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Budget Sunday Supper -- Recipe Challenge

Sarah's picture

1 large yellow onion -- 29 cents.
1 can evaporated milk, store brand, 69 cents.
1 pound sliced beef shanks, $1.90.
2 packages instant mashed potatoes, $1 (on sale).
1 can store-brand diced tomatoes and green chiles, 89 cents.

A spritz of cooking spray, some salt and pepper, and water I already had on hand.

Spray a deep-dish pie pan or shallow casserole with cooking spray. Peel the onion; slice thin and line the bottom of the pan. Lay the shanks on top of the onions; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes and green chiles. Cover dish tightly and bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven. Remove dish and let rest and cool for 10 minutes.
Open can of milk; add can of water and both packets of potatoes. Cook and stir per packet directions. If desired, add a pat of butter before serving.

There it is -- three adults, well fed, for about $5. No bread, no cheese, no soup.
Got something similar? Post it! Or, for the challenge part -- feed three or four adults as cheaply, or more so, without

pasta, bread, or soup. C'mon. I dare ya.

Oh -- and I'm pretty sure there's very little risk of salmonella from this, so I'm going to say peanut butter and crackers won't count in the contest.

No votes yet


bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

You must have read my mind, Sarah. A hot, satisfying meal on a winter’s night without breaking the bank is a treasure indeed.

Best part about this particular serving is I didn’t have to cook it myself; a gift, from the family across the street:


But when I do, this is the recipe.

My preference is to precook the pork one day ahead and chill it in the fridge overnight. Makes slicing up the meat easier, and any fat in the broth rises to the top and congeals so it is easy to lift off. You can, however, do it all in one day and it comes out just fine.


The meat:

1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
1/2 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
Pinch of oregano

The soup:

pork broth reserved from cooking pork shoulder, diluted if necessary to approximately 6 cups
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
4 cans white hominy, drained and well-rinsed
1 cup Anaheim chilies, seeded and cut to ½ inch squares (canned is fine)
2 whole jalapeños, thinly sliced (seeded if you must; canned, if you have no choice)

1 onion, coarse chopped
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Salt to taste

The garnish:

head of cabbage
½ onion, diced


A) Pre-cook the pork.

Place pork shoulder in heavy cooking pot with the finely diced 1/2 onion, diced garlic, cumin seed and the pinch of oregano. Add water to cover and a half-teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Cook without lid for 20 minutes, skimming froth as needed. Replenish water as required to cover, add lid and cook for another 40 minutes.

Remove meat from pot. (Set it aside in the fridge to chill for at least an hour, as well as the broth in the original pot to aid removal of fat. Skim any fat from the top of the broth before re-heating.)

B) Prepare the soup.

Add the oil to a frying pan and bring to medium heat. Add the coarse-chopped onion and cook until translucent.

After skimming fat from the pork broth and diluting if needed to about five cups, add the cooked onions and oil to the broth. Add the ground cumin, ground cloves, chilies and hominy. Bring to a low boil.

Slice the pork across the grain at 1 to 1½ inch intervals. Pull the sliced pork into shreds using two forks. Add the shredded pork to the pot as it is prepared. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 60 minutes.

Add the coarse-chopped onion and black pepper. Simmer for another 60 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

By now the house should be filled with an irresistible aroma. If you’ve timed things well, you are running about 30 minutes behind the announced schedule and your guests will be all but openly drooling. The hungrier they are the better, I say.

Serve posole into individual bowls or cups, topped with shredded cabbage and fine-diced raw white onion. Posole is traditionally served with corn tortillas, but sourdough or any coarse bread works great.

Serves eight, and don’t worry about leftovers. Posole is a pre-Columbian dish; it only improves with age.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I've had posole that style, pretty tasty. With sweet corn and cheese, out here it is called esposole suiza.

My version is based on the Jalisco style, closer perhaps to its Aztec origins. There are a host of variations, including topping with sliced avocado or papaya. Careful with the papaya, though; the Moche people swear it is a potent aphrodesiac.

