There is nothing quite as magical and comforting as fall baking. The changing colors of the leaves usually means we can start using cinnamon and apples. This impressive cake is filled with those familiar flavors, and it’s simply a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty and essence of fall.
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With the return of crisp fall air, you’re likely craving something especially warm and comforting, and this big-batch soup indeed fits the bill. While soup is surely a go-to meatless option, many times its lack of heft leaves you unsatisfied and ready to eat again in just a little while. That’s not the case with this healthy — and speedy — Tuscan Vegetable Soup (pictured above), thanks to one key ingredient: cannellini beans. These protein-packed beauties, along with the myriad of vegetables, like carrots, celery and zucchini, as well as fresh spinach, pack the hearty punch you need to tide you over.
Not only do the beans deliver heft, but they also lend texture to this top-rated soup; when you mash some of them, the soup will turn creamy without the addition of cream. Bold garlic and a duo of fresh herbs further the bold flavors, while a sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving promises a nutty bite. Since a batch of this soup can be on the table in just 35 minutes, it’s a go-to pick for when you’re in a hurry come lunchtime.
We’re big on birthdays here in the Food Network offices. It’s a time when we all preheat our ovens, pull out our mixers and bake something special for our co-workers. But that whole birthday cake thing? It’s been done. We’re here to prove that there’s more to birthdays than birthday cake — and our treats don’t need to be sweet either. Instead of agonizing over the perfect gift, remember that all a birthday boy or girl needs is a little something homemade to know how much you care.
It’s officially October, and that means we officially can’t deny the impending force of fall. Friends and family members born in the 10th month of the year deserve more than the Halloween loot they drag home on the 31st. In fact, October babies are special because they get sweet treats you wouldn’t expect any other time of year. Bake these fall-flavored confections for your loved ones, and they will be quite happy to be celebrating in the fall.
Bobby Flay’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake is a must for the friend who was raring to go apple picking as soon as the farms opened their gates. It has all the flavors of the sticky, crunchy caramel-dipped treat on a stick, thanks to sauteed apples, homemade apple-caramel sauce and a sprinkling of walnuts, plus the creamy vibes of cheesecake.
It’s Sunday afternoon and the scene is set for a tailgate of touchdown proportions: The TV is turned to the game, your team of choice is (hopefully) racking up point after point, the refrigerator is stocked with plenty of beers, and a spread of what else but rich, saucy fixings lines your kitchen table. When it comes to those game-day eats, it’s likely the dips that take the cake, from creamy classics like French onion and hummus to tangy favorites like garlicky salsa. While those are indeed crowd-pleasing picks, this fall, dress up your usual football-watching menu with a new trio of dips. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shared their takes on winning dip recipes, each a bold dish that’s a cinch to tackle.
Windy City Deli Dip
True to his Windy City roots, Chicago native Jeff Mauro brings the best flavors of a classic Italian hero to a meaty dip. He combines deli-counter staples like mortadella, pancetta and provolone cheese with fresh cherry tomatoes and cool iceberg lettuce to create the filling for his 10-minute dip. To continue with the sandwich theme, he hollows out an Italian loaf and fills it with the meat-and-cheese mixture. Hot giardiniera rounds out the flavors in this big-batch recipe, while a side of sliced bread makes for easy dipping.
When it comes to fall produce, pumpkins, apples and butternut squash tend to hog the spotlight. Although these in-season items deserve high praise, there’s a whole family of autumnal fruits and vegetables out there — most of which go largely unexplored. Expand your palate by swapping pears for apples in your next baking venture, or try substituting acorn squash for butternut squash if you’ve exhausted the latter. Most importantly, never let a tough husk or gnarled root intimidate you; juicy pomegranate seeds can be used to enhance everything from muffins to salads once you break through the firm outer shell, and hearty root vegetables produce out-of-this-world comfort food when used in casseroles and veggie mashes. Next time you’re looking for a break from pumpkin-spice-flavored foods or classic apple pie, turn to one of these underappreciated fall fruits or vegetables for a welcome change of pace.
We all know butternut squash as an icon of fall produce — but why not give acorn squash a try? When roasted, it takes on the same sweet, buttery quality as its more popular sister. Guy Fieri capitalizes on both the squash flesh and the seeds with this Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese (pictured at top), roasting them separately and then reuniting them in the finished dish.
