Poor man’s casserole

Growing up, I loved it when I was informed that we were having Poor Man’s Casserole for dinner. It was such a basic meal, but it was rather stodgy and really yummy. It was never top of the list of favourite foods, but it was never on my “don’t like” list either.

So, when I looked in the cupboards and realised that I had everything I needed to make the dish for tonight’s dinner, I was excited at the prospect of enjoying a meal from childhood. But I’ve renamed it to fit my circumstances better. Instead of Poor Man’s Casserole, I’m calling it Starving Student’s Stodge. Because, well, I’m a starving student on a budget. And I like stodge.

For your own budgeting purposes, the meal can be made for less than £5 (if you buy the cheap beef and generic/store brand beans) and will serve 4-6 people. So, around £1 per serving. Of course, I splurged on better quality beef with a lower fat content, so mine was a bit more than that. (Yes, no matter how tight my budget, I always opt for the better cuts of meat!)

Wanna make it at home? Here’s how!

Photo credits to my father, Roy Cook

Starving Student’s Stodge

  • 2-3 raw potatoes
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 pound ground beef (UK: Minced beef)
  • 2 tins pork-n-beans (UK: Baked beans)
  • Salt and pepper as desired

Layer sliced, raw potatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish; place sliced onion on top. Press ground beef (uncooked) over potatoes and onion. Salt and pepper as desired (I omit these). Pour beans over beef. Cover and bake in 350°f (175°c) oven for 1.5 hours.

My parents also added a tin of condensed tomato soup on top, but I omit that part. Also, I’ve considered layering some fresh tomatoes, peppers, or mushrooms in with the onion, but I’m not that posh!

The recipe, from Katherine Liboky, is part of a collection from the Our Lady’s Altar Society’s cookbook for the Immaculate Conception Church (Catholic) in Roslyn, Washington. It was a gift to my mother by her mother in the year of my birth, 1974.

Photo credits to my father, Roy Cook

7 Replies to “Poor man’s casserole”

  1. I love Poor Man’s Casserole! I have even thought of making it recently, and now it will have to go on my menu for sure after seeing the picture. And I might just try adding some red pepper slices to it … just for fun. 🙂

  2. I prefer the reference to ‘poor’ rather than ‘starving’ as I hate to think you are starving, really. When I was in college, (not in dorms, but when I moved out on my own) I referred to myself as a ‘poor starving college student.’ I am trying to get Carson to embrace that moniker (and live on the cheap) but someone keeps sending him money, so he is never without. I truely believe that going without teaches a wonderful life lesson and builds good character-after all, look at MY character.
    Miss you, gorgeous!

    1. Don’t worry–I’m far from starving! But I really do think learning to cook on a tight budget is a good life lesson. Not only because it gives you the survival skills you may one day need, but because it will enable you to empathise/sympathise with people who truly are poor and struggling!
      I miss you, too! xx

  3. Avie was just looking for this recipe to share with her after school program. She kept calling it Old man casserole. Thanks for posting it.

  4. What is the recipe printed above poor mans casserole? Looks like ground beef, green beans, and noodles? Please send that recipe to me!

    1. The recipe above is called Beef and Green Bean Medley. Let me know if you try it and what you think of it!

      Beef and Green Bean Medley (recipe by Veronica Plesha, Roslyn, WA, USA)
      1 pound ground beef
      1 onion, chopped
      1 can green beans
      1 can mushroom soup
      1 cup milk
      1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 cups (4 ounces) uncooked noodles
      ½ cup celery, chopped

      (1) In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender.
      (2) Stir in green beans, with liquid and remaining ingredients.
      (3) Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Join the conversation!