Thursday, August 12, 2010


YIKES!  Where has everyone gone?

Funny how the blog community waxes and wanes.
Billy Pilgrim blasted off to Transfalmador.
(excuse spelling... I'm feeling lazy today.)
Who knows if he will ever return.
One had to go into deeper cover.
Everyone else seems to be off on vacations or just absent from my blog sphere.
Oh a few remain... phew!

Of course, some of that is probably me.  I have been absent too and in blog world, it is easy to fall off the map when you don't post.
My life right now seems pretty dull.
Job hunting is a bitch and not very interesting.
As you know I find the new trend of applying on line to be stressful and frustrating.
I don't even want to talk about the field trip to the under employment office!

One happy thing right now is my cooking.
Ha!  C4C... can you imagine that?
I have years of experience creating foods that taste good and are very cheap.
I overheard the man bragging to T that not only could I go to the grocery store with $10
and return home to whip up something
delicious, but it would last for three full meals or more.
Amazing what you can do with a chicken or pot roast and some basic veggies.

Its a good thing we have a freezer.
And we are living on the cheap.
Until we have jobs.  Gotta make that money go as far as it can.

So I texted the bear and asked her what her favorite "when we were poor" meal was... she texted back
"welfare burritos".
It was particularly funny since I had just told the man that I would fix those next.
Big grins.

The recipe comes from a time when X had just gone off to happy camp and I was left with four children to raise before I had annualized checks to get us through the summer months.
I was forced to stand in the food bank line to feed my kiddos.  
At that time, the government issue food was often meat in a can.  Dull, tasteless and probably not very good for you.
But, if you took the icky meat and smashed it up, then added green chili sauce, 
put it in a tortilla with some cheese...
it was transformed into something delightful.

Her second choice... chili beans on spaghetti noodles instead of the usual sauce.  Canned chili and pasta were also a government food bank staple.
So here is yer question today my friends...
What is your favorite cheap meal?

Randy loves "frito boats" which is chili, cheese, onions and happy peppers on fritos.

Are you one of the folk who look in the cupboard and see impossible combinations or do you see a challenge to make something different from what seems like nothing?


  1. Oh how I love to see what's there and what I can make. It was so much fun when M and I were trapped in his house in the snow and I had to figure stuff out from what was in his cupboards/fridge. I made it through 3 days I think.

    Um, trying to think of cheap things... I do have ideas for what to do when you have leftover vegetable bits that are threatening to go bad (eggplant casserole - uses whatever pasta sauce you have, and you can do it with minimal cheese).

    My mom used to get free pork bones, which had a bit of meat on them. She'd cut off the meat to make chop suey, and use the bones to make tomato soup broth (the recipe for which is on my blog).

  2. Heh, heh... welfare burritos. And chili-mac. Yep.

    One thing I used to like back in the days of "free cheese" was to cut a thick slice, put it on bread, and oven toast it. Yum. With plenty of ketchup for dipping, of course. Ketchup is a vegetable, remember?

    Another, that I still make today: you take an envelope of chicken noodle soup, cook it up, add a can of Veg-All (store brand, of course) liquid and all, let it cool a bit, then add almost a whole sleeve of crushed saltines.

    Actually, I add tons of crushed saltines to my soup as a rule. A depression era habit I picked up from my Uncle Leo.

    Of course, for bang-for-the-buck, it's hard to beat a 20 lb. sack of rice, a bag of onions, and a bottle of soy sauce or Sriracha. Cook up the rice, let it get good and cold, then fry it up with onions and oil as needed.

    If eggs are on sale, you can add one of those too. Or beans. Good for your wallet, as well as your heart.

    It's definitely a fun challenge to make something from "whatchagot," even more challenging to make something good, even more so to make something good the family will also eat.

  3. Pamela-- Ooohhh yum! That sounds good to me. I like zucchini in pasta sauces too. Great idea.

    I left a comment on laura b's blog that tomato soup was my comfort food!
    How funny. Sometimes its like we are connected.

  4. Cricket-- More great ideas. I'm a cracker cruncher too. I love fried rice and red beans and rice. I'm sure you know that the beans plus rice makes a perfect protein too. Same with the chili mac, though we just used the spaghetti noodles sans the cheese sauce part.

    Well Regan did tell the schools that ketchup is a veggie. ;-) One of my fav late night snacks is to take a cold, icky cooked beef patty leftover (or any beef bit) and dip it into ketchup. Solid and sweet!

