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Family-Friendly Meals That Won't Break the Bank

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Pork Pot Pies

(Family Features) - Home cooking is enjoying a homecoming as budget-conscious shoppers feel the economic crunch hit their wallets. In fact, a survey by the National Pork Board found that 70 percent of Americans are eating out less to save money1.

Serving up low-cost meals at home is a great way to save. Despite a year of record-rising food prices in 2008, pork retail prices rose less than five percent last year2, making it one of the most competitive choices in the meat case. From pork shoulder to chops to ground pork, there are numerous, affordable options to choose from.

"There are so many family-friendly meals you can make with pork, especially if you look for the larger cuts that can really stretch your budget, like shoulder or ground pork," said Dave Lieberman, celebrity chef and author of "Young and Hungry: Making the Most of Fresh and Affordable Food." He also notes that because pork is so versatile and pairs well with any flavor there are countless options for mealtime that easily fit within any budget.  

Looking to save your pennies? Check out more tips below to find savings without sacrifice.

  • Think Multipurpose. Don't have a roasting pan?  Use the broiler pan that came with your oven. Don't have a top for your pot?  Keep it covered with aluminum foil. You'll save yourself stress and money just by being a little creative.
  • Be a Bargain Shopper. Look out for deals, coupons and giveaways wherever you can.  One of the best bargains in the meat case is lean ground pork. From tacos and Italian meatballs to homemade burgers and casseroles, lean ground pork gives you a big bang for your buck and its versatility is sure to please everyone in the family.
  • Stock-Up When the Price is Right. When economic times are tight, every penny counts. Take advantage of sales and buy larger quantities of reasonably-priced pork cuts, frozen fruits and veggies. Then, adjust your menu and make room in your freezer to make the most of your savings.
1 The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1,093 mothers aged 18+ with a child/children in the home - all members of the Impulse Research proprietary online panel. The Impulse Research proprietary online panel has been carefully selected to closely match US population demographics and the respondents are representative of American women 18+. Research was conducted in December 2008. The overall sampling error for this survey is +/- 3% at the 95% level of confidence.
2 USDA 2008 monthly average retail pork price.
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Pork Pot Pies

With just a few ingredients, it's easy to make a hearty meal your family will love. Low-cost pork pot pies combine veggies and pork in a rich and tasty Alfredo sauce.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
  • 1 12-ounce package steam-in-bag frozen vegetable medley
  • 1 8-ounce tube refrigerated garlic breadstick dough
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    1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground pork, salt and pepper. Brown well, drain; return to skillet.
    2. Meanwhile cook vegetables according to package directions. Add sauce and vegetables to the pork in the skillet. Stir to combine well. Divide mixture into 4 individual-sized casserole dishes or one 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Top mixture with bread dough sticks in criss-cross pattern.
    3. Bake at 375° F for 10-12 minutes.
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Calories: 600g     Total Fat: 36g
Cholesterol: 130mg     Protein: 30g
Carbohydrates: 39g     Sodium: 1460mg

SOURCE: National Pork Board

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