Monday, March 18, 2013

Meal Planning Monday: Considering a warehouse membership? Shop around

By Leah Kelley
KyForward columnist
 

I have been looking for ways to cut back on my grocery expenditures lately. I already participate in a local produce co-op and have switched a lot of my grocery shopping to Aldi. I even buy a few staples at the Dollar Store. I have some Coupon Queen friends who love Sam’s Club, so I decided it was time to give it a try.
 

This past week, I met up with my mom, who already has a Sam’s membership, to do some shopping. I mainly stuck to the grocery section, but did browse their selection of books, movies and clothing. I will say this – Sam’s Club does have great prices on books. The clothing department was alright – better than I expected but not great enough for me to buy anything.
 

I went up and down every single grocery aisle and grabbed a few food samples. Yes, I did make a few purchases: a four-pack of Kool-Aid Jammers for $6.98, a box of Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuit mix for $5.98, and a huge container of Sabra Garlic hummus for $3.81.  
 

Honestly, I wasn’t super impressed. A lot of the boxed stuff I can buy at Aldi for much less. Cereal and granola bars can be bought generic at Kroger or with coupons during a great sale for cheaper than Sam’s had them.
 

Several people told me about Sam’s great meat prices, but I know I can do better with Kroger’s manager specials. I recently scored a great deal on a pork loin roast, and my family loved the balsamic glaze I used on it (recipe below). So for now, I won’t be getting a membership. (Considering a warehouse membership? Christine brings up some things to think about in her recent guest post here on FatWallet.com.)
 

Balsamic Glazed Pork in Slow Cooker (Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Café)
 

INGREDIENTS
 

Pork:
2-pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of large fat pockets
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
1/2 cup water
 

Glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
 

DIRECTIONS
 

In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the spices all over the roast. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Near the end of the cooking time for the roast, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve.
 

Meal Planning Monday is a regular feature of yourstrongtower.com, a website dedicated to promoting the financial well-being of families through the use of coupons and good money management principles. Financial coach and self-proclaimed Coupon Queen Christine Luken, along with partner Craig DeLisle, aims to reduce the cost, time and stress of shopping and meal preparation so families have more time and money to invest in the things that matter most to them. Read more of Christine’s money management tips and check out her Coupon Wizard at yourstrongtower.com.
 

Read more “Meal Planning Monday” columns here.

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