Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I tried the Vienna sausages this morning in scrambled eggs. They were ok, but nothing great. Good enough that I can eat them during a power outage or similar emergency, but not good enough that I'll be likely to raid my emergency supplies to eat them. I'll buy a bunch more of them for my emergency stash. They were 39 cents a can at Aldi, and, as I recall, had 2.5 carbs and 12.5 grams of protein.
I should probably look into some recipes using them. I wanted to start by seeing whether they were edible on their own. I seemed to remember that they were pretty nasty, but that was when I was in high school or maybe college, which was about 2/3 of my life ago! If nothing else, I figure that a can of Vienna sausages in a can of green beans would make an adequate meal. Sort of. Or maybe two cans of each.
Monday, March 03, 2014
The Pantry Challenge and all the storms and power outages and all (we lucked out here again) have gotten me thinking about stockpiling food for emergencies, both of the financial variety and the weather related variety. When I was at Aldi today I got a couple of sticks of summer sausage (the kind that doesn't need to be refrigerated) and a can each of Vienna sausages and luncheon meat (off-brand Spam). I'll keep the sausage in the freezer, mostly to keep it out of the way. I'll try the Vienna sausages and the luncheon meat and see how they are. They're surpisingly low carb, even though they are heavily processed. If they're ok, I'll get more to have on hand in case the power goes out. They should make a nice change from canned tuna, salmon and chicken.
When I went to get something out of one of the freezers a couple of days ago, I realized that it was almost empty, except for some freezer packs that I had put in there to help keep it cold in case the power went out. I was able to move everything out of the freezer, and turned it off. It's completely defrosted now, and I'm letting it dry out for a couple of days before moving stuff from the other freezer. I'll inventory what's out there as I move it. I'm surprised that I'm down to just one freezer, but I'm sure there's still a lot of food out there. A lot of old food.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Here's this week's blog entry. Some pretty good sales this week, for a change.
IGA has family packs of sirloin pork chops for 99 cents a pound. Select varieties of chunk cheese are $2.99 a pound (which is $1.50 for eight ounces, a common size for chunk cheeses). Select varieties of shredded cheese are three eight ounce packages for $5.00, or $1.67 for eight ounces or $3.34 per pound. “Bunched” broccoli and brunched cauliflower are both two for $4.00 or $2.00 each. I’m not sure what “bunched” means, and whether it’s a good price depends on how big they are. Tomatoes on the Vine are $1.99 a pound. IGA pasta is 88 cents a pound and 24-ounce cans of IGA pasta sauce are 88 cents each. These prices are good through next Sunday, March 2.
Marsh has strawberries, three one-pound boxes for $5.00, or $1.67 a pound. Not great, but better than they have been. Green or white asparagus (white asparagus is just green asparagus that was kept covered while it was growing so it didn’t turn green) is $1.77 a pound. Ground chuck is $2.79 a pound in the family packs. Whole boneless pork loins are $1.99 a pound. They average about six to nine pounds each, and Marsh will slice them for you for free. Sugardale hams are advertised for 69 cents a pound, but they were out of them last week and not giving rain checks, so don’t make a special trip without calling first. “Vine ripe” or Roma tomatoes are $1.49 a pound. 32-ounce (two pound) bags of frozen vegetables (the picture showed peas and green beans) are two for $5.00, or $2.50 each, or $1.25 a pound. These prices are good through next Wednesday, March 5.
Aldi’s best buys are, as usual, on produce. Avocados are 69 cents each. Roma tomatoes are 99 cents for 20 ounces, or 80 cents a pound. Grapefruit are 39 cents each. Bananas are 44 cents a pound. Cantaloupe are $1.89 each. If you like Mexican food, you might want to check out their ad at www.aldi.com. They have a lot of things advertised for making Mexican food, but I don’t know how good the prices for most things are. Just because they’re in the ad doesn’t mean that the price is anything special. These prices are good through next Tuesday, March 4.
