Tag Archives: Fall Recipes

Holiday Inspiration: Autumn Harvest Soup

It’s time to get ready for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  You just can’t top a day that is solely dedicated to eating delicious food and counting your blessings.  Butternut squash is one of the must-haves for this time of year, and I was looking for a comforting soup that incorporated it as well as many other fall staples.  I found this recipe in Natural Health Magazine, one of my go-to inspiration sources.  It’s simple, gluten-free, vegan and perfect for serving at holiday gatherings.  It’s also low in fat, and high in fiber and protein.

Nothing says fall like butternut squash, apples and nutmeg together in one recipe!

Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
2 diced onions
5 cups vegetable broth
1 diced medium butternut squash
2 diced green apples
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp dried sage
1∕4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp honey
Garnish: toasted walnuts

Preparation Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the broth, squash, apples, ginger, sage and nutmeg.

Now all the fabulous fall flavors can start mingling!

  • Add salt to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the honey (Great for soothing coughs and scratchy throats this time of year)

When it looks like this, you’re ready to purée.

  • Purée in a VitaMix or food processor, serve and garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

Mmmm, the perfect comfort food for a chilly night!

This soup made the perfect warming meal on our first chilly weekend of the year.  My 8-month old couldn’t get enough of it, so I froze the leftovers in small containers for him to enjoy over the coming weeks.

Whether it’s for a big holiday crowd or just for your family, I know you’ll love this soup.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Comfort with a Kick: Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Now that Fall is in full swing, I’m craving everything pumpkin.  I’ve already enjoyed more than my share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, and last weekend I made my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  You don’t have to look far to find recipes for decadent pumpkin desserts, but they can cause one to “fluff up” pretty quickly if you know what I mean!  I’ve been on the prowl for a lighter, nutrient-dense pumpkin recipe, and something a little unique to pass along to you.  I stumbled across this Pumpkin Tortilla Soup recipe on Pinterest, and I only needed to make a couple of tweaks to make it a bit more nutritious.  I’ve had my eye on it for a couple of weeks, and I was so excited to finally give it a try this weekend.  It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and packed with delicious fall flavor.

Ingredients (Serves 6):

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Depending how much of a kick you want!)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil for frying
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Preparation Instructions:

  • Cut 6 of the tortillas into 1/2-inch squares.

This soup can be prepped in under five minutes!

  • Heat oil (preferably a more stable fat like avocado or coconut oil) in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and chopped tortillas, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
  • Add the cumin and cayenne and sauté for another minute.
  • Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until you’re ready to serve.

Let the soup simmer awhile so that all the delicious flavors have time to combine!

  • While the soup is simmering, cut the remaining 6 tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips onto paper towels to drain.  Season with a little coarse sea salt if you wish.

The recipe I used called for frying in veggie oil, but I used coconut oil as it’s a much more stable fat and won’t lose all of its nutritional value when heated.

  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

Colorful, Hearty, Spicy and Delicious!

If you want even more kick like I did, season your bowl with some habanero or Tobasco sauce.

I absolutely loved this twist on a typical tortilla soup, and I’ll definitely be making it again this Fall.  In fact, it’s now in my top ten list of recipes I’ve blogged about the last couple years!  Give it a try and make it your own by switching up the seasonings or adding some dried peppers or chopped jalapeno.  It can stand on its own, or you can serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa.  The options are endless.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

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Apricot and Mushroom Rice Pilaf

There are three things I like about today’s recipe:  It’s a great comfort food for this time of year, it’s gluten-free, and it’s super easy and nutritious (Why else would I make it?)  I found it on the Whole Foods Website and made a few minor adjustments.  The WF blog is one of my go-to places for healthy recipes, so check it out if you’re in need of a little  holiday inspiration.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used fresh cilantro and thyme and dried parsley)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preparation Instructions:

  • In a medium pot, sauté mushrooms and both types of onions in a little oil over medium-high heat.

Stir often, about 6-8 minutes.

  • Stir in rice, broth, salt & pepper to taste and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove covered pot from heat and let sit 10 minutes; uncover and fluff with fork.

Brown rice is rich in fiber and antioxidants.

  • Transfer to large bowl, add apricots, walnuts, herbs and vinegar.
  • Toss to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

There’s nothing like adding walnuts and apricots to give a hum-drum recipe some fall pizazz!

