Monday, February 23, 2009

A Delicious Frugal Meal

Soon after I married, some 50 years ago, my mother obtained a little cookbook for me from the County Extension Service titled Money-saving MAIN DISHES.

The recipe I am sharing here is one of our family favorites and one I have made during all these years.

A "boiled" dinner
2 pounds meaty ham hocks
1 1/2 cups hot water
4 medium-size potatoes, pared and halves
1 1/2 cups canned or cooked green beans and liquid
Salt and pepper
Cover ham hocks with water and simmer about 1 hour.
Add potatoes to meat and cook until tender - about 25 minutes.
Add beans and liquid the last 10 minutes of cooking. If raw beans are used, add with potatoes.
Season with salt and Pepper. Skim off excess fat before serving.
For Variety
Corned beef, smoked Boston butt, or ham bone may be used in place of the ham hocks. Cover with water and simmer about 3 hours or until tender. Omit salt, and continue as above. Good with sauerkraut.
Beef short ribs may be used. Brown short ribs without added fat; cook 2 hours before adding potatoes.
A variety of vegetable may be used in a "boiled" dinner. In addition to potatoes, use onions, large pieces of carrot, and wedges of cabbage. Add cabbage about 20 minutes before serving, as it cooks more quickly than the other vegetables.
This is how I prefer to cook it and what I use:
The day before:
Place 3 or 4 meaty country style pork spare ribs
in the slow cooker (crock pot) and cover with water.
When done I remove the meat and place on a plate in the refrigerator.
I place the crock pot, with all the liquid, in the refrigerator so the fat will rise to the top and form a layer that is easy to remove.
The following day:
Remove crock pot dish from frig and remove layer of fat.
Plug in crock pot and add meat to liquid.
Add the amount of pared and halved potatoes. I use 2 potatoes for each spare rib.
Add several cans of green beans - I usually add 3 or 4 cans, depending on whether I have 3 or 4 ribs, and because we really like the green beans.
I do not add any salt or pepper.
I did this yesterday....and when we returned from church services I had this wonderful meal ready to serve. It is truly yummy!!!
I am going to try and estimate the cost: my package of country style pork ribs were $8.47. When I bought them I divided them into 3 packages and froze for 3 meals. So meat was $2.82. The most recent bag of potatoes I purchased was 10 lbs. for $5.77 . It had 31 potatoes in it (YES - can you believe I counted the potatoes so I could get a unit price!!!) That is .186 cents per potato x 6 = $1.12. The green beans I had purchased the last time they were on sale for .50 a can x 3 cans = $1.50
So: Meat $2.82
Potatoes 1.12
Green Beans 1.50

Total Cost $5.44

I could have invited another couple to dinner with us, or in this case, since I didn't Mickey and I will get 2 good meals from this dish, with maybe even a few potatoes and beans left over for a 3rd vegetable serving.



  1. You counted the potatoes! I love how you said that! We're not pork eaters around here so I'd do the beef, but it sounds delicious.
    And I will add to the quote at the end of your post ...can be delicious AND nutritious!

  2. Sounds good to me! I bet it's a nice homey smell in your house when that's cooking!We always cooked a lot with ham hocks when I was growing up.

  3. Love ham hocks with ANYTHING!

  4. Yummy and yes I can believe you counted the potatoes! Like minded for sure!! I agree with Maxine about the homey smell!

  5. Oh I bet this was soooo good!!!

  6. That sounds delicious, and how wonderful that you can make it with different meats. MMMM!