This series from Dee Ann Guzman has been helpful to hundreds of moms suddenly finding themselves in hard times and needing to feed a family with the absolute minimum amount. The prices are off due to rising grocery costs over the years since it was written, but the overall plan is still helpful. This post, which is used by permission, is from 2005 and was revised and updated by Add Salt & Serve (formerly Menus4Moms) in 2020.
Unemployment, underemployment, and economic uncertainty can make cooking on a strict budget necessary. These cheap meals for hard times can help you feed your family with good food during a financial crisis. This frugal meal plan covers a week's worth of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) on an extremely tight budget.
Meals | Beverages
Staples for Hard Times
These are the basic things that I use when really low on money; if you have all of this, you can make everything on this meal plan. If you usually cook from scratch you may already have some of these things. Go down the list and check off what you have.
- Dry beans
- 3-4 lbs. frozen chubs of ground turkey
- 1 gallon milk
- 2-3 dozen eggs
- 9 lbs. chicken leg quarters
- 1-2 cans tomato paste
- 2 cans stewed tomatoes (Italian seasoned is good)
- 1 pkg. egg noodles
- 1 pkg. spaghetti pasta
- 10 lbs. flour
- 4 cups sugar
- Baking powder
- 3-4 cups shortening
- 4 lbs. salt pork or bacon
- 3 onions
- A few packages of frozen veggies
- 8-10 pkgs. ramen noodles
- 1-3 cans of tuna
- Peanut butter
- Chili powder
- 1-2 cups cheese
- 1 bag potatoes
Stores with the best grocery prices can vary across the country. Depending on where you live, these might be options:
- Grocery Outlet
- Sharp Shopper
Right now apples and pears are getting ripe across the country. Perhaps you know of someone with apple trees or pear trees. Many times people don't do anything with them. Ask around and you are likely to find someone who would love to have someone glean their apples. It would be a good outing for the kids, and would help remind you of the wonderful joy that God has for us through his creation. Bring them home and cut them up and make applesauce, and apple pie, and apple muffins, and apple juice.
[Ed note: At other times of the year, berries or zucchini (great for bread) might be plentiful enough that someone could share their extra or farms might offer good deals on their less-than-perfect harvest.]
What to buy
[Ed note: The list above includes all of the items used in this meal plan, but the details below of how Dee Ann would decide what to buy might be helpful so I am leaving them in. The dollar amounts here have not been updated since it was written in about 2005, so you will need to adjust your total budget based on today's dollars and prices in your area. I would suggest using an inflation calculator to determine amounts in today's dollars.]
Here, chicken quarters are sometimes on special for $.29/lb. So for two weeks I would probably buy 3 packages of those. If they are more expensive I would buy 2 packages, but at $.29/lb. I would buy 3 packages.
Shop for sales with your newspaper before going out. Plan your route in advance to save money on gas. Assuming that you bought 3 chicken quarters we've already spent $9.
The next thing on the list is bacon, salt pork, or very cheap ham. Now I am going to assume that you have dry beans in the house. If you don't they must be purchased. The bacon can be bought in ends and pieces the cheapest, and this is perfect for using the ways I will suggest. If you spend $3 on the bacon and $3 on the beans, you have spent $15.
Now if you can, pick up some ground turkey. Try to get 4 1-lb. chubs @ $.69/chub. So you have spent $2.80 more or $17.80.
You need two things more to get through—milk and eggs. So at this point, on $30 you should purchase 1 gallon of milk and 3 dozen eggs. The milk is NOT for drinking. Use the milk for cooking. On $20 you should drop 10 lbs. of chicken to get your milk and buy 2 dozen eggs.
Now on $20 you are done. On $30 the balance should be made up with Ramen noodles, a can or 2 of tomato paste, a bag of potatoes, cornmeal, peanut butter, and frozen vegetables.
Now, you probably noticed that I said not to drink the milk. This is because that milk can be used more wisely for making meals. If your family are big milk drinkers, they will have to get used to not drinking so much right now. This is not a permanent thing, but rather temporary to get through.