Thanks to you for the beef shanks suggestion; I'll give it a try. I am a huge fan of the cheaper cuts, and will fork-fight without quarter for the marrow.

Submitted by lambert on

I had a pulled pork sandwich last night that was so good it made me scream with joy. Apparently, the concept is pork butt + slow cooker. Anyone got a recipe?

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

for this recipe.

I've made it tons of times (in fact, I'm thinking of doing it this week), and the meat is always delicious and fork tender. Serve with barbeque sauce and cole slaw. If you read reviews, however, one person near the top (Linda) of the thread explains how she does it in the crockpot.

You can't believe the aroma while it's cooking!!

Note: this recipe gets four stars only because some reviewers hated the mustard-cider vinegar sauce that gets added to the sandwich. We happen to like it, butyou can put on whatever you want. Sweet Baby Ray's is one of my favorites.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I've seen people come to blows over what kind of sauce to use on pulled pork. Of course, everybody was stinking drunk at the time and neither of the participants had any impulse control to begin with but still, a dangerous conversational topic.

I like a baked sweet potato with butter and cracked pepper as a side with my pulled pork, or roasted potato wedges with mayo for dipping.

Y'know, pie, we would argue our way through any meal, but you also know which ever of us did the cooking we'd have some good eats.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

so you can make this:

Black beans and pork over rice

1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. chili powder
1/2 lb. diced, cooked pork roast
1/3 cup orange juice
1 med. onion, choppd
1 1/4 cups chopped sweet red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. vegetable oil
1-16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (or used canned)
2 T. chopped green chilies (in a can)
1/4 t. salt
1/ t. pepper
3 cups hot cooked rice

Combine cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Toss pork in spice mixture to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until hot. Remove pork from skillet and place in bowl. Add orange juice, stirring well. Set aside.

Add oil to skillet. Saute onion, red pepper, and garlic until vegetables are tender. Stir in pork mixture and next four ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

Serves four and is just as good the next day and the next... :)'s picture
Submitted by on

Hi - my first comment at Corrente!

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast ($1.99 on sale)
2 15oz cans tomato sauce (I buy it by the case from Costco - it comes out to .48/can)
brown or white rice ($1.25/lb - I don't know how much per serving, I've never calculated it - enough for 3 or 4 adults is probably .40 or .50 or maybe even less)

Cook the rice. While the rice is cooking, cut the chicken into small cubes. When the rice has about 15 or 20 minutes left to cook, start cooking the chicken. Oil a pan (with oil I have on hand) and saute the chicken until cooked. Add the 2 cans of tomato sauce and spices I have on hand. Now, the canned tomato sauce tastes like the inside of a can, which I can't stand. The best antidote to that is garlic powder. I add to the tomato sauce and chicken in the pan garlic powder, black pepper, and oregano. Let simmer 5 - 10 minutes.

To serve, put rice on a plate and spoon the chicken and sauce on top.

For a vegetable, make a package of frozen veggies (on sale .99 or less), or make a cheap salad. Lettuce (.99), tomatoes (.77/lb this week), cucumber (.50 ea), olive oil and vinegar I have on hand for salad dressing.


Submitted by lambert on

... like two years ago. Leading indicator for the decade....

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

1 maya sweet or vidalia onion, halved and sliced
3 potatoes, yukon gold type
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cheese, such as monterey Jack

Partially cook the potatoes in a microwave or by boiling until they aren't hard as rocks but not crumbing either. Slice potatoes, set aside. Whisk eggs together with milk, salt and pepper, Set aside. Sautee onions in a frying pan with either butter or olive oil until onions start to turn translucent. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are golden. Pour egg mixture over all. Cook frittata without stirring until eggs are set. (tip: put frying pan under a broiler until eggs are puffy and firm). Now the tricky part: Put large plate over the top of the fritatta and invert pan. Slide the inverted fritatta back into the pan and cook on top of stove until frittata is golden on the bottom. Add cheese to top until it starts to melt. Cut into wedges. Should feed 4-6, depending on whether you have a hungry adolescent at home.

