Sauerkraut and Weenies (& Your Favorite Po’Folks Food!)


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When I was little, we couldn’t wait for supper each night. Mama always put together budget meals, not because she was  trying to scale back on expenses, but because we barely had enough to feed us all and a “budget meal” was just a nice way of saying we could make a single pound of ground beef stretch for two meals.

This is one of my dear favorite meals as a girl and still is. It is a prime example of what I call “poor folks food”, and so very good! Oh goodness I’m getting hungry. I see this meal and I feel like a little girl with two pony tails coming in from playing outside, just barely stopping as I ran into the house and took my seat at our table. Remember how we’d fly through that front door  when Mama called us for supper? Coming in all breathless and hot, and just as you hit the door you’d get a whiff of what was cooking and realize that you were starving.

Raise your hand if you had a dirt necklace every night when you were a kid! ~raises hand proudly~

Now I realize some folks are just not sauerkraut fans. Chances are, I lost ’bout half of you in the title of this post, but the funny thing is what happened to the other half! Some of y’all saw that title and your mouth started watering, you clicked on it to see the photo and your stomach started growling, and chances are pert dern good that you’ll be having this for supper tonight. Those who don’t fit into this category, feel free to think of the rest of us as weird, we won’t mind and there will be more sauerkraut for us!

This is one of those meals that is great with slices of polish sausage but I still like to cook it how Mama did growing up, just by chopping up a few weenies and cooking until the kraut and weenies brown a bit. It is divine served with a side of pintos and a big old slice of cornbread. Mmmmm, thats good eating right there.

You can add as many weenies or sausage as you like and if you’re vegetarian, just get some vegan hot dogs and keep on keeping on.

You’ll need: Sauerkraut and weenies.

You’ll also season with salt and pepper. How many weenies you use is up to you. We used to have to determine this based on how many we had, so to be able to use as many as you want is a big step up nowadays.

I have a friend from Germany ~waves to Gudrun~ who swears by the bagged sauerkraut so I started buying it and now I’m a convert, too. You can get it in the refrigerated section near the weenies usually and sometimes near the deli if they have a refrigerated section there as well. Mama likes the kind you get in a glass jar and we’ve both used the kind that comes in a can (which you get on the vegetable aisle). Overall, they are all good and there isn’t a lot of price difference so it is up to you to pick  your favorite .

Slice your weenies and put them in a large skillet.

Add in about two cups of sauerkraut.

Cook this over medium to medium high heat, stirring often.

Season with salt to taste.

And pepper to taste.

You can start with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and then adjust to make it just right for you.

You can cook this until your weenies and sauerkraut get a little browned or you can just cook it until everything is heated through.

It sure does look nice if you brown it but I can never wait that long.

Now here is a supper from the old days!

Tell me about your favorite “Poor Folks Food” growing up in the comments section below!

You are welcome to chat with each other in the comments as we all reminisce.

This is our big old dinner table and we’re all family here!

Sauerkraut and Weenies
  • 2-4 weenies (or polish sausage)
  • 2 Cups sauerkraut
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Slice weenies into small pieces. Place in skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add Sauerkraut. Cook, stirring often, until kraut and weenies brown slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Suggested Accompaniments:


Dixie Cornbread

Mama Reed’s Fruit Cocktail Cake


Life is really simple,

but we insist on making it complicated.

~Confucius. Submit your quote or, read some more, by clicking here.


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  1. Wendy says

    I’m supposed to be spending my lovely day home – all by myself! – doing housework; however, I decided to jump on here to get some supper ideas… Oh well, the housework will still be here!

    To this day, my favorite “po folk” meal has to be fried potatoes and Treet. Not Spam – Treet! I’m told it was due to the fact that Spam is about twice the price of Treet. If I’m stumped for supper ideas, it’s one of hubby’s first suggestions every time! At $1.25 a can, sometimes now we even get to use 2 cans! He just started a new job after a month of being unemployed, and his first check is still a week & a half away, so I went through the pantry this weekend and was thrilled to see 4 cans of Treet sitting on the shelf!

