Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Pork patty chili

Cooler temperatures always means chili weather for me but the cost of ground beef is way to expensive.  Well as Grandma Mama would say; use what you have.   In the freezer was the pork patties we got from the mobile food bank this month.  So ok, pork patty chili it is.

Except for things that require precise measurements (like canning or breads) I don’t really use “recipes” and I’m not good at writing them either.  My recipes are ingredient lists without amounts.  No two makings of the recipe will be the same.  It depends on what I have and how much I want to use.  One time I might use more bell peppers and the next time I might use more tomatoes or beans.  Yet another time I might use pork patties instead of ground beef.  😉

My chili usually has:

  • ground beef
  • onions
  • bell peppers
  • mushrooms
  • diced tomatoes
  • tomato sauce
  • kidney beans
  • pasta
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • ground garlic

Yup, I was out of ground beef so I defrosted and cut two pork patties into tiny pieces to use instead.  I decided to leave out the tomato sauce this time and I used macaroni as the pasta.  I had just a little left in the box and I wanted to use it up.  When a recipe calls for a certain kind of pasta I’ve been known to use whatever I have available.  This chili could have just as easily had bow ties or rotini or shells.  All pasta is made from the very same ingredients.  Only the shape changes.  I don’t use salt while the food is cooking.  If food needs salt I use it at the table.

This was not a recipe I’d go out of my way to repeat often but it was edible.  Not too bad for using what I have so it doesn’t go to waste.  There was definitely some type of filler in the pork patties.  Possibly tofu.   One patty would have been enough for the recipe.  I have enough left over to put into the freezer for a couple other meals.

It was the name of the pork that had most food bank recipients around the country stumped.  The name should have been “sausage patties” instead of pork patties.  I guess since China is not buying USA pork as much as in the past it becomes a food bank windfall.

35 comments on “Pork patty chili

  1. KAYTHEGARDENER
    November 5, 2019

    Here is part of the reason for high pork prices — African Swine Fever — nearly 1/2 the world’s pigs affected — https://foodtank.com/news/2019/07/half-the-worlds-pigs-are-facing-the-largest-animal-disease-outbreak-in-history .
    I read recently about 2 Vietnamese people being denied entrance at the Australian airports because they were bringing in contraband pork buns…
    Think I will watch the Wartime (WWII) Farm videos from the BBC on youtube again for budget stretching ideas…

    Like

    • Anita
      November 7, 2019

      Thanks. Every high price these days is blamed on some type of disaster. Prices go up but never go back down again. Wartime kitchen and garden is a good series to watch too.

      Like

  2. Texasilver
    November 3, 2019

    I remember when a pot roast or a meatloaf was an economy dinner. No more. I am not financially strapped but I refuse to pay the high prices for hamburger meat or chuck roast. We eat chicken or pork roast. Ham is usually well priced too. After Jan.1 Aldi usually marks their hams down.

    Like

    • Anita
      November 4, 2019

      I remember those days too. All the old economy favorites are gone or have been renamed as specialty items with really high prices. I’ve been eating down my freezer in anticipation of after holiday sales. That’s when the foodbanks give more packs of meat because they receive more in donations. I sure hope a turkey is in my future. More likely it will be a chicken though.

      Like

      • Tracy
        November 4, 2019

        The turkeys get really cheap around Thanksgiving usually here.

        In Kroger 5 lb potatoes is currently 99 cents, yams still the 89 cents a pound they have been for months, hoping they drop soon.

        I’ve actually found an unlikely cheapest way to get protein has been the cooked food bar in Whole Foods, I put down a bed of baby spinach then a piece of cooked white fish and it’s a nice little lunch for @ $3. There’s been no supermarket fish on offer for a while now, it’s all expensive with not a lot of variety in Kroger.

        Do you ever get fish with the food banks?

        The cheapest way for me to eat salmon right now would be buy a frozen whole one in Kroger for $8.99. My perfect diet would be salmon every other day. But it’s not very practical or affordable.

        I eat a green banana every day again, and a Kroger ‘carbmaster’ 40 cent yoghurt for the live cultures and protein. Even cottage cheese has gone up here, I was eating a lot of that for a while! Kroger discounts cheeses so I buy a piece from there every week @ $2

        Avacados are 89 cents each for the little ones, $1.50 for the good size. Last year I ate a lot of them when they were always 39 cents each.

