Cans of applesauce are inexpensive, often show up in free boxes of food from local food banks, and can be made cheaply from fruit from your own trees (or that of a neighbor or orchard).
Here are ways to use inexpensive but nutritious applesauce to stretch out your food budget:
Applesauce by Itself - with or without sugar added. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice for added antioxidants. Use as a side dish to breakfasts, or alone when in a hurry. Adding granola adds a tasty crunch.
Applesauce as a Side Dish - to lunch or dinner meals with ham, or other spiced meats. The apple taste adds a tangy complement.
Added to Cooked Oatmeal - adds a nice flavor when stirred in and you can skip adding honey or sugar for sweetener. Don't forget the cinnamon.
As a Fruit Salad - add raisins, dates, walnuts, blueberries, spices and bananas. Serve hot or cold, with maybe a dollop of fresh yogurt or sour cream. Enjoy!
In Muffins (and other baked goods) - reduce the amount of sugar added to the muffin mix and add applesauce instead. Add some bran to increase your fiber content. Experiment until you can find the least amount of sugar needed to make your muffins taste good. Applesauce will make the mixture more moist, as well. You can also try this with other baked goods, like cupcakes, breads, cakes and even brownies. Remember that you will need to experiment to get the ratios right for your tastes.
As a Frosting - dollop your muffins, cupcakes or other baked goods with straight applesauce, and then put spices of your choice on top.
Add to Smoothies - whatever you have fruit-like sitting around, add to the blender with some applesauce. You can also add protein powder, cocoa or dried milk to make it more like a malted shake. YUM!
Car Cookery - on long driving trips, you can experiment with cooking canned goods on your car's engine. This is an old truckers' secret: the engine heat cooks food nicely. Be careful to find a placement where a can won't bounce out into the road, and remember that metal cans are hot when heated (don't grab any cans directly with your hands). Take a driving break and eat some hot applesauce and hot baked beans and Dinty Moore stew - a three course meal cooked via car!
More from Amazon: good books for cooking with applesauce - Pork Chops and Applesauce: A Collection of Recipes and Reflections and The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets.