Posted in Main Dishes, Recipes

Pork Stir Fry ($.94 per serving)

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We are trying to stick to a $500 a month Budget for our family of four. You can read more about our budget plan in my post Feeding a Family of 4 on $500 a Month.

Cheap and Easy Stir Fry Pork

Pork Loin (1 pound) $2.22

2 cup White rice (uncooked measure) ($.50)

1 Bag Frozen Snap Peas ($.99)

1 red Pepper ($.53)

1 /2 onion ($.08)

2  cloves Garlic ($.08)

1 table spoon olive oil ($.10)

1/2 jar Hoi Sauce ($1.15)

 

Total Cost $ 5.64

This made Enough for all four of us for dinner and for 2 servings of leftovers for mike and I for lunch the next day.  Which makes it $.94 per serving.

We bought the Hoison sauce at Super Walmart. But it may be cheaper to make your own if you have the ingredients in your kitchen . There is a really easy recipe Here.

We bought the pork roast on sale for 50% off at Stop and shop for a total of $4.44 for a two pound pack of pork loin. The pack contained two 1 lb. loins. This made each loin only $2.22.

We buy a 50 lb. bag of rice from the Asian market making each cup of uncooked rice only $.25. We store it in a sealed tupperware tub in the basemen pantry and it last forever. If the apocalypse happens we will have enough rice for awhile..lol.

Cut the pork loin into 1 inch slices and marinate in a zip lock bag with about 1/4 the jar of Hoison sauce for at least 4 hours, all day while you go to work , or overnight is great too.

Directions for Making Cheap and Easy Stir Fry Pork

In a large wok. Saute pork slices until cooked all the way through and inside is no longer pink. Remove from wok.

 

 

Add into hot walk, chopped onion (How to Dice An onion,)chopped pepper, and chopped garlic. Saute until onions are translucent. Add in frozen snap peas and the other 1/4 of the Hoison sauce. Heat until frozen vegetables are hot. You can add the pork back into the wok and toss for a few minutes to warm it back up.

Cook rice however you normally cook your rice. We use our pressure cooker because it is quicker. We added a little parsley  to the rice and some seasame seeds just because we had some in our pantry. They make nice garnish for the pictures. But not nessissary for the recipe.

 

Plate and Enjoy!

We stored the leftover servings in a sealed container in the refrigerate and microwaved it the next day  at work for lunch for Mike and myself.

 

You may also like :

Two Family Dinners under $6

Cheap and Easy Sausage and Peppers Grinder ($1.51 per serving)

 

 

 

Posted in Budget Friendly Meals, Cooking Tips, Recipes

Cheap and Easy Sausage and Peppers Grinder ($1.51 per serving)

Cheap easy Sausage and peppers
cheap easy sausage and peppers

We are continuing on our journey (or challenge I guess) to feed our family of four for only $500 per month. You can read more about our budget plan HERE.

Feeding a Family of 4 on $500 a Month

Cheap and Delicious sausage and Pepper Grinders

4 shady Brook turkey spicy Italian sausage (1.84)

2 Bell Peppers ($1.06)

1 yellow onion ($.16)

1 jar tomato sauce ($.88)

4 Hoagie Rolls ($1.32)

1/2 block cheese shredded ($.80)

Total Cost $6.06 for 4 servings or $1.51 per serving.

The Turkey sausages were originally priced at $5.49 per pack of four links. But Big Y had them on sale for buy 1, get 1 free. Making the cost per pack only $2.75 per pack of six links.

The Hoagie Rolls are Big Y brand and again were on sale for buy 1, get 1 free. Original price was $3.99 per pack of 6. The sale brought the price per pack of 6 down to $1.99 and the price per roll to $.33 per roll.

The bell Peppers were at Super walmart for $.53 cents each and the Pasta sauce also at walmart for only $.88 per jar.