Also, as much as you are capable, try to balance your meals. However hard times call for hard ways of eating. Our grandmothers and grandfathers often simply ate meals like cornbread and milk. Extra money should be used for missed things on the list or luxury items such as cheese.
When you come home from the store, divide the chicken quarter packages into smaller portions (say four to a gallon ziplock bag). Put them in the freezer.
What to cook
Now for the cooking. For all the cooking I am assuming you are feeding 6, like I would be.
Shopping day (prep only)
The first day is for preparing by soaking beans and getting your sourdough starter fermenting.
Beans: The first thing you do is put beans on to soak. Soak them overnight and rinse in the morning adding fresh water. Put those on to cook either in a crockpot or in a pan on the stove. Add a couple of pieces of bacon.
Sourdough Starter: At the same time you put the beans to soak, take a cup of milk, a cup of flour, and a teaspoon of sugar, and blend together. Leave in a warm spot covered by a paper towel. [Ed. note - this is for the sourdough starter. There is some confusion regarding this recipe for starter and bread, so we have separated it into its own recipe below. If it is unclear, try this recipe instead.]
Sourdough Bread (Meals for Hard Times)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8-12 cups flour, divided
- 1 additional quart milk, divided
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
Make the Starter
- Blend 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and sugar and place in a warm spot covered by a paper towel.
- Leave for 2 days, checking to be sure it starts to smell sour after 1 day.
Split & Feed the Starter (2 days after making starter)
- In a large bowl place three quarters of your starter and set aside.
- To the rest of the starter add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk. Mix the starter and put it into the refrigerator.
Make the Bread (2 days after making starter)
- Take 1 egg and put it into a glass of hot tap water (do not crack it).
- Warm some milk, about 1 quart, not hot just warm.
- Take the egg out of the water. Crack it and beat it.
- To the portion of the starter you put into the bowl, add your beaten egg, ¼ cup oil, the remaining warm milk, flour (start with 5 cups and add a little at a time until the dough is the right consistency), and mix and knead well (about 8 minutes).
- Allow to rise in a warm place overnight.
- In the morning, punch down the risen bread dough and form into two loaves. Let dough rise again for 1 ½ hours, then bake at 350°F until golden brown.
Nutrition per serving
Day 1 Summary
|Fried Eggs||Bacon||Quick Muffins|
|Tuna or Egg Salad||Biscuits|
Breakfast. In our house, fried eggs stretch longer than scrambled, partly because I usually make too many scrambled. Fry an egg for each person in the house and make a little bacon. Also, make some quick muffins.
Quick Muffins (Meals for Hard Times)
- 2 flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder, omit if using self rising flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ to 1 cup milk with a dash of vinegar added
- ¼ cup oil
- Mix all together and pour into muffin tin filling cups by half, or pour into a loaf pan, and have bread.
- Bake at 400°F until golden brown.
Nutrition per serving
Tomato paste: Now take your tomato paste out, open all the cans. Drop large spoonfuls of tomato paste onto a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer. Allow to freeze. When frozen take them out and put them into a ziplock bag. Now they can be used whenever you want a little tomato flavor.
Beans: After breakfast, make sure and put your beans on to cook. First, drain the soaking water. Add fresh water so that the water is twice as deep as the beans in the pot. Cook on low for several hours until beans are tender.
Sourdough Starter: Then check the starter I had you set out last night. Does it smell sour? It should be beginning to smell sour. Set it aside until tomorrow.
Lunch. Now for lunch you can either choose tuna or egg salad sandwiches. Either way, make a batch of biscuits and stuff them with the mixture.
I am going to share my biscuit recipe here handed down to me from my grandmother and probably from her mother to her. Now traditionally there is no written recipe to this. These biscuits are more about technique. However I will try to share a workable recipe here. [Ed. note: you can also use our 3 Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuit recipe.]
