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  #1  
Old May 1st, 2008, 05:46 PM
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craigwatanabe craigwatanabe is offline
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Default Poor man's meals

Okay so I'm rummaging thru the pantry trying to figure out what to make for Lunch/Dinner from the sparse shelves. I didn't get the chance to do my weekly grocery shopping and it's too late to go to the store to pick up anything. Living out in the country has it's drawbacks as you learn to consolidate your drives into town to save gas. My wife was on the mainland at a conference.

So I'm wondering what can I make out of what's left in the pantry? Reminding me of my bachelor days in the military I spy a family sized can of Campbells cream of mushroom condensed soup. In the reefer I see an onion bulb and two potatoes. I check the freezer and there's one pound of hamburger. Hmmm looks like SOS tonight!

I tell my kids of the times in the military and how we loved this crap. I decided let's eat outside at our picnic table and make a small campfire nearby. So they're outside poking at the fire burning leaves and such when I come out with a pan of SOS, a loaf of bread and a carafe of hot chocolate.

That night we ate a hearty meal and drank it all down with some hot cocoa under the shooting stars at my home on the Big Island. The food tasted like crap but the evening was priceless. Simple pleasures.

So now with the economy heading for the sewers, I'm wondering what kinds of meals would be cheap and easy to make to carry us thru this economic hard times? Plantation food my mom used to make seems like the ticket, making cheap food last for several days.

As for pantry staples, for canned goods I always try to keep vienna sausage, spam, corned beef, kidney beans, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, canned tuna, condensed cream of mushroom soup. Other non-canned goods include shoyu, rice vinegar, cooking oil.

For dry goods: spaghetti noodles, packaged saimin, powdered tofu mix, oatmeal, Stove Top stuffing, Hamburger Helper, powdered milk, rice, flour, sugar.

Seasoning always includes: Rock salt, ground pepper, oregano, parsley, powdered brown gravy mix, garlic powder.

In the freezer there's at least a pound of hamburger, chopped pork and a couple loafs of bread from the Love's thrift store (hey at 98-cents a loaf you can't go wrong) and a tray of bacon.

In the fridge there's at least eggs, milk minced garlic, minced ginger, sesame seed oil, cooking mirin, oyster sauce.

For produce I stock up on carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger. These items have long shelf life.

When I do my weekly grocery shopping typically these items are always on the list as my basic staples for cooking.

At least this way I can always make something like stir fry, soups or sauces to put over hot rice.
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  #2  
Old May 1st, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

My former m-i-l, bless her soul, always...and I mean ALWAYS...made casseroles because they were, as she called them..."poor people's food"! That family, while not wealthy, was definitely not poor. However, she was at the mercy of a husband who gave her a small, monthly, household allowance. She had to stretch every dollar and always did a great job of it. Wonderful lady, that woman. Loved her to pieces.

I really don't know how large families such as yours, Craig, can handle the uncertainties of these times. I know how cautious I'm being for a one person household. I can't imagine trying to keep up with housing, educating, feeding and clothing (etc., etc.) several children. My hat is off to all of you who manage to do this.
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  #3  
Old May 1st, 2008, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

It's called shopping at the Salvation Army every chance I get, buying bread from Love's thrift stores, coupon clipping, and basically keeping my attitude in check when looking at the bling bling stuff and asking myself, "do I really need that?"

Living smart helps and also budgeting makes for handling stressful times. My kids eat like human vacuum cleaners, so lots of rice and hamburger helper. But to make a meal last I make my kids drink one glass of water before meals. This fills them up so they tend to eat less.

Stuff like oatmeal can make one pound of hamburger look like two pounds. When I make chili it's always after making spaghetti. That way if there's left over spaghetti sauce I can add it with the chili. Extra noodles make for chicken noodle soup.

You learn to stretch those staples to the limit. Fried rice is a weekly special at our home.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 07:00 PM
Kaukura Kaukura is offline
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

My mother grew up on the reservation in Montana and had 12 brothers and sisters. (I know. whew). She was the oldest. But many of my meals growuping up reflected her upbringing and starches and potatoes and meats were key.

One of my favorite cheap stews is as follows: In pot, boil chunks of potatoes and onions till soft. Take ground beef, roll in little chunks in a plate of flour, salt and pepper. Drop floured ground beef into boiling potatoes. and cook till done. Very delicious and hearty on a cold day. The floured ground beef dissolves and thickens the soup, plus the additioni of the potatoes breaking apart also thickens it. Add lots of pepper and salt to desired. Tastes even better the next day. Sounds like nothing, but is really good.

Cans of chili on sale, then add canned tomatoes and can of kidney beans to stretch. Add cayenne too. I like to add rice to this as well.

Instead of ground beef in spaghetti sauce, I sometimes like to use bacon. It gives a good "pancetta" style taste to the sauce without the expense of pancetta.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

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Originally Posted by Kaukura View Post
Instead of ground beef in spaghetti sauce, I sometimes like to use bacon. It gives a good "pancetta" style taste to the sauce without the expense of pancetta.