It is officially fall! September was the month that apples started to come into season, so my question is: Did you and your other half make a date and go apple picking? I think apple picking is so romantic. Just imagine a crisp fall day with plaid shirts, boots and a big mug of hot apple cider as you walk through the orchard — not to mention all the bushels of apples you end up picking for all things apples. But even if you haven’t gone apple picking, or if there are no orchards anywhere near you, I’m sure you’re stocking up on all the apple goodness that has been overflowing in the grocery stores. I swear, my husband and I could not walk into our local grocery store without seeing rows and rows of so many different variety of apples!
When I think of cooking anything in the fall, I think of apples and sage. They’re my favorite fall flavors when it comes to savory dishes. Something about the smell when you’re cooking them together makes me love the season even more. These apple-sage cornbread-stuffed pork chops are going to be a date night favorite in your household this fall — and, best of all, this recipe makes just enough for your party of two, with no overflowing leftovers in sight. It’s a warm, hearty dish that you can make together: Work side by side in the kitchen by stuffing your own pork chop with as much filling as it will hold. It’s a fun little dish to do together, because one of you can hold the pork chop as the other stuffs it, or vice versa.
Whether you’ve spent all weekend at the orchard or you simply picked up a few bags of the skinned beauties from the grocery store, your crisper drawer is likely chock-full of apples. Once you’ve had your fill of pies, tarts and breads — and worked apples into your favorite savory recipes — it’s time to look to applesauce.
If you’ve stayed away from the from-scratch stuff over worry of a tricky assembly, fear not. It’s as simple as piling the ingredients in a pot and letting the heat work its magic. In her fuss-free recipe for Homemade Applesauce, Ina Garten opts for a mix of tart and sweet apples, plus warm spices like cinnamon and allspice to add the comforting flavors of the season. She bakes the mixture at a moderate temperature — 350 degrees F — so the apples will slowly break down and turn soft. Once they’re ready, all you have to do to turn out a smooth finished product is toss the red peel and quickly whisk the applesauce before serving.
Click the play button on the video above to watch how Ina makes this easy, healthy fall staple.
Sweet potatoes are really a year-round wonder, so we don’t typically wait till fall to get our sweet potato fix. But now that comfort food season is setting in, we can’t wait to glaze, mash and roast these innately sweet beauties all season long. Load up on our top comforting sweet potato recipes, each with 5-star ratings, that you’ll swear by all season long.
Forget the marshmallows. Guy Fieri’s Whiskey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes come topped with sweet whiskey-soaked pecans. It’s all glazed in agave syrup spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a hit of cayenne and whiskey, for a sweet and spicy side dish.
There’s no doubt about it: When it comes to fruit, Americans prefer apples — not just for their taste and versatility, but for their robust health benefits and year-round availability, too. A recent study found that apples account for 29 percent of the fruit consumed by U.S. kids daily. To keep up with the demand, growers have begun reviving long-gone heirloom varieties, and high-tech breeders are creating new strains for every taste — tart apples, sweet apples, apples that don’t brown after cutting. But a quick trip to the grocery store can easily turn into an ordeal when faced with the dozen or so varieties in rotation at any given time. While this is nothing compared with the tens of thousands of apple varieties available in the U.S. at one point, it’s still a lot when you consider how heavily modern agricultural practices have streamlined our choices.
As we enter prime apple season, it’s important to keep in mind that not all breeds are created equal. While some varieties were destined to star in your Thanksgiving apple pie, others are better suited for applesauce, salads or eating fresh out of hand. If you’ve been underwhelmed by previous attempts to cook or bake with apples, the problem may have nothing to do with your kitchen skills and everything to do with your choice of fruit. The following are just a sampling of the countless breeds you’ll find in markets every fall, with tips on the best uses for each variety.
As a general rule, Fujis are too juicy for baking, but they’re great for eating fresh. Use them to add a touch of sweetness in salads and slaws — or, slice them up and use them as a sweet-crisp complement to your fall cheese board, as Rachael Ray does in her recipe for Warm Brie with Fuji Apple, Pear and Melba Toasts. However, if gently simmered on the stovetop, Fujis can make a wonderfully sweet and supple topping for fresh baked goods, as you’ll find with Food Network Kitchen’s Souffle Pancake with Apple-Pear Compote (pictured at top).
Pudding is perfect for just about any mood. Whether you’re grumpy or happy, pudding offers a cupful of comfort. It’s also super-easy to whip together at home.
To make your own (without the packet), start with Food Network Magazine’s basic vanilla recipe, which calls for just a few of ingredients you likely already have on hand.