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August 7, 2006

Poor People Food

**draft** I had one of those curious moments and looked up “poor people food” in the various search engines and I got nothing good. I expected to see a list and then links to recipes. I guess there’s no such thing as “poor people food” just as there’s no such thing as an “oatmeal diet” so lets make it up (the reason for doing this list is to come up with the foods/recipes and such so we can eat a little better/tastier and a little more cheaply — we’ve been getting a little too crazy with our food budget). There is a bad connotation around “poor people food” but I also think that some of the best and most creative food around is based off of the need to eat cheaply — gumbo, collard greens, and red beans are rice are perfect examples. If all goes well I’ll turn this into a book. breakfast

  • oatmeal
  • grits, polenta
  • chilaquiles

lunch/dinner

  • gumbo
  • red beans and rice
  • ramen noodles
  • macaroni and cheese
  • mashed potatoes
  • quesadillas
  • hummus w/ pita bread
  • fried rice (rice w/ some meat or vegetable)
  • casseroles (?)
  • cheap meats and fish: skirt steak, snapper, mussels (in season), catfish

If you got other suggestions, comment or send me mail :) — Update 11/1 There’s a Thrifty Food Plan issued by the USDA. On the low-end, a single adult male can eat on $4.84 a day, females $4.37. On the high end, $9.42/$8.50 a day. They also have a recipe book. I don’t think their plans are really good though. The way we all cook and eat is make a big meal and then have left overs for the next day or two, in other words the same meal more than once either once for dinner and again for lunch, or two or three dinners of the same thing.



80 Comments »

  1. I just put the very same query on google and at first came up with nothing. Then I found you. My husband and I are quite desperate – I haven’t been able to work for the last few years so we are totally broke, however, even if this weren’t the case we just absolutely refuse to pay $9.99/lb (in Floriday, near space center)for a ribeye steak. Four or five years ago we used to have ribeyes on the grill at least once a month and in those days we were able to get it on sale regularly at around $4.99/lb. We eat the same boring crap day in and day out it seems nowadays, and none of the stuff we seem to be able to afford is healthy for one either!! Anyone with any suggestions, please help!!

    Comment by Bev — September 10, 2006 @ 10:22 am

  2. Hi, my name is Denise. I too looked up “poor people food” and came up with nothing. But somehow I did find this site! Anyway, I’m a 47 year old nursing assistant, with three teenaged sons. It used to be very hard because I did not know what to do to feed them as they were hungry all the time and food is SOO expensive. We truly lived check to check. but finally I devised menus that are quite similar to the ones above! Thank God the kids love carbohydrates! My repertoire includes mac& cheese, ramen, spaghetti with red sauce, linguine with white sauce, always bread and margarine with the meals, sometimes always cheap french fries or rice with these as well, canned peas, corn or beans with them too, and grilled cheesies, pot pies, and taquitos. Also generic brand pizzas (they’re like a dollar a pizza.) My boys hate casseroles and they don’t care for steak (would you belive) but they love the above mentioned stuff. thank God! Take care!!

    Comment by Denise — October 27, 2006 @ 5:21 am

  3. Wow!!! I too Googled “poor People Food” As my family is desparate because of a risky career move that has turned sour.
    Needless to say we too are in the negative, the old saying something about “stealing from peter to pay paul” certainly applies here. Even though I am looking for some “new” ideas, I am finding as much as I need help, I can also help others with what I have been doing thus far.
    I buy cheap meat, and slow cook it. For instance, A bag of Chicken breast approx $7.00 with some carrotts, celery, minced onion and chicken flavor soup base and pasta, home made corn bread, feeds my family for upwards of three days, with 2 big bowls of soup at diner. Peanut butter and jelly can go along way for lunch, and water, with the occassional ice-tea.
    Slow cooking cabbage and kielbasa,with chicken flavored soup base, cornbread, or any homemade bread or bisquits. Again, 2-3 meals. Slow cook Corn chowder frozen corn, with chicken or kielbasa.
    Slow cook pork chops(redused for quick sale) with cream of mushroom soup and side dishes of instant mashed potatoes, and any frozen veggy.( frozen foods are better for you and more for the money) I get 2 meals out it for a family of 3.
    We buy all basic, flour, sugar, eggs, and make it a family nite by baking together all our treats and breads. Our family can’t be sure that this will work out for us without lossing all, but in the process, our famly stands together in this hard of times. Bless all of you that are going through desparate times and remember that the material things in life are nice to have, but life is nothing without your loved ones, and the memories you make.

    Comment by Kim-Nov 1, 2006 — November 1, 2006 @ 6:55 am

  4. Great ideas! Do keep in mind that local food pantries can either give food away free, or at very reduced prices, or both. You have to look hard to find them but they do exist. One food pantry near us allows us to get free food as often as once a week! Your local Human Services (located usually near court-houses or tags&title offices downtown)will further direct you. They can help 1x year with fianances, as do many churches. Again, you just have to do a little searching around. Believe me, help IS available. And try not to be embarrassed. I never knew there was so much poverty in my town until I started going to these various churches and food pantries. It’s amazing. God bless us all!

    Comment by Denise — November 3, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

  5. I also feel that my once healthy diet has diminished for something that is only temporarily convenient….I have survived through a lot of adversity though and know that I can come up with something better……My grandparents,,,,and other elders whom I have known in my life can and jar their own foods…..they get the food from markets when they are on special……and even grow some of their own…..it’s good to buy whats on special and freeze it….within a few weeks of buying this and that you will have way more to choose from…..it’s just this leap to being more self sufficient that kinda hurts…..for about a month or so you’ll have to adjust…and add to your spice rack…good spices and herbs help make cooking your own foods more fun……..POTATOEs AND EGGS …..I used to live off that and canned tuna………
    but since thin I have been through a lot more than I could even start to mention here….All I can say is READ—–Diet for a new America or FOOD Revolution…..by John Robbins or Fasting and Eating for health……by Joel Fuhrman ….and if you cant afford to get these books ….check out foodrevolution.org…….I think if you have a family you should do everthing you can to make the food nutritious ….RAmen Noodles and Mac&Cheese….should not be regular main courses……I know it is difficult to do this but ….there are some ideas you can try….shop markets with friends….you buy a case of one thing ////they buy a case of another…..prepare foods in bulk that you can freeze…..it’s cheaper in the end than cheap prepared foods ….its better and nutritious……TRADE the prepared foods you make……make it fun by looking up recipes online….and take it from me dont always woory about having all the ingredients alll the time……trade prepared foods with friends…..COME ON NOW we are all internet geeeks of the modern age …..we ought be as resourceful with reality……and humble up enough to get a little old fashioned…..this world needs people who do not take advantage of what we consume from it….lets be grateful….and make the best of what we got….and not worry about how convenient or meals are to make……..

    Comment by Paul -Ghetto Hip-P_ — February 21, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  6. Okay, I also googled “Poor people food” and came to this site. A few ideas our family has used:

    Goolash (Hamburger meat, tomato sauce and corn.) Serve with bread and butter.

    Cream tuna on toast – consists of canned tuna, flour, milk and bread

    S.O.S. – Hamburger meat, flour, milk, salt and Pepper – serve over biscuits or toast

    Potato soup – bacon ends (you can get on sale usually) potatoes, onion, water, seasonings

    There are so many things you can do. We should all concoct a recipe book for us poor folks and call it just that: “POOR PEOPLE FOOD.”

