Tag Archives: fall

It’s Autumntime!

It’s autumn or fall or that beautiful period where the weather is generally delightful between the heat of summer and the frost of winter. Leaves are changing colors. It’s my favorite season.

However, I feel like the world gets overtaken by pumpkin EVERYTHING. There are lots of great fall flavors besides pumpkin. Here are just some of the fruits and vegetables in season right now:

Acorn Squash
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Butter Lettuce
Butternut Squash
Cauliflower
Cranberries
Delicata Squash
Endive
Garlic
Ginger
Grapes
Jalapeños
Mushrooms
Pears
Pineapples
Pomegranate
Radicchio
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard
Turnips

Here are some of my favorite fall recipes:

Spaghetti with Greens and Garlic
Apple Pancakes
Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
Spaghetti Squash with Marinara
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Pumpkin Dinner
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Sweet Potato Pancakes
White Chicken Chili
Veggie Sweet Potato Chili

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Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Confession: I love sweet potatoes. Maybe even more than regular potatoes. But I prepare them about 3 ways: mashed with brown sugar, casserole, or roasted as fries. And I have never felt bad about that. Those three are delicious, so why fix something that isn’t broken?

After my second baby was born, I rediscovered stuffed baked potatoes as an easy dinner. I figured sweet potatoes could work too, right? But everything seemed kind of strange and not appetizing enough to try. But I finally picked one and tried it.

Guys, it was delicious. Very different than you typical dinner, agreed. But very yummy. And with fall starting, sweet potatoes are in season and abundant. Go grab some and try this dinner soon. Your bravery will be rewarded.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Makes 4)

IMG_7770

4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon paprika
¾ tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey breast
3 cups torn curly kale
¼ cup golden raisins
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Pierce each potato with a fork a few times to prevent exploding. Wrap potatoes individually in foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fork easily slides into potato. Let cool slightly.

3. Combine vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey to pan and cook 7 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Drain any excess liquid from pan; return to medium-high heat. Stir in vinegar mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove meat from pan.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add kale; cover and cook 4 minutes. Stir in turkey, raisins, and lemon juice.

5. Cut each potato lengthwise. Spoon about ¾ cup kale mixture onto each potato; top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve.

Nutritional Information (per stuffed potato):

Calories: 407
Protein: 29 g
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 95 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 577 mg

Recipe Notes: You could also microwave the potatoes if you don’t have an hour in the oven. I do think the flavor of the potatoes is a little better from the oven, but not essential. The original recipe for this was trying to make a “chorizo” like mixture out of the meat, but healthier than using store bought chorizo. While yummy, I don’t think it ended up tasting like chorizo. You could sub in chorizo for maybe half of the meat. All chorizo would be very fatty, sodium rich, and kind of overpowering (I think, and I like chorizo). I used smoked paprika and it was tasty. The original recipe called for sweet paprika, which is what you generally find in the store. The original recipe also called for goat cheese. That would be yummy as well. I just had feta, and figured it is a kind of goat cheese and went for it. If you aren’t a sweet potato lover, this would be yummy on regular potatoes too.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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Cranberry Orange Pancakes and Cinnamon Rolls

Thanksgiving is one week away! Holy cow, November seems to have flown by. I have two last ideas for your Thanksgiving weekend. Both are great ways to use up any extra fresh cranberries you may have around and solve breakfast dilemmas. However, I’m not posting full recipes. Sorry. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel with these, though.

Cranberry Orange Pancakes (Serves about 4)

Cranberry Orange Pancakes

Make up your favorite pancake recipe or a box mix. Add 1 cup of fresh cranberries and the zest and juice of one orange before adding the liquid in the recipe. Cook as normal.

Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls (Makes a dozen rolls)

Cranberry Orange Rolls

Make a small batch of your favorite cinnamon roll dough, adding ⅔ of the zest of 1 orange to the dough. Once you roll it out, spread 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter over the dough. Then sprinkle evenly over the dough: ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cup fresh cranberries chopped finely, and the remaining orange zest. After baking, drizzle with an icing made of 1 cup powdered sugar and about 2 tablespoons orange juice.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal

I waxed so philosophical about hating recipes that only use part of a can of pumpkin. Yet, I frequently find myself making them anyway. Oops. But I’m getting more creative in ways to use up the extra pumpkin.

Pumpkin in oatmeal seems like a logical choice. You already put in brown sugar and cinnamon, which go great with pumpkin. Plus you are now putting vegetables in breakfast. That is always a win. Super fast breakfast that is good for you and delicious. Major win this time of year!

