Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

Balsamic roasted pork loin Last week  I created a menu from our local  Kroger ad and mentioned this recipe for Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin. I got a lot of requests for the recipe after I posted that menu and again when I shared photos from our family dinner on Facebook. In other words: this dinner was a huge hit!

I surrounded this pork loin with sliced yellow squash and zucchini covered in butter and let them all roast together in the same pan as you can see in the photo. You could use any vegetables you like, but I guarantee they’ll taste yummier roasted with this delicious blend of butter, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and pork broth coming off that pork loin. Yummmmmy!

Don’t forget! It’s not too late to help us Stock the Pantry. Just pick up $10 worth of groceries this week and donate it to your local food shelter. Live in the Little Rock area? We’d love to have you join us in helping our neighbors here in Levy. Just stop by Levy Church of Christ to make your donation to our food pantry. We at the Family Table and our neighbors in need thank you!

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

Ingredients

  • Boneless Pork Loin
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 c. Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Butter

Instructions

  1. Coat your baking pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  2. Place the pork loin fatty side up in the pan and slice across the top every 1-2 inches, piercing just beneath the fat layer.
  3. Spread minced garlic in the slits and across the top of the pork.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey.
  6. Top with 4 Tbsp of butter.
  7. Bake at 350 uncovered for 2 hours.
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Plan a Budget Menu From a Grocery Ad

IMG_2346-0.JPGYesterday we challenged you to Stock the Pantry using this week’s incredible Kroger sales ad. Today I’m going to show you how to turn that add into the ultimate budget menu. I started by making a list of all the items I considered to be a fabulous deal in the ad. This turned out to be most of the ad (which sparked this whole week’s theme!)

I started with the first page and planned a few simple dinners based on their sale priced chicken breast. You can assume about 1/2 lb per person for each meal. If it comes in 5lb packages, open it up when you get home and take out what you need for each meal, sorting them into piles to store in the fridge or freezer. I usually place them in freezer Ziploc bags with the marinade I want to use, label them with a marker, and then store them in the freezer for the week until I’m ready to prep dinner. Add a $1 bottle of BBQ sauce and a stack of the 4/$1 corn on the cob and you have a fabulous BBQ chicken dinner to enjoy with the family. I might make a party of this one and serve 10 people for just $1.50/person. Wow. I’ll probably top it off with a few cans of baked beans to round out the meal.

For another dinner, I would make a pan of sage roasted chicken breasts with a side of Alexia sweet potato fries (p. 2) and green bean casserole. The chicken will cost me $1.99/lb and I need 3 lbs for my family so that is $6. The fries will cost me $2.99/bag and I’ll season them with garlic salt and roasted red pepper flakes before baking them. The green beans will be 2 cans for $0.78 and I’ll add a can of Kroger cream of mushroom soup for $1, a splash of milk and season it with dried onion flakes and black pepper. This comes out to $10.78. I’ll round up to $11 for the spices I used at home and then divide by 5 people. This is a grand total of $2.20 per person.

Like Mexican food? We do! So, I’ll make one more chicken dinner with a can of rotel and 3 lbs of chicken in the crockpot. Add Onion flakes, a Tbsp of chili powder, and a tsp cumin. Cook on low all day and then shred with a fork to serve for dinner. I’d serve this over a pile of Fritos ($1.77/bag) on the plate with sliced avocado ($0.99 each) and top with sour cream ($1/pkg.) and shredded cheese ($2.99/bag).  This meal will be GONE in our house, but I might have some cheese and sour cream left to use on another meal later. Still, it costs us $2.55/person with food left over.

On the last page of the ad they have pork loin for $2.99/lb. I’ve seen it $1.99/lb before, so I might wait on this one, but even if I bought it now I would make Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin. Place it in an oiled pan, slice through the top layer and shove garlic cloves inside. Surround with slices of zucchini and yellow squash ($0.99/lb) with onions and top with slices of butter. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over all of it and roast it in the oven at 300 for 2 hours. Then, serve it next to a buttery pile of peas from the freezer section ($1/bag). Even with the added cost of one onion, the garlic, a stick of butter and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, all of this would only cost us $2.80/person. That’s the cost of our FANCY meal! There is no way I can feed my family at any restaurant for even twice that price these days (We have teenagers, enough said.)

