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· Premium Member
4,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No matter how tight things get, most of us keep some staples on hand that we can throw together for a very frugal, but tasty meal. What deperation dinner do you have on hand?

· Banned
11,410 Posts
Always beans, rice, tortillas, and salsa for a quick bean burrito.

For dh I always have tuna, pasta, and peas to make tuna noodle casserole.

· Registered
2,480 Posts
WAIT.........what do you mean???? Most of mine ARE already desperation dinners!!! :laugh: :duck:
That's what I was thinking, LOL. By dinner I am desperate!

Breakfast for dinner
cheese quesadillas
anything on pasta, garlic and parmesan work in a pinch
soup~any leftover in broth=soup
breadsticks w/cheese sauce
pita bread, hummus and olives

· Member
28,354 Posts
One of our fav's is:

Tomato Macaroni
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1 can (16 ounces) whole or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the macaroni as directed on the box. While the macaroni is cooking, heat the tomatoes with liquid, butter, salt, pepper and the oregano to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Arrange in a serving dish, pour sauce on the hot macaroni, and serve with Parmesan cheese and a tossed salad. Recipe is easily doubled to feed more.
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· Premium Member
1,303 Posts
for me its dry beans. I keep a good selection and lots of um. I put them on after lunch in the crock pot or 45 min before I need them in the Pressure Cooker. I serve with homemade pickles or chow-chow and home made biscuits.

very inexpensive meal and have everything I need to make it on hand 90% of the time. Sometimes I don't have milk, buttermilk, or sourcream that I can make the biscuits out of so I have to sub rolls, or loaf bread.

· Registered
745 Posts
Pasta and sauce or my favorite (desperation, yes, but comfort food too!) is poached eggs on toast...mmmm...

· Registered
13,761 Posts
I stock up on kielbasa when it is on sale, and keep a couple frozen pot pies on hand. Also eggs.

In the pantry we have rice and dried noodles, beans and canned tomatoes, and I usually have frozen vegetables, too.

Combined with whatever is left in the fridge I can usually come up with something. Fried rice, kielbasa and noodles, quiche, soup...

· Registered
10,556 Posts
for me its dry beans. I keep a good selection and lots of um. I put them on after lunch in the crock pot or 45 min before I need them in the Pressure Cooker. I serve with homemade pickles or chow-chow and home made biscuits.
What's 'chow chow'? Just curious :)

My quick fixes:
eggs w/toast or fried egg sammies
pb sammies/toast
toast w/soup
cheese sammies, grilled cheese
cheese, crackers & tuna with pickles/olvies
cottage cheese in a celery/bell pepper
frozen dinner
instant (ramen?) noodles
frozen wontons/dumplings/pot stickers
mixed bean salad (canned beans, not dressed) and I can pick my flavourings, add diced veggies as desired

· Registered
9,309 Posts
By desperation I'm assuming you mean I don't know how I'll put food on the table this week kind of recipes.

When my husband first lost his job we were not too worried because in construction this was normal, and besides I had a pretty good stockpile set aside. As the months past and the stockpile dwindled I realized that we were in trouble. I had to figure out how to feed my family from our garden and basic staples or we were going to go hungry. The money I had to go towards grocries went for things like flour, dry milk, sugar, shortening, oil, rice, eggs, corn meal, you know the very basics of a well stocked pantry. I started searching the web and made up a recipe folder on the computer. What follows are just some of the recipes that kept us from going hungry, funny thing is everybody here just thought I was the best cook ever.

Spanish Rice

6 slices chopped bacon
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
2 cans canned tomatoes
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup uncooked rice { makes about 3 cups of cooked rice }
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Fry bacon until crisp, remove bacon, then cook onion and green peppers until the onion turns a yellow color. Add all remaining ingredients to the bacon and onion mixture. Bake in greased casserole dish, at 350/o for 30 minutes.

Mashed Potato Cake

4 eggs
1 scant cup of butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup chopped nuts (I used nuts from our walnut tree)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour

Mix together eggs, butter, sugar until creamy. Add the mashed potatoes, blend well. Sift the flour once add the baking powder sift again, then add the cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, to the flour, add alternately the flour mixture and milk to the first 4 ingredients. Mix well add the vanilla and the nuts stir until all are blended. Pour into either loaf or cake pans that have been greased. Bake in a moderately hot oven at 350/o for 35 to 45 minutes, or until when checked with tooth pick comes out clean, or when press with finger on top of cake and it springs back.

Rice Pudding

1 quart scalded milk
1 cup boiled rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Rice may be cooked in either water or milk. Stir into milk, add sugar,salt and eggs yokes, slightly beaten. 1 tablespoon butter my be added. flavor as desired. Bake or steam in buttered shallow dish, till firm.

Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup boiling water
1 cup flour

Pour butter and water in saucepan and place on front of range. As soon as boiling point is reached, add flour, all at once, and stir vigorously. Remove from the fire as soon as mixed and add unbeaten eggs, one at a time, Beating until thoroughly mixed between additions of eggs. Drop by spoonsful on aa buttered sheet, one and a half inches apart shaping with handle of spoon as nearly circular as possible, having mixture slightly piled in center, Bake 30 minutes in a moderate oven. 400/o. With a sharp knife make a cut in each large enough to admit of filling or whipped cream, sweetened and flavor to taste.

