Living 'Dirt-Poor'...
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  1. #1
    Registered User men-r-optional's Avatar
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    Question Living 'Dirt-Poor'...

    Looking for advice on survival techniques and camaraderie with other moms that are raising their children on their own because the father has hit his mid-life crisis and moved on to what he considers to be 'greener pastures'.

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    Registered User Demented Duck's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome xx

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    Registered User pollypurebred39's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    While I'm not in the same situation, I've had times in my life when I've been dirt poor. Here's some "what to make when you've hardly got anything in the pantry" recipes.

    We've eaten these for supper quite often in lean times



    Have you ever had Funnel Cakes at a state or county fair? Well, those delicious fried doughs originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch. Don't wait until the fair comes to your town. This Funnel Cake recipe is so easy you can make them any time you want. You could purchase a funnel cake maker to dispense the dough into the pan, but we always used a large funnel. Alternately, you could use a piping bag with a large tip, or just a plastic food storage bag with a hole cut at the bottom corner.


    1 large egg, room temperature
    2/3 cup milk, room temperature
    1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Confectioner's sugar, sifted
    Canola or vegetable oil for frying

    Beat the egg and milk. Blend the dry ingredients, except the confectioner's sugar, and gradually add the egg mixture, beating just until smooth. Heat at least 1-inch of oil in a large skillet or deep fryer to 375°. Place your thumb over the bottom opening of a large funnel (see notes above). Pour batter into the funnel. Remove your thumb and let the batter drip into the hot oil using a constant circular motion, moving out from the center, to form spirals about 4-inches in diameter for each cake. Remove the cakes when golden brown, carefully turning once to brown both sides. While cake is still warm, sprinkle the top with confectioner's sugar. Funnel cakes are best served warm.

    We've also eaten these for supper. Apples are pretty inexpensive by the bagful.


    SERVES 4

    If you have never had apple dumplings, this is your chance. They are absolutely delicious and easy to make. There are many variations. Some recipes call for a syrup that is poured over the apples before baking. Others slice the apples and place in squares of dough. This recipe is the way my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother and mother made and served them.

    Pastry dough for double crust pie, store-bought or homemade (see my recipe linked below)
    4 medium baking apples, such as Macintosh
    8 teaspoons dark brown sugar, more to taste
    4 teaspoons butter
    Milk or cream (optional)

    Make dough according to recipe. Roll and cut into shapes large enough to wrap around each apple. Remove the core from the apples. Place one apple in center of each piece of dough. Fill apple with about 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bring dough around apple and crimp at top. Place in an 8x8-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 325° F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until pastry is golden. After about 30 minutes, juices will form in the bottom of the pan. Baste the apples with the juices. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm in a bowl with milk or cream.


    SERVES 4

    This is an old family recipe my mother used to make for my father. She claimed that it is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. I know it was served in the military when my father was in the army, and was nicknamed 'SOS' in the abbreviated form. I have also heard it called creamed chipped beef. It is really quite good, although everyone in the family wanted it more often than I. Dried beef was created as a way to preserve the meat. It is quite salty due to the salt-curing process, but it has a very good flavor. Serve this for breakfast, brunch, lunch or a quick and easy dinner.

    2 tablespoons canola or other cooking oil (we use butter)
    1/2 pound thinly sliced dried beef, cut into 1-inch strips (in little packets, deli is too expensive)
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    4 to 5 cups milk
    Pepper to taste

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the dried beef and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often to combine with the oil. Gradually whisk in the milk; cook until thickened, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve over toast slices or with biscuits. I prefer adding cheese slices on the toast that melt slightly when topped with the hot beef mixture.

    I often save a good portion of the chicken for another meal and make a double recipe of noodles.

    CHICKEN POT PIE (Potpie / Bott Boi)

    SERVES 6 to 8

    This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, which my family spelled 'Potpie', is an old Pennsylvania Dutch family favorite, called Bott Boi in PA German. It is a stew with squares of dough that are usually a cross between noodles and dumplings. You can use packaged pot pie noodles, but homemade are so much better, and I posted two versions. Traditionally, pot pie is served with a salad of greens and hot bacon dressing, which is linked below, to complete the meal. By the way, after several years of living in the south, I discovered that the southern dish called 'Chicken and Pastry' is almost identical to this PA Dutch version. 'Pot Pie'' in many regions is often a meat and vegetable dish covered with a pastry dough and baked in the oven. And then there is Chicken and Dumplings, which is the same as 'Chicken Pot Pie' and 'Chicken and Pastry' except that dumplings are substituted for the pastry dough. Are you totally confused? Whatever you call it, it is superb!

