When the leaves start to change, it seems like all everyone can talk about is pumpkin-spice-this and apple-pie-that, but these fruits are not the only produce that thrive in the fall months. Colder weather is perfect for cooking warm, hearty meals, and you can incorporate ingredients like winter squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pears, cranberries and mushrooms to enjoy the full range of fall flavors. Check out these recipes to get you started on your fall menu planning:
Sweet potato soup
Nothing tastes better on a crisp fall day than a warm bowl of soup, and Cooking Light’s sweet potato, leek and ham soup is a creamy dish sure to leave you satisfied. You’ll need a Dutch oven and a blender for this recipe, and it only takes about half an hour to make. The best part is that each serving is only 193 calories with 1 gram of fat.
- 1 cup diced cooked ham
- 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
- 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Warm up the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the ham, stirring frequently for about four minutes or until browned. Take the ham out and set it aside. Add the leeks and cover the pot. You may need to add a splash of water to prevent burning, but otherwise cook for about five minutes, stirring every now and then. Once the leeks are tender, add the sweet potato, broth, water and evaporated milk to the pot. Reduce the heat and cover, simmering for about 15 minutes. When the sweet potato starts to get tender, scoop out about half the mixture and blend it until smooth. Pour that into a bowl and repeat with the rest of mixture, adding everything back into the pot when it’s done. Then, stir in the ham and you’re ready to eat.
Pear and rutabaga mash
This recipe from Martha Stewart Living is easy to whip up and can be a healthy substitute for mashed potatoes loaded with starch and butter. It takes a little less than an hour to make from start to finish and serves 10, so you can host a dinner party or snack on leftovers for days.
- 2 large rutabagas, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 firm, ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored and quartered
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup water
- pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and then add the rutabaga and pear chunks. Sprinkle the salt while stirring and let the mixture cook for about 25 minutes. Once the rutabaga and pears start to get a bit tender, add the water, turn up the heat a little bit and simmer for another 25 minutes. The produce will absorb the water. Then, use a potato masher to combine all your ingredients, adding the pepper and any other seasonings you want.
To complement your autumn mash, this chicken dish inspired by Taste of Home could be just right. Its sweet and savory flavors will offset the mash nicely, and your plate will be so colorful it will be hard to resist making your friends jealous with a few photos. This mostly hands-free dish takes 45 minutes to make, and each serving is only about 330 calories with 6 grams of fat.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 14-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
- 1 large Grannysmith apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
Cook the chicken breasts, uncovered, in a greased baking dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Combine the other ingredients and scoop on top of the chicken after the 20 minutes is up. Pop the dish back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes, and you’re all done. Line the baking dish with foil for even easier cleanup.