Friday, March 7, 2014

Something Fishy, and the Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

Kroger has meat on sale this week. Bumble Bee Tuna is 59 cents for a 5 ounce can. Boneless pork loin is $1.89 a pound. Don’t forget you can slice it into boneless pork chops if you want to. Ground beef (73% lean, in three pound chubs for $5.97) is $1.99 a pound. They also have celery for 99 cents a head and Roma tomatoes for 99 cents a pound.

Marsh has iceberg lettuce for 99 cents a head and frozen whole bone-in turkey breasts for 99 cents a pound.

Aldi has four-pound bags of oranges for $1.99. Strawberries are $1.49 for a one-pound box. Grapefruit are 39 cents each. Pineapples are $1.49 each. Bananas are 44 cents a pound. Cantaloupe are $1.89 each. Nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt is $1.79 a quart (32 ounces).

IGA has Roma tomatoes for 99 cents a pound.

I expected corned beef and cabbage to be on sale this week, but they’re not. Well, Aldi and Marsh both have corned beef for $1.99 a pound, but there should be better prices next week for St. Patrick’s Day.

The best deal this week is probably the hamburger, but it’s still pretty expensive when you consider how much shrinkage there is. Besides which, I can’t think of anything special to do with it and didn’t find any recipes that looked enticing. Anyway, you probably have lots of hamburger recipes of your own.

So it looks like we’re back to the Swai (catfish) fillets at Kroger. They still had them for $1.29 a pound when I was there about a week ago. That’s their regular price, and it’s about half the cost of the next cheapest fish anywhere in town. It’s easier to use fish fillets or steaks unless you’re making fish soup, but for the difference in price, I’m willing to fiddle with the nuggets.

When I lived in Northern California, I lived right on the coast. I could see the tops of the fishing boats from my office windows. Salmon was big around there, both with sports fishermen and commercial fishermen. I was fortunate to have some friends who were avid (and successful!) salmon fishermen, and I ate a lot more of it than I would have if I had had to buy it. My favorite way of cooking the salmon was my friend’s method of marinating it in soy sauce, brown sugar and fresh ginger. I suppose it’s sort of a teriyaki treatment. It works for other fish, too, as in this recipe for SWAI NUGGETS A LA HILDA AND HOWARD. I’m not sure how much the soy sauce, brown sugar or ginger cost, but I’m guessing that the total cost of this is about $3.40.

Something that Hilda used to serve with the fish was STIR-FRIED CARROTS, BROCCOLI AND MUSHROOMS. Unfortunately, none of them are on sale this week, but maybe you have some left from when they were? Anyway, the fish is cheap enough that we can have the veggies even though they’re not on sale. At non-sale prices, the vegetables will run about $2.50, for a total cost of about $5.90, or just under $1.50 per person for four people. 

If you’ve ever watched Chopped on the Food Network, or other shows of that type, you’ve probably heard that fish and cheese just don’t go together. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Scott Conant criticize a contestant for using fish and cheese in the same dish. Fortunately, we’re not on competing for $10,000 so we can do whatever we want! BAKED COD WITH BOURSIN HERB CHEESE calls for both Boursin (an expensive herbed cheese – see the copycat recipe to make your own) and Parmesan. If you make your own Boursin herbed cheese, this will cost about $4.50. Half a head of lettuce is about 50 cents, and say another 25 cents for some dressing. Half a pineapple would be another 75 cents, bringing the total to $6.00, or $1.50 per person for four people. Half a cantaloupe instead of the pineapple would be 95 cents, bringing the total to $6.20, or $1.55 per person.

As far as I can tell, I haven’t talked about one of my favorite ways to fix fish. Don’t know why I haven’t. It’s good and easy and cheap. It’s sort of like Fish Florentine, which is a fancy name for fish with spinach. There are two steps to it. Well, three, I guess. You make CREAMED SPINACH and you make TILAPIA WITH GARLIC BUTTER (except at my house it’s more likely to be Swai nuggets than tilapia fillets) and then you combine them to make GARLIC BUTTER FISH WITH CREAMED SPINACH. The fish will cost about $3.10 and the creamed spinach will cost about $3.00, so it will come to about $6.10 for four servings, which is just barely over my goal of $6.00, or $1.50 per person. Oh, well. If you use just 1 pound 15 ounces of fish, you’ll come in under $6.00. Chances are the packages of fish won’t come in at exactly two pounds anyway. The servings are big, and you don’t need anything to go with it. That’s the way I eat it anyway. Just a big serving of fish with creamed spinach.

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