I tend to have a love-hate relationship with Fall (or as the rich people refer to it…Autumn).
I LOVE the jeans and light sweatshirt combo. It’s a very comfortable go-to outfit for me.
I LOVE temperatures in the 50 – 70 range.
I LOVE the reds, yellows, and oranges that show up in October.
I LOVE football and bonfires and fattening up with 10 pounds of candy around Halloween.
I HATE that winter’s right around the corner.
I HATE that the heat bill starts to jump.
I HATE that winter’s right around the corner. I know I already said this one, but it’s really my biggest grudge. It reminds me of when I was back in school and I would dread having to go back so much that the entire month of August was pretty much worthless. I couldn’t enjoy the freedom of August because I was too focused on the prison that waited for me in September. Plus, Fall in Nothern Michigan is about 2 weeks long. That could be part of it too.
My wife, however, has a LOVE-LOVE relationship with Fall. It’s her favorite season and it doesn’t appear to be a close race. Halloween, sweatshirts, colorful leaves, etc are right up her alley.
But, most of all, she loves the food. I’m fairly sure that we tried at least 25 new pumpkin recipes last year (incredibly, that’s probably only a slight exageration). So, in Trisha’s honor, I’d like to share a few deliciously inexpensive Fall recipes for you to enjoy.
4 Inexpensive Fall Recipes
Pumpkin Bagels ($0.17 per Bagel)
Makes 8 bagels —- About 2.5 – 3 hours (including time to rise)
2/3 cup water (110°)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree - this is what we usually do – make sure they’re pie pumpkins)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 package if you’d prefer)
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1. Mix the yeast and water together and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
2. Add the pumpkin and brown sugar to the party and mix well.
3. Now mix the dry ingredients together (except the cornmeal) and mix them into the main concoction a little at a time. Add a little extra water or flour (1 tsp at a time) if necessary. The dough should be pretty firm and not sticking.
4. Knead for 5 minutes in a mixer or 8 – 10 minutes by hand.
5. Place the dough inside a large, lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours (preferably in a warm place).
6. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and separate into 8 equal-sized balls. Poke a 1-inch hole in the center of each ball with your finger and shape them into rings, stretching as needed. Let them rest on the counter, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes or so. Then flatten ever so slightly – they will puff up a bit when you boil them.
7. Preheat the oven to 400°.
8. Fill a wide, deep stock pot or dutch oven with 3 inches (more or less) of water and bring it to a boil.
9. Drop 2 – 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water and cook them for 45 seconds on each side. Transfer them to a paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle the cornmeal on it. Place the bagels on there about 2 inches apart.
10. Bake the little buggers for 15 – 20 minutes until golden. Let them cool before digging in.
**Honestly, I can eat them without any topping at all. Cream cheese is a great choice too, but they’re tasty all on their own.
Butternut Squash Soup (About $0.75 per Cup)
Makes 8 cups —- About 2.5 – 3 hours (including baking time)
*You’ll need a food processor or decent blender
3 lbs butternut squash (unpeeled)
2 large onions (unpeeled)
1 small bulb of garlic
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried thyme
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 chicken bouillon cubes (or substitutes listed below)
*If you’d prefer to not use chicken cubes, feel free to use 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock (you won’t need the water in this case), or the following substitution in place of the cubes (3/4 tsp of additional salt, 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 3/4 tsp onion powder).
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Wash the butternut squash and cut it into 8 pieces. Place them in a 9×13 baking dish, cut side up.
3. Cut the pointed end off the onions and garlic bulb (not the root side), about 1/4 inch in. Place them in the pan, cut side up. If they don’t fit you may have to use 2 pans.
4. Brush the veggies with vegetable oil. Carefully sprinkle half the thyme on the squash, and then cover with foil and bake for 1hr 45 min. – 2 hours until it’s nice and soft. Let it cool slightly.
5. Heat the water and chicken cubes (or substitution) in a large saucepan until they have dissolved. Let it cool slightly and place in a bowl.
6. Once all the veggies have cooled enough to handle, peel them and cut the onions into smaller pieces.
7. Doing 1/3 at a time, combine the squash, onions, garlic, and broth in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the mixture to a stockpot and repeat.
8. Once everything’s in the pot, add the remaining thyme, salt, pepper, and cream. Heat through without boiling.
9. Enjoy! (Preferably with the Crusty Bread below)
**The vast majority of the cost of this soup is the butternut squash. The cost per serving listed could be dropped significantly depending on how cheap you can find them this fall. Good sales on squash are usually everywhere this time of the year. Price match if needed.
**Make sure to pair the soup with the Crusty Bread. What could be better than that?
Crusty Bread ($0.05 – $0.06 per slice)
Makes 1 small loaf —- About 2.5 – 3 hours (including baking time)
*You’ll need a dutch oven or crockpot insert with foil to bake bread in (loaves will be round unless you use an oblong dish).
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1 1/2 cups warm water (110°)
1. Mix the yeast and warm water together and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
2. Mix in the salt and flour. The dough should look sort of rough – slightly wetter than a normal bread dough.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours (preferably in a warmer area).
4. Heat the oven to 450°. Once it has reached 450°, place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes or so.
5. Meanwhile, plop the dough onto a floured surface (you’ll want plenty of flour) and shape it into a ball. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit while the pot is heating to get a few extra minutes to rise.
6. Take the hot pot out of the oven and drop the dough in. Cover it and return it into the oven for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake a final 15 minutes.
8. Enjoy with a little butter or jam!
**This bread is a blank canvas for you to play with. Feel free to add spices, cheese, or anything else that sounds like fun.
**If you’d prefer to let it rise overnight (at least 12 hours), only use 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast instead of the 2 1/4 it calls for. The rest of the instructions remain the same.
Apple Pie Oatmeal ($0.25 per cup)
Makes 3 cups (2 – 3 Servings depending on your appetite) —- Takes about 15 – 20 minutes to make
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3 cups water
3 Tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of allspice
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
2 Tbsp raisins (optional)
cinnamon & sugar for topping (optional)
Milk for topping (optional)
**The extra sugar for topping depends on how sweet you like your oatmeal. The base oatmeal is not overly sweet so that it fits all palates. We like raisins and a little milk on top as well, but they are not needed. Crumbled graham cracker would also be a good option.
**The raisins will add about $0.05 per serving
1. Combine the water, salt, spices (and raisins if using) in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil.
2. Add the oats and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, cut the apple into small, bite-size chunks.
4. Once the oatmeal is the correct consistency for your tastes, add the brown sugar and the apple chunks to the oatmeal and mix.
5. Add any extra toppings you desire and Enjoy!
Please share these recipes if you enjoy them!
Image of Fall leaves courtesy of Aduldej of FreeDigitalPhotos.net