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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Meals: Trending Toward Cozy Autumn Suppers

We're in this in-between-the-seasons period where one day it feels like summer still, then the next day it's definitely fall-like. Our meals are reflecting this transition period, with meals increasingly autumnal such as meatloaf, roasted whole chicken, chicken and vegetable soup, and  chicken and gravy over biscuits. Of course, there are a few summer-like meals thrown in the mix, like main dish salads, sandwich meals, and lots of fresh tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers.

After each meal entry, I've tried to provide info on which items were virtually free for us, due to our garden, orchard, and foraging.


pepperoni pizza, scratch crust, scratch sauce, packaged pepperoni, sale-priced cheese
garden turnip greens and onions, sautéed (mostly free, store-bought onions and oil)
garden turnip roots and onions, oven-roasted (mostly free, store onions and oil)
blackberry and rhubarb jello (mostly free, store gelatin and sugar)
sliced tomatoes (free)



meatloaf and gravy
steamed garden green beans (free)
sautéed garden squash (mostly free, unripe winter squash that was knocked off the vine plus store oil)
scratch apple crisp (using our apples)



tuna salad sandwiches on homemade bread
garden tomato and cucumber salad (mostly free, dressing made from store ingredients)
garden cabbage and lentil sprout slaw (mostly free, dressing made from store ingredients)
leftover apple crisp



roasted chicken with gravy (sale-priced whole chicken bought in early September)
stuffing, I used various frozen bread bits, including a biscuit, a square of cornbread, a dried tortilla, and a couple of slices of sandwich bread, plus garden celery and sage, plus store onion
oven-roasted garden carrots and onions (mostly free, store onions and oil)
garden plums and apples in dressing made from leftover jello (Friday)
pan-seared garlic green beans (mostly free, store oil, soy sauce, sesame oil)



chicken (leftover from roasted whole chicken), garden apple, garden celery, garden cabbage, and raisin salad 
cream of sorrel soup (mostly free, store flour, salt, and butter)
garden tomato and cheese salad
whole grain pasta



chicken (leftover roasted chicken) in gravy, over
scratch biscuits
garden tomatoes and basil in vinaigrette (mostly free, store ingredients for dressing)
pan-seared garlic green beans (mostly free)



Italian chicken and garden vegetable soup (chicken carcass simmered in crock pot overnight, meat picked off, garden Swiss chard, zucchini, patty pan squash, green beans, garlic, basil, oregano and tomatoes added to stock for soup)
scratch scones 
garden tomatoes in scratch vinaigrette

These supper menus typify our menus for other meals in that we try to bulk up breakfast, lunch, and snacks with garden produce and scratch-baked goodies. Breakfasts this week included, blackberries, apples, tomatoes, homemade yogurt, milk, homemade blackberry granola, oatmeal, toasted homemade bread, peanut butter, eggs, raisins, orange juice, coffee, tea. Lunches included our fruits such as apples, blackberries, and raspberries, garden veggies such as cabbage, kale, lettuce, sorrel, Swiss chard, green beans, beet greens, tomatoes, carrot greens, celery and lentil sprouts, homemade bread, rice, peanut butter,  raisins, cheese, leftover roasted chicken, boiled and fried eggs, blackberry lemonade, scratch cookies, scratch banana muffins, scratch apple crisp, scratch cinnamon rolls, and quasi-scratch chocolate covered peanut clusters (melted chocolate chips combined with peanuts). Snacks are generally any of the breakfast or lunch foods. 

We had some freebie coupons to stores in the mall to use over the weekend. We got a free pair of underwear at Pink, a free 3-wick candle at Bath & Body Works, and a free tube of hand cream at Bath & Body Works. For all of these freebies, the only purchase that was made was a hand sanitizer at B&BW by one of my daughters (free candle with any purchase). She intended to buy a single Pocketbac hand sanitizer, then I showed her the coupons. I've never seen B&BW give away these $26 candles before. (Going with the fall trend, we chose the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin 3-wick candle for our cozy autumn evenings.) The hand cream and underwear were free, no-purchase necessary. While at the mall, we walked around a bit. It was before lunch and I was hungry. One of my daughters offered to buy us all a Cinnabon to share. I suggested we head home and I would bake a batch of cinnamon rolls instead. Which we did. We also passed a pricey candy store, which made me think about chocolate covered nuts. Instead of buying any candy, once we got home, I made a batch of chocolate covered peanuts for the family while the cinnamon roll dough was rising.

