I have a mid-year’s resolution. My resolution is to reduce my grocery expenses and to waste less food. This means more meal planning, cooking ahead of time, and shopping the ads. My biggest change has been to stop eating frozen meals for lunch. Those little meals are super easy and convienient but really add up quickly. So if anyone has ideas for filling and transportable lunches, send them my way! So far I have discovered my love of steel cut oats for lunch (best topped with currants or butterscotch chips).
So far I’ve been doing this for about a week, and I’m a little bit of a nerd because it’s actually kind of fun. I like having to think up new ways to use up ingredients, and I love the thrill of seeing a sale. There is nothing better than seeing a yellow price tag, especially on something you love.
One tactic I’ve used is buying more seasonal produce, which is a good idea both because the produce is at its peak taste and often much cheaper. Now, I have bought lots of plums and corn this summer, but I completely neglected peaches and nectarines. For shame. I am now grabbing some nectarines or peaches every grocery store trip to make up for lost time. One night I decided to make my own take on the Cuban dish picadillo and use some sweet summer peaches. This dish is savory, salty, vinegary, and sweet- all great flavors.
So how did this meal do with my savings? Very well- I used some frozen ground turkey I had bought previously on sale, used fresh summer peaches, and used dried beans instead of canned. Successful and delicious.
PICADILLO WITH PEACHES
1 cup dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces ground meat (pork, turkey, beef)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup sliced green olives with pimentos
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
In a bowl, cover dried pinto beans completely with water with about 1-2 inches of water above. Let soak for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Transfer to a saucepan and cover with water, with about 1 inch of water above the beans. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid, tilted to allow steam to come out. Reduce to simmer and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours, until beans are soft. Add more water if needed. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add ground meat and cook until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Add currants, olives, and pinto beans. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and paprika. Mix together and add tomato sauce and red wine vinegar. Cook until liquid has evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Serve on corn tortillas with slices of peaches.