I made pork loin for dinner earlier this week and we ended up with quite a bit of it leftover, but not enough to stand on its own, so I decided to make a meal that didn’t need a lot of meat to be really tasty.
Since we’re focused on reducing our food budget, I’ve been making meals out of what I have on hand most nights of the week. I used to go to the grocery store 5-7 days a week, but now that we’ve cut that down to only one or two days, I really don’t want to go if I don’t have to.
The rain has returned in the last week or so, and I know that the last few surviving plants in my garden likely won’t stick around much longer. Luckily, kale and carrots don’t seem to care too much about the wet or cold.
One of my favorite “kitchen sink” recipes is fried rice. It is so cheap and easy to make at home with a variety of ingredients, and yet we’ll spend $10-$13 as an entree at a restaurant. It’s one of those meals you KNOW they make a huge margin on.
Low Sodium Pork Fried Rice (serves 8 for $1.27*/each)
- 1/2 lb pork loin $3
- 4 scrambled eggs $1
- 4 cups kale, ripped into pieces $2 (free from the garden – I only had 2 cups available so that’s what I used, but 4 would be better)
- 2 carrots, finely diced 25¢ (free from the garden)
- 2 onions, diced $1 (free from the garden)
- 5 garlic cloves, diced 25¢ (free from the garden)
- 3 TBSP sesame oil 50¢
- 1 TBSP chili oil 10¢
- 2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce 30¢
- 1 TBSP honey 30¢
- 1 TSP white pepper 35¢
- 3 cups uncooked rice $1
*If you have a garden like I do, this cost gets down to 83¢/serving. Conversely, if you buy generic pork and eggs, you could cut this cost down even farther. We buy our eggs in 18 packs from Costco (Wilcox organic), so they’re less expensive than the grocery store, but still 25¢/egg.
- Start by cooking your rice and let it simmer while you cook the rest of the ingredients (or pull out of the fridge if you have leftovers).
- If you don’t have leftover pork like I did, cook it up simply and then dice into small pieces. This meal also works great with chicken or beef if that’s what you have on hand. Tofu or no meat at all would be tasty as well.
- Heat 1 TBSP sesame oil in the frying pan cook up your scrambled eggs. When you’re done cooking them, set them aside in a bowl and add onions, garlic, and carrots to the pan. Don’t worry about scraping all the egg bits out – they’re tasty. Cook the vegetables on medium high until they are slightly browned.
- Mix in rice, kale, soy sauce, white pepper, honey, and the rest of the sesame oil. Cook on medium high, stirring frequently until kale is cooked down.
- Add in pork end eggs and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve and enjoy (and take the leftovers to work the next day).
It’s one of those great meals where you can throw most anything in and have it taste great. And since it’s all cooked, wilted vegetables get used up instead of getting tossed into the compost. Cheaper for you, and healthier for the planet.