    2 quarts water
    One 3 to 3-1/2 pound chicken
    1 celery rib
    1 medium onion
    1 medium carrot
    1 bay leaf
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 medium onions, thinly sliced
    2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    Pot pie dough (see below)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    3 tablespoons flour blended with 3 tablespoons cup cold water (optional, for thickening)
    Cook chicken in simmering water with celery, carrot, 1 onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper until tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones, discard skin, and pull apart or cut into bite-size pieces. Strain the broth and skim off most of fat. Taste broth for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

    Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add the reserved chicken. Gradually layer the pot pie dough squares into the boiling liquid, one-by-one, alternating with layers of the onion and potato slices, gently pushing down each layer until covered with the broth. Reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer, stirring gently on occasion to prevent dough from clumping together, until dough is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley, cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes. (If desired, add flour and water paste to thicken broth at this time. Stir into broth very well to combine.) Serve immediately.


    SERVES 3 to 4

    Croquettes are a mixture of diced or minced meat and a white sauce, which is then formed into round or oval patties. I have also seen them shaped into cones. I prefer making patties because they can be pan fried in less oil. Croquettes are very popular in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and this recipe came from my grandmother. It is a quick and easy way to turn leftover chicken or turkey into a different and delicious main dish presentation.

    2 cups finely diced cooked chicken or turkey (I often used less chicken and mix in some fresh bread crumbs. No one will know)
    2 tablespoons grated or very finely chopped onion
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup milk
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I omit)
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley (I omit)
    1 egg, beaten
    3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I use dry)
    Canola or other vegetable oil for frying
    Mix together the chicken and onion. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir briskly for several minutes to make a roux, being careful not to brown. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until thickened and all lumps are dissolved. Add salt and pepper; remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the chicken mixture, lemon juice, and parsley; combine well. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.

    Heat the oil, just enough to come about half way up the thickness of the croquettes, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Form the chicken mixture into patties or other shape described above. Dip each patty into the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs. Fry until browned on both sides.


    SERVES 6

    Chicken and Corn Chowder is a popular soup in Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish country. This is a very easy recipe, but takes a little time if you cook the chicken from scratch. For a quick version on a busy night, cook the chicken several days ahead and refrigerate until you need it. The soup will come together in no time. Alternately, you can use store-bought broth and cooked chicken. Any way you make it, I hope you enjoy.

    One whole chicken, about 3 pounds (I save some chicken for other meals)
    Approximately 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (I use boullion)
    Water, as needed
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 rib celery
    1 large carrot
    1 medium onion, peeled
    1 sprig parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
    1 bay leaf
    2 cups diced potatoes
    2 pounds (4 cups) fresh or frozen corn kernels
    6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (I do not add eggs)
    1 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried
    1 cup heavy cream (can use evaporated)

    Place the chicken in a large pot with the broth and just enough water to almost cover the chicken. Add the salt and pepper, celery, carrot, onion, sprig of parsley, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Remove chicken from pot. Discard the skin and bones. Chop the meat into desired-size pieces but not too small. Strain the broth, discard most of the fat, and return to the pot. Add the potatoes and cook, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Add the corn and cook until tender and hot, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and taste for seasoning. Stir in the cream and heat just until ready to boil. Stir in the parsley and serve.

    I grew up on this, we had it like once a week. I thicken with a bit of flour.


    SERVES 4

    This recipe is for a basic potato soup, the way my grandfather used to make it. It is typical of simple Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Pappy often had it for lunch, but my mother made it for a quick and light dinner. It is so good and very easy, using less than five ingredients, not counting water, salt and pepper, allowing the natural flavors to shine through. I still make it on occasion, although I must admit that I usually add a few more vegetables, such as celery, carrots, peas and corn. For that recipe, see the Easy Vegetable Chowder, which is linked below.

    3 tablespoons butter, divided
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
    2 to 3 cups milk
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until softened. Add potatoes and just enough water to cook, about 1 cup. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the milk, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook over medium heat just until hot, being carefully not to boil. With a potato masher, mash some of the potatoes right in the pot, or use an immersion blender, to thicken the soup slightly, being careful to leave most of the potatoes intact.

    (Stuffing or Dressing)

    SERVES 6 to 8

    This Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for Potato and Bread Filling (filling is the PA Dutch name for a dressing or stuffing) has been a family favorite since the beginning of time. I don't recall a Thanksgiving without it. My mother and grandmother used to stuff the turkey with it, but I just bake it in a separate casserole, and it goes well with any kind of meat or poultry. The recipe can be made in any amount and using any ratio of potatoes to bread. Read the notes below for specifics.

    3 medium potatoes
    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    1 cup chopped onion
    3 celery ribs, chopped
    4 cups cubed homemade style white bread, about 10 slices
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    Salt and pepper to taste
    8 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

    Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously butter a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside. Cook potatoes in water until soft enough to mash. Mash and beat in milk, salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook until just soft, about 10 minutes. Add to potatoes, using slotted spoon. Sauté bread cubes in same skillet until brown and crispy, adding more butter if needed. Transfer bread to potatoes. Add the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to potato mixture. Mix thoroughly; transfer to baking dish. Dot the casserole with butter bits. (Casserole can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature before baking.) Bake in oven until hot, about 35 minutes. Cover with foil if top browns too much.

