Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Stretching Food - Like in the Old Days

 Howdy all.  Our Moms and G'mas all knew how to stretch the food budget.  NOTHING went to waste.  If it got to the point that there was something left that wasn't edible it went into the compost pile or to the chickens - which in turn became more food down the road.  My Mom could come up with all kinds of tasty items from leftovers (bits and bobs) and knew how to make goodies out of things most would throw away.
Going to share a few stretching ideas and cheap eats that we had back in the day - and some I still have!  Not everything from back in the day should be forgotten.  I love doing something different now and then.  You never know when money and food will be tight and you may have to get creative.   SO here are a few 'crazy' ideas to try.

Leftover mashed potatoes - they were never wasted!   May be for another meal or they could be used in a cream of soup - to help thicken or flavor.
My favorite was & is:

Potato Pancakes
About 2 C mashed
1 egg
1/2 C or so of flour - just enough to stiffen potatoes
1/2 - 1 tsp. baking powder
Anything else you want to add!!!!
Mix together and place in a greased skillet and fry - until both sides are golden brown.
I have added chopped onion, bacon bits, cheese, peppers......... whatever you want
So tasty
Potato cakes with a dab of butter and a salad.  Quite a tasty and filling meal.  Nothing wasted!!!!!

Pie Dough
Mom never let pie dough go to waste.  She may make 'hand pies' if there was enough left.  Small circles with a bit of jelly or fruit in center and folded and baked.  Most often she rolled it out in strips and added cinnamon & sugar on top and baked till crisp!  What a yummy treat that was.

Apple/Peach Peels & Cores
Never wasted.  Apple peels & cores and peach peels were turned into jelly.  Yes indeed.  Now this recipe takes quite a bit of sugar (which was so much cheaper back in the day), but it sure was tasty.  Actually sugar today isn't that expensive - it is just something anyone that cans much has on hand all summer.
Usually need the peels of about 15 pcs. of fruit or more. (Optimum flavor).  You can add a drop or 2 of red food color to apple to give it a pretty pink color.  One drop red, one drop yellow to give peach a pretty peach color.  No wasting!  Either the chickens or compost get leftovers.
Mom also took apple peels and laid them out on a pan and sprinkled them with cinnamon and a dab of sugar and stuck in the oven when baking.  Another fun and easy treat that I just loved.  Kind of like fruit leathers of today! (she did this if NOT making jelly)

Corn Cob Jelly
Yep - she even did that.  I have done this myself and it is very tasty.  Kind of honey tasting.

Johnny Cakes - Corn Cakes - Hoe Cakes
Whatever you want to call them.  Many southern gals made these - but we had them often.  Nice for breakfast if running low on breakfast food - a nice addition to any meal (instead of bread).
Most recipes were as simple as cornmeal, water and salt - and a hot skillet!
I like them with a bit more added - but you can do them any way you like.

1 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder  (for volume)*
1 - 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or honey) - I like a little sweetness*
1/2 C HOT water - or you can add some kind of milk (1/4 C milk and 1/4 C HOT water)
1 egg -  (adds volume as well)*
Mix altogether and drop into a hot skillet with bacon grease or butter melted.  Brown on each side like you would a pancake!
**Gluten free
* these items optional
 Corn cakes - great side or used instead of cornbread (no oven required) or used as breakfast.  Topped with a bit of butter - Yummo!!

Peanut Butter Treat
We often had peanut better and some syrup or honey mixed together and we would eat that on bread or crackers - whatever was available.  That was such a tasty treat!  My goodness that was a favorite treat.  I remember most often it was served on saltine cracker.  YUM

Hamburger Soup
We had this often.  Hamburger was super cheap to buy and Mom always made a pot of soup with all the veggie leftovers we had or just with garden pickin's.  Nothing like it.  I still make it today and it is one of my favorite soups.  Never fixed the same way twice.
Nothing went to waste!!!!!

Another favorite from back in the day.  My Mom often made it with elbow macaroni - stretched it further.   I make it  without, but often serve over pasta and top with cheese.  It can be served over rice!  Also super yummy over a baked potato!!!!
Chili is still one of my favorite cool day meals!  Basically ground meat, beans and tomatoes (of some sort) - doesn't get much easier.

