Eating well on the cheap? The rice and beans brigade will tell you that asceticism is the only way to go but all budget and no bounty makes for a pretty boring life. Now it's understandable that after buying groceries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and let's not forget the snacks, there's not much left over for dessert – even when dessert is fresh fruit.
Luckily there's canned fruit to the rescue. When your family favorites aren't in season you can grab last season's bounty from a supermarket shelf and turn it into a gorgeous after-dinner treat that kids of all ages will gobble down. Intrigued? Check out these budget-friendly (and surprisingly easy) finds for some amazing desserts made frugal thanks to all things canned.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
This is one of those crowd pleasers that looks posh with almost no prep thanks to the fact that it needs no frosting as a finisher. A basic vanilla cake recipe gets a tropical upgrade with simple canned pineapple rings and a brown sugar glaze that sets right in the oven. This recipe from Taste of Home uses pantry staples almost exclusively so there's no need to shop outside of your thrifty comfort zone for ingredients that may or may not be used again.
Fruit Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps
These desserts are the frugal mom's friend in more ways than one. How much effort you want to put in is up to you – there's the plain canned fruit waiting for you to add the sugar and spice or already sweet pie mixes that make putting a fresh baked dessert on the table as easy as cranking the can opener. These recipes from Better Homes and Gardens take cobbler from a can to the next level without asking you to buy anything more than staples like graham crackers, lemon juice or white chocolate chips.
Are you only baking seasonal desserts? Well, you don’t have to when there's canned pumpkin in the pantry! The flavors of autumn come to the table looking labor intensive and luxurious but the truth is there are few desserts easier to make. This three-step pumpkin cheesecake from Kraft is a fall favorite that's not only gorgeous all year round, but also wallet-friendly thanks to fact that it's made from ingredients most frugal folks will already have on hand.
This wild take on pizza and dessert both delights pie lovers and intrigues gourmands – all without costing a lot. Some recipes use readymade pie crust, but those who prefer their sweets will love this recipe from Pillsbury that uses sugar cookie dough for the crust and sweetened cream cheese for the sauce. Canned (and frozen) fruit provides the fresh flavor and beautiful color. It's another dessert that arrives looking like a million bucks but with coupons may cost practically nothing.
When you're totally pressed for time, you can use the same techniques that make these canned fruit desserts so amazing. You can easily turn cake mixes, premade graham cracker crusts and store-bought pie crusts into something more like homemade. Only you'll know how frugal life's sweet luxurious can be!
– By Lana Evans