How to Make Comfort Food For Less!

It has been cold. Really cold! With the cold comes great things, cuddling by fires, enjoying warm soup, and so much more. Warm meals make cold days bearable. On the other hand, cooking during the summer is almost cringe-worthy with the hot weather, hot kitchen and hot food. However, heating up the stove and oven during cold weather will help with heating costs while filling the house with aromas that make it feel like home.

When I think about winter foods... pecans, caramel, cinnamon, apples and corn flood my thoughts and my kitchen. When these ingredients are cooking, you’ve got a house full of comfort brewing! Cooking large, bulkier items will stretch your dollar and ‘free’ up your time so you can sit back and snuggle up. From the main course to dessert, with a quick grab and go breakfast and a special treat thrown in... these recipes will add to the crisp beauty of the season. 

Chicken Stew

Cost: $15.00

When paired with cornbread pancakes, this will easily make two or three meals depending on family size. It freezes well, too! 

  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • ½ cup rice
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of whole kernel corn
  • 1 (12 oz) package frozen lima beans
  • 2 (15 oz) cans sliced carrots
  • 1 (12-16 oz) package frozen, sliced okra (not breaded)

Instructions:

  1. Boil the chicken in a large pot of water until tender.
  2. Saving the broth, move the chicken to a large plate. When it’s cool enough to touch, debone the chicken.
  3. Strain the broth. Return the broth and the chicken to the pot.
  4. Add the butter, soup, potatoes, rice and onion.
  5. Cook until potatoes are slightly tender, then add the remaining ingredients.
  6. Simmer, stirring frequently until rice and all veggies are tender.
  7. Scrape the bottom often so it doesn’t scorch and burn.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cornbread Pancakes

Cost: $3.00 

  • 1 cup SR cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk 
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. Put cornmeal in a mixing bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. You’ll want the same consistency as any pancake.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan.
  3. Pour in 1/8 cup of batter for each pancake.
  4. Cook on medium heat until edges start to bubble.
  5. Carefully turn pancakes over and cook until both sides are browned.
  6. Drain on paper towels.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Caramel Pecan Drizzle

Cost: $16.00

  • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 sticks butter, softened (no substitutes)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups Swans Down cake flour
  • ½ cup pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously grease and flour a tube cake pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add sugar, beating until light and fluffy for at least five minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Mix in vanilla.
  7. With mixer on low/medium speed, add the flour a little bit at a time. Beat until mixed well and fluffy.
  8. Immediately pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Tap pan to eliminate air bubbles in the batter.
  10. Sprinkle pecans over the top.
  11. Bake 60-75 minutes, or until cakes tests done by inserting a toothpick.
  12. If the top begins to brown too quickly cover loosely with foil.
  13. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  14. Turn cake onto a flat plate, then invert on serving plate with the top up. Drizzle with caramel topping.  

Caramel Drizzle:

  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine condensed milk and sugar. 
  2. Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, continuing to whisk frequently.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk in butter and vanilla.
  6. Let cool slightly, yet still be sure to drizzle the caramel while it’s hot enough to pour.

Pumpkin Bread

Cost: $10.00 for two loaves

  • 3 cups SR flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, very soft
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (16oz) can pumpkin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Lightly flour pans and set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well until creamed and fluffy.
  6. Add the pumpkin and mix well.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients slowly into pumpkin mixture until well combined.
  8. Divide evenly into the two loaf pans.
  9. Bake side-by-side for one hour or until they test done with a toothpick.
  10. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Baked Apples

Cost: $1.50 per serving

Large Granny Smith Apples-whatever quantity you like.

Per apple, mix the following:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon pecans
  • Optional: top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Instructions:

  1. Wash apples.
  2. Using a knife or melon baller carefully remove core from apples leaving about half an inch of apple in the bottom to hold the ingredients. Also, trim another half inch of peeling around the opening to keep the apple from bursting.
  3. Pack the premixed remaining ingredients into the hole of the cored apple.
  4. Place in a foil lined baking dish.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are very soft.
  6. If the tops start to brown, cover them lightly with a piece of foil.
  7. Cool slightly and top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

These wonderful foods will create less stress on your checkbook while overflowing with fall comfort! Happy Fall!

Prices vary by location and store.

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