Dee Ann's Biscuits (Meals for Hard Times)
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup shortening or lard
- 1 ½ cups milk to which has been added 1 teaspoon of vinegar, or 1 ½ cups buttermilk if you have it
- Blend with fork or sift flour baking powder and salt.
- Cut shortening into flour until very small. I use my fingers for this.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour a little bit of the milk in the biscuits, stirring between additions, until flour is just taken up by the milk.
- What you should be left with is a ball of dough that looks neither too wet nor too dry to handle.
- Pinch off small balls of dough rolling very gently between the hands into balls.
- Touch the dough as little as possible to do this (don't knead).
- Bake in a 400°F oven until starting to brown.
Dinner. Take two of these little tomato nuggets and drop them into your beans. Add a chopped onion and a little chili powder. Serve this for dinner along with cornbread.
More than likely you have some leftover beans, and they should be served the next day for lunch. If you have big eaters or a large family, you may need to make extra in order to have enough leftovers.
Sourdough Bread: Tomorrow morning you will be making bread, so we will start it tonight. [Ed: see recipe above] Take out your starter. Take 1 egg out and put it into a glass of hot tap water (do not crack it). Warm some milk, perhaps 1 quart, not hot just warm. Now get out a large bowl. Take three-quarters of your starter and pour it into the bowl. To the rest of the starter add a cup of flour and a cup of milk. Put this back in the refrigerator. To your starter in the bowl, add your egg, ¼ C oil, the warm milk, 8-12 cups of flour (start with 5-6 cups and add a little at a time until the dough is the right consistency), and mix and knead well. (Another word for beating the heck out of the dough: excellent stress reliever! No wonder our foremothers rarely got anxiety attacks!) Allow to rise in a warm place overnight.
Now, everyone has had a full stomach for today. Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. Simply enjoy today's contentment, and give thanks to God for his provision.
Day 2 Summary
|Leftover Beans||Sourdough Bread|
|Chicken and Dumplings|
Breakfast. Oatmeal and bacon.
Morning Preparation. Punch down your risen bread dough and form into loaves. Let rise again for the morning, then bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Lunch. Now for lunch you have leftover beans and fresh sourdough bread. After lunch, take out enough chicken from the freezer to thaw for dinner.
Afternoon Preparation. About 2 hours before dinner, put the chicken in a large pot to boil. Simmer one hour, and then take the chicken out of the pot and take it off the bone. While you are deboning the chicken add a little water, and one chopped onion, and salt and pepper to your broth. Simmer while deboning.
Dinner. Now put your chicken back in the broth and make up a batch of biscuit dough. Drop the dough into the water about ten minutes before you serve your chicken and dumplings. Put a lid on the pot and leave it until serving time. Turn off the burner and serve your family a meal. Save the leftovers for tomorrow's meal.
Now notice I don't mention vegetables. If you have some use them, but keep in mind that there may be other recipes later in this plan that call for them.
Now take a walk outside. Sit by yourself somewhere, and just breathe. Hopefully hubby is home, and all is well. Make a list of how God has blessed you today. Remember those adorable things the kids did. Now get a good night's sleep. I always read my bible at night. After the labor of the day is finished I can take all my cares to the Lord.
Day 3 Summary
|Toast with Peanut Butter||Bacon|
|Turkey Ramen Skillet||Bread Pudding|
Breakfast. Breakfast is toast (made with homemade bread) with peanut butter and a little bacon.
Lunch. You more than likely had leftover chicken and dumplings. If not, you will need a cup of cooked chicken for this casserole. Take some frozen veggies (broccoli would be excellent). Take a deep casserole pan, fish out all the leftover chicken out of the chicken and dumplings. Put one cup of rice, and one cup of broth (reserving the rest), and one cup of water in the casserole with the chicken and half a bag of broccoli. Season to taste, and bake covered for ½ hour. Uncover and sprinkle a little of any kind of cheese (if you have it, if not omit) Serve this for lunch.