    Good luck to all of you ladies. Hang in there.

    Comment by Natalie — May 8, 2007 @ 8:53 am

  7. OK I googled you to…now i cannot get on to your links. The Goulash recipe is when we want fine dining experience in my house.

    Comment by Vivian — May 11, 2007 @ 9:00 am

  8. Check out http://hillbillyhousewife.com/.

    Comment by Nancy — October 26, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  9. My grandpa makes a tradition lentils and rice recipe. Even though he could afford to buy more expensive food these days, he prefers eating traditional ones that are resourcful and cheap to make. Here are a coupld of recipes.

    http://www.dianaskitchen.com/page/beans/mujader.htm
    http://www.jewishrecipes.org/jewish-foods/baba-ganoush.html

    Comment by Jess — December 12, 2007 @ 12:58 am

  10. Grilled Cheese and tomatoe Soup is Really Cheap. Cheese for 99Cents and At a save a lot cans of tomato soup is 49 cents. and Bread is only 1 dollar. Its a 3 dollar meal. I also came up with Beanie weanies which is a 2 dollar meal, Pancakes, Make your own pancakes out of flour, and Buy a 1 dollar syrup. Tuna Helper and tuna, Is only 2 dollars for both. Hopefully this is helpful if anyone has any other meal ideas, Please reply…Thanks!

    Comment by Jerri — January 18, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  11. become vegetarian. my grocery bill was literally cut in half when i made the switch. that was over a year ago, and im healthy as a horse, and havent been sick a day since. you also have the option of growing your own garden, which will pay for its self instantly. and you can also go the farmers markets for cheaper and better quality produce.

    Comment by michael — January 23, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  12. In response to the FIRST COMMENT.

    DON’T EAT MEAT! There. Done.

    Now you don’t need to worry about the price of RIB–EYE.

    Comment by Sally — February 5, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  13. This is hilarious. As all the other people on here I looked poor people food just out of curiousity. Wow! A site hahahahah…. well I am the queen of poor people food. Being that Im puerto rican it just comes with the territory. We even call some dishes comida pobre (poor food). Funny thing is that they are my favorite meals and would eat it over expensive meals anyday. #1 Puerto rican style yellow rice and fried eggs. I personally like the yolk soft so I can mix it all together. Really cheap and can feed a whole family in less than 30 min.! #2 mongoo ( boiled plantains smashed with butter)#3 Yuca and fried cheese (queso de freir) #4 Of course rice and beans #5 Pita bread stuffed with salad. ( im a vegetarian mind you) #6 Yuca and boiled plantains with kraft cheese melted on top mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Comment by Keyla — February 8, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

  14. Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
    — Michael Pollan

    Comment by ge — February 10, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  15. - Definitely go veg. Our food bill dropped by 60% when we went vegetarian (I turned up moderately lactose intolerant so we also gave up fresh milk and cheeses). We eat much better now that I have to use creativity and use up fresh stuff before it spoils.
    – Meat spoils extremely readily and causes waste. Same with milk. Minimize your use of these and other fast-spoiling foods like fresh berries.
    – Don’t buy fresh stuff in bulk if you do not have unshakeable plans for using it up.
    – Get to know freecycle.com for kitchen equipment.
    – Get a 10-cup rice cooker… they are cheap or even free (ask around, someone probably has one they are not using). You can make lots of rice dishes, soups, and stews in it, and your food will never burn and be wasted. And you’ll use a lot less expensive energy. Plus you can use your stove-watching time for other productive activities, like mending, managing your job search, doing your taxes, or recharging your batteries with a nap.
    – Buy locally raised produce when it is in season… not only cheaper but better quality.
    – Many things are way, way cheaper at ethnic grocery stores–spices, produce, imported foods.
    – Do not waste money on things that have no nutrition, that you don’t like, that you don’t know how to cook, or that you won’t eat. Even if they look like a good bargain at the time. Even if they are rice, beans, or ramen.
    – Do you really like ramen THAT MUCH?? The same amount by weight of regular pasta is about the same price!!
    – It is OK to buy convenience foods if you would have made the same thing more expensively from scratch.
    – Cook only enough for the people eating the meal. I grew up in a family of 5, and now that there are only 2 of us, I tend to still cook for 5. I should cut it out and so should you.
    – If you are not physically active on a given day, plan to eat much less than usual. Try to eat mostly grains and less sweet vegetables and fruits so you feel fuller longer.

    Recipes we find useful in next post….

    Comment by speedwell — March 14, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  16. Inexpensive fresh recipes (veg and non-veg… sometimes that 39-cents-a-pound bag of chicken leg quarters begs to go home, I know):

    — Onigiri (Japanese rice balls): Make rice, with or without seasonings. While hot, stir in your choice of the following: chopped lightly steamed or cooked veggies (leftover cooked veggies will work), grated carrots, chopped cooked meat (again leftover is great), more seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, sesame seeds, curry powder, herbs, whatever you like), chopped nuts, grated unsweetened coconut. Moisten your hands with lightly salted water to prevent sticking, and make into balls like you would meatballs. Wrap with a strip of nori seaweed if you happen to have some around, and serve a few per person. They are filling.
    — Our favorite quick soup: Put a quart of water, one can of diced or chopped tomatoes, a small chopped onion or a spoonful of dried chopped onion, and a few shakes of your choice of dried herbs and spices into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then add one teaspoon of oil, a few handfuls of small pasta that cooks in at most 8 minutes, and a half pound or so of frozen veggies. Bring to a boil, cook until pasta and veggies are cooked, correct salt and pepper, and serve.
    — Hungarian cabbage and noodles: Shred a half cabbage coarsely. Slice one or two onions thinly. Fry them together in a pan with some oil until they begin to brown, seasoned with paprika (a large spoonful), salt, and garlic. Cook a bag of egg noodles. Drain the noodles and mix with the cooked cabbage mixture. (Need to use up some ground meat? Fry it, pour off the fat, and then cook the cabbage in the same pan. Have too much red cabbage? Make this, except add a little vinegar and sugar to the cabbage as the Germans do. Need to use up the last bit of sour cream? Stir it in.)
    — Chicken and dumplings. Boil the heck out of one piece of chicken per person (in a pinch, less, I’ve made this with one leg/thigh quarter for six people and it was still amazing) in the total amount of water you would use for soup. Debone the chicken, strain the broth, and add the deboned chicken back to the strained broth. Season with salt and pepper (lots), paprika, and thyme. Slice a few carrots thinly, dice a couple of potatoes fairly small, and chop an onion, and add them to the broth. Mix a little flour with a cup of the broth until smooth, and stir it back in to thicken the soup. Start bringing it to a boil while you mix up some dumplings. Add the dumplings and cook till they and the veggies are done. (I made this a lot when we were both out of work.)
    — Stir fry any veggies you need to use up with an onion, some soy sauce, and hardly any sugar. Serve over rice or pasta.
    — Guilty pleasure cornbread soufflĂ©: One box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, a large can of creamed corn, five eggs (four and a bit of milk will work too), and a half stick of melted margarine. Bake until done in the middle. You can add practically anything you like to the batter before you bake it.
    — Creamy oatmeal for breakfast: Mix the water and milk with non-instant oatmeal the night before, and keep it in the fridge. All you will need to do is warm it up the next morning. Fast and cheap.
    — If you own a good blender, put it to work making the breakfast juice. Peel and chop an apple and/or other fruits, add to some water with a bit of sugar if you need it, and blend until liquefied. Add more water if needed. Don’t fill the blender more than 2/3 full for this. Cheaper and better for you than buying bottled juices.
    — Hass avocados are 2 for a dollar here in Texas. I am going to go nuts all over them. Make heavy use of your local specials too.