    We just cut the Treet into bite-size pieces and dump in the pan with the potatoes as they’re frying. You have to love a meal that fills up so many people for so little money! Add some cornbread and my family thinks “wow, she fixed one of my favorite meals” and I think “wow – I fed my family for under $3.00 (or under $5.00 if I splurged and used 2 cans!)

  2. Beth sanchez says

    My favorite po folks food was also the famous SOS. Now adays it is a treat for me because neither my husband or son will touch it so on days they want a dinner i dont particularly care for i will mix this up for me and take the extra to work the next day for lunch. Yummy! Although i have recently started using your tip of precooking the hamburger meat and freezing it which i have found to be a lifesaver on nights when i am exhausted. Now i can just make enough for me instead of feeling like i have to cook a whole pound of meat.

  3. says

    I’m super late to the party, but came across this post while I was planning my menu for next week. We had two budget meals my mom made aaaallll the time that I absolutely hated……creamed chipped beef and creamed tunafish. However, I’m pretty sure my fiance would absolutely love both of my most hated childhood menus, so I might have to give them a second chance!

  4. Josey Schaub says

    I like Jodi T.’s idea of weenier and fried potatoes, the kraut would be hard on our sensitive tummies. Will be making something like it this week, thanks for the inspiration! Love the budget meal planning posts!

  5. Lisa says

    My mama would cook up some stewed tomatoes, put a little thickening in there and pour it over corn bread. Would always have fried potatoes cooked with onion with it. Yummy, also has a lot of crap and weenies(kraut and weenies) lol. Also salmon patties. If you didn’t get enough to eat you could always eat you some milk and bread, with a little onion or cheese!

  6. Mary says

    I had two favorite “po folk” dishes. Macroni and tomatoes and fried potatoes with onions with weiners sliced and cooked on top! Delish! I sure didn’t know we were “po folks” with good food like that!

  7. Tracey says

    I haven’t had kraut in years so I’ll have to go out & get some! My mom used to make us fried bologna, “soft” fried potatoes & pork n beans…that was some good eatin’ right there:)

  8. Debbie says

    Same as yours, girl :) This WVa girl (who now lives in Ohio with a Buckeye hubby) loves her weenies and sauerkraut with a side of pintos and cornbread…. that’s some good eatin’! Not so sure he agrees, but I make it just the same, you don’t want it? There are fast-food places all over!

  9. Cindy says

    Yummy and cheap ….. feed mom and 5 kids (dad worked nights). A hot German potato salad and hot dogs in the pressure cooker. I have a sneaky suspicion Mom ate mostly potatoes. Gotta love a sacrificing mom. Miss her daily!!

  10. Tina says

    A big bowl of potatoe soup and cornbread. Now that is good eatin’!!! My aunt wouldn’t eat it. She said it made her feel poor. Funny… to me there’s nothing any better.


  11. JJH says

    Mom always added a bit of sugar to give it a sweet & sour flavor. Added water as needed until sauerkraut took on on a caramel color. Made for my family, too, but haven’t made it for years. Son ~ now 42 yrs old ~ loved it so much he make in his own home.

  12. Barbara Miller says

    my paw would feed me saltine crackers and ketchup. we loved it. Mom used to make us a treat on Saturday mornings of white bread dotted with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar and toasted under the broiler. Aunt Sue used to make the best tomato sandwiches from tomatoes from the garden, Sunbeam bread and Dukes mayo, we called them Sue Sandwiches. The tomatoes were from grannies garden and the 1″ thick, red and yellow slices were bigger than the bread slice. MMMMMMMMM!

    • Cindy Means says

      My late father, we called him Pappy, was from North Carolina. He introduced us to all kinds of fun stuff from his Appalachian upbringing. Soggy ‘mater sandwiches were the best, in the summer when our tomatoes were coming on strong. White bread, lots of mayo, sliced fresh “maters, salt, and plenty of black pepper. Had to let them set just a bit to get good and soggy, dripping down your chin! :) Also, Sauerkraut straight out of the jar. Souse meat(head cheese) soaked for a bit in vinegar and served on saltines. Me and Mama loved brains (canned) and eggs, Yuck. Poke Salad (wallet) from wild poke weed. Squirrel and rabbit, quail and pheasant, all fried with gravy. I could go on and on. Love all that stuff and the memories it brings back to me. And yes, sauerkraut and weiners, about once every two weeks, buttered potatoes, and green peas, never varied.

