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13 Best Poverty Meals and Recipes That Fill You Up Without Costing You an Arm and a Leg

13 Best Poverty Meals and Recipes That Fill You Up Without Costing You an Arm and a Leg

Looking for meals that are affordable but still taste great?

The saying goes, if you want to live like the rich, eat like you’re poor.

These meals show you how to use simple ingredients in creative ways, proving that good food doesn’t have to be expensive.


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Rice and Beans

If you’re part of any of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps finance Facebook groups, you probably already know this. Any combination of rice or beans is dirt cheap.

There are countless recipes out there that can transform these basic ingredients into delicious and filling meals. The possibilities are endless, from classic dishes to creative twists, and they can be adapted to suit any taste or dietary need.

Simple Rice and Beans Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice (white or brown)
  • 1 can black beans (or any beans of your choice), drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Rice:
    • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
    • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of water or broth over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
    • Add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir once, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 18-20 minutes (for white rice) or 40-45 minutes (for brown rice) until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
    • Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Prepare the Beans:
    • While the rice is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion and cook until it’s soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
    • Add the drained and rinsed beans to the skillet.
    • Season with the remaining salt, cumin, black pepper, and chili powder (if using). Stir well to combine.
    • Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the beans are heated through.
  3. Combine and Serve:
    • Once both the rice and beans are ready, you can either serve them side by side or mix them together in the skillet.
    • Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Tips:

  • You can add a can of diced tomatoes or some chopped bell peppers to the beans for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • If you have leftover vegetables, they can be added to the rice and beans mixture.

PB & Pickles

While the Great Depression was an era of suffering and pain nationwide, PB & Pickles was one of the best things that came from it. 

During these difficult times, people would slather peanut butter on the bread and pair it with crispy, sour pickles to level out the sweet taste of the peanut butter. The combination of peanut butter and pickles made this staple food a huge hit among the people. 

This staple food gained so much recognition that people started selling it at lunch counters. If you know someone from Generation X, they are likely to have fond memories of PB & P still! 

Peanut Butter and Pickles Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread (white, whole wheat, or your preference)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 4-6 pickle slices (dill pickles work best)
  • Butter or margarine (optional, for toasting)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Bread:
    • If you prefer your sandwich toasted, spread a thin layer of butter or margarine on one side of each slice of bread.
    • Heat a skillet over medium heat and place the bread, buttered side down, in the skillet. Toast until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Spread the Peanut Butter:
    • Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on one side of each slice of bread. If you didn’t toast the bread, just spread the peanut butter directly on the fresh bread.
  3. Add the Pickles:
    • Place the pickle slices evenly over the peanut butter on one slice of bread. You can add more or fewer pickles based on your preference.
  4. Assemble the Sandwich:
    • Place the other slice of bread on top, peanut butter side down, to complete the sandwich.
  5. Serve:
    • Cut the sandwich in half if desired and serve immediately.

Tips:

  • You can experiment with different types of pickles, such as bread and butter pickles for a sweeter taste or spicy pickles for a bit of heat.
  • Adding a drizzle of honey can add a sweet contrast to the tangy pickles.

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Biscuits with Gravy 

When looking for the best poverty meals, it is impossible to count on Biscuits with gravy. This staple has become significantly well-received amongst the netizens for its distinctive taste. 

While everyone may not be able to see the connection, biscuits, when paired with gravy, become an excellent combination at a very low price. 

Nevertheless, if you want to make this dish more effective, pair it up with butter. With butter/buttermilk as the by-product, you can add a unique touch and amp up the calories and carbs in the serving.

Biscuits with Gravy Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Biscuits:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)

For the Gravy:

  • 1/2 pound ground sausage
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Biscuits:
    • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    • Add the cold butter cubes and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
    • Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix.
    • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Fold the dough over itself a few times to create layers, then pat it down again to 1-inch thickness.
    • Use a round biscuit cutter or a glass to cut out biscuits and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.
  2. Prepare the Gravy:
    • While the biscuits are baking, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
    • Sprinkle the flour over the cooked sausage and stir well to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
    • Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
    • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the gravy has thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Serve:
    • Split the warm biscuits in half and top them with the sausage gravy.
    • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tips:

  • If you prefer a creamier gravy, you can add an extra 1/2 cup of milk.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can make the gravy with mushrooms or a meat substitute instead of sausage.

More from Dollar Sanity: 

$100 Dollars a Month Grocery List

12 Grocery Stores That Accept EBT for Food Delivery

9 Ways to Get Free Food Delivered With No Money

Elevated Canned Soup 

Irrespective of how much money you have, a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup is an irreplaceable treat at minimal costs! 