    Notes: This recipe is extremely versatile. You can add up to 8 more potatoes or 2 cups of bread without changing other ingredients unless needed for moisture or seasoning. The bread could be browned in the oven, which is how I do it now. Alternately, it doesn't need to be browned at all, which my grandmother often did. I often add some dried sage and thyme for extra flavor, but it is not necessary. When serving with roast turkey or chicken, we always add some stock or pan juices to the top of the casserole before baking. By the way, leftovers are terrific! And, although the old folks wouldn't dream of it, I use half the amount of butter to keep it a little healthier and less rich. It is still very good and no one, including you, will know the difference.

    These are a big hit around here. I build a supper around just these sometimes.


    SERVES 6

    The Pennsylvania Dutch make many different types of fritters as a side dish, especially when local vegetables are in season. This recipe for Corn Fritters was, and still is, one of the favorites. For the best flavor, use a combination of butter and oil for frying. In the old days, they would have used lard or bacon grease.


    6 medium ears of corn
    1 cup all purpose flour
    Pinch of salt
    Pepper to taste
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    Enough milk to hold batter together
    Vegetable oil, or mixture oil and butter

    Scrape the corn kernels off the cobs. Mix the flour, salt, pepper and egg; add the corn and blend well. Add just enough milk to moisten and hold the batter together. Drop by large spoonfuls into a skillet heated with just enough butter and/or oil to coat the bottom. Fry on each side until golden brown.

    Notes: You can substitute thawed frozen corn kernels for the fresh, approximately 3 cups. Corn fritters can be topped with maple syrup or apple butter, a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite.



    The Pennsylvania Dutch love dumplings and they are used in many preparations. They can be added to soups or stews. However, a true ‘Dutchman' would enjoy them simply cooked in broth and served as a side dish. This recipe for Bacon Dumplings is quick, easy and delicious in any preparation.


    2 cups flour
    Pinch of salt
    1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    Pepper to taste
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon bacon grease
    3-4 tablespoons browned and crumbled bacon
    Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper. Beat the eggs in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1/2-cup liquid. Add the egg mixture and bacon grease to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork just until blended. (The dough should be soft, but holding together. If it seems too dry, add a little more milk.) Add the crumbled bacon and stir until combined.

    To cook, drop by spoonfuls onto simmering broth, soup or stew. Cover and cook until done, about 12 minutes.

    Note: Dumplings can be made large or small as desired. Adjust the cooking time as needed.


    SERVES 4 to 6

    I had forgotten all about Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pie until several visitors to the site requested it. I didn't have my grandmother's recipe, so my mother and I put our heads together and came up with this recipe. My mother was not sure if Mammy used bacon, but we decided it added a nice smoky flavor. However, it can be omitted for a vegetarian dish. This is easy and absolutely delicious. Typically, corn pie is served as a main dish with a green salad, but it can be served as a side dish for a large family gathering, in which case it will serve up to ten people.

    Pastry dough for one double crust pie, store-bought or homemade (see recipe linked below)
    4 ounces thickly sliced slab bacon, diced (regular sliced bacon can be used)
    1-1/2 pounds fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed if frozen
    1/2 cup finely chopped green peppers (I omit)
    1/2 cup finely chopped red peppers (I omit)
    3/4 cup finely chopped onions
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup heavy or whipping cream (can use canned milk)
    3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced (I omit)
    1 egg, beaten
    If making homemade dough, add 1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves and some freshly ground black pepper. Separate into 2 balls; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 425° F. Fry the bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well on paper towels. Roll the crusts into rectangles and place the first in the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the corn, peppers, onions, bacon, cream, salt and pepper. Pour into the baking pan. Lay the hard-cooked eggs on top. Place the other crust on top. Crimp edges with bottom crust; prick with a fork and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 400° and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and let set about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a tossed salad.

    Note: The parsley and pepper in the pie crust adds a little extra savory flavor. If you are using store-bought dough, it is not necessary.

    (German Noodles or Dumplings)

    SERVES 4

    If you have never made German spaetzle from scratch, you really must try. Spaetzle are a cross between tiny noodles and dumplings. The term translates to 'little sparrow'. Since the dough does not get kneaded, rolled and cut, they are very quick and easy to make, and go well with all types of foods. Serve them as you would potatoes, rice, noodles or other dumplings. They are delicious with sauces or gravies from meat entrees spooned on top. They are also perfect to add to soups. I love them with browned butter, but you can just use melted butter. See the notes below for various methods of dropping the spaetzle into the liquid.

    2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    2 large eggs, beaten
    1 cup milk
    5 tablespoons butter
    Additional salt and pepper to taste
    In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg. Add the eggs and milk; stir until thoroughly combined. Let dough rest about 15 minutes before cooking.

    Heat a large pot of lightly salted water until boiling. Add the spaetzle (see notes below) and cook until done, about 4 minutes. (The dumplings will float on top of the water when done.) Drain well. Brown the butter in a small saucepan or skillet. Place the spaetzle in a serving dish and pour the butter on top. Season with salt and pepper; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

    I do not have a spaetle maker, mine come out just fine without it.

