Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Almost Famous and Easy, Peasy Pork Casserole

Today, in the spirit of using up my stockpile, I shopped at home for our dinner. Pork Steaks and chopped mixed peppers from the freezer, tinned carrots and rice to serve with it from my under-the-bed stash, an onion from the kitchen basket and a sachet of casserole mix from another stash in the sideboard. I'll try and remember the prices as closely as I can.


Pork Casserole with Spiced Basmati Rice

1 kg pack frozen Pork Steaks (FarmFoods - 3 pks for £10 so £3.33 per pk)
1/3rd bag frozen chopped peppers (FarmFoods - 3 pks for £2 or 66p per pk or 22p per third of a pk)
Large Onion, chopped (from reduced pack of 4 for 27p so approx 7p)
1/4 catering-sized tin of carrots (Approved Foods - 99p per tin so 25p per 1/4)
Casserole Mix (AF - 4 for £1 so 25p per sachet)
3 x 150g packs of spiced Basmati Rice (AF - 5 for £1 so 60p for 3)
1 tbsp olive oil for browning the pork - 5p

Total Cost = £4.77
Per Serving (6 servings) = approx 80p 

I chopped the pork steaks into large chunks with kitchen scissors and browned them in the olive oil.

Then instead of baking in the oven as per the casserole instructions I simply mixed everything except the rice together in the slow cooker and cooked on high for 2 hours and on low for another 3 hours. 

So it didn't get wasted I also added in a little wine sauce that was leftover from DH's vege lasagne on Sunday.

The tinned carrots are quite horrible on their own and I would not serve them as a seperate vegetable but I've found their perfectly okay added to a well-flavoured casserole. I wouldn't buy them again but at 99p for a huge can (I bought 2 cans) they were worth a try and won't be wasted. 

Six servings does 5 of us for dinner plus a quick reheated lunch for DS1 the following day.

While I was rooting in the cupboard for the sauce mix I came across this 4 pack of dried Haricot beans. 

I know they must have come from Approved Foods, but goodness knows when I actually bought them. As you can see, the sell by date was April 2011. I recently used dried blackeye peas with a 2011 SBD and they were fine once cooked so these won't be going in the bin.

I'm feeling much better again today; I really don't know what the problem was Monday and Tuesday unless I overdid it with clearing out the kitchen on Sunday. I rarely suffer from full out migraines these days, but I still get headachy and feel a bit sick from time to time if I get stressed or do too much on too little sleep, and I haven't been sleeping too well again lately, probably worrying over DD3 and BF moving.

It doesn't help that DS1 came home from work to say his hours have been cut. He's only been working 20 hours spread over 5 days as it is and has to travel to Canterbury to work just 4 hours a day. He's also on different shifts every week that makes it impossible for him to find a second job as he never knows what hours he'll be working from one week to the next. Well, now they've cut everyone's hours to 16, just too many for him to sign on to claim benefits or to get help finding alternative work. Personally, I think the firm's done it because the minimum wage is due to rise again soon so they're cutting staff hours in preparation for having to pay more in wages. Just my opinion but it seems highly suspicious. He is going to look for a full time job, but the trouble is, with his mild learning difficulties and communication issues, it took him ages to find this job. Although he now has more experience and is a good, reliable worker he doesn't necessarily interview well, and may need a little extra time to learn the job, but when he does he'll be extremely loyal and hard working. He just needs someone to give him a chance. Of course, when this happens we'll probably help him out by taking a cut in his keep money (he only pays £100 a month as it is, but then he has another £80 a month fares to find). As we're losing DD3s and BF's money when they move out things will be even tighter for us. Never mind. I'll cope, I always do, and I'll only be catering for the 3 of us by then.

On a completely different topic, does anyone else watch Great British Railway Journeys presented by Michael Portillo on BBC2 at 6.30pm? We usually have it on just after finishing dinner as it follows Eggheads. This week he's travelling through Kent again and will be stopping off in Dover. I almost bumped into the man himself during the filming when I was taking a walk along the seafront last summer. Lost in thought, as I usually am, just in time I avoided colliding with a camera man. I won't be on screen I shouldn't think as I was behind the filming and quickly crossed the road to get out of the way. It will be interesting to see what they show on the programme, though. No doubt they'll present Dover in a good light, ignoring all the boarded up shops, litter and dog mess I see every time I go into town. Its such a shame the town is so dirty and run down because the surrounding area is wonderful with the castle, hills, white cliffs, harbour etc. We get thousands of cruise passengers arriving each year at the terminal but what must they think when they step off that ship and travel through such an ill-kept town. I think most must pass through and go for daytrips to Canterbury or even London which is only 80 miles away and just over an hour by train on the high speed link. 

Anyway, that's my long-winded offering for today. Hope I haven't bored anyone to death yet.


  1. I hope your son finds full time work, its such a worry with jobs, hours being cut etc fingers crossed he finds something suitable, less worry for mum and dad too <3 I have never tried haricot beans, are they a soft texture when cooked? AFM xx

    1. It is a worry, especially as DS has slight special needs and is awkward and finds communication difficult in normal social situations. Haricot beans are the same beans used for canned baked beans in tomato sauce, so, yes, they are quite soft when cooked.

  2. My hubby only works part-time as he couldn't find full-time work and I can't tell you how many qualifications he has. Unfortunately this is affecting all walks of life. Hope it all works out for him though x
    Left a comment about sewing up the socks under your comment x

    1. Thanks, Bridget, I saw the sock comment and have replied to it. It seems when things are going right in one part of our lives something else gets messed up. DH is in demand for supply teaching and will probably be staying at the college whether he gets the permanent job or not, and he's had 2 other agencies trying to poach him for long term supply work if that falls through. DD3 and BF are moving out and she has the possibility of a better job with more money. So, of course, something had to go tits-up somewhere and its poor DS1 who's suffering. Unfortunately his qualifications aren't brilliant as he's always needed help learning, but he's very reliable once he gets the hang of a job and he's the only one from the initial intake of staff when the shop opened who is still working there as most were let go when their temporary contract ended. I'm sure something will come up eventually, but I worry more about him than the others as he's not quite so capable of taking care of himself.