Chicken Casserole (Meals for Hard Times)
- 2 cups frozen veggies, broccoli would be excellent
- 1 cup leftover cooked chicken
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup rice
- seasonings to taste, salt, pepper, season salt, galic salt, etc.
- ½ cup cheese , for topping
- Put 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of broth (conserving the rest), and 1 cup of water in a casserole dish with the chicken and broccoli.
- Season to taste, cover, and bake for ½ hour.
- Uncover and sprinkle a little of any kind of cheese and continue baking until cheese melts.
Nutrition per serving
Afternoon Preparation. Get out your starter, and put half of it in a bowl. To the remaining starter, add ½ cup milk and ½ cup flour. Mix and return to the refrigerator.
Prepare dough for cinnamon rolls for tomorrow. This calls for determining amounts as you mix in order to get the right consistency. Add some milk to the starter you put in a bowl, mix with some flour, a little sugar, and a little salt to make a stiff dough. Let rise until after dinner.
Cinnamon Rolls (Meals for Hard Times)
- half of sourdough starter, from earlier use
- flour as needed
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- margarine as needed
- 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- oil to grease pan
- This recipe calls for determining amounts as you mix in order to get the right consistency.
- Add some milk to the starter, mix with some flour, a little sugar, and a little salt to make a stiff dough. Let rise for 3-4 hours. Punch down, and put dough into the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out to about ½" thickness. Dot with margarine, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and roll up in a roll.
- Slice across the roll, and place each slice in an oiled pan. Turn on your oven for few minutes just to warm it, and then turn it off and put your rolls into it to rise.
- When they have doubled in size, turn on your oven to 400 degrees and bake until golden brown.
Dinner. For dinner, take out a chub of turkey and 5 packages of ramen noodles. Brown the turkey, add ramen noodles and the contents of one of the seasoning packets, and leftover veggies from lunch. Simmer and serve.
Also, take some of your bread and cut into chunks. Add a few raisins if you have them. Mix 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, ¾ C sugar (brown would be nice, but not necessary.), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour mixture over bread, and bake. This bread pudding is wonderful if you pour just a little milk over it.
Bread Pudding (Meals for Hard Times)
- 4 thick slices bread, cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ C sugar, brown would be nice, but not necessary
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ⅓ cup raisins, optional
- Place bread in baking dish.
- Mix 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, ¾ C sugar, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.
- Pour mixture over bread, and bake at 350°F until a knife comes out clean.
Nutrition per serving
Evening Preparation. Punch down the cinnamon roll dough and put it into the refrigerator.
Day 4 Summary
|Cinnamon Rolls||Fried Eggs|
|Turkey Ramen Skillet (leftovers)|
|Chicken and Rice Skillet|
Breakfast. First thing when you wake up, take the cinnamon roll dough out of the fridge (see recipe above). Roll it out on a floured surface to about a half-inch thickness. Dot with some margarine, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and roll up into a roll lengthwise. Slice across the roll and place your cinnamon rolls on their sides in an oiled pan. Turn on your oven for few minutes just to warm it, and then turn it off and put your rolls into it to rise. When they have risen some, turn on your oven to 400 degrees F and bake until golden brown. Serve this with an egg each.
Lunch. For lunch take out whatever ramen you have leftover, add the remaining broth from the dumplings, another fresh package of ramen, and serve for lunch.
Afternoon preparation. Thaw another package of chicken for dinner.
Dinner. For dinner boil the chicken and take off the bone. Strain the chicken, setting aside the broth. Now take 1-½ cups rice and brown it gently in a little oil. Add three cups of the broth into the hot pan with the rice, putting the leftover broth into the freezer. From the freezer take out two of the tomato nuggets, and add them and the chicken to the rice. Cover and simmer on medium until all water is absorbed. Add salt and spices to taste.
Chicken and Rice Skillet (Meals for Hard Times)
- 4 quarters chicken
- 1-½ cups rice
- Water for boiling chicken
- 2 tomato paste nuggets from freezer, about 2 Tbsp.
