I’m not especially skilled in many things, but one thing I DO have is an excellent food memory. My husband loves sports and can recall plays and scores from past games and every Heisman winner there ever was. (Yes, I’ve tested him on this!) However, I love food.
I love the experiences of eating at a new restaurant and making food at home for others to enjoy around my table. I especially value the way food brings people together and creates memories. This is probably why I always remember it so well. From the menu at a special “friendsgiving” gathering to the first thing I cooked for my husband, food sticks with me because of the people and the occasions that make the food that much better.
This brings me to my focus today—FALL recipes! I get especially excited about fall recipes because they feature some of my favorite seasonal flavors and produce. They also come at a time when we frequently gather together. Whether you’re headed to a tailgate, planning a holiday party, or spending quality time with your people at home, I hope you enjoy these recipes and the memories that come along with them!
Here is where I admit that I’m another basic girl obsessed with pumpkin. To be fair, I’ve always LOVED pumpkin foods, even before Starbucks created their beloved PSL. These pumpkin muffins are one of the first recipes I pull out when fall arrives. Unlike some pumpkin baked goods that come out mushy and dense, these are light and fluffy in texture. The pumpkin flavor and warm spices make this a delightful breakfast or snack.
Apple Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
Is anything cozier on a crisp fall morning than a warm bowl of oatmeal? Add sweet apples, creamy peanut butter, and cinnamon, and you’ve got a breakfast that tastes like dessert but is actually nutritious and filling. I’ve been making this baked peanut butter apple oatmeal for years and especially enjoy making it this time of year when apples are in season.
If you’ve never really cared for pumpkin, these cookies may just convert you. They are soft, chewy, perfectly spiced, and absolutely delicious. The pumpkin flavor is present but subtle, and it’s all wrapped up in a coating of cinnamon sugar. I never include the white chocolate chips because I think they are sweet enough without them, but you do you!
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Several years ago, a group of my closest girlfriends had a tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving early with a “Friendsgiving.” We wanted to have turkey but nobody really had experience roasting an entire bird. I volunteered to give it a go and was thrilled to find this recipe for herb roasted turkey breast. I love that it follows the traditional method of roasting but only requires the breast. It’s way less intimidating to prep, and the fresh herb flavor is to die for! I don’t even make the gravy because it’s so good without it.
Cranberries bring up one of the greatest Thanksgiving debates—can or no can? For those of you who grew up eating the jiggly, ridged version and prefer it, I totally support your nostalgia. For the rest of you, you can’t beat this fresh cranberry sauce recipe. It is SO easy and bursting with fresh cranberry flavor that pairs perfectly with turkey, ham, or anything else on your plate. Just make sure you give it time to chill!
Easy Chicken Pot Pie
For years I never made chicken pot pie because I was intimidated by the thought of roasting chicken, making pie crust, and all the other steps involved. Then, I stumbled upon this easier version and have enjoyed making chicken pot pie ever since! It uses short-cut ingredients like pre-made pie crust and frozen veggies, but the result is a delicious dinner that tastes homemade. I typically use a rotisserie chicken but have also used leftover turkey with great results.
Green Bean Casserole (Not Your Grandma’s!)
I am ALL about traditions and honoring the tried and true recipes handed down by generations. That being said, this updated recipe for green bean casserole from the Pioneer Woman far surpasses the traditional soup and onion varieties in my opinion. With fresh green beans, bacon, cheddar cheese, and panko bread crumbs on top, this dish is full of good southern flavor and still has that traditional crunchy topping we all know and love.
Red Beans & Rice
Nothing feeds a crowd better than a filling and delicious one-pot meal. Enter this recipe for red beans and rice. Growing up in Mobile, AL, my family ate a lot of New Orleans inspired meals, and this is one of my absolute favorites. I usually add cooked chicken and/or conecuh sausage to make it extra yummy and hearty. Pair this with the cornbread below, and your next football watching party is set!
My Mama’s Cornbread
I’ve saved the best for last. My mama’s cornbread has a special place in my heart, and I think you will love it, too! I’ve eaten it countless time over the years with a bowl of chili or red beans and rice and can never find another version I like as much. With ingredients like buttermilk, sugar, and bacon grease, you know it’s going to be good! I especially enjoy the crunchy bottom crust created from the cast iron skillet.
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1.5 cups cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons bacon grease
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Melt 3 tablespoons of bacon grease in a cast iron skillet and set aside. Mix together all the other ingredients and then add the bacon grease once it has cooled slightly. Pour batter into the greased skillet. Bake at 400º for 40 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the pan comes out clean, it is done.