Lean meats are easy to make taste great...
Cook them up in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, butter, or ghee in a frying pan to boost fat content. Drizzle cheese over them. Make marinades that involve coconut milk or cream. Bake in the oven plain and then dump olive oil on after you take it out.
I really appreciate all of the good ideas. I think there will be a percentage of lean poultry added back into my diet that I will use good oils with, at least for a time, but it won't be the sum total of my poultry. A package of 5-7 frozen skinless/boneless breasts from Trader Joe's for $7 will certainly help my budget while I find other sources. A pastured chicken costs me over $20...The breasts may not have much flavor, but the good oils will help with that. I've a good source for frozen chicken necks and backs for broth, and I really like the idea of finding an ethnic grocer. That hadn't occurred to me and may finally give me consistent access to decent marrow bones. I find I REALLY like bone broth :)
Canned fatty fish is excellent, I would definitely recommend it. I might recommend frozen vegetables if you're having trouble with fresh stuff going bad. I don't know if that would save much money. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are actually a bit more expensive than the ones with the skin on, last time I checked. You could buy the skin on ones and peel the skin off yourself.
Not sure if you like boneless, skinless thighs, but they are usually a little less than the breasts. I have also found pork loin very inexpensive on sale on occasion, and since it is an amazing source of protein, I can only guess that most people's preparation of it keeps it tough. With loin, either cut it small and use for stir fry, or cook it low and slow covered in the oven.
Lean cuts beef or pork + liquid (water, tomato sauce, etc.) + a tablespoon of an acidic liquid (lemon juice, vinegar, and not needed if your liquid is tomato sauce) + 300-325 degree F oven + covered + over an hour cooking time = general instructions on cooking "lesser" quality meats.
There are also slow cooker stews.
To find out if whole chickens are really less inexpensive for you, weigh what you eventually throw out, and see what the per pound price comes to for the actually eaten product. I used to buy a turkey per month because it was so much less expensive than chicken January-October. Then one month, I weighed what I threw away, and went back to chicken.
I hadn't thought about chicken thighs, I like those as well....mmmmmmm bacon wrapped thighs :)
The only place I know with affordable skinless boneless chicken breasts is Trader Joe's - and [U]they don't shrink when cooked[/U], and are not those huge puffed up things you get at the regular store. I doubt other sources would be much less than my pastured chicken - but 5-7 breasts for $7 is pretty darn good. They have comparably priced thighs as well, so I will check it out. I will still get pastured chicken, just not so much of it. I like the idea of weighing what I toss and seeing which way really is less expensive. AND I am certainly going to look for an ethnic butcher. There is a huge market not too far from where I live that caters to many different ethnic communities - it might be a good place to start.
I go organic for certain veggies, but not for those things that I peel. I won't skimp on my greens though, just too much of a surface for pesticides/so forth to hide.
[FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=3]i can't find a chicken farm sufficiently close for pastured chickens, and i really cannot justify the expense of heritage, free-range birds at my farmer's market. (whose season is over now anyway.) we paid almost $30 for a bird that left 2 of us hungry after we demolished it. so, feh, on that.
pastured eggs we can get no problem.
i have access to a large number of various asian markets and get all sorts of oogly bits there for broth. chicken heads, feet and backs. duck heads and tongues. beef feet, shinbone, shank, oxtail, neckbone, tendon, etc.
as far as produce, most conventional farmers use systemic pesticides too -- not just spray. pick your poison.
i do buy lots of frozen spinach and artichoke hearts.[/SIZE][/FONT]
I get pastured chicken leg/thigh for $4.25 a lb, much less than conventional chicken breast. I buy pork roasts (pastured) at $6 a lb. Ground beef is $5.25 a lb as is ground pork. Have an egg meal or tuna meal one or two nights a week helps too.
Oh- the boneless, skinless chicken thighs at TJ's are really good. To be honest, I like them more than pastured chicken.
Try marinating chicken breast in herbs/chillies/lemon juice/olive oil over night, or other spices, to cram a little flavour into it. Personally, I go through a lot of lean chicken and pork a week - oh and eggs too, a good source of protein as is turkey breast.
I just started, but found out if I check the sell by date on the organic meat and go by the meat section the day before in the morning, often I find it marked 1/2 off. Got some lamb patties, drumsticks and boneless skinless chicken breasts all in the past two weeks.