The onions we had bought a big bag of at Aldi and the price per onion was calculated out to be $.16 per onion

Now we calculated out these portions based on the assumption that all four members of your household will eat all the ingredients. But being a mother I totally understand that this is not the reality of family dinner. One kid may only eat the sausage and bun without the peppers and onions, one kid may only eat the cheese and bun, one kid might just eat the veggies and then there is that one kid, like mine that will only eat the bun! Ohhhhh! Such is life at the family table. So if that sounds lie your family , the good news is the meal may end up even cheaper. BONUS!!! HA HA!

To make these Cheap and delicious Sausage and pepper Grinders:

Brown Sausages in fry pan or dutch oven until cooked through and brown on the outside.

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Remove sausages from the pan. Slice the peppers and onions into thin strips and cook in the sausage juices until soft. Add in the pasta sauce and stir until heated through. place the rolls on a cookie sheet and fill with 1 sausage link , cover link with the pepper and onion mixture and sprinkle cheese on top.

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Bake at 350 in the oven until cheeses is melted.

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You may also like to check out our other budget recipes:

Two Family Dinners under $6

 

Bonus Meal:

Used the leftover peppers and onions and mixture to make a yummy cheap gourmet breakfast.

Toast ($.15)

Egg ($.10)

Peppers and onions ($.00)

Coffee ($.16)

Total breakfast cost ($.41)

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Posted in Cooking Tips, Recipes

Two Family Dinners under $6

Our family is attempting to keep our grocery budget under $500 a month for a family of four.  You can read more about our plan Here. In order to make this work our daily dinner budget has to be between $6 and $8 most nights. If we can find dishes that are even less on some nights we can then use the saved money to splurge a little on a dinner here and there. So this week I tried to come up with two dishes that were about $5 per meal. We also save money in the budget by having leftovers for lunches. So both of these dinners provided enough for us to have a hearty dinner meal and also left overs for a few of us to have for lunch the next day.

We are super sale shoppers and we buy a lot of our meat when Big Y has their buy 1, get 2 free sales. We have a chest freezer. So we can store the meat for when we need it. We also have chickens, which means we get eggs very cheap. But if you do not have chickens you can buy cheap eggs at walmart or Aldi. You can also stock up when big Y sells them for $.99 a dozen. Crack the eggs into ice cube trays to freeze them.

I hope you like these super cheap dinner ideas. They were easy to make, tasted great and we very budget friendly! Enjoy.

Chicken Club Quiche Bake

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6 eggs  ( $1.00)

1 cup pancake mix  (.40 )

1/2 cup water (free)

1 tomato chopped (.50 cents)

3 strips of bacon chopped (1.20)

1 chicken breast (1.60)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (.40)

1 yellow onion  (.16 cents)

 

1 sweet potato (32 Cents)

2 tablespoons pancake mix (.10)

 

Total Cost  $5.68

This made enough for all of us to have seconds for dinner plus lunch for my husband the next day.

Dice chicken in to small pieces. Cut up the bacon into small pieces and  dice the onion.  Cook the bacon on medium heat in a fry pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and add chicken and onion into the bacon grease. stir over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Drain off excess grease. Scramble 6 eggs and mix with 1 cup pancake mix and water. Pour egg mixture into a 8×8 greases baking pan. Add chicken , tomato , onions and bacon to the pan of egg mixture. Cover with the Parmesan cheese. Cook in a 400 degree oven until egg is cooked through and firm.

While Quiche is cooking, grate the sweet potato and mix with the 1 tablespoon of pancake mix. Using the extra bacon grease in a frying pan. Form the potato mix into 4 small patties and fry until brown on either side. You can put them aside and then heat them on a cookie sheet in the oven for a few minutes before the quiche is done.

Check out How to Dice An onion

Chicken and Zucchini Pasta

1 tomato (.50)

1 zucchini (.33)

1 chicken Breast (1.60)

1/2 block of cheese  (.90)

1 cup Parmesan cheese (.50)

1 box of elbow macaroni (.88 cents)

1/2 container of pasta sauce (.50)

 

Total cost 5.11 cents

 

This made enough for everyone to have two helpings for dinner plus three lunches leftover.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Cut the chicken breast into small cubes and saute in a fry pan with some oil until cooked through. Grate zucchini and dice tomato.

