Friday, January 3, 2014

Open Up Your Mouth and Feed It

Warning!  Warning!  Obligatory food post!  I'm trying to become a better blogger.  I read blogs.  Lots of blogs.  One thing they all have in common is, from time to time, each author shares a food post.  How do you become better?  Mimic the experts. Writing about dinner is out of character for me.  However, I probably spend more time focused on food, specifically how to stretch my food dollar to feed this family of 5, than I do any other motherly duty.

Being a survival mom means I do what it takes to get through a day.  It doesn't mean that I cater to every want my children have.  One of my strictest rules is that I will not cook multiple entrees at each meal to satisfy everyone.  I've heard of mothers doing this. What? WHAT?!!! Who has time for that?  Like our sweet technological, everything-at-your-fingertips, society isn't making it nearly impossible to raise a bunch of entitled brats already. Therefore, this mama builds (I like that term.  My dear friend, Celia, uses it.) one meal and my kids know they better eat it. 

My favorite holidays are New Year's Day and St. Patrick's Day.  Maybe I like them so much because my favorite meals are traditionally served on those days.  I love pork and sauerkraut.  Love, love, love.  We had to delay our traditional meal this year because I was ill and needed a few days to handle the smell of it.  Most people bake a pork roast and surround it with sauerkraut (often making the mistake of putting brown sugar in their kraut) and let it roast in the oven or slow cooker for hours.  It's delicious, but when every dollar counts,  a pork roast may not be in the budget.  Here is what I do.

I purchase bone-in pork chop and hope to find a super good deal.  Last week, I purchased a 1.3lb package of chops for $2.86 at Aldi.  I found a large can of sauerkraut for $.98 at our local IGA.  I cut the bones out of the chops and cubed the meat.  In a 3 quart casserole dish, I put the cubed meat in a pile in the middle of the dish.  Next, I chopped one apple and 1/3 of a fresh onion and arranged the pieces around the pork.  After rinsing and draining the sauerkraut, I smothered the entire dish in it.  Finally, I poured a 12 oz. can of light beer, I'd been saving to use for cooking, over the entire entree and covered the dish.  I cooked it in a 400 degree oven for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, I also peeled, chopped and boiled 1/3 of a 10lb bag of potatoes. We enjoy mashed potatoes with our pork&kraut. I purchased the entire 10lb bag at Aldi for $1.49! I paired the meal with green beans, canned from our garden, and fresh fruit we already had in the fridge.

The total cost of our meal was about $4.34.  It made enough to feed the 5 of us AND have enough left over for John to take pack for lunch at work.  I think $4.34 is beyond awesome.

Shopping smart, by using coupons and taking advantage of Aldi prices, and finding cheaper entree alternatives help me meet our weekly $75 budget (which includes paper products, cat food/litter, and toiletries) and I'm often under it.

Here's a pic of my pork and sauerkraut.  It doesn't look particularly special, but it was so, so delicious. Yes, I draped the background with flannel.  Doesn't this seem like a flannel-esq meal?  It's warm, filling, and down-home comforting just like flannel.

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