    Comment by speedwell — March 14, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  17. Where did my post go? Must be being held…

    Comment by speedwell — March 14, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  18. I to Googled poor people food and got this website. Vegetarian lifestyle is cheap but you could make a meat lifestyle cheap to. But what i eat is mac&cheese with frozen brocoli. Hbburger helper without the hambutger. Augratin potatoes pasta and red sauce rice and beans you can even get stuff to make nachos at family dollar now. but something at the family dollar isnt all so cheap.

    Comment by shawna — March 24, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  19. i too googled for poor people food,there are so many people now losing jobs and everything is so high people are looking for cheaper ways to live. one of the Best ways i have found to save money on food is,
    ANGEL FOOD MINISTRIES. google that and you will get their site. check to see if it is in the state you live, then check the towns. they have good food and specials, i can spend 50.00[because i get a special] on them and get over a 100.00 or more in food. one can do this once a month, it really helps both the buyer and the ministries that help others. each month is different. base price is 35.00 and you still get a lot.

    Comment by Ramona — March 28, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

  20. Cheap and easy. Make it yourself…
    Pizza
    2 1/2 All pupose flour, add salt to tast, add 2 cups of water (add 1 talbespoon of active dry yeast before hand) Mix, add flour to counter, spread, roll out, add sauze, cheese ( we use soy cheese) add brocolli and bell peppers (we buy them frozen) and bake for 15 minutes on a preheated oven at 500 degrees.

    Mangoo
    Boil about 7 ripe plantains, mash them, layer with filling of choice (we use veggies and Coy protein-Morning Star Crumbles)and the top we add cheese and we bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

    Tuna Salad
    Two cans of tuna, drain and add mayonaise and some lemon juice (not too much) mix with cooked pasta shells and mixed veggies (we use frozen). That’s it.

    Comment by Guadalupe — April 28, 2008 @ 5:25 pm

  21. You all are great! Thanks for such inspiring, colorful meal suggestions. These are bar-none, the best! How do I know? Because we tried many of them!! Thanks so much!!

    Comment by Denise — April 30, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  22. I recently discovered that generic pancakes are extra good and cheap if you sprinkle sunflower seeds without shells roasted and salted on your pancakes before you flip them while cooking is very delicious! The seeds take the place of meat. You can get the sunflower seeds at the dollar general store for a 1.15 for a nice size bag. I usually buy ten bags at a time and that can count as my protein for several weeks ,feeding 2 adults. I sprinkle them over salad, potatoe salad and pasta salads or just munch them as a cheap protein snack. I love them sprinkled heavily over cheap brownie mix before baking! Its a cheap alternative to walnuts for your brownies or oatmeal cookies. sprinkled over generic ice cream,and on banana splits instead of nuts is good and i eat this even when not on a budget! Steffanie

    Comment by Steffanie — August 11, 2008 @ 6:52 am

  23. thanks for posting the generic pancakes, i like pancakes and my father loves sunflower seeds.i buy my seeds at the health food store because i know they are fresh. and i will try them on the brownie mix.

    Comment by ramona — August 11, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  24. Lentils, I can’t say it enough lentils are one of the cheapest legume out there. Get a 1 pound bag add water and boil until they are soft. I used to stir them into a paste that I would use as a filler for almost anything. They are incredibly high in protein and fiber, and absorb most any taste. If you are making tacos you can use half the meat and fill the rest with the lentil paste. Its easy to flavor once its soft just stir in any sort of sauce or spice. It’s like refried beans, but healthy for you.

    Comment by John — September 30, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  25. I stumbled across this website looking for an old southern desert recipe that my grandma used to make called a butter roll. Which is a desert that is made from practically nothing but rolled out bisuit dough (from scratch) with cut up butter and sugar rolled up placed in a large baking pan, with bioling water poured over it and baked in the oven until done.
    It has the taste of a “high class” desert, but it has such humble beginnings. This is what poor Southerners made their families back in the day. As a child I ate a lot of it and boy was it good!!
    I wished I had paid more attention to grandma but at 5 years old I was not ready for the kitchen yet. But my grandfather was a hunter as well and there was always fresh game in the winter.
    I would love to help complile a recipe book, we may have been poor but we lived off the land and ate well.
    A Southern Girl

    Comment by Jeanette Hill — October 1, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  26. For Jeanette Hill..
    I found several versions of your “Butter Roll” on a southern / soul food web site.

    http://chitterlings.com/cgi-bin/chit_index.cgi?noframes;read=25749

    Comment by Kayla — October 10, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  27. I have had the same struggle, trying to find what people typically eat who are on extremely tight budgets. I have even done searches for other countries to no avail. I really appreciate your doing this. I wish I had thought of it myself.

    Comment by Carla Banks-Williams — November 11, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  28. Some of these recipes are good but they are only good for people in certain areas. Plaintains, for example, are very expensive where I am. Spices are expensive, too. I could buy meat for what these exotic items cost me. I am in the middle of nowhere, Middle America, and I have at my disposal corn, beans, cheap white bread, canned soup, etc. Sometimes buying ingredients to make things myself is way more expensive than buying the cheap, already-made version from Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store.

    Comment by Carla Banks-Williams — November 11, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  29. I support myself and my partner on $8 an hour. One of our favorites is dahl. It’s an indian dish, but very easy, cheap and nutrious. What we do, is sautĂ©e about 3 chopped potatos in oil until almost soft. Then add whatever chopped veggies we feel like. usually jalapenos, an onion, fresh garlic, cauliflower, carrots, and jalapenos. We add salt, pepper, tumeric and a lot of curry powder. When the vegetables are almost cooked, we add lentils and water. On medium heat, we constantly stir the dish so the lentils don’t burn on the bottom. When the lentils start to absorb the water and float, we lower heat and stir occasionally. When the lentils are completely soft, it’s done. Serve over rice (we prefer jasmine or brown) Adding peanuts and fresh chopped tomato really make it good. This dish usually lasts us a few days and we don’t tire of it. Not bad for about $10 for 2 people to eat for 3 days. The great thing about this recipe is you can change the veggies and spices around, add more, add less, whatever you want. Also, it is VERY healthy, tasty and cheap.

    Comment by Carlos — November 19, 2008 @ 3:49 am

  30. forgot to mention, don’t add too much water. You don’t want soup, but a super thick stew consistancy.

    Comment by Carlos — November 19, 2008 @ 3:51 am

  31. do not add too much water. You want it to be thick like a super thick stew, not soup.

    Comment by Carlos — November 19, 2008 @ 3:53 am

  32. Dahl sounds very tasty. I have become interested in Indian and other middle-eastern recipes, because they really do seem to do a lot with less.