In a 9×13 baking dish, mix pasta, pasta sauce, zucchini, tomato, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking Tips

All Natural Food Coloring

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I was cleaning up after my daughter’s birthday yesterday and was disgusted at the frosting from the cake. The blue frosting stained the plates, the kids hands, the table cloth. I could only imagine what it was doing to the kids insides.

In our house we don’t eat a lot of sweets or junk food. So I don’t think too much about what I serve at a party. I consider it a special treat. But after seeing what the food coloring had done, I started to wonder if there was a more natural way to decorate the cake.

The fact is, that it has been known for awhile now that artificial coloring in food can be potential toxic and should be avoided. Artificial coloring has been linked to a variety of tumors and also is know to cause hyper activity in children. I can always tell when my son has had a red Popsicle, he ends up with “ants in his pants” and can’t sit still. So between the fact that artificial food coloring cause cancer and are behavior altering, I went looking for a more natural solution.

Here is what I came up with:

  1. Reds or Pinks: To make a natural dye for foods you want to be red or pink you can use beets , raspberries or pomegranates.

Steep the beets in boiling water until the water turn a nice bright shade of red. Then you can strain out the beets and allow the water to cool ,use a dropper to add small amounts of the red water to the frosting to get the desired color.

The raspberries can be put in cheese cloth and squeeze the juice out of them into a bowl. slowly add the juice to the frosting until it gets to the color you want.

2.Orange: To make a natural orange food dye, boil carrots in water until the water turns orange. Strain out the carrots and allow the water to cool. Add small amounts to the frosting to get the desired color.

3.Yellow: Saffron, yellow Beets or Dandelion fluff can all be used to naturally dye foods yellow. You can boil the beets the same as the carrots or red beets. With the saffron and dandelion fluff it can be added directly to the frosting. I highly recommend the dandelion. It has a naturally sweet flavor similar to honey.

4.Green: To make green food dye, spinach is the way to go. Boil the spinach same as the carrots or beets to dye the water.

5. Blue or Purple:  To make various shades of blue or purple you can experiment with straining juice from blue berries and blackberries. Add small amounts of the juices until you get the desired color. Boiling purple cabbage is another way to get a nice natural purple color food dye.

Next year’s birthday cake will not be staining my kids with unhealthy artificial food dyes.

Posted in Recipes, Side Dishes

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

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Strawberry Balsamic Jam

A Savory twist on an old sweet favorite!

I am a huge fan of making your own mother’s day gifts, no matter how old or young you are. This year we started making homemade bread. So I wanted to make bread for mother’s day gifts. I have three special moms that I need great gifts for this year…my own amazing mom who helps me out every day and is amazing, my sister in law, who not only tolerates my brother but is an awesome mom to three boys, and my mother in law, who gave birth to the best husband, father and friend. So what do you put with homemade bread for three great moms? Delicious Strawberry Balsamic Jam!

Makes half dozen  4 oz jelly jars

2 lbs fresh strawberries

2 cups of sugar

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

 

 

Hull and cut strawberries into fourths, Place in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add sugar lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Mash with a food masher to release the juices.

 

*I like my jam really chunky so I only mash a little to get sugar to dissolve. But mash as much as you want!

Mix thoroughly and often, as you bring it to a boil, sugar burns quickly so keep stirring and keep on a medium heat to avoid burning.

Boil Mixture until it reaches 220 degree.

I use a candy thermometer to test the temperature. It can seem like it takes forever to get there. But if you don’t let it reach that temp. It will not gel properly and will be more like syrup than jam.

Meanwhile, prepare jars and lids. I boil my 4 oz. glass ball jars and lids for 5 minutes to sanitize.

Pour jam into hot, prepared jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Seal and process jars for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.  With properly sanitized jars, sealed jars should be good for up to one year.

 

These are delicious with Rosemary Sea Salt Rolls

Also checkout How to Make Mason Jar Butter.

Posted in Cooking Tips

What Cut of Chicken to Buy

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Getting the tastiest chicken for the best price.

