Here are a few of my favorite fall recipes. When doing outdoor autumn activities the trail mix is a tasty treat. For an evening supper the beef Burgundy or the spinach and sausage lasagna are great dishes. Of course the fall menu wouldn’t be complete without an apple dish and this apple crisp is delicious.
Fruit and Nut Trail Mix
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots, mango, and/or pineapple)
1 ½ cups whole grain granola mix
½ cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup almonds
Mix all ingredients together and put into an airtight container. Pour into snack sized containers when ready to use.
Kielbasa or Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and Apples
1 pound package refrigerated sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 canola oil
1 pound of 6-kielbasa or bratwurst links, may be cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Granny Smith green apples, cored, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup apple cider, apple juice or beer
In a skillet with a cover heat oil over medium high heat, add rinsed and drained sauerkraut. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Brown kielbasa links in skillet about 5-8 minutes. Pour sauerkraut back into skillet, add apple pieces and apple cider, mix well, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
1 pound beef chuck for stew cut into 1 1/2 –inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups beef broth
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2- inch pieces
1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices diagonally
1 10-ounce package of button or brown mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, sliced then smashed
1 cup dry red wine
4 Bay leaves
1 large sweet onion cut into 1-inch wedges
½ teaspoon ground thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
Hot buttered noodles or smashed potatoes
In a large re-sealable plastic bag mix together flour, salt and pepper and shake. Add beef cubes and shake to coat with flour. Melt butter and canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add floured beef cubes and brown for 5 minutes on all sides. Butter bottom of a slow cooker, pour beef cubes in a layer.
Lower heat of skillet and add 1-cup beef broth, cook for 2-3 minutes stirring up any brown bits on bottom of skillet. Pour into slow cooker. Add carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, garlic, remaining beef broth, bay leaves, and red wine. Place onion wedges over top of vegetables.
Cover and slow cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours until meat is tender. Remove meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Remove and discard bay leaves.
In slow cooker whisk together 3 tablespoons flour or corn starch with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Strain hot liquid from slow cooker into a saucepan. Stir in ground thyme. Whisk in flour mixture and bring to a boil over medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Pour over stew. Serve over noodles or smashed potatoes, if desired.
Italian Sausage and Spinach Lasagna
1 pound Italian sweet sausage meat
1 8-ounce package button mushrooms, sliced
2 large jars favorite tomato sauce, divided
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese, divided into thirds
1 8-ounce package mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 packages frozen spinach, chopped, drained and pressed dry
Parmesan cheese, grated
12 traditional lasagna noodles (not no boil)
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
In a skillet sauté Italian sweet sausage over medium heat for about 6 minutes breaking meat apart with a spoon.
In a large bowl mix together mushrooms, spinach, and sweet basil, adding one cup of tomato sauce. Toss together to mix. Add 3-cups tomato sauce to sausage mixture, stir.
In a large baking dish 13 x 15 inch pan, layer 3 lasagna noodles. Layer with 1/3 ricotta cheese, spreading evenly over noodles. Spoon spinach mixture over cheese, top with one third sausage mixture, then sprinkle with one fourth mozzarella cheese. Make two more layers the same way. Top layer spoon tomato sauce evenly over noodles then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. And some parmesan grated cheese.
There will be tomato sauce left over, heat and serve with lasagna. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes until lasagna is set and cooked through. Remove from oven and let set for 20 minutes then cut into squares. Serve hot with grated parmesan cheese.
Granny Smith Apple Crisp
This recipe can be made earlier in the day then reheated when ready to serve.
3 pounds Granny Smith green apples — peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup apple Schnapps or apple cider
1 stick cold butter, finely cubed, plus 2-tablespoons
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups brown sugar
¾ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream or whipped topping for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl toss together apple slices and lemon juice, then add granulated sugar.
In a large skillet melt 2-tablespoons of butter, add the apples and apple Schnapps; cook over medium heat stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. Spoon the cooked apples into a 2-quart casserole dish.
In a clean bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Add cubed butter pieces. Using your fingers mix together butter pieces and oat mixture until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Press the topping into clumps and place evenly over the apples.
Bake the crisp for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are bubbling and the topping is golden. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream.
Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.