Kroger has “medium size” fresh pineapple ten for $10.00, or $1.00 each. Asparagus is $1.28 a pound. Sour cream is ten 16 ounce (pint) cartons for $10.00, or $1.00 each. These prices are good through next Wednesday, March 5.
The pork chops are a good price this week, and they’re one of my favorite foods, so let’s work with them again. Don’t forget the other recipes for pork chops that have been posted here, too.
Sometimes I regret saying that I wouldn’t include “fillers” like potatoes and rice and such in my menus. Not because they’re cheap and make it easier to come up with complete meals at $1.50 or less per serving (which of course they are and they do), but because they go so well with some things. This recipe for CREAMY HERBED PORK CHOPS is an example. With all that gravy, mashed potatoes or rice would be great with it. But it’s not necessary! But it would be good. Sigh.
CREAMY HERBED PORK CHOPS
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
4 pork chops (about 2 lbs total)
1 t Montreal steak seasoning, or to taste (see copycat recipe below)
1/2 c butter (1 stick), divided
2 T flour, or as needed
1 T dried basil
1 t pepper, or to taste
2 c milk
Season pork chops on all sides with Montreal steak seasoning. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chops until browned and slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Add remaining butter to the pan as needed so that about 3 tablespoons of pan drippings remain when the chops are finished cooking. Transfer pork chops to a plate and return skillet to medium-high heat. Mix flour and basil together in a bowl. Stir pepper into skillet with the pan drippings and cook for 1 minute. Add flour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 2 minutes. Pour milk into flour mixture; cook and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 4 to 6 minutes. Pour gravy over pork chops and serve. (If your gravy turns out lumpy, try putting it in your blender and giving it a whirl. That should take care of the lumps, unless your gravy is too thick.)
Four pork chops plus the gravy should come to about $3.20. Serve it with a pound of the frozen peas ($1.25), a few sliced Roma tomatoes for color (60 cents for twelve ounces), and half a cantaloupe for dessert (95 cents) and you’ve got a big meal for $6.00, or $1.50 per person. Or have the pork chops and gravy plus a pound and a half of asparagus ($1.95 – you may need less, depending on how much of the stem you have to cut off), half a pound of sliced Roma tomatoes (40 cents) and half a pineapple (50 cents) for $6.05, which is just a nickel over my goal of $6.00 to serve four people.
COPYCAT MONTREAL STEAK SEASONING
2 T paprika
2 T crushed black pepper (or coarsely ground)
1 T kosher salt
1 T garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 T onion powder (not onion salt)
1 T crushed coriander
1 T dill
1T crushed red pepper flakes
Mix it all up and store it in a glass container in a cool, dry, dark place. Or just try the steak seasoning blend at (I think) Aldi. I think it’s about $1.25 for a big jar of the stuff.
I don’t cook with flour or breadcrumbs, so when I want to bread something I usually use either fine pork rind crumbs (I give them a whirl in my food processor until they’re very fine, though you could probably just put them in a plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a large round bottle works well. A wine bottle is just about the right size. It’s best if it’s full. If not, fill it with water so it has the extra weight. Just make sure it’s tightly corked! This works for making pie crust, too. Use ice water in the bottle, or chilled wine, when making pie crust. The chill of the bottle will help make your pie crust flaky.) or almond flour or coconut flour or just use all cheese. PARMESAN AND SAGE CRUSTED PORK CHOPS uses the traditional/normal way of breading pork chops with flour and bread crumbs, and adds some parmesan cheese to the mixture. The original recipe makes a point of using the real imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh sage, but regular parmesan and dried sage will work, too, and cost a lot less.
PARMESAN AND SAGE CRUSTED PORK CHOPS
(based on a recipe from cookinglight.com)
1 slice white bread, made into crumbs (about 1 cup)
(or use Panko or other commercially prepared crumbs)
1/4c (1 oz) grated parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh sage (or 1 t dried rubbed sage)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 c flour
1 T prepared mustard
1 large egg
4 boneless pork chops (from 2 lbs of bone-in chops) (see note below)
1-1/2 T oil
Place bread in a food processor; pulse bread ten times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. (Or use panko or other prepared crumbs.) Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Combine mustard and egg in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Working with one pork chop at a time, dredge pork in flour, shaking off excess. Dip pork into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat pork completely with breadcrumb mixture. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining pork, flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumb mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done. (It may take longer, depending on how thick your chops are.)