Was that too fancy? Then how about a night of brats on the barbie? $2.99 for a pkg. of hotdogs is more than we usually pay, but then again I don’t usually buy Johnsonville brats. Come to think of it, I don’t like cheap hotdogs so even though I buy the cheaper stuff, I won’t eat it and end up scrounging for something else in the kitchen later.  A pack of the better brand might be fun! It’ll take two packages to feed my family, so that makes it $5.98. Add 2 bags of Kroger hotdog buns ($2) and a bag of Lays potato chips($1.77) and the total is $9.75. I would top this meal with the rest of the shredded cheese from our Mexican chicken night and maybe add a can of Ranch style beans. That would be around $2.25/person for this meal. Not bad for a fun night in the backyard around the grill.

So, we’ve made 5 nights of dinners now for less than $3/person each meal. Here’s the final cost:

BBQ chicken with corn on the cob & baked beans: $1.50/person

Sage roasted chicken with sweet potato fries and green bean casserole: $2.20/person

Mexican crockpot chicken with toppings: $2.55/person

Balsamic roasted pork loin with zucchini squash and peas: $2.80/person

Brats, beans, and chips: $2.25/person

Total cost per person: $11.30 for 5 nights of dinners!

That’s incredible! With a little more research and planning, I could make a few weeks of meals out of this sale and I haven’t even touched breakfast yet! They have all of their Kroger cereal and lots of fruit on sale, too. I’m telling you, this is a great time to stock your pantry full of healthy foods that are easy to use. Want to see the ad for yourself? You can find it here.

Speaking of stocking up, this is a great opportunity to share with another family in need. This sale makes good use of $10, stretching that money to give us more. We challenge you to set aside $10 this week to help a family right here in your community. An easy way to do that is by donating to your local food pantry. Want to know more about how you can help? You’ll find all the details HERE. Don’t let this moment slip by. It’s easy, it helps real families right around the corner, and it only takes $10 to make a difference. Stop by tomorrow to hear more about the very real problem that is touching so many lives in Arkansas: Hunger.

Stock the Pantry

IMG_2346.JPGHave you seen the Kroger ad this week? It’s crazy! I can’t remember the last time I actually sat and flipped through one of the grocery ads that pile up in my mailbox, but this one had me hitting pause on my busy life and sifting through the pages. The sales this week are fabulous and on great items that most of us use everyday like canned or frozen vegetables, cereal and oatmeal, dairy products, and pasta sauce. I’m impressed, Kroger. I’m so impressed that I’m challenging YOU, dear reader, to grab this ad and go stock your pantry.

Wait. You know what is even better than filling your pantry? Helping someone else who is hungry fill theirs. So, this week The Family Table is challenging each of YOU to grab 10 items for your grocery cart, just $10 worth of food, and share it with a family in need. An easy way to do this is to donate it to your local food pantry. Here in the North Little Rock area we have a fabulous food pantry that serves local families in need at the Levy church of Christ. It is always a struggle to keep the pantry stocked with good healthy food. So, this week we’ll have boxes in the lobby marked Stock the Pantry to help you share in this good work.

Need some inspiration? Here’s what $10 will get you at Kroger this week:

25 cans of Kroger vegetables (Fri-Sun sale only)

10 boxes of Kroger cereal or instant oatmeal

10 cans of Bumble Bee tuna

10 bottles of Kroger BBQ sauce

10 bottles of Hunt’s ketchup

10 boxes of Hamburger Helper

10 packages of Angel Soft toilet paper (EVERYONE needs toilet paper!)

10 cans of Kroger canned chicken breast

10 cans of Del Monte vegetables

10 boxes of Rice a Roni

10 boxes of Idahoan mashed potatoes

10 cans Hunt’s pasta sauce

3 bottles of Wisk Laundry detergent

5  jars of Peter Pan peanut butter

5 jars of Welch’s grape jelly

If each family who reads this just shared $10 worth of food with our community, think of all the families we could feed! Those are hungry little bellies that need nutrition right in our own backyard. Please, PLEASE consider sharing your abundance with your neighbors in need. Let’s work together and Stock the Pantry. Check back tomorrow and I’ll show you how to turn this killer sale into a week of family dinners on the ultimate budget menu.

Who Needs Some Girl Time?

Back to School Mom's NightCome on, don’t lie. You’re exhausted. The whole “Back to School” season wears me out! I spend the last part of summer looking forward to “normal life” and the start of old routines, but it’s such a joke! When will I learn that there is no normal in my life? Maybe it’s just me, but the start of the school season always brings chaos and tears for this frazzled momma. I don’t know about you, but I could use some girl time. A comfy sofa surrounded by women who understand why I need to talk, but simultaneously want to sit in a corner alone and cry it out. Hand me some strong coffee and a good dose of chocolate followed by some laughter and I’ll be ready to face another day. 

