Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Variation on Clara's "Poor Man's Meal"

So, a while back, Tooz posted a video of "Depression Cooking with Clara's" Pasta with Peas. I really liked this little granny, and liked the idea of relatively cheap ways to feed the family, so I went to YouTube and watched a couple more episodes. One of her recipes was for "Poor Man's Meal". Basically, you take some potatoes and peel them, chop up half of an onion (I used a sweet onion), and chop up some hotdogs (because hotdogs are cheap meat, and were cheap back during the depression, too). Put enough olive oil in a skillet to lightly coat the bottom, then fry up the potatoes and onions. When they are almost fried through, add the hotdogs. Clara notes you can add your favorite spices and anything else you have handy (she likes to use spaghetti sauce in everything). Then keep stirring to prevent sticking, until it is heated through. Serve some veggies or a salad on the side, and you have a filling, cheap meal.

I made this the other night, (I added shredded cheese over the top at the end) and Jamie loved it. Last night, he asked for it again. This time, I got creative. Instead of hotdogs, I used some cubed ham we had leftover from chef's salad. I also added a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix (if you don't have any ranch seasoning, adding ranch dressing after it is cooked is just as yummy). We also added a can of tomatoes (Jamie's idea), and it was okay - but not spectacular. I think it would have been better if we had used mushrooms instead, and two packets of ranch seasoning instead of just one.

Clara has three seasons' worth of episodes of depression cooking recipes on YouTube. She even has a DVD for sale, and a cookbook coming out this fall. With the economy the way it is, I'm planning on watching more episodes and getting tips on how to cook delicious meals that cost less. Clara's YouTube page is here.

Thanks, Tooz, for introducing us to Clara's recipes!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Puddin'... Southern Style

I've been a bad, bad mommy. I have deprived my child. Until earlier this week, he had NEVER had banana pudding "southern style". Do you know what I'm talking about? It's banana pudding with sliced bananas and Nilla wafers in it. I myself had never had it until I was about Jamie's age. Maybe that's why I neglected to ever fix it for him. Or maybe it's because I love the taste of banana, but hate the texture. Anyhoo, for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, here's the recipe.


2 packages of Jell-O instant Banana Cream pudding (or you can do it the hard way and make the old-fashioned, cooked kind of pudding. To me, it's way too hot to do that, though!)
1 box of Nilla wafers
2-3 Bananas, sliced
1 tub of Cool Whip

  • Fix the pudding according to package directions, except do NOT pour into individual serving cups.
  • Layer a large, flat bottomed bowl (or casserole dish) with one layer of Nilla wafers, as many as you can fit across the bottom and up onto the sides
  • Put a relatively thin layer (about half of a package of pudding) of pudding on top of the Nilla wafers.
  • Take one of the sliced bananas and layer across the pudding.
  • Put another 1/2 package of pudding on top of the bananas.
  • Put another layer of Nilla wafers on top.
  • Put another layer of 1/2 package of pudding on top of that.
  • Put another layer of banana on top of that.
  • Put the last 1/2 package of pudding on top of that
  • Put another layer of Nilla wafers on top of that.
  • Layer on a thick layer of the Cool Whip, covering the whole top
  • Put the last bit of banana slices on top of that

For best results, let sit long enough for the Nilla wafers to get kind of soft - usually overnight. However, if you can't wait that long (and Jamie and I couldn't) go ahead and dig in. It will still be delicious!