Serve with grilled romaine vinaigrette. Buy a 3 pack of romaine. Slice one romaine bunch lengthwise. Put the other two bunches in the refrigerator for later in the week. Grill the romaine cut side down on your summer barbeque grill (you can do this out of season. It's OK. really!) Remove from grill when romaine has wilted ever so slightly and has smokey grill marks on the cut side. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Radicchio can also be grilled this way.

1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon grey poupon mustard or coleman's dried mustard
1/4 cup vineger
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, sugar

in a small bowl, whisk shallot, mustard and vineger. (You can throw herbs in at this point like tarragon). Drizzle oil while whisking. Add salt, pepper to taste. If still too tangy after salt is added, add a pinch of sugar.'s picture
Submitted by on

It doesn't bother me at all to stand outside grilling burgers (or whatever) in 25 degree weather. Especially since I'm not the one who does the grilling. ;)

Edited to add:

I've only made 2 fritattas in my life, and they were pretty bad. I'll try your recipe - it sounds good. And it will be especially frugal since eggs are on sale for .99/dozen.

Submitted by jawbone on

I haven't seen eggs below $1.50/dozen for over a year now. I can get them regularly for $1.50 a doz (must buy two) at my local farm stand, but they've been closed since Thanksgiving or so.

Lately they've been over $2/doz. Crikey.'s picture
Submitted by on

Which state are you in?

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

in a smoker, which I like better. This recipe for "tasso" is good, but I modified it a little for home use by substituting half the cinnamon with ginger. I also used a tablespoon of Cajun-style mustard to bind the seasoning, left out the brown sugar and used unsulphured molasses instead. I don't cure it in the refrigerator; I season it, let it stand 4 hours to overnight, and cook it. If I were cooking indoors or otherwise without smoke, I'd add 1 tsp liquid smoke to the seasoning mix described below:

Homemade Tasso Recipe

5 lbs Pork roast

3 Tbsp Kosher Salt 2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste (see above)
4 Tbsp Paprika 2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper 1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix the seasoning together well. Rub the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days. Before smoking put the Tasso on an elevated rack so that air can circulate around it, then put a fan on it for about 2 hours to dry it out. I also don’t use a water pan when smoking Tasso, this is something that I actually want to dry out during the smoking process. I hot smoked this batch in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker using charcoal as the heat source (heated with a chimney starter, no lighter fluid or matchlight coals please.) I used Pecan chips that were soaked in water for 1 hour for the smoke. I smoked this a total of about 4 hours, the first 2 hours at about 150-160 degrees F. The second two hours at 180-190 degrees F. The object is to get as much smoke into the meat, before cooking it all the way through. I brought the internal temperature of the meat to 150 degrees F in the last 2 hours of smoking. When finished I again put the Tasso in front of a fan for about 1 hour. Refrigerate. When completely cold portion and store the Tasso in vacuum sealed packages. Freeze.
Makes 5 lbs of Tasso

You can argue seasonings until the world looks level, but that receipt is a good place to start for better-than-salt-pork seasoning meat. Slowly cooked with smoke or over coals or in a 300-degree-F oven for six hours or so, this stuff will melt in your mouth. You can also use it to season things -- gumbo, pots of beans, stews, casseroles ...

here's another good recipe for Tasso:

INGREDIENTS:1 Boston pork butt, about 3#, sliced 1 inch thick
Dry cure
2 lbs. Kosher salt 1 lb. light brown sugar 2 Tbsps. onion powder
1 Tbsp. clove, ground 1 Tbsp. bay leaves, ground 1 Tbsp. mace, ground
1 Tbsp. allspice, ground
Tasso Seasoning
¼ cup white pepper ¼ cup cayenne ¼ cup marjoram ¼ cup allspice

For Dry Cure
1. Cover the slices of Boston butt with the dry cure spices and refrigerate for 3 hrs. Rinse and pat dry. Place on a rack and let air dry, refrigerated, for 3 days.