Made gravy from all the different pan drippings.  None of it was wasted.  My goodness gravy was made from anything and everything.  Sausage, hamburger, drippings from baking ham or bacon or roast - just about anything.  Gravy over bread was and still is a meal!  Pan drippings, a little flour and water or milk and BOOM you have a cheap meal.

Just a few ideas for old time food ideas.  Nothing wasted and everything was tasty.  People back in the day sure could come up with yummy goodies from just about nothing.
We need to take some lessons!
I love old time cooking.  I still do and try some of these things.
I have MORE recipes for making goodies with lesser ingredients (they used to have to make do with eggs, milk and butter at times).  I will share more recipes in the near future.

It sure is fun learning some of the ways of days gone by.  Good food and no waste - what is better?


  1. The old ways of cooking brings back lots of childhood memories. The chickens would be up in arms if I used their beloved corn cobs to make jelly. That is one of their favorite treats. Leftover mashed potatoes don't go to waste. A good topping for a meat and veg casserole. We are having chili over pasta for lunch. We pretty much eat chili year round. You really can't beat a good saltine cracker. The Urban Farmer likes crackers with cheese and mustard, of all thing. He's a big fan of all kinds of mustard. We have been watching a lady on YouTube, The Hillbilly Kitchen. She made Johnny Cakes and they looked yummy. In fact, I may make some to go with the chili today. Easier than cornbread. We have also found a good singing group on YouTube: Jehovah Shalom Acapella. Mostly the old hymns. Don't care much for the modern Christian music which sounds like rock'n'roll.

    Enjoy this beautiful DRY day! ha! Still tackling weeds and probably will be until the snow flies. We complain some but what else would be do with our time? It is soothing to be in our Elohim's creation and tending what He has graciously given us.

    1. Funny how the chickens like their treats too!
      I love saltines with butter, especially with chili. That has been something I have had together all my life.

      I like her videos as well.
      Thanks for the group.
      I have been outside as well. Always something to do.

  2. My mum made the most wonderful meals out of nothing, and could make very little stretch a long way. We don't waste any food, knowing your portion sizes is the key.

    1. It sure can bring back fond memories of the kitchen around our Moms!
      I don't waste either. Portion size is a big thing. You are right.

  3. My mom could make food stretch to feed the horde that would descend on the farm on Sundays. How she did it is beyond me and she got all to the table at the right temperature too!

    One of my faves of hers was using leftover pancakes. She'd spread jam, roll up the pancake and dust it with icing sugar. Great simple dessert or a mid-morning snack.

    1. Yum. That sounds so good - kind of seems I remember that.

      If your Mom was like mine - no matter how many "showed up" for Sunday dinner there was always enough. As I got alder I did notice Mom would always say she wasn't really hungry - and would just nibble. I know now she was making the food go further.
      The things our Mom's did!!!

  4. The potato pancakes sound good. Nothing wasted in this house. I have the Victory cookbook which is recipes from the 2nd world war. They had to be very inventive.

    1. I just had some this past week. They were so tasty - I added a bit of cheese and chopped green onion. It was a meal with salad.
      I love heating how we all make it stretch!

  5. We had many of those same dishes when I was growing up. I loved potato cakes and they sometimes had ground up onions in them. Also, here in WI chili is always served with spaghetti in the bottom of the bowl. I had never heard of that until I moved here. We also had big pans of Johnnycake all the time when I was a kid on the farm. xo Diana

    1. Nice to remember back.
      Mom always added macaroni. Sometimes I make it and put on top of pasta - I like it that way. Steak & Shake makes a dish at their restaurant called chili mac - that is like that. Try it over rice sometime - that is good too.

