Tag Archives: Fall

Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie

Fall…..yes, I do know it technically begins on the 22nd of September this year, but in my home, we’re already there!  It has been raining alllll day, all week rather, the outside air is in the 80’s and my apple cinnamon candles are lit.

Speaking of apples and cinnamon, how about we make a pie! 😉  This really could be an all year delight, but I try to save it just for Fall.  To best describe this dessert, I’d say it’s a cheesecake, meets apple pie, meets crumble.  I mean really…have you ever heard of a mashup more yummy?? Though best of all, it’s insanely easy!  This pie is just short of a “dump recipe”.  Could you peel, season and cook down your own apples?  Sure!…but why??  With the hecticness of the many holidays approaching, keep your life easy and stress free with my family favorite, Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 17.5 oz bag of oatmeal cookie mix (or snickerdoodle/sugar, if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (cube a cold stick), plus 1 Tablespoon, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, large
  • 21oz can apple pie filling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9″ pie dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix with the cubed stick of butter; using your hands, mix, working for almost “crumbs”.  Press about 2 cups into the bottom and up the sides of the greased pie dish.  *About 1+ cup of the cookie crumbs should be left over for the topping. 
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or stand-mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth, while adding in the sugar and flour.  Next, beat in the vanilla and egg, till creamy.
  5. In your now par-baked and slightly cooled cookie crust, spread in the cream cheese filling.  Top with the can of apple pie filling.  Combine the tablespoon of melted butter with the remaining cookie crumbles and sprinkle over the pie evenly.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.  *Cover with foil, not plastic wrap, when refrigerating.  This ensures less condensation, so that the crust and crumble do not become soggy. AppleCreamCheese2AppleCreamCheese3

Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Bacon Alfredo

Call me “basic” but come Fall, I sure do love me some pumpkin!  Now I’m not fully crazy, as in pumpkin spice coffee every morning, noon and night crazy.  I do, however, like to use the orange offspring of squash in more creative ways.  Todays “way” is in the form of pasta!

To convince my family my idea was some sort of genius, I also used 2 of the tastiest key words in describing our future dinner, “alfredo” and “bacon”…Yep, that got their attention!

Now sure, this is after all Alfredo so it does contain a bit of cheese, but it’s actually not all that artery clogging and indulgent as you may think.  For one, I used less than 1 cup of parmesan cheese, mainly for the saltiness it brings.  I substituted the heavy cream for it’s lighter cousin, half & half, and if you want to lessen the saturated fat of butter, feel free to use Tresomega Nutrition cold pressed coconut oil!  Plus, lets not forget the health benefits of the sneaked in pureed pumpkin!

Now honestly, this sauce is fantastic on any pasta or fluffy gnocchi of your choice, it would be good on a shoe for that matter.  Though for my gluten free friends, I highly recommend the new GF pasta made by my buddies at Tresomega Nutrition!  It contains no wheat nor corn and is made with organic rice, quinoa and amaranth which keeps that same bite and color of your traditional pasta noodles.  It also doesn’t fall apart when cooked like most of its counterparts!  I’m fully a fan!

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  3. https://www.pinterest.com/tresomega/
  4. https://twitter.com/tres_omega

You can also purchase the Tresomega Nutrition brand at:

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  3. https://www.amazon.com
  4. https://www.walmart.com

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb of your preferred pasta or gnocchi (Tresomega Gluten Free recommended)
  • 8 strips bacon, grease reserved, divided
  • 2 Tbsp butter or Tresomega cold pressed coconut oil
  • 12 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups half & half (16oz)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water (optional to thin sauce)
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I tried this recipe with both pasta noodles and gnocchi and BOTH are delish!

Begin this Fall-inspired pasta by chopping, grating and mincing your bacon, onion, garlic and parmesan cheese.

In a large skillet on medium heat, crisp up your bacon.  Once done, transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside while keeping the bacon grease in the skillet.  *There should be about 2 Tbsp of grease.