- salt, pepper, and spices to taste
- Boil the chicken in enough water to have 3 cups broth when done.
- Strain the cooked chicken and reserve the broth.
- Take the chicken off the bone.
- Brown 1-½ cups rice gently in a little oil for about two minutes.
- Add three cups of the broth into the hot pan with the rice, putting the leftover broth into the freezer.
- From the freezer take out two of the tomato nuggets, and add them and the chicken to the rice.
- Cover and simmer on medium until all water is absorbed.
- Add salt and spices to taste.
Nutrition per serving
Now another day is done, and all is right with the world. Everyone is probably full, and God is watching over you. This completes four days.
Day 5 Summary
|Pancakes||Bacon or Homemade Sausage||Applesauce|
|Ramen Soup with Leftover Meat & Veggies||Homemade Crackers|
|Chicken Pie||Simple Cookies|
Breakfast. For breakfast - pancakes. Now I often make my own syrup by heating sugar and water on the stove and flavoring with either maple flavoring or vanilla.
I also just love the recipe Laura Ingalls Wilder describes in Farmer Boy: Stacked pancakes - Make small pancakes, and on each one add a sliver of margarine and a little brown sugar(she said maple sugar, but most people would not have that in their cupboard). Do this as you make them. These are excellent although very fattening!
This can be served with either bacon or you can take some thawed ground turkey, add sage, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and make your own sausage. Now, this is a little better if you take a little of your salt pork and put it in your blender and add to it. 1 chub can give you enough for a couple of breakfasts.
Have applesauce if you gleaned apples.
Morning Preparation. Thaw a package of chicken quarters. Lunch and dinner use 3 pie crusts. You can make pie crusts in bulk this morning to save time later. [Ed. note: Adjust the number of pie crusts in the recipe if you want to make just the 3 you need today. After your pie crusts are made, use one recipe to make homemade crackers and refrigerate two for dinner. If you made more than 3, freeze the rest. You can substitute shortening or lard for the butter, but do not use margarine (the water content is too high).]
Freezer-Friendly Bulk Pie Crust
- 6 cups flour
- 1 lb. butter, softened (4 sticks)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups cold water
- Mix flour and salt.
- If mixing by hand, use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in butter a little at a time until mixture is crumbly. If using a stand mixer, use the pulse function to mix. The flour and butter mixture does not have to be completely uniform; it's actually good to leave a few larger bits of butter mixed in.
- Add water a little at a time and mix until mixture forms a ball.
- If your dough starts to get greasy because the butter is melting, place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before working with it further.
- Add water as necessary to get correct texture, but try to add as little water as possible. You only need enough water so that the dough holds together; the final product will not look like a smooth ball.
- Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 3 equal parts.
- At this point roll each section out to be ready for a pie plate before freezing, or you can freeze it in discs to be rolled before use. If you want to do the extra step of rolling it out, place each section of crust on lightly floured parchment paper and roll it out to your preferred size, then starting at one end of the parchment paper, gently roll it up with the pie crust inside.
- If you are freezing without rolling, form each section into a slightly flattened disc and place parchment paper between each disc of dough. Freeze in a freezer container.
- If you rolled the pie crusts out and rolled them up in parchment paper, place them on a cookie sheet or other flat surface and freeze for a couple of hours. Once the crusts are individually frozen, you can combine them and place them together in a freezer container or wrap them with freezer paper and freeze.
- The dough can be mixed by hand or with a sturdy stand mixer.
- Nutrition data is per pie crust.
- Freshly ground whole wheat flour may be used in this recipe instead of white flour at a one to one ratio.
- To bake an unfilled crust, cook at 475ºF for about 8 minutes. For filled crusts, bake according to recipe instructions.
Nutrition per serving
Homemade Crackers (Meals for Hard Times)
- Any recipe for pie crust
- garlic powder
- Italian seasoning or fresh rosemary chopped
- a little grated cheese if you have it
- Mix all the ingredients together well.