So when yesterday's post on September's grocery spending indicated a low $ amount spent for the month, our garden, scratch-cooking/baking and simple eating habits contributed greatly. This next month, as the garden winds down and we need to stock up on more costly foods like meat again, we'll spend more. But I'll try to offset that extra spending by cooking and baking as much from scratch as I can and limiting processed food purchases.

Those were our meals this past week. What was on your menu? Are you trending toward more fall meals, also? (If you're in the So. Hemisphere, I guess your meals would be trending toward summer ones.) What's your absolute favorite fall meal?


  1. Lili, I can see your meals becoming more hearty as the weather changes and I would eat all of them because they look so good.

    Soups are on the agenda here. Not only for the changing weather but to ward off the sick germs that come with the changing weather. We took a little getaway last weekend and then came home on Sunday and started with a white bean chicken chili with homemade biscuits. Another day we had ham balls with mashed potatoes and green beans. Fried chicken with scalloped potatoes and carrots, another day of leftover white chicken chili. Breakfast is either cereal, oatmeal, or eggs and toast. Lunches are either a small cup of soup or just cheese and meat sticks or lunch is skipped.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Yum! Your meals sound delicious! I am missing eating potatoes. But our garden ones should be ready for digging in the next week or so.

      Have a great weekend, Alice!

  2. We're in sort of a weird evening pattern where we are coming and going, so I'm trying to accommodate that with my meals. But yes, there is a definite autumnal trend happening with my meals! I made a sausage, lentil, and barley soup with bread on Monday (crockpot soups are great for staggered eating times!), oven BBQ chicken Tuesday, and we had leftovers from both meals on Wednesday. Last night I made tacos. My daughter has been asking for tuna salad so that may be on the menu for this evening's meal. Like Alice, I've been pulling out oatmeal for breakfast!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I just pulled the crockpot out for fall meals this week. I agree with using them for soups/stews on evenings when family is coming and going. Thanks for mentioning oven BBQ chicken -- that sound delicious and will be a great way to continue with barbecue meals after the fall rains begin here.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Kris!

  3. I don’t know what I’m doing around here. Meals are all over the place lol. We had homemade veggie beef soup with blt’s one night-that’s summer and fall combined lol. We also had steaks on the grill, salmon, beef tips in gravy, and then one night I made spaghetti with hot Italian sausage for my husband while I had spaghetti squash with butter and Parmesan. I don’t like spaghetti and he doesn’t like spaghetti squash lol. I’m missing a couple meals, but that’s what I remember.


    1. Hi Diane,
      What you do remember from your meals sounds rather delicious to me. I love spaghetti squash with butter and vegetable beef soup and BLT's. Yum, so good.

      Have a great weekend, Diane!

  4. I had to laugh at your comment a couple of posts back - turning in your hermits of America card. I totally get that - not because of germs, but I'm just a homebody and keep busy puttering around my home, as opposed to socializing.

    I have been practicing my sourdough making skills since I don't mind heating up the oven now. I was avoiding it because I hated wasting the discard, but I found ways to use it up, so it's been a fun journey. I have only tried sourdough artisan bread, sandwich style bread, and cinnamon rolls, along with making a mock pizza crust with the discard.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      Yep, that's me -- the resident hermit.

      Good job on using your sourdough. One way I use the excess sourdough when I'm building it up is sourdough pancakes. This recipe was given to me with some starter 35 years ago. I posted it here:
      In spring of 2020 when I was running out of yeast and couldn't find any in local stores, I also made pizza crust and hot dog/burger buns with my starter. Those were a big hit. I'll have to try cinnamon rolls with sourdough. Those sound delicious. Thanks for sharing, Ruthie!


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