Fall Frugal Recipes Featuring Fall Produce

Photo Credit: Quiltsalad Flickr

Photo Credit: Quiltsalad Flickr

One of the best ways to eat frugally and save money on your grocery bill is to feature in-season produce in your recipes. Here are some fall fruits and veggies to keep in mind as you shop and some great frugal recipes to go with them.

  • Apples: Apples are the quintessential fall fruit. They are harvested in the Northern Hemisphere during the late summer and fall. While apples are really great all by themselves, they are also wonderful additions to almost any dish. Check out two of my new favorite apple recipes: fried collards with apples and cinnamon apple pork chops. If you are looking for a fun fall activity, why not pick the apples yourself? Check out these twin cities apple orchards for more information.
  • Kale: This hearty green often gets over looked in the grocery store. But it is really tasty when prepared well. Kale is known as one of the most healthy foods in the world, chock full of vitamins A, K, C and maganese. With its hearty leaves it is great in soups and salads as well as steamed all on its own. Check out this great kale with white beans and sausage soup recipe. Check out these 22 kale recipes from cooking light.
  • Eggplant: This beautiful veggie comes into season towards the end of summer and stays in season well into fall. They are at their best August-October. Eggplant is a great meat substitute as well as a good source of fiber. Here are some great eggplant recipes from treehugger.
  • Green beans: While green beans are often available year-round, they tend to be sweetest and most tender during their natural season, from mid-summer into fall. Green beans are a good source of vitamins C, A and K. They make a great side, sauteed or steamed with a little salt and pepper. If you want to get creative, try pickling your green beans for a great snack.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These orange gems are available from late summer through winter, often sold in the grocery store as “yams”. They contain lots of vitamin A as well as vitamin C, maganese, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. These work as a sweeter alternative to your traditional potato. Check out these 25 healthy sweet potato recipes from health.com.
  • Pumpkins: With Halloween approaching, pumpkins are beginning to pop up in stores. Pumpkins, the most popular variety of winter squash, come into season in September. While they make great decorations, they are also a great source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. Frugal Living NW lists 26 pumpkin recipes from desserts to drinks to baked goods. But, my all time favorite frugal recipe for pumpkins is simply salted pumpkin seeds.
  • Zucchini: This popular green variety of summer squash is in season from summer into the fall. Zucchinis are high in folate, potassium and vitamin A as well as low in calories. One of my new favorite frugal recipes is zucchini banana bread. It is easy to make and oh so delicious! For some other zucchini recipes, check out these recipes from health.com.

Looking for more information and recipe ideas for in season fruits and veggies? Check out the fall recipe guide from Martha Stewart.com.

Join the Conversation: What are your favorite fall recipes?

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Frugal Entertaining: Hosting a Party on a Budget

Photo Credit: Jason Barnette Photography

Photo Credit: Jason Barnette Photography

Summer is the perfect time of year to host a party whether it is a backyard BBQ, classic dinner party or a Fourth of July bash! So how do you host a frugal party without looking cheap? Here are some tips for how to entertain without breaking the bank:

  • Choose a Theme: A theme will help you keep the party food and décor cohesive as well as keep you from splurging. You might choose a seasonal theme (Summer), a type of food (Mexican), a holiday (4th of July) or something entirely different. Be creative! Take a look at this wisebread article or my article on hosting a party for some fun party ideas. Also, check out House Party and apply to host a party with some fun freebies.
  • Vary the Time: If you want to host a party, but you’re not sure you can handle a dinner party. Why not throw a brunch party, it is just as fun but a lot cheaper. Or, throw a dessert and drinks or wine and cheese party later in the evening.
  • Splurge Strategically: Keep the party menu simple, using as few ingredients as possible, splurging on a few special  items like an expensive cheese or a signature drink. Use in season ingredients as they are likely to be cheaper and more fresh. Check out frugalfoodiefamily or The Frugal Chef for some fun frugal recipes.
  • Shop Smart: Set a budget and stick to it. If you have trouble with this, bring cash to ensure that you don’t overspend. Have a defined menu in mind, but also have an open mind in case you stumble upon some really good deals.
  • Nail the Presentation: Presentation is everything. Buy inexpensive garnishes such as herbs and fresh fruit, to dress up your plates. Take extra time to arrange your dishes, this makes any dish look more appetizing, even if it is just Oreos.
  • Let the Guests Help: Try a spin on the traditional potluck by assigning each guest a different course according to your theme. If you decide to do most of the cooking yourself, have your guests bring a starter, bread, or a dessert that they can easily pick on the way to your party. If you decide to have a wine + cheese party or a dessert + drinks fête have your guests bring along their favorite drink or mixer.
  • Décor: Use what you have creatively and borrow anything that you don’t have. At my first dinner party I used my grandmother’s china that I inherited and had a friend bring over his inherited china and we alternated place settings. Even though it was mismatched, they looked great together and we both got use out of china that we never use. If you must buy, check the dollar store for napkins, plates, silverware, and décor.
  • Fourth of July: Hosting a Fourth of July party? Check out this wisebread article for some creative party ideas. Take a look at beating broke and kens5 for some delicious and festive recipes. Happy hosting!