Although this canned soup has enough serving to make it a complete meal, here is an improvisational penny-pincher that can help stretch the can of soup more than its quantity. Start by adding pasta as a base, and you will be able to spread the dish according to your preference. 

To further improvise and add more taste to the dish, consider including additives like canned tune elevate canned soup. With additives, you will be able to extend the meal further, allowing you to enjoy a long-lasting concoction! 

Elevated Canned Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of soup (your choice, such as chicken noodle, tomato, or vegetable)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken or protein of choice (optional, for extra protein)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (such as thyme, basil, or oregano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (such as parsley or cilantro)
  • A splash of cream or milk (optional, for creamier soups)
  • Grated cheese (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
  2. Add the Soup:
    • Pour the canned soup into the pot with the sautéed vegetables.
    • Stir in the dried herbs and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  3. Enhance the Flavor:
    • If using, add the cooked chicken or protein of choice to the soup.
    • Simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Optional Enhancements:
    • For a creamier soup, add a splash of cream or milk and stir well.
    • For added flavor and texture, top the soup with grated cheese or fresh herbs before serving.
  5. Serve:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs or cheese.
    • Serve with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal.

Tips:

  • You can add other vegetables you have on hand, like spinach, bell peppers, or potatoes.
  • If you have leftover rice, pasta, or beans, you can add them to the soup for added heartiness.

Butter Noodles 

Noodles are everyone’s favorite dirty cheap meal. But if you want to pass noodles as one of the best poverty meals, consider transitioning it to Butter Noodles! 

Butter Noodles are a delicacy you can create by adding parmesan and garlic to your noodles. Start by setting the noodles to boil. Once they have turned soft, continue cooking them with the ingredients you usually use. 

Once you are done, add garlic and parmesan to your noodles! Stir the pot for at least two minutes before you serve them, and enjoy a delicious, inexpensive meal! 

Butter Noodles Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces egg noodles (or any pasta of your choice)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Noodles:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Add the egg noodles and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
    • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the noodles.
  2. Prepare the Butter Sauce:
    • In the same pot or a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Once the butter is melted and slightly bubbling, return the drained noodles to the pot.
  3. Combine and Season:
    • Toss the noodles in the melted butter until they are well coated. If the noodles seem dry, add a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen them up.
    • Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Add Cheese and Garnish:
    • If using, sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the noodles and toss to combine.
    • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
  5. Serve:
    • Serve the butter noodles immediately as a side dish or a simple main course.

Tips:

  • For extra flavor, you can add a minced garlic clove to the butter as it melts.
  • To make the dish more filling, you can add cooked chicken, shrimp, or sautéed vegetables.

Spam 

Among various ideas, one of the best combinations of Spam is with rice. A Spam can paired with rice makes for a delicious meal, allowing you to function on a full stomach. 

Apart from rice, Spam is a great addition to just about any meal. Some users have also reported frying Spam in a pan and pairing it with a meal. Adding Spam will not only add a new taste to your dishes, but will also add a crispy surprise to the dish. 

Another great idea for Spam is making sandwiches. Making a Spam sandwich is an inexpensive delicacy that proves adequate for calming down hunger. 

Considering the taste it adds to meals at a very low price, Spam has become significantly popular amongst the Pacific Islanders and Hawaii. Spam is also a go-to dish for US Navy Marines. 

Spam and Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Spam, diced
  • 1 cup rice (white or brown)
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, sliced (optional, for garnish)
  • Fried egg (optional, for serving)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Rice:
    • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
    • In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water or broth to a boil.
    • Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for 18-20 minutes (for white rice) or 40-45 minutes (for brown rice) until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
    • Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Prepare the Spam:
    • Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
    • Add the diced Spam and cook until it’s browned and crispy on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Cook the Vegetables:
    • In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil.
    • Add the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Combine and Season:
    • Return the browned Spam to the skillet with the vegetables.
    • Add the cooked rice to the skillet and stir to combine.
    • Drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil (if using) over the rice mixture. Stir well to ensure everything is evenly coated.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until everything is heated through.
  5. Serve:
    • Transfer the Spam and rice to serving bowls.
    • Garnish with sliced green onions if desired.
    • Top with a fried egg if you want to add extra protein and flavor.

Tips:

  • You can add other vegetables like peas, carrots, or corn to the dish for more color and nutrition.
  • If you like it spicy, add a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Instant Noodles 

A college student staple that can be customized in many delicious ways.

The best thing about instant noodles is the ability to tinker around. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to mix the egg with the noodles.

Just when your noodles are ready to be served, break an egg and add it to the noodles. Stir the pot until you can visibly see the egg particles. Ensure to make the noodles sticky; otherwise, adding an egg could turn into a disaster! 

