Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shaw's Bargain Meal of the week, 7/10-7/16

This week, Shaw's has Swift Premium Half Boneless Pork Loin on sale for 1.49/ lb. Prior to acquiring mad grocery shopping skillz, I would have never considered purchasing a pork loin. I sometimes bought pork chops when they were all neatly cut up and trimmed and arranged in a blister pack, but usually I stuck to the cheaper basics: boneless chicken breast and ground turkey or beef. But one of the great things about being a bargain hunter is the variety it has brought to my family's diet. We try new foods all the time now- when they're on sale!

Last fall was the first time I bought an actual pork loin- I noticed that the price per pound was 1.79 or so, which is my target price for meat. I was a little scared when I actually looked in the meat case and saw how big it was. When I got the huge slab of meat home, I cut it up into three roasts (maybe 2 lbs each?), some pork chops, and some little strips of pork for a stir fry. So that one huge slab of meat provided us with maybe 5 or 6 meals. Some of the smaller pork loins can be cut into only 2 or 3 roasts, but that's okay.

Then, I checked online to see how to cook it. This site was very helpful to get started. Usually, when I cook a pork roast, I mix together pepper, sea salt, some garlic, and maybe basil or oregano, with some olive oil, and rub it all over the roast. Then I put it in the broiler under "low" for a few minutes until the top starts to caramelize. While that's happening, I cut up vegetables (whatever I have handy- but root vegetables hold up well to roasting) and I also coat them with pepper, salt, spices, and olive oil. Then I arrange the vegetables around the meat and bake the whole thing at 350 until the temperature of the roast is 160 degrees ( a meat thermometer was a worthwhile investment for me.) I probably cook the meat a little more than most people like, but I'm sort of easily sketched out by undercooked meat.

Recently I tried cooking a pork loin on the grill. Basically, I took a 2 lb roast and "butterflied" it- cut it up the middle. I rubbed it all over with a spice rub. You cook it on the grill over very high heat, and then turn the heat down to low (some people recommend grilling the pork indirectly, away from the flames.) It took a really long time, maybe 90 minutes? I was shocked my grill didn't run out of propane. But my family loved it. I didn't like the spice rub I used- it had tomato flavor and for some reason I don't think tomato goes well with pork, for me.

So, my recommendation for this week is to get a pork loin, cut it up and freeze part of it, and make sure you have plenty of charcoal or propane so you can grill that baby! The Shaw's produce sales seem to have calmed down this week- but get a Fresh Express Garden Plus Lettuce bagged salad for 2/$3 to serve with it. The Carolina Rice Mixes are 5/$3, and are free if you have coupons (.75/2, exp. 7/31/2009) because they will double. I personally find the rice mixes to be a little too salty, so I mix them with chopped vegetables or plain brown rice.

Apart from a pork loin, I think I may pick up some raspberries this week for 3/$5- I have recently planted raspberries all over my yard but as I wait for them to ripen (and with 50-degree nights who knows if they ever will,) 1.67 for a little container isn't a bad price. I bought a whole watermelon for 3.99 last week and we've only been able to eat half of it so far. I might pick one up next Thursday before the sale runs out, for the following week (unless of course, watermelon continues to be on sale next week... stay tuned.)

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