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Beautiful Baked Beans And Other Ideas

 Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman 

It’s been a tough week for our local postie – having to carry bags full of correspondence from oily rag readers! Here’s a selection of their interesting tips.

We recently asked oily rag readers for ideas on what you can do with a can of baked beans. A Hume from Wairoa says, “I love putting mashed leftover veges with cheese on top with a can of baked beans underneath and heated well.  It’s a vegetarian version of a cottage pie!”

Carol from New Plymouth says, “A tasty easy meal consists of a tin of baked beans and a tin of pineapple pieces. Heat both together gently in a pot and serve on toast! Delicious!”

S.J. from Dunedin writes, “When we have a surplus of baked beans I make tacos. Ingredients: 2 tins of baked beans, 500gms mince, 2 onions, tomato sauce, chilli powder, fresh tomatoes, grated cheese, lettuce, spring opinions, bean sprouts and taco shells or tortillas. Brown the mince in a little oil. Add chopped onions and cook until onions are transparent. Add about 1 teaspoon chilli powder or less if you don't like hot tacos. Wash most of the sauce off the baked beans and add to mince mix. Now use enough tomato sauce to make mix moist.

This is usually about 1 cup. Add fresh chopped tomatoes and cook through. Serve in taco shells with bean sprouts, spring onions and lettuce, topped with grated cheese. Reinvent recipe to suit your own tastes.”

John from Whangarei says he simply has baked beans on toast with and garden fresh sliced tomato.

L.O. from Rangiora even has an idea for the empty baked bean can! “An empty used tin of beans can be used as packaging to post things in. It's quite strong and keeps whatever you are sending safe inside.” What a great tip, especially with Xmas on the way.

If you serve baked beans in a special way – or have a favourite recipe – then let us know by writing to, Oily Rag Tips, PO Box 984, Whangarei. Or avoid the postage price increase by emailing your tips via the oily rag website at

Here are some other tips we have received from readers.

Craig from Hamilton says, “Don't buy expensive skim milk products just buy full fat and water it down – equates to a 50% saving on a basic item… easy!”

A Hume from Wairoa says, “My husband is growing ALL our garden veges from seed.  He has found a useful way of using 2 litre milk bottles as seedling pots.  He cuts it halfway up, fills the bottom with soil, then cuts the top into 4 divider slots & slots them in.  We use every container, yoghurt pottle, plastic bottle, polystyrene container we have coming out of our house.  And best of all, they are reusable.” 

J.C., Masterton says, “Join a local theatre group and get involved.  You'll not only meet a great bunch of people and improve your social life cheaply, you'll also save power by spending less time at home where you might otherwise be watching TV, playing video games or 'socialising' on your computer.” 

With Xmas just around the corner, how about helping us help those who want a Merry Christmas, without the not so merry cost? We would love to hear your no cost or next to no cost Christmas ideas.

Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at If you have some favourite money-saving or money-making tips, share them with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

*Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at The book is available from bookstores and online at