Fall is that time of the year that I get excited about all those hearty comfort foods that I have avoided during the hot weather. It is funny how we eat differently for the seasons.
It seems we eat much lighter foods in the summer, and then get into the warm and filling comfort foods in the winter.
Most of these tips will work for the whole year. Things to think about if you are counting pennies or just can't or don't want to leave the house during the colder months.
- Find that you are out of eggs in the middle of a recipe? That's ok - use something else for the liquid. Not using eggs generally will not change the texture or flavor of the recipe (unless making soufflé). Add more milk or some mayonnaise, or fruit sauces - the recipe should turn out fine.
- Extra coffee? Freeze it in ice cube trays. It can be used to cool a super hot cup of coffee. OR use for flavoring ice cream, smoothies, or add to chocolate cake (enhances flavor) or frosting, fudge, brownies. Add a cube or two to brown gravy as it really makes the gravy have a hearty flavor. So many uses. Do waste it!!!
- No pizza or spaghetti sauce on hand? Want to make a pizza? That's ok - for about a 12" pizza you can use an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and just add oregano, basil, onion/garlic powder, Italian seasoning - whatever you and your family likes and you have pizza sauce! Those 8 oz. cans at Aldi are like .29 each. Makes for a pretty cheap pizza, especially if adding whatever you have in the frig to your pizza. I often use spaghetti sauce if I have no pizza sauce - pretty much the same.
- Fall seems to be the time for corndogs (especially for kids). I like them too - it is just a fun food. You can make some fun corndog bites at home. Make yourself a batch of cornbread (or use a box of Jiffy mix for pennies) and cut up a few hotdogs. Place the cornbread batter in muffin pans (mini works super great) and place a chunk of hotdog in the center and bake as normal. For a fuller bite of 'dog' - dice up your hotdogs and add to the batter. You can still bake in muffin pans or just bake in a regular pan. I like to add some chopped jalapenos for 'grown up' corndog bites.
This is a cheap and easy (fun) food for young and old alike. Great after school snack or serve with a pot of soup beans or some mac n cheese for dinner!
- Have leftover chili? Use it over hotdogs as a topping or on baked potatoes, or even on top of burgers if it is thick! Add some shredded or chunks of cheese and melt for a great dip for tortilla chips or pita bread. (super nachos)
- Do you drive by a house each week that has an unused apple tree? Apples falling all over the yard? Stop and ask if you can glean them. What is the worst that can happen? They say no - but maybe they will say yes and you will get some free fruit!
- Winter squash is about to be harvested. There are many uses for it. It should be fairly cheap this time of the year. It is wonder in making 'cream of' soups, use in your favorite pie recipe in place of pumpkin (you will be amazed), roast chunks (oh so good). Think about adding chunks to a hearty stew or soup recipe. Cut in half - remove seeds - and stuff with sausage/tomato sauce/cheese (whatever you like). Heavenly! There are many, many varieties out there and they are so good. Get creative and jazz up your fall recipes a bit.
- Serve sliced apples with peanut butter and raisins - such a fall treat and healthy too. Good to make a sandwich out of these too. Super after school/work treat!
- Make your own latte at home for pennies. Heat up 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave for a couple minutes and add 1/2 cup of very strong coffee (sweeten if desired). Sure beats going out and spending a fortune of a fancy coffee (lattes aren't really fancy - just a fancy price)
- If you really like all things pumpkin (I can't fathom), watch for the upcoming sales and stock up. Best bet is to get fresh pumpkins AFTER Halloween and carve, and roast and freeze your own OR watch for clearance of canned pumpkin after the holidays. You can usually get very cheaply - so stock up (it will be good for ages). If doing fresh - don't forget to clean and roast those seeds as well.
- Like smores, but don't have access to a campfire? If you have a gas stove - you are set! I often place a big marshmallow on the end of a fork and roast - then add to your graham cracker or cookie along with your chocolate. Think about using those shortbread cookies that are chocolate striped and have a chocolate back - they work perfectly! (or homemade chocolate chip cookies). It is a fun treat!
- This is a tip I use often. I love Eckrich smoked sausage - wonderful flavor that not all others have. It is kind of pricey unless you find a super sale. I buy John Morrell smoked sausage and keep on hand for many dishes. I can often get it for $1 or less for a 12 oz. package (Meijer regularly has on their 11/$10 sale). It is great to slice up and add to spaghetti sauce, or to add to soups or stews. Homemade Jumbalaya (sp.) or Gumbo is wonderful with it as well. Slice super thin and add to pizza toppings. It is much cheaper and can be used in a variety of dishes that still taste yummy with it. Think about using different brands sometimes - especially when there is a lot of other ingredients to enhance flavors.
Here is a fun fall recipe to try. I hope you enjoy it.
CARMEL APPLE SALAD
8 oz. container of thawed Cool Whip
3 1/2 oz. package of instant butterscotch pudding mix
8 oz. crushed pineapple
3 C chopped and peeled apples
1 C dry roasted peanuts
1 C mini marshmallows
Mix pudding mix, cool whip and pineapple together until well blended - then add remainder of the ingredients. Chill until ready to use. It is yummy!
So there you have a few fall tips for the kitchen.
I hope you find one or two you can use or it gives you a few new ideas. ENJOY!
It's almost fall!!!!!!!!!!!