    Comment by Carla Banks-Williams — November 20, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

  33. I think that imagination, willingness to learn new things, keeping a well stocked spice rack (don’t worry about buying top shelf), and utilizing local ingredients are the most important steps to eating (even thriving) for very little. In Miami where I’m from, rice and beans are very cheap, filling and most importantly delicious, a meal in them selves! I avoid major markets and shop at dollar stores for canned goods and corner stores and fruit/veggie vendors for other items. Learn to stew meats and you can buy the cheapest, toughest cuts and literally eat for a few dollars a day. I hope this helps.

    Comment by eric — November 25, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  34. I always go to free sample websites,and check their “food” section.You can laugh,but I’ve gotten free granola,cereal,olive oil,pet food,(not to mention the feminine items).I cooked Sheperd’s Pie last night with a bag of frozen veggies from Dollar Store,and a mashed potato mix I got from a free sample.
    Campbell’s website has proven to be really useful,also.The variety of things you can do with canned tuna and cream of mushroom soup is staggering.My husband and I are both students,so I’ve had to turn into MacGuyver in my kitchen.
    Egg noodles,boiled and left in about 2 cups of chicken broth(cheaper Walmart brand),cheddar cheese,tuna,peas,1 cup milk,a dash of soy sauce(or worchestershire,or steak marinade like Moore’s or Dale’s)—It’s great,cheap,and lasts at least 2-3 days for 2 people.
    I buy all the canned fruits and vegetables I can at the dollar store,you can always find good use for them.
    Eggs are incredible!Full of protein,and really filling.You can buy some cheap deli ham and american cheese,you can have omelets,or make ham,egg and cheese sandwiches (I call them Aubrey McMuffins).
    And Walmart always has 86 cent GV brownie mix,which is really tasty.The Dollar store’s chocolate graham cookies are really good for a dessert,too.
    Being “poor” really can bring out your creative side.I guess you’d call that a “silver lining”.

    Comment by Aubrey — December 11, 2008 @ 2:49 am

  35. I bake my own Whole wheat pita bread , make my own nonfat yogurt from skim milk with some powdered milk added and a little yogurt starter, and make mejedarra. Saute a chopped onion and some garlic, boil lentils till almost done, then add rice, more water if needed. I season with salt and pepper, and voila! Ican feed my family of 15 for about $6.00. This is how the Palestinian refugees have been living for years.

    Comment by Alice — December 23, 2008 @ 1:00 am

  36. Here is an easy recipe for mejadarah

    http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/mejadarah

    Comment by GE — December 26, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

  37. Just to Hi and I looked it up too. But not much here.

    Comment by Corey — March 1, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  38. Great post. I am just starting my blog as well. Do you find it hard to have something to say, because I don’t feel like natural writer and it seems to come natural for you.

    Comment by Rod Lucas — May 20, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

  39. i love helping the poor it just warms my hart to do that

    Comment by Chloe — May 30, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  40. My family has been havin it real rough lately. My husband got laid off last year and Now I have became disabled. My mother has had to move in with us due to her health and well being. I have a seven year old daughter who plays sports. I am the ONLY bread winner, ” If you can call it that” I get 700.00 a month in Social Security Disability. So, $400.00 rent, $200.00 utilities, $100.00 monthly house hold items/Hygene. And If I am lucky I can get a house cleaning job once a month for My daughters football because they allow me to make payments it turns out to be there about $10-$15.00 a month. I clean cheap so I will get the jobs. I have managed to work out a deal with her Martial Arts Instructor, I clean the Dojo twice a week for the cost of her monthly bill.
    However, It is starting to really give me much more added pain and much more stress. I have a rare type of disability that has to do with muscles. We live in the state of Kentucky. We are allowed 228.00 per month in food stamps. Which by the way I NEVER thought I would be using to buy food for my family.

    So sorry to lay it all out there. I came upon this website and I guess it all came pouring out of me. I havent vented in a very long time…..

    Anyway, my question is …..
    Does anyone know how I can make 228.00 feed us for a month?? There are 4 of us.

    Thank you.
    And once again, I am sorry

    Comment by Bellah — July 5, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  41. Now ditcheres wutchy do iffin yunt sum good vittles…

    Gitchi sum Pinto Beans, ye gotty startah lookin em real good now….iffin ya sees any lil rocks, why ye gotsta put em in a lil smaller bowl, same goes fur dem lil ugly lak beans.

    Den wutchy do is ye soak em in hot bawlin water fur a spell..bout an hour.
    Take dem der beans off dat der stove n den ye rench em real good.
    Gitchi a ham hock , jowel bacon, ever yunty use, Cut dat up n putchy a lill bit o lard, oil, ,ever yunty, and fry it up a peak, bout 15 minutes. Gittem juices and grease outta der.
    Now, fill dat der pot up bout 3/4 over dem beans.
    Put that cooked meat ontop of em.
    Bawl on med heat, witchy lid on der fur bout an hour.
    Take that lid thur n startah lettin em bawl down, soak up all that liquid .
    Once ye sees it gettin to bout an inch over dem beans, gittchy sumur water and putchy bout a cup n haf. Keep onah doin dis for about nudder hour .

    Now looky hur .. Wal ye doin ye beans start cuttin dem taters. cuttem kindly thick, or thing, Now ye gonna use that there grease from earlier. Ceptchi gonna add a bit of lard ur oil to it.
    Ya need at least an inch of grease in ye pan all together.
    Med high heat, n ya can checkit when ye drop a lil bite of that tater in that grease..
    Puttem in when its splatters …cover for 15 min, then ye turn em, cook uncoverd for 20 minutes on med heat.Season fur ye taisters

    Cornbread…
    Jiffy Mix.

    I really like this though. I grew up on it..
    Thought I would make it fun. It sounds just like my end of the south!

    Bellah- You can emal me for cheap recipes and how to make it last longer.. Maybe. Anyway I can < I will try to help… countrybumpkin2u2@yahoo

    Comment by Rose — July 5, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  42. my husband and i have been married for 17 years and have 6 children. most of those 17 years have been rather lean but i can tell you what i do. i cook everything from scratch! i make my own bread, cakes,pies,noodles, gravy..everything! stock up on flour, sugar, spices, and other things..buy a big bag of potatoes, a 5 pound roll of ground beef, a whole chicken and some margarine, along with a big container of oats, some onions, carrots, celery, a head of cabbage, and you have enough to eat on for a week! also, get a big can of “nido”. it is a dried whole milk powder and let me tell you, it is the best thing for baking!
    i also raise chickens and you keep the girls for eggs and the boys mean more meat for the freezer. i also put in a garden and that helps also. we are a family of 8 and we live on about 1400 a month. if anyone wants any recipes or free sewing pattern ideas, or just plain encouragement through the hard times, feel free to add me on myspace!

