Cheap Meal and Snack Ideas to Keep Your Family Fed on the Cheap this Autumn

Autumn can be one of the most hectic times of the year. Everyone is readjusting to having a hectic schedule after the more relaxed days of summer. On top of that, school is back in session and there’s a ton of after school activities and sports going on. Thus, making dinner is going to be even harder than ever. Plus, your budget might be a bit tighter than usual too. Luckily, there are a ton of easy meal ideas to enjoy during the autumn months, which will help save your budget and your sanity. There are just ten ideas that will make your life a bit easier as you navigate your meal plans for the new season and the chaotic end of the year.

1. Casseroles
When you’re on the go all of the time, a casserole can be your best friend. This meal is simple to make, easy to heat and can be whipped up with some of the cheapest ingredients known to man. The best thing is, you can customize your casserole to suit your family’s needs. Casseroles can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, so you always have something ready to cook in a hurry. You can always whip up several casseroles on a day that you have nothing else going on too. If you don’t have time to heat, then all you have to do is put your ingredients on low in a crockpot for a no hassle meal. Best of all, the meal can be made of leftovers, seasonal produce or whatever else you have in the pantry. You can eat casseroles alone or toss in a salad to help the meal go further. There are tons of recipes online too, so have fun with this season’s casseroles.

2. Pies
Autumn and pies seem to go hand in hand. So, you might want to take your bounty of fruit and turn them into cheap desserts the whole family will love. Of course, pies don’t have to be sweet at all. You can easily whip up savory pies that will satisfy the whole family for dinner. These pies can be made from just about anything, so make sure to utilize your leftovers to help you save even more money. Best of all, pies can be quickly made with premade dough if you don’t have the time to make your own. However, you can always make your dough in advance and freeze it for use later on. If you have a variety of picky eaters in the home then you can always whip up individual pies too, using special bakeware or your cupcake tin.

3. Pizza
Pizza is a household favorite for many homes, so try to incorporate it into your meal plans. Pizza can actually be very cheap too, which will help you save money. You can make your own dough with ease, but if you don’t have time to go all out then you can skip yeast dough recipes altogether. Of course, there are also many premade doughs on the market too, which will save you even more time. Your pizza doesn’t have to be made with pricey ingredients. You can always whip up a pie with your leftovers. For instance, you might consider a taco pizza if you have items leftover from taco night. Chicken can be used in a variety of pizza recipes too, including a buffalo wing option. Try to customize to suit your family’s tastes and time restraints.

4. Soup
With autumn comes the cold weather, which is certain to make a large bowl of soup even more inviting. Luckily, soup is one of the cheapest options when it comes to your meal. Soup can also help to provide your family with the nutrients they need to stay healthy throughout cold and flu season. Soup can be made of a wide variety of ingredients too, so you can keep it simple or add in a lot of tasty things. The best thing about soup is you can easily whip up large batches in the crockpot which can be eaten for days. You can even freeze leftovers for easy lunches or dinners later on. Soups allow you to shop seasonally too, which will improve on your budget as well. There’s a lot of great autumn recipes to try too, so you might want to fill your colder months with unique soups the family will love.

5. Seasonal Pasta
Pasta is an easy go-to meal that most family members tend to be okay with. This can work to your advantage because it allows you to create cheap meals that are both filling and delicious. Pasta doesn’t have to be spaghetti day after day either. Instead, you can whip up delicious meals with seasonal vegetables and a wide variety of sauces. Another option is to create tasty lasagnas. You can do this with vegetables, meats or a combination of both. If you’re trying to save money, then consider cutting back on cheese when making the dish. The best thing is, these meals can be made in the crockpot or Instant Pot if you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

6. Apple Dishes
If you love apples, then the autumn months are going to be one of the best times for you. Since apples are in season, you should be able to buy them in bulk for a price that will make your budget sing. You can even pick your own apples at an orchard, which is certain to add some fun to your meal planning. Apples can standalone as a snack options, which is great for your household. However, you can also turn them into delicious desserts that won’t add a fortune to your grocery bill. Sweet foods aren’t the only way to enjoy apples though. Believe it or not, you can make a few savory recipes with them too, which is certain to expand your love of the fruit.

7. Seeds
One of the best snacks for the whole family are seeds, because they are so healthy. You can easily make your own snacks out of seeds you find in the produce you bring home. For instance, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are easily dried and seasoned. You can also make healthy snack bars out of these ingredients. Seeds can even be incorporated into some of your meals, which will add a fun texture to your unique recipes. Your seed recipes can also be enjoyed during sporting events, so you won’t have to purchase from the concession stands.

8. Turkey
Autumn usually brings turkey season to the table. However, a lot of people tend to only buy turkey during the holiday. This is one of the best meats to serve to your family though, so enjoy the savings on the meat while you can. Turkey can be used for just about anything too, so you have a lot of options to choose from. For instance, you can make turkey burgers or turkey tacos. With the right seasoning, your family might not even be able to tell the difference. If you prefer turkey breast then you can make an assortment of sandwiches, pastas and other meals too. So, explore a little with turkey, so you can save some big money and improve your health.

9. Breakfast
If you’re looking for a hearty meal that is cheap and fast, then breakfast is the way to go. Eggs are a good source of protein and are incredibly cheap to buy, so you might make this the basis of your meals. You can transform your eggs into an omelet or a quiche to make them more exciting, or simply have them scrambled or fried. You can also add in various meats if you so choose or sides of fruit. On top of that, there are always simple and cheap options like pancakes or biscuits and gravy. The options are endless with breakfast, so have fun with your meals.

10. Baked Goods
You probably won’t want to miss out on baking when the cold weather arrives. Luckily, this hobby can help you save a whole lot of money. For instance, making fresh breads can help you cut back on your grocery list while also stretching your meals a bit further. You can even save time by using a bread machine to create your breads. Cakes, cookies and other special treats will bring some fun to the kitchen for the whole family, while also allowing you to skip the snacks while grocery shopping. Best of all, the oven will help heat the home, so you won’t need to turn up the heat as often.

Your autumn doesn’t have to be filled with pricey dishes that will keep you from saving money. These ten ideas will make a great addition to your family meals and snacks while improving on your budget and the time you spend cooking. So, enjoy everything the season has to offer with your family as you dine and snack together.

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