- Roll out on a cutting board a little thinner than for pie.
- Cut into squares and poke each cracker several times with a fork.
- Bake until crispy and golden brown in a 400°F oven.
Nutrition per serving
Lunch. Today have ramen soup with any leftover meats and chop a few veggies small. Cook the veggies with the seasoning packet and water, then add your noodles at the end. Serve with homemade crackers.
Dinner. Chicken Pie with Simple Cookies for dessert.
Chicken Pie (Meals for Hard Times)
- 1 lb. chicken quarters, washed
- 2 pie crusts
- 1 cup chopped vegetables, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 1-2 potatoes, cubed
- 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
- Boil your chicken until it is falling off the bone.
- Take the meat off the bones.
- Cool the broth.
- Take a cup of broth and set aside.
- Make a double crust pie recipe.
- Line a pie plate with half the crust.
- Now chop some veggies, or use some frozen veggies. It would be nice to use a potato or two, and some celery.
- Simmer the veggies until half done in just a little water.
- Mix with the chicken.
- Fill the crust.
- Place the other crust on top and bake at 350°F until crust is done and filling is hot.
Nutrition per serving
Simple Cookies (Meals for Hard Times)
- 1 cup butter, margarine, or shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, optional
- 4 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, or ½ cup peanut butter(take off half a cup shortening), or 2 teaspoon vanilla
- a handful of any nuts, dried fruit, or oatmeal in the house
- Cream shortening and sugar.
- To this can be added an egg if desired.
- Blend flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl with a fork.
- Add remaining ingredients blending quite well.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
- Serve these hot cookies for dessert.
Evening Preparation. Before going to bed thaw out two chubs of ground turkey. Place in the refrigerator.
I just love the end of the day. All the kids are in bed. Hubby is out like a light and it is just me and God. Read a good book. Read God's word and then off to sleep.
Day 6 Summary
|Peanut Butter Sandwiches|
A good omelet is an art. However, with a little effort, a couple of eggs can make a real meal.
An omelet does not have to have cheese, however, it does make it nice. With an omelet, a little dab will do you.
Fry a slice or two of bacon, and crumble it up. Dig in your fridge for any fresh veggies you can find. A little onion, a little pepper, even a few frozen veggies will do. Also, just a little grated cheese is wonderful.
The path to an excellent omelet is in the pan. Many people use a nonstick skillet. I am not fond of silverstone pans flaking into my food, so my favorite pan is a good, well seasoned iron skillet. You want just a small amount of oil well covering the pan. You also want the pan quite hot.
When making an omelet, you want the eggs (1 for each person) well beaten and you want to pour the egg into the hot skillet immediately after beating. Have a spatula close at hand. As soon as the eggs have begun to set at the edges just a little, you want to begin pushing the edges toward the middle and lifting them to allow the uncooked egg to seep under and cook as you tilt the pan to and fro.
As soon as all of the egg is set(I scrape all the uncooked egg I can from the middle out to the edge), add your meat and vegetables, and salt and pepper, to half and fold the egg over. Add a cover and turn the burner off. As the egg rests, prepare your plates. Cut the omelet into portions(my 10-inch skillet feeds five or six), and serve nice and warm.
Lunch. Peanut butter sandwiches
Dinner. Tuna Casserole
Tuna Casserole (Meals for Hard Times)
- 12 oz. package egg noodles
- 3 Tbsp. margarine
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 Seasoning packet from a package of chicken flavored ramen noodles
- ½ cup flour
- dash onion powder
- dash garlic powder
- dash pepper
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 can of tuna or even two if you have lots
- Cook noodles in water until al dente (I test mine by throwing a noodle against the refrigerator; if it sticks, it's done).
- While noodles are cooking, in a small bowl blend flour and seasonings.
- Heat ½ cup milk in a small saucepan.
- Add remaining milk to the bowl and blend well.
- Add the mixture in the bowl to hot milk and blend with a whisk stirring constantly until thick.