    Comment by candytree — August 5, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

  43. I am married with children, 3 of em. here are a few of our penny pinching faves. 1. Tostadas- get a bag of 10 for about $1 in the mexican aisle. we put refried beans on them and then lettuce and tomato salad on top. 2. BBQ Chicken- I buy whole chicken on sale and boil & debone it, then I add bbq sauce to the chicken and put it on hamburger buns. if whole chicken is not on sale, then i get a bag of frozen chicken strips and put them in the crock pot with the bbq sauce. 3.Salad- I get 2 bags of fresh express salad, mix it up and divide it among plates, then I put popcorn chicken on top.4. and here are a few things i do for the kids- i buy a really healthy cheap cereal like plain shredded wheat and then i buy a box of yummy cereal like frosted mini wheats and mix them together. another thing i do is buy a half gallon of yummy chocolate milk and mix it with skim milk, half chocolate and half skim. that chocolate milk is so thick anyways. and finally, after dinner or for a snack, i get a bag of mixed frozen fruit, it’s healthy and fun and takes them a while to eat it.

    Comment by heather — August 20, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  44. my grandfather died at a early age and my grandmother was left to raise 6 kids by herself, what she alwasys told us was if you need to make alot of food cheap, make soups, stews, and spaghetti, she always had a big garden, she needed one to feed her family, she was from sicily and i tell you that woman could make lard taste good if she had to (she usually put that in a pie crust) she always said that chicken was cheap and to make the best homemade soup you need a fatty fowl, every sunday was spaghetti and meatball day, we also ate a lot of pasta fagoui, everthing was from scratch, we all learned how to cook, stuff peppers were cheap enough to make, after i grew up and had my own family and lost my husband i remembered and cook from scratch, i have my own garden too, when times were especially hard and we had to get the government cheese we made macaroni and cheese or brocolli and cheese sauce to accompany a meal, i remember when i had to go to wic and they would give healthy cheap meal ideas they suggested tacos stating that you can make them for about 2 dollars a person, we grew up poor but we were never hungry, pasta is a good filler and a cheap meal , you can also take spaghetti sauce and add just 1/2 pound of hamburger and make a meat sauce, it you can make your own sauce that will cost you about 5 dollars and will make about 3 or 4 meals for 3 people

    Comment by debbie — August 25, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  45. thats good dishes for the poor

    Comment by t zhande — November 29, 2009 @ 4:31 am

  46. I have enjoyed reading all of the poor people food ideas. I feel sad because our food supply is very void of nutritionally dense foods in the first place but the nutritious foods are especially unaffordable for those who cant afford the even higher priced healthy foods (like different grains, flours, & veggies.) My goal is to raise my own chickens for eggs & meat, maybe a cow one day, and currently every year I have a garden. You can learn how to garden online & from experienced people. Currently, I try to skip the bad food (sodas, snack foods) and buy the nutritious foods, lots of brown rice, barley (grains u can cook like rice) seasoned with bullion or cooked in broth, a whole chicken instead of cut up(its cheaper), veggies that are in season, plus what i grow & store, make biscuits cornbread from scratch (it is very simple.)

    Comment by Christy — December 30, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  47. I am a gramma of a family of 4. my daughter and her 10 yr old and 5 yr old. we survive on her small paycheck and my retirement check. After housing and bills are taken out there isn’t much left.
    We survive, but I now have been diagnosed with RA and diabetes and I have hypo thiroidism and hi clolesterol. I need some really good recipes for controling my diabetesand cloesterol on a very tight food budget.
    I cook beans but my grandsons do not like them, or cornbread, I make either regular corn bread or hot water corn bread wich the boys and daughter will eat if I put sugar in it to make it sweet. I do not eat a lot of sugar, but I grew up on pinto beans, cornbread, taters fried chicken,our own bacon and our own veggie garden. My parents raised rabbits, chickens, pigs for our table and dad hunted and fished. we grewup poor but never hungry. My own kids were raised on much the same foods but they aren’t passing any of it on to their own families. Are there any ideas on a healthy poor mans diet for diabetes and cloesterol?
    Any ideas for nutricious foods for very picky eaters?

    Comment by sharon trevino — April 17, 2010 @ 7:46 am

  48. Go to AngelFood.com, they are wonderful!!!!!!

    Comment by denise — May 25, 2010 @ 5:02 am

  49. I am so sorry! It’s called angel food ministries.
    http://www.AngelFoodMinistries.com.

    You can buy for about thirty bucks lots of really good stuff. Check it out. It’s a real blessing!

    Comment by denise — May 25, 2010 @ 5:05 am

  50. I LOVE , ADORE what # 29 says about Dahl. OM Gosh it is sooooooo good!! xoxoxo

    Comment by denise — June 4, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  51. so glad to find this website! Hubby is laid off and on disability. I have not worked in 15 years since I didn’t have to and wanted to be at home with our three kids. Now I am scrambling to find a job with not much luck and feed our family. I am looking for any and all ways to provide food for next to nothing. :)

    Comment by S — June 22, 2010 @ 11:29 am

  52. Dependent on where you live, you can find those huge cans of spaghetti o’s at the dollar tree. Also at the dollar tree: 24 pack of popsicle tubes…yummy. Top Ramen is always good too. Aaaaand powdered milk if you’re really really poor. But sometimes they have whole milk at the dollar tree too.

    Comment by Abbey — August 4, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  53. I have been caring for my ill mom for the past 3 years 24/7 so i had no income. She has recently passed and i have 4 months more of school till i will rejoin the work force. So being frugal with money is the only way to go… I have been in the habbit of using left over items from one dish to make a new one. For instance when i make greens i use smoked turkey or ham hocks. i then take the hocks and turkey wing and pull the meat off the bones. with that i then make what i call garbage can rice.
    I make white rice and add things to it such as the meat above i will add mixed veggies and 2 hardboiled eggs. All the add in goodies i chop up kind make like a house syle fried rice from the chinese resturant. It is very tasty too and you ccan be creative as you like the reason why i call it garbage can rice is becasue the little leftover items i have in the fridge will go in there too instead of the garbage can less waste. so in the end i have saved alot and i love the taste and so did my mom.

    Comment by sue — August 24, 2010 @ 10:20 am

  54. These are some very good ideas! I am a newlywed and my husband and I are both students so we basically live off poor people food! I would like to share a couple recipes of ours. Tater tot casserole- 1 lb. ground beef, 1 lb cheddar cheese, 1 can french cut green beans, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 chopped onion and 1 lb of tator tots. Cook the hamburger and mix with green beans, onion and mushroom soup, cover with tator tots and cheese. Cook @ 375 for 1 hour. Feeds a family of four for about ten bucks. Ramen Noodles go far and you can get a pack of 5 or 6 for 2 dollars at Dollar General. Mix with veggies and soy sauce for an Asian flavor! Fry ground beef, onion, bell pepper and diced potatoes together for a cheap easy meal, really tasty! Fry hamburger with onion, mix with bbq sauce and wrap in eggroll skins and deep fry…tasty! Hope you try our recipes!

    Comment by Rebecca — October 7, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  55. I have a website which gives menus and recipes and shopping lists for all meals for a fortnight for one person for $55 Australian.

    I find the food of the South of the USA very filling and cheap. I have a Skinny Man Jambalaya on my site which isn’t very expensive. Thank you for all the ideas above.