Can you relate? If this sounds at all like I’m speaking your language and you live in the Little Rock area, then grab your keys, your kids, and a bit of courage, and come down to Levy church of Christ tonight. We’re throwing a Back to School Mom’s Night OUT! We’ll cover the childcare, so don’t worry if you don’t have someone at home to tuck the kids into bed. It’ll be worth it, I promise. Here are all the details:

TONIGHT

Levy church of Christ
5124 Camp Robinson
North Little Rock
(in the gym)

7:00 – 9:00 pm

*FREE childcare*

There will be food, prizes, and lots of girls looking for a night out and new friends to survive the school year. So, don’t be afraid to step out on a limb and join us even if you don’t know a soul there. I promise we’re nice and want to be your new bestie 😉

Know a Mom who needs this? Share this invite by hitting one of the share buttons below.

The Real Deal

When it comes to actually shopping, I rarely have a trip that goes exactly according to plan. This week was no different.
Groceries 5-1-15

Changes made in the store:

  • I simply did not like the pork picnic. It was much larger than I expected (they were all in the $9-$11 range) and it was a very fatty roast. I really didn’t want to deal with trying to remove that much fat from each plate and frankly, it looked like a beast I didn’t want to tame.
    • Solution: I bought the pork loin for $1.88/lb. I found a small one for $5.56 which fit nicely into my budget and is plenty to make a roast and have enough leftovers for pulled pork sandwiches.
  • I found Simple Truth Organic Baby Spring Mix salad with a sell by date of 5/01/15 (today) was marked down to $1.49 (reg $3.49). I bought it instead of the Fresh Selections salad on sale for $2.50 and will save the corresponding .55/1 coupon (would have cost me $1.95).
    • Saved $0.46.
  • I bought 6 cans of Old El Paso products. The hang tags show you get $1 off your next order (from a Catalina that prints at the register) when you buy 3. Sometimes when you buy more you will get a higher dollar amount Catalina. Since I had two $1/3 coupons I decided to see if it would work. It did not. I only got one $1.00 off your next order. If you want to buy 6 cans and use both coupons, do it in two separate transactions to get the $1.00 off each set of 3 cans.
    • Lost out on $1.00 Catalina
  • They were out of 1 lb organic baby carrots for $0.99
    • Did not buy carrots

Markdown section:
Every Kroger has a markdown section where it puts damaged items on sale for about half off. For the most part, items found here are good items to stock up on. Just make sure you can still open the cans. It’s usually feast or famine in the markdown section. Remember how I said I probably wouldn’t spend all my budget this week? Yeah. The markdown section changed that! I found some great surprises which will certainly save me money in the long run.

Markdowns 5-1-15

  • 2 bottles Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil $9.99 (reg $21.99)
    • Saved $12 each x 2 bottles = $24 saved
  • Bush’s Baked Beans $0.89 (reg $1.79)
    • Saved $0.90 each x2 = $1.80 saved
    • The best part about this is I had 2 cans on my list to complete my menu!
  • Ranch Style Beans $0.49 (reg $0.89)
    • Saved $0.40
  • Kroger Tomato Sauce $0.39 (reg $0.69)
    • Saved $0.30

Total spent on markdowns: $22.62

Total saved on markdowns: $26.50

Not bad!

Impulse buys:

  • Sour cream and green onion dip $1.00
  • Wavy Lays $2.50

Overspent by $3.50. Hey, they were both on sale!

Problems with price at the register:
I got broccoli that was clearly marked as $0.99/lb. It all said “Broccoli Crowns.” I looked around the section because all the broccoli displayed seemed to have much more stem than I would expect for broccoli crowns. Not surprisingly, the broccoli did ring up as regular broccoli at 1.99/lb so I ended up spending $2.63 instead of $1.31. Paid $1.32 more. It is a bummer, but not worth driving back to the store. Had I caught it before I left, customer service would have corrected it for me. Kroger’s customer service is wonderful and I have always gone out of their way to make it right regardless of if it was my mistake or theirs.

Overspent by $1.32.

Overall, how did I do?

grocery receipt 5-1-15

Total: $108.52.

Fuel points doubled to 202!

$1.00 off my next order!

