Anniversary Dinner Splurge

Brian and I were blessed to celebrate 23 years of marriage this past Saturday. We decided to have a nice meal at home, both in the name of frugality and the fact that he worked a 13+ hour shift that day. Our celebratory feast (enjoyed over a classic Bond film — From Russia with Love)…

2015 Anniversary Dinner 2

I cooked up a London Broil in the dutch oven, made a batch of homemade Horseradish Sauce, and served with a dish of tasty jus on the side. The aforementioned splurge came in the form of a loaded baked potato which, of course, is the rarest of rarities on our diet! I scrubbed and dried the potatoes, rubbed generously with olive oil and sea salt, and baked at 375 degrees for about an hour and 10 minutes — until soft but not mushy to the squeeze. They were topped with generous amounts of the good stuff: freshly ground black pepper, Kerrygold butter, sour cream, shredded cheese and chives.

2015 Anniversary Dessert

Somehow, we managed to save a little room for another small treat: dessert. We closed the feast with some roasted almonds and dark chocolate!


Chunky Pork Chili

Pork Chili

Another cheap meat purchase from the supermercado: pork leg roast. I’ve never used this cut before, but know that it’s hard to go wrong with pork cooked low and slow. So I pulled out my trusty dutch oven and went to town.

Chunky Pork Chili

  • Servings: 4-6
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2-3 pounds pork leg roast
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon chicken soup base or bouillon
3 tablespoon chili powder
Sour cream & shredded cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 275 degrees

  1. Combine salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder; evenly season all sides of pork roast.
  2. Add olive oil to dutch oven and sear roast over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove roast from dutch oven and set aside.
  3. Add 4 cups water to dutch oven and bring to a simmer, scraping pan with wooden spoon, then stir in chicken base and chili powder until fully dissolved.
  4. Return pork roast to dutch oven, cover tightly with lid, and roast in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until pork is falling apart and tender.
  5. Remove from oven and use wooden spoon to pull pork apart or shred and stir well.
  6. Garnish with sour cream and/or shredded cheese, if desired.

source: Vida con Carne

Muy delicioso!

Green Chile-Smothered Pork Steak

Green Chile-Smothered Pork Steak 100615

We’ve had these pork steaks a couple of times before and, to be frank,they are not my favorite cut of meat. The idea for this meal came to me when I saw a stray can of whole green chiles in my cabinet. We are not generally buying anything that doesn’t come from an animal at this point in time, but I checked the label and the whole can was only 6 grams of carbs, so I decided to get rid of it. On the pork steak.

I browned the pork steak in a little butter in the dutch oven (about 5 minutes per side), then smothered it with the chiles, cut up, including all the juice. I covered it and let it simmer for 20 minutes, and served with a generous dollop of sour cream.

A nice treat, and quick and easy, just as I like it!

Beef Stroganoff, Take 1

Or, as I am semi-affectionately referring to this first attempt, Beef Frankenstein.

Beef Stroganoff 092215

In the end, the flavor turned out to be quite good. The texture and execution need a little work!

I started by browning ground beef in my trusty iron skillet. So far so good. Next I would normally drain the fat, but decided against that this time, as we are trying to increase our fat, not decrease it: Mistake #1.

Then I added 1 1/2 cups of beef stock: Mistake #2. That made for WAY too much liquid. I simmered it for 15 minutes or so, but it didn’t reduce much in such a short period of time, of course. Fingers crossed, I turned off the heat and stirred in some sour cream, hoping it would thicken the liquid sufficiently: Mistake #3. Still way too much liquid — it didn’t look like anything I wanted to serve (or eat myself, for that matter!)

I called my husband over to ask for his advice, since he cooks professionally. As he ruefully commented, it’s kind of hard being asked how to fix something after the fact, when I had already totally muffed it! He kindly gave me his best guidance, though, and I dutifully spooned the beef out of the pan and discarded the bulk of the liquid. Then I turned the burner back on and added just a bit more beef base, stirring well to fully incorporate it with the meat. When I was satisfied of that, I once again turned the heat off and stirred in a bit more sour cream.

The end result still didn’t look very appealing to me, but we were both quite hungry by this point, so I dutifully served it. In the end it actually tasted pretty good and was moister than it appeared to be just looking at it. I’d like it to be a bit saucier and creamier, so next time I’ll drain it first and be careful with how much stock I add.

Hopefully next time I’ll share as an actual recipe…meaning I got it right on the second try!

T-Bone Steaks

We had these over the weekend — when Brian got home after his usual Saturday 12-13 hour shift. We have gotten into the habit of doing most of our grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and the nearby Walmart, primarily for convenience and savings. Neither, however, has as much selection as the meat departments of grocery stores, so last week I saved the sales circulars from several such stores and wrote a 2-week menu and shopping list based on what I found that was on sale and different from our usual purchases.

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, I found a store that had t-bone steaks on sale for $4.88/pound, which is about what we pay for ground beef at Walmart in OKC these days. Who could resist?

T-Bone Steaks 090515

Was it the best steak I ever had? No. But it was tender (I seared for 5 minutes on each side in an iron skillet, then finished them in the oven). They were so big I had to sear them individually, as they wouldn’t both fit in my big skillet at the same time!

With some simple horseradish sauce (sour cream + horseradish), what a delicious treat for a couple of meat-eatin’ beef lovers on a budget!