A Delicious Fall Dinner Menu
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 much 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
- 1 (3-pound) butternut squash
- 3 or 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 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 in chunks and add it to your blender half at a time.
- 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.
- 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.
Photo Guide: Butternut Squash SoupClick thumbnail to view full-size
Main Course: Roast Beef in a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers or crock pots are very popular. Especially with so many women in the work force now they really come in handy. You put your dinner in the slow cooker in the morning, turn it on slow, 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 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 then finished cooking 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 sit for a while. Then remove the meat, slice it and put it in 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!
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
- Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour bottoms only of two 8x4: loaf pans.
- In large bowl, beat pumpkin bread ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour 1 1/2 cups batter in bottom of each pan; set remaining batter aside.
- In medium bowl, beat cheesecake filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Spoon cheesecake filling on top of batter in bans, dividing equally.
- Top cheesecake filling with remaining batter, dividing equally between both pans and carefully spreading to cover filling.
- Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run metal spatula around edge of loaves to loosen; remover from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Optional: To make a cinnamon glaze, put 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar in a small bowl with1/2 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.
Photo Guide: Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin BreadClick thumbnail to view full-size
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© 2019 Rachel L Alba