Apples, Pumpkins and Chili …. Oh My!

Fall is HERE! We spent this past weekend cleaning and cooking and enjoying lots of autumn fun. I promised recipes to many friends, so here is what we made, with a few photos thrown in for fun too because my camera was actually handy AND I managed to get the pictures uploaded already. Miracles do happen.

On Saturday we hit the grocery store with a list to make a few things for the weekend, and we scored a great deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts so we picked those up too. Saturday night dinner was chicken fried steak and skillet potatoes with salad. Wow. Sunday morning we took the kids to the local orchard that is three miles from our house (living in the middle of nowhere has perks like being able to arrive, pick, and leave before the crowds arrive in full force). We picked 12.5 lbs of apples, picked up 6 pumpkins (one large, 2 medium, 2 small), some fancy flavored bacon and apple cider donuts. Then we headed home to bake, cook, and just go crazy in the kitchen! It was a perfect, fabulous family day.

So, without further ado, here are the promised recipes from all the crazy food we made this weekend. Enjoy everyone!

Chicken Fried Steak – this was really good, even if we are still figuring out how to fry things because it’s just not something we do very often. Saturday was all about health food here. Ha. Have to have fun every now and then otherwise life isn’t worth it.

Skillet Potatoes – yum. We have made these before but this time actually followed the recipe. I think we’ll go back to our modifications – mexican cheese and throw in some red/green peppers for fun. And I like it with a little more liquid so it’s more of a sauce. But yummy!

Buffalo Chicken Chili – as with most chili, this tastes much better when it’s prepared ahead of time and allowed to sit for hours/overnight so the flavors combine and the whole thing thickens. Finding the right amount of hot sauce in it is the challenge here, as I like things milder than Mr. Acorns. And how can you go wrong with blue cheese melted on tortilla chips. Yum.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup – for you pumpkin latte addicts, here’s a super cheap and easy way to make these at home. Save gas. Save money. Save trees and avoid those disposable coffee cups. And sit back and savor the deliciousness. A picture of the gooey deliciousness:

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting – there are no words. Ok, I’ll try. Heavenly. Amazing. Orgasmic. I am usually a chocolate person when it comes to dessert, but the spice of the cupcake with the amazing richness of the frosting here pretty much blew me away. Make these. NOW. And don’t fret – if you don’t have a fancy stand mixer, your hand mixer will work just fine. Worth every minute. I had to send 18 of the 24 to Mr. Acorns’ office because they were way too tempting. A few pics…..

Pumpkin cupcakes

Soon to be the frosting, minus the caramel cooling on the stove...

Ah, there's the lovely, gooey caramel.

Yes please.

Make these. Now. You won't regret it.

Apple Butter – I only took a quick taste of this after it finished but YUM. Very long recipe, but throw it in on a Friday or Saturday night and voila, apple butter by noon. Also, I agree with the comments and I let it cook uncovered for closer to 2.5 hours. Sealed up in 4 pint jars (I did not boil them shut, but they did seal from the heat). Will be giving one away, freezing at least one, and looking for recipes using this fabulous substance (beyond my toast and warm fresh bread).

We also prepared 4 different chicken meals from my new Dinner’s In the Freezer cookbooks – Hawaiian Chicken, Honey Pecan Chicken, Chicken in Raspberry Sauce and Buttermilk Herb Chicken. Each one frozen with their marinade, sauce made for the pecan one, and read to thaw and pop in the oven or on the grill without any further thought on a workday. Heaven.

4 Dinner's in the Freezer meals ready to go

That rounds out our weekend, but I will also include what I made today to sustain me as the above leftovers run out and Mr. Acorns is traveling.

French Onion Soup – my entire house smells like carmelized onions. Dinner cannot come soon enough. Used gruyere cheese for the croutons and just melted them on their own then placed into bowls because I don’t have fancy soup crocks. DELISH. But really, it’s onion soup, can it be bad? I might switch to all beef broth next time to make it a little meatier, but we both sopped up every last bite. Definitely part of the soup rotation. I took some step by step pics of this one, starting with the best kitchen tool ever invented – the mandolin!

The mandolin slicer.

The onions. Tears were shed. That's a lot of onions.

The butter. Be shocked. Makes it fabulous. Live a little.

The wine. Ahhhh....

Broths and Garlic. Breathe it in.

Worceshesstersshetschestershire sauce.

French Onion Soup

The Best Mashed Potatoes – Ok, now for those of you who have known me for many years, you may recall that I’m a bit of a mashed potato addict. I mean I can eat 5lbs of them by myself. Insane. I wanted something beyond normal, basic mashed potatoes to go with the French Onion soup and salad tonight. This sounded heavenly. And it was. Even my picky, usually-doesn’t-love-mashed-potatoes husband thought they were great! And now I have plenty to eat for 3 days ;-) And then some. Will have to freeze some of these! Very, very good! And substitute green onions if you can’t find chives, that’s what I did. I also added a little milk to fluff them up a bit, and used low fat cream cheese.

Soup & Best Mashed Potatoes

Hope you all have a great week! I will be doing a LOT of exercise to keep up with these meals! But all very, very worth it.

3 thoughts on “Apples, Pumpkins and Chili …. Oh My!

  1. OMG I am in love with this! I can’t decided if I want to start with the soup (I do but I’m feeling lazy) or the pumpkin cupcakes. Nice recipes lady! Thank you for sharing!

  2. It was a fantastic cooking weekend. Hubby and I both love to cook so it was nice to have the kids play in the kitchen with us while we did some of the work too! Hopefully if work stays steady I can keep up with good recipe sharing – I didn’t cook much during my trial preparation weeks so there wasn’t much to blog about boiling pasta and thawing sauce to throw on it. :-)

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