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Feb 18, 2012

My Mom’s Goulash – My Poverty Meal

I ran across a goulash recipe today from Recipezaar called Poverty Meal and I had to laugh.

As a child my mom made something very similar to this but she called it Goulash. I think I like calling it the Poverty Meal instead as that is exactly what it was.

We grew up poor and my mom did her best to provide for us. I could always tell how broke we were by the ingredients she used, no kidding.

If times were good the recipe included vegetables, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup and cheese. If we were broke it became a simple tomato sauce and noodle dinner.

I have made this a few times for my family and I need to include it in my menu planning more often as my kids actually like it and eat it well.

It’s one of those quick dinner recipes that definitely fits well within my $5 dinner meals and depending on the ingredients you use it could actually be less than $2 to prepare. So here is my version of a Poverty Meal or as my mom calls it her Goulash recipe.

My Mom’s Goulash Recipe – My Poverty Meal
Quick Dinner Recipes

Goulash Recipe

Inspiration from Recipezaar, family recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Meal Preparation Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (ground turkey works well too)
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. elbow macaroni
1 can of mixed vegetables (optional)
1 cup of cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Meal Preparation Directions:

Prepare elbow macaroni according to directions on package, drain and put back in pot
Cook ground beef or turkey until done, drain grease
Add tomato sauce, cream of mushroom soup and mixed vegetable to pot of macaroni, mix well
Add ground beef or turkey and salt and pepper to taste.
Top with cheese if desired.

Meal Assembly:
Serves 4-6. Add a dinner salad and sliced french bread for a nutritious cheap family meal.

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

I have found an easy meatloaf recipe that you are going to love and if you looking for a cheap meal idea then this is it.
I try to make meatloaf often for the fact that ground beef is inexpensive and filling.
The only downfall to a great meatloaf is the bake time.
I’m in a hurry these days and most nights I want quick dinner ideas prepared and on the table fast or we would be eating at 8:00pm, which in my house is bedtime for the kids (YEAH!!)
So how do you make an easy meatloaf recipe? Simple, mini meatloaves baked in a muffin pan.
I know, I asked myself the same thing, why didn’t I think of that one!
The bake time is cut in half.
And of course the possibilities of what you add to the recipe are endless.
A shout out to Kraft Kitchens for coming up with some of the best food recipes.
And at less than $5 to prepare this is a cheap family meal for dinner!

Marvelous Mini Meatloaves

Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Credit: Kraft Kitchens
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings – 2 mini meatloaves each

Cheap Cooking Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 pkg. stove top stuffing
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning ( I use dry spaghetti packet)
  • 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (any variety of cheese will work)

Easy Dinners Directions:

  1. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water and seasoning until well blended.
  2. Press evenly into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Make an indentation in the center of each meat loaf using a spoon then fill with spaghetti sauce.
  4. Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through, top with cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

5 dollars meal-Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Credits: Betty Crocker Quick & Easy Cookbook
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Start to Finish: 20 Minutes
Makes: 6 servings
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie or other cooked chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 package (10 oz) pre-baked thin Italian pizza crust (12 inch)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In small bowl mix chicken and barbecue sauce. Place pizza crust on ungreased cookie sheet, spread chicken mixture over crust. Arrange tomatoes over chicken and sprinkle with cheese. 
2. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro (optional)
SPEED IT UP: No time for pizza? Substitute 6 flour tortillas, spread chicken mixture evenly over wrap within 1 inch of edge.
Top with tomatoes, cheese and cilantro. Roll tortillas up tightly.

5 dollars meal-Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Supper

Credits: Betty Crocker Quick & Easy Cookbook
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups frozen whole green beans
  • 2 cups refrigerated red potato wedges (from 20 oz. bag) **SEE BELOW FOR SIMPLE SUBSTITUTION**
  • 1 Jar (12 oz.) chicken gravy
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat oil over me-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt. Cook 4 minutes turning once until brown.
2. Add beans, potatoes, gravy and barbecue sauce, stir to coat and mix. Cover and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until beans and potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees).
***Easy substitution: try substituting frozen potato wedges or steak fries (no Need to thaw first)!!***

5 dollars meal-A Classic Campbell’s Easy Freezer One Dish Meal

As I prepare my meals for the month I always choose a Campbell’s Recipe for my quick one dish meal. Campbell’s creates some of the best easy freezer recipes I have found. I love the fact that I can look right on the can for something different to try.
I found this Chicken Pot Pie Recipe, I tried it and we love it. Most of the Campbell’s recipes use 5 ingredients or less and are $5 or less to prepare.
As of today I will start pulling my Monday recipe’s from the Campbell’s Kitchen, soup can or cookbook as I really can’t stress enough to try and incorporate these recipes into your meal planning, they are truly the best low budget meal ideas for simple cooking.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Campbells’ Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Meal Preparation Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup

  • 1 pkg (approx. 9 ozs.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

  • 1 cup of cubed cooked chicken or turkey

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup of all purpose baking mix (like Bisquick)

  • Meal Preparation Directions:
    1.    Mix soup, vegetables and chicken in a 9-inch pie plate
    2.    Mix milk, eggs and baking mix.
    3.    Pour over chicken chicken mixture
    4.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until golden
    Meal Assembly:
    Serves 4- 6 – add a mixed green dinner salad and a bowl of fresh fruit for a delicious cheap and easy one dish meal that is healthy for the heart.
    TIP: Used canned chicken or left over turkey from the freezer.
    Tip: Double the batch for one of the easiest make ahead freezer meals.