I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but here inflation has reared its ugly head. While you might be able to avoid unnecessary inflated spending, food isn’t something we can do without. There are many factors spurring the latest hikes.
Supply and demand is one. The demand for food at grocery markets increased during the pandemic, and this supply and demand began to reflect in the cost of food last October. Then there’s the cost of raising livestock. Any animal that we eat is eating grains before coming to market. And those grain prices are soaring. Weather has been a factor both here and abroad. Then there’s a labor shortage which translates in higher demand for less produced goods. Add to this the cost of transportation – the feed to the animals, the animals to the slaughter houses and finally the meat to market. Fuel costs are out of control. Layer upon layer of added costs that are ultimately passed on to us, the consumer. Overall, inflation is running at 4.2%, the largest 12-month increase since September 2008. (While I could draw a correlation between the administration of 2008 and that of 2021, it’s a cheap shot that solves nothing).
So what’s the answer? Go vegetarian? Great – there are sill labor shortages and transportation costs. Healthy, all organic foods are beyond the food budgets of the poor. Even if we grow our own, the cost of everything from seeds to water is up. So while wages may be up (another contributing factor to the cost of business), buying power isn’t. As a matter of fact, right now that buying power is shrinking.
While we pinch our pennies and stock up when things are on sale, making every meal count is important. Stretch where you can, just don’t skimp on flavor. When you’re shopping the sales aisles, it often means using boxed ingredients with a longer shelf-life. Buy today, eat a month from now. Buy in bulk, freeze for later. Most of all, shop smart. Take a list, know what you need and try (yeah right) to avoid impulse buying. Meal planning is key to keeping the costs down as much as possible.
Next up on the Menu –
Scallop Potato Pork Chops
1-1/2 cups Water
1/3 cup Green Onions
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme Leaves
5 slices Bacon, divided
4 boneless pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick)
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 box (4.7 oz) Scalloped Potatoes
1/2 cup Half-and-Half
1 cup Mild Cheddar Cheese
2 Green Onions, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, bring water to a boil.
Slice green onions, set aside. Pluck Thyme Leaves from the sprigs, set aside. Gather remaining ingredients and have at the ready.
Stack 3 slices of bacon, cut in half lengthwise. Chop bacon into crumble size pieces. Heat 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle pork chops with pepper; brown 3 minutes on each side in the skillet used for the bacon.
Spray 2-1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Whisk sauce mix from potato box, boiling water and half-and-half together in the casserole. Stir in cheese, potatoes from potato box, green onions and thyme. Stir in the crumbled bacon.
Place pork chops on potatoes in casserole. Cover; bake 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, pork is no longer pink in center, and meat thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 145 degree.
While the pork chops bake, slice remaining 2 strips of bacon into pieces. Fry until crisp over medium heat. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Slice green onions for garnish, set aside.
When ready, remove pork chop casserole from the oven; sprinkle with remaining bacon and green onions. Serve and enjoy.
Great with Kitchen Cut Green Beans and plenty of cold milk.