Sometimes I use portuguese sausage instead of beef for my spaghetti sauce as well.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Craig, your pantry sounds like you live at my house--but i gotta learn about powdered tofu.

My MIL taught me about a dish she called "Big Noodles"--military wife with three kids to feed--It is surprisingly tasty, and makes a lot.

2lb chunks of beef(cheaper and fattier the better,) browned in garlic/salt(she used garlic salt); add 6-7 large dice potatoes (peel if you want,) fry a little for potatoes to pick up flavor/fat. Add 12oz tomato paste, 28oz tomato puree, and about 12oz water. Simmer until taters and beef chunks are tender, and add water as needed to make the gravy the desired consistency. Now the strange part. Serve over rigatoni (hence the big noodle designation.)

This dish makes hubby happy, and I really like the potatoes, so I add extra. Sometimes we add mushrooms.
(My husband rebels against onions, tho--"No onions in Big Noodles! What are you thinking???")
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Old May 1st, 2008, 08:27 PM
oceanpacific oceanpacific is offline
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Canned corned-beef and cabbage was a staple when I was growing up. Later on, it was kalua pork and cabbage when we could afford the pork.

That South American corned-beef (usually Libby's) was very versatile: corned-beef hash patties when mixed with mashed potatoes; sauteed corned-beef and sliced onions; corned-beef omelots; corned-beef sandwiches (like tuna sandwiches). That 12 oz. can could be stretched.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Pua Mans KauKau from Auntie Pupule!

A must have is Hamburger w/cream of mushroom and kernal corn.
Brown 1 pkg. Hamburger with garlic, salt, pepper, (msg optional)
Add onions (cut into cubes)
Den add 1 can Campbells Cream of Mushroom
1 cup water or milk
Add 1 can Kernal Corn
Mix and put on low fire for about 15 minutes.

Cream Tuna
1 can Tuna (oil)
1 can Cream of Mushroom
1 can Peas and Carrots

Put the drain tuna into pot and fry lil bit.
Add Cream of Mushroom
Add 1 can milk or water
Add Peas and Carrots
Boil foa 15 minutes.

Pour ova 2 slice toast per serving.
Makes 2 serving.

Love and Aloha,

Auntie Lynn
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Old May 1st, 2008, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

ditto to ocean's post. but, corned beef is expensive nowadays and so is spam. we used to do a lot with tuna, too. even tuna with shoyu and onion. hot dogs with onion and tomato sauce or substitute spam if you can afford it. vienna sausage or hot dogs with beans and cole slaw. fried noodles or rice. potuguese sausage and onions. cream tuna sounds real good about now. tonight it's kalua turkey and cabbage.

does anyone watch top chef? did you watch last night's challenge? the chef's had to cook a meal for 4 using only $10. you know if you watch this show, that they buy everything from whole foods.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Quote:
Originally Posted by kani-lehua View Post
[...]the chef's had to cook a meal for 4 using only $10. [...]
This reminds me of home dinner parties my parents and their friends used to have on a rotating basis, probably late 1950s to early 1960s. They could spend no more than 50˘ per person for the entire dinner. I'm pretty sure that amount also included booze!!! Whatta crazy, fun buncha folks!
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Homemade soup.
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  #12  
Old May 1st, 2008, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

corned beef (libby's) and onion, burn some parts to a crisp

spam, peas, and potatoes in tomato sauce

sardines with shoyu over hot rice
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  #13  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stwahine View Post
Pua Mans KauKau from Auntie Pupule!

A must have is Hamburger w/cream of mushroom and kernal corn.
Brown 1 pkg. Hamburger with garlic, salt, pepper, (msg optional)
Add onions (cut into cubes)
Den add 1 can Campbells Cream of Mushroom
1 cup water or milk
Add 1 can Kernal Corn
Mix and put on low fire for about 15 minutes.
Eh Auntie das what we called SOS. I add the corn as well for texture but serve it over a slice of bread hence the name Sh*t On Shingle.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

tutusue: 50 cents?! wholly cow!

mikel: i had forgotten about some of those recipes. yum. love sardines. sardines, tomatoes and onions top it off with shoyu.

auntie and craig: that's what we call mulligan's stew. sorta.
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  #15  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

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Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
Eh Auntie das what we called SOS. I add the corn as well for texture but serve it over a slice of bread hence the name Sh*t On Shingle.
Leave out the COM soup and add flour to thicken. Sounds like what SAGA foods fed us at the dorm caf back in the
70's. Me thinks it's also what "real" SOS actually is.
Oddly enough, I liked it. Probably taste even better with the COM.

Couple more seasonings to add to the pantry. One is bonito soup base. Shimaya brand sells for a buck when on sale and does not contain msg. Great for seasoning stir fry's, fried rice, fried noodles, stretching that shoyu/sugar for Okinawan pork or any other similar Japanese style dish, for miso soup or just a clear broth seaweed soup.

