Bulletin #4334, Thrifty Recipes: Salads and Soups, Breads and Desserts

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Thrifty Meals for Small Families

Originally prepared by Nellie Hedstrom, Extension nutrition specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Revised and updated by Statewide Nutrition and Physical Activity Educator Kate Yerxa, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
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Index to Recipes

apple muffinsSalads and Soups

Breads and Desserts

Some small families tested and liked the recipes in the sample menus. Try them. You may like them too. Some of these recipes are new. Some are old favorites. In either case, they are

  • low in cost—made with economical foods and seasonings;
  • nutritious—they contain nutrient-rich foods and limited amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

Salads and Soups

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped (see note*)
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth, unsalted
2 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
Dash ground thyme
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

*Note: A 10-ounce package of frozen, chopped broccoli can be used in place of fresh broccoli.

  1. Place vegetables and broth in saucepan. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, cover, and cook until vegetables are tender—about 8 minutes.
  2. Mix milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and thyme; add to cooked vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is slightly thickened and mixture just begins to boil.
  3. Remove from heat. Add cheese, and stir until melted.

Makes four servings, about 1 cup each, 114 calories per serving.

Celery-Carrot Salad

Celery-Carrot Salad Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/3 cup carrot, shredded
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salad dressing, low-fat mayonnaise-type
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar
Dash pepper

  1. Mix celery, carrot, and onion.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients. Stir into celery mixture.
  3. Chill.

Makes two servings of about 2/3 cup each, 39 calories per serving.

Hot Potato Salad

1Hot Potato Salad Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)/4 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 2/3 cups potatoes, cooked, peeled, sliced (2/3 pound or about 2 medium)
2 tablespoons bacon-flavored bits or crumbled cooked bacon

  1. Cook onion in oil in frying pan until tender.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir into onion.
  3. Gradually stir in water and vinegar. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes. Mix gently. Heat to serving temperature over low heat—about 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with bacon or bacon bits before serving.

Makes two servings of about 1 cup each, 200 calories per serving.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 2/3 cups potatoes, cooked, peeled, diced (2/3 pound, about 2 medium)
3 tablespoons celery, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
2 tablespoons salad dressing, low-fat mayonnaise-type
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

  1. Mix potatoes, celery, and onion.
  2. Mix salad dressing, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir lightly into potato mixture.
  3. Chill.

Makes two servings of about 3/4 cup each, 153 calories per serving

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 3/4 cup dried split peas
2/3 cup onion, chopped
2/3 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups boiling water

  1. Add all ingredients to boiling water.
  2. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until peas are tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. If necessary, uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness is obtained—about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf.
  5. Serve half of the soup. Refrigerate remaining 2 2/3 cups for use at another meal.* The soup will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Makes four servings of about 1 1/3 cups each, 302 calories per serving.

*Note: To reheat soup, stir in 1/4 cup water. Heat until soup starts to boil, stirring as needed to prevent sticking.

Breads and Desserts

All-Purpose Convenience Mix for One or Two

All-Purpose Convenience Mix for One or Two Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons baking powder

  1. Combine flour, dry milk, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together.
  2. Mix in oil until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Store in airtight container.
  4. Refrigerate and use within a month or put into containers suitable for freezing and freeze.

Makes 6 cups of mix.

Prune Puree/Prune Butter for Fat Substitution

Prune puree: Combine 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) pitted prunes and 6 tablespoons water in container of food processor. Pulse on and off until prunes are finely chopped. Makes 1 cup. Another option is to make prune butter by blending 1 pound of prunes with 1 cup of hot water.

Use in baking: You can use prune puree in baked products to replace up to half the fat without flavor or texture being compromised, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University. Other fat substitutes that you may want to try are apple butter, applesauce, bananas, and yogurt.

Apple Cobbler (using Convenience Mix)

 Apple Cobbler Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
2 medium apples, tart, pared, sliced
3/4 cup Convenience Mix
2 tablespoons processed American cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons water

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in saucepan. Add 3/4 cup water, and mix well. Add apples.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens and apples just begin to soften, about 6 minutes.
  4. Pour into 1-quart casserole.
  5. Stir biscuit mix and cheese together. Add 3 tablespoons water, and mix well. Spread on top of apple mixture.
  6. Bake until top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Makes four servings of about 1/2 cup each, 165 calories per serving.

Applesauce Muffins (using Convenience Mix)

Applesauce Muffins Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1 1/2 cups Convenience Mix
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease muffin tins.
  3. Stir mix, sugar and cinnamon together.
  4. Mix egg white, applesauce and water thoroughly. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are barely moistened (batter will be lumpy).
  5. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full.
  6. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Eight muffins, 110 calories per muffin.

Biscuits (using Convenience Mix)

Biscuits with Convenience Mix Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cup Convenience Mix

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Stir most of the water into mix. Add rest of water as needed to make a dough that is soft but not sticky. Shape dough into a ball.
  3. Pat or roll dough into a rectangle about 8 by 4 inches; cut into eight pieces.
  4. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Eight biscuits, 95 calories per biscuit.

Carrot-Raisin Bars

Carrot Raisin Bars Food Nutrition Facts Label (click for details)1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, softened
2 tablespoons prune puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray an 8-inch by 8-inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Beat sugar, margarine and prune puree with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Mix in water.
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to egg mixture. Mix until blended.
  5. Mix in oats, raisins and carrot.
  6. Spread dough in pan.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Twenty-four bars, 52 calories per bar.

Stewed Prunes

1 cup dried prunes
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar, if desired

  1. Put prunes, water and sugar (if used) in a pan. Cover and boil gently about 20 minutes until prunes are tender. * Add a little water during cooking, if needed.
  2. Cool prunes in the liquid. Store in refrigerator.

Four servings, about 1/3 cup each.

*Note: Cook prunes only 10 minutes for use in other recipes. Do not add sugar. Makes 3/4 cup cut-up cooked prunes.

See the other bulletins in the Thrifty Meals for Small Families series:

Originally adapted from “Thrifty Meals for Two: Making Food Dollars Count,” USDA Home and Garden Bulletin #244.

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2003, 2010

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