It got a little embarrassing but I showed up at Harris Teeter and bought last week's pork loin meal deal three times.  Yeah, it was a great for many reasons: 1) when you added a green vegetable, it was a great easy meal 2) the pork loin alone usually costs as much as the $10 meal deal 3) I got LaBrea sourdough bread for free!  So along with the customary meal deal, I made stuffed sourdough french toast and a delicious Mexican Pueblo stew with a buttload of veggies I picked up from the Ladson fairgrounds flea market last Saturday.

Stuffed Sourdough French Toast
  • Usual french toast ingredients (milk, eggs, cinnamon, blah blah blah)
  • LaBrea sourdough bread sliced with a hole cut in the sides
  • Dickinson's (Black Raspberry Preserves and Apple Butter) - free during Super Doubles week
  • Butter flavor cooking spray

Pueblo Stew
I normally venture to the Ladson Fairgrounds for chicken business.  But while we were there, my husband and I always stop by a Hispanic produce stand on the north end of the fairgrounds.  In the past I've gotten great recipes for new international meals and last Saturday was no different.  Since I learned that cactus was edible, I have planted it in my yard and at the school garden but I never tried it for myself.  When I saw it at the produce stand with the spines removed, I decided to buy some to spice up our Sunday dinner.  Turns out that cactus (or nopales in Spanish) has a texture similar to okra.  Traditionally, its chopped, boiled and drained before adding to salads or other recipes. 

JOEBOB22's Pueblo Stew on allrecipes.com seemed like the perfect recipe for our first foray into cactus eating.  When one comment suggested adding pinto beans and rotel tomatoes, I knew that this was our new favorite Mexican recipe. I used the last of a pork loin to make the real deal and also made a vegetarian version substituting zucchini for the meat.  I didn't add the queso fresco or the spicy peppers but both were stews were outstanding anyway.  JoeBob22's stew also calls for hominy, one of the few food items I struggled to find a recipe for when I worked at the Food Bank.  Oh well, now I know.  Next time I make this stew, I'll be sure to add a can or two.

Easy Pueblo Stew
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 cans pinto beans (I used dried pinto beans which must have been old because they were still hard after 4 hours of cooking - the stew was so good that we ate it anyway)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cooked pork loin, cubed
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful each cilantro, papalo and epazote, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 freshly cooked prickly pear cacti (nopales), drained and rinsed
  • 2 can Rotel tomatoes
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in beans, onions, carrots and potatoes, cubed pork and seasonings.  Cook for about 10 minutes. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes. Stir in herbs, cooked cactus and tomatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes.
 
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Bi-Lo's 5 for $20 meat sale was the basis for our homemade Southern fave - shrimp stew without the grits.
Thanks to another food coupon victory, this very Southern dinner was easy to prepare. 

1 1/2 smoked sausage links, sliced
2-3 cups veggies - we used celery, onions, yellow squash, zucchini and red pepper
2 tbsp garlic powder or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
2 cans beef gravy
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 - 1 bag shrimp

Heat pan to medium.  Add smoke sausage and cook until browned.  Stir in veggies and seasonings and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until softened.  Mix the tomato paste with the sausage mix and then add the gravy.  Let cook for another 10-15 minutes and then stir in cooked shrimp.  Cook until heated through.  We served the stew with B1G1 field peas and snaps (surprisingly good out of the can) and fresh green beans cooked Italian style (briefly steamed, then sauteed in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper to taste).

G, What About the Grits?
Living dangerously between two cultures, I'm used to having my grits for breakfast either with eggs and sausage or like a hot cereal - topped with milk and sprinkled with sugar (the latter is considered blasphemy in the South).  So if you want to make your own grits, be ready to cook them for about 30 minutes, no matter what the instant grits package says.  If the grits are chewy, they are undercooked. Good grits are should be cared for like a creamy risotto  Add water, milk or cream whenever the liquid evaporates. Season them with about 1-2 tbsp of sugar, salt and pepper just before serving.
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Shrimp (minus) grits, brown rice, field peas and Italian green beans make a very healthy meal.

Easy Recipes for Cheap Living
Last Updated November 26, 2010
Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
Easy Recipes for Living Well on a Budget