Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last week of February

I do hate blogging without pictures. Nevertheless, as we start our week, I wanted to look at some of the sales and recipes to go with the sales. Kroger has beef stew meat for $2.99 a pound and pork loins for $1.99 a pound. (Market Street has pork tenderloin, all natural, for $4.99/pound). Also, check on the good buys on raspberries 2/$5 at Kroger, Clemetines at $4.99 at Kroger, Strawberries at 2/$3 at Tom Thumb and oranges at $1/lb at TT.

If you did not buy a pork loin last week, you might want to grab the one for this week, together with that bottle of Stubb's Marinade. I also have a fabulous recipe for pork and sweet potato stew, but the weather needs to be cooler than 80 degrees to really enjoy it.

Meanwhile, here is a wonderful way to cook the stew meat called Sissy's Beef Tips:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew meat (I always trim it and cut it into smaller pieces)
3 slices bacon (optional, but very good)
2 cups sliced onions
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 can beer or 1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dredge the meat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in a skillet with the bacon. Add the onions. Remove the bacon. At this point I put all of the ingredients in a crock pot and head to work. Or you can continue on top of the stove - add all ingredients and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Serve the stew over:

Cooked egg noodles, topped with the crumbled bacon.

I tend to be a little lazy when it comes to vegetables - grab something out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave, and call it done. This week Libby's vegetables are on sale at Market Street for 69 cents a can. So let's get creative:

Sweet and Sour Green Beans
2 strips bacon, cut in to pieces (a good way to use the rest of that bacon from above)
1/3 cup diced onion
1 1-pound can French style green beans
3 tsp. sugar
dash pepper
2 Tablespoons vinegar (white)

Brown the bacon, then add the onions and saute. Add the liquid from the beans. Cook down to about 1/2 cup. Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat and serve. Serves 3 to 4.

And here is a good one from one of the famous chefs in Savannah, GA.:

Mixed Vegetable Casserole
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups mixed vegetables (various canned vegetables on sale)
1 7-ounce can water chestnuts (optional)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and sate the onions and celery until tender. add the vegetables, water chestnuts if using, soup and mayo and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 9 X 13 casserole. Melt the remaining butter and stir in the cracker crumbs, then sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly on top. Serves 8 - 10

Be sure and pick up a whole fryer at Albertsons for 88 cents/pound, Albertsons canned tomatoes for 88 cents each, a pint of Blue Bell for 88 cents, and fuji apples for 88 cents.

More meat recipes tomorrow, including grilled salmon and a wonderfully good roasted chicken.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meats and a favorite kitchen gadget

The other day while having breakfast with my daughter and her friend Kim, we began discussing the various ways meat can be purchased: organic, natural, and the "regular" way. This was my green light to do some research! I visited with Randy, the butcher at Market Street, for a bit and learned this: Organic means that the animals were grazed on land that has not been treated with pesticides for 7 years. Most farmers, according to Randy, are now doing that anyway. Natural means that the animals have not been injected with hormones or antibiotics. "Regular" is what a lot of us grew up on. Now daughter's friend Kim feels that eating Natural is the way to go. She thinks that she and her husband feel better and look better. Since I did not know her before. . .she is very pretty now!

So here is the rest of my talk with Randy: all of the chicken at Market street is natural. The chicken I purchased at Albertson's for 49 cents a pound (WooHoo) is natural. The roast shown above is natural. It is also $5 a pound!

The kitchen gadget is a Food Saver. It vacuum seals food items. Today I divided up the chicken because there is no point in my cooking 10 pounds, and sealed it up for the freezer. Above are the before and after shots. The Food Saver can be found at Sam's Wholesale Club, WalMart, Kohl's and probably a lot more placed. It is easy to clean - remember to wipe it down after use, especially with meats, with an anti-bacterial cleaner. Food vacuum sealed takes up less room in the freezer. I love my Food Saver!

If anyone reading this has more information on meats, organic vs. natural, please comment.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipes for the last week of February

I am not going to have pictures to post until later. However, here is how my week is shaping up as far as dinners go:

Monday: Pot Roast. There is nothing as good and comforting as the basic pot roast in the crock pot. Sprinkle a packet of Lipton Onion Soup on top, add about 1/2 cup water, potatoes cut in big chunks, carrots (I like the mini-carrots), and celery. Add a salad and dinner and how easy can you get!

Tuesday: Autumn Sausage Skillet - from the recipe the other day. It is a great and easy way to get vegetables in every member of the family, and only takes about 30 minutes to fix.

Wednesday: Pork loin or tenderloin, depending on which one you purchased. Marinate the meat in the Stubbs Marinade for Pork for a couple of hours, or all day if you are at work. Grill until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees. If you are doing a big pork loin, you might want to grill until you get some pretty grill marks, then wrap tightly in foil and finish in a 350 degree oven until the thermometer registers 140 degrees. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serve with raspberry chipotle sauce. I love sweet potatoes with pork. They are on sale this week at Albertsons for $1 a pound. Baked sweet potatoes are yummy with butter and brown sugar. A salad and/or green beans and dinner is served.

Thursday: Hopefully you had leftover roast from Monday. Today is called Quick Beef Stroganoff. This is so easy: cut up the leftover roast and heat it with some of the juice. Stir in a can of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup sour cream. Serve over egg noodles.

Friday: I think we are grilling out. The chicken on sale at Albertson's - leg quarters for 49 cents a pound (10 pound bag) is too good to pass up. So here is the recipe:

In the blender, make a sauce from: 1 stick butter, melted
1 medium onion, cut up
2 cloves of garlic
2 lemons, juiced
3/4 teaspoon thyme or 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
10 grinds black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt

Baste chicken on the grill with this sauce, turning often. Cook slowly for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to check done-ness with a meat thermometer or by making a small slit in the thigh.

Since asparagus was on sale, here is a quick way to prepare: Wash and trim asparagus. Lay on a cookie sheet or toaster oven sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and smashed garlic. Roast at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes. That is all! Soooo good.

And for those carrots that were on sale at Market Street: Cook carrots in boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Put the pot back on the heat (low) and add 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat carrots. You may need to adjust the seasonings for the amount of carrots. As taste test will be in order, of course. :-)

That is all for today. Happy cooking!

Fresh Vegetables are Back!

Lots of fresh vegetables were on sale this week. We are off to a dinner party tonight, and I am assigned the snack. So here is what I did: After purchasing broccoli crowns and baby carrots at Market Street, asparagus and grape tomatoes at Albertsons, and BOGO sour cream at Albertson's, I assembled the "snack". First I trimmed and steamed the broccoli crowns and asparagus to bring up that deep green color, plunging each item into an ice bath to stop the cooking. The dip is a combination of sour cream and Pace Picante sauce (every good Texas girl has Pace stashed in the pantry!) - just stir some together until it looks right. This is called Pink Dip or Q-Sauce. Everything was good and chilled, put in bowls for staging, and voila! a healthy snack. I am thinking that children arriving home from school would enjoy all the bright colors presented by this appealing treat! Total cost: $5.20 for 6 people