Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's Frugal Meal: Caldereta with Pork

Either my camera is on a weird setting or my kitchen lighting is funky.  I promise this dish is not so completely orange. 
Last Christmas, one of my students and her parents prepared a Filipino meal for us as a Christmas gift.  It was incredible.  They made us lumpia; we love lumpia.  And they made us caldereta.  I'd never had caldereta before.  I'd never HEARD of caldereta before.  We loved it! So much so, as a matter of fact, that I asked the mom of that student to share the recipe.  Today is the second time I have made this dish.  The first time I tried it, it was a hit, which is a good thing since I was being very daring and cooking it when we were having company. 
The recipe calls for mixed vegetables to be added in, but I just didn't want to. 
Tonight I made linguine noodles to serve under the stew.  I also made some rolls which will show up in another post, probably later this evening.

Pork Caldereta

2 lb. pork loin, diced ( I used just 1 pound for our family.) $2.00
1 Tbsp. olive oil $.10
4 cups of water, divided $.00
1 pkg. Mama Sita's caldereta mix, available at Asian food stores (I used only half the packet for our little family.  I didn't want the stew to be too spicy, and I wanted to minimize the amount of MSG I used.) $.60
3-4 medium potatoes $.99
2 c. frozen vegetables (peas, mixed veggies, etc.) $.99
1 Tbsp. cornstarch $.10

In a large skillet, brown diced pork in olive oil.  When browned, add 2 cups of water and caldereta mix.  Bring to light boil, then allow to simmer for several minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and dice potatoes.  Add potatoes and vegetables to the pork. (I added an extra cup of water at this point.  I didn't feel like I had enough to cook the potatoes through.)  Allow to cook until the potatoes are tender.  (I let it go 10 minutes.) 
Mix cornstarch with 2 cups of cold water.  Pour into pork and potato mixture.  Bring back to a boil for a minute, then reduce heat and let simmer.  (The whole cornstarch and extra water step is optional but is very appropriate to dilute the spicyness of the dish.  Even with using only half the caldereta mix, I still did this step.)
Serve with rice or noodles.
The total cost for this meal is $5.18, including the cost of half a box of linguine.  I only spent $4.19 since I left the veggies out tonight.  Add to that the cost of the dinner rolls I made ($1.61 for the whole batch; we used 1/3 of that batch, or $.54 worth.), and tonight's dinner cost us $4.73.

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