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I Need Some "Basic" Recipes

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There is a long story behind this and I'll try to keep this short but feel some background is warranted. There is a neighbor girl I took under my wing years ago when I moved in to this neighborhood. She is a sweet girl deep down but grew up in a house with her single mother who suffers from severe mental illness. The girl has been seriously neglected for years and there are lots of issues here. I took her in as My Own for years. Bathed her, clothed her, fed her, tried to teach her to cook, tutored her in all subjects to the best of my ability (her mother pulled her out of public school in 7th grade because everyone was "evil"). I soon discovered, on my own with no formal teaching attributes, that she was at a 4th or 5th grade learning level and has a learning disability. She reads well but has poor comprehension and math, including money conversion and telling time is a total bust for this girl. I also discovered, as sweet as she was, even with all my positive influence, she couldn't escape years of negative upbringing. As she grew up she got a bad attitude, fell in with the wrong crowd and eventually started lying and stealing from me. I kicked her out and told her if she ever stepped foot on my property again I would have her arrested for trespassing. Over the past two years she has tried to rekindle a relationship but always with a motive because she wanted or needed something.


This may be another one of her manipulations and I've fallen for many of them...she learned from the best, ie, her mother, who may be crazy but is far from stupid. But here's the latest story. Last night she came to the door, said she's had enough of her mother "stealing" her disability check and is moving in with her "boyfriend". They found a trailor somewhere but have NOTHING. And I mean NOTHING. No pots, pans, blankets, bedding, furniture, etc. So, I told her, when she gets settled to call me next week. It was kind of a blow off on my part to see how serious she is.


But secretly, I have spent the entire day putting lists together of what she will need to set up a basic household, things that can be gotten from Goodwill. Problem is, our Goodwill is pretty lame and they still need to eat (I could care less about the "boyfriend", I've only met him once and made him stay on the porch. She thinks he's a gem but, well...whatever). So I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with CHEAP food than can be cooked in a single pot or pan or oven dish until we can scrounge up more cooking utensils. And I DON'T DARE bring beans and rice to the table. That's all her mother would feed her until she met me. I'll have to work those in easily.


So here's what I've got so far...using the least amount of cooking utensils and things that are really cheap...also keeping in mind her math difficulties...


Jarred Spaghetti Sauce, noodles and buttered bread

Hamburger Helper

Egg/Bread Casserole

Beanie Wienies

Baked Potatoes smothered with Canned Chili


Grilled Cheese with Canned Soup/Stew


Chicken noodle casserole


Toss in some frozen, boil veggies to round out some meals and some frozen juice concentrate to get some Vitamin C.


I also have some Egg Salad, Tuna Salad and PB&J's for lunches.


If she is completely serious about making it on her own I can dedicate some time to cooking here in my home and setting her up with some freezer meals but right now, as the holidays are approaching we are getting ready to leave town. She needs easy meals to get by on. Anybody have anything to share with extremely limited funds and extremely limited cooking utensils?? Nothing with too many spices or "from scratch" ingredients as it will take some time to build these up, ingredients and skill wise.


Thank you so much!

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I hate to say this...............but; I would find out just exactly what they will eat first.

I can see this being a fruitless exercise taking up a lot of your time, and emotion.

If they have no money and will be using food banks or church pantrys; find out what is usually distributed. Then give suggestions including the food they will have on hand.


I think it is wonderful, the desire to help them. I just wouldn't tell them I was leaving for the holiday's. I think they are using you, against yourself. I will pray for their pure intent.

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I agree with Skagitgirl.

I would wait and see what her true heart is. You cannot help someone who doesn't really want help. Please, be careful, use wisdom, and don't allow them to use you. Sometimes you just have to let people learn on their own. It is hard, but sometimes tough love is the best way to deal with these things. Give it some time before you rush and do things to try to fix their problems.

You have admitted to her wanting a "relationship" because she wanted or needed something. If she is truly wanting that, then she will tell you she is truly sorry, she will act differently towards you. She should want you for you, not what you can give her.


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I agree with Skagitgal... be very careful. And are you certain that they will not break into your house when they think you'll be gone? You don't know the guy.


Are you looking for recipes that you can print out for her, or just ideas? Are you gathering food, or utensils, or both?


