  Just click on the 31 Days to Slash Your Budget Painlessly button at the top of my sidebar on the right.

The debate rages.  Is it cheaper to by bone-in or boneless chicken breasts?  Did the chicken or the egg come first?  That second one is easy.  Genesis 1:20-21: And God said,...let birds fly above the earth...So God created...every winged bird according to their kind...  

Notice it didn't say let the eggs fly above the earth.  Imagine that mess!  Now that first question is a little trickier.  After much research...about an hour on google...and many years in my kitchen, I think I have the answer.  It depends.  

Go ahead, say it.  "That's a lot of help."  Seriously though, it depends on the size of the breasts, and price.  If the bone-in breasts are big (I got some huge ones recently that I had to cut both sides of the breast in half, yielding 4 servings), then you will have a higher meat to bone ratio.  Always check the size.  I once bought a 10# bag of bone-in breasts, but when I got it home and checked, the pieces were scrawny, with a very low meat to bone ratio. 

Here's what Flyfish had to say at the Chowhound forum:
"In terms of converting skin-on, bone-in breasts to skinless, boneless - I've checked on the yield with a kitchen scale after doing my own several times, and it hovers right around 50%, so if boneless, skinless is what you're looking for, anything less than double the price of whole breasts is a good deal. Flyfish comment at

This figure seemed to be echoed in a couple other places online, so generally if the price of boneless is more than twice the price of bone-in, go with the bone-in.  A couple of other factors to consider are that bone-in are simply more tasty than boneless.  The bone and skin add taste that you just can't get with boneless.  Also you have all those bones to make soup or chicken broth with. 

When chicken breasts are at their lowest price, which around here has been .99 cents for bone-in and $1.99 for boneless, I stock up.  I buy most of my meat at a local IGA that is famous around here for it's meat counter.  When they have a good sale, I buy at least one, but usually two 10# bags of chicken, whether it's breasts or leg quarters.  I remove some of the breasts from the bones, and leave some on for different recipes.  Any bones I usually put right on the stove to boil for broth.  You can also put them in a bag and freeze them for later.

The savings add up when you consider the bones and the leftover bits of chicken on them.  I like to boil them just until the meat is cooked,  take the bones out and pull any meat off.  Refridgerate or freeze the meat for soup or other recipes, and put the bones back in to boil for a couple of hours.  You can throw a whole carrot and celery stalk and a small onion in if you like to flavor the stock.

My family loves homemade chicken soup, so I usually use the meat for that, and make a large pot that provides us with two meals.  Plus I get enough extra broth equal to at least two 15 oz cans.  Just refrigerate the broth overnight, skim the fat off the next day, then either use or freeze.

So, assuming boneless breasts are .99 cents, and bone-in are $1.99 I would buy the bone-in and get not only the meat, but also another couple meals of soup, plus at least two, cans worth of broth.  It's hard to put a figure on this, but if an average main dish costs me $5 to feed a family of 4, and 2 cans of chicken broth cost .67 cents ( sale in our paper this week). Then I'm saving $10 for two meals plus $1.34 for chicken broth, or $11.34 (for each 10# bag).  I do this at least once a month.

Savings per month - $11.34
Savings per year - $136.08

*Note - I am just comparing chicken breasts here.  There's a whole other discussion over whether whole chicken versus breast is a better buy.  Again, it all depends, but it's tired, I'm late (I seriously just typed that) - I need to go to bed!

Before I do, scroll down to see the tally, then if you are interested, scroll back up and watch this video, showing how to quickly and easily debone chicken breasts.

How to debone a chicken breast

If you are benefiting from this series, I’d love it if you would grab my button from the top of my sidebar.  I will be back with another money saving tip tomorrow that could save you an average of $? per year - I'm still working on it ;)   I will keep up a running tally of my savings at the bottom of each new post. Just scroll down to the bottom to see.  Come on back now y'all...ya hear?

My tally so far:

1 comment:

  1. I wish I lived in your neck of the woods! My sales around here are NEVER 99 cents or $1.99!! :( So good for you for being a great shopper with great stores! :)


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