    Comment by Maggie — November 16, 2010 @ 4:26 am

  56. Hi Everyone, I read with interest some of your meal suggestions.In jamaica we make good use of canned corned beef, canned jack mackerel in tomato sauce, sardines,fresh and canned peas and beans, baked beans etc. Canned corned beef and canned mackerel can be a real meal enhancer when sauteed with fresh onions, garlic, pepper and thyme. Can be combined with simple steamed cabbage or vegatable of choice and served with any kind of staple eg: rice, potatoes, noodles , polenta, sweet potatoes or simple dumplings made with flour and water and boiled.Liver sauteed with onions, garlic,peppers and any other herb you like is very good served with cooked rice.Purchase the chicken backs in the supermarket to use in soups or curries. Really cheap and very tasty when seasoned nicely.Stews with cheaper meats such as turkey necks make excellent ,cheap, nutritious meals that can go a far way to satisfy a families needs.Too often we get caught up on traditional cuisine when there is such a lot more ways to prepare perfectly edible foods sometimes forgotten.I really hope my little post is of some help.

    Comment by Margaret — December 5, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  57. do good to poor peoples

    Comment by anil — February 7, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  58. Well-off people are always lecturing poor people to “eat healthy,” but these people have never had to eat on a working poor’s income, fixed income or food stamps budget. Just a few years ago, I could easily eat fairly healthy on as little as $30 a week…today, (2011) it’s nearly impossible to eat healthy on $50 a week! Went to buy some kale for a recipe, and it cost more than 2 thick-cut pork chops! How insane is that? I need diabetic-friendly recipes, but most of these empty-headed twits whom publish recipes are 110% ignorant about the unbelievably high cost of not only food, but exotic seasonings and oils, and even how many tools, cookware & special appliences real, ordinary people trying to survive out here in Reality-Land, actually have!

    I’ve found some healthy, more or less affordable recipes in the Fix it & Forget it slow cooker cookbook for diabetics, but finding cheap, healthy recipes is nearly impossible. In many cases, the price of fresh veg is outstripping the cost of meat! “virgin olive oil” costs more per bottle than a couple of NY strip steaks! And the horror of it all, is how many millions of Americans who aren’t in our shoes, genuinely are patently stupid about the plight of millions more whom are genuinely suffering and need help finding healthy, genuninely inexpensive recipes. These people’s idea of “cheap” recipes is so ridiculously impractical and budget-stripping, as to be both laughable and scary to me…none of these people would live a month on what they think “cheap” food is, if THEY had to buy on a fixed budget (mine’s $50 a week, which, where I live, often translates to $75 a week, due to excessively high food prices at accesible food markets–I can’t afford a car to go shopping around for bargains with, LOL). It’s disgusting, the jerks who put out all these unaffordable, unrealitic recipes….when will someone publish REAL recipes?

    Comment by Nancy — February 12, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  59. I found this blog through google and the comments are perhaps the most interesting bit. I’d love to find a forum on “poor people food.”

    I grew up poor…Now that I’m older (and still poor – a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and nearly $40,000 in debt later) I have learned a lot about how to cook healthy food on a budget. It CAN be done. It takes work. It takes time. There is no easy way to do it, there is no “whip it up in 10 minutes” after a 10 hour shift way to do it. It takes time and a commitment to health to cook well cheaply.

    I spent two months living out of a backpack on a mountain in costa rica with a family that fed themselves (two adults and one child) and three adult volunteers on $60 per month. Food costs are about the same as in the US there. They owned no microwave. No electricity. No running water. They used a lot of onions, garlic, olive oil, rice, lentils, oatmeal (real, not instant), bananas, and plantains. Of course we can’t get plantains in the US as cheaply and we can’t grow huge batches of bananas in our backyards in many places BUT we’ve got other options – potatoes and apples, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. And without electricity, we spent our time cooking, working, and socializing. In two months I grew very close to the people there since we worked together to cook meals (divided up chopping and cleaning duties)…so yes, it is possible to cook cheaply without putting garbage into your body and into the environment. It just takes time.

    With no electricity, there was no refrigeration, no way to save cheese, eggs, or meat. So we didn’t eat them. They aren’t a necessary part of anyone’s diet. I enjoy meat myself but lived fine on a vegan, gluten-free diet for that time and felt very healthy. We didn’t have refined sugars, we didn’t have a lot of packaging to dispose of,

    Comment by Helen — February 21, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  60. Maybe to make food from scratch is the way to go. Instant gives me the creeps, what are all those ingredients they list on the lable. I am from South Africa and here the difference between rich and poor is immense. An average farm worker or domestic servant earns about R1400 -R2000 per month. Keep in mind that we buy a 10kg bag of potatoes for R35 and a loaf of bread will set you back R7 and then one of the biggest shocks of my life-one ,single pomegranate for r30. How do we survive-we plant gardens. On a plot the size of a door you can feed a family of four. We make from scratch-don’t understand the labels on supermarket food. We keep chickens and we help each other. A wonderfull story to me is a lady in Cape Town that made a vegetable garden in front of her house on the pavement. Here hungry people are encouraged to help themselves to to the vegetables. I have lots of from scratch recipes if anyone wants them

    Comment by Sandra — March 1, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  61. Sandra and anyone else: I’d love to get all the healthy low cost recipes I can get. My biggest problem in being able to feed my family healthy and low cost is that my husband’s stomach will not allow beans and he is allergic to fish..Being originally from the South that poses me great difficulties as we lived alot on beans and fish…Any help would be appreciated…

    Comment by Debra — March 19, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  62. You can check out some poor man’s and quick & easy recipes on my hubpage… Think casserole… that’s the main dinner dish for a poor man trying to feed a whole family, especially if you’re worried about getting various food groups & nutrients in there. Toss some half cooked rice or raw noodles in w/ some condensed soup (your choice) hopefully some meat, but you can always settle for something like *cream of chicken soup*, don’t forget some veggies, canned or frozen & bake until the meat & or rice/noodles are done. You would be surprised at the variety you could do with this simple meal.

    Another cheap and easy one I have recently used, has to do with using mashed potatoes as a base and then just some big can of chunky soup or beef stew, or tear of some cheap chicken nuggets and toss in some corn (like a bowl from KFC) on top. This is another one my family actually enjoys. :-P

    Comment by Laura S. — March 21, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  63. Me and my boyfriend are 18 and 21 and we live in a tiny house in the hood. I don’t know the first thing about cooking but here are some suggestions for NON-COOKS. Almost every grocery store has frozen dinners: ten for $10. Also the little microwave frozen burritos are about $3 for a six pack. There’s this stuff my friends make all the time called spread and it’s pretty much anything carby and meaty that you find around your house, in a pot. For example: Spanish rice a roni, ground beef, slim Jim, and eezy cheese. ‘Nother example: ramen noodles, scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, and lunch meat. Yet another: Mac and cheese, hot dogs, barbecue sauce, and tortilla chips for texture. I think you get the point. I know it’s hard to go from healthy-ish food to stuff that sounds like it might as well be a salt-lick, but you gotta do what you gotta do. We have saved up so much money eating like this, that we can afford to do the things we like to do without stretching our limits. Like rock climbing and movies and concerts and such. :D
    We have been living together like this for a little over two years and couldn’t be happier. (no we don’t have diabetes) sometimes it’s good to struggle. Gives you somethin to live for.

