Friday, July 11, 2014

Pork Loin and the Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

Finally! Some good prices! Kroger did the best this week, with good prices on produce, meat and dairy. I’ll get to the grocery store ads in just a sec, but don’t forget to get your Market Bucks for the Farmers Market and buy your produce there for half price! Applies to those with food stamps only.

Kroger has blueberries for 99 cents a pint. Peaches, plums and nectarines are all 99 cents a pound. Four pounds of strawberries are $4.99, or $1.25 per pound; smaller boxes cost more per pound. Bananas are 39 cents a pound. Sweet corn is 10 ears for $3.00, or 30 cents an ear. It’s Indiana sweet corn. Zucchini and yellow squash are 99 cents a pound. Milk is $1.88 a gallon, limit two. Eggs are $1.29 a dozen. Kroger “singles” (processed cheese) is $1.99 for 16 slices, but it doesn’t say how big the slices are. Chicken of the Sea canned tuna is 69 cents for a 5-oz can. Boneless pork loin is $1.77 per pound, limit two packages. Prices are good through next Wednesday, July 16.

Marsh has boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 per pound. 9-ounce smoked sausage is four for $5.00, or $1.25 each. Prices are good through next Wednesday, July 16.

IGA has peaches for 99 cents a pound. Tomatoes on the vine are $1.49 a pound. Cabbage is 49 cents a pound. Salad dressings are 99 cents for a 16-ounce bottle. Hamburger and hotdog buns are 99 cents for a package of eight. Ground chuck is $2.99 a pound in packs of three or more pounds. Prices are good through Sunday, July 13.

Aldi has blueberries for 99 cents a pint (two cups or about 12 ounces). Red grapes, peaches, plums and nectarines are all $1.98 for a 2-pound package, or 99 cents a pound. Mangos are 39 cents each and avocados are 69 cents each. Cherries are $1.99 a pound. Bone in chicken thighs are 89 cents a pound in packs of three pounds or more. Prices are good through next Tuesday, July 15.

By the way, here are some equivalent measurements for some of this week’s produce. A “medium” tomato weighs about 6 ounces half a cup of finely diced tomato, or about a cup of chopped tomato, or about one and a quarter cups of sliced tomato. (There’s about a tablespoon of tomato in a cherry tomato, which weighs about one ounce.) A pint (two cups) of blueberries is about 12 ounces. A “medium” peach weighs about 3 to 4 ounces. You get about two-thirds of a cup of chopped peaches or three-fourths of a cup of sliced peaches from one peach. That’s about two and half cups of either chopped or sliced peaches per pound. These are all from .

With pork loin for $1.77 a pound at Kroger, let’s see what we can do with that this week. I don’t think I’ve talked about pork loin in a long time. Check out pork loin and pork chop recipes here and here, or find a list of all the pork recipes under the MEAT heading here.

You can either cook pork loin as roasts or you can slice it up (or have it sliced up) as chops. You’ve heard of pork loin chops? That’s just the pork loin that’s been cut into slices. The loin that’s on sale is boneless, so you’ll end up with boneless chops. You can use a recipe that calls for bone-in pork chops, but the cooking time will be a bit different. Of course, you can also cut it up into cubes or chunks if that’s what your recipe calls for

A bit of quick math. A pound and a half is 24 ounces, or six ounces each for four servings. That’s plenty; in fact, the nutrition gurus would tell you that you only need 3 ounces. (I can’t help but wonder how much they really eat themselves.) If you’re like me, when you cook a two pound roast when you only need a pound and a half, it’s all likely to be eaten. Ask the butcher if he’ll cut the package into one or more one and a half pound roasts and the rest into roughly six ounce chops. If he won’t, or if you forget, you can do it yourself, but the butcher may be more accurate about the weights and will probably be better at cutting chops that are of uniform thickness.

CUBAN PORK is sort of like Mexican  carnitas, or at least like some recipes I have seen for carnitas. The cubes of pork are cooked in a mixture of fat and liquid (sour orange juice in this case, or a mixture of orange juice and lime juice), and then they fry in the fat when the liquid has simmered off. They end up crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. A batch costs about a bit less than $4.00 if you use orange juice and lime juice. Add corn on the cob and coleslaw (either your recipes or one of ours) and it comes to just $6.00.

Pork and blueberries is a trendy combination, and with blueberries on sale again this week (99 cents a pint at both Kroger and Aldi) as well as the pork loin at Kroger, it seems like I should include a recipe. Personally, though, I’d rather eat my blueberries on their own. Not that I have anything against blueberries and pork, but if I have just a limited number of blueberries (aka a limited budget), I’d rather have them separately. I almost decided not to include a recipe, because most of the recipes I found either called for frozen blueberries or else frozen blueberries would work just as well. No point wasting fresh blueberries when frozen ones will do. But then I found this recipe for GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH BLUEBERRY SALSA and decided it was worthy of fresh blueberries. (The BLUEBERRY SALSA should be good with chicken or turkey, too.) I had to guess at the price of some of the ingredients, but I think the pork chops and salsa will come to something like $5.40, which doesn’t leave much room for anything else. I’m going to include corn on the cob (grilled if you’re grilling the pork chops, boiled or nuked if you’re not) anyway, which brings the total to about $6.60, which is a bit higher than I like. Make my 50 Cent Breakfast (below) or another of my BUDGET BREAKFASTS and it will bring the total cost for the day back down to where it belongs. 

If you’re looking to cook the pork loin as a roast, try HERB ROASTED PORK LOIN. I don’t know whether it would work to use fresh herbs, but it seems a shame to use dried ones this time of year. (Do you grow your own? They’re easy to grow. I have a small planter with a variety of herbs that I move outside in the summer and inside in the winter.) Anyway, there’s practically no cost to this other than the pork itself, which will run about $2.65. Let’s call it an even $3.00, with the garlic and oil. (Don’t forget that it’s usually cheaper to buy herbs and spices in bulk at Bloomingfoods rather than in the little jars at the grocery store.) Serve it with ZUCCHINI/TOMATOTOSS ($1.40) and twelve ounces of peaches (about a cup and a half) mixed with a cup and a half of blueberries (total cost of the peaches and blueberries - $1.50) and have a summery meal for four for less than $6.00.

50 Cent Breakfasts

With milk on sale for $1.88 a gallon, a cup of milk (and thus a cup of yogurt) costs 12 cents. A pound of peaches (99 cents) makes about two and a half cups of chopped peaches at 25 cents for a little more than half cup. So a cup of yogurt and a bit more than half a cup of peaches costs less than 40 cents, even if you decide to sprinkle a bit of sugar on it. Or you can make a PEACH SMOOTHIE for about 45 cents.

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