"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2
Today, I am sharing an excerpt from a recent Homespun Devotions post because it really fits into what it means to live a frugal, simple life of Biblical minimalism.
"One thing I've learned over 32 years of marriage is how to be frugal in the kitchen, and one of the neatest ways that allows me to call forth my creative side is by challenging myself with making meals that will feed my little family and me for more than one meal. The goal is to always stay in competition with myself to see just how many meals one dish can stretch into! 😂
Upon leaving a comment over at Deborah's blog, "The Beautiful Matters" (by the way, I love, love, LOVE her blog ~ you should check it out and subscribe - she published a beautiful book review of our book recently ~ you can read it HERE), it came to my mind that I should share here what I was sharing in that comment. So, here goes!
First, though - I'm sorry I am not one of those super-talented foodie bloggers. I have no photos of the food to show, but I can promise you that these recipes work, they will stretch your grocery dollar until it screams, and you will hear lots of "mmms" and see smiling faces at your supper table!
One of the ways I cook something that stretches into feeding our family of three for nearly a week is by starting out with cooking a pork roast in the crock pot.
I season the outside of the pork roast with my "go-to" seasoning combination. I use this blend for SO many recipes. Here are the stars of the show:
(I used to only buy Lawry's, but I have found that the Aldi brand is just as good and usually less expensive.)
Note: I also sometimes add paprika or even steak seasoning, (depending on what I am cooking) to this "go-to" seasoning.
So, after I rub the outside of the pork roast with the above seasoning combination, I put it in the crock pot (fat-side down), and I take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the roast, making sure to twist the spoon handle to make the holes bigger.
Next is where an amazing secret comes in concerning cooking a pork roast!!
The liquid I pour over and around the pork roast is ~ not water, but apple juice! The apple juice permeates down into the holes and flavors the pork as it cooks, and oh, my! Let me just say that it takes this already delicious dish to a whole new level. It also makes your gravy a beautiful golden color and gives it a distinctive flavor. (recipe below)
And, here is how I start stretching a pork roast into enough to feed us for about a week:
Meal #1 from cooked Pork Roast
~ Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, and Green Beans ~
After the roast is done, remove the meat from the crock pot, leaving the broth behind.
Cut the meat into servings and place it on a pretty meat platter.
Strain the broth by putting a colander over a large bowl and pouring the broth from the crock pot into the colander, making sure to sift out everything but the luscious, rich broth. Set the strained bowl of broth aside.
Then, make homemade gravy, just like this:
Start out by melting one stick of butter in a large saucepan.
To the butter, add some flour to make a nice, rich roux ~
(Sorry, I don't have the exact measurement on the flour - I use the old-timey Tupperware scoops, and it usually takes about 2 to 3 of those heaping scoops to one stick of butter. The general rule for a roux is equal parts fat and flour.)
To the roux, add the "go-to" seasoning mix above (to taste) and stir the butter, flour, and seasonings together until everything is smooth.
Then, pour the entire bowl of broth into the roux and stir vigorously. You will want to have your heat up pretty high during this process. Let it bubble, and stir continually until the mixture starts to look like real, homemade gravy. Oh, my goodness! This is SUCH good gravy! It thickens to a beautiful texture, and the taste is just amazing! If any remaining lumps bother you, you can use an immersion blender to break them up. (I LOVE my immersion blender!)
For this meal, I also make homemade mashed potatoes, canned corn seasoned with butter, and 2 cans of green beans. I pour the 2 cans of green beans into a pot, add two beef boullion cubes, and let them cook until all the water is cooked off (about 10 minutes or so).
After this original pork roast meal, the creative fun begins! From that leftover pork roast, the following recipes spring forth!
Meal #2 from cooked Pork Roast
~ Open-faced Pork Roast Sandwiches ~
Toast two pieces of bread, while heating a portion of pork roast and gravy, separately, in microwave.
Butter the toast, then layer the pork roast on the buttered toast.
Pour the warm gravy over the open-faced sandwich.
Serve with some of the leftover mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans, if desired.
Meal #3 from cooked Pork Roast
~ Pork Ranch Barbecue Nachos ~
Cool Ranch Doritoes
Can of Chili Beans, heated
(I pulverized the beans with an immersion blender as I heated them, but you could also smash them with a fork or potato masher. Chili beans are what we had on hand, but you could also use refried beans or some other type of canned beans.)
Leftover Pork Roast, reheated
Diced Onions (if desired)
Spread a layer of Cool Ranch Doritoes on a dinner plate.
Spread shredded cheese over the Doritoes.
Spread warm chili beans over cheese.
Spread warm pork roast over beans.
Shred another layer of cheese on top of the pork roast.
Top with diced tomatoes, dollops of sour cream, onions (if desired).
Squirt ranch dressing in a criss-cross pattern over the top.
Squirt barbecue sauce in a criss-cross pattern over the ranch dressing.
You could also add jalapeno peppers, black olives, pico de gallo, salsa, or any other toppings you'd like.
Meal #4 from cooked Pot Roast
~ Barbecue Pork Sandwiches ~
Leftover Pork Roast
Barbecue Sauce of your choice
Bag of Cole Slaw
(Pre-shredded mixture of cabbage & carrots. We always put ours through our chopper to blend extra-fine.)
Heat leftover pork roast in a saucepan & slather with barbecue sauce while heating.
Butter top and bottom of each bun and brown in a skillet, butter-size down.
Assemble sandwiches by placing a portion of barbecue pork on each bottom bun, then topping meat with cole slaw. (Recipe below.)
Place shredded cabbage mixture in bowl.
Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl.
(I apologize that I do not measure. I just put about 2-3 large dollops of mayonnaise in a bowl, with a dash of vinegar, and about 2-3 teaspoons of sugar. I keep stirring and taste-testing and adding sugar/vinegar it until it tastes "right" to me. 😕
I know ~ but this is the country way of doing things and the way Mom taught me to cook!)
Pour mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar dressing over the cabbage, and voila! You have cole slaw!
Note: This slaw is SO good - it takes me back to when I was growing up and Mom, Dad, and I would go into country restaurants and they would serve cole slaw with Captain's Wafers crackers before the meal. Does anyone else remember that?
Meal #5 from cooked Pork Roast
~ Cold Pork Roast Sandwiches ~
Slather a slice of bread with mayonnaise and pepper.
Place cold pork roast on bread, and top with second slice.
Yummy and so, so simple.
Meal # 6 from cooked Pork Roast
~ Must Go Soup ~
Half & Half
Any other leftover cooked veggies from refrigerator
You can also add any canned veggies that don't require a long cooking time
Dump all into a large pan and heat slowly. When meat and veggies are warm, top everything with Half & Half until all is covered to a creamy, liquid consistency. The leftover mashed potatoes and gravy give this soup an amazingly rich base that morphs into a delicious, velvety soup.
Again, I wish I had taken photos of all of this at each step, but I failed to do so. I was too busy enjoying the process of creating wonderful things for my little family to eat.
I hope you can find something in this post that will spark a new creative and very frugal adventure in your own kitchen cooking for the ones you love most in the world!
Let me know if you try any of these recipes! May God bless you as you seek to live a Biblically minimal life!