Saturday, July 16, 2011

The "Cheap" Part: GREAT Shopping Trip Today! #lowcarb

Ooooh, yeah baby! Meat has been SO expensive, I've been unable to find beef (except ground) for under $4.00/lb locally in several weeks, and it is my favorite meat. I'm tired of pork and chicken, but pork as been over $2.00/lb, and chicken over a buck. Just last year, I got all of my chicken (we eat dark meat) for less than $1/ all of our pork for < $1.50/lb, and beef for <$2.00/lb. In fact, those were my limits. I had no trouble finding meats that fit those prices, either on sale, or with "last day" red stickers on them. But this year with the sharp increase in food prices, no way!

Lately whenever I find beef for <$4.00/lb (other than ground), I buy it. I've raised my pork limit to $2/lb, but still <$1.00/lb for chicken with the except of the b/s breasts that I buy a couple of times a year. But beef is still my favorite, and I prefer to eat that several times a week than anything else. We also like our fish about twice a week...

(I'm speaking of our main meals above. Bacon is a staple for breakfast several times a week, or ham, and eggs just about every day. But for our main meal, we sometimes eat in the afternoon and sometimes before Pete leaves for work at night.)

Now, back to the subject at hand. Today I set aside $100 to buy enough meat for a month. We're down to our last few pounds of meat, and it's all "recipe meat" - meat that I use in other dishes, such as ground beef and sausage, or side pork, plus a single small steak and some all-beef patties...oh, and a couple of meals' worth of tilapia...

We went to my favorite place, Steve's Meats in Harrison. And we bought over 46# of meat, for $113 - about $2.24/lb overall! AND over half of it (27#) was BEEF! Totally exciting :). I got both brisket, a whole one which they cut into big chunks for me, and a bunch of chuck roasts (on sale for $2.99/lb). We slice the chuck roasts across to make them into 2 "steaks" which I broil or fry, and they are SO tender and flavorful, and so unlike the supermarket meat that we often pick up on sale. Very fresh. In total, I got
14.67# beef brisket
12# chuck roast
5# bacon (they have the BEST bacon!)
3# ham
11.75# pork chops - big fat ones!

We also stopped at our local produce market, Bart's, and got a bunch of produce from the "last day" cart (6 zucchinis, a couple pounds of grapes for my grandson and the parrots, a head of lettuce we'll use up tomorrow), and a massive fresh honeydew melon and some rutabagas. Oh, and a jar of yellow peppers for Pete, he likes them on his sandwiches. I'm still working my way through the frozen veggies I'd accumulated through the winter, still have about 20# of those in my freezer...but spent $16 today at Bart's.

So I'm totally excited about our meat haul today, and I wanted to share :).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What a Casserole Tonight! #lowcarb

It's been a while since I've stocked up on groceries, I always keep the equivalent of a small grocery store in the house so I can "shop" daily for our meals, but other things keep getting in the way and when I have the time I don't have the $, when I have the $ I don't have the time! So I'm using things I've bought on sale or at a great price even though I didn't have an immediate use for it - like all those packages of fresh (now frozen of course) ground sausage, for example...

I had no idea what I was going to prepare for supper tonight - none! So just started pulling out a few things from around the kitchen to put with my 1# package of ground sausage. I had 4 turnips, an onion, a big container of something green...well there's about a cup of frozen chopped spinach left in the bottom of a 2.5# bag...and I have a load of different shredded cheeses (yes, I know they have a little starch in them to prevent clumping) from a sale...

I had pulled the sausage earlier in the day to thaw. I peeled and diced the turnips and put them in some sweetened (Truvia) water to soak for a while. Chopped the onion. Browned the sausage in a frying pan, breaking it apart with 2 forks. Buttered my 9x13 glass baking dish. When the sausage was done, I moved it to the baking dish and poured in the spinach to thaw in the heat of the sausage. Drained the turnips, and put them with the onions in the same frying pan, with the sausage drippings, covered and cooked until almost done.

While the turnips were cooking I mixed together about 1.5c of the whole milk ricotta, 1/4c heavy cream, and an egg. Once the turnips and onions were done I added them to the baking dish and tossed them with some sea salt, then mixed in the sauce and about a cup of sharp cheddar cheese, adding another 2c or so of cheeses (I used several different kinds) on top, and put it into a 350 oven until it was bubbling and the cheese on top browned.

It was AMAZING. Absolutely NO turnip flavor, tasted just like potatoes. All the flavors melded so beautifully...the spinach was just for the color, but I'd like to try kale or slivered brussels sprouts or cabbage sometime. I'd also like to try it with seasoned ground beef, mushrooms, and peppers. And with chicken and broccoli/cauliflower/carrots...very versatile, I think.

I figure just over 100gN of carbs in the whole recipe, which I cut into 12 pieces, so less than 10gN per piece. The cost of the dish was about $14 - not one of my cheaper dishes by far, but made enough for supper for 3 of us, Pete's lunch for work, lunch for 2 tomorrow, and Pete's lunch again tomorrow night (sometimes eating 2-piece servings) or roughly $2/meal.

And most importantly, WE LOVED IT!