If I had to choose one season that I love to entertain the most in, it would hands down be fall! Between the cooler temps, the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, candlelit evenings, outdoor amber fires and the golden hue of the setting sun, the fall season is all quite magical! And with all things fall as your background, outdoor fall gatherings seem to illicit more intimate and cozy settings then any other season during the year!
The fall season also invites cozy comfort food recipes. And because comfort food often involves a slow cooker, dutch oven or roasting pan, these fall recipes tend to be easy to prepare and mostly hands free. Which allows you, the host, to enjoy your company and your surroundings without scrambling in the kitchen to get dinner on the table!
The fall dinners I am sharing are easy to prepare whether it be for entertaining a crowd or simply making for your own family on a Sunday night. Recipes that are warm, comforting and bring out the best of what the season has to offer.
Fall Entertaining Recipes
Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette
It sounds way more fancy and complicated then it is (but everyone will think its not)! This is a lovely light dinner or appetizer easily paired with a cheese board and a simple salad.
- store bought pie crust (I always use Pillsbury)
- 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
3.. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
4.. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
5. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Old Fashion Beef Stew
This classic French beef stew, otherwise known as Beef Bourguignon, is the ultimate in sophisticated comfort food. While it involves a little more prep work to get underway, all of that is done well in advance of your guests arriving!
- 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dry red wine
- Two cups beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
- 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve the stew warm — or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven.
Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or polenta and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired
Source: Once Upon a Chef
Roasted Chicken with Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad
When dinner features a roasted chicken you know you are in for an elegant yet simple meal! I think a brussels sprouts salad and roasted potatoes round out this meal perfectly for the fall season!
Ingredients for the Roast Chicken:
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
- One piece lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
- 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
- 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
- Olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
3. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
Source: Ina Garten
Ingredients for Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts ends trimmed
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple chopped (or 2 small apples)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
First, make the maple mustard dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, mustard, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Next, shave the brussels sprouts. Use a food processor with the slicing attachment and pulse until the brussels sprouts are thinly sliced. You can also use a mandoline or sharp knife if you don’t have a food processor.
Place the shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Add the chopped apple, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod
Healthy Slow Cooker Chipotle Bean Chili
Is fall even fall without chili? Nothing could be simpler or more satisfying then a bowl of chili on a crisp autumn evening. I recently made this veggie version for a crowd and it was a hit! It does have some kick to it but it balances out with a healthy dollop of sour cream!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder use more or less to your taste
- One tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper use more or less to your taste
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3-4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
- One (14 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- yogurt, cheddar cheese, avocado, green onions, and cilantro, for serving
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, until very fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, bell peppers, and carrots. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of your crockpot.
2. To the crockpot, add 2 cups broth, the tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and all 3 cans of beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours. If your chili is too thick, add the remaining broth, a little at a time, to thin as desired.
3. Ladle the chili into bowls. Top as desired with yogurt, cheese, avocado, and green onions.
Source: Half Baked Harvest
Italian Pulled Pork Ragu (served over pasta)
All you need to do is make the pasta! This pork ragu will be ready to serve by the time your guests arrive. Ragu is always a richly satisfying and hearty dish sure to warm the soul!
- 18 oz pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained (7 oz jar)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1. Season pork with salt and pepper.
2.Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and garlic and saute until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Add pork and brown about 2 minutes on each side then transfer to the slow cooker with the garlic and the remaining ingredients, reserving half of the parsley. Cook 8 hours low.
3. Remove bay leaves, shred the pork with 2 forks and top with remaining parsley. Serve over your favorite pasta.
Find additional seasonal recipes for fall here
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Kathy Dietz says
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CARMELIZED ONION GALETTE – thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe. A perfect dish
Oh yay! I am making it today!!