We are broke. Really, really, really broke. Moving is expensive and so is setting up house. (and kids in college, and kids who aren’t in college) I know we aren’t the only ones and I know there are folks out there much worse off. It will get better for us (and hopefully for everyone else). Just right now, the bills are flying in and there is no money to fly them out. I hate that. It has hit the point where I am rummaging my brain for the filling, thrifty meals that I do know how to make. Unfortunately, bills just cause the specter of Spam and Macaroni and Cheese to rise up in my brain…my mother’s special version. (substitute mayo for the margarine, add a tablespoon or so of yellow mustard)

Now, this is not the reality in our house. A good friend sent us a 50 buck Trader Joe’s gift card as a thank you and housewarming present, so we are eating pretty fancy bits and pieces. The farmer’s market has some good deals.

I am working on a plan though. Really. I am going to sit down and work out a menu and get back in my pre-move habits. Tomorrow! Really. Hold me to it.

In the meantime, I rummaged through my grandmother’s recipe box for ideas on what to post here tonight. This recipe won’t fly with my tight budget now that I live in the north. However, down south, where pecans are cheap (or free!) this makes a good substitute for hamburgers, veggie burgers or crab/fish cakes. I tend to add some Old Bay (1/2 the salt, 1/2 Old Bay) if I am pretending they are crabcakes.


1 1/2 cups ground pecans
1 egg, well-beaten
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 cup milk
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix together pecans, soft bread crumbs, well beaten egg, minced onion, minced parsley, salt and milk. Chill for two hours. Drop spoonfuls into hot fat in skillet. Brown about 5 minutes on each side. (You can broil if you prefer) Serve with hot mushroom sauce (my grandmother generally did a diluted, then thickened cream of mushroom for this…I skip this and serve them ala crabcakes or veggie burgers)


  1. I just found your site and I love it! I’ll be passing it along 🙂 Best of luck with your move!

  2. Thanks Ro!

  3. “Tomorrow! Really. Hold me to it.”

    OK, I am holding you to it. Have you done it?

    Hey, you removed the annoying math thingy from your comment section! Yeah.

  4. I have noticed that in most of my vintage or retro cookbooks the thrifty or meatless sections always use huge amounts of cheese in the recipes. Now days cheese is not a thrifty item! I usually leave nuts out of baked good too, they are expensive any time except around the holidays. I do freeze some then though. I guess pasta and beans are some of the last remaining frugal foods.

  5. Yes, my aunt in Tallahassee has pecan trees. Only 20 or so but that equals a TON of pecans.

    I’m really curious about your recipe, I’m going to try it out, thanks!

    I saw another recipe in this vein last week. (I was looking for a way to ingest more wheat germ). Found it ->

  6. We have ONE Pecan tree. That thing sure makes a mess. Sadly, I never seem to be able to find usable pecans, and neighborhood squirrels chew ’em up and throw them on the driveway.

    Little SOB’s.

  7. Ah Kiesha, those will be the perfect pecans for this. Ground up ones don’t need perfection!

  8. Rochelle, you know, a lot of recipes will have cheese in them but often…it is not as much as I am inclined to toss in. Or the servings stretch further. Of course, you can always cut the cheese down or use a sharper cheese for more flavor for less fat/calories/cost.

  9. Kat-have you seen JenniferShmoo’s magic loaf studio?

  10. OMG I already ate dinner (cereal, limited budget these days) but reading this receipe made my hungry as hell.

    I spend over 10 years in the restaurant business and the last few I played chef. I’ve never seen anything like this!

    I don’t cook jack-squat anymore but I might have to whip out my 10 inch chef knife and have at this recipe in a major way!!!

    Thanks sista!!!

  11. oh, I so remember eating lots of stuff like this… and we even had a pecan meatball one for cooking in soups…

    I miss the pecan trees… technically there’s one at the church up the street that people scavenge but I feel too guilty to do that, LOL

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