Dead Cheap Meals

bean soup

Today, I am a magician. I shall take a single pound of ham, bacon or sausage and feed a hungry truck driver and a disabled chick two big dinners with loads of leftovers for lunch. ABRACADABRA!

I do this almost every week. Basically... eggs and beans are the answer! >>TADA<<

Eggs and Beans

Even expensive pastured eggs are darned cheap compared to pastured meats and grocery eggs are cheaper still. Raising your own is the best of both worlds - pastured and cheap! But even those who can't keep a flock can buy eggs more cheaply than meat.

And beans, while unpopular in some nutritional schools-of-thought, have been providing cheap protein for poor people forever and thus are as traditional as food gets. Entire cuisines are based on mixtures of beans and grain!

Day One: Breakfast for Dinner

So... on one day, early in the day, I thaw a pound of ham, bacon or sausage, shred some cheddar or mozzarella, and chop potatoes, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, whatever I have on hand that sounds good. If I have a ripe tomato, or part of one, I'll slice that thinly too.

At dinner time, I melt some bacon grease or coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet and fry half the meat with the veggies until browned (except tomatoes, they make it too watery if mixed in). Then I beat a half dozen eggs in a bowl and throw that on top, and stir until it's mostly cooked through. Top with the sliced tomatoes (if using) and shredded cheese and stick under the broiler until cheese is bubbly and browned. YUM!

If you want an official recipe, check out my frittata.

BUT... that's not all! For the low, low price of only one pound of ham, bacon or sausage, you get not just one, but TWO dinners!

Day Two: Soup!

Soup. What kind of soup? Well... whatever you want. Chop some veggies early in the day again and get your precooked beans from the freezer and soup happens in only minutes of work with a bit of time for simmering to meld the flavors.

If you have ham leftover, brown some onions in butter, add navy beans and ham broth - it's pretty much Senate bean soup.

If you have leftover sausage, add cannelloni beans, lots of kale (or whatever greens you have handy) and season your beef or chicken broth with some crushed red pepper - it's pretty much Tuscan kale soup.

If you have leftover bacon, brown some garlic, carrots and celery add any type of beans for my generically named bacon-and-bean soup (it's got bacon, so it's good whatever you use!)

You can do split peas and/or lentils instead of beans; they require less soaking and cooking time if you're in a hurry.

If you need specific recipes, check out The Winter Soups cookbook.

Two Budget Dinners

Nearly every week, I do a breakfast skillet and pot of bean, pea or lentil soup - stretching the heck out of a pound of pork into lots of yummy nourishing food.

Image credit: Adapted from Erbsensuppenteller by User:Erbsensuppe (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.