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23 Dinners That Got Us Through the Great Depression

Home cooks let their creativity shine in the 1930s, when certain foods were hard to come by and money was tight.

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Slow Cooker Mushroom StuffingTaste of Home

Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing

My grandmother created this recipe after my grandfather left the well-drilling business and invested all their money in a mushroom farm. The farm was a success and saw the family through the Great Depression. —Eric Cooper, Durham, North Carolina

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Sausage Potato SupperTaste of Home

Sausage Potato Supper

One Saturday night a few years ago, I came up with this dish on the spur of the moment. It was dinnertime, and I had to use what I had on hand. It's been a hit with my family ever since. —Nancy Russell, Englewood, Colorado

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Hot Dog PieTaste of Home

Hot Dog Pie

A co-worker who loves hot dogs shared this recipe with me. Baked in a purchased pastry shell, the pie is easy to assemble and is on the table in just 30 minutes. —Amy Bullis, Henryville, Pennsylvania

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Corned Beef Stir-FryTaste of Home

Corned Beef Stir-Fry

The celery seed really comes through in this colorful combination of carrots, cabbage and corned beef. A woman at church shared the recipe with me. My husband and son love its subtle sweetness. —Alesah Padgett, Franklin, Georgia

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Dandelion SaladTaste of Home

Dandelion Salad

This is one my favorite salads and it is so healthy for you! Guests will be surprised at how wonderful it tastes. —Frances Sheridan Goulart, Weston, Connecticut

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Ham, Bean and Potato SoupTaste of Home

Ham, Bean and Potato Soup

When I was a cook in a restaurant years ago, this was our best-selling soup. One taste and your family will agree it's a winner!

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Country Fish Chowder

Country Fish Chowder

You'll think you're on Cape Cod when you taste this thick, wholesome chowder made from a recipe I've treasured for many years. It's one of my husband's favorites. He likes it more and more because over the years I've "customized" the basic recipe by including ingredients he enjoys. —Linda Lazaroff, Hebron, Connecticut

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Meat and Potato PattiesTaste of Home

Meat and Potato Patties

During World War II, when meat was rationed and had to be purchased with tokens, this recipe went a long way in feeding a family. To this day, I still reach for it whenever I want something different from regular hamburgers. By the way, children really like these (just as I did when I was a child!).— Gladys Klein, Burlington Wisconsin

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Crunchy Tuna Salad with Tomatoes

Crunchy Tuna Salad with Tomatoes

On a hot summer day, there's nothing more refreshing than this salad. I grow a few tomato plants in my garden and the fresh-picked taste makes the dish even more of a treat. —Diane Selich, Vassar, Michigan

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Hearty Leek and Potato SoupTaste of Home

Hearty Leek and Potato Soup

This thick, flavorful soup is a winner in our home and makes a nice starter dish. —Rachel Taylor, Springfield, Tennessee

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Truly Tasty Turnips with Greens

Truly Tasty Turnips with Greens

This savory dish is a hit at every church dinner. Adjust the seasonings as you please to make the recipe your own. —Amy Inman, Hiddenite, North Carolina

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Traditional Meat LoafTaste of Home

Traditional Meat Loaf

Topped with a sweet sauce, this traditional meat loaf recipe tastes so good that you might want to double it so everyone can have seconds. It also freezes well. —Gail Graham, Maple Ridge, British Columbia

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Creamy Chipped Beef FondueTaste of Home

Creamy Chipped Beef Fondue

My mother often served fondue on Christmas Eve and I've since followed in that tradition. It's nice to offer a hearty appetizer that requires very little work. —Beth Fox, Lawrence, Kansas

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Egg Drop SoupTaste of Home

Egg Drop Soup

We start many stir-fry meals with this easy egg drop soup, which cooks in just a few minutes. There are many recipe variations, but we like the addition of cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it a rich, golden color. I got the recipe from Grandma’s old cookbook. —Amy Beth Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan

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Comforting Potato CasseroleTaste of Home

Comforting Potato Casserole

After enjoying this creamy, snazzed-up potato casserole at a wedding dinner, my daughters and I asked the caterer to share the recipe. Because it can be made ahead, it's a great recipe for busy cooks. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Spaghetti with Bacon

Spaghetti with Bacon

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota

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Hearty Navy Bean SoupTaste of Home

Hearty Navy Bean Soup

My family loves navy bean soup! Beans were a commodity you did not survive without in the '30s. This excellent navy beans and ham soup is a real family favorite of ours and I make it often. —Mildred Lewis, Temple, Texas

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Spiedis

Spiedis

This is our favorite cookout dish, and it's very good served with a salad. This recipe originated here in my hometown in the 1930s. Our meat preference for speidis is venison, but we use chicken and beef when it's not available. —Gertrude Skinner, Binghamton, New York

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Italian Cabbage Soup

Italian Cabbage Soup

After doing yardwork on a windy day, we love to come in for a light but hearty soup like this one. It's brimming with cabbage, veggies and white beans. Pass the oven-warmed bread! —Jennifer Stowell, Deep River, Iowa

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Diner Corned Beef HashTaste of Home

Diner Corned Beef Hash

I created my hash to taste like a dish from a northern Arizona restaurant we always loved. We round it out with eggs and toast made from homemade bread. —Denise Chelpka, Phoenix, Arizona

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Stovetop GoulashTaste of Home

Stovetop Goulash

I created this recipe after trying goulash at a local restaurant. The blend of spices gives it fabulous flavor, and it’s so easy to make on a weeknight! —Karen Schelert, Portland, Oregon

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Hearty Mixed Vegetable SoupTaste of Home

Hearty Mixed Vegetable Soup

My sister, who worked as a dietitian for years, gave me this recipe. I sometimes double or triple this hearty soup when my family gathers for the holidays. —Lucille Franck, Independence, Iowa

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Lima Bean SoupTaste of Home

Lima Bean Soup

A yearly Lima Bean Festival in nearby West Cape May honors the many growers there and showcases different recipes using their crops. This comforting chowder was a contest winner at the festival several years ago. —Kathleen Olsack, North Cape May, New Jersey

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.

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