  5. The welfare burritos idea was very clever. If this economy doesn't improve soon, you're going to have to post more recipes. Oh, we can always eat bugs while the UN and the elites eat Wagyu and lobsters. Can you tell that I'm still ticked off about that? Sheesh.

    I love beans and rice. I also love fried rice because you can throw in whatever you have leftover and it's always good as long as the rice is cold and old.

    Also, the story you told about the worms in the McD's burgers made me laugh. I guess I wasn't the only evil child in the history of the world. My sisters would argue otherwise, BTW. I commented on one at my blog you might find amusing.

    Blog traffic is down. I guess it's extravagant
    euro holiday time ;-)

  6. Ah Cube-- Let them eat cake! I enjoyed your blog very much today.

    I think all children are basically wicked. ;-) But to avoid comments on what a child hater I am... let me say that I think it may be why I like them so much. I have my own little wicked streak.

    I want an extravagant euro trip! Naw... just joking. I still wanna go to the beach.

  7. At my house we have eaten quite a bit of inexpensive variations on spaghetti...noodles with a can of store brand pasta sauce, or butter (margerine, whatev.), even mixed with ranch or italian dressing.

    I don't tend to be all that creative with my cooking, but I can make something out of not too much I guess. Necessity being the mother of experience and all that....

  8. It is Frito Pie, not Frito Boat.

    I don't know if that counts as cheap anymore.

    I like mac and cheese with tuna and other stuff, but I don't know if that counts as cheap either.

    I tried the dollar a day thing for a couple of weeks, so compared to doing that those two things don't seem cheap at all.

  9. laura b.-- I find it sort of fascinating what can go together when there is not much to work with handy.

    I have not tried the ranch thing. But I have eaten whatever bits of meat and veggies on pasts with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I bet we would like that one.

  10. laughing-- I think a few years ago that the dollar a day thing would have been much easier to do.

    I am a fan of raman noodles with anything left over from the fridge.

  11. I'm not much of a traveler. I'd much prefer to hang out by the pool rather than fly somewhere exotic, but I don't begrudge those who do. Whatever floats your frito boat ;-)

    As far as all kids being wicked, they are, but some are waaaay more wicked than others. I was in the latter category. Whenever my family gets together, which is often, the tales are always retold to my chagrin. In my defense, I have mellowed with time.

  12. Nowadays I'm 3-3-3 (only half evil) ;-)

  13. Cube--- Hahahaha... my evil twin!

  14. I love opening the fridge or pantry and deciding on the spot what I'm going to combine into a dish.

    I'm still here, posting on a daily basis since I agreed to the photo-a-day meme for August.

  15. First off I am glad you had a blast at the concert. Still very jealous. Sorry that you are still hunting for a job. Hopefully something good comes your way soon. And as far as a poor meal goes I guess it would be pizza bread. I might be taking liberties with pizza. We took a piece of bread as a kid, spread some ketchup on it, added a little cheese, and then baked it in the oven for a few minutes. Have a good weekend.

  16. Secret Agent Woman-- Glad you're still around!

    Speaking of food... your recipes are very inspiring!

  17. Shife-- Thanks! I have a variation of that recipe with tomato paste.

  18. i like the challenge when i have time. when i am getting home really late i don't like it at all.

    my favorite cheap meal is called a "mess."

    fry up some dice potatoes and onions. when they are nice and crispy pour over a mixture of beaten eggs and shredded cheese.

  19. lime-- Oooohhhh... I like the idea of that one! That's one I will put into use right away. Tonight we are having left overs (shrooms, pepper, onions and bbq steak added into a fajita left over from the freezer.

    I couldn't recall what was in the container, so I decided to thaw it out and make do. fortunatly, it was a perfect addition.

  20. I think Facebook and Twitter have to be taking a toll on Blogger/Blogspot blogs. Facebook is ever so trendy now, and it has blog-like abilities.

    I don't get Twitter at all, and the 140 character limit they have is a major crippling factor. No doubt some next thing will come along and wipe out Twitter like Facebook wiped out Myspace.

  21. Lime's suggestion sounds like a spanish omelette with cheese. Very yummy.

  22. I'm back....I hope. My computer died and I wasn't at work to use theirs. I'm back at work and hopefully getting my new computer in the next couple of days. Whew!