For Tasso Seasoning
1. Cover pork with seasoning and hot smoke until meat reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.
SERVINGS:3 pounds
James McCallister, Executive Chef, Milliken & Company, Spartenburg, SC

You may find that one too fiery ... it's what you'll get in "tasso grits cake" in many restaurants.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

MUSH! A great Depression Breakfast to fire up your spark plugs so you can stand in line for other things. (It could also double or triple as lunch and dinner, too!)

You literally pack this stuff in a bread pan, chill it overnight slice and fry in the morning and serve with syrup (it keeps in the refrig so you can slice sections off each morning until it’s gone - no waste!).

I actually liked it as a kid. Think I’ll make some more so that I’m ready for the GDII (Great Depression II).

1 c. cold water (out of the faucet!)
1 c. corn meal (2 pounds sell for about $3.00)
3 c. boiling water (out of the faucet plus a little gas/electric)
1 tsp. salt (cheap)
Syrup and butter - if you can afford it.

Mix cold water and corn meal. Stir into boiling water and salt. Cook, stirring, until it boils then cook uncovered over boiling water in double boiler or over slow heat for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to stir so it doesn’t get lumpy. Put finished “product” into a butter greased bread pan and pack it tight, then cover and put in the refrig overnight. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and fry in butter, then serve with syrup.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and if you can add a little milk to the cooking liquid, they're creamy and yummy -- every bit as good as pricey "polenta."

End of the month spoonbread:

1 cup uncooked grits
1/2 cup each all-purpose flour, grated cheese, vegetable shortening, powdered milk
1 egg beaten
1 tsp baking powder
dash each salt, pepper, garlic powder

Cook grits as for mush above. Beat in remaining ingredients and bake at 350F until top is brown and and a toothpick in the middle comes back clean.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

....southern Indiana so that probably accounts for the name change.

Actually it's not a bad breakfast alternative...if you can afford to use lots of syrup and butter.

Ga6th's picture
Submitted by Ga6th on

it's a little different. Mush you make with the same stuff you make cornbread with. You're probably thinking about fried grits which is what you can do with leftover grits or you can make some especially for the occasion.

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

Corn meal mush was one of my favorite breakfasts as a kid. My parents grew up during the first Great Depression, and, while we were certainly much better off than they had been, many of our meals were variations on Depression food. So, we ate the mush; we often had navy beans as a side dish (navy bean sandwiches the next day, with salt and pepper, sooo good); green beans cooked forever with onion, potato and a bit of ham.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

We ate the exact same things. I used to love putting ketchup on my navy beans. Yum!!! And limp green beans with potato and ham....I can smell it now.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Handy when you run out of ideas:

6 eggs, soft boiled, peeled, finely sliced
1 large shallot, peeled, minced (or 1 small minced onion and 1 clove garlic)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (or 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar plus 1/4 tsp ground dry mustard)
2 tbsp fresh or 2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp EACH paprika, salt
3 1/2-4 tbsp good mayo
1/4 cup celery heart, with leaves, minced
2 tbsp parsley, minced

lettuce leaves or flour tortillas for wrapping

If you have dijon mustard, just blend it into the mayo with a fork; if not beat the powdered mustard into the vinegar. Beat in the paprika, salt, and lemon zest until smooth. Mix the tarragon, parsley, and lemon juice; fold into the mayo mix. Add the shallot and celery; combine. Fold in the eggs. Chill 2 hours or up to overnight. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves or flour tortillas. (Or add a well-drained 3-oz can of tuna and half a small tart apple, minced, then stuff into day-old croissants or baked potatoes for a hearty lunch).

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

My family's recipes don't really exist since it was always a pinch of this or a dash of that, but I've found some others that come close and I'll dig them out.