Note: The pork chops at IGA are not boneless, but you can make your own boneless chops. Just cut out the big piece of meat on each chop. Save the rest and cook them up as usual. Or just use the bone-in chops instead of boneless ones.
The pork chops themselves are $2.00, and another 40 cents for the cheese (at Aldi, five ounces for $1.99), so let’s say $3.00 total for the four chops with breading and all. Cook a package of broccoli until it’s not quite done and then finish it off in the skillet, where it should pick up all the pan juices and nice crusty bits from the bottom of the skillet. I’m assuming you’ll use the whole package, though I don’t know how big the packages of “bunched” broccoli are. Finish up with either half a cantaloupe (95 cents) or a pineapple ($1.00). Or have some sliced tomatoes with the pork chops and broccoli instead of having fruit for dessert. Or have a pound and a half of asparagus instead of the broccoli. Or a pound of the frozen veggies instead of the broccoli, and you can have tomatoes with the meal and still have fruit for dessert.
Another way to fry pork chops or other meat is to coat the meat with mustard and let the mustard act as the “glue” that makes the flour stick to the meat, instead of using egg to do that. This recipe for SPICY MUSTARD PORK CHOPS does that. It also uses more oil than the Parmesan and Sage Crusted Pork Chops, though the recipe for Creamy Herbed Pork Chops calls for even more fat, in the form of butter. One difference is that the butter is used in making the gravy, while the oil that the SPICY MUSTARD PORK CHOPS are cooked in is blotted off.
SPICY MUSTARD PORK CHOPS
(based on a recipe at mrfood.com)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 c spicy brown mustard
4 boneless pork chops (from 2 lbs of bone-in chops – see Note above)
1 c flour
1/2 c vegetable or canola oil
Combine first three ingredients. Spread mustard evenly on both sides of pork chops and sprinkle with the salt mixture. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chops in the flour. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden and done through. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
This will come to about $2.75 or so, maybe a bit less depending on how much the flour costs. For some reason, I’m thinking a green salad would go well with this. How about half a head of iceberg lettuce, a tomato or two, some bits of broccoli and cauliflower, and some ranch dressing. Or whatever kind of dressing you prefer. A homemade oil and vinegar dressing with some extra mustard would be good. The salad should run about $1.00. Pick one of the frozen veggies from Marsh, for $1.25 for a pound. Green beans go well with pork, though I don’t much care for the taste of frozen green beans. That brings us to $5.00 for the pork chops, salad and a hot vegetable. You could leave it at that and have an extra dollar to spend on another meal sometime, or you could add half a cantaloupe (95 cents) or a whole pineapple ($1.00).
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Spent $12.48 on a ham Sunday. Had to fight for it. They were out of the Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Ham and not giving out rain checks. I argued and the store manager on duty agreed to give me a different brand instead, and have it sliced for free to my specifications. The other ham was on sale for $1.99 a pound and I got it for 99 cents a pound. I don't usually make a fuss like that, but this was two weeks in a row that they had advertised it and not had it and said they wouldn't give out rain checks. Also spent $3.48 on sweet rolls, but I'm charging them to Mad Money budget since they aren't real food.
Today's food was much better. Much better for me and much better tasting, too, and much more satisfying. I'm glad I figured out what was going on.
Breakfast - eggs scrambled in coconut oil, with cheese
Lunch - salad of lettuce, tuna, dill pickle, splenda and mayo; carrot
Supper - Green Beans and Hamburger vaguely alla Carbonera (hamburger, onion, garlic, canned green beans, eggs, parmesan)
Snack - herbal tea with coconut milk and splenda
Get An Email Alert Each Time BUDGETMAW Posts