Thankfully, I haven’t been tight on money for quite some time, but there’s always one meal that I like to prepare when I want to save a little money while still enjoying a quality family meal, and that’s Poor Man’s Soup. After getting out of college, it was hard to save up money and start a family at the same time, but this was a meal that I always went back to since it was friendly on the wallet, all while being filling and delicious at the same time.

Even these days, getting the right ingredients for Poor Man’s Soup will only set you back under $10, which for a family of four, is nothing short of miracle in today’s world. There’s a couple of different ways that I make this soup. If I’m a bit short on time in the morning, I like to use the stove top where it only takes a little more than an hour. If I have the right preparation, though, using the Crockpot in the morning and then waiting for seven hours until it’s done is also a great way to make Poor Man’s Soup.

I also substitute ground beef for turkey on occasion, though it really depends on what’s sitting in the refrigerator more than anything. Then again, that’s the whole point of Poor Man’s Soup is that you don’t have to make another trip to the grocery store! Salt, pepper, carrots, water, potatoes, onion powder and oregano are usually handy in my house, so it’s just the meat and tomato paste (and sometimes garlic clove) that I really have to worry about, but that’s a quick trip.

I’ve been making Poor Man’s Soup for my family for as long as I can remember, though nobody really asked what it was called for years. That was until my son one day asked what the name of the soup was. When I told him, he asked “Does that mean we’re poor?” I have to admit that I gave a bit of a chuckle and had to explain that it was just a name because of how inexpensive it is, but millionaires and broke college students alike seem to love it.

Thankfully he was old enough to be able to understand that so I didn’t have to delve into the family’s finances, since that’s hardly ever a fun conversation. Speaking of which, there won’t be many conversations at the table when eating this soup because your family won’t be able to stop eating! It’s one of my personal favorites, and it’s so easy that it’s the perfect thing to make when you’re exhausted after a long day and don’t feel like making some grand meal or ordering expensive takeout.

Cleanup isn’t too bad, either, as you’ll just need a cutting board, skillet and a large pot. Handwashing all of those dishes is a snap, and hopefully someone that appreciated the meal will be willing to take care of the minor aftermath for your troubles!

This is one of those recipes that feels like a great Sunday afternoon meal while watching football, a special occasion meal for get togethers, potlucks or just a quick dinner when your front door seems like a revolving one. Cheap and versatile recipes are my favorite, which is why Poor Man’s Soup has been a staple of not just my house, but many houses around the world, for a very long time. To show you how easy it is to make Poor Man’s Soup at your house, check out the quick list of ingredients and easy to follow directions that will be sure to become a family favorite, and might actually be a little healthier than you think in terms of calories and fat content!

Preparation Time: 70 Minutes (Or Seven Hours in Slow Cooker)

Serves: Four People

Nutrition (Per Serving):

Calories: 385
Fat: 7 g
Protein: 15 g
Carbohydrates: 70 g
Sodium: 250 mg
Cholesterol: 6 mg

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Pound Ground Beef (Or Turkey)
  • 1.5 Pounds Diced Potatoes
  • 3 Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • 1 Minced Garlic Clove
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Six-ounce Can of Tomato Paste

Cooking Directions:

  1. First, you’ll want to prepare your ingredients by taking your potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic clove to the cutting board. While you’re getting that prepared, set your stovetop to medium-high heat. After you’re done chopping, place your one pound of ground beef on a stovetop skillet so that you can cook it thoroughly.
  2. Once the meat is brown, drain your skillet and combine all of your ingredients together into a large pot, except for the salt and pepper. Place the pot on the stovetop and change the temperature to low.
  3. While your soup is cooking, add in some salt and pepper for taste, mixing everything together for the next hour. Turn the heat off on the stovetop and your soup will be ready to eat! There should certainly be enough for four people, with the potential for leftovers that are great for the next day!
  4. Alternatively, if you’re one of the many people that prefers to get use out of your slow cooker, that’s a great way to go! Instead of putting all of the ingredients into a pot on your stovetop, place them in your slow cooker with the browned ground beef. It should take about six to eight hours using this method, just make sure that you don’t take the cover off of the slow cooker. No matter which way you prepare your soup, it’s going to turn out great! It’s even better if you’re using fresh ingredients for your recipe!