        I splurged on a loaf of Izzio bread, the only kind I can eat, it’s $2.99 for @ 10 small slices and was always half price on the bread rack a couple of times a week at Kroger, but they only seem to discount their own brand stuff now.

        The local neighborhood Wal-mart was adjacent one of the badly-hit Harvey neighborhoods and has closed down. I got my Metformin there, interestingly Kroger has a fee to ‘join’ their similar Rx program, membership is $36 a year for individual, $72 for a family.

        Like

        • Anita
          November 7, 2019

          I agree, the price of fish is very high. The food bank gave us a package of swai (Vietnam catfish) back in the spring. I traded mine to someone for their fresh green beans which I canned. I agree with you, I would eat salmon two or three times a week if it wasn’t so expensive. The senior commodity program gave cans of salmon for awhile but they’ve stopped. I don’t like avocados but I know they are healthy so I use the avocado oil instead. When I run out of my supply I’ll go back to olive oil because it costs less. Yes, I noticed Kroger has reduced the amount of the discounts and only given on their own products. Potatoes are running about dollar to a dollar twenty nine a pound here. Luckily we are still getting potatoes at the food banks. I plan to can a few pounds this weekend if nothing happens.

          Like

  3. catherine young
    November 1, 2019

    I’m sorry this recipe did not turn out to be delicious. I use pork, pork patties, sausages as meat in a lot of my recipes as a matter of course and the results are usually quite good. The internet has several chili recipes using sausage patties.

    I tend to break up these patties into crumbs and cook a while in my crock pot.

    All said and done, the Important part of all this is to make do with what one has and still get those needed nutrients into the body.

    Like

    • Anita
      November 2, 2019

      Maybe it was because after years of chili with ground beef my taste buds couldn’t handle the sage flavored chili. I might try it again but with more chili powder to cover up the sage. Its worth a try just so I know if we get more pork patties in the future.

      Like

      • Selena
        November 2, 2019

        What is the cost of ground beef in your area?

        Like

        • Anita
          November 3, 2019

          This week Meijer has the 3.5# chubs on sale $4.99 pound. Kroger Simple Truth is on sale $6.99 pound. Aldi has 10/$10 patties which are in 2.5# packs so $4 pound.

          Like

          • Selena
            November 3, 2019

            OMG.. Five pound bag in my area. And that is from a butcher shop, not a chain grocery.

            Extra Lean Ground Chuck – $14.45 ($2.89lb)

            Like

          • Anita
            November 3, 2019

            A lot of the costs associated with groceries depends on the area and how much the stores can get away with charging. People living in food deserts pay much more than people living in other areas. I live in a food desert.

            There are no butcher shops on my side of the county. We have what is called a “meat store” which sells nothing but varieties of meat sold in bulk. The store is very dirty. Its not cut in the store and I’m not sure where the meat is originally from. Workers either don’t know or aren’t allowed to tell. I saw a just opened Halal store not far away but I don’t know anything about shopping there. I believe I would like it though.

            Like

          • catherine young
            November 5, 2019

            I am just so craving a pot roast! I just wrote about in Anita’s newest post.

            Like

          • catherine young
            November 5, 2019

            My cousin got half price ground beef late in evening at Walmart. Gave me some. Not quite 2 lbs, and a pork roast.

            Like

  4. Selena
    October 31, 2019

    The insurer gets the discount then passes it along to the patient. So even though say a $400 discount, the $400 is applied to how much the insurer has paid for you.

    Like

    • Anita
      November 1, 2019

      Thank you for explaining. Now I understand. You’re right it isn’t fair.

      Like

  5. Tracy
    October 29, 2019

    I can’t tolerate flour any more, I’ve been using spaghetti squash, which is cheap here right now, as a substitute for pasta, goes well with sauces.