Until recently, we always bought the boneless, skinless chicken breasts to cook with.  They come all trimmed up and required little to no prep before seasoning and cooking them. Plus, white meat is better, right?

That’s what we thought until we tried some recipes that specifically called for thigh meat. Thigh meat is darker, and juicier, with a richer meaty flavor. The little bit of extra ft keeps it moist and tender while cooking.  Muscles that are exercised more, have more oxygen and are richer in nutrients, since chickens don’t fly, the thighs are the darkest and most nutrient rich meat on them. It does have a higher fat content than the white met. But as I mentioned earlier the ft helps keep it extra tender and juicy while cooking and is worth the extra flavor and melt in your mouth texture it gives the dark meat. Dark meat only has 3 more calories per once than white meat.

Dark Meat takes a little bit longer to cook, once per once, than white breast meat, but the thighs are usually smaller, making them quicker to prepare.

The best part about thigh meat is that it is cheaper per pound than the breast meat. Skinless chicken breast averages about $4.oo  per pound (for regular, non organic) and skinless chicken thighs average only about $3.00. That dollar per pound really adds up if you are cooking for a big family.

You can save even more money per pound by buying the thighs with the bone still in and deboning it yourself. It takes a little more prep work, about 1-2 minutes per thigh. But it can save you a lot of money, bone in chicken thighs average around $1.00 per pound. I get ours at Stop and Shop for $.89 per pound. Now, I am not professional butcher, so a small amount may get wasted in the deboning process, but all in all , I am still saving a lot of money by doing myself.

So there you have it, chicken thighs, tastier and cheaper than chicken breast!

Here is a short tutorial on how to debone a chicken thigh.

Posted in Main Dishes, Recipes

Baby Dragon Tail (Apple and Cranberry Stuffed Pork)

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The first time we made this my kids were little and they thought the rolled up pork loin tied with twine looked like a baby dragon’s tail. So that is what this dish is know called in our house.

Baby Dragon Tail (Apple and Cranberry Stuffed Pork)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 table spoons
    olive oil
  • 1/4 cup
    diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon
    dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon
    dried time
  • 2 cloves
    minced garlic
  • 2
    apples, peeled cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup
    dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup
    apple cider
  • 1 (2 pound)
    boneless pork loin (butterflied)
  • 1 teaspoon
    salt
  • 1/2 cup
    chicken stock

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, thyme, sage and garlic. Saute until the onion is tender. Stir in stock, cook until liquid is almost evaporated (about 5 min) Add apples and stir often until lightly browned. Stir in the cranberries and apple cider. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. lightly oil a roasting rack and set inside a roasting pan.
  3. Unroll pork roast. Sprinkle both sides of the roast with salt and pepper. Spread the apple mixture over the roast. roll up the roast like a jelly roll. secure in 1 inch intervals with baking twine.
  4. Place on the roasting rack. Roast for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temp to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook until pork temp reaches 160 degrees. About 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  5. Let stand for 10 minutes. Slice roast into 1 inch think slices and serve.

 

Cooking tip:

How to Dice An onion

How to Core an Apple

 

How to Butterfly cut a pork roast:

 

Posted in Cooking Tips, Join Us in Our Kitchen

Caring for and Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware

 

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We cook in Cast Iron a lot. It can take some getting use to, as it takes longer to heat up and becomes very hot and cast iron definitely has some unique needs as far as care and cleaning.

 

 

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to cooking with cast iron cookware as outlined by shopperschoice.com

Advantages of Cast Iron

  • Low Cost – One of the biggest advantages of cast iron cookware is the low cost compared to that of similar quality aluminum or stainless steel cookware. You can usually find a quality cast iron sauce pan or cast iron griddle for a fraction of the cost you would pay for other materials.
  • Even Heating Area – Unlike stainless steel and aluminum, cast iron cookware offers an even heating area for cooking no matter what type of cooking surface you use. This is extremely advantageous when cooking over an open fire.
  • Naturally Non-Stick – A well seasoned cast iron skillet or cast iron bakeware becomes naturally non-stick when properly seasoned. This natural non-stick characteristic offers another advantage over stainless steel and aluminum cookware as well. Unlike other materials, seasoned cast iron eliminates the need for using oil or butter on the cooking surface, making your foods lower in fat.
  • Dietary Iron – Cast iron cookware offers a major health advantage as well. During cooking, iron from the cookware flakes off and is then consumed with the food, making cast iron a great source of iron, especially for people with anemia. What other materials can actually claim to make your food healthier?

