The good news is that I've been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. The mid '70s were difficult ones for me. I was laid off at a retail store...not enough sales...sound familiar? I did temp work, odd jobs, street vendor sales at Christmas, sewed my own Christmas gifts by hand because the sewing machine was broken and there was no spare money to fix it. When I went to the grocery store I added up each item in my shopping cart and returned the least needed items to the shelves until I had the amount of groceries that I could pay for with the cash in my pocket. I was young and had no expectation that I should be living a cushy life yet, so it really wasn't bad, but you do learn how to be frugal while having fun.
In ancient times, right around 1978, since we were experiencing a similar shortage of cash as many folks today, we turned to recipes that were less expensive to cook. The cookbook Moosewood Cookbook by the lovely and artistic Mollie Katzen had just been published and going vegetarian was one way of eating more healthfully and frugally at the same time. Her illustrations were wonderful. Everything was done by hand, then turned into a book. How appropriate.
from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, 1977
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 lbs. raw, chopped spinach
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter (I used 2 tablespoons olive oil)
4 beaten eggs (I used the equivalent amount of egg substitute)
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons tamari (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (More, to taste)
a few dashes each - nutmeg, cayenne
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Saute' onions and garlic with the salt in butter (or oil). When onions are soft, add spinach. Cook 2 minutes. (Alternately, thaw and drain a 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach. Add to onion mixture, but don't cook any further.)
Combine the onion mixture with the brown rice, eggs, milk, cheese, parsley, tamari, nutmeg, cayenne, sunflower seeds, paprika. Spread into buttered casserole and sprinkle on top.
Bake, covered, 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
Serves 4 - 6