The bonus is not only are beans cheap (and you can grow them yourself), but pintos have all of the amino acids you need but one and that's in the corn, so it's nutritionally close to eating meat. Also, if done right, delicious.

One of the things I love about California is the pinto dishes from all the Mexican immigrants. They were surprised I grew up eating pintos, but I told them it was a staple in Appalachia and while I'm not from there, my mother is. Poverty is poverty. At least with pintos, you can eat well. As I said in another thread, my people might have been poor, but they've never been hungry.

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

This is how my Grandmother makes string beans as a main dish. She used to get the beans during the summer and keep them for winter by blanching the beans and freezing in gallon size bags. I think they used to can them but grandma thought freezing kept the beans better. I get my grean beans at the store.

1 gallon bag of green string beans (I don't know how much they weigh, but wash and snap to 1-2" sections.)
1-2 inch cube of fat back (a couple slices of bacon or a ham bone works too)
salt & pepper

brown the fat back in a dutch oven. Add the green beans and cover them with water. Cook on low heat until they are tender (they are done at Grandma's when they are just short of being mush) add salt and pepper to taste and serve with corn bread.

My grandmother was a child during the depression and lived in a South Carolina "mill town". It seems like most of our family recipes are similar to this and can feed a large family for very little money. She makes navy beans or black eyed peas pretty much the same way. She soaks the dry beans over night - or boils them on high heat until they pop when she forgets to soak them. She sometimes adds carrots, onion, tomato, celery or even potatoes to the navy beans but I think that depends on what was available.

Anglachel's picture
Submitted by Anglachel on

Courtesy of my Portuguese in-laws, who know a thing or two about frugality.

1 lb pinto beans
2 quarts chicken stock if you have it, or water if you don't
1 lb (at most) linguica, or other preferred sausage.
1 chopped yellow onion
A bunch of chopped up garlic to taste. Be generous.
1-2 bunches kale depending on size of bunches and your tolerance for kale
red pepper flakes, salt, pepper to taste.

1. Soak pinto beans overnight or use your preferred quick soak method.

2. Rinse off kale and remove really tough stems. Chop up pretty fine.

3. Depending on the kind of sausage you are using, either slice or empty out of casing. With uncooked Portuguese linguica, I take it out of the casing and crumble it up. Cook until done and excess fat is rendered out. Dump meat into big soup pot. Strong flavored and spicy sausages work best. A little goes a long way. This is for flavor, not for protein.

4. Sautee onions and garlic briefly in pan drippings (best flavor) or wipe out pan and use fresh olive oil. Dump into pot with sausage. Unless oil amount is excessive (tastes vary) dump that in pot, too. Remember, waste not, want not. If you know the fat amount is not excessive, just cook all of it in the soup pot to start with.

5. Heat pot with sausage and onions. Dump in chopped kale. Cook greens until they are wilting and the color is bright.

6. Dump in beans. Add stock/water and bring to simmer. You may need more or less cooking liquid. I usually start with stock and add water to make up for evaporation.

7. Cook on low until beans are tender. Season to taste with red pepper flakes ( I like spicy), salt, regular pepper. Cook longer until flavors blend.

8. Serve with bread. Stale bread is fine as you can dunk it in the soup. That's how you use stale bread. You can also spoon it over rice or potatoes if you have some sitting around that need using. For a complete protein, you need to consume a grain with the legume.

Depending on where you buy your ingredients, this is $3-$5 to feed 8 people a generous helping of delicious soup. The sausage is the most expensive thing and you only need it for flavoring, so that's where to cut costs. Make your own chicken stock or just use water. It has the added advantage of being very healthy. This freezes like a dream.