Not too bad! To stay within $100, I could have:

    • Purchased only 5 packages of cream cheese (instead of 10) = $5 saved
    • Not let impulse get the best of me and not purchased the dip and chips = $3.50 saved
    • Corrected the broccoli issue = $1.32
    • Purchased Old El Paso products in 2 transaction to get extra Catalina = $1.00 for next order
Total shoulda/coulda/woulda saved: $10.82

Fuel Purchase:

I earned 402 fuel points in April. That got me $0.40 off per gallon! Over 15 gallons of fuel for $29.53! You can get double fuel points every weekend (FridaySunday) until Aug. 2nd. Go tokroger.com/summerfuel
 to download the double fuel points coupon to your Kroger card.

Fuel receipt 5-1-15

So there you have it! A very honest look at what my shopping trips actually look like, what I bring home, and what it costs. Happy shopping!

~Liz

Liz’s Shopping Secrets

photo 2 (1)I base our meals around what is on sale. It is such a helpful tool to make my grocery dollars go as far as they can, but it looks a bit different than the typical way to make a grocery list. Here’s what I do:
1) I start with the weekly sales ad. I like to flip through it then circle the items I think are a good deal. The loss leaders are usually on the front page. “Loss Leaders” are items the store has discounted to the point they will lose money on them. It is used to get shoppers into their store instead of going to their competitors.
photo 1 (2)
2) I check out www.krogerkrazy.com because she matches coupons to the sales items. Kroger Krazy is located in Ohio and some of the sales prices are slightly different than our location, the Delta Region. However, it is generally accurate and I like that she makes it so easy to click a link to grab a printable coupon and tells you which newspaper coupon inserts to look in to find a particular coupon.
3) I start making my list, calculating a general idea of how much I will spend on each item.
What I’m buying based on sales price:
Red Tomatoes on the vine .99/lb = I’ll buy about 1lb = about $1
Kroger Cream Cheese = $1 – stock up price!I’ll buy about 5 = $5
Kroger Salad Dressing = $1 – I’ll buy 2 = $2
Kroger cheese = $1.99 (buy a block of cheese, shred it yourself, get 2 oz free/save about $0.50 off shredded) – 2 blocks = $3.98
Sour cream 16oz = $1
Fritos = $2 (good price, but lowest price is $1.49)
Cheetos = $2 (good price, but lowest price is $1.49)
Broccoli Crowns = $0.99/lb – about 1-1.5 lbs = about $1-$1.50
Red Grapes = $1.48/lb I’ll likely buy about 2 lbs = about $3.00
Organic Baby Carrots (16 oz) = $0.99
Corn on the Cob 3 for $0.99 = $0.33 each (good price, look for it to go down to $0.25 before stocking up for your freezer) 8 cobs = $2.64
Avocados $0.99 each (I buy at least 5 a week and the baby eats at least 1/2 one a day. It’s cheap and surprisingly portable baby food. Avocados that are slightly soft and still have the stems attached are ripe, green will be ripe in a few days, black and very soft or missing the stem is hit or miss in my opinion. They last quite a while in the fridge.) x7 = $6.93
Fresh Selections Salad $2.50 (I have a 0.55/1 coupon from a Kroger mailer and will get it for $1.95)
Kroger Hamburger Buns = $1
Kroger BBQ sauce = $1 (good price, lowest is $0.49)
Quilted Northern Bathroom Tissue $5.99 (I printed  two $1/1 coupons from the link at www.krogerkrazy.com) = $4.99 each x2 = $9.98
Deals from Kroger Krazy, will have to verify prices in store, usually very close if not the same:
Mission Tortillas $1 – 0.55/1 printed coupon (link at www.krogerkrazy.com) = 0.45 each x2 = $0.90
Old El Paso refried beans 1.25 ea – $1/3 printed coupon (www.krogerkrazy.com) AND $1 off your next order Catalina (a coupon printed by a machine named Catalina that is next to the receipt printer at the cash register. Keep it and use it like a coupon to take $1 off your next grocery trip.) = (1.25 x 3 cans = 3.75 -$1/3 = $2.75 paid at the register (with the $1 off your next trip they are the equivalent of $1.75 or $.58 each, but today you pay about $0.92 each. Did you follow all that? Pay now, save later. Grocery games are weird.)
 

