Just Frances

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Poor man’s casserole

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: recipes, olden days, food, budget

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 never would have been named as a favourite food, but it never would have been 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!

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!


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. :)

by Royann at 1:15am (GMT) on March 1st, 2012

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!

by Ant Elizabeth at 1:42am (GMT) on March 1st, 2012

Let me know how the peppers work!

by Just Frances at 1:56am (GMT) on March 1st, 2012

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

by Just Frances at 1:58am (GMT) on March 1st, 2012

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.

by That wannabeCookgirl at 2:59am (GMT) on March 1st, 2012

Definitely going to try this one, I make something similar. 2 can pork and beans, chopped onion, ground beef… Cook all together and serve over mashed potatoes. Then top it off with a little ketchup,,,yum!!!

by Beth at 12:41am (GMT) on May 18th, 2013

That sounds lovely, Beth! I will have to give it a shot. I always love to hear new ways of making stodgy foods!!

by Just Frances at 8:57am (GMT) on May 18th, 2013

you could try substituting 2 cans of bar-b-que styled beans for the pork and beans, for a change.

by Annette Dunne at 1:18am (GMT) on May 16th, 2015

Oh, what a great idea! Maybe with a bit of crumbled up smokey bacon, too. Thanks for the idea!

by Just Frances at 3:27pm (GMT) on May 17th, 2015

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