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Thread: Extreme Poverty Foods and Meals

  1. #161
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    the time thing needs to be strategized.

    so latest things I rely on for weekday dinners: lentil soup (can add a small amount of meat if one wants - I have 3 recipes for lentil soup!), fish (this last is not really anyone's definition of budget food but it's easy prep). Bf uses beef/mushroom tacos in the weekday rotation. Yes it's all lazy. But it's not take out, restaurants, center of the store. I can cook well, but I seem to get jobs that have near an hour commute, so I'm very tired. Weekends are different.

    As for beef, I have casseroles that only use 1/2 lb, that's 1-2 people for 3 or 1 1/2 meals.

    And the carbs--I was buying stuff I never buy, like doughnuts and dinner rolls and cookies--when they say you eat more carbs when you are tired, they are correct.
    in my experience it works, at least for the "I wasn't able to sleep all last night but have to be awake" type of tired. It takes some of the brutal rough edge off of the tiredness. So though I usually sleep enough or at least enough that a bit of caffeine suffices, for those nights: get me to the bagels!!!
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  2. #162
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    This sounds awesome!

  3. #163
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    I very much enjoyed reading this thread.

    I remember when I was a young child, my parents used to buy feed grade (meant for livestock) rolled oats from a feed-store. Back then you could get 50 lbs for a couple dollars, so that's what we ate for breakfast every morning, and dinner too when times were particularly lean. They also sometimes bought feed grade corn to grind into cornmeal, which I remember thinking was a real treat after all the oatmeal. I don't know that this was particularly safe - the hygiene standards for facilities processing livestock feed are bound to be lower - but it was a very cheap way to get a large amount of nutritious food, and it saw us through many winters. We ate much better in summer, because we had a large garden and plenty of woods to forage wild foods from.

    There are also some very frugal food habits I still have as an adult, though it's no longer due to extreme poverty. The first is buying unclassified potatoes (50 lbs for $8) which are just potatoes that were the wrong shape or size to be graded into a category, or may have minor defects on the skin. Usually, the only thing "wrong" with the ones I buy has been their enormous size, three to four times what one might think of as "potato sized" which I actually like because it's a bit less work to clean and cut one large potato than multiple small ones. The second is that I butcher roadkill deer whenever I or someone I know finds one freshly killed. (It's legal to collect roadkill deer in Michigan, we just need to report it.) So, I nearly always have a freezer full of meat without spending a dime, and without contributing to the death of any animals. Win-win. I also usually give a few packages of venison back to whoever tipped me off to the deer but lacked the skill and/or time to butcher it themselves. Thirdly, I forage for a lot of wild foods in my woods during spring and summer, especially greens, which are so plentiful right by my house that it doesn't really count as foraging - I can start water heating in the steamer and be back with a pot of greens before it reaches a boil - not exactly wilderness survival.

  4. #164
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I love that the deer being hit by cars are not going to waste.

  5. #165
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    At our grocery store, the potatoes, mushrooms, peppers etc that are not of a certain standard are called and sold as 'naturally imperfect'. I buy them all the time.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #166
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Catsup, Mayo, and French fries, instant coffee, candy. My ex and his friends had used my cash and gone back to their barracks, I had enough coin to buy a cone of pomme frit, French fries, and a few candies out of one of those turn the knob machines. I was staying in their party house off the base and they’d bought industrial size catsup and mayo from the PX. There was also the end of a dried up jar of coffee. A GI’s wife who lived next door fed me once, which was nice of her I’m sure they didn’t have a lot extra!

  7. #167
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    San Francisco
    Recently I was inspired by an article about the importance of fiber in ones diet to change my work lunch menu from "whatever leftovers I have from last night's dinner" to beans and quinoa with some sort of salsa to give it flavor. It's quite cheap by our standards, and I've definitely noticed the positive change in my bowels. The problem is that after one month of this I'm already bored of it. The plan for next week is to add a few veggies, maybe a grilled pepper or whatever, and some cheese, perhaps rolled up as a burrito in a tortilla with only a smattering of quinoa. My cats may be cool with eating the same thing day in and day out (or maybe they just don't know any better...) but I'm not.

  8. #168
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    From my "the budget is in the crapper again" recipe compilation...