    Note: There are several spaetzle makers available. One is just like a potato ricer with different size holes. Another looks like a flat grater that fits across the top of the pot. It has a hopper, into which you place the dough, that slides back and forth over the grater, pushing the dough through the holes. That is what I have and it works very well. Many recipes suggest you use a colander if you don't have a regular spaetzle maker. I tried that years ago and, quite frankly, it did not work well and was terribly messy. It is possible that my colander holes were too large, or that the dough I made then was not the correct consistency. However, since I have seen chefs do that many times, I would give it a try. It might work for you and, although the spaetzle makers are inexpensive, save you a little money on another kitchen gadget.

    This is a great recipe, sorry no great timesaving short-cuts. It sounds like a lot of work to make your own pot pie dough, it's not really. If you use a food processor, it comes together quickly. Other than the time spent on the dough, it's a pretty quick recipe (for Dutch cooking). It smells great while it's cooking, and tastes like a take-off of Shepherd's Pie, of course with noodles instead of potatoes. If you don't know what Shepherd's Pie is, write me and I'll send you the recipe. Enjoy!
    Step 1: Make Pot Pie Dough
    Mix together
    2 c. flour
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp. salt
    3-4 tbsp. water
    Combine to form a dough. Roll thin on a board or cookie sheet.
    Step 2: The filling
    1 lb. hamburger ( often use ground turkey)
    1 small onion (chopped)
    1 egg
    1/4 c. bread crumbs
    salt & pepper to taste
    Brown the hamburger and onion until done. Place in a bowl to cool slightly. Add egg and bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
    Step 3: Assembly
    Take the hamburger mixture and spread it over the pot pie dough. Dip your finger (or a pastry brush) in water and brush around the outside edge of the dough.
    Roll up the dough/hamburger, the water on the edge will make it stick together.
    Carefully cut this roll into 1 inch slices. In a large boiler, put about 6-8 ozs. beef gravy (we use canned gravy, you can't tell), lay the pinwheels in a single layer on gravy, and add another 6-8 ozs. gravy on top. If you're using canned gravy, add another 1/2 can of water. Boil on top of the stove gently (low heat) partially covered for about 1 hour. If it gets too dry, you may add some more water. It should have gravy when it's done.

    I add rivels to any soup, often doubling the recipe

    Rivel soup, also called Dough Ball Soup, is great for when company drops by. In an old Dutch home, you'd never get company without feeding them, no matter how unexpected they are. The ingredients are considered staples in most old dutch kitchens.

    8 cups of chicken broth (I use canned)
    1 onion, diced
    2 Tbsp dried parsley
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 cans corn
    2 cups chicken, cooked, and diced (this is optional)

    Bring the broth to a boil.

    In a bowl, mix flour, salt and eggs until you have a crummy mixture (not smooth, itíll make crumbs). Rub mixture between your fingers over the broth dropping small amounts in. These are called rivels. They should not be big, that is a dumpling. Maybe pea size.

    Add corn and cook about 10 - 15 minutes.

    If you want, add the chicken just before you take it off the stove.


    2 Tbsp sugar
    2 eggs
    1/4 c milk
    1 c flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp lemon juice
    2-3 c sliced apples

    Cream together sugar and eggs, add flour and baking powder, then milk. Mix and add lemon juice and apples. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot shortening or make into little cakes and fry in a pan like pancakes. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon over them when finished frying.

    Rice Pudding

    1/2 c. uncooked long grain rice
    4 c. milk
    1/4 c. butter
    3 eggs
    3/4 c. granulated sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    In the top of a double boiler, cook together rice and 2 cups of the milk. Cook until rice is tender and most of the water is gone, about 45 minutes, stir occasionally. Add butter - stir in. In a bowl beat the eggs, add sugar, vanilla, salt and remaining milk and mix well. Stir into the hot rice mixture. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until firm.

    Tea Biscuits

    2 c. sifted flour
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. sugar
    1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
    1/2 c. shortning
    2/3 c. milk
    Mix together all dry ingredients, cut shortning into it until mixture resembles course crumbs (crumbs about pea size). Add milk all at once and stir until dough follows fork around bowl. Dough should be soft.

    Pat or roll dough about 1/2 to 1" thick - cut with floured biscuit cutter, or rim of glass. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees, makes about 16 biscuits.

    For drop biscuits: increase milk to 1 cup and just drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the cookie sheet.

