With fall comes a chill in the air, bright colors on the trees and the aroma of hearty foods.
For frugal-minded folks, creating those fall flavors and aromas can be surprisingly cheaply. Most of the ingredients, such as apples, potatoes and root vegetables, are on sale throughout the fall months. Time your recipes to correspond with the sales in your area, depending on the local harvest.
These six fall recipes rely on ingredients typically in season in the autumn, which means they’re available at fall farmers markets and often on sale at grocery stores. They’re hearty and will make your house smell wonderful, as most of these recipes are aromatic. They’re also simple to prepare, with few steps that require a lot of work.
Here are six easy fall recipes to fill your home with delicious aromas and your mouth with amazing flavors, all at a bargain price.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider
This dish is a great way to turn a handful of apples into a warm fall beverage. All you have to do is take eight mild apples (Galas work well and are widely available), core them, quarter them and put them in a slow cooker with 8 to 10 cups of water. Take an orange, slice it and add those orange slices.
Add three or four cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon of cloves and 1 teaspoon of allspice. Let it cook for three hours on high or six hours on low. You can go a little longer if needed. Mash the apples with a potato masher in the slow cooker, then add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stir. Cook for another three hours on high or six hours on low, then strain the liquid and serve. You can spike it with rum for an alcoholic beverage.
Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew
This is a wonderful fall dinner idea that’s easily prepared in your slow cooker, plus you can do all of the prep work in advance. Collect 5 pounds of your favorite root vegetables, such as onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes or turnips. Peel and dice them into bite-sized pieces. Add them to a slow cooker along with six garlic cloves, a bay leaf, 2 teaspoons of sage, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Add 4 cups vegetable broth or 3 cups beef broth and 1 pound of stew meat, depending on whether you want a vegetarian or beef stew. Cook on low for eight hours, remove the bay leaf and serve.
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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
An easy alternative to traditional mashed potatoes, making them in the slow cooker allows families to add this delicious fall staple as a side to any meal. Just peel and dice 5 pounds of potatoes — you can do this on another day to save time — and add them to the slow cooker along with 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon fresh chives if you have them. Cook on high for four hours or low for seven to eight hours, then mash with a potato masher.
Serve with butter, sour cream, milk or shredded cheese to taste. Those can be mixed right into the potatoes if preferred. Consider one of the following recommended amounts: 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 3 tablespoons cream cheese or 1/4 cup milk.
This is an incredibly inexpensive fall soup that anyone can easily assemble. Just pull out a big soup pot and add 2 pounds of ground beef along with 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the beef is browned, then add an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one 15 ounce can of kidney beans and one 15 ounce can of pinto beans.
Cook for 90 minutes over medium heat, gently simmering, and add 1/2 cup water at a time if it looks too dry for your tastes. Serve with diced onions, tortilla chips and cheese.
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
This dish is similarly easy to prepare, as you accompany inexpensive chicken with a medley of on-sale seasonal vegetables. Start with 2 pounds of assorted chicken cuts, including breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings or whatever you prefer. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar, four minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon each of dried thyme, sage, rosemary and ground black pepper in a resealable container. Let them sit for 10 to 20 minutes.
Collect 3 pounds of clean assorted fall vegetables to your liking, using whatever is on sale and whatever appeals to your taste buds, such as Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots or even apples. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and toss them with olive oil, then fill up a large baking tray with them. Nestle the marinated chicken with the vegetables, then bake in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes. If you like crispy chicken skin, run the pan under the broiler for the last three minutes. Serve immediately for a tremendous fall dinner.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
These are incredibly flavorful and offer an unmistakable fall flavor in an extremely easy preparation. Their frugal side is aided by the fact that sweet potatoes are often on sale in fall. They’re delicious with savory toppings or sweet flavors.
Buy a few sweet potatoes, clean them thoroughly on the outside, poke them several times with a fork, lay them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Rotate the potatoes, then bake for another 20 minutes. Let them rest for five minutes, then serve with butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Fall flavors and aromas are wonderful and easy to achieve. Better yet: With seasonal sales, these recipes are inexpensive to make.
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