Miserly Meals

by Jonni McCoy

When potatoes go on sale, they make an excellent base for inexpensive meals. They can be used as the main dish, side dish or the soup. They can be baked, boiled, hashed, scalloped, mashed or stuffed. Below is a meal that uses this versatile vegetable in both the main dish and soup. Enjoy!

Spanish Potato

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

4 large baked potatoes
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed
6 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees (or microwave) until tender in the center. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the center of the potato with a spoon, being careful not to cut into the skin. Place the pulp in a large mixing bowl.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain the beef. Place the beef in the same mixing bowl as the potato pulp. Add the chili powder, onion, garlic, Tabasco sauce and tomato sauce. Mix well.

Stuff the potato shells with the potato-meat mixture. It will be heaping out of the skins. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cheese over the top of each potato. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese.

Cost per serving (1 filled potato): 59 cents

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 351
Fat 18 grams
Cholesterol 63 mg
Carbohydrates 33 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 20 grams
Sodium 510 mg

Carrot (and potato) Soup

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

2 T. butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In a large (4-qt) pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and clear, stirring frequently. Add in the water, broth, carrots, potatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove soup from heat and let it cool slightly. Pour into a blender or food processor. Add to blender the buttermilk, ginger and horseradish. Blend until creamy. Add in the tomatoes. Blend for very short bursts (3 seconds each.) Use the "pulse" feature on your blender if you have one to blend the tomatoes in without removing the chunks of tomatoes completely.

If desired, serve with a teaspoon of sour cream in the center of each soup bowl.

Note: The carrot can be replaced by an equal amount of pumpkin or butternut squash flesh.

Cost per serving (2 cups): 66 cents

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 206
Fat 7 grams
Cholesterol 19 mg
Carbohydrates 30 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 10 grams
Sodium 800 mg

Fruit Salad

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
8 oz. lemon flavored yogurt

2 bananas, sliced
8 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
2 green apples, diced (not peeled)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine the yogurt with the vanilla and nutmeg. Add the fruit and toss. Serve immediately.

Note: If there are leftovers that need to be used up, put the mix in a blender and make a smoothie.

Cost per serving (1 cup): 35 cents

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 80
Fat 2 grams
Cholesterol 5 mg
Carbohydrates 16 gm
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 2 grams
Sodium 19 mg

Jonni McCoy is the author of Miserly Meals (2002 Bethany House), Miserly Moms - Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy (2001 Bethany House), and Frugal Families - Making the Most of Your Hard Earned Money (1998 Holly Hall). Prior to motherhood, she spent ten years at electronics firms such as Apple Computer and National Semiconductor. She presents seminars on living for less to women's groups and other conferences. She has been practicing her frugal ways since 1991.

Jonni has appeared on several TV shows, including "The 700 Club," and radio programs such as "Family Life Today" and the "Dick Staub Show." She has also been featured in Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day magazines. Jonni and her husband, Beau, make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can visit her website at miserlymoms.com.

No part of these recipes can be reprinted without permission. All recipes are used with permission from Miserly Meals by Jonni McCoy, copyrighted 2002, Bethany House Publishers. All Rights Reserved.

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