We have some good threads that might help... the "poverty cooking" one is great! http://mrssurvival.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21484 And Mare's mixes might come in handy. http://mrssurvival.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=21482



That said...


Please remember, in your quest to help this girl, that there is also an element of "sink or swim" to it. To give her information and maybe a one-time gift of some utensils is a help, but to subsidize her life with this guy might not be as much a help as you might intend. If they grow dependent on you, it could get ugly down the road, especially since you don't know the guy, and her judgement isn't the best. And when there are kids, they can justify about any action when the kids are needy. (I know I'm generalizing... but this economy is already driving more break-ins, scams, in-your-face robberies, and thefts in our area, and I'm sure it's happening all over the country.)


I've heard too many stories where a casual visitor gave information about a home to someone who later broke in; how much more might someone who lived with you give? And you might well appear to be "rich" by her (their?) standards.


I would say that it would be better to teach her rather than give, and be ready to send her to public assistance agencies, social services, and churches for help, where they may also request a certain amount of responsibility ("jumping through the hoops" in the right order is at least *something*).


Your heart is right, but you must also protect yourself so that you'll be there for her or her children if you're needed in the future to again point the way or to provide a temporary "safety net".





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Peanut butter.

Peanut butter sandwiches.

Peanut butter cookies.

Peanut butter on cinnamon toast.


Cinnamon toast.


Pizza toast (a smear of pizza sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, melted under broiler)


French toast.

Unsweetened French toast made into a sandwich with sliced tomato and crisp bacon.


Boiled potatoes.

Potato salad.

Mashed potatoes.

Potato wedges coated in oil, then sprinked heavily with Seasoned Salt and baked.

Baked potatoes.

Potatoes O'Brien




Noodles, cooked and drained, then dressed up with a can of vegetable-beef soup.

Different shaped noodles, cooked and drained, then dressed up with canned cream soup.

Buttered egg noodles, with or without a sprinkling of Parmesan. Sooo simple, sooo good.

Noodles with cream of something soup and either canned chicken or canned tuna, baked as a casserole.

Noodles with a can of Ro*Tel.

Noodles, especially spaghetti, with scrambled eggs, parmesan, and bacon bits, stirred all together on minimal heat until the eggs cook.


Scrambled eggs.

Boiled eggs.

Egg salad.

Fried eggs.

Fried egg sandwich with mustard.

Scotch eggs.



Grits with bacon.

Cheese grits.

Leftover grits or cheese grits, chilled over night, sliced into a slab and fried in bacon grease.



Oatmeal with applesauce.

Oatmeal with ginger.

Oatmeal with raisins.

Oatmeal cookies.

Oatmeal fudge.


Beef a roni--hamburger, macaroni, a can of Ro*Tel.


Baked chicken thighs.

Chicken salad.

Chicken with macaroni.

Barbecue baked chicken.




Smoked turkey wing-tips, or necks, or a back, simmered to make a broth, then rice thrown into the broth to cook.


Fried ham.

Ham salad.

Ham gravy.

Ham chips and ham gravy over potatoes.


Cheese straws with red pepper.

Cheese straws without red pepper.


Fried onions and mushrooms on toast.


Carrot cake.

Carrot sticks in salt water in the fridge, to munch on.


Sweet potatoes, slow-baked.

Sweet potatoes, leftovers mashed into patties and fried or baked.

Sweet potato oven-fries, with lots of red pepper.



Cheese biscuits.

Sweet potato biscuits.



Sprout sandwich on toast with mustard.


Baked apples.

Edited by Ambergris
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What about tossed salads? lettuce, veggies (carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, etc) cheese, dressing, diced ham/turkey or canned chicken/tuna.


