"A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Family Meals for under $5 - Pork Roast

Family Meals for Under $5 - Pork Roast

"...Weekly grocery circulars often read “feed a family of 4 for under $10!”. I’m sure most of you have laughed at this as I did. As a result, I began to wonder what does dinner really cost for my family of 8? So I set a challenge for myself and I figured if I kept it under $5, I was doing good..."

A very busy day prompted me to make this weeks Under $5 dinner. After thinking of all I had to do during the day and the meetings I had that night I decided the crock pot was the way to go. I really need to use mine more. I love being able to just throw the ingredients in, give it a little stir, turn it on and wait until dinner time. An added bonus is that you can use cheaper cuts of meat, perfect for an under $5 dinner.

This time I used a Pork shoulder roast which I got on sale for 78c lb at Winco Foods. At such a great price I got 2 and saved one for another meal. I went for bone-in instead of boneless and saved 20c per lb and picked one that didn't have much bone in it. Steamed cabbage makes a nice side dish. I was in such a hurry that day I didn't bother to make a gravy from the drippings but you could do that if you wanted. My family really likes ketchup though.

Pork Roast with Vegetables - $3.96

Steamed Cabbage - .48

Total - $4.44

Pork Roast in the Crock Pot
3lb shoulder chuck roast - 78c lb = 2.43
3 ribs celery, sliced - .24
4 carrots, sliced - .36
6 potatoes, scrubbed and cut into big chunks - .36
3 cloves garlic - .06
1 onion, chopped - .27
3 beef bullion cubes, crumbled - .24
1 bay leaf
1 t dried basil
1 small head cabbage - .28c lb = .48

Trim fat from meat. Season well. In a large pan, brown meat on all sides. Place carrots and potatoes in crock pot. Add onions, celery, garlic, roast, seasonings and 1 1/2 c water. Cover, cook on low for 10 -12 hrs or high 4-6 hrs.

When roast is almost done wash cabbage and cut into large wedges. Steam until tender.

A couple of things you may have noticed.

  1. I don't count things like salt and pepper and other seasonings in my totals. I figure these are things that you already have and the cost is really infantisimal.
  2. I usually don't peel my potatoes. To me it's just extra work and the peel is where all the vitamins are anyway!

Finally, when the garden is in, the salad or in this case the cabbage is cheap and plentyful, so make sure to plant a garden. For great gardening tips checkout our raised bed gardening blog.

Live less, live more,


  1. I challenge you to buy 6 potatoes for .36 cents anywhere other than if you live close to a farm. A typical 5 lb bag of potatoes cost almost $5.00 routinely and even on sale a 5 lb bag is usually at least $2.50. Garlic cloves are also typically .89 cents each although I have found value packs with 5 heads in them for $2.00. But .06 for 3 heads? Also, you can never find a pork shoulder that is only 3 lbs. They are always at least 5 lbs and closer to 7 for the smallest ones. The bones are huge and you cannot trim the fat off of them because there is way too much unless you want to spend 30 minutes working on it before you cook it. I have a family of 6 and the absolute best I can do is a $10.00 dinner meal. Nice try though...

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I buy a 10lb bag and average out the price. In my area a 10 lb bag has been $1.88 and there are usually 25-30 potatoes per bag. This week Fred Meyer has them on sale for $1.38 a 10lb bag and Trading Co. has them for $.98 for a 10lb bag. This is when I'll buy a couple of bags and have Potato Soup.
    Sometimes the price goes up to almost $4. I don't buy them then. I also never buy the 5lb bag, it's always more expensive.

    The garlic was .06 for 3 cloves not the whole head. I get the head for about .50c and again average out the price.

    The pork roast was just a sweet deal. Winco had just opened this store so I think I got a grand opening special. I've gotten other good deals on their meat but I've noticed the prices have creeped up.

    It's hard feeding a large family. I can't always keep it under $5 but alot of the time I can. Start with your weekly grocery circular and see what's on sale and what you can make from that. You'll be amazed at what you can do. Good luck and let me know how you do.