Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Cooking

How was my weekend?  Oh, it was great...that is if you think spending a majority of your time grocery shopping and cooking is fun.  ;-)

Source: Anotherpintplease
I couldn't help it.  There were some great protein sales this week, including 10 lbs of London Broil ($1.99),
pork ribs (.99 cents / lb if you bought a full rack), and 5 lbs of full fat ground pork ($1.59).  I also found some good looking steaks and boneless pork ribs in Safeway's "clearance meat" section.

Now, I'd like to pause here for a moment to state my opinion on the "clearance meats".  I've had people gag at the thought of buying meat that was at or near it's "sell by" date.  I have no problem with it as long as I plan to cook or freeze it right away.  It's an inexpensive way to buy cuts I'd never be able to afford, like this week's T-bone steaks for under $2/lb.  Now of course, I do have some standards: it can't be green.  Green meat is just....  *shudder*  I have had a few people tell me "Oh, there's nothing wrong with the meat - just cut off the green stuff!  Ewwww!

Anyway, the London Broil steaks and ground pork were portioned out into "meal sized" packages, wrapped and frozen right away.  The "clearance steaks" were de-boned and either cooked right away or frozen, depending on their condition (the more "interesting" pieces were cooked right away and eaten over the weekend while the better cuts were wrapped, labeled as "eat soon", and frozen).

Then I broke out my pressure cooker and started cooking ribs.  This is my absolute favorite way of cooking ribs - toss in the ribs, add in BBQ sauce and enough water to cook them in, pop on the top and cook for 20 minutes.  I had so many ribs, I had to do two sets.  Once they were done, I poured the leftover juice into a pan and reduced it down so I could use it as freezing liquid for the cooked ribs.  Once everything was cool enough, I popped the bones out (when you pressure cook ribs, the rib bones can easily be pulled out), packaged the ribs away in freezer bags along with a cup of cooking liquid, and froze. These are mama's "quick meals" - think homemade TV dinners - just defrost, add a dollop of BBQ sauce on top, and broil until the sauce is brown and the meat is warmed through.  Yum!

Of course, nothing goes to waste in this house.  All the beef and pork bones, along with any gristle, were tossed into the stew pot along with onion, celery, carrot and garlic to make beef broth.  That broth will be used this week - it has to be...the freezer is full!

Yes, the poor freezer is full now.  I had to rearrange it 3 times to finally get everything to fit.  Here's a pic of the mess:

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a 3 lb package of bacon while emptying out the freezer. Considering that I couldn't remember the last time I bought bacon, I thought it was a good time to cook it.  Anyway, there was no way I was getting that slab back into the freezer.  So, I spent Sunday morning oven-broiling bacon.  My daughter, who is a bacon-freak, stood at the oven for the longest time, touting the wonders of bacon: how good it smelt, how it was cooking, how it was going to taste, etc. etc.  When the first batch was cool enough, she snatched a piece and ran.

Anyway, that was my weekend - food food and more food.  I went to bed early Saturday - completely exhausted.  Who knew dealing with food could be so tiring?

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