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These diaries are for trading recipes, hints, tips, tricks, and workarounds for eating well while poor and/or disabled, since they go together in America these days.  It's not about the politics that keep us down...there's other diaries for that. If you want to know what I'm dealing with, please look at the FSG:Prequel diary here. Trolls have high nutritional value; first come, first served, and share the meat with everyone.
Well, having gone to the store , I woke up yesterday to a fridge full of meat and a deep need to do some cooking. For me, the other part of being able to do this is precooking. Follow me beyond the swirl and we'll look at what I do.

I have fibromyalgia, in addition to the foot problems. There are many days where my spoons are low, Bear hurts worse than I do, J doesn't know a spatula from a whisk, and Dad can't be allowed at the stove any more, so it's on me. Therefore, on the good days I precook. I fry hamburger up and season for the dishes I'll use, boil chicken and pork and beef for shredded meat and freeze up the lovely broth thus created, and generally do what I can in advance.

As I said, I have a friendly neighborhood butcher counter. Therefore I get meat the way I want it. This is an entire swiss steak. 3.74 pounds, at $3.99 a pound. Not the cheapest meat, but I'll get a lot out of it.
A round swiss steak

I am going to trim the fat, and cut it into large chunks.
pulled beef 004

pulled beef 013
China, a Schnauzer/Shih Tzu cross , is waiting for the bone. He's often hovering round the margin of the kitchen while I work.

I cut up an onion and put it into the bottom of my crock pot. I also add three peeled cloves of garlic (we like garlic around here) and a good glop of worcestershire sauce, and quite a lot of cracked black pepper from the grinder. Don't worry, it mellows out during the cooking; you don't taste moderate amounts of spice at all.
pulled beef 003

Meat goes in on top of this....
(pulled beef 010
and gets a beer poured over it. Normally I use Guinness, but didn't have fundage to buy a multi-pack. The dark ale will work, but I would avoid using an IPA and American light pilsners just....no. Please don't. Save those for the pork roast we'll do next, please.

pulled beef 012
I add water to cover the meat, and the lid goes on and it goes in the corner to seethe happily for the next 24 hours. High for eight, low for the rest of the time. My crockpot is ancient and abused, and that is neither its original crockery lining nor its lid; but it all works together still! That's good enough for me.

When it is ready, it looks like this.
pulled beef 014

Pour it through a colander with a large bowl beneath. You get a pile of meat and onions
pulled beef 020

and a beautiful rich broth. Either bag and freeze it flat or go ahead and make something with it for supper. We're going to have beef and noodles. I'll go ahead and pull the meat into shreds when it cools down slightly
pulled beef 022
and bag generous 4 ounce portions of it and freeze these for later use. This pulled beef goes into beef and noodles, beef stew, tacos, and several pasta dishes.

And cost wise....$14.34 for the beef ($3.99/lb), $3.50 for the beer, $.60 for the onion, $.10 for the garlic, and about $.15 all told for seasonings, I get 6 cups of meat for other meals, plus the beef and broth for beef and noodles, with each cup of meat costing $2.34 and tasting like $10. Plus, as soft as it is, Dad doesn't even need to put in his teeth. (Which is good, cause he won't anyway.) And I can throw it frozen in a lump into a pot, or quickly microwave it for two minutes to have hot steaming shreds for whatever I need. This is very worth all my work to me. Had I just done this as a swiss steak in "slab of meat on plate" form, we might have got two meals out of it.

Well, while I put the pork on to stew similarly, (and get a couple roasts in the oven)  what precooking tips, hints, and recipes are floating around in your head?

Originally posted to Alexandra Lynch on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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