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Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter vegetable dishes using the inexpensive cool-season vegetables

It's mid-winter. Produce stands are closed for the season. Gardens aren't producing much, if at all (yours may be under 2 feet of snow this week). Grocery store produce can be expensive. But there are some vegetables which are the mainstays of the frugal kitchen. Potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, winter squash, and of course some canned and frozen veggies.

I've had some inquiries as to what we're eating, produce-wise, without buying much in the way of the fresh stuff. So, this week, I thought I'd share some of the vegetable-y dishes that we've had this month, using onions, carrots, winter squash, garlic, frozen garden greens, canned tomatoes, and canned corn.

Just for the curious (and those on a teensy grocery budget, such as myself), I have 5 quick and easy (emphasis on "easy") recipes for frugal vegetable dishes -- 3 side dishes and 2 main dishes, all using my favorite budget-friendly veggies.

Mustard Glazed Onions

I serve this at least once per week in winter. The onions go well with sandwich meals, alongside bean or meat patties, or with simpler casseroles. I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches last Sunday for lunch. The glazed onions were a perfect accompaniment to the sandwiches. Then on Thursday, we had leftover turkey in gravy and mashed potatoes. Again I made these glazed onions and they seemed to suit that meal, as well.

This recipe takes just basic ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now.

to serve 4-5

1  1/2 large onions
2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons butter (or all oil, all butter/margarine)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
pinch salt (did you know that a pinch has been standardized to 1/16 teaspoon?)

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium.

Thin slice the onions. Saute onions in melted oil/butter, until golden, stirring often.

When onions are golden, stir in brown sugar, mustard and salt. Add more mustard to taste, if desired.



  1. Your vegetable supply sounds similar to ours. Carrots, celery, onions,and potatoes are inexpensive in the grocery stores. We have frozen cooked squash, beets, green beans, a few greens (Swiss chard), tomatoes, and corn. Some years we have frozen asparagus as well. We don't grow broccoli or cauliflower so I occasionally pick some up at Aldi to add a little variety. Aldi also occasionally has rock-bottom prices on lettuce or spinach so I'll add that in the mix. Having our own garden and freezing much of our produce has made me realize that the definition of "convenience food" is really broader than I had thought before--being able to pull something out of the freezer and re-heat it is definitely more convenient than planting, tending, picking, cleaning, and cooking veggies like we do in the summer.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I have the same appreciation for frozen vegetables and canned produce. I look forward to winter cooking, as I don't have all the produce washing to do. I canned garden tomatoes one year, peeling off all the skins, and all. My hands were red and raw for a week after that. To me, commercially canned tomatoes and tomato paste are convenience foods, so is ready-made pasta!

      I would love to find some lettuce at a rock-bottom price right now. I am so hungry for a summer salad. Well, there will be plenty of time for lettuce this spring and summer.

  2. We are stocked up on onions right now after a great sale about 6 or 7 weeks ago. My daughter who does not like raw onions, loves them when they are cooked. She always comments that the house smells so good when I make them. This dish looks terrific.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Your daughter is right! The house does smell good with onions cooking! I remember that sale that you found on onions! Good find!

  3. I wish my husband liked onions because that sounds really good. I still cook with them occasionally, but don't use very many in deference to his tastes.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I seem to remember that about your husband, from a conversation about pumpkin soup, I think. Oh well, to him they taste very off, and it's nice that you respect that. I've always hated feeling like I was "fooled" into eating something that I know I don't like.


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