 


Disadvantages of Cast Iron

  • Seasoning – Many people consider the fact that you have to season cast iron every so often to be a major disadvantage because the process takes time. The advantages that you get from a properly seasoned cast iron skillet or dutch oven, however, make the seasoning process well worth the effort.
  • Cast Iron Is Heavy – This is one fact that cannot be argued. Cast iron cookware is much heavier than other materials including stainless steel and aluminum. In fact, some cast iron dutch ovens and camp pots can weigh as much as 20 pounds. This weight, however, also adds to cast iron cookware’s durability.
  • Cast Iron Rusts – Another point that is hard to argue. If not seasoned properly, cast iron cookware will rust when exposed to moisture. Properly seasoned cast iron will not, however, and rust can be easily removed and the cast iron cookware re-seasoned without much effort. This aspect is especially useful if you find an old, rusty cast iron skillet at a yard sale or flea mall. Read more on using and caring for cast iron.
  • You Can’t Cook Acidic Foods – Cooking acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, will turn your food a darker color because the acid in the foods pulls iron from the cast iron skillet or sauce pan. Many people actually enjoy this because it adds iron to their diet. It is very important, however, to never leave foods, especially acidic foods, in cast iron cookware for very long

 

Some of our Cast Iron recipes:

Ground Turkey Salisbury Steak with Bacon Jam Gravy

How to Cook the Perfect Steak

How to Cook the Perfect Steak

Mojo Pork with Orange Apple Salsa

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Roasted Turnip, Sweet Potatoes and Chickpea

Posted in Main Dishes, Recipes

Ground Turkey Salisbury Steak with Bacon Jam Gravy

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Ground Turkey Salisbury Steak Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound
    ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup
    bread crumbs
  • 1
    egg
  • 1 medium
    yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups
    Chicken bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons
    All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon
    Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup
    bacon jam

Cooking Directions

    1. One medium heat Caramelize one medium onion finely chopped with 1 tablespoon olive oil. remove from heat when golden and gooey and put aside in another container.
    2. In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and 1/2 of the onions. Mix thoroughly.
    3.   Heat up the pan you caramelized the onions in on high. Make three patties out of your ground turkey mixture and brown on both sides. Remove from heat and turn down the pan.
    4. Add your chicken bone broth , the rest of the onions, the bacon jam. stir until completely dissolved.
    5. Mix the flour with a few tablespoons of cold water until a paste forms, then slowly stir it into the broth mixture.
    6. Allow the sauce to come to a boil. Add the Ground Turkey patties to the sauce and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minute or until the patties are cooked through

 

Check out: How to Dice An onion

 

 

A Great addition to this meal would be Rosemary Sea Salt Rolls 

 

and Easy Rice Pilaf in a Pressure Cooker or Instapot

 

 

Posted in Main Dishes, Recipes

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Homemade Corn Tortillas

 

Recipe by Foley Family Table

Ingredients for Homemade Corn Tortillas:

  • 1 cup
    masa harina
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup
    hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon
    salt

Cooking Directions for Homemade corn tortillas:

  1. Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl
  2. slowly add hot water and mix until a dough forms that you can shape into a ball
  3. form into a ball and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes
  4. Divide dough into 8 sections and roll each section into a ball
  5. place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and press until flat with a tortilla press or between two cast iron pans.
  6. Remove the parchment paper.
  7. Heat a skillet on medium to high heat and pour in a small amount of oil to grease the pan. Fry tortillas for 1 minute, flip and cook for an additional minute on the other side.

Try these Homemade corn tortillas with Seared Chicken with Tomatillo Salsa