Party Planning and Penny Pinching

My family is having a big get together this Saturday for an all day and night event. It is Cinco de Mayo, but the party is really centered around the first hour of May 6; Saturday night at midnight is the main event. Boxing! This is a stellar line up with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto vs. Floyd Mayweather. For me, the fun is in the planning and daytime pool side chit chat.

My brother in law has asked me and my hubby to bring an appetizer “that can feed an army.” Let the planning begin! My ‘research’ started with casual reading and browsing through my favorite cookbooks. My father recently sent me one called The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain, and it is wonderful. It is such a joy to brush through the pages day dreaming of each culinary delight. (of course it is fun cooking them, too) But to get the job done, I must stay focused on the ingredients list. The goal is to find a great recipe that does not require a long shopping list. Somewhere in this book is a recipe that includes many ingredients I already have in my fridge or pantry. This strategy will save me some money, and that is always the goal!

I came across a recipe for Carnitas, literal translation is little meats. It is small pieces of pork, and guess what I have in my freezer? A pork shoulder! Score! I can save some money by using a meat I already had.

This party is a few days away, and  the meat has been thawed  in the fridge for 24 hours.  When I had a little time without interruption, I went for the meat preparation.

It took about 45 minutes to carve down and cube the thawed pork shoulder. Then I carved off the layer of pork skin. Now my meat is cubed and ready to be cooked later this week. I also have the skin to bake into crackling chips which my father in law loves! I stored the scraps and bone in a freezer bag to use in a stock later on. I will serve the Carnitas on toothpicks with an olive. The ingredients I had to purchase were minimal. All I had to pick up was an orange! What a great savings and great appetizer for the family party!


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