Butcher Shop Haul and Meat Prep for Third Trimester!
Putting wholesome meals on the table can be quite a challenge in the third trimester of pregnancy. Therefore here is the butcher shop haul and meat prep I did at the end of my second trimester, hoping to make cooking and meat handling easier when third trimester comes!
Belated Baby journey
I have posted my First trimester and Second trimester diary on the blog, as well as our gender reveal cake. For all the post related to family, pregnancy and motherhood, you can find them all and follow along here!
Third trimester meat prep focus
As baby grows quickly in the womb during the third trimester, it creates a great demand of macro and micro nutrients from the mom. In particular, higher iron intake became crucial to reduce the risk of anemia. While non-heme iron can be found in vegetables, sourcing good quality meats helps provide the most absorbable form of iron.
With this increase in meat consumption, it raised the question for the cost. My goal was to stay as cost efficient as possible while not compromising on meat quality and variety. By shopping for 1 to 2 months of meat at once, I was able to take advantage of bulk buying options at a cheaper unit price.
A budget and good quality source
Where do you shop for meat regularly? Living in Markham, Ontario, we are fortunate to have a butcher shop nearby that sells quality antibiotic and hormone-free meats. Check out their website if you are in the area and interested in visiting the store!
For the shoppers who are used to supermarket packaging of meats, the quantity available for purchase at a butcher shop can be intimidating. While they do provide grocery store sized packaging, the best value always come in large quantity. I am talking about 10lb of ground beef, 10lb of chicken wings and even quarter of a cow kind of portion here.
This is where planning and meat prep comes in. I highly recommend setting off the butcher shop trip with a plan. What and how much are you going to buy, how are you going to portion them, and any ways you plan to pre-season or even cook them before freezing for the months’ storage.
Be prepared to spare some hours cutting, portioning, marinating and cooking the day of, until couple days after the butcher shop trip. Divide and conquer is the way to go, you can do it!
Meat prep part I: Bone-in chicken breasts x4
Compared to chicken thighs, I found chicken breasts are easier to debone with a good amount of meat for various quick cooking recipes. Remember we are preparing for third trimester cooking here so we want to prevent standing for long in the kitchen as much as possible then!
Buying chicken breast bone-in may mean more work to debone. However, it comes in a fraction of the cost compared to the boneless counterparts. You can even use the bones for making bone broth, which is so rich in minerals that makes nourishing treat!
Deboning a bone-in chicken breast will also yield the otherwise pricey yet tender chicken fillets. Perfect for quick stir-fry and making breaded chicken tenders!
As for the chicken breast meat, I sliced them across to reduce the thickness and diced some of them. This allows the meat to be cooked evenly in a shorter time, and absorb the marinate for better flavor throughout.
Meat prep part II: Bone-in Pork Chop x4
I have a love-hate relationship with the bone-in pork chop from the butcher shop. They are very economical, plus it goes on sale every so often! However, it is just so thick that it takes time and extra work in marinating to make them tender and well-done. Check out my thick-cut Hong Kong-style pork chop on rice with tomato sauce recipe!
This time I took a different approach to minimize the cooking time needed, as well as getting the most out of the thick bone-in pork chop pieces.
The pork loin parts were cut out along the t-shaped bones, then thinly sliced into pork chop cutlets for quick pan-frying. Any excess pieces were cut into strips for quick stir fry. Lastly, the bone part along with the dark meat were salted for making pork bone congee. YUM!!
Meat prep part III: Pork belly x1 slab
This was an adventurous one for me. Knowing that I will be in my final stretch (literally) of my pregnant tummy, collagen from food source would be great to have more. Collagen can increase skin elasticity, thus reducing the likelihood of stretch marks developing. In this case, it will be the skin on the pork belly for the rich collagen!
With a sharp knife to cut through the pork skin, I was able to portion them into slices for stir fry, cubes for Taiwanese stewed pork belly, and two larger pieces for Cantonese roast pork and Japanese cha siu.
Meat prep part IV: Ground beef x10lbs
Last but not least is the 10lb pillow of ground beef we got from this butcher shop haul! Honestly this is the largest portion of ground beef I have ever purchased in my life. However you really cannot beat the great bulk purchase price and the high iron content it brings.
Remember I said divide and conquer is the key? With the 10lb package of ground beef, the first thing I did was to divide them into 2lb and 1lb portions in freezer bags. I also wrote down a plan on how I want to use the portions for to get the most variety out of them.
So that’s a wrap for the highlight of my meat prep efforts in preparation for third trimester cooking. Hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned a thing or two from my experience!