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What are some frugal foods that your mother and grandmother used to make when you were a kid?

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I don't remember that many meals were what you'd consider frugal. It was all home-made though. We had big gardens. Mom canned, blanched/froze, dried, baked and made most things from scratch. Nothing went to waste. If buns were starting to go stale, Mom would cook ground meat, then add pizza sauce (home canned). She'd get the buns toasty on a cookie sheet in the oven, scoop the ground meat/pizza mix on, add pizza toppings and cheese and put that back in the oven.


We never had canned soup. We also never had casseroles. My dad got laid off in the winter, so everything was "getting stocked up" and "getting ready for winter". My mom was very frugal shopping, only sales and with coupons, buying ahead. She didn't buy grocery store meat, though. They'd buy a cow or 1/2 cow and the rest came from a trip to a butcher shop/store where we bought everything meat-wise. We had spaghetti or shells in sauce once a week. (Sauce she canned from the tomatoes in our garden, seasonings were also dried from the garden.) There was plenty of ground meat in that, though, and was hearty, so I don't see that as especially frugal either. Sometimes we'd have a big cooked breakfast for supper. And looking back, the giant pots of veggie soup were inexpensive.


Grandpa had chickens and always loaded us up on eggs when we visited. We went to a local orchard for drop apples and bushels of apples for eating, canning applesauce and applebutter. A little further north of us, we'd go to the potato farmer and buy 50 or 100 pound bags of potatoes and hit the auction where we bought cheese in giant blocks and huge pepperoni sticks and other stuff.


I think the gardening, preserving and way mom shopped caused us to eat very well and inexpensive in some ways, and saved $ on the normal grocery items so they could buy alot of meat.


I used to think going to other people's houses and store canned eating green beans was a treat. Same with the store-bought cookies other kids had in their lunches.


When they quit canning when I was in middle school, I was horrified and refused to eat the following store-bought disgusting, although name-brand items: apple butter, spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, and pickled beets. You can add all the spices you want to the store bought spaghetti sauce and that doesn't make it like homemade canned.

Edited by out_of_the_ordinary
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  • 2 weeks later...

For those that don't know how to make army style sos...this serves 4, more if you make extra 'sauce'

1 lb hamburger, brown well. Drain well.

Stir in 5 TB flour, 2 crushed beef bouillon cubes. Stir until it coats the hamburger & looks dry.

Stir in 2 cups milk (reconstituted dry milk works well here), and season to taste with salt, pepper & Worcestershire sauce.

Stir often over medium heat until it thickens and bubbles. It should bubble at least 3 min to cook out the 'raw' flour taste.

Pour over whatever you have on hand for breakfast - we usually put over eggs, bread or toast, and hash browns if I had leftover potatoes.

You can add more seasoning to suit yourself, but the S & P, and Worcestershire sauce are the army standbys.

This stuff is variable as the day is long - extremely good made with sausage & over biscuits, too - in stuffed potatoes, burritos, hamburger buns (kind of a 'blonde barbecue'?), over rice, noodles, and my old favorite, mashed potatoes.

Who'd a thunk army & comfort food went together?


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