    Comment by Sara mitchem — April 17, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  64. Potatoes: buy the cheapest sack, relatively, and when you feel like a snack just stab the crap outta one with a fork and put it in the microwave for like four minutes depending on the size. INVEST IN GARLIC SALT. And if you happen to have milk, pour some in and make mashed tatoes. If your sick of microwaves at the moment, rub a potato in olive oil, salt, and pepper, wrap it in tin foil, and bake.
    Cereal: if you don’t have milk, you can crumble it up and put peanut butter or honey in it. It’ll make a bowl of cereal bar stuff. Just cereal and honey is kinda wonky tasting, but you can add a little flour, or be creative. At Winco/FoodSource you can pour your own bag of cereal and pay the weigh-in cost. CHEAP!
    Ground beef: if you are lucky enough to have a FoodSource or a Winco, I suggest buying a giant ten pound tube of
    it and dividing it into one pound bags with the date written on them. That’s what freezers are for! <3
    Red beans: make a big crockpot full of chili beans and two-three people can eat it for a week. Seriously I never get tired of it. Mines almost fat free cause it's made with ground turkey. And lots of peppers!
    Jello: you can mix sour cream in it when you make it, and it makes it a little more filling. It also ups the portion amount.

    Comment by Sara mitchem — April 17, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  65. Okay last poor people rant for tonight;
    If your family is of the smaller persuasion (more specifically couples with no kids, or older kids) I highly suggest that at least one person in the house works in the foodservice industry. Alot of times, restaurants throw out food that isn’t quite expired, but can’t be sold to picky people. If your boss is cool and understands your situation, he’ll probably just give it to you. Or if he tells you to go throw those cookies or something away and they still look good to you, just sneak them in your car or in a bush on your way out to the dumpster. Haha I’ve had to do it a few times. Every little bit helps. I know it’s not a recipe, but its solid advice that keeps us doin what we do.

    Comment by Sara mitchem — April 17, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  66. I volunteer at a soup kitchen. Our Manager/chef is great, I get fed for the lunch meal, and I am allowed to take food home too (lunch bag or leftovers). When I do this, I feel like I am giving back, helping, and not just looking for a handout.

    Comment by Marie Barendt — June 17, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  67. Immitation Crab meat- $2.50
    (Fetechini Alfredo) Pasta Roni- $1.08
    Large can veggie- about $1.25

    Saute’ the crab meat in butter and add it to the pasta once it’s done… My family (of 5) loves it! You really can’t beat $.97 per person!

    Comment by Ashley — August 16, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  68. What is wrong with most all of these ideas? None, or very little include fresh fruits and veggies. That is what half our meals (according to the new food guide) are supposed to come from. But how can you afford them when your food budget is $75/week and you have kids?? My husband has many health issues, can’t exercise, and has been told to “lose weight” “give up carbs” etc. We can’t afford to give up carbs, they are the cheapest thing. We barely eat any meat. Even frozen veggies are getting expensive – when you are trying to eat a lot of them. Our government should be addressing this problem. Michelle Obama thinks our country has obese kids now, wait until a year or two of the “poor people’s diet” affects those kids!

    Comment by Amber — September 21, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  69. I have a family of 5. Two of them being boys..requiring lots of food. So I make meals that can be leftovers. I will make cheese or chicken enchiladas w/ brown rice and beans. Then use those for lunch the next day. Or veggie lasagna with a salad or frozen mixed veggies. Beef, potatoes, spinache, and onion “bowl” for breakfast. Then the leftover beef use for spaghetti for lunch the next day. Rice and beans, shredded chicken and cheeese bowl…mmmmm. cheap and inexpensive. No one has any clue how to feed a family on a poor man’s diet until he experiences it themselves. I am stay at home mom( for now) and my hubby is the soul provider,we are on a budget. And even though it rpeat of meals no on is going hungry and no one is complaining.,ur own tortillas and breads are impotant. There is alot of work going into some things but well worth it and much appreciated when you hear,”I’m full”. I think no one has any clue to providing a “poor mans meal” to a family until you have personally done it yourself. May God bless you all!

    Comment by Irene — September 21, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

  70. I concur that most of the suggestions here include processed foods. I also agree that fresh fruits and vegetables, especially organic/pesticide-free, can be very expensive. How about trying to grow your own vegetables? Let’s look to history and efforts in both world wars to create ‘victory gardens.’ Some vegetables are especially easy to grow, like chard, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes.

    Comment by Grace — September 27, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  71. Poor folks food. French: la cuisine au poivre. Lots of ideas in classic food. Being in New Orleans eat lots of beans. Don’t have to be fancy. Current favorite is Garbanzo Beans (aka. chickpeas or chichi beans in Italian. Soak ‘em, boil ‘em up and throw in some salad oil and pepper (pizza pepper flakes or black pepper doesn’t matter. Hot is good. Cold just as good. Mash up good for dip or to fill tortillas or spread on bread. Cabbage is cheap and always welcome, plain boiled just fine, with a little vinegar great. Same with other greens.
    I could go on but definitely check out ethnic markets. Some have gone upscale lately but not all. My market in the black community is fantastic. Asian markets tend to be either dirt cheap or ridiculously expensive depending on their clientele. Same with hispanic. I’m a big cornbread fan, cornbread and beans is regal. Save your fat from bacon and boiled chicken-you can cook with it. I save all my sausage and beef drippings as well-keep them refrigerated and they last a good while. Hint-a lot of steak houses render their fat trimmings from beef and render it and add to their fryer grease-that’s what makes some of thir fries so good. You can also re use those animal fats at least three times before you need to discard it. I also have a few herbs which are invaluable in adding heaps of flavor. A packet of seeds will give you a bumper crop so only use what you need this year and save the rest for another year-they do last. I have basil because I use it the most. I also have rosemary, thyme, and mint. rosemary is woody, just strip off the bottom leaves and stick the naked part in the ground and you’ll have a plant. Gotta be a fresh plant-store bought packets of herbs don’t propogate well. Mint-just put it in a glass and put in water-when it gets roots plant it and it will go crazy. Treat thyme same as rosemary. If you can divide a clump from a neighbor you’re already way ahead of the game. Here’s a link with some good ideas: http://www.deltablues.net/recipe.html A lot of soul food sites are good. Italian recipe sites are also very helpful. Italian isn’t just tomato sauce, pasta and cheese. Mexican posole is worth the effort and expense. Throw together a jambalaya with rice and whathave you-that’s the way it started. Scramble vegetables with eggs. I’ll try to add more later if you like.

    Comment by charles fortner — October 1, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  72. My momma grew up orphaned, poor, Mexican, and female during the Depression in Charlotte, Texas. She ate beans three times a day for years. As a result, I saw her put a small amount on the end of a fork into her mouth just once. She spit them out into a napkin instantly, stating, ” They still taste the same.” She went back to her Porterhouse with a zeal. She did have some dishes from that time though that stayed in her quiver. Chillequilles are cut up corn tortillas, browned and soft till the get a little taste, with salt and pepper of course. Crack some eggs in and scramble. If you’re cool you toss some cheese in and put the lid on till it melts. Works everytime anytime. 50 cents for the tortillas, 2 dollars for the eggs. Buy the 80 pac of tortillas at the Mexican store and fry them until soft. Pat them dry and alternate them with a little cheese and a can of green salsa in a baking dish. 350 for 20 min and you have enchiladas you cut like lagsana. For the side dish take chorizo, cook it in a little oil, and stir in a can of refried beans.7 bucks and whatever the cheese costs. Shoot, give every body a fork with a weinie on it and tell them to cook it over the burner on the stove! Ma heats the flour tortillas over a flame and everyone rolls their own condiments in. Fun and a teambuilder. For desert warm flour tortillas with cream cheese and jam, butter and jam, bananas and peanut butter, or PB and J. Remember that flat bread is the food of people in a fix, from the old testament till now. Keep your head up.

