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Fall’s Best Buys for the Budget Smart Cook

One of my favorite things about fall is taking a walk through the produce department and checking out all the new fruits and vegetables that are at their peak this time of the year. Apples, squash, root vegetables…the great thing is they’re budget friendly too. Here’s why a Budget Smart Cook should use them in every day meals.

They’re High in Fiber
Fiber is not only good for our health, but it’s a friend to the wallet too. Fiber helps to keep your blood sugar at a constant level and makes you feel fuller faster. Making a vegetable pot pie from fall produce is a budget stretcher and a great way to boost your fiber intake.

Prices Goes Down
The more produce that arrives in the stores, the more affordable they become. Some vegetables don’t freeze well, but if you use them in recipes that do, you’ve saved yourself some money.

They Taste Good
Even if you’re not a big veggie fan, there’s just something about a sweet potato or parsnip that can convince just about anyone that vegetables aren’t all bad. Try making homemade fries using sweet instead of white potatoes. Here’s a quick and easy recipe I’ve used for years. Slice the sweet potatoes like French fries, toss them in some oil and then coat them in a combination of curry powder, cumin and coriander and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. You can also cut them into round slices, add the oil and spices and use them as a homemade baked snack.

They Make Great Soups
Fall sometimes has me thinking and yes, dreading the cold winter months ahead, but one thing that does put a smile on my face is coming inside to a welcoming bowl of soup after I’ve been outside raking leaves. Put a hearty bowl of soup, like minestrone or roasted squash together with some bread and you’ve got yourself a satisfying meal for pennies.

Classic Roasted Vegetables
These days, just about every cookbook has at least one recipe for roasted veggies. My favorite combination is red onions, carrots, sweet and white potatoes. Roasted veggies are the ideal side dish for the plainest and cheapest cuts of meat. And if you’re looking for a budget meal, serve them on their own with a generous serving of cheese. One cheese that compliments roasted vegetables is feta. The vegetables are sweet and caramelized, while the feta is salty.

Not So Boring Potatoes
Not that I ever think that mashed potatoes are boring, but we all like variety when it comes to preparing meals. Try a combination of mashed white and sweet potatoes, or even a combination of parsnips and potatoes. If you have children who refuse to eat vegetables but love mashed potatoes, it’s a great way to hide just about any vegetable you can think of. And leftovers can be turned into patties, rolled into breadcrumbs and lightly fry on each side until their golden brown.

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