Join the Conversation: What are some of your favorite frugal party recipes? Leave a comment on this post.

Frugal Foodie: 5 Healthy and Delicious Frugal Recipes

I absolutely love to cook, but it can be hard to find delicious recipes that are not only healthy but frugal. We’ve all tried those “frugal” recipes that taste cheap or flavorless. What a waste of money! The good news is that there are some recipes that meet the trifecta: healthy, delicious, and frugal! Below you will find 5 recipes that I have sampled myself. Try them out and let me know what you think!

  • California Grilled Veggie SandwichesThis is my boyfriend and I’s 7633favorite go-to recipe! It is quick, healthy and cheap. While you can make it any time of the year, it is especially good in the summer and fall when all of these veggies are in season! The sauce is so tasty it can make any carnivore forget they are eating a veggie sandwich. 🙂
  • Beef and Bean Chili Verde: I absolutely love crock pot recipes, but sometimes I don’t have enough time for them. This chili recipe is quick and tasty. It is perfect for those days when you are low on time. I especially love the addition of the salsa, it makes this recipe so much more flavorful!
  • Chicken, Snow Pea, and Cashew Fried RiceStir-frys are the ultimate frugal recipe. They are quick, tasty, and incredibly versatile. This is one of my favorite stir-fry recipes because it is chock-full of veggies and protein. If you want an even more frugal recipe you can remove the cashews and substitute more veggies!
  • Nachos: Ok, so this is probably the least healthy of the bunch, but it is possible to make “healthier” nachos. Make your own tortilla chips or grab some whole-grain ones. Go lighter on the meat and cheese, add some black beans and pile it high with veggies like peppers, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. I also like to compliment it with a little sour cream (or greek yogurt) and some salsa. I have never used the linked recipe, because I usually just wing it, but if you need a guide this looked like a good one.
  • Cinnamon Tortilla Chips: I am a bit of a dessert fanatic. I love chocolate, dairy and pretty much everything on a restaurant dessert menu. I am convinced that being frugal and healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up dessert, but it may mean that your dessert will look different. This tasty treat is quick and cheap, it is also a great dish that can help you use up some of those extra tortillas in your fridge.

Looking for some more healthy, frugal, and delicious recipes? Check out my new frugal recipe pinterest board! Every week, I will be adding new recipes. Also, check out the 4 healthy and frugal recipes that I featured in another post. These websites feature some great healthy, frugal recipes: Healthy Budget-Friendly Recipes, CheapHealthyGood Blog’s Recipe Index, Frugal Foodie FamilyThe Frugal Chef, or Ten Dollar Dinners. Bon Appetit!

Join the Conversation: What are some of your favorite healthy and delicious frugal recipes?

In-Season Fruit and Veggie Recipes for Fall and Winter

The best way to cook frugally is to use in-season fruits and veggies. This is very easy to do in the spring, summer, and early fall, but what do you do in the late fall and winter? Did you know that there are some fruits and veggies that are actually in season in the late fall and winter?  Here is a list of some of the late fall and winter’s featured fruits and veggies along with some tasty frugal recipes:

  • Cranberries: Believe it or not cranberries are not just for thanksgiving, these little gems are in-season in October and November. They are a good source of Vitamins E, K, and C as well as Dietary Fiber. They are great in oatmeal, baked goods, and even as an accompaniment for meat dishes. Check out this recipe for Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies.
  • Citrus Fruits: Beginning in November all the way through February, citrus fruits are in their peak season. This includes oranges, tangerines, tangelos, lemons, and my personal favorite, grapefruits. Grapefruits are high in Vitamins A and C, Potassium, and Dietary Fiber. Check out this Huffington Post article with 13 Sweet and Savory Grapefruit Recipes. Also, take a look at this sweet dessert recipe: Orange and Grapefruit Slices with Coconut.
  • Pears: During November and December pears are in season. These are a good source of Vitamin C and Dietary Fiber. They are delicious on their own, as a side dish, dessert, or as breakfast item. Check out this recipe for Made-Over French Toast with Spiced Pears.
  • Pumpkins: During October and November, pumpkins are used to decorate homes but they can also make delicious dishes. They are a great source of Vitamins A and C as well as Dietary Fiber. Frugal Living NW lists 26 pumpkin recipes from desserts to drinks to baked goods. But, my all time favorite frugal recipe for pumpkins is simply salted pumpkin seeds.
  • Sweet Potatoes: October through December sweet potatoes are in season. This starch is a little sweeter than its sister potato and is great as a dessert, side, or main dish. It is a very good source of Vitamin A, C, and Potassium. Try this recipe for chipotle infused mashed sweet potatoes!
  • Mushrooms: November and December mushrooms are in season. Mushrooms are a good source of B Vitamins and are great as a meat-substitute in a main dish, check out this portobello burger recipe. For more mushroom recipes, take a look at this list of 40 Frugal Mushroom Recipes.
  • Broccoli: This wonderful green veggie is in season from October to May. Broccoli is packed with Vitamin C and Dietary Fiber and great as an accompaniment to any dish. Check out this recipe for lemon chicken with broccoli.

These fruits and veggies are also in season during the late fall and/or winter: papayas, pomegranates, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and leeks.

Join the Conversation: What is your favorite late fall/winter recipe?

Healthy, Frugal, and Delicious Recipes

I absolutely love to cook, but it can be hard to find delicious recipes that are not only healthy but frugal. We’ve all tried those “frugal” recipes that taste cheap or flavorless. What a waste of money! The good news is that there are some recipes that meet the trifecta: healthy, delicious, and frugal.

I originally featured this article back in February and it has grown in popularity. So I decided to re-post the article and add a few more of my favorite frugal, healthy and delicious recipe sites to the bottom. If you know of any good recipes that meet the trifecta or you know of a good site to find recipes like this, please share this by commenting on this post.

Below you will find 4 of my own healthy, frugal, and delicious recipes that I have sampled myself, three of which I make on a regular basis.

  • Duddy Family Spaghetti Recipe: I absolutely LOVE spaghetti and homemade sauce. This is the Spaghetti sauce that my dad used to make for me when I was growing up and I could eat it everyday. It is simple, very flavorful, and easy to adapt to your tastes.
  • Vegetarian Fajita Rice Recipe: I created this recipe myself. I really enjoyed the Mexican rice from the package because it was quick and flavorful, but I wanted to add a few veggies to make it more healthy and add texture. This is a great dish to bring for lunch because it heats up well in the microwave.
  • Veggie Laksa Recipe: I had this tasty soup at my friend’s house last weekend and it is fantastic. It is suprisingly flavorful and rich with very few ingredients. The other 5 ingredient recipes on the page look really good too.
  • Potstickers, Rice and Asparagus: This is one of my favorite summer meals. I get some of the frozen potstickers from Trader Joes and prepare them according to the package. Then I make this Herbed Basmati Rice and Asparagus with Lime and Mint. If you have trouble finding some of the fresh herbs, just leave them out and substitute some of your favorite spices from your spice cabinet. I usually add garlic and crushed red pepper to the asparagus if I can’t find the mint. This meal is quick and surprisingly inexpensive.

Looking for some more healthy, frugal, and delicious recipes? Check out: Healthy Budget-Friendly Recipes, CheapHealthyGood Blog’s Recipe Index, Frugal Foodie Family, The Frugal Chef, or Ten Dollar Dinners.Bon Appetit!

Join the Conversation: What are some of your favorite healthy, frugal, and delicious recipes or recipe sites?