    I’m really struggling to stay well so far this winter, which only just began here, yesterday I went to the doctor ( and I resist going there! If I tell you I forgot to use an rx coupon and overpaid by $13 for my antibiotics you *know* how ill I am…)

    My son has needed help, and I’m working a lot including a $10 an hour job filling in the hours I don’t get any bookings; not a huge wage but every little helps. I’m still living in this shared house, after the holidays going to look into the post-Harvey recovery housing purchase project, if it even exists, we don’t hear much about what happened to all the money raised- I fully expect to find the projects suspended indefinitely.

    I need my own home so I will have to think what to do next. This is just one room with a fridge and a microwave and a shared bathroom, the a/c doesn’t work in my room and we have had a cockroach infestation and squirrel problem ( mice/rats etc too I guess ) where the older lady here puts her food leftovers on the ground outside. She uses ‘green’ anti-pest treatments which won’t work unless you follow strict controls. I asked the owner then sprayed with insecticide so I didn’t get ‘roaches, and I’ve made the balcony pleasant outside my room but still can’t grow anything without risking infestation there too, rats and mice can scale walls! So my little greenhouse and planters are empty. We have a vegetable garden but I’m concerned about picking up rodent dropping infections like hantavirus, so I just don’t go back there now. I tried talking to the woman but she doesn’t listen, in fact she doesn’t seem to accept basic facts of life, and the homeowner seems to have given up on fixing things too.

    So the writing’s on the wall…2020 I need a new home. Trying to see that as an exciting challenge rather than daunting.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 29, 2019

      Gosh Tracy you sure have had lots of problems with housing. I thought when you moved there you were happy at last. With a backyard garden and your own balcony it sounded so nice. I forget; are you allowed to use other cooking items like a crockpot, insta-pot, or electric skillet? With those you could expand your food choices. It doesn’t hurt to start looking for alternative housing now and get ideas before your lease is up. If you had your own house you would be in control of everything.

      Like

      • Tracy
        October 30, 2019

        It IS nice but I don’t think anyone knew the severity of problems with the other lady. My friend owns the place, I have no lease and she and her partner would help if they could but it’s just one of those sad situations which will play out, when the lady gets bad enough I expect she will go to a nursing home. I forsee a lot of sadness and anxiety for her family in the next few months and years, so I am going to be as compassionate as I can. Ironically it will be her lack of budgeting which will draw attention to the mental health problems, as the electricity bill is way more than it needs be, there’s loads of waste and hoarding, and according to my friend’s partner the rent doesn’t always get paid. I give her $100 a month to cover my electricity and water and internet. My rent is $500.

        All rents seem to have gone up since the disaster, there was huge demand for a year or so after Harvey.

        I AM happy, despite all the challenges of life Anita, I love my core work and have my son and puppy and friends. Came home from work two hours early today and 24 hours in bed is the best thing for me. I am very aware of all the people who can’t just go to bed in a warm dry comfortable spot for 24 hours, and I appreciate things so much more nowadays.

        Cooking up here I try to minimize because I just have a small bathroom sink for dishes, plus I don’t want to attract further cockroaches mice or rats.

        Kroger milk was reduced last week so I had 2 litres at 79 cents each, warmed some in the microwave then added two squares of 95% cocoa chocolate and a teaspoon ground cinnamon, it was delicious. Healthy brand pre-cooked chicken tenders were half price so I have some of those for a couple of days lunches, the dog likes them too!

        I just took a look-ahead at the healthcare.gov policies for 2020, and was interested to see there is now a policy which includes adult vision and adult dental care, for the first time. Cost is @ $600+ a month for this insurance ( ‘obamacare’ ) but low income gets a subsidy of the premiums. I’ll have to price it and read the fine print, but I do need eyeglasses and haven’t seen a dentist in years. A dental cleaning costs $70 cash here, and there’s a chain service offers an eye test and 2 pairs of glasses for @ $70. So it’s on my to-do list for next year one way or another.

        My son called, someone ran into his car tonight, fortunately she had insurance and the vehicle is still drivable, so just an inconvenience.

        How is your daughter doing?

        Like

        • Anita
          October 30, 2019

          Tracy, before you choose a policy do some research. Not all those “free” services are connected to a good policy. Here is a link for a man who does a good job of describing each of the plans. His name is Christopher Westfall. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvHr-BXBnCgD77H_598wrWQ He does sell insurance but the information he presents is very worth watching and its nothing like watching a commercial or anything. He explains all the different types of policies and who should have them. Being well informed helps to find the right policy.