  13. Krista says

    Im way late but we had this and SOS. :-) both were my favs too and I have not made these for my boys.. getting on that this week! Thanks for the reminder of what real life should be like. Also one of our midwest poor foods was a can of vegetable beef soup dumped into cooked elbow macaroni. learned to hate it as a kid but oddly crave it once in awhile as an adult! lol

  14. Beth says

    Pinto beans cooked with a ham bone, potatoes fried with onion and white bread and butter under the pintos, yummmm! We didn’t grow up with cornbread, and now days I never eat white bread, but still like whole grain under the beans.

    Mom called hamburger, onion, elbow roni and canned tomatoes goulash, my apologies to the real stuff, but I still love it and make it often.

    White rice with milk, sugar and butter and cinnamon when you were too sick for regular dinner. still a treat!

  15. Jayson in Oklahoma says

    I grew up eating sauerkraut and wieners. My mother and all my grandmother’s made this, pretty much the same way. Very simple and cheap, but very good. We would have red beans, cornbread and soft fried potatoes. Christy, the plates you have the kraut, beans and cornbread on are the same plates my parents had that I remember eating on my whole life. They were a wedding gift to my parents, back in 1977. Love these simple old time foods. Lots of memories.

      • Ruth S says

        SOS is S*** (poop) On a Shingle! My husband said that’s what the Navy called it. It’s chipped beef, the kind you get in the little jars, rinsed and chopped and added to milk gravy, or bechamel sauce. Some make it with hamburger, and I’ve used the little packs of Buddig wafer sliced beef with good results.

    • Mabel says

      I still love kraut and wieners!!! But I have to make instant mashed potatoes with this!!! I DO NOT make instant mashed potatoes ANY other time!!! It is weird but needed every now and then!!!

  16. Drew says

    My momma always made macaroni noodles and tomatoes.. gooood stuff. And salmon patties, I LOVE those. And cube steak. Also, what we called Swiss steak, which was cube steak, and basically vegetable stew with rice.

  17. Ashley Lowe says

    My grandmother made a dish called tomato pudding. It consisted of her canned tomatoes, light bread, butter, brown sugar and salt and pepper. I loved it! When my husband and I started dating I told him he HAD to try it! He took one bite and made a terrible face! Haha he was not a fan. We also used to eat macaroni and tomatoes with ritz crackers. That’s still one of my favorite dishes!

  18. Amanda M says

    Back in the 70’s when I was growing up, Hamburger Helper was new at the grocery with only two flavors. I remember them well as we ate it every week cuz my Mom really disliked cooking which I guess is the reason I love cooking! Cheeseburger Macaroni and the Potato Stroganoff. Glad to have it then and wouldn’t eat it for years when I got older, but now crave it occasionally.

  19. Chris Thomas says

    We grew up on this, with a slight variation. Because the sauerkraut was a little too sour for us kids, mom would drain the liquid from the kraut. She’d then put it in a pot, put a little water over it, added a pinch of sugar and a teaspoon or so of caraway seeds. Then she’d let it simmer for about a half hour. For the hot dogs, she’d cut them up and fry them up with a little butter and oil until they were browned. Then she’d throw them into the pot with the kraut for a bit and then serve them up with a side of baked beans and Boston brown bread.
    The only thing that could top that was when my grandpa would take me to Coney Island, which we lived not far from. There we’d each get two Nathan’s hot dogs slathered with hot Kosher mustard and topped with that day-glow green relish, a side of chips (fries), and wash it all down with an ice cold Nedicks orange drink. Oh how I miss that.

