Sometimes inspiration for dinner comes from a blog, but sometimes it comes from a great deal at the grocery store. After teaching Zumba(R) in the Circuit, I headed over to a local discount grocery store for a few items.
It was set to snow here, and when one is living between two houses, one of them always gets the short end of the grocery stick. See I spend some time at my fiance’s farm, and then the rest with my mother and pooch in the City. Living between two houses is a very bi-polar thing, and I tend to find that there are less fresh foods and groceries at my mom’s house when I return from an extended stay at the Farm. However, currently the farm is without heat — and I am a wuss. So back to my mom’s house I go.
So I was picking up a few things that could have been missing from the house — a half-quart of milk, a box of store-brand cheerios, can of lima beans. Just a few things I knew I could eat while on exile from the frozen-tundra that is the inside of the Farmhouse, but not too many since I hadn’t really had time to assess the fridge and pantry. After picking up a frozen pizza for the family to eat that night (the fiance was going to come by as well), I went to scan the meat department.
This grocery store has a very basic meat selection. They even have a 5 for $20 special, where families can pick up five different packs of meat ranging from hamburger meat to small packages of beef tips for a stew and chicken. Again, this is a discount grocery store – and a much needed commodity in areas where people are living on fixed incomes and do not have the luxury of pricy meats.
I always check — no matter what grocery store I am in, the discount section. And yes folks, there is one for meat too. Now if you shop this section, be ready to either immediately freeze or cook whatever you buy. There’s no waiting on those products. They are STILL GOOD and SAFE for consumption, but the expiration/use by date is usually extremely close.
So in that lovely section I found a small pork roast for $2.50. TWO -FIFTY! Sold!
But then I got home and wondered — what in the world do I do with this. Being the Southern Woman I am, BBQ immediately came to mind.
At first I was just going to dump the pork and some BBQ sauce in a slow cooker and call it a day, but then I began to think harder. So here is my super simple method.
NOTE: I didn’t time this exactly. I’ll be honest. I left it on overnight, and then probably longer than one hour in the sauce. That’s the awesome thing about crock pots. You don’t HAVE to be percise. As long as you get that meat to its proper doneness and temperature – after that you golden. So once the meat is properly cooked, your continued cooking time is up to you. I love that part of the flexibility of a crock pot over an oven. I don’t burn it if I leave it a bit longer that necessary, I just want it cooked and tasty.
I don’t have any photos, because I honestly forgot to take some during the process. However — I wanted to share this more for my friends who are afraid of cooking or experimenting. I took a super cheap cut of meat, and turned it into a super simple meal. I didn’t use a recipe, I just guessed — and if it hadn’t have turned out tasty I only wasted about $3 (meat + onions, everything else I had in the house). So experiment try new things, try twists on old things!
What have you experimented with that has worked out well? Or been a total fail?
So I have just a few requirements of my fiance. One is that he love me forever, of course. Second is that he never stops holding my hand. Third is that our house is never without a healthy supply of garlic infused olive oil. Yes seriously. That’s a requirement. I can’t remember the first time my fiance made the garlicy nectar — but I remember how it perfumes the house when he makes it. I know that day I get to nibble on crunchy garlic bits, and have a fresh dip of the oil onto whatever bread or starchy substance is in the house. It’s one of my favorite days. If you’re interested, making it is fairly easy. I do not have the ratios — perhaps one day he’ll give them to me. However, the ingredient list is:
To create this delicious dipping/cooking oil, you put the olive oil in a strong pot — he uses one that is nonstick actually and bring it up to temp. Not boiling oil, not smoking, just hot. Then you add in your garlic (the fiance uses the Ninja Express Chop (found at Target HERE and loves that little tool to death. They are not paying us anything for this endorsement, but it’s a good little chopper) and let it cook and infuse the oil. The goal is to slowly cook the garlic so you have well perfumed oil, and those beautiful brown little crunchy bits of garlic in it — not blackened garlic, crunchy and brown. Then you turn off the heat — strain out the garlicy bits (I keep them for topping things honestly — and eating just cause) and put the oil in a vessel of your choosing. We use mason jars. Then he adds in parmesan cheese (as in the pre-grated kind from Kraft in all honesty) and black pepper (see it at the bottom of the jar?). Thats it. Before using it — shake it up well and then go for it. We love dipping hunks of bread in it, slathering bread with it before we pop it in the toaster, so on so forth.
This was an integral part of dinner this weekend — as we were nearly out of the delicious stuff. And the plan was to make a chicken — but I slept in. So we went to plan B, which was a pre-marinated pork loin. However we did doctor it up a bit. The fiance popped the teriyaki sauced pork into a crock pot with
We let that cook for about four hours on LOW, and checked it’s internal temp with a meat thermometer. The meat came out nicely, and then my man doctored up the cooking sauce a bit. Now I have no clue what he put in that other than some Soy Sauce, Schricha, and some other random asian themed things that half of the time I can’t read [love marring someone who is part-Japanese, but he can’t read it either!]. Regardless, it came out wonderfully tasty. He cooked up some rice, and I sautéed some fresh spinach in a bit of the garlicky olive oil (we just used the same pot honestly, with the little bit of oil left clinging to the pan) and topped it with some of the crunchy garlic pieces. I had my dinner with a Bold Rock Virginia Draft cider. It is my new favorite. I picked it up at our local food co-op, but I also purchased some from Kroger as well. I like this particular cider because it feels more “stout” than a normal cider (less bubbly– which is better for my Lap Band). All in all it was a good dinner, and we got caught up on Gold Rush and Moonshiners while noshing!