Budget Recipe of the Week: Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Cajun Style Soup With Dak Ham & Gluten-Free Cornbread

Avatar Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: March 27, 2020
Budget Recipe of the Week: Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Cajun Style Soup With Dak Ham & Gluten-Free Cornbread

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I have been thinking about recipes that are simple, inexpensive, and will feed a whole group in an emergency situation. These recipes may not be the fanciest but I am trying to come up with some that will provide good nutrition and flavor and fill bellies at a good price.

Easy recipes encourage people to cook at home and save money

Some may scoff, but a lot of folks don’t cook that much anymore or even know how to so easy recipes are necessary to gain skills and confidence.

Cooking at home saves money. The recipes and meal plans I am going to share will also come in handy during those lean times when you are trying to stretch your money until you get paid again.

This week I am making Cajun 15 Bean Soup with Dak Ham and cornbread on the side. The cornbread is gluten-free, so it is a bit more expensive to make than other cornbread.

Of course you could also eliminate the cornbread and just eat the soup and ham but with a cake of cornbread added in you can feed even more people. This recipe could easily be halved as well if you don’t have enough hungry folks around to eat it fast enough.

Here is the cost breakdown for all the ingredients I used in the soup. These ingredients are gluten-free as well for those of you that had to give up wheat like me!

Note: For those that have are very sensitive to gluten I do want to mention that the ingredients are not produced in an exclusively gluten free facility.

This recipe makes an outstanding 16 modestly sized servings or 8 very large and hearty servings, making it great for prepper groups and families! I will talk more about calories, protein, and fat later on.

Hurst’s HamBeens Brand Cajun 15 Bean Soup with Seasoning Packet $3.00

My cost for the beans was higher because I bought them at a local grocery store. At Wal-Mart they are around $2 per pack.

Dak Canned Ham 1 lb $4.00

1 Onion (you could substitute dried minced onions if needed) $0.75

1 14.5 oz can tomatoes or 6 medium sized fresh ones $1.50

A few cloves of garlic $0.25

Soup Total $9.50 or $0.60 per serving!

Making The Soup

To make the soup I put the beans into a bowl and rinsed just to make sure there was no debris in them. Beans sometimes have some gritty bits or other organic matter in them that you don’t want in your food.

I used a 7 quart Crock Pot but you could get away with a slightly smaller one if you need to. I put 12 cups of water and the beans in and turned on high for an hour and then turned it down to low for a few more. Crock Pot and slow cooker times will vary a bit depending on size, brand, and temperature options.

When beans were cooked I cut up and added the tomatoes directly to the Crock Pot.

Frying the Onions, Garlic, and Ham

The onions, garlic, and ham should be cut up and fried in a separate pan until well done. I tried to get the ham a little browned. This mix was added to the soup and the whole mixture was allowed to cook on high in the Crock Pot for another 30 minutes.

I wanted to mention that the reason I brown the ham and add it at the end is that if you add canned ham too early when making soup and without browning, it will be mush by the time you are ready to eat. I am not sure how much the browning helps by itself but I do know that this soup turned out a lot better than the last time I used canned ham.


I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix because that is what I had on hand. Here is the rough cost estimate. It is hard for me to get it down to the penny because we raise our own eggs and I render lard from fat purchased from a local farm.

Cost of Cornbread

Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix $2.50 (I buy when on sale at Vitacost)

amazon product

2 Eggs $0.50

1 stick butter $0.75

1 ½ cups buttermilk $0.50

(I use powdered or I substitute yogurt I make at home)

Total Cost $4.25 for 16 servings or 8 really large pieces.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If your oven tends to run a little hotter than what the dial says, adjust as you see fit.

To make the cornbread you just need to melt the butter in a cast iron pan and then pour it into a bowl. Pour the cornbread mix in the bowl as well and then add the eggs and buttermilk or yogurt. Mix well and pour into pan. If mix is very dry you can add a few tablespoons of water but be careful to avoid adding too much. Bake until golden brown. You can brush the top with butter if you like.

Here is the calorie breakdown for this meal per serving to the best of my knowledge. There may be some slight variation if you make any substitutions.

Calorie, Protein, and Fat Breakdown

Calories in DAK Ham 800

Calories in HamBeen Soup 1920

Additional Calories from Vegetables Added 100 (This number will vary a bit but tomatoes really do not have many calories nor do onions

Cornbread 3040! Corn is so calorie dense it is amazing

Protein Total For 1 serving Soup and 1 Slice Cornbread

Soup 8 grams of protein per serving

Cornbread 2 grams per serving

Ham 4.5 grams per ½ oz

10 grams of protein total in meal

How much protein does someone really need to maintain health?

The recommended protein intake per day for a person is calculated by multiplying weight in lbs by 0.36. This is a base line number for those that are fairly sedentary. If you are active or trying to gain muscle mass, then you will need more. There is no set guideline as to exactly how much.

Here is a link to an online USDA calculator that can help you find out the recommended protein for your body type and lifestyle. It also provides guidelines for other nutrition your body needs.


0 grams of fat in Soup

5.5 grams of fat per serving of Cornbread

4.5 grams of fat per ½ oz ham

10 grams of fat total for meal

This soup and cornbread meal is equal to 5860 calories so it would provide 16 people with just 366 calories, 14.5 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat.

I don’t think that the nutritional facts is doing themselves any favors when they create small serving sizes like that found on the HamBeens Bag.

I think this meal is more suitable for 8 adults at most. This would mean each person received a meal containing 732 calories, 29 grams of protein, and 20 grams of fat. That is a good hearty meal suitable for those that are doing some extra physical tasks.

Total Cost Per Serving If 8 Adults Split This Meal: $13.75 Total for Meal/8= $1.72 per meal

I think that for a meal that has real meat in it and a lot of protein, fat, and calories, this is a very budget friendly recipe that will fill bellies and keep people strong. 732 calories is a good meal size. If you ate that much 3 times per day it would equal nearly 2200 calories, which is an acceptable number for a lot of adults unless they are really doing a ton of physical work.

Halving The Recipe

This recipe can easily be halved for smaller families and groups. Feeding a family of 4 adults a very large meal would only add up to $6.88. You could likely feed 2 adults and 3 kids with the same amount of food.

Well I am going to try to come up with some other recipes that are inexpensive and filling.

Keep in mind that this recipe, despite the low cost, is gluten-free and contains no uncultured dairy products so those that are sensitive to lactose could eat this too.

Conclusion: This soup and cornbread meal exceeded my expectations and I will be making it again on a cold day this Fall or Winter. It was easy to make while I did other tasks and it was tasty and filling.

Samantha Biggers can be reached at samantha@backdoorsurvival.com.

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