    Patio Potato Salad

    1/2 c. milk
    1/3 c. sugar
    1/4 c. vinegar
    1 egg
    4 Tbsp. butter
    1 Tbsp. cornstarch
    3/4 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp. celery seed
    1/4 tsp. dry mustard
    1/4 c. chopped onion
    1/4 c. mayonnaise
    7 medium potatoes, boiled and diced
    3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar, vinegar, egg, butter, cornstarch, salt, celery seed and dry mustard. Cook and stir over low heat until thick. Remove from heat, blend in onion, and mayonnaise. Let cool. Combine potatoes and hard boiled eggs, carefully fold in dressing. Chill. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

    Macaroni Salad

    1 lb. Macaroni, cooked and drained
    2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    2 ribs of celery, chopped
    1 carrot, chopped
    Combine together, set aside. Dressing:

    1 cup sugar
    3-4 Tbsp mustard
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/3 cup vinegar
    Combine well and pour over macaroni. Tastes best if it sits in the refrigerator overnight.

    Dandelion with Bacon Dressing

    1 bunch of young dandelion greens, washed (right from your own backyard)
    2 Tbsp bacon fat
    1/4 cup vinegar
    2 eggs
    4 slices of bacon
    2 Tbsp flour
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1 c water
    Fry bacon, crumble and put pieces over top of the dandelion greens. Use flour and bacon drippings; mix to a paste with a little of the water. Add to the beaten eggs, water and vinegar. Mix well and heat in a pan (or microwave) until thick, stirring every once and awhile to prevent lumps. When thick, pour over dandelion and serve. Ingredients vary according to the bunch of dandelions you want to make. Best when dressing is served warm. This dressing can also be used over endive, garden lettuce or even potato salad.

    Chilli Con Carni

    The Pennsylvania Dutch version of chilli is called 'Chilli Con Carni'. It's not what most people would think of when they think of chilli, but it tastes great and it's very simple. It's especially good in cold weather. A one-pot meal that will take just a few minutes to prepare, and is easy to double (or half) if you need to. Again I've listed our 'short-cuts'.
    1 lb. homemade noodles (or 1 bag (12-16 oz.) wide egg noodles)
    1 can baked beans
    about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, more or less (or 1 small jar)
    1 lb. hamburger
    1 onion, chopped
    Brown hamburger and onion. Cook and drain egg noodles. Combine everything. You may need additional sauce if you have leftovers and warm them up later. Chilli should be thick, not soupy. Goes great with crusty bread.

    Rivel Soup
    1 quart milk
    Bring to boiling

    For Rivels
    1 cup flour
    1 large or 2 small eggs

    Mix flour and eggs into a dough forming larger crumbs (I make them from the size of a dime to as big as a half dollar) and drop them into the boiling milk. Add butter the size of an egg. Let boil until done, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the rivels.

    PA Dutch Stew (Sausage & Potatoes)
    5 lb bag potatoes
    1 lb sausage (I usually use smoked sausage but it tastes good with just about any kind)
    1 med. onion, chopped
    1 can corn (optional)
    about a tsp Parsley

    Peel the potatoes, then cut them and sausage into bite size pieces. Put in pot with chopped onion & parsley, cover with water & salt to taste. Boil until potatoes are tender. Add corn and cook for a few more minutes.

    Corn Pudding
    2 eggs, separated
    6 ears corn, grated
    4 tablespoons milk
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Preheat oven to 350F and butter a baking dish.
    Beat egg yolks; add to corn and mix thoroughly.
    Stir in milk and seasonings.
    Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into mixture.
    Pour into prepared baking dish, set in pan of hot water and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Potato Pancakes
    2 c. mashed potatoes
    2 tbsp. flour
    Sprinkle of parsley
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. onions chopped

    Mix all together and fry in a skillet over low heat in a little oil or butter.

    Wet Bottom ShoeFly Pie
    1 1/2 C. molasses
    1 1/2 C. water
    Place molasses and water in pan and cook over low heat but don't boil.

    Add 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda and mix well.


    4 1/2 C. sifted flour
    2 C. sugar
    1/2 C. butter or margarine
    Divide liquid into 2 deep 9" pie plates. Place crumbs on top and press some of the crumbs into the liquid.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 min.

    Potato Candy
    1 med. or 2 small potatoes
    1 2lb bag powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 jar creamy peanut butter

    How much candy it makes depends on how big a potato you use. I usually use a large potato and use at least 2 bags of powdered sugar.

    Boil the potato until it falls apart when stuck with a fork. Peel while it is still warm (Note: some people peel the potato before boiling, I found if you do that you can end up with harder pieces of potato in your candy which I don't like. Also I peel the potato while it is still fairly hot, it must be hot enough after mashing to melt the sugar at first).

    After peeling add vanilla and mash with a fork (pick out any hard or stringy pieces). Gradually add sugar until you can form dough balls (I mix it with my hands). Roll dough balls out on a counter sprinkled with powdered sugar to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread with peanut butter. Carefully roll it up like a jelly roll. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Put onto wax paper. Store in a cool place. I usually store it in the refrigerator, since if it's too warm in a room it can sort of melt.