Frugal Entertaining: Hosting a Party on a Budget

Summer is the perfect time of year to host a party and with the Fourth of July just around the corner, entertaining is on the mind. So how do you host a frugal party without looking cheap? Here are some tips for how to entertain without breaking the bank:

  • Choose a Theme: A theme will help you keep the party food and décor cohesive as well as keep you from splurging. You might choose a seasonal theme (Fall), a type of food (Mexican), a holiday (4th of July) or something entirely different. Be creative! Take a look at this wisebread article or my article on hosting a party for some fun party ideas. Also, check out House Party and apply to host a party with some fun freebies.
  • Vary the Time: If you want to host a party, but you’re not sure you can handle a dinner party. Why not throw a brunch party, it is just as fun but a lot cheaper. Or, throw a dessert-only party later in the evening.
  • Splurge Strategically: Keep the party menu simple, using as few ingredients as possible. Find an inexpensive main dish, such as pasta, a casserole, or grilled chicken, then splurge on one or two ingredients that will really make a difference. For instance, you might make pasta but choose to add gruyere cheese or some greek olives to add a little opulence to a traditional favorite. Check out frugalfoodiefamily or The Frugal Chef for some fun frugal recipes.
  • Shop Smart: Make sure to check the sales and know what is in season before you get to the store. Set a budget and stick to it. If you have trouble with this, bring cash to ensure that you don’t overspend. Have a defined menu in mind, but also have an open mind in case you stumble upon some really good deals.
  • Nail the Presentation: Presentation is everything. Buy inexpensive garnishes such as herbs and fresh fruit, to dress up your plates. Take extra time to arrange your dishes, this makes any dish look more appetizing. I once arranged a plate of Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies and people thought they were eating classy food.
  • Let the Guests Help: Although you may want to do it all yourself, it is a whole lot cheaper if you let your guests help. You might try a spin on the traditional potluck by assigning each guest a different course according to your theme. If you decide to do most of the cooking yourself, many of your guests will likely ask you if they can bring something. Take them up on this offer. Let them bring a starter, dessert, or bread, something they can easily make or pick up on the way to your party.
  • Décor: Use what you have creatively and borrow anything that you don’t have. At my first dinner party I used my grandmother’s china that I inherited and had a friend bring over his inherited china and we alternated place settings. Even though it was mismatched, they looked great together and we both got use out of china that we never use. If you must buy, check the dollar store for napkins, plates, silverware, and décor.
  • Fourth of July: Hosting a Fourth of July party? Check out this wisebread article for some creative party ideas. Take a look at beating broke and kens5 for some delicious and festive recipes. Happy hosting!

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Join the Conversation: What are some of your favorite frugal party recipes? Leave a comment on this post.

Everyday Frugality: 4 Healthy and Delicious Frugal Recipes

I absolutely love to cook, but it can be hard to find delicious recipes that are not only healthy but frugal. We’ve all tried those “frugal” recipes that taste cheap or flavorless. What a waste of money! The good news is that there are some recipes that meet the trifecta: healthy, delicious, and frugal. Below you will find 4 recipes that I have sampled myself, three of which I make on a regular basis. Try them out and let me know what you think.

  • Duddy Family Spaghetti Recipe: I absolutely LOVE spaghetti and homemade sauce. This is the Spaghetti sauce that my dad used to make for me when I was growing up and I could eat it everyday. It is simple, very flavorful, and easy to adapt to your tastes.
  • Vegetarian Fajita Rice Recipe: I created this recipe myself. I really enjoyed the Mexican rice from the package because it was quick and flavorful, but I wanted to add a few veggies to make it more healthy and add texture. This is a great dish to bring for lunch because it heats up well in the microwave.
  • Veggie Laksa Recipe: I had this tasty soup at my friend’s house last weekend and it is fantastic. It is suprisingly flavorful and rich with very few ingredients. The other 5 ingredient recipes on the page look really good too.
  • Potstickers, Rice and Asparagus: This is one of my favorite summer meals. I get some of the frozen potstickers from Trader Joes and prepare them according to the package. Then I make this Herbed Basmati Rice and Asparagus with Lime and Mint. If you have trouble finding some of the fresh herbs, just leave them out and substitute some of your favorite spices from your spice cabinet. I usually add garlic and crushed red pepper to the asparagus if I can’t find the mint. This meal is quick and surprisingly inexpensive.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes! For more ideas check out: Healthy Budget-Friendly Recipes and the CheapHealthyGood Blog’s Recipe Index. Bon Appetit!

Leave a Comment: What are some of your favorite healthy and delicious frugal recipes?