Cheap Fall Dishes: 5 Apple and Pumpkin Recipes

It's no secret that eating in season is a sure-fire way to find the best produce and save a bundle. The arrival of autumn ushers in one of the best times of year for our taste buds and our wallets. Apples and pumpkins are everywhere these days and selling at dirt cheap prices. We just bought an enormous pumpkin for $3.99 and most apple varieties (even organic) are going for less than a dollar a pound in the Columbus, Ohio area. In celebration of the bounty, we've assembled a small collection of apple recipes and one pumpkin option that will rock your palate but not your budget.

Apple Crisp.

We hate to brag, but this is the best tried-and-true apple crisp recipe. Even grandmothers concede it takes the cake. Better yet, most of the ingredients are probably sitting in the pantry.
4 cups cored, peeled, and sliced apples
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp (separate)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and place sliced apples inside.
Mix all other ingredients thoroughly, until crumbling (a mixer is a big help), and pour over apples.
Use the 2 tbsp of brown sugar to cover any exposed fruit.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the apples are soft (but not mushy).
We enjoy this topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Apple Bars.

These are easy to make and a proven crowd-pleaser. Plus, they make your house smell like sweet heaven while baking. Again, the bulk of ingredients are probably on hand.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 cups cored, peeled, and sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1-4 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the dough: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add chunks of butter until mixture is crumbly and stir in egg yolks.
Press half the dough onto a cookie sheet with sides.
Make the filling: Combine all ingredients and spread over the pressed dough.
Make the topping: Crumble the remaining dough over the apple mixture.
Brush the slightly beaten egg white over the top.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar with milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until desired consistency.
Once bars are removed from the oven, let cool and drizzle with the powdered sugar mixture.
When completely cool, cut into bars.

Apple Nachos.

This is the simplest and cheapest apple recipe. There is no wrong way to make it. You need apples and whatever toppings you like or have in the larder. Whip it up as an afternoon snack for the kids or serve as an appetizer at a party.
2-4 (depending on how many mouths you're feeding) apples, cored and sliced thin
Juice from one lemon
Almond butter, peanut butter, and/or caramel, softened
Optional Toppings
Nuts of any variety: pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.
Chocolate chips
Coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)
Arrange the apple slices on a plate and drizzle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Drizzle with the softened almond butter, peanut butter, and/or caramel.
Add additional toppings and serve.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin and Apples with Smashed Potatoes.

We were inspired by this apple recipe at Our Full Plate. Our slightly modified take on it remains easy and relatively cheap. Plus, it feeds a crowd or lasts several days as dinner for two.
1 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 cored, peeled, and sliced apples
1/2 cup honey
1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 peeled and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2-4 tbsp butter
Handful of chives
Place the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker and cover with everything else.
Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 6 hours on high.
30 minutes before serving remove tenderloin and let rest 10 minutes.
Slice the meat and smother with juices and apple mixture from the pot.
During the last hour, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes.
Boil potatoes for 15 minutes or until fork tender.
Drain potatoes and smash with a fork or potato masher.
Mix in butter, sour cream, and chives.
Top potatoes with slices of pork, a spoonful of the apple mixture, and juices.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

What do you do with all those seeds after carving the pumpkin? We referenced Better Recipes for advice and found numerous variations of roasted pumpkin seeds. You can make these with whatever seasonings appeal. You won't be disappointed.
Oil: 2 tsp for every 2 cups of seeds (use olive oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter)
Pumpkin pie spice
Kosher salt
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse pumpkin seeds thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
Place in a bowl, drizzle with baking oil, and hand toss.
Add the spice/flavor of choice and toss again.
Spread the seeds evenly on a baking sheet (one with sides is best).
Roast for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (Make sure seeds are always distributed evenly while roasting.)