3 DAY SALE – ONLY FRIDAYSUNDAY:

Chicken Leg Quarters $0.49/lb 10lb bag = $4.90 stock up price! – 2 bags = $9.80

Pork Picnic Roast $.88/lb = I’m looking for one around $5.20

My estimated grocery cost so far: $62.67, minus these coupons Kroger mailed to me in various flyers:

$1 off your next shopping trip
$2 off $10 or more from produce dept
$3 off $15 or more from meat/seafood dept
$62.67- $1- $2- $3 = $56.67

4) Come up with menu ideas based on what I’m buying and what I have on hand already

Supper:
  • Chicken and rice with broccoli (have the rice on hand, will cook rice in broth made from crock pot cooking the chicken)
  • Chicken tortilla soup (have frozen corn, seasonings, canned tomatoes, and onion, will use the Fritos instead of tortilla chips, boiling chicken quarters will make broth, already buying cheese and sour cream)
  • Chicken and dumplings (have four and yeast to make dough, boiling chicken quarters will make broth, have frozen buttermilk and butter)
  • Chicken pot pie (have flour and butter for pastry crust, have onion and will use broth from crock pot cooking chicken to make the gravy, have carrots, need peas and milk)
  • Chicken soup (rice or noodles, can use veggies from pot pie, have onion, cooking chicken quarters will make broth)
  • BBQ chicken (buying corn on the cob and BBQ sauce. Need baked beans)
  • Pork Roast (have potatoes, onion, and large carrots)
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches (from leftover roast, already buying BBQ sauce, hamburger buns, and corn on the cob. Would like baked beans)

Lunch:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches (have lunch meat, have PB&J, need bread)

Snacks:

  • Crackers and cheese (have crackers, buying cheese)
  • cheese and grapes (buying both)
  • grapes and crackers
  • carrots and ranch dressing
  • string cheese
  • rice cakes and peanut butter or cream cheese (have it)
  • goldfish (have it)
 Breakfast: (My husband and I are pathetic breakfast eaters. My husband and I simply don’t like eating first thing in the morning. The boys eat and sometimes I do too, but mostly I just drink coffee and we eat an early lunch. My husband takes breakfast bars to work and I stock up on them when they go on sale. My oldest will typically eat cereal and milk or occasionally a fried egg and the baby who is still nursing is usually pretty happy with a banana.)
  • Cereal (still have several boxes)
  • Bananas
  • Eggs (have eggs)
Items to add to my list:
  • Peas (frozen on sale for $1, good price, best is around $0.88)
  • Milk
  • Baked beans
  • Bread
  • String Cheese
  • Bananas
Cost estimate = $15?
5) Decide how much wiggle room I have left in our budget to determine how much I can spend to stock up on items at rock bottom prices. That said, there’s really not much I want to stock up on this week. It’s just chicken and cream cheese. I don’t want to buy more than 20 lbs of chicken so I’ll grab another 5 packages of cream cheese. It keeps well for a long time in the refrigerator and everyone in my family enjoys it. Unless I come across some great unadvertised deals or a full markdown section, it isn’t likely I’ll spend my full grocery budget this week. I’ll simply save what I don’t spend for next time.
It may seem messy and like a lot of steps, but it’s really not bad when you’re just writing it down on paper. Once you do it a few times it becomes pretty easy. You’ll start building your pantry at rock bottom prices and each week the list of items you need to complete meals will get shorter and shorter while you stretch your grocery dollars further and further.
Happy shopping!
~Liz

Sunday Paper Coupons

IMG_2346-0.JPGCoupons can be a great tool to help stretch your grocery dollars. Here are a few tips:

The first Sunday paper typically has the most inserts.
This is where you’ll find the P&G insert (for Proctor Gamble products) and it often has 2 Smart Source inserts along with the Red Plum insert. (NOTE: There are no coupons in the paper on holidays.)
If you only have room in your budget for one paper each month or don’t want to dive all the way into couponing, the first paper is typically the way to go. 

You can do a coupon preview to see what’s in each Sunday paper.
I use this website: http://www.sundaycouponpreview.com/category/sunday-coupon-inserts/
Some weeks it may not be worth it to you to buy a paper, but some weeks you may decide to buy more than one.


A quick word on coupon organization.

When I first started couponing, I cut out each coupon, filed it by category, and once a week I would go through the whole stash to cull expired coupons. I very quickly realized that method took a lot of time and frankly, I just didn’t have that much time to devote to that method.
The sales and coupon match ups tell you where to find a certain coupon (i.e. “4/26 RP” means it is found in the Red Plum insert dated 4/26). So after much trial and error, I ended up doing basically nothing for coupon organization. For my sanity and kitchen aesthetics, I put each week’s inserts into page protectors, wrote the date on a post it note on said page protector, closed the binder and called it good enough. It worked very well. I could easily and quickly find the coupons I needed, I no longer had to go through my entire coupon stash to cull expired coupons, and the binder could be easily moved around or hidden. 


I hope these tips will help make using coupons easy and manageable. Happy couponing! 

~Liz