    Hot Milk Sponge Cake
    4 eggs beaten
    2 c. sugar
    1 1/4 c. milk (heated until hot but not boiling)
    10 Tbsp. butter (melt with milk)
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/4 c. flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9 x 13" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

    PA Dutch Schwingfelder (Potato) Cakes
    1 c. potatoes mashed
    1/2 c. lard
    1/2 c. butter
    1 yeast cake
    1 tsp. salt
    3 eggs
    2 c. sugar
    1 c. flour

    Mix 1 cup of sugar and the hot mashed potatoes; after cooling add 1 cup flour and yeast, dissolved; beat and let rise 3 hours. Mix lard, butter, 1 cup of sugar, eggs and salt; mix this with the spoon and beat vigorously, stir until stiff. Let it rise overnight, then roll out, cut, place biscuits in pans, spread with melted butter, sift brown sugar over them. Bake 20-30 minutes in moderate oven.

    Potato Bread
    1 potato, peeled and diced
    1-1/2 c. water
    2 (.25 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast
    6-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    3 tbsp. white sugar
    2 tbsp. shortening
    1 tbsp. salt
    2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

    Cool potato water to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the liquid.
    To the remaining liquid, add the shortening sugar and salt.
    Add the softened yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour.
    Beat; add remaining flour gradually.
    Turn out onto floured surface and knead until thoroughly elastic and no longer sticky.
    Place in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
    When doubled, divide into 2 parts, shape into loaves and place in greased pans.
    Let rise again until dough doubles in bulk.
    Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until bread shrinks a little from the sides of the pan.

    Makes 2 loaves.

    1 c. brown sugar
    2 tbsp. butter
    1 tbsp. flour
    1 egg yolk
    1 c. milk
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/4 tsp. salt
    (Best done in a cast iron skillet.) Boil sugar and butter together until soft. Beat the egg yolk well and add it to the flour, milk, vanilla, and salt. Carefully stir a little at a time into the sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly.

    2 c. cooked chicken
    1 c. soft bread crumbs
    2 tbsp. parsley
    2 tbsp. celery
    1 tsp. salt
    2 eggs
    1 c. milk
    3 tbsp. melted butter
    Mix all ingredients. Pour into buttered loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

    3 c. flour
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 c. sugar
    2/3 c. butter (margarine)
    3 eggs
    1 c. milk
    2 tsp. vanilla
    Combine dry ingredients, then cut in butter until a coarse meal consistency. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture. Combine remaining ingredients and stir into dry mixture. Pour into 2 well buttered 9 inch cake pans. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

    Makes about 1 pint

    3 C Sugar
    2 Tsp Dry Mustard
    2 C White Vinegar
    2 Tsp Salt
    4 Eggs well beaten
    Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Bring to slow boil in lightly greased skillet at Med/Low heat. Simmer approx. 2-4 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from stove. Cool to room temp. for a warm dressing, or refrigerate for later use.

    Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo Fly Cupcakes
    1-1/2 cups boiling water
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 cup molasses (dark karo preferred)
    3 cups flour
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
    Add baking soda to boiling water; then add molasses and set mixture aside. Make a crumb mixture from flour, brown sugar and margarine, and reserve 1 cup of this. Mix together the remaining crumb mixture, liquid mixture and applesauce. Pour (batter is thin) into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers, and sprinkle reserved crumb mixture on top of each cupcake. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes.

    Pennsylvania Dutch Onion Patties
    3/4 cup flour
    1 Tbsp. cornmeal
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    3/4 cup milk
    1-1/2 cups finely chopped onions
    Mix dry ingredients together, then add milk. Batter should be fairly thick. Add onions and mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonsful into deep fat. Flatten patties slightly when you turn them.

    Amish Baked Noodles and Ham

    6-8 oz noodles, cooked and drained
    3 tbsp butter
    3 tbsp flour
    1 tbsp mustard
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 cups cooked ham, chopped fine or shredded
    1 cup celery, chopped fine
    salt and pepper to taste
    bread crumbs
    dots of butter
    Combine butter, flour and mustard in saucepan. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly, cook until thick. Add ham, salt, pepper and celery, then stir in the noodles. Pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter over the whole mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

    Amish Baked Pretzels

    1/2 pkg. or 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
    1 1/2 tsp. Sugar
    2 c. flour
    Coarse salt
    3/4 c. warm water
    1/2 tsp. Salt
    1 beaten egg with 1 teaspoon water
    Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt. Blend in flour with fork on floured board. Knead dough until smooth. Pull off pieces of dough about size of golf balls. Roll into 14 inch ropes and twist into pretzel shapes (alphabet shapes are fun for young children.) Brush with beaten egg and water; sprinkle with salt. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

    Amish Bread Pudding

    2 c. milk, scalded
    1/4 c. butter
    2 eggs
    1/2 c. sugar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. ground nutmeg
    3 c. soft bread, torn into sm. pieces
    1/2 c. raisins
    Combine milk and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm. Combine eggs, sugar, salt and nutmeg; beat at medium speed of mixer for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole; sprinkle with raisins and pour batter over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Lemon Sauce.