Another trick you can do with eggs on instant noodles is to add boiled eggs. While the noodles are boiling, add two eggs and top the serving with sour cream and hot sauce. Stir the noodles to incorporate the taste of cream and hot sauce. 

Upgraded Instant Noodles Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of instant noodles (any flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small carrot, julienned or thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup spinach or other leafy greens
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime wedge (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Noodles:
    • Cook the instant noodles according to the package instructions, but use only half of the seasoning packet to reduce sodium. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the Vegetables:
    • In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    • Add the julienned carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften.
    • Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the Noodles:
    • Add the cooked noodles to the skillet with the vegetables.
    • Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil (if using), and the remaining seasoning packet (or to taste).
  4. Cook the Egg:
    • Push the noodle mixture to one side of the skillet. Crack the egg into the empty space and scramble it until fully cooked, then mix it into the noodles.
  5. Combine and Serve:
    • Add the sliced green onion and chili flakes or hot sauce (if using) to the noodle mixture. Stir well to combine.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Transfer the noodles to a bowl and garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

Tips:

  • You can add other proteins like cooked chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make the dish more filling.
  • If you prefer a soupier version, add some broth or water to the noodles when cooking.

Mac-N-Cheese 

Mac-N-Cheese should be the go-to choice when looking for the best poverty meals, considering the low costs and easy preparation method. With its distinct taste and easy prep, Mac-N-Cheese has made its way into the hearts of many people worldwide. 

Like instant noodles, you can tinker around with this meal to enhance the taste and calories. For example, some people suggest adding hot dogs to the meal. Adding hotdogs to Mac-N-Cheese gives it the meaty touch it lacks.

Another popular tweak to Mac-N-Cheese is adding Spam to it. Depending on which Spam you choose, your Mac-N-Cheese will turn into a perfect, crunchy meal. Finally, you can also add a cheese slice and top it with black pepper.

Adding cheese and black pepper will allow you to strike a perfect balance between spiciness and the traditional taste. 

Easy Homemade Mac-N-Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni (or any pasta of your choice)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
  • Breadcrumbs for topping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
    • Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Make the Cheese Sauce:
    • In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 2-3 minutes to form a roux. The mixture should be smooth and bubbly.
    • Gradually add the milk while continuing to whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  3. Add the Cheese:
    • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.
    • Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and mustard powder (if using). Stir to combine.
  4. Combine and Serve:
    • Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated.
    • If you like a crispy topping, transfer the mac-n-cheese to a baking dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  5. Serve:
    • Serve the mac-n-cheese hot, directly from the pot or baking dish.

Tips:

  • For a creamier texture, you can add a bit more milk or even some cream.
  • Feel free to mix in other cheeses like mozzarella, gouda, or gruyere for extra flavor.
  • You can add cooked bacon bits, sautéed mushrooms, or steamed broccoli to make it more hearty.

Lentil Dishes

Lentils are inexpensive and can be used in a variety of recipes, such as soups and Indian dishes. They’re a fantastic budget-friendly option that’s also nutritious, being a good source of protein and fiber.

Lentils come in different types, like brown, green, red, and black, each adding unique flavors and textures to meals. They’re versatile enough to be the main component in a dish or to enhance other ingredients.

Lentil Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lentils (green or brown), rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion, diced carrots, and diced celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the Garlic and Spices:
    • Add the minced garlic, cumin, paprika, and thyme to the pot. Stir well and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the Lentils and Broth:
    • Add the rinsed lentils, vegetable broth, and bay leaf to the pot. Stir to combine.
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  4. Add the Tomatoes and Season:
    • Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juice) and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  5. Serve:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.
    • Serve hot with crusty bread or a side salad.

Tips:

  • For a thicker soup, you can use an immersion blender to blend part of the soup.
  • You can add other vegetables like potatoes, spinach, or kale for extra nutrition.

Potato Wedges

Easy to make and can be seasoned with basic pantry spices, potato wedges are a perfect meal for those on a tight budget.

They are a great combination of a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior, which makes them a comforting and satisfying choice. You can bake or fry them and season them with simple spices like garlic powder, paprika, or just salt and pepper.

Crispy Potato Wedges Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or rosemary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  2. Prepare the Potatoes:
    • Cut the washed potatoes into wedges. To do this, cut each potato in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3-4 wedges, depending on the size of the potato.
  3. Season the Potatoes:
    • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, dried thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).
    • Add the potato wedges to the bowl and toss them until they are evenly coated with the seasoning mixture.
  4. Bake the Potatoes:
    • Arrange the seasoned potato wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring they are not overlapping.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Serve:
    • Remove the potato wedges from the oven and let them cool slightly.
    • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
    • Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, such as ketchup, aioli, or sour cream.