- Add tuna and blend well.
- When noodles are done, drain and add butter.
- Add tuna sauce to noodles and stir well.
Day 7 Summary
|Egg Salad Sandwiches|
|Frugal Spaghetti||Italian-Seasoned Sourdough Bread|
Breakfast. Biscuits and gravy
See biscuit recipe above under Day 1.
There are many ways to make gravy. This is mine:
Bacon Gravy (Meals for Hard Times)
- 1 lb. turkey bacon
- 3 cups milk, divided
- ½ cup flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Fry some bacon.
- Take out bacon and add two cups of milk to fat.
- Crumble bacon and add it to milk.
- Take ½ cup flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a little pepper and blend well in a small bowl.
- With a whisk, blend an additional cup of milk into flour and pour into milk mixture in pan.
- Stir constantly, adjusting spices to taste.
- Serve over biscuits or toast.
Lunch. Egg salad sandwiches
Afternoon Preparation. Make a loaf of sourdough bread according to previous directions. Mold French bread style, and bake after rising.
Dinner. Spaghetti with Italian-herbed bread
Absolutely great pasta sauce comes from two things: Tomato paste (not sauce), and sweet to acid balance. My basic pasta sauce is built around those two things. After browning meat (when you are not so poor use beef and Italian sausage), add either 1 can of tomato paste, and 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (I like the ones that come with the seasonings already in them) or 2 cans of tomato paste. Also add garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. And the secret ingredient is about two tablespoons of sugar. Simmer and serve with pasta. It is great to have some Parmesan around for this.
Frugal Spaghetti (Meals for Hard Times)
- ½ onion, chopped
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 15 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
- garlic salt to taste
- onion powder to taste
- Italian seasoning to taste
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Spaghetti, cooked, drained, and kept warm
- Brown turkey with chopped onion.
- After browning meat (when you are not so poor use beef and Italian sausage), add either 1 can of tomato paste, and 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (I like the ones that come with the seasonings already in them) or 2 cans of tomato paste.
- Add garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and sugar to taste.
- Simmer and serve with pasta.
- It is great to have some Parmesan around for this.
Now split your fresh loaf of sourdough, butter both sides, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Place under the broiler until golden brown.
Well, that is 1 week worth of meals.
Meals | Beverages
©Dee Ann Guzman; Used by permission
Tonia M Spencer
Just so you know.. I went on walmart.com and put in all the things for this menu and it comes out to $158.87 to get started.. Like I pretended as if I needed to buy every single thing.. which hopefully no one will need to do but that's the total in todays economy..
However if the person had a few things like the seasonings or the shortening from say a previous week.. it'd be less than 100.00 a week to feed a family of 4-5
That's not bad!!
Thanks for that information, Tonia! That is good to know. Since most people would have some of the items in their pantries already, that is indeed very reasonable for 2020 prices.
Tonia M Spencer
P.s. this post is featured in my group on facebook..
I really love what you got to share!!
Thanks for sharing!
I am a seasoned cook, this is excellent information...great job!
This doesn’t address what to do if you don’t have leftovers from the previous day’s meal.
Hi Christine - Dee Ann's plan may need to be adapted for larger families. It's a great baseline to create your own plan adapted to your specific needs. Thanks for your comment - it has been a nudge for me to make notes indicating where leftovers are used so that people will know if they need to make extra.
I read in a comment years ago that this was a work of art! It is. I followed this basic guide many times. Thankfully, I have long past those hard times, however, I will never forget what they taught me. My children will tell you they ate well as young children and loved my home cooking! In those days, I would substitute the Ramon for something else. I added canned tomatoes and if I could a pot roast. A few extra dollars would go toward produce and a block or two of cheese. However if you don’t have the extra cash, this menu works well as is.
Hi Jen - Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry that you were in a position to have to use a basic guide like this, but you are right about substituting when you can and making an impression with home cooking despite the difficult times. Best wishes to you!
Thank you! You are my hero!