Anglachel's picture
Submitted by on

Not gourmet, but cheap and nutritious:

1 dozen eggs (.99)
2 loaves whole wheat bread (or your choice of bread) (.99/loaf from the day old rack)
Butter, cooking spray, or your choice of pan lubricant

Break eggs in bowl and beat with a fork. Melt butter in pan. Dip a slice of bread in egg so both sides of the bread are covered. I like to let the bread soak for 10-15 seconds to soak up more egg (for a higher protein-carb ratio). Fry in pan until cooked on one side, then flip over and cook until done on the other side. You may or may not use up all of the bread before running out of eggs - it depends on how wet/eggy you make the individual slices of bread.

Serve with syrup or other toppings.

Family of 6 (2 adults, 3 hungry teens who eat as much as the adults, and sometimes more, and 1 pre-teen) fed for less than $3.

Ga6th's picture
Submitted by Ga6th on

cookbook and she grew up during the great depression. One thing we make is red rice which is fry some bacon, remove the bacon and crumble. Then saute some onions and green peppers in the bacon fat until soft. Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add 1 cup rice and 1 lb. kielbasa cut into 1/2 inch sices. Cover and cook on low for about 45 minutes. It should all come to less than $5.00. You can serve it with a green salad.

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

1-1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 14 oz can tomato paste
1 14 oz can Italian diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
dried or fresh basil (fresh is better)
dried of fresh oregano (fresh is better, just leaves, pick out the little stems)
garlic salt or powder

brown ground beef in olive oil and sprinkle on spices and red wine vinegar to taste, add cut up vegetables and continue browning
add the can of tomato paste, fill empty can with water and pour it in along with diced tomatoes
continue splashing in vine vinegar to taste, add spices again to taste. Mix it all up and set to simmer
continue tasting and refill with water if necessary too thick. You decide thickness, I like it thick and slightly burned. Yes, burned. Adds a smoking taste.
cook for as long as you can. taste often to keep the sweet/sour taste.

This is my recipe for spaghetti that everyone in my family thinks is some crazy secret recipe and no one ever turns it down. It's rich and lumpy and you can make garlic bread with some old bread or rolls, garlic salt and butter and a little parmesan cheese. broil till done.'s picture
Submitted by on

how about a general frugal area where people can share all kinds of frugal living ideas?

Ga6th's picture
Submitted by Ga6th on

I make my grandmother's chicken pie.

1 chcken boiled and the meat pulled off the bone and chopped.
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 hard boiled eggs.
1 cup self rising flour.
1/2 c. butter
1 c. milk.
1 1/2 c. broth left over from boiling the chicken.

Place the chicken in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Combine the soup, broth and 1 tsp. pepper. Slice the eggs and place over the chicken. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken and eggs. Combine the four, butter and milk. Pour over casserole. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until brown.

Total cost: 4 lbs chicken @ $0.69 lb = $3.45
Butter 0.25 at Costco.
eggs $0.30
The rest certainly doesn't cost more than $1.00 so there you have it!

kerril's picture
Submitted by kerril on

That's making me drool already. I'm gonna try that this weekend.

Submitted by ohio on

Got some eggs? Fresher the better, but any kind will work. Got some flour? Whole wheat flour is best---don't use bleached or cake. If you have semolina, that will work, too, but regular old flour works great.

Clean off the kitchen counter.

Take a cup to a cup and a half of of flour and heap it in the shape of Mt. Fuji right where you can reach it. Use a fork to cut in some salt and a bit of pepper (white pepper if you don't like the specks). If you have some rosemary you can crush up with mortar and pestle so it's dust, you can mix that in, too. Rake the flour mixture with the fork till it's all mixed, and re-shape into into Mt. Fuji.

Now, carve out a bowl in the top and crack an egg right into it. Whip the egg with the fork and let the flour mixture tumble into it. When the white and yolk of the egg are completely mixed, start pushing in the flour from the sides, using your hands to knead the dough.

You'll need more flour as you go. Now, your hands are going to be a mess, but don't stop to wash them off. Keep kneading, using the heel of your palm to push and slide the mix along the counter. The dough will start sticking more to itself and less to you. You will feel the dough change from a flour-y, egg-y soggy mess to a cohesive whole.