Pumpkin Oatmeal (Serves 3-4)

Pumpkin Oatmeal

2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
¾ – 1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups skim milk
2 cups water
cinnamon to taste (I use about ½ teaspoon)
¼-⅓ cup brown sugar

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes, per package instructions for your oats. Stir frequently.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 285
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 56 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 62 mg

Recipe notes: This is a very flexible recipe. Use more or less pumpkin, per your taste. You could use all milk, all water, etc. As for the sugar, I usually add about ¼ cup sugar to my regular oatmeal. I found the pumpkin had a strong taste that needed a little more sugar. You might start with ¼ cup, then add teaspoons in individual bowls for each person’s taste.

Low iodine adjustment: Substitute water for the milk.

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Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

I really enjoy asking people about their families’ holiday traditions. Some are quirky, fun, or downright weird. I think my favorite answer has been from a former professor: “Our family’s tradition was to not have any traditions.” Basically, they didn’t do the same thing every year. They tried different foods, usually with an ethnic theme. I will admit, one of our little family’s favorite Thanksgiving was when we skipped the traditional food and ordered Chinese instead.

However, I am a bit of a sucker for the “normal” traditions. This dish is kind of a cross of new and old ideas. It’s got all the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving – turkey, cranberry, sage, starch – but with some flair. If you are only feeding a small group this Thanksgiving and want to go with something only a little out of the box, this is for you. For the rest of us, it is a delicious dinner any night of the week. Enjoy!

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash (Serves 4)

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, quartered, seeded
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
12 oz lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon dried sage

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Place squash quarters in baking dish.

2. In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, brown turkey with onion, celery, and carrots. When meat is cooked thoroughly, deglaze pan with water. Add cranberries, applesauce, and sage. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Evenly distribute turkey mixture over squash quarters. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

4. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover, and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 230
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 59 mg
Carbohydrates: 27 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 77 mg

Recipe Notes: Not all of the filling will fit in the squash pieces. I usually just kind of spread it over the whole dish and hope for the best. You can easily scoop up the excess when serving.

Source: adapted from a recipe from friends

Low iodine adjustment: No adjustment needed.

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Fall Vegetable Bake

Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away! November is just flying. I’ve got several more recipes I think should grace your table for the holiday weekend.

This vegetable bake is definitely different from your standard Thanksgiving starch. It definitely wouldn’t replace potatoes on your table, if that is what you are looking for. But it deserves some attention and consideration. A great balance of sweet, tangy, and savory is achieved with all of the different flavors. It even tastes great doused in gravy!

Enjoy!

Fall Vegetable Bake (Serves 6-8)

Fall Vegetable Bake

3 cups cubed peeled turnips (about 1 ¼ pounds)
3 cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds)
2 ½ cups cubed peeled Granny Smith apples (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange
zest of 1 orange

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine all the ingredients, tossing to coat all the produce. Spread evenly in baking dish.

3. Bake for 1 ½ hours, stirring after 45 minutes, or until desired tenderness.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 219
Protein: 2 g
Fat: less than 1 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 56 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 74 mg

Recipe Notes: I actually didn’t LOVE this dish the first time I made it. I liked it better as leftovers, especially if eaten with some gravy. It sounds odd putting gravy on this mix, but it worked. Promise!

Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Low iodine adjustment: No adjustment needed.

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Shells and Veggie Soup

Have you heard the phrase “Indian Summer” as much as I have lately? I was curious what it actually means. According to Wikipedia, Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm weather in autumn. Sunny, clear skies and above normal temperatures after a killing frost are the characteristics. You and I both learned something new today.

Our “Indian summer” ends today. It is cloudy and windy, bringing snow overnight. Thankfully, a friend of mine just had a soup recipe swap just in time. I dug the dust off this recipe and couldn’t believe I haven’t made it in ages. Almost as good as my minestrone, but this soups is ready so much faster. And it doesn’t make a ton, if you aren’t into leftovers.

Shells and Veggie Soup (Serves 6-8)

Shells and Veggie Soup

½ tablespoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
8 ounces pasta (preferably whole wheat)
1 zucchini, sliced or chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped (or 1 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained well)

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onion begins to soften. Add garlic, cooking 1 minute more.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes.

3. Add pasta and zucchini. Simmer for shortest time on pasta package (about 9 minutes usually). Add spinach 2 minutes before pasta is done. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 192
Protein: 9 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 49 mg

Recipe Notes: I clearly did not use shells in this photo. I’ve been trying “fun” pasta shapes to get my daughter to eat pasta again, since she recently boycotted my favorite food. Any pasta shape will do, although I would recommend smaller shapes. Feel free to add any other veggies you like as well. As a note, the longer this sits, the pasta will keep absorbing the liquid. Hence there isn’t a lot of broth in my photo. I also really like the boost of flavor beef broth adds here. But chicken or vegetable broth works as well.