To that same pre-greased skillet, add to it either the butter or cold pressed coconut oil along with the chopped onions and sauté, about 7-8 minutes.  Turn down to medium-low and then add in the garlic and sage and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Careful not to burn the garlic, but to slightly crisp up the sage.

**Here you can boil a large stockpot of salted water to a boil and add in your pasta of choice and cook to package directions.

Once the veggie medley is finished (smells gooooood huh?!), you will add in the pumpkin puree while whisking in the half & half to form a creamy consistency.  Next, whisk in the grated parmesan cheese, crisped sage leaves, 1/2 of the cooked bacon, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Cook over low heat till combined and then add in your perfectly cooked pasta.  ***You can also add in the 1/4 cup of pasta water if you’d like a thinner consistency.

Serve warm, with the other 1/2 of cooked, chopped bacon sprinkled overtop, a bit more parmesan and sage leaves if desired.  Enjoy!

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Chowder Fries

Besides the scents, visuals and tastes of pumpkin, nothing says Fall more than a warm bowl of soup!  Especially a creamy bowl of New England’s favorite, the clam chowder!  Now yes, I know I live in the south, but I’ve had reoccurring dreams of visiting the east coast to watch the leaves change while sipping on hot cider and bobbing for apples.  Maybe sneak in a visit to ‘creepy’ Salem too…basically every east coast Fall cliché IS on my bucket-list.  One day….

So for now, I light a spiced candle and get out my candy apple red Dutch oven to reinvent the classic into our family favorite, Chowder Fries!  …quick toying with me Fall and just get here already!!

*You can absolutely use vegetable broth instead, but I find that the chicken stock brings a richer flavor.

The Starting Lineup

  • French fries (frozen or scratch made), Old Bay seasoning optional for tossing with
  • 5 Strips bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried/ or ground thyme
  • 3 Tbsp flour, all-purpose
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock/ or vegetable broth
  • 1 10oz can clams, juices reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley (chopped) or green onions (sliced), garnish

Chowder2

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven to med-high heat and add in the olive oil and bacon and cook until crispy.  Transfer the crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Keep the bacon grease in the pot.

Next, melt the butter into that bacon grease and then add in the onions, stirring often, followed by the garlic.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and finally sprinkle in the thyme and stir together.

*Meanwhile, if making a bag of frozen fries, preheat the oven and line a baking tray with parchment or foil for easy cleanup.  Whether frozen or not, I like to lightly coat my fries in a bit of oil and dusting of cornstarch, toss together.  This creates a great crispy exterior!

To the sautéed butter, onions and garlic, whisk in the flour for about 1 minute till everything ‘clumps up’ and is lightly browned.  To that, slowly whisk in the chicken stock/ or broth, milk, the juice from the clams and toss in the bay leaf.  After a couple minutes of whisking to incorporate, stir in the diced potatoes.

Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes; potatoes are tender.

**Fry or bake your fries during this time.

Once time is up, stir in the half & half, the clams and add in your salt & pepper to taste (I am pretty heavy-handed with that myself).

If eating family style, season the French fries with salt or even better, Old Bay, and transfer to a serving platter.  Ladle the warm and creamy clam chowder over top the hot fries and top with the crisp bacon crumbles and parsley and/or scallions!  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!

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Glazed Cinnamon Sugar Apple Fritter Bread

I do not think that this needs a hefty introduction.  I mean, heck, entire candle lines were built around the scent that will come from your oven…

The above being said, this will make your family happy and your neighbor’s jealous on the smell alone.  Really, what says comfort and Fall more than apples, cinnamon and brown sugar?  Exactly.

So, on your next breezy, crisp and possibly rainy day, bake up a batch of this apple bread and take in the praises from your loved ones. xoxo

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
    2 eggs 
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 cup milk
    2 apples, peeled and chopped , mixed with another 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon *I used both green and red apples, but feel free to use what you prefer.

Glaze Topping

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
    1-3 Tbsp of milk, depending on thickness of glaze desired

*Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional and encouraged!

CSAppleBread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray roughly a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Prepare your peeled and chopped apples tossed in the cinnamon-sugar according to the above listed ingredients (2T/1T/2t).