          You have a challenge living without a stove in the same way I’m challenged to live without a fridge. It can be done. 😉 My thought was that if you had a crock pot and some liners you could make soups or other things like kids in a dorm room often do.

          I’m glad your son wasn’t hurt. My daughter is doing ok. Doctor said she can start putting a little weight on her foot to see how it goes. He wants to see if the normal walking motion comes back or if she might need more surgery. You take care and get your rest.

          Like

          • Tracy
            October 30, 2019

            Thanks Anita, glad she’s starting to walk again.

            I’m in bed watching the videos, yes, I know a huge amount of US ‘health care’ is a scam, one would hope the government website would only sell reputable policies but as Christopher Westfall points out so much of the whole US health industry is outsourced it is hard to know just what’s provided by who and for the authorities to monitor it all. Even the big name companies which are heavily regulated seem to sail close to the wind on matters of legality and morality, and they too outsource large aspects of their organisations.

            I prefer to pay cash where possible, and live holistically. I have the pioneer spirit like you do!

            Like

          • Anita
            October 30, 2019

            Be sure to watch his video about how to avoid the donut hole at all costs. That is my favorite. Last year I accidently found out sometimes paying cash for prescriptions is actually cheaper than the co-pay with medicare.

            Like

          • Tracy
            October 30, 2019

            Ok. That’s where you run out of prescripton drug coverage on Medicare?

            Like

          • Anita
            October 30, 2019

            Yes, its when you hit that place where you don’t have any coverage. BUT the nice thing about the technique is you don’t HAVE to be in a donut hole to use it. If your prescription medicare co-pay is extremely high, check to see how much the cash price would be and then use the RX card. Just because we have medicare doesn’t mean we are required to use it.

            Like

          • Selena
            October 30, 2019

            The donut hole isn’t as bad is was – you still have to pay but not as much. What makes me livid is the “discount” a recipient gets works AGAINST him/her. Or in other words, counts towards what you’ve spent.
            Yes, paying out of pocket can be a lot cheaper. Meijer has free atorvastatin (generic lipitor). Discounts on other generics too as does Walmart (spit) and other pharmacies. Always ask the with or without insurance cost.

            Like

          • Anita
            October 31, 2019

            My sister takes several medications and she gets them from different pharmacies. She shopped around before having filled and went with the lowest cost. Yes, I can see how the discount works to prolong the time in the donut hole. I’m confused. Isn’t a discount the same as finding a medication on sale? How does buying on sale hurt except that it means out of pocket takes longer to reach the cap amount?

            Like

  6. Selena
    October 28, 2019

    Chili recipe is never the same way twice in our house either. The “base” might be the same but whatever odds-n-ends/dribs-n-drabs we have is fair game. No doubt some are better than others. Chili is great way to use up zucchini/summer squash.

    Tis the sad state of this country when ground beef is too expensive. I’m not talking ground chuck or ground round, just staple ground beef. This does not bode well for the future of our country.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 29, 2019

      So very true. Our food system has been out of whack for several years and it doesn’t look as if it will ever change back. So very many food items have simply disappeared.

      Like

  7. Marybeth
    October 28, 2019

    Great job on using what you have.

    Like

  8. simplywendi
    October 27, 2019

    I smiled as I read this post Anita. I recently made chilli and because I did not have all of the “right” ingredients and the grocery money was spent, I also used what I had. Mine tasted ok and everyone ate it but like you, I would not make it again! 🙂 Hope you are doing well.

    Like

    • Anita
      October 29, 2019

      Yes, doing ok for now. Never know when an episode will happen. You going to try acupuncture?

      Liked by 1 person

      • simplywendi
        October 31, 2019

        I am so happy to read that you are doing ok at the moment!
        My plan is to look into acupuncture and see if I can find someone who comes highly recommended and is affordable.

        Like

        • Anita
          November 1, 2019

          I hope you tell of your experiences on your blog.

          Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2019 by in COOKING FOR ONE OR TWO, DIABETES AND FOOD BANKS, FOOD BANK LIFE, LIVING WITHOUT A FRIDGE.

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