Posted: April 12, 2011

Who Says I’m Cheap?  By: L.A. O’Neil

OK. I admit it. I’m a little . . . frugal. I don’t like wasting my hard-earned bucks, and I particularly don’t like wasting money when it comes to food (‘frugal’ sounds so much better than ‘cheap,’ doesn’t it?) We go out to eat every once in awhile, but, to be honest, I don’t enjoy it very much, because I know I can make it better and cheaper. This is a mantra that I’m pretty sure my family gets tired of hearing!

Which of these scenarios sounds like you –when you get the grocery flyers in the mail, do you go over them with a fine-toothed comb to see how many pennies you can save? Or, do you merely recognize the sales and then move on to something else – like vacuuming? If you’re in the ‘fine-toothed comb’ category, then you have truly embraced your frugality – if you wound up in the vacuuming category, you have a little work to do!

This week, Kroger (mid-Atlantic ad) has some great sales and I plan on stocking up – boneless pork loin is $1.99/lb, green beans are $.99/lb and jazz apples are $1.29/lb. Other deals are available, as well, but these will hit my table this evening . . . sounds like a frugal dinner to me!

So – what should I make? How about Crusted Pork Loin with Southern Green Beans, topped off with a Baked Apple Crunch that will serve your hungry family of four?

Ingredients for Crusted Pork Loin

4 slices boneless pork loin, cut in pieces that are 1/2 inch thick (use the rest for a recipe tomorrow)
Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 TBSP water
Canola oil for pan frying

Ingredients for Southern Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans, tips trimmed
2 slices bacon, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Ingredients for Baked Apple Crunch

2 jazz apples, cut in half (drizzle with a little lemon juice, if you have it)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP butter

1/4 cup oatmeal
Dash of salt


Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the brown sugar, butter, oatmeal and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Cut each apple in half and top with crunch mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake until apples are tender, about 30 minutes.

Set up a dredging station with the flour, egg wash and Panko (use 3 separate dishes, such as pie plates.) Place pork loin slices on plastic wrap and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound pork to 1/4 inch thickness. Beat eggs with a fork in a small bowl with the water. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge pork in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and then dredge in Panko crumbs (press the crumbs into the meat to make sure they adhere.) Place on a rack and refrigerate for about 20 minutes – this will
help the coating adhere to the pork during cooking.

While the pork is hanging out in the icebox, heat the canola oil in a large cast iron skillet (or, any skillet) to about 350°. You’ll know the oil is ready when you drop a little bit of flour into the pan and it sizzles and bubbles. Add the pork slices gently to the pan and pan fry for about 4 minutes or until a golden crust forms. Turn and fry for another 4 minutes. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes. (You’ll be finishing off the pork at the same time the apples are baking – they should
come out of the oven together.)

Start the beans when the pork is frying. Trim the green beans, and cook in about an inch of water in a skillet on medium high. Drain and set aside. In the same skillet, fry up the bacon and add the onions just when the bacon begins to brown. Add the green beans to the skillet, turning to coat in the bacon drippings. When the beans are hot, add the vinegar to the pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Allow the vinegar to evaporate and the sugar to combine with the pan drippings – about 2 minutes.

There you have it! Plate so the meal looks cool and call everyone to the table!

So, what did this fantastic meal cost? Just about $1.82 per serving! And, that’s factoring in the little extra ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!

A restaurant-quality meal for $1.82 per serving?

Dang! You’re really good!

Author Byline:

This article was contributed by Kitchen Blender Reviews, a site focused on helping you decide on the best blender to buy for your needs. You will also find many healthy and delicious recipes for meals, smoothies and desserts. Bon appetit!

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