Money-saving recipes

If you are trying to save a little money on your grocery bills but don’t want to forgo eating meat, try making your next family dinner with SPAM. For years, SPAM has been a favorite of the Hawaiian Islands because of its taste and shelf life. Now with the wallet-tightening economy, meat-loving mainlanders can make a budget-friendly move by replacing a few meat-centric dishes with SPAM.


What is SPAM?

SPAM was invented in 1937 by Jay Hormel (of the Hormel Corporation). It was popular even before World War II, but the war made it even more so, especially with Hawaiians. Tight economies make SPAM ever more popular because it is a tasty cheap alternative to meat. SPAM is a meat product made of real meat, pork and ham. Additional ingredients include sugar, salt, water, potato starch and sodium nitrite (used to keep its color). Because SPAM is canned, it has a near eternal shelf-life. It is a great food to have in your pantry as a quick backup for last-minute meals as well as to frugally feed your family. SPAM is quite versatile and can be prepared in a number of different ways. Frying it in a skillet and making it into a sandwich is most popular. There are at least 11 variations of SPAM products available and each one is tasty and delicious in its own way.

Money-saving recipes with SPAM

All recipes courtesy of

Reuben Burgers

Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) can SPAM Classic, grated
3/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns, split
Sliced pickles Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil. Combine SPAM, breadcrumbs, egg and 1/4 cup dressing in a bowl. Form mixture into 4 patties. 2. Place patties on a pan and broil 3 to 4 minutes per side. During last 2 minutes of cooking, top patties with shredded cheese. 3. Spread the rest of the dressing onto each bun and place patties on buns. Top patties with sauerkraut and pickles.

Creamy Hot SPAM Dip

Makes 6 servings Ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) can SPAM luncheon meat or 1 (12-ounce) can SPAM oven-roasted turkey, shredded
2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
6 to 8 drops hot pepper sauce
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Diced yellow, orange or red bell peppers, for garnish
French bread chunks Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Saute SPAM until golden browned in a skillet. Set aside. Beat cream cheese and milk in a bowl until smooth. Stir in onion, horseradish, pepper sauce and half of the SPAM. 2. Spoon mixture into an 11×17-inch baking dish. Top mixture with the rest of the SPAM. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with green onions and bell peppers. Serve with bread for dipping.

Lentil Cheddar Casserole

Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 cup chopped onion, divided
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) can SPAM Classic, diced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (4-ounce) cup shredded Cheddar cheese Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine lentils, 1/2 cup onion, thyme, salt and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 40 minutes or until lentils are tender and almost all the water is absorbed. 2. Saute green pepper, garlic and the rest of the onion in oil until tender. Mix in tomatoes, SPAM, and pepper. Combine lentils and SPAM mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

More budget-friendly food ideas

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Save money: Eat locally and seasonally


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