    Amish Brown Sugar Pie

    1 box light brown sugar
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    1 tsp. Vanilla
    1 unbaked pie crust
    Mix together all the ingredients, pour in the pie crust. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Amish Corn Bread

    1 c. sifted flour
    1/4 c. sugar
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 c. yellow cornmeal
    1 egg, well beaten
    1 c. milk
    5 tbsp. shortening melted and cooled
    Sift first 4 ingredients. Mix in cornmeal. Blend egg, milk, shortening until mixed. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Use greased (bottom only) 8x8x2 pan. Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    Mock Maple Syrup

    6 cups Brown sugar
    4 cups boiling water
    1/2 tsp vinegar
    1 pint real maple syrup
    Put sugar into boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. When cool add vinegar and real syrup. Stir til well blended.

    Amish Sweet and Sour Dressing for Salads

    1/2 c. sugar
    1/4 c. cider vinegar
    1/2 c. water
    2 tbsp. cornstarch
    1 beaten egg
    1 tbsp. melted butter
    Mix sugar and vinegar together. Mix water and cornstarch together. Mix the 2 mixtures together. Add the melted butter and egg with a whisk. Cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally so it does not stick. Makes 4 servings. Serve hot or cold.

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  5. #4
    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    Upstate NY
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    Welcome to Frugal Village! Sorry you turned out to be optional (but sounds like you may be better off) and wish you well on your search to finding your own greener pastures, men optional.

  6. #5
    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    British Columbia
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    So sorry to hear this has happened. You will receive alot of support from the people here on FV. Welcome!

  7. #6
    Registered User pollypurebred39's Avatar
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    SE Pennsylvania
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  8. #7
    Registered User pollypurebred39's Avatar
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  9. #8
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    Thank you Polly for taking all that time to post. Those funnel cakes sound too good!!!!!

  10. #9
    Registered User
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    Been there, done that.... You be the better person. And about a few weeks before finalizing your divorce, if it comes to that, don't be surprised to get a phone call ...asking "are you sure this is what YOU want to do?" Are you kiddin??? Hang in there--the best is yet to come...

  11. #10
    Registered User piney's Avatar
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    to fv men-r-optional this is the best place i have found to get help with any question you might have.

  12. #11
    Registered User Rhiamon's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Ontario Canada
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    I am a single mom living on disability with an almost 8 year old DD. These are some of the things I do.
    The dollar store!
    Try to buy things in bulk that you use a lot of like flour, sugar etc.
    Rice, dried beans, pasta
    THE LIBRARY!!!!! I use it for movies, books and a chance to get out and do something with my DD.
    I don't drive so I take the bus if I have to, or if I can't get a ride with someone. I walk every where else.
    The food bank
    Second hand stores for clothes.
    Vinegar and banking soda cleans pretty much everything
    Meal Planning
    With summer coming I am already planning. DD for her birthday will get things that can keep us having fun all summer, such as a basketball, and soccerball, kites etc.
    Make your own bread, granola bars, snacks, cookies etc.
    For milk I mix up powdered milk and mix it half with regular milk.
    Free cycle.
    Hang your clothes to dry. A wash costs me 2.50 so I wash things that I can by hand. I soak them for a halfhour first scrub them clean and hang them to dry.
    Cut sponges, green scrubies in half.
    I only buy meat on sale.
    I have always had a family bed I know it does not work for some people but in the winter for me it keeps the cost of heat down, and in the summer it means only having to keep one room cool at night. It works for now.
    Old shirts for rags.
    Only use cash.
    See if you can find someone to trade things with that you might need.
    Sunday night is big dinner night for me so I make things like a whole chicken, bread, and cake. The leftover chicken I then make into chicken salad for sandwiches. The bones I use to make soup. 3 meals from one.

  13. #12
    Registered User men-r-optional's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    Wow! Thank you everyone for your interest and input. I feel incredibly well welcomed here :-)

  14. #13
    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    Hi m-r-o! Welcome! Some additional tips from me, all the way from Greece:

    - turn off your hot water heater if you don't need hot water. I really only turn my own before I take a shower.

    - I do all laundry (wash and dry) by hand and do my best to avoid ironing (okay, I almost never iron!) - it saves money for water, electricity, the appliances, and soap. I don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets. My laundry costs me $1 for a set of clothespins and then the cost of soap is very very low since I get the really bargain stuff. You can also make your own laundry soap.

    - Get several soap foamers!!! (Not the fancy ones - the supermarket ones that come full of soap. All the brands sell them, even some store brands - I have a Wegmans one, a Dial one, etc.) Once they run out, put a SMALL squirt (1 tbsp) of dish or hand soap in the bottom and fill most of the way with water - swish. Keep using ... forever! Don't fill it too high, or use too much soap, or it will clog and the pump will get sticky. I found this tip on FV last August and since then I have saved SO much money as I don't have a dishwasher so I use a lot of dish soap (or DID!). I'm planning to buy some more to use for shampoo, laundry soap, etc - haven't done so yet so not sure how that will go - but I use them in the kitchen and bathroom for hand and dish soaps now.

