Friday, April 4, 2014

What? Pork Chops Again?! and Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

Kroger has 8-ounce packs of cream cheese ten for $10, or $1.00 each. I don’t think you have to buy ten to get that price. Butter is two pounds for $5.00, or $2.50 a pound. Chicken drumsticks, thighs, and whole fryers are 99 cents a pound. That’s not a great price unless you specifically want whole birds or just the thighs, but it’s not bad if you do. “Crisp broccoli” is three for $5.00, or $1.67 each. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say how big the “crisp broccoli” is, so there’s no way of knowing whether it’s a good price. I sure wish they would be more precise with their descriptions. Eggplants are 99 cents each and green beans are 99 cents a pound. It’s making me think of summer produce at the Farmers Market! Check the eggplant to be sure it’s fresh. If it is, and it’s a reasonable size, that’s a good price. Sweet potatoes are 99 cents a pound, too. Whole cantaloupe are two for $3.00, or $1.50 each. These prices are good through next Wednesday, April 9.

Marsh has red, white, and black seedless grapes and red grapes with seeds for $1.47 a pound. Family pack assorted pork chops are 99 cents a pound. And fresh tomatoes are 97 cents a pound. These prices are good through next Wednesday, April 9.

Aldi has strawberries for $1.49 a pound. Anjou pears are $1.49 for a two pound bag, or 75 cents a pound. Pineapples are $1.49 each and mangoes are 69 cents each. Fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.69 a pound in family packs. These prices are good through next Tuesday, April 8.

IGA has fresh fryer leg quarters in family packs for 59 cents a pound through Sunday, April 6. Dole Classic Iceberg Salad and Classic Coleslaw Mix are both 99 cents for a 12-14 ounce bag, but only on Friday, April 4. Large eggs are 99 cents a dozen, but again only on Friday.

Do you remember the column a few weeks ago when I talked about buying herbs and spices and gave recipes for three very different yet very similar fish soups? They all had fish, tomatoes, onions and green pepper, but the seasonings made them very different. I’m going to do something sort of similar this week. I’m going to start by talking generally about different seasonings for pork chops, and then will give the regular three recipes or so for pork chops and menus using them. Sometimes you don’t need a new recipe as much as you just need a new idea for varying an old standby with some new seasonings.

Herbs and spices that go well with pork.
Fruit that goes well with pork.
Vegetables that go well with pork.
Sauces that go well with pork.

I haven’t given any recipes yet, but I hope there’s something here that made a light bulb go off for you. While I don’t think you can get away with serving pork chops every night by just changing the seasoning, sometimes all it takes is a small change to make something acceptable instead of boring.

OK, now for some recipes and menus. The first recipe, creatively titled PORK CHOPS, is seasoned with tiny amounts of several Indian seasonings. Be sure to buy them in tiny little dabs at Bloomingfoods and not in the jars or cans at a traditional grocery store.

The pork chops themselves are going to cost about $2.00. Let’s say 25 cents for the smidgeons of spices - it only comes to a total of one teaspoon. If you use drippings, they’re free. If you use vegetable oil, it will cost less than 10 cents. Let’s call it $2.35 altogether. That’s so cheap you can spend more than usual on side dishes.

The original recipe says to serve it with applesauce (in fact, the original name is Pork Chops and Applesauce), so let’s go with that. You want unsweetened applesauce, and not very much of it – only about a cup, or a fourth of a cup per person. Let’s say 50 cents for the applesauce. Sweet potatoes would be good. Two pounds would allow an 8-ounce sweet potato per person. Just bake the sweet potatoes in the skins; they don’t need any butter or anything else. Add coleslaw or other cabbage salad for about a dollar and you’ve got a hearty meal for under $6.00, or $1.50 per person.

This next recipe, EASY MUSTARD PORK CHOPS, is super easy. The author describes it as a recipe for those days when just getting dinner on the table seems like more than you can do. We all have those days, don’t we?

The only significant cost here is the pork chops, which will run you about $2.00. The mustard, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper won’t cost more than a dime.

If getting supper on the table is almost more than you can manage, you definitely won’t be spending any extra time on the side dishes. How about a couple cans of green beans ($1.00), half a head of lettuce cut in wedges (50 cents), two tablespoons of salad dressing per person or half a cup total (50 cents), with half a cantaloupe for dessert (90 cents). The whole meal can be prepared in less than half an hour for a cost of right about $5.00 or $1.25 per person, and no one will guess that it was that cheap and easy. Or have some broccoli instead of the green beans. It’s still well under $6.00.

The final pork chop recipe for SMOKEY CACAO NIBS ENCRUSTED PORK CHOPS. And just what are cacao nibs, you ask? Nibs are bits of cacao seeds that have been processed almost but not quite to the point of being ground for cocoa powder or made into chocolate bars.

I have to admit that I’m just guessing at the cost of the cacao nibs and smoked paprika. I haven’t bought them or checked the price in a long time. I’m going to guess about a dollar for the two of them. I think that’s probably high, but I don’t know. Let’s use that as an estimate anyway. The pork chops will run $2.00, the bacon grease would be free if you have it, or the butter would run about 35 cents. So let’s say $3.35 for the whole thing.

The picture on the blog shows the pork chops served with a baked sweet potato and something that I can’t identify. A pound and a half of sweet potatoes (six ounces per person, or about three-fourths cup) will cost $1.50, which leaves us $1.15 for something else. How about some fresh green beans (a little over half a cup of cooked beans per person) or, depending on how big the packages are, some fresh broccoli. Either way you should stay at right around $6.00, or $1.50 per person.

An old standby when it comes to sauce for pork chops (or just about anything else) is Campbell's Cream of Something Soup - Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken especially, but also Cream of Asparagus, Cream of Celery, Cream of Onion, etc. A can is likely to cost at least $1.00 and, like all processed foods, be full of chemicals and stuff that you don't really need. CREAM OF WHATEVER SOUP MIX makes a substitute for those cans of soup. (I guess recipes these days don't call for Campbell's soups as much as they used to. Back in about the 1960s, practically everything called for either jello or Campbell's soup. Usually not in the same recipe.)

And finally, a couple of recipes for pork seasoning mixes. You can make them up ahead of time and have them ready the next time you’re cooking pork chops, or other pork dishes.

No comments:

Post a Comment