Poor Man’s Soup

As promised, here’s my grandmother’s “Poor Man’s Soup” recipe. It’s Quick, Frugal, and Easy! Hope ya’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

Poor Man’s Soup


  • 6 to 8 medium potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 to 4 quarts of tomatoes
  • 1 can of vegetable soup (I did not have any so I used 1 can of green beans and some l/o frozen peas and corn that I had in the freezer.  I usually use dehydrated green beans, peas, & corn.)
  • ditalini or elbow macaroni pasta (1/2 lb)
  • approx. 1 to 2 Tbs bacon drippings – depending on the amount of soup you’re fixing (not pictured) – it’s not the same without it.
  • salt & pepper to taste (not pictured)
  • a generous splash of heavy cream or milk


Peel and cube potatoes.; boil until fork tender.

Peel and chop onion


and saute in about 1 tsp of bacon drippings in a skillet until translucent.


My grandmother cooks her potatoes and onions in a pressure cooker, but I don’t have one. This works just as well.


Once potatoes are done, drain well.


Add to the pot tomatoes, onions, and bacon drippings and heat to a gentle boil.


Add in vegetable soup. If you use canned veggies, make sure and drain well before adding.


After it returns to a gentle boil, add the potatoes back in and add in the pasta. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook another 15 minutes or until adente (until pasta is cooked to your preference).  Add cream/milk.


Here’s your finished product. Enjoy!

This whole pot costs less than $5.00 and it’ll feed you at least 2 meals, sometimes more if you freeze some for later!

My grandmother always uses elbow macaroni, but we really like the ditalini pasta better. One thing to remember is that if you add in extra pasta, you will need to add more tomatoes later because the pasta will continue to soak up the liquid even after you refrigerate it. We like lots of pasta in the soup, so this just equals more yummy goodness for us!

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do. I have very fond memories of growing up on this. When I first asked my grandmother for the recipe, she gave me all of the ingredients except the bacon drippings. Let me tell you, it’s close in taste, but it is definitely NOT the same. You can tell a huge difference. When I asked her again several years later, she did give me the missing ingredient and was afraid that I would never ask her to make it for me again.  I will have to say that even though I know how to make it, having her make it makes it taste even better! I think there’s still a missing ingredient in mine that I’ll never been able to duplicate – her love for me! I love you Mammaw!!

Oh! I almost forgot! Don’t forget to check out The Grocery Chart Challenge for more great recipes!


4 thoughts on “Poor Man’s Soup

  1. That looks so good. Just a few simple ingedients and you have this awesome soup. I have been watching the little lady on you tube she does the depression cooking segments. I think i could eat that way, but not my family. I love foods from the depression era. I found your blog at the Grocery Cart Challange.


  2. Pingback: Frugal Happenings on the Homestead: Week of 02/16-02/22/14 | My Country Haven

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