  6. Hi Hippy Chick!.This is just how we live in our house.No waste,in fact there is hardly anything in my bin at the end of the week for the bin men to empty.Usually,it is only cat food pouches and rags pass their best.Oh and the odd bread bag that has been reused and washed that many times,that it is starting to fall apart!All peelings go into the compost,left over night cat food,that has gone dry goes to the seagulls..they sit on the roofs every morning waiting for that,lol.My clothes are all vintage and are mended when the 50 year old cotton starts to break,lol.I wouldnt want to live any other way!.We have been booking weekend breaks,with saved money,because we would rather spend a bit of cash on experiences than stuff we dont want or need.The the lovely memories from these breaks dont clutter the house,lol.Best Wishes from Debi,the Hippy Chick in Leicester,UK.xx

    1. Howdy to you! I have very little to put in the trash bin each week - usually yard waste that doesn't go in compost. Like you I make little trash.
      It is a good way to live. I don't feel deprived by any means and I bet you don't either.
      Nice that you are getting some weekend fun. Yes, experiences vs. things. The way it should be. I keep trying to tell the young people next door that, as they buy anything you can imagine for the daughter (3 1/2). I keep telling them she won't remember stuff - it is all show for them. They think I am crazy!! Oh well!
      Enjoy your weekend adventures!!!!!

  7. The ones I remember from Gram and Mom include using oatmeal in meatloaf, rather than bread crumbs, as it made it go farther. Also, spreading the meat mixture out flat, topping it with leftover vegetables, and rolling it like a jelly roll, Used up what you had on hand and made it into a "fancy" dish. We all thought we were rich when we had that! I learned that it's all in the presentation.

    1. I have used oatmeal in meatloaf many times. It quite tasty.
      Wow, I never heard of doing the meat with veggies like that. That sounds interesting and really good.
      Yes mam, presentation!!!!

  8. Corn cob jelly? Wow nothing went to waste huh? Those jars are a pretty color. A couple weeks ago you had hamburger gravy as one of your meal suggestions. I had never made it before but I knew it was something I wanted to try. I made some yesterday and man was it good. Can't believe I hadn't made it before yesterday. Served it with mashed potatoes and green beans. We really loved it, so I put it on our permanent menu rotation. Thanks again for the idea.

    1. Yes mam - corn cobs. I have made it myself and it is really good. Use it up or do without was a life mantra back in the day!
      YAY - so glad you tried it. Your meal sounds delish for sure. So glad you liked it!!!!!

  9. Those bits and bobs meals are usually the best! I love hamburger soup, too!

    1. You know I think so as well. Hamburger soup is sure a favorite of mine too!!!

  10. Me again in Texas. Wanted to let your know I tried the baking soda and vinegar for cleaning the oven. I did not think it would work. Never heard of such thing. It worked like a charm, never been so happy don't have to buy those toxic fume cleaners again. Mind your am not a spring chicken, 62 years old but can still learn from others, just have an open mind and try it. I went and bought a gallon of vinegar and a 3lb box of baking soda, going to try it next in the bathrooms. Also going to try your febreeze solution. Please do special post again about all your cleaning solutions. There may be a great number of readers that do not know of all your tricks. I know I would appreciate your guidance. You are saving my money, my time, and the earth. I must say I wish I was your neighbor and could come for advice.
    I have been reading your blog backward and forward. I know of your trials and how brave you are. I lost my husband 10 years ago and still have not been able to get to any sort of normal life. I have handled well all of the decisions alone and it is hard but I have done well. As I have gotten older I realized that I must be more vigilant about every decision I make. I believe reading your blog has made me more aware of this. I do so appreciate you taking your time to teach others!

    1. What kind and sweet words! My condolences to you and the loss of your beloved. It is the hardest thing I have ever been through - but I feel I only have one choice - go forward. I know that is what he would want.

      I am 66 and still learn something new everyday. Thanks for a suggestion on a new post. I will get things together for that.
      Baking soda and vinegar are just wonders. I hate chemicals and will do anything as naturally as I can.

      We all need to stick together and help each other - each person has their own wisdom. I think we were put here to share wisdom and love with one another.
      Thank you again for your kind words.

  11. At long last! Someone else who had peanutbutter and syrup mixed together. Roger always thought that was funny. I still mix a spoon of it every now and then...just for the memory. I could eat soups every day of the week, but Roger just doesn't like them much.

    1. Syrup and peanut butter was our treat growing up. I still like it too! I love soup!