This little piggy... That picture is somewhat prophetic in that picture contain 2 giant factors for my recent discovery... 7 (GENEROUS) meals for 2 adults for about $15-$20 give or take a few assumed pantry staples (I'm estimating of course that overall we spent $15-$20 on these 7 meals)
It all started when 2 little piggies Steve and Dea went to market. Once there we bought a 5-7 lb Pork shoulder Roast (you don't even have to go for lean here that fat is undesirable but adds moisture and flavor you're not gonna eat it anyways) for about $10 that's more than half my budget you say... oh yes but watch what we can do with the big delicious chunk of porky love. We got home and I put our 7 dinner spree in my Crock pot with 1-2 onions, rough chopped they're more for flavor than anything also a fair bit of fresh garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper add a glass of water no more than 8 oz it's really not necessary just to get it started the roast has plenty of moisture on its own . Put the crock pot on its lowest slowest setting (for me its "keep warm" don't worry it will be warm enough to cook it and too hot for anything nasty to grow I promise!!) Put the lid on and forget it for about a day. After a day that roast will be good and cooked and will probably fall apart into tender delicious shreds. Pull it out put it into a large bowl let it cool off a little bit and attack it with 2 forks and shred every inch of it chunks and such are fine but think bite size. Pull out any bones and pockets of fat you encounter and discard.I separated that shredded pork into 4 or 5 (2 cup capacity) freezer safe containers and froze them. I still had a lot of pork left so back into the crock pot with all those yummy porky juices and bits. To that I added 1/2lb of beans (your choice I used white beans) usually a 1 lb bag is less than $2 I also added a can of chopped tomatoes, carrots and celery and seasonings to taste. I let that crock pot do its thing for another day. I baked a pan of cornbread and we called it dinner. The crock pot was still awfully full so I filled 2 or 3 additional freezer safe containers ( 4 cup capacity) with the beans and pork and those hit the freezer as well. Are you seeing where I'm going? Yes, 3 of these meals are classic cheap pork and beans dinners with corn bread or a grilled cheese sandwich. Winter's just around the corner and this will stay in your freezer for awhile also its sooo nice to come home pop it in the microwave or a soup pot and call it dinner in 20 min. When its cold nothing is more satisfying to me than a bowl of something hearty and delicious! This came out pretty thick if you wanted it more soup-like add some extra water or 1 qt of chicken or veg stock even some V8 to boost the veggie power!
Don't forget all that shredded pork! There is so much potential there! For us those containers of shredded pork became....
Pulled pork sandwiches: Stir some of your favorite BBQ sauce into the pork heat it up and serve on a toasted bun with a side salad or tater tots I think we usually had corn on the cob from the farmer's market.
Shredded Pork Tacos and Burritos: saute half an onion til tender and some chopped garlic add in the pork with 1/2 cup of water and taco seasoning or cumin and chili powder let the meat simmer and re-heat in all those yummy flavors... fold into giant tortillas with rice and re-fried beans etc or stuff into tacos with lettuce and cheese tomatoes or fresh salsa. I made these Burritos tonight and my sweet husband proclaimed them "Restaurant good"
Ideas for next time...
-Stir in some kind of stir fry sauce (Teriyaki or Hoisin) into the pork with steamed veggies serve over rice or Asian noodles (Ramen anyone?) could be a tasty Asian rice/noodle bowl.
-Chile Verde stir in a bottle of green chile sauce and diced green chilies allow to simmer serve with warm corn tortillas... I can't wait to try this one!
-If you're adventurous like me... make tamales masa is super cheap and masa dough is a cinch to make you can even buy it premade somtimes. Season the pork like you do for burritos or chile verde and wrap em into tamales with corn husks, Steam for an hour or so and you will think every minute you spent wrapping tamales was worth the first bite! :)
- Would barely require 1/2 cup of pork maybe... with some BBQ sauce stirred in with some red onion and green pepper maybe some pineapple and cheese... arrange on a frozen cheese pizza or fresh pizza crust and you have... BBQ pork Pizza.
There you have it 7 (or more) meals for $15-20. Next time I think we're gonna try this with a more expensive beef chuck roast and make some beef and vegetable soup instead of beans and we'll see how we do :)