Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rubber Roast

This month I have spent $135 on groceries to feed a family of five, plus three cats and a large dog. I include pet food, cleaners and toiletries in with my grocery money. That's $35 a week to feed everyone, and I've got some big eaters.

I keep the food bills low several ways:

  • I get free cereal and snack foods at CVS and Walmart by use of coupons with sales.

  • I keep my eyes peeled for windfalls like wild fruit or a neighbor's over productive garden.

  • I make leftovers on purpose and use them up.

  • I keep chickens, so I have a source of high quality protein (eggs) for very little expense.

  • I trade my eggs for other food items.

  • I make recipes like Rubber Roast to stretch our food dollars.
I use the term "recipe" very loosely in reference to Rubber Roast. It's more a conceptual menu then a recipe. It expands and contracts easily to fill in a week. This elasticity is why I call it Rubber Roast. Besides, it just sounds funny.

Here's how you do it. First, purchase a low cost pork roast. I try to purchase my meat for less then $1 a pound. My last roast cost $1.13 per pound.

Day One: Fried Pork Steaks, Boiled Potatoes and Salad

  1. Prepare the roast for surgery, and cut thin slices off one end. I have five people in my family, so I made five slices.

  2. I boiled up ten large potatoes and put the rest of the roast in a large pot of water with a little soy sauce and as many carrots, onions, tomatoes and other veggies as would fit in the pot with the water and roast.

  3. I fried up my pork steaks and served meat, potatoes and salad.

  4. Leftover potatoes and pork roast went in the fridge for tomorrow.

Day Two: Chopped Pork and Veggies Over Cheesy Potatoes

  1. Pulled out boiled roast still in its pot and heated it up.

  2. Chopped up remaining potatoes with butter and cheese and microwaved them. I use a pastry cutter and a bowl to make it quick and easy.

  3. Spoon out some meat and veggies with a slotted spoon to keep liquids in pot.

  4. Add grains to remaining liquid and continue to heat. There will still be plenty of veggies and meat bits left in the pot. Remove bone and save.

  5. Serve meat and veggies together with cheesy chopped potatoes and salad.

Day Three: Vegetable Pork Soup with Fresh Cuban Bread and Salad

  1. Take the soup out of the fridge and start heating it up. Add water if it needs it and any spices to taste.

  2. Make easy Cuban Bread from Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette.

  3. Serve soup, salad and fresh bread.

  4. Reserve about 4 cups of soup, watered down as needed.

  5. Soak dried beans - enough for another meal.

Day Four: Pork Fried Rice and Veggies

  1. Make rice, using the remaining soup, veggies and meat instead of water. Try to make enough to have a little extra.

  2. In a skillet saute chopped carrots, green beans, onions, celery and whatever you have on hand. Add soy sauce when they have softened.

  3. When rice is done, add to skillet and mix everything.

  4. Start your beans boiling with your pork bone.

  5. Put leftover rice and veggies in fridge.

Day Five: Pork & Beans With Cornbread

  1. Start heating up your beans from yesterday. Remove pork bone at this point and discard it (or give it to your large dog).

  2. Make your cornbread.

  3. When your beans are hot, add rice and veggies from yesterday. Rice and beans make a complete protein and are delicious and satisfying together.

  4. Leftovers from this meal go into the fridge for their final act.

Day Six: Quesadillas and Salad

  1. Spoon beans, meat and veggies from container and microwave.

  2. Chop lettuce, tomatoes, olives and anything else you like in a Mexican salad.

  3. Lay a tortilla in a hot pan, add beans and cheese and top with another tortilla.

  4. Serve with salad.

And you're done. You've just saved money by stretching that roast out over nearly a week. You've also saved a lot of cooking time since after the first day everything is practically instant. You probably haven't eaten out much either, saving more money.

Next week I'll be pulling out my crock pot and seeing if I can stretch a chicken for a week. I think I'll call it Everlasting Chicken;)


Anonymous said...

Although stretching food for a week sounds like a great idea I'm a bit concerned about keeping food that long. How long should cooked meat be kept in the fridge before it's full of bacteria and not safe to eat? From what I can find the average time is 4 days. So, my question is how do you make your meats last so long without making everyone sick?

TieDyeKris said...

I am going to hve to try the rubber roast or something like it! I can't believe we spent 500.00 on groceries last week, and still it looks like I will have to make another shopping trip this week to fill in the holes!

BuzzKill said...

How well does this roast bounce? Does it compete with those little rubber bouncy balls or does it require additional equipment in order to make it feel like it's going to take an eye out? I'd like pie with it. Lots of pie.

Precious said...

You have some great ideas! I assume that you freeze some of the meat for later meals, so I doubt that you would have to worry about how long you keep it. Is that rib roast in the picture part of your budget?

karen said...

This hasn't been updated in a really long time. Is everything okay, or is this blog just kaput?