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One of the ways I save on groceries at my house is to buy cheap cuts of meat out of the discount bins at the grocery store. These tough roasts and steaks are often priced at less than 99 cents a pound, and are a great source of cheap protein. Of course, tough meat isn’t a bargain it it can’t be eaten; this is where Grandma’s old pressure cooker can help.
Pressure cookers are sealed cooking containers that shorten cooking time while preserving the nutritional content of the food inside. They are also fantastic ways of tenderizing those cheap, tough cuts of meat. If you can lay your hands on Grandma’s old pressure cooker, here’s how to put it to good use and save money.
Tender shredded pork or beef for tacos, barbecued beef burgers, or lasagna. Instead of buying expensive extra lean hamburger or ground pork, pick up a cheap chuck or pork roast or even those “day old sirloin steaks” in the discounted meat bin. These low fat cuts of meat can be tenderized in the pressure cooker in under 20 minutes.
1 pound of roast or steak; partially frozen
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup of water
- Trim fat, slice the roast or steak into thin 1/4 wide strips,
2. Heat up oil in the pressure cooker (lid off). Add meat slices and onions, stir until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add water and seasonings to meat.
4. Cover with lid, locking it into place. Place indicator weight on the vent pipe, set to 15 and turn burner to high.
4. When the weight starts to release steam, turn down temperature until indicator “rocks” only 2-3 times a minute (or, in the case of a Presto cooker, maintains 15 PSI). Set the timer to 10 minutes.
5. After 10 minutes, remove pressure cooker from burner and let cool down on its own, about 5 minutes.
6. Remove lid.
For Tex Mex meat filling, a package of chili mix, taco mix, or burrito mix can be added with the water.
Add a teaspoon of oregano, pinch of salt, and half teaspoon of basil with the water for Italian based meat dishes.
Prefer barbecued beef or pork sandwiches instead? Adding 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce along with the water makes enough meat filling for six delicious sandwiches.
Mock steak or pork chops and potatoes. Steak and pork chops haven’t been in our budget for years. Fortunately for us old-timey creative cooks, there is a way to make up mock steaks and chops out of tough, cheap roasts. For this shortcut method, you’ll need Grandma’s old pressure cooker, a cheap roast (partially frozen), one pound of pared, halved potatoes, and four pared carrots.
- Slice the partially frozen roast into one-inch thick slabs. (Four is all that will fit in a standard 4 quart pressure cooker; you can freeze the rest for future meals)
2. Heat up a smidgeon of oil in the pressure cooker. Lightly brown the slabs on both sides.
3. Add 1/2 cup of water to the meat. Top with potato halves and carrots.
4. Adjust lid and lock, place indicator weight on vent pipe and set to 15.
5. Turn heat to high. When the steam begins to whistle beneath the indicator weight of the pressure cooker, turn heat down until weight “rocks” only 2-3 times per minute.
6. Cook for 12 minutes, remove from heat and then cool immediately by running cold water over the lid. Once the pressure has cooled, the lid can be removed and then dinner will be ready to serve.
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