Tips:

  • For extra crispiness, soak the potato wedges in cold water for 30 minutes before seasoning and baking. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before adding the seasoning.
  • You can add grated Parmesan cheese to the seasoning mixture for an extra flavor boost.

Tamales

Originating from Latin America, tamales are made with masa (a dough usually made from corn) and are typically filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies, or any combination thereof. They’re wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and then steamed.

Tamales Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Masa (Dough):

  • 3 cups masa harina (corn flour for tamales)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, pork, or beef (or beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 cup salsa or enchilada sauce (your choice of red or green)

For Assembling:

  • Dried corn husks (about 20-30, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • Mix the shredded meat (or beans) with the salsa or enchilada sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Masa Dough:
    • In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, baking powder, and salt.
    • Add the broth gradually while mixing until a dough forms.
    • In a separate bowl, beat the lard or vegetable shortening until it’s fluffy. Gradually add it to the masa mixture and mix until well combined. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. It’s ready when a small piece floats in a glass of water.
  3. Assemble the Tamales:
    • Drain and pat dry the soaked corn husks.
    • Spread a heaping tablespoon of masa dough in the center of each husk, spreading it evenly to about 1/4 inch thickness.
    • Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the masa.
    • Fold the sides of the husk in towards the center, then fold up the bottom. The top should remain open.
    • Repeat with the remaining husks, masa, and filling.
  4. Steam the Tamales:
    • Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water and place a steamer basket inside.
    • Stand the tamales upright in the steamer basket, open ends up.
    • Cover the pot and steam the tamales over medium heat for about 1 to 1.5 hours. Check occasionally to ensure there is enough water in the pot.
    • The tamales are done when the masa is firm and pulls away easily from the husk.
  5. Serve:
    • Let the tamales cool slightly before serving.
    • Serve with additional salsa, sour cream, or any other toppings you prefer.

Tips:

  • You can add other ingredients to the filling, such as cheese, chilies, or vegetables.
  • Tamales can be frozen after steaming and reheated in the microwave or by steaming again.

Sauerkraut Stew

Combining sauerkraut with vegetables like potatoes and carrots, Sauerkraut Stew is a hearty and affordable dish.

This traditional meal, rooted in Eastern European cuisine, is known for its tangy and savory flavor profile. The slow-cooking process melds the flavors beautifully, creating a rich and comforting stew.

Sauerkraut Stew Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (32 ounces) sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Ingredients:
    • Drain and rinse the sauerkraut to reduce the acidity.
    • Slice the smoked sausage or kielbasa.
    • Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and dice the potatoes.
    • Slice the carrots.
  2. Cook the Sausage:
    • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    • Add the sliced sausage and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.
  3. Cook the Vegetables:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
    • Add the diced potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Add the Sauerkraut and Broth:
    • Add the sauerkraut to the pot, stirring to combine with the vegetables.
    • Pour in the chicken broth, adding enough to cover the vegetables and sauerkraut.
  5. Season the Stew:
    • Stir in the caraway seeds (if using), paprika, salt, and pepper.
    • Return the browned sausage to the pot.
  6. Simmer the Stew:
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
    • Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
  7. Serve:
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
    • Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
    • Serve hot with crusty bread or rolls.

Tips:

  • You can add other vegetables like celery or bell peppers for extra flavor.
  • If you prefer a thicker stew, you can mash some of the potatoes in the pot or add a slurry of flour and water.

Polenta

Simple yet can be turned into a creamy dish with just butter and cheese. It’s so delicious that I could eat it for breakfast every day. You can top it with different ingredients each time to keep it exciting.

Creamy Polenta Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 4 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Boil the Liquid:
    • In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water or broth to a boil. Add the salt.
  2. Add the Polenta:
    • Gradually pour the polenta into the boiling liquid while whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Cook the Polenta:
    • Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the polenta, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes. The polenta is done when it’s thick and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  4. Add Butter and Cheese:
    • Stir in the butter and grated Parmesan cheese (if using) until fully melted and combined. Adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve:
    • Spoon the creamy polenta onto plates or into bowls.
    • Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
    • Serve hot as a side dish or as a base for toppings like sautéed vegetables, meat, or a savory sauce.

Tips:

  • For a richer flavor, you can replace some of the water or broth with milk or cream.
  • Polenta can be made ahead and reheated. If it becomes too thick, simply add a bit of water or broth while reheating and stir until smooth.
  • Leftover polenta can be chilled, sliced, and fried or grilled for a different texture and flavor.

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