The other is beef or chicken bouillon. Good for making gravies, seasoning stew dishes and pot roasts or making plain'ol clear broth soup.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

My family was on a tight budget when I was growing up so we had a lot of cheap meals. We had a lot of "SOS" also but mom served it over rice instead of bread.

The best cheap meal ever was fish that my dad and I caught. I had to gut and scale the fish and then mom would cook it up.

Beef stew is a cheap meal that also tastes great. A small amount of beef can feed a lot of people especially if you grow your own vegetables in your garden.

Another favorite was "campfire" stew or jambalaya. Brown some ground beef, add a couple cans of vegetable soup, stir in a bunch of cooked rice and season to taste. Very simple and cheap but quite tasty.

My least favorite cheap meal was fried liver and onions. We always had liver at the end of the month before the next paycheck came because it was the cheapest "meat" at the butcher shop. My dad loved it but I never did acquire the taste for it.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

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My least favorite cheap meal was fried liver and onions. We always had liver at the end of the month before the next paycheck came because it was the cheapest "meat" at the butcher shop. My dad loved it but I never did acquire the taste for it.
another forgotten meal. i'm with you on the liver thing. both parents and brother loved it. sister and i just never acquired the taste.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 02:58 PM
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LIVER?????? I'd rather go VEGETARIAN .............
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Whoa...yick...liver. It feels good to be a vegetarian!

I just moved into my new place, and all that's in the fridge are some onions, dry lentils, beer, and a package of egg noodles. Wish I could make some food, but we dont have a strainer yet! Aaaargh!! Maybe some sort of soup....
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Quote:
Originally Posted by kani-lehua View Post
another forgotten meal. i'm with you on the liver thing. both parents and brother loved it. sister and i just never acquired the taste.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanpacific View Post
LIVER?????? I'd rather go VEGETARIAN .............
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlegirl View Post
Whoa...yick...liver. It feels good to be a vegetarian!
LIVER. Yummy. Kilawen Bindongo (Thin sliced raw meat, raw liver and boiled tripe mixed with ummm, papait (bile.)

Onolicious!!

I love Liver fried too with bacon crisp and onions.

I eat it um cold like chips. LOL

Try it...you'll love it.

Auntie Lynn
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

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Originally Posted by 1stwahine View Post
LIVER. Yummy. Kilawen Bindongo (Thin sliced raw meat, raw liver and boiled tripe mixed with ummm, papait (bile.)

Onolicious!!

I love Liver fried too with bacon crisp and onions.

I eat it um cold like chips. LOL

Try it...you'll love it.

Auntie Lynn
ooh, auntie! i tried it and didn't like it. now tripe stew i love!
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlegirl View Post
Whoa...yick...liver. It feels good to be a vegetarian!

I just moved into my new place, and all that's in the fridge are some onions, dry lentils, beer, and a package of egg noodles. Wish I could make some food, but we dont have a strainer yet! Aaaargh!! Maybe some sort of soup....
have you gone to down to earth yet? they have a delicious spread over there when it's not picked over. the summer rolls are good too with extra peanut sauce. they have recipes on their website: downtoearth.org.

if you can't/or don't want to cook tonight and you like korean food, go over to that korean restaurant across the street from the shack for their vegetable buffet. i really enjoyed it.
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  #23  
Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

What about hamburger curry? It's cheap. It's local. It's easy to make. And it's ono!
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  #24  
Old May 3rd, 2008, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

I never did like beef liver, but Mama fried lots of chicken liver. I like that, for some reason. Might be from the ketchup I pour over it.

We had Big Noodles tonight. Cut up chuck steaks, used crushed tomatoes instead of puree, over penne pasta. Everybody stuffed now...boy went straight to sleep on couch.

SOS is well loved here; I tried corned beef but just cannot love it. I have been making a cold vegetable salad w/ canned greenbeans, kidney beans, chopped celery and onion, and rice vinegar with sugar, salt/pepper. That we can eat on for several days and add to it as it gets eaten. It just marinates away in the fridge. I have added corn and diced tomatoes; guess any veggie would taste good in it.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: Poor man's meals

Instead of sugary (and expensive) cereal for breakfast, try oatmeal...cold with milk, or cooked with milk or water. Or bake a loaf of wholegrain bread to eat at breakfast, and enjoy it with a bit of butter or peanut butter or jam.

Or save dried bread and make your own cereals or puddings.
http://www.my5k.net/browse.php?u=Oi8...yZWFkJTI3&b=29

Instead of costly Nestlé's Quik, simply stirr together a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa with a bit of sugar and water (or leave out the sugar), til smooth, and use a spoonful of this in a cup of hot or cold milk for an intensive and delicious chocolate drink. It's so good and so chocolatey and you need so little of it, that it makes you wonder just what it is that they put into the instant stuff.
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