Shoestring Meals - Inexpensive comfort food, Volumetrics style

10-26-2011, 09:57 PM
I've got a jaw infection, and sore throat and today was feeling icky enough to want comfort food, but better enough to feel like cooking.

So, I wanted something soft and soothing, with vitamin C for my sore throat.

Most people probably think oranges for vitamin c, but today I decided on cranberry juice and sauerkraut (not together)

I've been sipping cranberry juice diluted with sparkling water for the past several days, to soothe my sore throat.

Today I threw a package of pork steak into the crockpot ($1.50 per pound) with a can of french style green beans, a can of sauerkraut, a thinly sliced onion, a bit of garlic powder, carraway, a tsp of red wine vinegar and a splash of viatnamese fish sauce (which makes an excellent replacement for worcestershire sauce).

Whenever I cook meat with sauerkraut, I always add equal amounts of another bland veggie to dilute the salty/sour flavor (and the sodium). It also adds bulk for very few calories (and I get an extra veggie in). Usually I use a thinly sliced onion and either shredded cabbage or french style green beans).

When the pork was tender, I made my mashed cauliflower/potatoes.

In some chicken broth I cooked a head of cauliflower (about 2.5 lbs) with one peeled potato. Then when the veggies were tender, I mashed them with an immersion blender (I added a bit of skim milk, butter and salt).

Usually, instead of the potato, I'll just cook the cauliflower and then while mashing the veggies will measure out the amount of flakes the box calls for to make one serving.

Adding the potato only adds about 2 to 3 extra grams of carbs and about 10 calories to each serving. The texture and flavor is more like traditional mashed potatoes this way.

I know not everyone likes sauerkraut (and others who do like it, wouldn't want the flavor diluted with the green beans).

But for a cold, damp "sick" day, it was the perfect meal. And cheap too.

The canned beans and canned sauerkraut were both even cheaper than usual (about 1/3 normal price) because we bought them at a salvage grocery (sort of like a private Big-Lots. If a shipment of cans is damaged for example, stores like Walmart, Target, and Meijers will reject the whole case or sometimes even the whole shipment. Slightly dented cans are safe to use, but often only one or two cans will be dented and the rest of the case will be perfect - but the store rejects the whole case. Salvage grocery stores buy the "rejected" cans and sell them at a huge discount.

10-26-2011, 11:33 PM
Sounds yummy, Kaplods! And it even works with my Medifast plan.

I :val1: my crock pot!

10-27-2011, 12:27 AM
I love the crockpot too, especially for cooking veggies with meat (like sauerkraut and pork, or carrots and onions with beef).

Whether using the crockpot or a dutch oven on the stove, I love simmered one-pot meals. We weren't dirt-poor growing up (but both sets of grandparents had been when they raised my parents). My mother learned from my grandmother to be a very frugal cook (and so have I), and one of my favorite ways to save money and get amazing flavor is to simmer veggies or beans with cheaper cuts of meat that require long-simmering times to become tender.

When we were kids, there was usually just enough roast to serve for one meal with just a little extra. So the first night we'd each get a slice of roast and the veggies. And Mom would chop up the remaining meat into the veggies and for lunch or dinner the next day, and even though there was a lot less meat the second day, it tasted even better (because stewed vegetables always do taste better the second day). We used to joke that Mom could throw away the meat, and we wouldn't have missed it.

I still love carrots cooked with beef more than the beef itself, so when I first was living on my own, I once tried to cook 4 lbs of carrots with a 2 lb roast in the crockpot, and instead of getting lovely beef-flavored carrots, I ended up with a strange carrot-flavored roast (the beef flavor got lost, entirely. It was so funny).

I called my mother and asked what I did wrong, and she told me that if I was going to use more veggies than meat, I had to "boost" the beef flavor with a lot more beef bouillon or a beef-based onion soup mix.

What I love best about crockpot meals is that they're often even better the second day.

12-12-2011, 04:08 PM
Oh WOW, Kaplods--I made SBD Lazy Cabbage in my crock last night. I can get 12 servings out of 1 crock. I always add extra cabbage & Rotel tomatoes to heaten the flavor! I :love: it SPICY.

Your post reminded me of it, but I think I will try this recipe. It sounds yummi!

I've also had cranberry juice today, but for a UTI instead of a sore throat.
Does it have a diuretic effect on you??
Gosh, I have been drinking my normal water, but way more is being expelled. (TMI, I know) :lol:

04-09-2012, 10:18 PM
I finally got around to making this today. I had pork chops in the freezer, and fresh green beans were on sale. I splurged a little on refrigerated sauerkraut.

So yummy - it's definitely going into my regular rotation!