Friday, March 22, 2013

Hot Bacon Potato Salad with Pork - Dinner on a Budget

Practically everyone is on a budget today, increased health insurance premiums and copays, cuts in pay, cuts in working hours, family members out of work, it can make it hard to feed a household well. All of us who can build and manage a responsible budget know you can't continue to pay for frills and "wants" when there isn't enough  money to keep the hard working fed.  That's basic economics.

I was at a local no-frills grocers a few weeks back and in line in front of me were two women,  a middle aged daughter and Mom.  Both were quite spry and having a good time, but their basket was FULL of prepacked food, full of chemicals and additives, pizzas, toaster pastries, frozen pancakes, canned biscuits, tiny yoghurts and jello, ready to nuke meat dishes and single serving sides of bread and veggies..

I had a few simple things, some cheap beef to be marinated and cooked, potatoes, bacon, a whole chicken (on special) eggs, flour, sugar, salt, any spice that needs replacing,  a huge tub of plain yoghurt I could add a teaspoon of jam to for my own "fruit yoghurt" in small containers. My biscuits and pancakes I'll bake from scratch, same for a loaf of bread. Soup will be bits and pieces left in other recipes, cooked in stock made out of the chicken carcass.  Veggies are bought in bulk for the freezer.  My bill was 1/3 of theirs and I guarantee I ate better, and healthier.  I'd take a bowl of homemade soup or stew and a couple slices of homemade bread with honey from a local hive over nuked processed dinner any day.


Don't rule out other than big box marts.  There's a small local grocer near home that has their own butcher and often he has specials that are a real value, and the meat is top quality.

Crockpot Pork with Hot Bacon Potato Salad

In this case, I snagged 3 "reduced"  big bone in pork steaks.  Yes, they were "reduced," but they're still good, reduced just means you need to cook or freeze in a couple of days and the savings are measurable.  The steaks were huge, enough meat for 3 hungry people, or 4 with additional sides, only $2.48.  Throw in a crock pot with fresh onion, soup and spices and cook all day while you work or take care of people and things that need tending to.

When it's just about done, cook some potatoes and toss in sweet/sour/savory hot bacon dressing. made with spices purchased when on sale and always on hand.  A  HOTR version of German Potato Salad.  The pork is so tender you can cut it with a spoon and  perfect with the bacon.  The meal got a "that's a keeper" from the menfolk.  Serve with bulk packed veggies and dinner  for 3 was on the table for $5 with the spices I had already on hand.

10 comments:

  1. I'm completely with you on the do-it-yourself instead of factory prepared stuff.I always feel good if I can make dinner for 2 or 3 dollars a serving by shopping smart and cooking it at home.I do enjoy to eat out,but I like the little bars and diners,so even that's not expensive.
    BTW in the past 2 weeks,I made your bourbon brownies(so chocolatey)and 'better than Mom's beans'.Both were excellent!!
    Billf

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  2. Once again your recipes look so good. We are doing that diet thing, but we do have some real food once in awhile, too. :)

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  3. With feeding 3 ravenous Monkeys, on top of DH & I, it pretty much rules out prepackaged foods. Looks like I may have to investigate the latest HOTR recipe.

    Tonight's dinner will be beef and barley soup.

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  4. billf - I'm glad you liked the two recipes. Hope this storm that's supposed to blow across here tomorrow doesn't dump a bunch of snow on you and your bride. If so, hunker down and cook something nice

    Lois - I'll make something else this weekend, not sure what, always fun to experiment.

    Monkeywrangler - if I'd had it, I'd have sliced up a half an apple and thrown it in with the pork. Just an idea. I think the kids will like the pork, not sure how they'll be with a tangy potato salad, but the men in my family loved it.

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  5. That looks good. With everyone here dieting, the emphasis is on foods like this.

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  6. Whenever you're out stocking the freezer with prepared meals, check the bulk chicken part prices at [slogan: "The Supermarket Low Price Leader"]. With a bit of creativity, we get a few dinners out of the $5 tray of thighs, quarters, or drumsticks. Quality has never been an issue with anything we've bought from the meat dept. there.

    I've mentioned this before, but the rapid expansion of that regional "take and bake" pizza chain really bugs me because I know that a lot of the people I see going in there are using food stamps and not even trying.

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  7. Brigid-No harm done,but you might have mistaken me for someone else.I have no bride,and I live in North Carolina.We never get a bunch of snow dumped on us.(I'm originally from Buffalo,so I know a bunch of snow when I see it)Also,I didn't mention it in the first comment,but I made your corn bread with honey in it to go with the baked beans-it was a "Brigid masterpiece dinner"
    Billf

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  8. bill F - sorry about that. I have a Bill F. who is friends with me and though he doesn't comment often, usually preferring to chat in person when he and his wife are in the area, I thought it was he. Still so glad you tried the recipes!

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  9. The Springfield Butcher will sell me a whole processed deer for $100. That's enough to keep us in delicious and healthy venison for 4 months or so, with some chicken here and there.

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  10. I love the "reduced" meats. It's funny, I can buy that out of the standard meat bin or I could step over and pay a premium for "Aged Beef" from the counter.

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