  20. Lisa says

    We have sauerkraut and weenies when we are needing a trip to the grocery and there is nothing left in the house to cook. Ha ha. I add a little sugar to the kraut and we have fried potatoes and cornbread. My husband eats so much he almost makes himself sick! We also like macaroni and tomato juice and often fix that when nothing else sounds good or someone is not feeling well.

  21. Beverly Wagner says

    My childhood favorite was grits, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. Mama would cut the potatoes really thin and fry them up crunchy. We would even use them as spoons to scoop up the grits. My older cousins used to scramble ground beef and add it to canned pork and beans. I’m not sure what else they put in there, but like so many of you, I get a craving for it every once in a while :)

  22. Valorie D says

    Funny to see this – we just had sausage and kraut with fried potatoes a couple weeks ago after not having it for years. We ate a lot of ham and beans with cornbread. Pork and beans were a regular “side” dish. When we were at the end of the food budget Mom was sure to make hamburger soup with whatever leftovers were in the fridge – she always saved every little spoonful left after a meal. Our salmon patties were really mackerel as it was cheaper. Today one of our favorite quick budget meals is breakfast sausage patties and baked beans.

  23. Mary Ellen says

    Oh, that looks so good! My family is German and I grew up eating sauerkraut with sausages, hot dogs, pork cops…etc. I agree that the bagged kind tastes better. I was just reading that it is really good for you since it contains probiotics so it helps with digestion and your immune system. Now if I can only convince my kids to eat it…lol!! Thanks for the recipe, Christie! I am not a Southern girl myself, but I love good food!

  24. Annaliese says

    While spending summers at my great grandparents farm in rural Nebraska, kraut and pork was a stable always on the table. I remember great grandma planting, harvesting and curing the cabbage in big crocks that were in what she called the “ladder”. The pork also came from the farm/smokehouse and there was always a different kind served w/the kraut. My favorite was w/ big, thick slabs of bacon. Thanks so much for recalling the memories for me!

  25. Jayson in Oklahoma says

    I’ve noticed a number of people mention eating “Macaroni & Tomatoes”. I also grew up eating them as well. My great-grandmother used to make it. I make them the way she did and it is so good. Is that something common around the country, or just in the South? Our version wasn’t like “Italian” tasting, but more southern, because of the bacon grease added to it with large elbow macaroni, onion, and fresh or canned diced tomatoes, some reserved pasta water, salt, pepper and sugar. So simple but so good and satisfying. Just curious about anyone else’s thoughts on Macaroni & Tomatoes.

    • SFox says

      I’m from the south and grew up on this, too. I’ve traveled a lot and don’t recall encountering it outside southern states. I make it almost exactly as discussed here and my husband and I also grew up called it “goulash” although I now know better. We still have this every few weeks, with cornbread. Tasty!

  26. Sandy Noonan says

    my mom,cooked sour kraut with a little brown sugar and two green apples sliced thin.
    she would let that cook for 3 min. then put in the sliced hot dogs. and let the hot dogs get hot.
    then on the side she would serve boiled potatoes.for my self,I just like the sour kraut and hot dogs.
    it is so good .

  27. SFox says

    My po folks food memories include all of those above, but also (1) backbone (neck bones) and rice and (2) hamburger/onion gravy. I still make the gravy, but not so much the backbone and rice. It’s very difficult to find neck bones that aren’t smoked, and I don’t particularly like the flavor the smoked ones add. The hamburger onion gravy can feed a family with about a cup of ground beef, browned with lots of sweet Vidalia onion, then thickened with a little flour and milk just like pan gravy. My husband and I have this over white bread with a side salad. Quick, tasty, cheap and filling dinner, although the fat content probably doesn’t pass current health muster (but then what southern foods do?). I still cook with real milk, butter, eggs…all the bad stuff. But it tastes soooo good.

  28. Debora Thrasher says

    My mother made cornbeef hash, it was a can of corn beef, potatoes and onions all cooked together until potatoes were tender. She added more potatoes if more people were eating we loved it. Also my dad was away in the Army she could get wings for 10 cents a pound she would fry a big pan full for us.

