Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Autumn-Spiced Roasted Acorn Squash

One of the ingredients during fall that I cherish most is acorn squash. Of course, I relish all things pumpkin and apples during these autumn months. But, I find the simplicity of roasting acorn - or even butternut - squash this time of year to be something quite special.

One of my family's favorite ways to prepare acorn squash is to cut it in half and roast it with a little butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper and maple syrup. My Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash is always a hit and everyone loves grabbing a spoon and diving in to their own personal serving.

But, we, also, love it cut into slivers and roasted with various spice combinations and toppings. For this recipe, pumpkin pie-style spices get sprinkled onto olive oil-coated acorn squash wedges that get roasted to perfection and drizzled with a little real maple syrup. The crunch of a few toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish add a nice textural component.

This would be a beautiful and delicious addition to your Thanksgiving dinner table. The squash gets tender on the inside while taking on a slight char around the outer edges (my favorite part). The spices add a touch of warmth that definitely are reminiscent of the flavors associated with fall. And, the slightly-reduced pure maple syrup contributes just the perfect amount of sweetness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Top Twelve Cooler Weather Recipes

It's that time of year again - the time when most of us around the country are craving food that evokes feelings of warmth, sustenance and comfort. We're embracing life beyond refreshing salads, grilling out and sipping lemonade by the pool. We're seeking out new soup recipes to try, inspiration for incorporating pumpkin into our desserts, heartier breakfasts that'll really "stick to our ribs" and maybe some ideas for dinner that'll require us to get those ovens heated up.

Today I am sharing twelve of my personal favorite fall recipes from here on Joyously Domestic. There's a little something for everyone here - desserts, soups, pasta, slow cooker meals and a real favorite here on JD - Oven-Roasted Chicken and Potatoes.

Just click on the orange-colored title for each recipe and you'll be taken to the corresponding post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

I have a confession. My children sometimes sneak and eat jelly with a spoon straight from those little packets at diners while we wait for our food to arrive. You know the ones I'm talking about - those little jelly and jam packages that are all stacked up in the plastic, black caddies sitting atop the tables at some casual joints. Yes, those. With a spoon. Plain. Into their mouths.

Well, this practice has led to them now loving apple butter since apple butter is often one of the selections in the black table-top caddy. With an abundance of apples on hand recently, I set out to make apple butter at home in my slow cooker.

I used to make apple butter during my teenage years with my grandmother, so I knew the basics. After researching some various recipes online recently, I came up with something that I am now simply in love with. I've made two batches so far and plan to make up a bunch more once it's closer to the holidays for gift-giving to family and friends.

Since this recipe takes around eleven hours of cooking time in the slow cooker, I've found that it's easiest to cook the apples overnight. I get things going before going to bed and before lunchtime the following day, I've got apple butter made.

And, oh, the aromas that will fill your house are just intoxicating. You'll be tempted to grab a spoon and dive into the slow-cooked apples before you even blend them up. (Confessions Number Two:  I did just that.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Spice-Kissed Sweet Potato Crunch

Calling all sweet potato lovers out there ... this is 'da bomb  sweet potato casserole - like, the one that tops all others in my opinion. It has the perfect balance of fall spices, crunch, creaminess and sweetness. And, it doesn't have to be made just on Thanksgiving ... it went great with our Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches recently and I often make it anytime I make a big Sunday ham dinner. (Baked ham and sweet potatoes go hand-and-hand in my book.)

And, now that it's cooling down here in Michigan, it's great to have my kitchen fill up with the scents of fall while this dish is baking ... the cinnamon and nutmeg bring about those aromas of fall for me.  And, that crunch topping is seriously dangerous!

This recipe yields a good amount ... probably enough for 8 - 10 servings as a side dish. So, if you're only wanting enough for a smaller crowd, you could easily cut the recipe in half ... just be sure to use a slightly smaller baking dish.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Sweet Corn, Potato and Sausage Soup with Kale

This is such an inviting, flavorful soup that couldn't be more perfect for these chilly fall days. This soup is hearty and filling. It'll really warm you up from the inside out. And, it's just as good (if not better) reheated, so this would be something super fitting if you're a person who likes to make up a large pot of soup for the week ahead. After all, some days there is nothing more comforting and perfect than being curled up on the couch with a coffee cup of reheated soup in hand, fuzzy slippers on our piggies, blanket-draped shoulders and the remote at our side.

My family found that we thoroughly enjoyed this garnished with some freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese on top. The sharp, salty notes in the cheese paired perfectly with the sweetness brought to the party by the corn.

The browned sausage lends a lot in terms of flavor to this soup, but it could easily omitted if desired. An alternative that I would recommend would be to garnish the soup with a little cooked, crumbled bacon at time of service.

NOTE: Fresh, chopped spinach can be added in place of the kale if desired. Chop either into the size pieces that you prefer. I like the kale roughly chopped, but it can be chopped a little finer if desired.

Yields 6 servings.