Recreating Clara’s Poorman’s Meal

Fried potatoes, onion, and sausage - yum!

Fried potatoes, onion, and sausage – yum!

In case you haven’t heard about her, Clara became an youtube sensation by recreating her Depression Era meals. Here is my attempt to recreate this filling and inexpensive dish.


A little bit of oil or fat for the pan

1 onion – sliced

About 4 large potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled and diced (I parboiled the potatoes first to ensure that they would cook faster.)

About ½ cup or so of chicken stock or water

Sausage – this recipe is very flexible. Clara uses a couple of hotdogs. I know that hotdogs are facing a lot of criticism right now so feel free to substitute a healthier product free of unpronounceable chemicals. I used about 7 ounces of deer sausage given to us by a friend. Kielbasa, leftover, cooked breakfast or veggie sausage could also be used. In other words, use whatever you’ve got in the fridge that you can use up or whatever you are comfortable using from a health or economic standpoint.

How to Make:

In her video, Clara sets out the steps. You can find her video here.  she is worth watching.

I started by frying the sliced onions in the oil and then added the potatoes. If you are starting with raw potatoes, like Clara, add a little water or stock and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Since I parboiled the potatoes, I cooked them until they were crispy. When the potatoes are cooked, add your sausage and cook until the sausage is thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Review and Price Breakdown:

This whole meal is quick to make, filling, and pretty tasty. It is also inexpensive. Four servings cost us nothing as we used up produce from the garden and gifted deer sausage. However, even if you purchase everything, the cost will range from about $2.12 to $3.72 for four generous servings ($0.53 to $0.93 per serving), depending on your choice of sausage.

Ingredient Price (September 2015) Cost for 4 to 6 Servings
Onion Free from the garden. Currently selling for about $1.00 a pound $.50
Stock Free if homemade or water. $2.88 per liter if using store bought. Free – $0.72
Potatoes Free from the garden. A 10 pound bag of Russets currently costs about $4.99 making potatoes about $0.50 a pound Free – $1.00
Sausage Free, thanks to a generous friend. A package of store brand hot dogs at Buy-Low Foods was $3.79 for 12, making each hotdog worth $0.31. Currently, store brand garlic sausage is on sale at the same store for $5.98. I would probably use about ¼ of this to make this recipe, or $1.50 worth. Free if you are lucky enough to know a hunter.

$0.62 is using hotdogs

$1.50 if using something like garlic sausage.

This meal passed “The Man Test” and I will probably make it again.

Is this a meal you would make?  How do you feel about the negative reports regarding sausage, bacon, and lunch meats?  Will it change how you feed your family?


9 thoughts on “Recreating Clara’s Poorman’s Meal

  1. I found Clara almost two years ago on You Tube and really enjoyed her style and humour; and I have in fact made the Poor Man’s meal just recently, using hot dogs. It was at the end of a day when I felt rushed to get dinner made but hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer. Frozen hot dogs to the rescue..,..but not just hot dogs in buns. I remembered Clara’s recipe and decided to give it a go, along with a side of veggies I had picked from the garden. Really tasty. Will I change my mind about processed meats? Not likely. We have always known that nitrates/nitrites are not good for you, but I like my sausage and cold cuts to give them up. Everything in moderation, like everything else.


  2. Pingback: Frugal Endevours | hip roof barn

  3. She’s such a lovely old lady. I remember watching that video and it reminded me of when my mom had to make cheap ingredients taste like high quality food because it was all we could afford back then, probably over a decade ago now.


      • My mom used to make the thursday night special. She ran leftover potatoes, beef (roast/hamb/steak, whatever was cooked in fridge), a small onion thru the foodchopper and last thing she ran thru was a slice of bread (usually the end piece) to clean the food out of the chopper. Then she poured a can of tomato soup over the top and mixed it all together and baked til it started turning crisp around the edges. Sometimes she added other veggies (celery, gr pepper, whatever) but I liked the basic recipe best… 🙂


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