I served the pilaf with baked tilapia and green beans.

Brown rice is packed full of nutrition, but if it’s not your thing, you could always swap it out for cous-cous, quinoa or bulgur.  You can serve it with a nice green salad for a simple vegetarian meal, or it would go great beside my Walnicot Chicken Delight!

I hope you give this simple, healthy dish a try this holiday season!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

All this beautiful weather has me in the fall spirit, and I’ve been craving anything pumpkin lately!  I would blame my pregnancy for this, but I must admit this happens to me at this time every year!  I couldn’t stop thinking about pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, so I finally broke down and made them.  I decided to give this slightly healthier recipe a try, and it turned out great, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Pumpkin muffins are perfect for parties and potlucks this fall!

INGREDIENTS (Makes 16 muffins):

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or a gluten-free flour if you wish!)
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup canned/fresh pumpkin
1/2 cup milk (or dairy-free alternative)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips (or carob chips)

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients first (pumpkin, milk, egg, butter, and honey).
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Transfer to muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Let cool, serve and enjoy!

This recipe is so quick and easy.

Mmmm, that's the smell of fall filling up your house!

I’ll definitely be making these muffins again.  What’s your favorite fall recipe?

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It’s Fall, Ya’ll! Give Your Salads a Burst of Autumn Flavor.

Well hello, strangers!  I’m back after a little two-and-a-half month hiatus.  Sorry to leave you hanging, but this girl’s world was turned upside down with some exciting news in late June; a little mini health nut is on the way!  That’s right, I’m expecting my first baby in March.  Nine weeks of serious morning sickness kept me away from the computer and close to the porcelain throne, hence the lack of blog updates.  But now I’m feeling better and ready to get back to it.  Since eating healthy is now a bigger priority than ever before for me, I’m hoping to share a lot of nutritious recipes and other great information with you in the coming months (especially now that I can think about food without losing my lunch!).

After a long, scorching summer in Georgia, my favorite time of the year is finally upon us.  Don’t you just love the fall?  I adore everything about the season, from chilly mornings to football games to pumpkin spice lattes.  In case you’re not yet in the spirit, I’ll be sharing some healthy autumn recipes to inspire you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, be sure to revisit these yummy fall recipes I posted last year!

Pumpkin Raisin Bars

Wanicot Chicken Delight

Naughty and Nice Sweet Potato Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

Roasted Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato Gratin

Autumn Burst Salad

So I found this salad recipe when I was searching for a fun fall dish to bring to my book club last night.  It was a hit with the girls, so I knew it was worthy of sharing with you.  I took it from one of my favorite blogs, Gluten-Free Goddess, and made a few tweaks to make it my own.  When the weather starts cooling off, I’m not always in the mood for a cold salad.  Adding some grains to this dish makes it more of a comfort food, and you can feel free to serve it room temperature or chilled.  (It kind of reminds me of the marinated cous-cous salad I shared with you last year.)

Fall is the time for colorful and savory foods!

Ingredients (Makes 6 side dish servings):

Salad
1 cup organic quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur (Use quinoa if you’re on a gluten-free diet or just looking to boost your protein intake.)
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear or apple, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Sliced apples/pears and nuts add a little autumn pizazz to a hum-drum salad.

You can make this salad different every time by switching up the variety of grain, fruit and nut you use.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Prepare quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur according to the instructions on the package and transfer to a large salad bowl.
  • While your grain is cooking, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.  Begin prepping your other salad ingredients.
  • Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the salad bowl and toss.  Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Tip: If you are making this dish ahead of time, I suggest you go ahead and add the dressing to your grain while it’s still warm.  When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed.

You’ll know your quinoa is fully cooked when the germ ring along the outside edge of the grain is visible.

This salad makes for a great light lunch or side dish, and it can be easily shared at fall pot lucks or tailgates.

Fall is definitely in the air and it’s time to start cooking!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and please send your comments my way!

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Ultimate Comfort Food: White Bean Chicken Chili

Hi everyone! I hope you all stayed nice and toasty during this chilly weekend, because I sure didn’t! My husband and I decided to go camping along with my sister, Rosie, and her husband up in the North Georgia Mountains, and as luck would have it, we had our coldest weekend yet. I love the outdoors and all, but this. was. rough.

This picture demonstrates how Rosie and I felt when we arrived at the snowy campsite on Friday night!