    Comment by Roberto — October 9, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  73. Check out Clara’s Cooking from the great depression. (Google it) Also keep in mind local food pantries and soup kitchens. Don’t be too proud to go. Lots of people do these days. And sometimes it’s really good eats. If you don’t know where to begin ask a clergy man. There’s lots of free stuff out there for those of us who really need it.

    Comment by Denise — January 31, 2012 @ 3:51 am

  74. I think it depends if you are temporarily poor (but previously well fed and you know this is just for a short while then the money will come in again) or if you are long-term, chronically poor. Because if you eat some of this “poor people food” it will give you health problems — some short term, and some take awhile to show up. Here’s the thing. If you know it’s just short term, then eat some pasta; it’s cheap. However, you really need to learn that our bodies were not built to live off so many refined carbs, and to the extent possible, supplement your diet with the following nourishing foods. (Carbs make you obese, diabetic, give you arthritis, bloating, alzheimer’s, heart disease, etc.). Good foods to eat, as much as you can: fresh veggies, meat, eggs, homemade broth made from bones, full-fat dairy (lowfat and nonfat dairy are unhealthy). Butter. Please avoid processed food as much as you can. It is expensive and unhealthy. Cook from scratch. You do not want to develop expensive health problems, which you most certainly will, if you attempt to subsist on grains, pasta, bread, cereal, rice, legumes, sugar. Also… sugar and carbs create food cravings — that’s right, they make you HUNGRY. If you eat more fat, your hunger will go away. You will not need to eat between meals. You will be healthy. Do not believe the USDA guidelines. Those are written to support corporations. Animal fats are the way to go. Avoid vegetable oils like canola, corn, safflower. They are poisonous. Eat butter, not margarine. Sickness is expensive. Health is good economy.

    Comment by Dani — February 2, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  75. I wanted to add — I am a struggling single mom and have learned by experience, the hard way. My 3 kids are hungry teenagers now. But what I have learned is that vegetarianism is not natural for humans. Most vegetarians I know are young and idealistic. Most folks my age (middle aged) are not vegetarians — and plenty of them are former vegetarians who learned the hard way. We are meant to eat meat. So, try very hard to do this. If you avoid processed foods, cook from scratch, do not waste food, do not buy junk, you can do it. Eat lots and lots of vegetables. You don’t really need to eat fruit, except some occasional berries. Eat some nuts. A small bowl of hearty beef stew will satisfy you a lot longer than an huge plate of spaghetti. And you can make enough beef stew for four people with a small beef shank (includes the bone). Brown it and simmer in water with vegetables for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Include some turnips in this stew — better for you than potatoes. For breakfast I advise skipping the cereal and toast, and eating some eggs cooked in butter or bacon fat. If you buy bacon, save the fat in your freezer to use to cook eggs in. For lunch, have a salad with some meat in it, for example cook up a pound of ground beef with taco spices and make a taco salad. If you plan your menus in advance, you will buy what is necessary and not buy what is unnecessary. Stop eating sugar. It is poisonous and makes you hungry between meals. You can do this. If you can try some of the things I suggest, you will feel healthier and happier, more able to cope with your situation, it will help your diabetes and obesity if you have those problems, you will have better energy. I hope you try it.

    Comment by Dani — February 2, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  76. @Dani,

    Your info is not completely accurate. It is perfectly healthy to eat beans, legumes, and lentils, along with moderate amounts of brown rice, or whole wheat tortillas. There are many healthy people in this world who are vegetarian, and you sound very uneducated about a meat free lifestyle. You can make a lot of tasty and low carb dishes out of beans, which are healthy. Have you ever made black bean burgers? Delicious, and far less suspect than eating steak, which can be tainted unless you know exactly where you meat is coming from.

    Comment by Jo — February 22, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  77. @Dani,

    There are a lot of healthy Hindus in India who abstain from meat, and who practice yoga. It sounds like you think people should only eat according to your construct, and fail to realize there are a lot of healthy people who live long lives as vegetarians. Loma Linda is a city in the US with one of the longest life expectancies, and the people there are Seventh Day Adventist, and eat vegetarian. They started doing it years before the FDA, just like the Hindus in India, and many traditional Chinese who preferred not to eat meat.

    Comment by Jo — February 22, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  78. My husband and I are living on $13/hour, with a mortgage obtained when I was working at a job making double that. I can’t work anymore, and the mortgage is about 70% of his take home pay. Our only bills are utilities and internet, but those things can add up. Still, I manage to feed us very, very well, for about $50-70 a week. It could go even lower, if it had to. So far, I haven’t had to go there. We don’t do without anything, but oh boy do I shop the sales like a crazed woman and study recipes all the time. My husband can’t have high sodium, so I have to buy a lot of fresh or frozen vegetables. Meanwhile, I’m allergic to a lot of grains, fruits and vegetables, so being a vegetarian is NOT an option. I have to eat meat to keep from being bored to death–and to keep from dying. I hardly ever spend more than $3/lb on it, though. What’s crazy is that, a lot of times, meat is far cheaper than vegetables, because I can make meat go a lot further, but, sometimes, meat is just plain cheaper per pound than vegetables, too. I got a whole chicken for 57 cents a pound last week, got three meals from the meat, and the carcass went to making a stock. One bell pepper that week was 68 cents, it didn’t come anywhere near being a pound, and it lasted for only one meal! Finally, I always buy some on sale meat in my price range when I can afford it, even if I don’t need it that week. I can always use it later, and if we have an unexpected bill or expense, I’ve got food in the freezer!

    Comment by Aquaria — March 2, 2012 @ 2:46 am

  79. I am a senior living on a ridiculously small amount of money. Cookbook: The Frugal Gourmet has a recipe cooking chicken Chinese style which saves cooking fuel. Fuel is a food cost which must be considered when poor. I also make lots of homemade cream soups using carrots, broc,or zukes. I buy a quart of cream every month not only for the soups, but sauce for pasta, rice and for my oatmeal. The cream costs $4.19 a quart and lasts the whole month. Homemade baked custards (joy of cooking) popcorn is a great snack especially for those teens! I have been making the no-knead bread – however 425 degree oven for 1 hr. 35 mins is way too much propane use. I use to eat meat or fish once a week but now twice a month. I appreciate all the great food ideas on the posts. Is anyone besides me tired of your friends and relatives talking about all the great food they eat while you struggle? If you can stay away from canned foods-do! Not healthy at all. Those who are doing mostly veggies be sure to read up on the amino-acids for complete protein. Corn, rice and beans is complete eaten together. Blessings to all of you~

    Comment by Claudine — July 29, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  80. A cheap meal is a box of au grautin potatoes cook with a can of span.
    Also, mix a little hamburger with Rice-a-Roni

    Comment by Anita — September 21, 2012 @ 10:25 am

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