  29. Susan says

    My mother made this a lot and, having Polish grandmothers, she would most often make it with kielbasa. In fact, we had that on New Year’s day! One of the things my mother would make as a “po’ folks” dinner was creamed eggs – hard boiled eggs in a white cream sauce and served over toast. Delicious – especially in the winter! She would also make thin sugar pancakes (almost like a crepe) for us for snacks, and serve them with jam.

  30. Billie Vanderburg says

    One of our favorite family meals (3 kids and me and hubby) was a variation of this. I found the recipe on the back of a smoked sausage package years ago. Drain and rinse in cold water one can of kraut; thinly slice one package of smoked sausage; chop one medium onion and one medium bell pepper. Cook the onion and pepper until almost done in 2 tablespoons cooking oil, stir in the sausage and let brown. Stir in the kraut and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Heat thoroughly. The family loved this meal. My 33 year old son called me about a month ago and asked me how to make “that kraut and sausage dish” everyone loved. Good memories and good food.
    P.S. This recipe was the first I had ever seen that called for draining and rinsing the canned kraut, but I have been doing it ever since. Makes it taste like the refrigerated kraut but at much less cost. I like the Aldi kraut also!

  31. Sharon says

    Hi Christy! I didn’t grow up in the South, but growing up in Pennsylvania, we had our own version of ‘Po’-folk food….can’t say we ever called it by that name though, haha! My mom would often make what she called “frizzled hamburger’ – browned ground beef with brown gravy and mashed potatoes. Because it was cheap, we also ate our fair share of spaghetti with Ragu jar sauce. If things were really tight, my mom would make these canned ‘Vienna sausages’…ewww!!!! I think they were around 50 cents a can back in the 80’s. Oh, how I hated those things! I laugh when I think back to when my husband and I started dating. He invited me to dinner for the first time and his mother made scrapple sandwiches… (say what?!). The following week he invited me to dinner and she made SOS… (you mean this stuff is meant for human consumption?) By now I started to get concerned that I had not left a good impression the first go-round and she was exacting revenge for something….the third time he invited me to eat with them, she served split-pea and ham soup ( I hated peas!). I finally broke down and asked him if his mom hated me…he looked totally confused and I explained that each of the times I came to dinner, she made something that….. let’s just say, those Vienna sausages were starting to look real good to this hungry girl! I really thought his mom hated me, and this was her way of trying to get rid of me. To this day he and I still laugh at that memory. My dear mother-in-law passed unexpectedly 11 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could taste her split-pea with ham soup again – yes, I learned to make it AND love it and even learned to tolerate scrapple sandwiches for my dear hubby’s sake. As for the creamed chipped beef….not a chance……….LOL!

  32. Dorothy Dunton says

    Have y’all ever had macaroni and milk? It was pretty good and filling! And, by the way, the stores still sell those nasty little cans of Vienna sausage and potted meat – YUK! And they still cost less than 50 cents!

  33. Eva says

    Red kidney beans with chopped onions, sometimes cornbread sometimes bread, a variation was large limas with the same, and really different was broadbeans, as you can tell we ate a lot of beans, also bacon, biscuits and sourkraut, potatoes fried with onions and sage were often served with a slice of bacon and in summer a salad from the garden. Lots of times it was waffles and eggs, sometimes fried oatmeal mush left over and scrapple made wth the hambone and fried. The later in the month the more we ate maccaroni with butter, rice with butter, potates with butter and maybe an dgg or slice of bacon, sometime we got maccaroni and tomatoes. Everything but the rice is still being cooked but I don’t loke rice much and being diabetic was told to avoid it, which made my day.

  34. Joyce M. says

    This WV gal remembers plenty of poor folks meals but a few dishes that stand out is poor man’s gravy over biscuits – gravy was made with bacon grease, flour, canned milk and water. Also – we would crumble leftover cornbread in a glass of buttermilk and eat that – my grandad loved it! My personal favorite was tomato dumplings. Rolled dumplings cooked in home canned tomatoes sweetened with a little sugar. Nothing beats poor folks country cooking !

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