Apple Dumplings

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk
4 apples (from our apple tree)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; rub shortening in lightly with finger tips. add just enough milk to make a dough. Roll out 1/8 inch thick on floured board; divide into four parts; lay on each part an apple which has been washed, parred, cored and sliced; put one teaspoon sugar with 1/4 of butter on each; wet edges of dough with cold water and fold around apple, pressing tightly together. Place in pan, sprinkle with cinnamon, remainder of sugar and put 1/4 teaspoon butter on each dumpling. Bake about 40 minutes in moderate oven 350/o.

Old Fashioned Corn and Potato Chowder - 32142 - Recipezaar

Cream of Tomato Soup - 257656 - Recipezaar

Cream of Potato Soup Pre-1940's - 257518 - Recipezaar

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes (Pre-1940's) - 257217 - Recipezaar

1940's Coleslaw - 42363 - Recipezaar

Link for FRY BREAD. I served it with dried beans that I cooked with Mexican spices, diced tomatoes, lettuce, onions.

Fry Bread Recipes

Rolled Dumplings - All Recipes

Wacky Cake VIII - All Recipes

Great Recipes Here. I use this site a lot.

Vegetarian Times - Great Food, Good Health, Smart Living

I also fried cabbage, which is just cabbage sliced thinly and then pan fried in a skillet till tender. Sweet just a touch with sugar or sweet-n-low

· Registered
1,678 Posts
"Desperation" would mean what can I make with the foods I have in our long-term emergency foods. The "Seven Survival Foods" (wheat, legumes, sprouting seeds, sweeteners, salt, oil and powdered milk) are what I store the most of, but I also have large supplies of #10 cans of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods in storage. Wheat is plentiful at our house, and is one of the most versatile foods in storage and will keep, when stored properly, for at least 30-years.

You can actually survive on wheat if you sprout at least a portion of what you consume each day, so you get a high amount of vitamin C (and other minerals/vitamins) that you can't get in wheat otherwise. Sprouting makes it a nutritional power house. You can also use wheat for growing wheatgrass to use as a fresh vegetable source and consumed as wheatgrass juice.

I can mill wheat into flour, and with a water bath extract the gluten (protein) (the bran and starch separate into the water leaving the gluten) from the flour to make into "fake meat". Twelve cups of flour makes enough gluten (286 grams of protein) to equal three pounds of ground beef (288 grams of protein). When I grind cooked gluten (resembles ground beef) I can make it into a high-protein cereal source for a granola-like cereal by adding some sweetener and fat (also in storage).

With a few seasonings gluten will take on a meat-like flavor and works in anything you would make out of ground beef. With sauce made from tomato powder (also in our emergency food storage), water and spices, I can make any kind of sauce for pasta/pizza, etc. No jars of Prego necessary when you store tomato powder. For 1/4 cup tomato paste, blend 2 Tbsp tomato powder and 1/4 cup water. For tomato paste, use less water (1 1/2 Tbsp). Blend until you get desired thickness. Use to thicken sauces, add to soups and stew. Great for barbecues, pizza, spaghetti or juice. A #10 can has 96 two-tablespoon servings in it.

Starter, made with freshly-milled flour and water, is used as a leavening for naturally-leavened bread (aka sourdough bread). You can make all kinds of baked goods using starter, not just bread.

I also consider homemade tortillas (or other flat breads) the ultimate "emergency" bread that can be used for 3 meals a day, as well as snacks (made into baked tortilla chips).

With milled bean flour (a large amount of beans are also in storage) you can make "instant" refried beans in a few minutes by adding the bean flour to boiling water, and spices for additional taste. Refried beans go very well with those homemade tortillas.

I make blender pancakes with whole, uncooked wheat, and the other things found in our emergency food storage (coconut oil, powdered milk, and powdered whole eggs). I keep several years worth of powdered eggs and powdered milk in storage.

Wheat milled into a coarse flour is used for farina (Cream of Wheat) for a cooked cereal. I can also make whole grains (wheat, oats, spelt, etc.) into flakes. Cooked wheat is also good for all kinds of things, such as sloppy Joes, patties, casseroles.... Wheat is easy to make into bulgur or cracked wheat. Make your own noodles and pasta.....

Cooking with Food Storage: with Food Storage Ingredients 6-07.pdf

· Premium Member
4,294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My husband has a collection of SPAM (I wish I were kidding), so I can always make fried rice with SPAM in it. Or slice and fry it with some scrambled eggs. We always have pinto beans and rice in the house - add some onion to that and I'm a very happy camper! I also always have cans of chili in the house. Chili over rice makes the chili go further, and it's very tasty and filling. I keep spaghetti sauce and several types of pasta on hand too.

· Registered
2,850 Posts
Pasta, tomatoe sauce, tuna, taco fixings.

· Moderator
5,280 Posts
we don't eat it often but i do keep pasta handy, I have a can of roast beef and one of chicken since we don't do seafood. I also have some precooked sausage/brats in the freezer that can be sliced and put on pasta with some olives.
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