    - Cloth napkins - make your own!! I did - if you have an old tablecloth - stitch the edges. I stitched mine by hand, it only took a few hours. If you have a sewing machine, 5 minutes. Make some napkin rings (different looking ones so you know whose is whose) - be creative! It can be a fun project with your child(ren). Teach them about being kind to the environment at the same time, less paper ;-)

    - It is true about cleaning supplies - you don't need them - there is a huge industry trying to tell us that a product that can clean a countertop can't clean a toilet, a floor, a wall, or a teapot. It's not true. Back to BASICS with the cleaning products. I keep bleach and ONE storebrand "item" labeled "General cleaning solution" (no bleach) in my house, as well as vinegar, baking soda, and I usually have lemons around too.

    - Buy large value sizes, use coupons, shop sales, shop the store brands, comparison shop, use the internet to search for printable coupons, sometimes buying things online will save you money even with shipping costs.

    - Keep a price list in a notebook, mine is broken down by category like "Canned Goods," "Baking Supplies", where you write down what you paid for what you bought, where and when. This way you can have a "price point" for the things you buy: for example, I don't know what's a good price for you where you live, but I know that I pay €0.50 for 500g of tomato sauce and I won't pay more than that because I know that's what I've been paying and for me to pay more, I have to be CERTAIN that I can no longer get it for that price (we have inflation here so I do sometimes have to go up - but not as often as people who don't keep a list!).

    - Start a Stockpile! There are tons of threads on here about how to do this, and a whole sub-forum dedicated to it. But the basic concept is: If I don't have a stockpile, and I want pasta tonight, I will pay the $1.30/package for pasta and $1.00 for a jar of spaghetti sauce that the grocery store is charging today. If I DO have a stockpile, three months ago when the supermarket two towns over had a great sale, I purchased 80 packages of pasta for $0.20/package, and last month my local supermarket had a sale on spaghetti sauce for $0.28/jar, I bought 30 jars. So I grab a package of pasta from my pantry, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and I saved a LOT of money - I paid up front in order to save in the long run. (You don't have to buy 80 packages of pasta - I'm just trying to make the point hahahaha!!) To make this work, there are some basic principles: stockpile the things that YOU actually use, USE the things that are in your stockpile (it's not hoarding, it's an active pantry), and use the stuff in the order you get it - older stuff gets used before newer stuff. I personally refuse to stockpile things that I overeat on when depressed (Nutella, for example) but what I lack in self-control I make up for in charm heh.

    - Re-think your week, when it comes to driving. Can you compress all your errands into one day so that you can reduce your weekly mileage? Can you use public transportation? Can you combine public transportation with driving, so maybe you drive halfway to the train station, park, train the rest of the way? One thing I've noticed about public transportation is that it often exists to the total shock of local residents who had NO IDEA it was there LOL. Bicycle? Walk?

    - Re-think your communications. What do you actually use? Is your home phone mainly just sitting there? Do you really need a home phone and a cell phone? Can you get a smaller cell phone plan tailored to what you ACTUALLY use? Can you bundle your phone and internet connection? Eliminate cable TV or satellite, most of that stuff can be found online. Can you cut all of the above and use the library for internet and entertainment (check out DVDs for free)? You need something to stay in touch - especially with children - but it's VERY common anymore for people to go without a home phone. We have one cell phone, no home phone, no cable TV, and I borrow a friend's internet connection when he doesn't need it - it can be done!

    - Beware of bargains!!! Sometimes we get so "into" the frugal mindset that when we see something that's a great deal we feel like "it's a steal!" and "way to go me! I can't believe what a great find!" Do you NEED it? If you hadn't seen it, would you have gone out looking for it because you really need it? My dad is really bad at this - he's very "into" being frugal and yet he goes to yard sales every weekend and brings home mountains of stuff he NEVER uses and if he does use, I KNOW he wouldn't miss if he didn't have it. A $1 cute top is a waste of $1 if you don't need another cute top.

    - Don't get down about being frugal. Check out the recent thread "Is frugal = boring?" - Being frugal does NOT mean being boring, sitting at home staring at the wall, or spending 19 hours a week reading price tags. It just means thinking outside the box, being creative, and having more "quality" time.

    Welcome and hope to see you posting around!

  15. #14
    Registered User Droppedonmyhead's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Central Florida
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    Welcome. . . .sorry to hear that you have been thrown into a lifestyle that you didn't ask for. FV is a great place to learn how to survive on very little. A lot of us at some point in our lives were dirt poor but we survived. And you will too. You have already received some AWESOME advice and recipes to get you going. (I'm going to go back through them again). You will find the people here to be very generous and will be your biggest cheerleaders.
    ~ Lori ~

  16. #15
    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ali Lee View Post
    Been there, done that.... You be the better person. And about a few weeks before finalizing your divorce, if it comes to that, don't be surprised to get a phone call ...asking "are you sure this is what YOU want to do?" Are you kiddin??? Hang in there--the best is yet to come...
    HAHHAHAAAA, I got that phone call too!!!!! That is priceless, that moment.

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