Food

Fall Flavor Favorites

Say that three times fast!

I know, it’s not officially fall, but in Wyoming it gets cool pretty early so it absolutely feels like fall — we turned on the heater this week! There are little hints of fall cropping up around the house even as I toil away at all our renovation projects… (sigh. That is a post for another day. It’s totally worth it though. And now I’m realizing there’s a lot I need to update here.)

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There’s going to be a mantel there soon! Anyway. I wanted to share a few favorite fall/cool weather recipes that we’ve been enjoying, and please share yours in the comments, I’m always looking for something good!

This Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder is a big favorite around here, especially if you go to the effort of cooking and crumbling bacon and having green onions on hand.

Mmmm… I probably make it a little too often though.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

There are millions of versions out there, I just sort of invented my own after having some at a friend’s house and loving it. This one always brings back memories of Sunday night dinners with Mark and Danielle when we were all newlyweds in our tiny apartments at BYU… eating dinner off of trays or their coffee table because none of us even had a proper dining room table ha ha.

So here’s my version, it’s pretty easy too because it’s a crock pot recipe (yay!) and mostly uses cans — I know, super healthy.

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Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts
2 cans petite diced tomatoes, NOT drained
1 small can diced green chiles, drained (Don’t just do Rotel because rotel is in water, whereas the tomatoes come in tomato juice (ish) — I learned this the hard way)
2 cans of beans (I like to use kidney and chilli beans, but any type of reddish beans works)
2 cups chicken broth
Taco seasoning (one packet)
Frozen corn (about 1 cup — you can do a can but it tastes so much better frozen)
Fresh cilantro, chopped finely
Optional: Top with grated cheddar/fiesta cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips.

Instructions:
Put chicken in crockpot with the chicken broth and some taco seasoning on low for about two hours or until cooked (or high for faster cooking — I always use frozen but if it’s just raw then it’ll obviously take less time. You know your crockpot.)

Once the chicken is cooked, shred it or tear it into small pieces, then dump in all the cans and the rest of the broth, as well as any additional taco seasoning (I just do this to taste). Cook on high for about two hours, and in the last 15 minutes or so add in the frozen corn and cilantro.

Serve with grated cheddar/fiesta cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips.

Zuppa Toscana is another one we love, and honestly I like it better homemade than at Olive Garden (which is a good thing because we don’t have an Olive Garden anymore anyway!). I just use an online copycat recipe like this one, but I’ll add this: use HOT Italian sausage. Mild is weak sauce and also won’t give you very much flavor. You have to use hot!

My mother-in-law has a delicious Pasta e Fagiole recipe that we really like too, but that’s a family recipe so I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share… 😉 But there are plenty of copycats online, I’ll just share a few helpful tips: again, it’s better with HOT Italian sausage (you can do half ground beef, half Italian sausage, that’s my favorite way to do it), and cook and serve the pasta separately — meaning don’t let it sit in the soup and get all soggy, let people add their pasta in separately when they are served the soup and store it separately as well if there are leftovers. Also, in the Hispanic section of the grocery store, you’ll find these little mini bags of pasta that are the perfect size and portion for this soup — we usually use the small shell pasta.

I do make other things than soup in the fall… How about a fabulous dessert? We discovered this Pumpkin Praline Bread Pudding last fall and it was pretty fabulous.

It’s the sauce/syrup that really makes it though. We had extra so I’ve been using it on pancakes, ice cream… it would be delicious on an apple crisp too!

Speaking of which… Apple Crumble. I learned to make this by watching my teenage BFF’s mother (she’s French-Italian and is an amazing cook) make it off the cuff in her kitchen. It’s so simple, but soooo good! Essentially: dice up a whole lotta apples, pack them into a baking dish (don’t skimp on the apples, it cooks down so pack them in there!) and pour a little bit of water over, and sprinkle in some brown sugar and cinnamon (easy on the cinnamon). For the crumble part, use your fingers to work salted butter into flour and a little brown sugar then crumble it on top as you go (this is essentially pâte brisée — 2:1 ratio of flour to butter). Bake until the apples are a bubbly, sticky mess and the crumble is slightly golden (probably about 45 minutes). Voilà!

And my friend Laurin makes an incredible Hot Apple Cider that I’m probably not at liberty to disclose, but the key is topping it with fresh, homemade whipped cream with a little cinnamon in it… This copycat recipe might help you out though!

Okay I think that’s enough recipes for now… What are your fall favorites?

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