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large bowl (or a KitchenAide mixer), beat the granulated sugar and softened butter together until creamy with an electric mixer.  Next beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla extract.

Next, whisk together the flour and baking powder and add in to the creamed butter and stir will well combined.  Finally, mix in the milk till the batter reaches a smooth consistency.

To your prepared loaf pan: pour 1/2 of the batter to the base of the pan, followed by 1/2 of your spiced and chopped apples and lastly, 1/2 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

REPEAT with the remaining half of ingredients.  With the tip of a butter knife, insert straight down into loaf pan, without scraping the bottom, and give a slight swirl throughout. *This will not only make it “pretty” but will incorporate the flavors throughout.

Place the pan into your preheated oven for at least 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  *In one of my oven’s, this needed to bake for closer to 80 minutes before toothpick was clean, FYI.

Allow to sit out for about 20 minutes, transfer to a serving platter, then drizzle the prepared glaze overtop!

CSAppleBread2

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie

This longtime recipe, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie (also known as Amish Oatmeal Pie), is quite similar to everyone’s favorite, the Pecan Pie.  As a matter of fact, this dessert has often been referred to as “Poor Man’s Pecan Pie” since the famed nut can run up your grocery bill, but oats are a fairly inexpensive item.

There are several family variations of this classic mid-western dessert, but I happily bring you mine.  The sugars, cinnamon and vanilla mixed with the eggs and milk form almost a custard that when baked lets the rolled oats caramelize and create an almost crème brulee style crunch on top.  I typically serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, but I have to tell you…it has been known to be quite the breakfast treat, better than a donut, right?? 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 store-bought pie crust, unbaked
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted, softened
  • Vanill ice cream (optional for serving)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and pull out your pie crust (if frozen) or line your pie dish with the refrigerated unbaked pie crust dough.

In a large bowl, add in the 3 eggs and beat together.  To that same bowl, whisk in both the brown and granulated sugar, oats, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and butter.  Stir till completely combined.  *The mixture may seem a bit “loose”… that’s ok!

Simply pour this mixture straight into the unbaked pie shell and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until pie is baked through..it won’t jiggle too much.

Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before cutting into and serve with vanilla ice cream…or even for breakfast at that!  Enjoy! 🙂

OatmealPie

 

 

Smokey Gnocchi Toscana 

Who doesn’t love Olive Garden’s famous “Zuppa Toscana”?  It’s a delicious blend of sausage, kale and potatoes in a creamy broth…my only small problem with the soup (more so my family’s problem) is it will not fill my hearty boys and husband’s appetite up!  Nope, soup in general just won’t cut it!

Now since I was craving a big bowl of Toscana comfort, I had to figure out a way to change it into something a bit more substantial if it were to be mine.  I have to say, it came pretty easy to me..thank goodness.  How about we make the broth into a rich, more flavor packed cheese sauce and amp up the potato texture by using those fluffy pillows from heaven, otherwise known as gnocchi.  Hey, gnocchi’s are in fact made from potato flour..I do have a little bit of genius left in me.  My boys tend to suck it out of me at times.  I also made sure it was chocked full of (not too) spicy sausage and healthy kale.  Yep, with all those Italian flavors going on, even my boys will slurp up the greens!

Last, but not least, I topped it all off with some crispy, crumbled bacon for another layer of smokey flavor…drooling…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Hot Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 package Gnocchi 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4+ cups Kale (a Kale/Spinach blend would work too)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk, plus more to thin cheese sauce if needed
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish


First and ALWAYS foremost is prepping your ingredients to have at the ready!!  Chop and mince the garlic and shred the cheese if it hasn’t already been done for you.  I’ll be taking sous chef applications soon 😉

Now onto the cooking part my multi-tasking friends!  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and on a foil lined baking sheet, lay out the bacon and cook till slightly crisp (about 15 minutes, rotating once in the oven).  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Keep the oven on, but drop the temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of salted water up to a boil (for the Gnocchi) and in a separate large pan, heat up the olive oil to medium heat and begin browning the sausage, chopping up with a spoon as you go.

