Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eye of Round or Steaks in Disguise?

The way we save money can be as varied and as diverse as our imagination. Sometimes we look at something and see only one thing but when we take a second look, we see something entirely different.

.........My wife never ceases to amaze me on how creative she can be with many of the things she does. She is a wealth of resource and I am very glad she is my wife. One night she informed me we were going to be having steaks for dinner. I told her that sounded good but was wondering where we suddenly got the money to afford them.

.........We usually reserve steak dinners for special occasions. When she cooked them up I asked what kind of steaks they were and she told me; home made. Of course she had my curiosity and I had to ask what she meant by home made.

.........She told me she was looking at the eye of round she purchased and realized she could cut them into steaks. What a great idea! So, for some time we have done this and doing so was borne out of the need to be creative with our finances. You may remember my mentioning that I have six children. Well, with eight of us in the house the need for cheap meals has been a way of life for us for some time.

.........Some of you, who are reading this post, may be familiar with this neat idea for saving money on meals so I appreciate your reading this far. For the reader who is an old hand at this I decided to attempt to add some other elements to this post that you might find interesting. I have added my own “MacGyvered” way of cutting the meat, a way of cooking corn on the cob that many people are familiar with but I’m hoping will be new to some and the calculated cost of the steak dinner using home made steaks

For this dinner, we had Steak, Corn on the Cob and Peas.

Here is what you need:

1 ea. Eye of Round (I purchased one that weighed 3.30lbs)

Corn on the Cob

Frozen peas

.........The list is short but the technique for making the steaks and how the corn on the cob was cooked is the most important part of this post.

.........I decided to cut the eye of round into ½ inch thick steaks. You may prefer thicker steaks so you are the judge on that. Also, keep in mind this is not a replacement for those big juicy steaks that are good for an occasional special meal.

.........Look at this as a way to save some cash and a different way of serving beef as a main course. Oh and by the way these eye of round steaks are good. You will see when you try this for yourself.

.........My wife suggested putting the meat in the freezer to stiffen it up. Cutting is easier this way. When you cut the meat it will flex and move on you making it difficult to get an even cut. Nevertheless, I thought the meat would harden into a shape that I would not like so I cut it without hardening it.

.........As I began to cut into the meat it moved around too much so I had to come up with an idea for cutting it. I thought about it for a minute and MacGyvered it by using the toaster.

.........Clean the side of the toaster and while the meat is on the cutting board push the meat up against the toaster. You can use the backboard of the counter top to hold the toaster in place.

.........Cut the meat using a serrated knife and let the knife do the work, just cut into it while holding the meat in place. Here is a picture to give you an example.

(These are not my hands. I asked my daughter to pose for this one.)

When you are done, you should have a nice collection of steaks that look like this:

.........This process yielded nine steaks! With a little left over, I will have to figure out what I am going to do with the excess. I will come up with something.

.........The next thing is the Corn on the Cob. I have found that grilling these with their husks still on them makes for a juicy, sweet corn that I think is better than boiling them.

.........Put the corn on the grill and cook them for about 12 to 15 minutes on a low to medium flame. Close the lid on them while they are cooking and flip them over for another 12 to 15 minutes.

.........If you are not sure they are cooked, peel one of the husks back to expose the kernels and poke a fork into one of them. They are finished cooking if they are soft, if not, fold the husk back on it and cook it more.

.........If you will notice, they do not look very attractive when they are cooked but who cares what the husk looks like, you are throwing it away anyway. Let them sit for a little while after taking them off the grill. They will be hot and the steam trapped inside will make them hard to handle when you start peeling the husk off.

.Some of the kernels may be burnt after cooking but do not let this discourage you, these taste good!

After grilling the meat and cooking the peas here is what it looked like:

Not bad for $1.66 a plate

The meat cost me $9.83

The frozen peas came in a 2lb bag and cost $1.94

The corn cost $0.38 cents an ear.

Since I was able to cut nine steaks out of the Eye of Round the price per steak was $1.09.

The label on the frozen peas reads 10 servings per bag and that breaks down to $0.19 cents a serving and the corn, as I mentioned already, was $0.38 cents an ear.

So the math works out at:

$1.09 steak

$0.19 peas

$0.38 corn

$1.66 /plate

Funny how you can look at something one way and see something totally different when you take a second look. Enjoy!

(You might be interested in some of the videos at the bottom of the page.)


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Cheap Meals For Your Family said...

Hi Russ...I love the post! I do not get to make steak as much as I would like but I love the suggestion on grilling the corn. From a frugal mom looking for cheap ways to feed my family I say thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. It goes right in hand with buying the cheaper beef roasts and asking the butcher to grind them for you when hamburger is not an affordable price that week. I especially appreciated the instructions on grilling corn.

Thanks for posting!

Russ Rock said...

Thanks for the comment about grilling the corn. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I will have to keep in mind the beef roast tip, sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

Another good way to save money on the food budget is to be strategic about the time you do your shopping.

In the morning, day old bread can be found at half off...if you go to the meat department just after the time the bucher leaves, you can find the days meat marked at a dicount.

Anonymous said...

We are on a tight budget, too. We usually buy "breakfast steaks" (they are in a pack of about 6) which are thin steaks. I will fry them and when they are almost done slice up an onion to go on top (mushrooms too if I have them). This is very cheap and good when you are craving steak. Serve with A-1 or ketchup for the kiddies. You can also add frozen broccoli and soy sauce to make a stir fry.

Russ Rock said...

"Another good way to save to be strategic about the time..."

Good point my son and daughter-in-law shop early on a Saturday morning and can find more of the yellow tags in the meat case. They bring them home and freeze them and save big bucks doing it.

Russ Rock said...

"We are on a tight budget, too. We usually buy "breakfast steaks"...You can also add frozen broccoli and soy sauce to make a stir fry."

Funny you should mention this I am working on a stir fry blog. This is the one of the cheapest ways to make a meal. It doesn't have to be top of the line ingredients. Just whatever you have in the fridge and a little imagination.

Anonymous said...

While this post is a couple years old I just had to mention how impressed I am by your family's enginuity, and the irony that your entire meal cost far less than the Longenberger plate that the one serving in the picture is being displayed on! LOL Great info. Thanks.

Mrs. Stein

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