I hear you! I've been unemployed now since June. Luckily I'm working at substitute teaching and picking up any other odd jobs I can. While not eligible for stamps and so far not needing to go to food bank, I've really gotten good at buying nutritious, but cheap ingredients. I'm also a decent cook, so I can tell if a recipe will be yummy most of the time. ;)
This looks like it might be 'up your alley' though don't fret if you have more or none of one of the ingredients, improvise off the basic recipe with spices, add leftover or even old veggies-NO mold though! Throw moldy stuff away.
After you make it, you can serve it with a crusty bread or soda crackers. Some shredded cheese on top or a dab of sour cream. Put the left overs into either freezable containers or freezable ziplock bags. Make them the size you and your kids can use for dinner or lunches.
I pray that things look up for both of us sooner than later. http://www.toomanychefs.net/archives/001917.php
7 Bean Soup from 10 Cans
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 15.5-oz can each ( I believe I used Goya for all) of:
small white beans
pigeon peas (find in Mexican ethnic grocery stores)
dark red kidney beans
2 14-oz cans of Vegetable Broth (I used Swanson's clear, which is a little salty, but cheap, cheap, cheap)
1 28 ounce can of fire roasted plum tomatoes (Muir Glen, in my case)
2 tablespoons dried oregano (yep, that's a lot of oregano, but you have a GALLON of soup here, for Pete's sake)
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos or light soy sauce or to taste
In a LARGE stock pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sautée for three-five minutes until everything starts to soften.
Mash up the canned tomatoes then add them to the oil and vegetables. Add the beans, without draining and stir to combine well. Add the stock, oregano, and Bragg's (or soy sauce) and stir well again.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. Recipe makes a little over 1.25 gallons of soup. Eat what you like, freeze the rest - it microwaves well in small containers for lunch. Good with oyster crackers or crusty bread for dipping.