- 2 lbs. pork
- 1 large jar or can of sauerkraut
- Garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
My baby just hit the 12 week mark. I have been planning since the first week he was home to write a fabulous post about bringing home baby, and how glad I was that I had stocked up food, and had a full freezer and pantry, and even had a vague meal plan. Well, between holidays and sickness and general lack of sleep – I never made it to that post. It seems a little late to be writing that post now, so all I will say is that we probably wouldn’t have eaten if it hadn’t been for all the meals in my freezer. We were able to either dump things in the crockpot, pressure cooker, or place in the oven, and pull it out hot and ready.
While my freezer was stuffed to the brim, it wasn’t all premade meals. I had also taken the opportunity before baby to stock up on meat. I figured that sale shopping post baby wasn’t something I would really be able to manage – one of the meats I was thrilled to get my hands on was a huge package of pork tenderloin. Honestly, I can’t remember the cost now – but it was a steal. I froze 3 of them raw, and we had one when I purchased them. We pulled out one of them and made this “slow cooker” Balsamic Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin from slender kitchen just the other night. It is delicious and healthy! Only 5 WW points if you’re counting.
The tenderloin is rubbed down in brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder and (optional) chile powder. It’s cooked in a balsamic vinegar marinade. It’s written to be a slowcooker recipe, but I didn’t pull out my frozen pork till the afternoon. I threw it in a pot of cool water for about 45 minutes, then put in my pressure cooker for 25 minutes. It was tender, moist, and delicious. Check it out!
- 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1 can black beans*
- 1 can pinto beans*
- 2 packages taco seasoning**
- 1/2 cup water (per taco seasoning directions)
- 10 bell peppers
- 1/2 cup salsa (or Rotel)
- 1 block cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded Mexican/taco cheese
- additional shredded Mexican/taco cheese
- sour cream
- hot sauce
- crushed tortilla chips
- Drain and rinse beans. Set aside.
- Brown the ground beef.
- Add onions, beans, taco seasoning, and water to the pan.
- Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until onions begin to soften (approx 5 minutes)
- This is a good time to cut the tops off the bell peppers, and clean out the seeds/insides. Set aside for later.
- Stir in 1/4 C salsa or Rotel
- Add in cream cheese – I slice mine up into chunks to make it easier to blend
- Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese based on your preferences
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Scoop the mixture into the bell peppers. Top with shredded cheese
- While it was not part of the first recipe I used, many versions of this include cooked rice. I’ve never made it with rice, but you could add it. In addition to onions, you can add bell pepper (I was left with an entire bowl of diced bell pepper from the tops), mushrooms, or other veggies (like corn).
- We used salsa since my toddler cannot eat spicy foods, but prior we usually used Rotel. I’d probably add some chipotle peppers in adobo if we could eat spicy now.
- I like this combo of beans and meat, but you could double the meat, or use only one type of beans, or do all beans or beans and rice for a vegetarian version. I’ve never tried it, but I bet this would taste good with chicken or pork also.
- I’ve seen versions of this made with raw meat. As 6 hours on low in a slow cooker is more than enough time to cook raw ground beef, this would cut way down on prep time, but I’m not sure how mixing all the ingredients (spices) together raw would work.
- Finally, we’ve used pretty much this same filling with some additional taco sauce to make taco stuffed pasta shells…. another recipe which is delicious as well as easily prepared and frozen.
|Toddler approved chicken quesadilla|
If there is one thing we eat in this house more often than pulled pork, its Costco’s rotisserie chicken. For $4.99 + tax, you can walk home with a fully cooked 3.0lb bird. Deal of the century! Personally, I find the meat pretty delicious on its own, and often the first night home that is what we eat…. But, what makes the rotisserie chicken so amazing is that its cooked chicken to use as you like! Talk about easy, cheap and convenient. There are plenty of you tube videos showing how to cut one up if they intimidate you (check out this one). I will be posting some real recipes but here are some ideas to get you started….
- Chicken Salad
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Enchiladas
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- Chicken Alfredo
|Crockpot Dinner on Left, Chicken Stock on Right|
But wait! Even the left overs can be used! Once you’ve used all the meat you’re going to use, throw the bones into a bag and into the freezer. Once you’ve got 2-3 chickens worth you can use them to make some delicious broth!
It’s easy, delicious, and cheap. Ok – I know chicken broth isn’t really all that pricey, but if you can make it with ingredients you had on hand – why not? All you need is your left over chicken scraps and bones, some veggies (celery, onion, garlic, carrot), water and a pressure cooker or crock pot.
First, brown the chicken bones in the oven. Broil for 15-20 minutes. Then throw them in your crockpot/pressure cooker. Throw in some veggies. Put in just enough water to cover all the bones. Add a splash of vinegar (optional) to help pull the calcium out of the bones and into the stock. Cook on low for 12 (or more) hours in slow cooker, or for one hour in pressure cooker. My last batch made close to 8 cups.
Afterwards I allowed mine to cool, then cooled over night in the fridge. I poured mine into ice cup trays and froze, then transferred to a bag, for easy access (Trays are about 2/$2 at Bed Bath and Beyond. Four cubes is a 1/2 cup). Now I pretty much always always have chicken broth available!
I’ve had so many ideas about what I wanted to post, I’ve been struggling with what to post first. The dinner we ate last night sealed the deal for me.
The original recipe I used came from Budget Bytes, a budget friendly food blog, but I’ve modified it quite a bit since to make it my own. The original recipe estimates $8.34/recipe or $0.93 a serving, but mine uses a few different ingredients, but I have never recalculated the cost. Typically I purchase pork from Costco, its ~$2.30/lb, but you have to buy 17 lbs. I split this into 4 roasts (you could do more) and pull them out of the freezer when we are in the mood. I think you could get it cheaper on sale, but I think this is a pretty good price.
- Boneless Pork Roast (Shoulder roast, Boston Butt, Picnic Roast)
- 5 Cloves Fresh garlic
- 2 Tbl Paprika
- 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 3 Cups water
- 1/4 Cup liquid smoke
- Mix spices. Rub them all over the roast.
- Put the roast in the crock pot. Add garlic, water and liquid smoke.
- Cook on low for 12 hours.
- Use fork, tongs, or mixer to shred pork.
Yeah it is that easy. I love easy.
So now that you’ve made all this pork. What do you do with it? The obvious choice is to pour some BBQ sauce on it, and eat it or put it on a sandwich, but other options range from quesadillas and burritos to omelettes and eggs Benedict to pasta and a baked potato topping. It’s also delicious in a salad or wrap. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post some more recipes, on how to use this – so check back!