Quesidillas (cheese, diced deli meat) with salsa


Chipped beef on toast, using a white gravy packet mix


mac & cheese with ham & peas


scalloped potatoes (boxed mix) with ham & peas


canned biscuits, sausage gravy (gravy mix and brown/serve sausage links)


breakfast casserole (eggs, bread, cheese & ham or brown/serve sausage)

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These are excellent ideas! I'm going to have to copy/print them for when I'm "stuck" on what to make. ;)


I don't know if these were mentioned, but:


spagetti made with 1 lb hamburger or ground turkey and jarred sauce


chili made with 1 can black beans, 1 can kidney beans, 2 cans stewed tomatoes, 1 lb hamburger with chili powder. If she had onion and garlic, they would be good in it, too.


baked pork chops - make a box of stove top stuffing, cut slits into thick pork chops, put some spoonfuls of the stuffing into the slits and bake 30 minutes at 375*, then add any left over stuffing to the baking pan and bake another 25-30 minutes. Sounds complicated, but is really simple and good.


Breakfast sandwich - one english muffin toasted, one egg fried, scrambled or over medium, some lunch meat and a slice of american cheese. (like an egg mcmuffin, but better).

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  • 3 weeks later...

We ran out of bread and too tired to go get any. Only one car. I made this (got the recipe off the internet someplace and it went great with soup. With real butter and hot tea it would also make a great breakfast. It is very hearty and has a "middle ages" type feel to it.


No Knead Beer Bread


3 cups flour (any kind, but, whole or multi grain taste best)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking POWDER such as Calmet, etc.

1 teaspoon salt

1-12 ounce beer


Mix all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly pour in beer while mixing. When mixed dough will be very wet and sticky. Only mix ontil there are no lumps. If you mix too much the bread will be pasty and not cook through. Mix more than muffin mix, though.


Bake at 350 in a greased:


loaf pan for 50 minutes and cool in the pan on a rack 10 minutes and out of the pan 10 minutes


8x8 pan 60 minutes and cool 10 minutes


This bread is not an ordinary bread. It is very heavy. Like I said you can make a meal of it.

Edited by GirlNextDoor
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One very easy thing my kids love is to take the cheap canned biscuits, flatten them out in your hand, add on two slices of pepperoni and a smidge of cheese. Fold over, press the sides together and bake until done. The pepperoni has enough oil in it that it mixes with the cheese and almost makes it like a pizza sauce. Quick, easy, cheap, and only uses the baking pan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whatever happened?


This recipe always comes to mind when I think about basics.


Here's a simple formula to make inexpensive casseroles that taste different each time.


Yield: 6 servings


---------------------------CHOOSE ONE SAUCE MAKER---------------------------

10 1/2 oz cream of mushroom soup

10 1/2 oz cream of celery soup

10 1/2 oz cream of chicken soup

29 oz Italian style diced tomatoes


------------------------CHOOSE ONE FROZEN VEGETABLE-------------------------

10 oz spinach, frozen

10 oz broccoli, frozen

10 oz English peas, frozen

16 oz yellow squash, frozen

10 oz corn, frozen


----------------------------CHOOSE ONE PASTA/RICE---------------------------

2 c elbow macaroni, uncooked

1 c rice, uncooked

4 c egg noodles, uncooked

3 c shells, uncooked


------------------------CHOOSE ONE MEAT/FISH/POULTRY------------------------

12 oz tuna, drained & flaked

2 c chicken, cooked & chopped

2 c ham, cooked & chopped

2 c turkey, cooked & chopped

1 lb ground beef, brown & drain


--------------------------CHOOSE ONE OR MORE EXTRAS-------------------------

3 oz mushrooms, drained

1/4 c black olives, drained

1/4 c bell pepper, chopped

1/4 c onion, minced

1/2 c celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves

4 1/2 oz green chilies, chopped

1 pk taco seasoning mix


-------------------------CHOOSE ONE OR TWO TOPPINGS-------------------------

1/2 c mozzarella, shredded

1/2 c parmesan, grated

1/2 c Swiss, shredded

1/2 c bread crumbs, dry


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Combine 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper with Sauce Maker. Omit sour cream and milk when using tomatoes.


Stir in frozen vegetable, pasta/rice, meat/fish/poultry and if desired,extras. Spoon into a lightly greased 13 X 9 baking dish. Sprinkle with toppings.


Bake casserole, covered for 70 minutes, uncover and bake 10 minutes more.


Source: St. Michael's Catholic Church, Gainesville, GA via Southern Living, 11/96

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Saw this and thought of you:


Miracle Cookies


1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg


Mix well, form into balls and put them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork and bake at 350 until they are lightly browned (about 10-12 minutes)

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