    STIR FRIED RICE (put in what you have on hand, it is my el-cheapo go-to emergency meal)
    cold rice (I cook extra when I make breakfast & refrigerate for later. About 2 cups per person for main dish.
    leftover/foraged meat (fresh only when nothing else available - if none, its OK too) chopped small, about 4 TB per person
    1 egg per person (2 if possible and no meat is available)
    chopped veggies if you have them: I try to keep onions*, celery & carrots on hand as staples
    leftover veggies, as you can find or forage, chopped
    foraged greens or bean sprouts raised in the kitchen
    soy sauce
    onion powder
    Oil or fat (rendered chicken fat, hamburger fat or bacon fat are excellent, but any good tasting fat will do) Even margarine if that is all you can get
    Beat the egg up in a cup. Heat the fat in a fry pan, cook the egg like scrambled eggs (basically just pour it in and stir until it gets hard).
    Set egg aside, and chop it up fine. Put more fat in the skillet, and heat the over medium heat. First stir fry any raw veggies you have chopped up. (I have micro'ed them in a cup with a little water for 3 min if in a rush.) Put in any greens last, they only need to be wilted. Then add the rice and other pre-cooked items. Keep stirring, add more fat if needed so it does not stick. When hot enough (some like the rice browned a bit, not required, the soy sauce will color it). When hot, stir the egg back in, add soy sauce to taste, stir and serve. If you buy a bunch of green onions instead of the bag, you can chop one in, with the green part for color which is the exact amount for one person - instead of having to pack part of an onion back into the fridge.
    This is what I fondly call one of my "whatchagot recipes...what you got it what goes in it".

    TOMATO SAUCE FROM PASTE (16 cents per cup plain sauce)
    6 oz tomato paste (house brand 40 cents)
    2 c cold water
    1 tsp Italian seasoning (3 cents)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder (1 cent)
    1 tsp sugar (1 cent)
    2 TB flour (2 cents)
    1/4 tsp onion powder (1 cent)
    Put paste into a saucepan and slowly whisk in 1 cups cold water until smooth. This will take a bit of whisking, so take your time. Separately (in a closed jar) shake flour and remaining c water until smooth (a fast way to blend without lumps). Blend flour mixture into tomato mixture, stir in remaining ingredients and heat over medium heat while stirring. When it thickens and bubbles, simmer about 1 minute. Makes 3 cups. Add cooked chopped meats or veggies as you have them. Or cheese. Or browned hanburger.
    Original Recipe Cost 48 cents; per cup sauce 16 cents

    Pickle brine recipe:
    4 cups white vinegar (44 cents)
    2 cups water
    6 TB kosher salt (6 cents)
    1/2 c sugar (22 cents)
    1/4 c pickling spice (50 cents)
    1/4 - 1/2 c chopped garlic (15 cents)
    1/4 - 1/2 c fresh herbs of choice (dill, thyme) chopped or sprigs (optional)
    Add salt and sugar to the vinegar and water in a non-aluminum bowl and mix to dissolve. Add spices, garlic and herbs if using. (I omit spices if I am making this more like a marinated salad thing.)Pour over chopped vegetables in a big jar or bowl that will fit in the refrigerator. After three days, start serving the pickles, adding new vegetables to the pickle vat (this is a great way to keep fresh vegetables you got on sale until you eat them up! You can omit the pickling spice and just call it a marinated salad, too. Total recipe cost $1.37 for brine.