Source: Adapted from a cooking class I took in college

Low Iodine: Use salt free broth.

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Apple or Pear Crisp

Most of us have a dish that says “home”. In my family, apple pie or apple crisp would definitely fall into that classification. I can’t think of many family gatherings where my mom didn’t make one of those, especially the apple crisp.

This version is “healthified” a bit, but doesn’t taste that way. This dish works very well with apples or pears, depending on your flavor preference. It’s the perfect fall treat.

Enjoy!

Apple or Pear Crisp (Serves 6-8)

Apple or Pear Crisp

4 cups of peeled, sliced apples or pears
⅔ cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place fruit in a shallow 2 quart (or larger) baking dish.

3. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add melted butter, mixing until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit.

4. Bake for 30-60 minutes, until fruit is tender.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 286
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 31 mg
Carbohydrates: 40 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 79 mg

Recipe Notes: I would highly recommend slicing your apples thinner than the fruit pictured above. I just used the general apple slicer, but that wasn’t thin enough to cook very quickly.

Source: Adapted from a family recipe

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Pumpkin French Toast

I know I complained about all the pumpkin recipes on the internet a couple weeks ago. And I still stand by my statement that the food world should not revolve around pumpkin in the fall, even though it does. Most of them call for only part of a can of pumpkin, which is high on my list of pet peeves. If I’m opening something perishable, I better use all of it. And at the end, I often find myself saying, “This item isn’t better because of the pumpkin.” Pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cheesecake brownie, pumpkin snickerdoodels…meh.

Breakfast food (minus the cinnamon rolls) is the one area I make an exception for. We ate this French toast before heading out the door to a fall festival last weekend, and it totally started our day off on the right foot. Super easy and super delicious. I know it only calls for a partial can of pumpkin, which I do hate. But this is the perfect way to use up remainder pumpkin from other recipes.

Pumpkin French Toast (Makes about 13 slices)

Pumpkin French Toast

3 large eggs
¾ cup skim milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
13 slices thick-sliced whole wheat bread

1. Preheat griddle or skillet to medium to medium-high heat.

2. Combine all ingredients except bread in a shallow dish.

3. Spray griddle with cooking spray. Dip bread in mixture until lightly coated on each side, scraping off any excess. Cook on griddle for 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information (Amount per slice):

Calories: 130
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 1 g
Saturated Fat: less than .5 g
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 192 mg

Recipe Notes: I used whole wheat French bread for most of mine. I didn’t have quite enough, so I used sandwich bread as well. I liked the thicker bread better, but all of it was delicious and got eaten. I served this with buttermilk syrup, which made it an extra special treat.

Source: Slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Curried Squash Soup

Back in college, I got to try recipes as part of one of my jobs. Butternut squash soup was the first recipe, and I loved it. Every autumn, I would make it again. And progressively, I liked it less and less and each time. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then last October, I went to Panera for lunch one day and tried the Autumn Squash Soup. Light bulb!

All of that is to say, this recipe has evolved over time. I took my basic recipe and then edited it heavily with some copycat recipes I found online. The bad news is this is no longer a “one pot wonder” soup. The good news is that the flavor is a million times better. Enjoy!

Curried Squash Soup (Serves 8)

Curried Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium baking or yukon potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil, divided
½ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
¾ teaspoon curry powder, divided
pinch of salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 sweet apple (gala, red delicious, golden delicious), chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon cumin
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup orange juice
Chopped cilantro, optional garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine squash and both potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon curry powder (make them heaping if you’d like), and salt. Toss together to coat vegetables. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until fork tender.

3. When vegetables are almost done, heat ½ tablespoon oil in a bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and apple. Saute 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, ½ teaspoon curry powder, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Saute 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and heated through. Do not let this burn.

4. Add roasted vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft and flavors combined.

5. Remove from heat. Stir in orange juice. Blend soup until smooth. Add more juice or broth if needed to thin out the consistency. Serve warm, with cilantro if desired.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 124
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 449 mg

Recipe Notes: Adjust the level of curry based on your heat preference and the heat of your curry powder. I currently have pretty potent curry powder, so these might be low.

Source: adapted from several sources online

Low iodine adjustment: Use homemade broth and non-iodized salt.  If you can find salt free curry powder, that would be good.

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