Thankfully, we thought ahead and brought some healthy, wholesome food. In my opinion, preparation is half the battle when it comes to camping trips, tailgating, parties and other social gatherings. I made a white bean chicken chili so delicious it almost made us forget how miserably cold it was! Now that daylight savings is over and the nights are getting chillier, you may just want to give this recipe a whirl yourself.

Ingredients:

1 pound large northern white beans

8 cups chicken broth

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 medium chopped onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cans (4-ounces) chopped mild green chilies

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 baked chicken breasts, diced

I suggest topping your chili with a little shredded cheese and avocado slices.

Preparation Instructions (Serves 8):

Combine beans, broth, garlic and 1 chopped onion in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are soft (2 hours or more), adding more broth or water as necessary.

While soup is simmering, bake the chicken breasts. When cooked to at least 160 degrees, remove from oven, let cool and slice into bite-size pieces.

In a skillet, saute the other chopped onion in oil until tender. Add chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to beans/broth mixture. Stir in chicken and simmer at least 1 hour.

Add any desired toppings, serve and enjoy!

We enjoyed our chili around the fire with a side of cornbread!

There you have it, another delicious recipe to add to the books for my Holiday Recipe Mania! Hint: You could always exchange the chicken for turkey if you need to use up some Thanksgiving leftovers. But really, this chili is a quick, easy and affordable way to feed a large group of people for any occasion any time of year.

We ended up packing up the site on Saturday afternoon (Much to my husband’s dismay, it turns out I’m not an extreme camper!), but at least a good recipe came out of it! Have a wonderful week and stay warm!

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A No Fuss Dinner Solution: Naughty and Nice Sweet Potato Chili

Hey everyone!  We’re due for another delicious fall recipe, dontcha think?  I wanted to squeeze this in before my crazy weekend (I’ve got a wedding and a baby shower to attend as well as a dinner party to host…ahh!) begins.  I actually got the idea for this dish from a Weight Watcher cook book that my sister brought to work.  I liked that it combines both sweet and spicy flavors, it’s jam-packed with nutritious veggies, and it includes comforting sweet potatoes.  It sounded perfect for this time of year, so I decided to tweak it just a bit to make it my own.

Did I mention this recipe is EASY?  It’s so convenient if you don’t have a lot of time to cook because you basically just throw a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and forget about it, and a few hours later a scrumptious sweet and spicy aroma is filling your house and it’s time to eat!  If you prefer a vegetarian chili, just swap the meat out for kidney beans to keep it power-packed with protein.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound ground turkey, or to give it even more flavor, use sweet or spicy turkey sausage links (or 1 can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained for vegetarian dish)

2 leeks, trimmed to white and light green parts, chopped

1 large (or two small) zucchini, diced

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large can (12 ounces) of diced tomatoes

1 can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce

2 1/2 TBS chili powder

2 TBS brown sugar

1 1/2 TSP curry powder

1 TSP cumin

1/2 TSP black pepper

1/4 TSP cinnamon

1 TSP red wine vinegar

Preparation Instructions:

Brown the meat and set aside.  Place the leeks, green beans, zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce and all the spices in the crock pot and mix well.  Place the sweet potatoes on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the crock pot.  Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.  About 30 minutes before serving, stir in meat and vinegar.  Enjoy!

I threw everything in the crock pot at 8 p.m. last night. Feel free to play with the veggie combo to include your favorites!

All the sweet and spicy flavors come together for a party in your mouth! To add even more kick, get the canned tomatoes with jalapenos.

When I got up this morning, all the simmering flavors made my house smell amazing!  I added the meat and vinegar and packed a serving in a tupperware for lunch before running out the door. You can also freeze the leftovers in individual tupperware containers for easy grab-and-go lunches!  A little cilantro would make a perfect garnish.  I think this makes a great stand-alone dinner.  Since it includes the filling sweet potatoes, there’s really no need to add a starchy side.

With recipes like this, a busy evening doesn’t mean your family has to settle for the drive-thru.  With just a little planning and easy prep, you can have a highly nutritious dinner waiting for you when you walk in the door.  I think my crock pot may just be one of my favorite wedding gifts, and I plan to use it A LOT this fall and winter!

Do you have a great crock pot recipe to share?  What are your tricks for feeding a family on the go without sacrificing nutrition?  I’d love to hear your ideas or feature your recipe!

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