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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook
If you’re anything like me, your heart does not go pitter-patter at the idea of opening a can of veggies and saying, “Buon appetite!” Also, if you’re anything like me, you have a hefty stash of them that you bought on sale. So, how can you use them (and get your family to come back for seconds?)
Here are a few concoctions I make with canned veggies that my family and I enjoy. Consider working them into your repertoire to use up those cans collecting dust in your pantry. Here are some things I make, which include canned veggies, that my whole family enjoys. Please note that these aren’t all the healthiest dishes in the world, but they’re hearty, inexpensive, filling, and tasty if that’s what you’re looking for in a recipe.
I made this one long ago Christmas as an alternative to green bean casserole, and now we eat it regularly (but we still call them Christmas Beans).
- 2 cans of green beans (NOT french cut – the regular ones) well-drained
- 3 strips of bacon
- 2/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of minced onion
- Optional: 1 tsp of flour or cornstarch to thicken your sauce
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Fry up your bacon in a big skillet – I like mine pretty well done but I leave it soft in this initial step.
- Next, remove the bacon to a plate. Once it cools, chop it up into tasty bite-sized pieces.
- Whisk in your sugar, vinegar, garlic, and onion and let it get bubbly. If it needs thickening, whisk in your flour now.
- When it’s the consistency you like, stir in your drained green beans and your bacon. Let it get carmelized and wonderful and heated through – about 3 minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and season it as desired.
Beef and Vegetable Soup
You can use any kind of ground meat for this soup.
- 1 large can of V-8 or V-8 type juice
- 1 pound of ground meat
- 1/2 an onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of green beans, including liquid
- 1 can of corn, including liquid
- 1 can of peas and carrots, including liquid
- Optional: add a can of potatoes and a can of tomatoes, peppers, and onions (like Ro-Tel for my Southern friends) – you can also add some pasta during the last 10 minutes of cooking time
- 2 tablespoons of an Italian spice blend (check out mine here)
- In a large stockpot, brown your ground meat, along with the onion and garlic, until it’s cooked through.
- Turn down the heat and add in all the rest of your ingredients. Let it simmer on the stovetop or dump the entire thing into your crockpot. The longer it cooks, the tastier it is.
I’ve posted this tasty recipe before. You can use piccacillo as a hearty stew, or as an enchilada or burrito filling. Please remember I’m terrible at measuring and tend to cook by “feel” more than by recipe. But the instructions below should give you enough to go on. Feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your own likes and dislikes.
When I lived in Mexico, I was kind of surprised that the only canned veggies I could easily find were mixed vegetables and corn. Once I tried picadillo, I completely understood why they liked canned mixed veggies so much. A friend there brought me some picadillo stew when I had Covid, and I unlocked the world of picadillo. Leftover stew or a version with just a bit of tomato sauce instead of a giant can of tomatoes and broth is used to stuff burritos, enchiladas, and just as a one-dish meal.
Maria never gave me a specific recipe, but this is how she showed me to make it. It seems like a ton of work, but it’s really not bad at all.
- 1-2 pounds of ground beef
- 2 cans of mixed veggies (the kind with potatoes)
- 1 can of black beans
- Finely minced garlic
- 1/2 an onion, minced
- Cumin, chili powder, salt, seasoning salt, and oregano to taste
- 1 small can of tomato sauce
- In a large skillet, fry up your ground beef, garlic, and onion until the meat is cooked through. I prefer to get it a little bit brown because I like the texture better. When it’s almost done, season it with cumin, chili powder, and salt.
- While the meat is cooking, drain two cans of mixed veggies. I usually sit a sieve in a bowl for this.
- Remove the cooked meat mixture from your skillet and immediately put in your mixed veggies. Stir them up in the beef drippings. (I never said this was healthy, right?)
- Fry the veggies for about 10 minutes until they’re nicely browned. Season them with salt and oregano.
- When the veggies are done, stir in your meat mixture and your tomato sauce. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
Use this mixture to stuff your enchiladas or your burritos. If you are making it as a stew, add a large can of crushed tomatoes once everything is fried up and let it simmer for a while.
This is something I learned to make when I lived in Canada. Of course, it’s officially only shepherd’s pie if your meat is ground lamb – I believe it’s called cottage pie with other meats. We just used the name “shepherd’s pie” in a universal sense.
- 1 lb of ground meat
- 1/2 an onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of peas, drained
- 1 can of carrots, , drained
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1/2 a packet of brown gravy mix
- 4 cups of mashed potatoes, prepared
- 2 tbsp of butter (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In an ovenproof skillet, brown your meat, onion, and garlic. (I use my trusty cast-iron frying pan.)
- Stir in your gravy mix to coat the meat, then add your canned veggies (make sure they’re drained!)
- Spread your mashed potatoes over the top of this concoction. Add a dollop of butter and a sprinkle of black pepper on top.
- Bake it at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually cover it with foil the first half hour then remove the foil for the last bit.
Some people like to add cheese to the mashed potatoes but we rarely do. My whole family likes this with a drizzle of ketchup at the table.
Super easy and mostly from pantry ingredients! Nearly all of these recipes call for an egg but because one of my children is allergic, I always left it out and it still turned out great.
- 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
- 1 can of creamed corn
- 1 can of whole-kernel corn, drained
- 1 cup of sour cream OR cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of melted butter
- In a bowl, mix the cornbread mix, butter, and sour cream/cream cheese together until it’s incorporated.
- Stir in the w cans of corn.
- Pop it all in a buttered baking dish and bake it at 350 until a knife comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes.
For a different flavor, you can add cheddar cheese and a wee can of drained, diced chili peppers.
Peas and Potatoes
This falls into the category of not fancy but very tasty and filling. You can season it differently to go with different meals but I’ve just provided the basics here.
- 1 can of potatoes, drained
- 1 can of green peas, drained
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of rubbed thyme
- 2 tbsp of butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a large skillet and cook your onion until it’s translucent.
- Add the rest of the butter, then crank up the heat a little and add the potatoes and peas.
- Put the lid on and set a timer for 4 minutes.
- Stir your mixture – it should be lightly browned on the skillet side. Add your thyme, salt, and pepper, then pop the lid on for 2 more minutes.
Serve as is, or top it with extra butter and a spoonful of sour cream.
What do you do with canned vegetables?
Do you have any go-to recipes to encourage your family to eat canned veggies? Or do you like canned vegetables the way they are? Please share your favorites in the comments!
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.