A lot of times during the summer, I end up making sandwiches or pasta salad or just picking up food because it is just too hot to cook. But come those cool fall evenings, I am tearing it up in the kitchen and making up for all the to-go boxes we went through over the summer. I have amassed quite the recipe collection that I can’t wait to share throughout the year, but here are a few of my fall favorites to get started…
Predictable Pumpkin: Pumpkin Bread
It ain’t fall if it ain’t pumpkin, right? But this girl is not a fan of pumpkin pie. I’m not a huge fan of pie in general, but the consistency of pumpkin pie is just not for me. But you can only have so many pumpkin spice lattes (or so my husband has told me) so I started making pumpkin bread. It.Is.Epic. I’d say to halve the recipe because it makes a ton, but I’ve never had to throw any away so I just make the whole batch. It’s enough to make a full loaf, 6 muffins (the deep pan) and a mini bundt cake. Yup, a ton. But it is sooooo good.
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
- 4 eggs
- 1 C vegetable oil
- 2/3 C water
- 3 C white sugar
- 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ground nutmeg
- 1/2 t ground cloves
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, oil and water until blended.
- In large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until well blended.
- Pour into greased baking dishes (3 loaves, one loaf and bundt, two loaves and 12 cupcakes, one loaf and 8 muffins, whatever you'd like)
- Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- If making muffins or cupcakes, check them much sooner than the 50 minutes. These cook the fastest. If making a bundt, this takes more along the lines of an hour. Mini bundts are also speedy cookers so check often.
Crock-Pot Comfort: Beef Stew
There’s something about a crock pot meal that just screams sweater weather. I work from home so I get to smell it cooking all day and the whole kitchen is warm and inviting. I LOVE my Crock-Pot. And this recipe is a must try. It is pretty labor intensive to prep it, but it is oh, so worth it! I’m Filipino so we eat it with rice (cuz we eat everything with rice) but it is good just by itself. It’s warm and hearty and full of flavor and is the perfect fall and winter dinner.
- 2 lbs. beef stew meat
- 1/2 C flour
- 1 T season salt
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1 white onion (diced)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
- 2 C water
- 2 t Better Than Bouillon (heaping)
- 4 large red potatoes (diced into chunks)
- 3 large carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 1 stalk celery diced (optional - sometimes I skip it because my little ones don't like celery, but it cooks down so soft that it's not offensive even if I leave it in)
- Mix the flour and season salt
- Put the meat in a gallon freezer bag and pour flour/salt mixture over it. Shake until well coated
- Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown the meat on all sides
- Layer meat on the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle pepper on top
- Add the diced onions to the same skillet (don't clean it - keep that flavor!) and saute until translucent. Top the meat in the crock pot with the onions
- In that same pan, pour in the Worcestershire sauce, water and Better Than Bouillon and whisk until mixed (make sure you scrape to get all those good brown bits on the pan - yummy!)
- Add the potatoes, carrots, celery (if using) and bay leaves to the crock pot
- Pour the Worcestershire mix over everything
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (not 4 hours on high, really let this one go slow and low)
- Remove bay leaves before serving
- Dice up the veggies the night before and keep them in a freezer bag for easier prep in the morning. Do not skip the step of browning the meat. This is not a dump-type crock pot meal but the extra effort is totally worth it! And, again, because this is so important, 8 hours on low, not 4 hours on high. Let the meat cook slowly and thoroughly so it falls apart and soaks in all that delicious flavor!
Kid Kitchen: Apple Pie Dumplings
I love bringing my kids into the kitchen with me to be my sous chefs. They love getting to help make something, especially a dessert. These are so crazy easy and surprisingly ridiculously good, but also includes multiple ingredients, several steps, getting their hands dirty and an oven, so they feel like a Master Chef by the time it’s done. There’s nothing like the smell of apples and cinnamon to really make it feel like fall.
- 1 can crescent dough (the sheets are best, but the triangles work fine too)
- 1 can apple pie filling (21 oz.)
- Vanilla Ice cream
- Caramel Sauce, warmed
- Whipped Cream
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cut the crescent dough sheet into squares about 1.5". If using the triangles, separate them out and cut them roughly in half
- Let the kids take each piece and roll them into a ball
- Empty pie filling into a large bowl and toss the crescent balls into them
- Stir until coated
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until dough is cooked through
- Scoop serving into a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream, warmed caramel and whipped cream (as desired)
- This is not the most sophisticated or delicious apple dessert you will ever try. It is pretty yummy, but the real goodness is in making it with the kids. They feel so accomplished and got to get their hands a little dirty and it really does taste good - a win/win/win!
Succulent Side Dish: Corn Casserole
Okay, I know this doesn’t look or sound exciting, but just trust me on this one. This will easily become one of your favorite dishes. It’s so easy (and inexpensive!) and such a crowd pleaser that it’s going to be your go-to for every pot luck and family dinner. I double the recipe and I still have no leftovers, no joke. *note: pay no mind to how much cheese the recipe calls for. you sprinkle on whatever makes you happy. Treat yo’self, girl.*
- 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
- 1 15 oz. can corn (drained)
- 1 14 oz. can creamed corn
- 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
- 1 C sour cream
- 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl
- Mix in the two cans of corn, muffin mix and sour cream
- Pour into a baking dish (don't bother greasing it...it's gonna be just fine)
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes
- Remove cover and top with shredded cheese (go to town!)
- Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly
- If making recipe as is, use a smaller glass dish. But if you're going to double it, use a 9x13 and bake it for about an hour. Insert a toothpick into the center to make sure it's cooked through (the muffin mix isn't still wet).
Bountiful Brunch: Cinnamon Crumble Baked French Toast
Lazy Sundays mornings in warm PJs is, like, my favorite part of fall. This recipe is awesome because it sits overnight, so come that lazy Sunday morning, you just pop it in the oven and pour yourself some coffee while it bakes. You can add raisins or nuts if you’d like, but we like it just like this. Maybe with some whipped cream on top if we’re feeling fancy. It’s just warm, decadent and the flavors really wrap you in the feeling of fall.
- 1 loaf French bread (slightly stale, if possible)
- 2 C milk
- 12 eggs
- 1/3 C maple syrup
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 t cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 6 T softened (not melted) butter
- 1/3 C brown sugar (light preferred)
- 1/3 C flour
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the eggs.
- Add remaining ingredients (not topping ingredients) and whisk until well combined.
- Tear the bread (or cut it if you're OCD like me) into 1" chunks.
- Add bread to wet mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.
- Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Mix or cut with a pastry cutter until mixture is in little chunks (about 1/4").
- Sprinkle topping onto the French toast bake and cover with plastic
- Let sit in the fridge overnight.
- Take the bake out of the fridge and remove plastic wrap
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- When the bake has come to room temperature, bake for 45 minutes to an hour until edges are golden brown.
- Top with whipped cream or berries or nuts, whatever you'd like!
- This really makes a ton but it is so yummy! I always make it with some breakfast sausage and we can literally eat it for days.