Every week I will share our meal plan for the coming week. Making your own food is a great way to save money, explore new cuisine, and eat healthy (if you choose to make healthy foods). A good meal helps bring people together and as you improve your cooking skills you will impress more and more people! I generally use recipes as a starting off point and then experiment with different proportions or ingredients. Leftovers make great lunches for the 9-5 crowd who might otherwise have to decide between a sandwich or a pricey cafeteria.
This Week For Dinner…
Pork & Shrimp
Shae’s employer hosts six (give or take) picnic dinners during the summer. Each dinner features a different cuisine and is catered by an area restaurant. Tickets typically run around 5-6 dollars and include a full meal plus dessert. If you want a cheap dinner date, keep a lookout for local events where you live. It isn’t too uncommon for some organization to be having a dinner of some sorts!
Bacon Bolognese (with Saffron)
I put the saffron in italics because although the original recipe calls for it I’ll be omitting it due to cost. This recipe comes from a cookbook we checked out of the public library.
- 4-5 slices of bacon, finely chopped
- 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I’ll probably use a teaspoon or two of dried)
- 2 medium-size cloves garlic, finely chopped (might substitute garlic powder instead)
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with added puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsps chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I always omit salt when making recipes)
- 12-14 oz orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or medium-six macaroni
- 2 generous pinches saffron threads crumbled
- 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus additional cheese for serving
- Cook the bacon in a large deep pot or saucepan over medium heat until it begins to brown and some of the fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground pork, parsley, and garlic and cook until the pork is lightly browned, about 8 minutes, breaking up any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon, adjusting the heat as necessary if the pork browns too quickly, and stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes with their puree and the bay leaves, oregano, and 1/3 cup of water. Cover the pan and let come to a boil. Then, reduce the heat as necessary and let the sauce simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend, about 25 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring 4 to 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta or soup pot 10 to 15 minutes before the sauce is done. Salt the boiling water. Add the orecchiette and crumbled saffron threads and cook until the orecchiette is al dente, following the package instructions. Set aside 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the orecchiette.
- Return the orecchiette and the reserved pasta cooking water to the cooking pot. Immediately add the sauce and the pecorino romano cheese and toss to mix well. Serve the orecchiette with more pecorino romano on the side.
Squirrel’s Great Beef Steak Recipe
I’m making some room in the freezer this week. That means its time to eat some sirloin steak. Here is the recipe I want to try. I haven’t made up my mind yet as to what kinds of sides I want to serve. What do you think? Sweet corn and ??
Pizza (frozen or homemade)
It’s cheap, quick, and sometimes you just need a break from cooking.
This delicious salsa alternative can be made a dozen different ways. Shae’s Aunt gave us a recipe that is packed full of beans, corn, and other goodies. I like it because it uses vinegar instead of a heavier dressing that some recipes call for. Google around for “Texas Caviar” and find a recipe that you like! If you want to be extra frugal, consider buying dried beans instead of canned. They are a little bit cheaper but do take quite a bit longer to prepare.