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A Delicious Fall Dinner Menu

Cooking in the fall season is so satisfying for me. I love to get out my favorite recipes for this time of the year.

Butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup

Perfect Fall Menu

After cooking hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and putting together all kinds of cold salads and no-cook desserts, which were great for the summer, I look forward to getting back to cooking on the stove, in the oven, and with my slow cooker.

Every Saturday, my daughters and their families come over for our weekly family dinner. My oldest daughter suggested a roast in the slow cooker with mushrooms, so that is what I did. I also added some other dishes to the menu.

I love soup, so I added a butternut squash soup for the first course and made a cheesecake stuffed pumpkin bread for dessert, topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

Of course, the meal was a hit, and we did not have many leftovers. I hope you enjoy these ideas and recipes as much as my family did.

First Course: Butternut Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup was our first course. It's hot, thick, creamy, and decadent. I found it in a Better Homes and Garden cookbook that I bought a long time ago. It has only three main ingredients—and after cooking the squash, it's a very easy soup to make.

It's actually better to make the soup the day before you are serving it. The day you are serving it, you just have to heat it up, add the heavy cream, and stir until it is incorporated. If you like a thinner soup, add a little more chicken broth.

I served it in bowls, but leftover soup is great in a mug for lunch the next day.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-pound) butternut squash
  • 3 or 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the whole squash in the oven for an hour. Turn after half an hour. When it comes out, let it cool enough to handle. Then cut it in half and remove the seeds inside first and then the skin. You can just pull it off or scrape it with a knife. Then cut it up into chunks and add it to your blender half at a time.
  3. Pour in a little of the chicken broth and blend or puree till smooth. Then do the same with the second half. Pour into a bowl with a lid to save it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  4. Before you serve it, pour it into a pot and add salt and white pepper, stir and then add the heavy cream and stir till it is incorporated. If you like it to be a little thinner soup, add a little more chicken broth. Heat and serve.

Main Course: Roast Beef in a Slow Cooker

Slow cookers or crock pots are very popular. Especially with so many women in the workforce now, they really come in handy. You put your dinner in the slow cooker in the morning, turn it on slowly, put a lid on it and forget about it until about eight hours later.

In my case, I had a lot to do last Saturday and still wanted to make a soup, recipe above, and a dessert, recipe below, so I had to compromise with dinner. That doesn't mean that dinner wasn't important; it's the main meal, after all. But there was a solution.

So I put my roast, about 3 3/4 pounds, in the slow cooker at about 7 a.m. I don't like the meat touching the pan, so I always layer several celery stalks, cut them to fit the length of the pot and lay the meat on top. The celery protects the meat and gives a little flavor, also.

Then I mixed an envelope of instant mushroom brown gravy with 1/2 cup of water and poured it over the meat. Halfway through the cooking time, I added sliced fresh mushrooms and then finished cooking for four more hours.

If you add too much water in the beginning, there will be too much liquid and become soupy. The meat always makes some liquid when cooked this way.

When the meat becomes tender, shut it off and let it sit for a while. Then remove the meat, slice it and put it on a platter with the gravy and mushrooms spooned over the meat. A loaf of Italian or French bread cut in thick slices to dip in the grave makes a delicious meal. Enjoy!

Slow cooker roast

Slow cooker roast

Dessert: Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min

Ready in: 1 hour 5 min

Yield: Makes 2 loaves (24 servings)

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 box super moist yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour bottoms only of two 8x4: loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat pumpkin bread ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Pour 1 1/2 cups of batter into the bottom of each pan; set the remaining batter aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat cheesecake filling ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Spoon cheesecake filling on top of batter in bans, dividing equally.
  4. Top cheesecake filling with remaining batter, dividing equally between both pans and carefully spreading to cover the filling.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Run metal spatula around edge of loaves to loosen; remover from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Optional: To make a cinnamon glaze, put 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar in a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and enough milk to make a glaze, about 1 tablespoon at a time. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like. The recipe did not call for this, but I like glazes and thought a cinnamon one would pair perfectly with this pumpkin bread.

© 2019 Rachel L Alba