    12 WAYS TO JAZZ UP BOILED BEANS (Boil according to directions on package first.)
    1. BBQ-BEER BEANS: simmer cooked beans in equal parts beer and barbecue sauce , about 20-30 min.
    2. SLOPPY JOSE’S: Simmer beans in your favorite sloppy joe sauce and serve on toasted buns.
    3. CHILI STUFFED POTATOES: Ladle some chili beans over baked potatoes, top with cheese and or sour cream. (This is also good with baked beans).
    4. Add cooked beans to any casserole replacing some of the meat, if you are trying to get used to eating more beans. Eventually you can replace all the meat, but start with a little at a time to let your taste buds and digestive system time to adjust Good for bean skeptics.
    5. SALSA BEANS: Mix salsa and cooked beans. Then use to make tacos, taco salads, or just eat them. Some like them well chilled as a sort of bean relish.
    6. CHEAP SKATES’ BEAN CHOWDER: Cook c dry beans in 4 cups water until tender. Drain, measure the drained water, adding more to make 4 cups liquid total. Brown 4 TB flour in 21 TB melted fat (bacon fat is excellent) and stir to a paste. Stir & heat until it browns, stirring to keep from burning. Blend in cooking water slowly. Stir to make a thickened liquid then stir in beans just before serving. Makes 4 Cups soup.
    7. FLOUR SOUP WITH BEANS: Fry 2 sliced onions in 1 TB fat or margarine until light brown. Remove from pot, press out the fat, and put it back in the pan. In same fat, stir and cook 1 heaping TB flour until it turns yellow colored. Blend in water, a little at a time to keep smooth. Put back the onions, let stand a while, then add 2 cups milk and 1 cup of mashed potatoes, either left over or made from instant. Salt well, stir in 1 c cooked lima or other cooked white beans. Makes 7 cups.
    8. BEAN SALADS: combine beans with chopped onions, pickle relish and some cooked mixed vegetables if you like them. Marinate in oil and vinegar or Italian dressing overnight. -OR- Mix some cooked beans with cooked cold pasta, adding chopped onions, minced green pepper and minced radishes and Ranch dressing. Chill overnight. If you combine different colors of beans, these salads look very fancy.
    9. BEANS & RICE: Add cooked beans to any rice dish with sauce, to increase the protein and stretch the recipe. Good rice dishes to start with are Spanish Rice (red beans), Cheesy Broccoli & Rice (white beans) or Italian Rice (lentils). Beans in Jambalaya rice are tasty too.
    10. BEAN PATTIES: Mash cooked beans with 1 egg and an equal volume of bread or cracker crumbs. Make into patties and saute or into meatballs and brown those before adding to a sauce. You can even spice them up with sausage herbs, patty them and cook for ‘sausage’.
    11. BEAN & RICE BURRITOS: It does not get much simpler. Cook beans & rice separately, mash beans a little, combine with the rice. Stir in taco seasoning or salsa and minced onions. Put in burritos with a little shredded cheese. Make them nice and fat!
    12. Add cooked beans to your stir fry and serve over rice – very cosmopolitan!

    Cabbage and carrots and potatoes are the most versatile vegetables - they are good many ways, readily available and usually some of the more reasonably priced items (with apples & green onions) in the produce section. But search out foraged veggies whenever you can to cut costs to the bone. Hope this helps somebody else pinch a few more pennies!

    I have always sought out recipes for the least costly store foods, for foraged foods & game in my area, for shelf-stable storage foods, etc. I keep a "foraging calendar" to remind me what is in season month by month so I can take advantage of forage, fish & game. The used freezer ($50 & take it away) has been a lifesaver, I work the grocery store's meat sale rotations, NEVER paying full price for even the cheapest meats. I ask for (and usually get) picking rights for the fruit trees at city parks, trees on commercial properties that are unharvested, and gleaning rights at the edges of farm fields where the harvest machinery cannot fit and therefore misses vegetables, and even check the local truck enforcement scale sites (I drive past daily enroute to work) for any produce off loaded and abandoned by overloaded trucks (potatoes, and sweet corn are common overloads). Many food manufacturing plants have company stores where they sell cosmetically imperfect items at deep discounts. One place I lived had a canning company that had a dent store open once a week where they would sell dented (inspected for seam seal or dangerously deep ones) cans of vegetables for $6 a case of 24 cans (I made trips twice a year and kept cans in my storage area until needed). Look around, use your imagination, and ask, ask, ask around for permission to harvest/glean/save surplus or unwanted foods you can use. A table size freezer fits in an apartment; a dehydrator helps you save surplus foods; canning is not that hard to do. Grow sprouts in your kitchen. Grow out those onion roots & celery bottoms for extra food from the same item. Grow a sweet potato vine - the leaves & stems are a popular veggie in the Philippines, and taste like a cross between snap beans & asparagus (at least to me). Ask older aunties or relatives who are moving from their homes to apartments if you can have their canners (or freezer) for a minimum price (often they will give to you in exchange for removal). Look in thrift shops in areas transitioning from rural to urban....they are gold mines for preserving tools (I have picked up treadle sewing machines for $25; pressure canners for $10; and have seen freezers there as low as $40). Keep your eyes open; there are opportunities all around you to procure free/cheap food, even if you are too high on the income scale to qualify for admittance to the food bank or for food stamps (God bless those programs for those even broker than I am!) You don't have to eat unhealthy foods if you get creative!
    Last edited by kappydell; 6-1-19 at 10:24am. Reason: try to correct typos

  9. #169
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nice additions, kappydell. Thanks for the recipes and ideas!
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

  10. #170
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    The tomato sauce from paste is interesting to me because I always waste paste. A recipe will call for a tablespoon and then what do you do with the rest of the can you opened? Now I know! (but isn't it a little bitter?)

    DH and I found tomato paste in a tube at Job Lot and we are in love!! It solves the problem of opened and unused cans of tomato paste.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town

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