Water boiling: add in Gnocchi and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until they float to the top.  Drain and set aside.

Sausage: once cooked through and slightly crumbled, remove from pan and drain the grease slightly.  *leave about a tablespoon of grease please.

In the same pan that the sausage cooked in add in the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the kale and garlic and allow to wilt down.  Once quickly wilted, add the sausage back in along with the Gnocchi.  Remove from heat.

Pesto cheese sauce: in a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then whisk in the flour till it makes a rue (paste).  Now you will whisk in the milk for about 3 minutes till starts to thicken.  Add in the pesto, 1/2 of each the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and a pinch of salt and pepper.  *It may get a little thick here, so just thin by whisking another couple tablespoons of milk in at a time until you reach your desired consistency.



You’re at the finish line now!  In a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray, spoon in the Gnocchi, sausage and kale mix.  Pour that super cheesy pesto sauce ALL over and top with the remaining cheeses.  Cover with foil and place in the 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  

Bump up the oven to 425 degrees and pull the foil off, allowing to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheesy top gets nice and brown.  Remove from oven and relish in the “it smells soooooo good in here” praises!  Make sure to top it all off with the crumbled bacon..NEVER forget the bacon!  *Let rest for 5 minutes before serving..remember it’s going to be hot!  

Serve with a simple salad, warm bread sticks and you have yourself a hit!  

Guinness Irish Beef Stew

After a long summer, which seemed to extend into our Fall..dang it was unusually warm..we finally have that chilly, rainy day.  I’m sure sooner than later I’ll be far over having to get bundled up, but as of now bring on the fireplace, snuggly blankets and movies!

After a long day of said movies on the couch, I apparently get pretty hungry (hard work right?) and crave a big ol bowl of comfort to keep the day going.  Well, this does the trick!

This rich and flavorful stew will thicken as you cook (hence the quick flour step you’ll see below), so please take that extra minute to sear the meat and saute the vegetables for that added creaminess and flavor!  You can of course cook this all in a Dutch oven on your stove top, it will be done a bit quicker if so, but I just love my slowcooker and the ease of walking away ALL day..errr…laying on the couch.

The Starting Lineup 

  • 2lbs stew meat
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1 bottle Guinness beer
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Garnish

  • Real deal mashed potatoes
  • Flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • Lots of Guiness!  


Begin by heating 2 Tbsps of canola oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pan, while spraying your slowcooker with non-stick spray.

The oil will take a few minutes to heat up, so meanwhile cut and chop up those veggies and herbs.  

Also, in a gallon size ziplock bag or large bowl, coat the beef stew meat with the flour and salt and pepper to taste.


Next, add the flour-coated meat to the hot pot and sear all sides.  You will need to do this in about 4 batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pot.  That will steam the meat instead of giving it that nice crusty sear.  *Please KEEP the remaining Tbsp or 2 of seasoned flour thats leftover from the meat/ziplock bag. Once each batch as finished searing, transfer to the slowcooker.  *You will likely need to add another Tbsp of canola oil in between batches.

Now that the meat is done and in the slowcooker, toss the cut carrots and onion into the still hot pan with again, another tbsp of oil if needed.  Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes and then add in the garlic for 1 minute.  NOW, after you’ve swirled that garlic around a bit, pour in the leftover seasoned flour from the ziplock bag that the meat was in.  Toss to coat and pour all of this mixture into the slowcooker with the seared meat.



Along with the vegetables and meat, pour in the Guinness beer, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, chopped parsely and bay leaf(s).  Stir and cover, set to low for 8 hours.  About 30-60 minutes prior to time, add in the frozen peas.  Recover and allow to cook.


Now that it’s close to dinner time, prepare your yummy mashed potatoes (I was gluttaonous and used a stick of butter, half-in-half and a head of roasted garlic..yummmmm!!).  

Serve a large ladle of the rich stew over your creamy mashed taters, top with a pinch more of fresh parsely, salt and pepper and a nice cold Guinness!  Enjoy!!

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