Now flip a bowl over it and let it rest on the counter, covered, for about half an hour. You don't have to do this, but the dough relaxes and that makes rolling it out easier. While the dough is resting, scrape the counter top clean of mashed-down dough.

If you don't have a rolling pin, you can use a glass or wine bottle to roll out. Just be careful not to push too hard. You can also use a plastic glass---pretty much any clean cylinder will work.

Put some water (or reduced broth--that works, too) onto boil. Some people say 1 cup water for every cup of pasta, but do what you always do. You can add salt to the water or not. A tablespoon or so of olive oil in the water will help keep the pasta separated once it's cooked, but you can add it afetr the pasta has started cooking.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter (some people use baking parchment) and roll out the dough. (Depending on how much room you have, you may want to roll out half the dough at a time.) Roll from the center of the dough out---this dough is very springy and will try to pull itself back together. Just keep rolling. You can rotate the dough as you roll to speed the process along. You're trying for about 1/16th of an inch thick or less.

Take a kitchen knife (like the kind you'd use for spreading butter on bread) and slice the dough into noodle shapes.

Some people like to let the cut noodles rest again before popping them in the boiling water. Some put a towel over them, I scoop up a handful lift my hand up in the air, and let them drop into a little heap on the counter. I've tried all kinds of ways to get pasta to ease itself and this gives me the best result. Basically, you'll end up with a little noodle tangle heap, but don't worry. As long as they haven't been squished together, they'll separate fine as they cook.

Fresh pasta cooks fast. You don't even have time to throw it against the wall to see if it will stick. Make sure the water us boiling, get all that pasta in there, and watch---it'll be about two minutes or so. The best wya to check if the pasta is ready is to take a noodle out, run it udner cold water, and eat it.

Carefully pour the pasta into a collander or strainer in the sink and immediately run cold water over it to stop it from cooking.

If you're topping with oil or butter, slip the pasta back into the hot pan you used to cook it with, chuck in the fat, and shake or stir to coat the noodles. Add shredded cheese, cooked bacon or mushrooms, olives, just about any vegetable you can think of, cooked meat, or anything else that sounds good to you. Just keep the mix moving. Serve in bowls---keeps it warm longer.

You can also top with your favorite red sauce, cream sauce, etc. A good trick is to chill the pasta with cold water, pat it dry with a paper towel, then dump it into a bowl along with a vinaigrette and some raw vegetables---pasta salad.

It's really hard to gauge how much pasta per person. Generally, I go one egg per person, but sometimes I'll use three eggs for two people. Depends on what else is going in. My faorite is the fresh pasta, a tablespoon or so of butter, and whole peeled garlic cloves. Chuck it all back into the hot pan and toss until the butter is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Don't forget the cheap wine.

Submitted by lambert on

Good one, Sarah! (And don't let me discourage you on the union thing -- I was out of sorts, but the topic desperately needs to be covered.)

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's not just a catchy tune.

doing it the expensive way, for 3 people [per package directions] or 2 people who eat like i do...

  • organic milk: 1/3 cup for muffins, 20 cents [at $5 half gallon]
  • organic free range eggs: one egg for muffins, 33 cent [$4 dozen]
  • jiffy corn muffin mix: one box, 69 cents
  • bush's best butterbeans: one can, $1.19
  • store brand frozen chopped greens: 3 servings, 75 cents [collards or turnips, 10-serving bag, $2.49]
  • organic butter, to put on corn muffins: approx 3 Tbls, 75 cents [pkg of 2 sticks, $4]

total = $3.91

all the above are pre-packaged, and bought at the local corner independent grocery store, not on sale, and it's really only enough food for 2 people, for a hearty meal, so feeding 3 would be closer to $6. if the beans were leftovers from a big pot cooked from bulk dried beans, and the greens bought fresh at the height of the season from the farmers market, and the muffins made from scratch, and everything bought from a low-price supermarket, you could probably feed 3 people for under $5.

hot sauce, for greens, not included in above calculations.