Hey y’all. Appears it’s time for another double dose of Recipe Run-down, as I’ve once again been negligent in my writing… In fairness, my sister decided at the last minute to come down for a visit this past weekend, so that took top priority! On the plus side, between her visit and a friend’s birthday brunch this weekend, I’ve been doing some serious baking, and also crock-potting (if that’s not a word, it should be). These recipes are PERFECT for these chilly crisp fall days, so grab yourself a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, and read on.
Run4UC Recipe Run-down!
…another double dose.
On the menu:
Crock Pot Pumpkin Cinnamon Applesauce
Chicken and Pepper Fajitas
Vegetarian Bean and Polenta Casserole
Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili
Whole Wheat Apple-Pumpkin Muffins
Crock Pot Pumpkin Cinnamon Applesauce from Prevention RD (Click here for original post and recipe)
Yes, the week after the black bean soup, I was back to Prevention RD for more. I had been longing to make the first pumpkin anything of the season and also trying to figure out some healthy late-ish night snacks. (Don’t know about you, but when I work out in the evening, dinner alone just doesn’t cut it, so having a snack arsenal is incredibly important.) So when I came across Nicole’s pumpkin applesauce, I knew I had to try it. I always loved growing up, going to the orchard with mom, and coming home to make batches and batches of homemade applesauce. Best part about this recipe? All done in the CROCK POT. No slaving over the stove all day, still get the perfect fall snack.
Thoughts on the recipe: Loved this. It’s definitely not your typical applesauce, but part of what was so fun about it is that it’s different. The pumpkin flavor is pretty strong, so you do probably need to love both applesauce and pumpkin to fully enjoy this recipe. But, you could also easily adapt this to have a much more mild pumpkin flavor if that’s what you prefer.
Thoughts on the blog: You can see my thoughts from this Recipe Run-Down! Hint: I love it.
Adaptations: A few things to note here. 1) I have a 4.5 quart crock pot, which didn’t quite fit all the apples. I’d suggest that if you don’t use all the apples, cut back a bit on the pumpkin as well so it doesn’t become overpowering. 2) The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of brown sugar (pumpkin itself isn’t very sweet), but I decided to only put about 1 tablespoon. I like applesauce just fine with no sugar in it, so this worked okay for me. If you like a bit more sweetness, I’d definitely suggest sticking with the 1/4 cup. Or you can make it with less, and just add more sugar to individual servings according to taste. You could also increase your apple to pumpkin ratio, and that would sweeten it up as well without adding more sugar.
Keep or toss?: Keep. It was a tasty and fun way to mix it up for the start of pumpkin season! Plus it made my house smell AMAZING while it was cooking ;)
Chicken and Pepper Fajitas from Real Simple (Click here for original post and recipe)
Thoughts on the recipe: So this one may be a no brainer for some of you, but hey, when you’re stuck for meal ideas it’s nice to have an easy recipe right in front of you! And folks, this one is super easy. Just chicken, bell peppers, and some garlic, onion and spices, all done in the skillet, and you’ve got a meal in 20 minutes or less. Plus this stores great as leftovers, and I love the variety of fajitas. You can use the mexican-flavored chicken and peppers for true fajitas on a tortilla, a “fajita bowl”, or anything else you like, and you can change up your leftovers by adding different toppings! I generally just ate mine as fajita bowls (honestly, it was just easier), and topped it with some spicy corn and black bean salsa, avocado, and fat-free greek yogurt (your friendly neighborhood sub for sour cream).
Thoughts on the blog: Okay, so Real Simple is not a blog. It’s a lifestyle magazine. But they do come up with some great recipes!
Adaptations: Other than eating it as a bowl rather than on tortillas most nights, no adaptations made to the recipe. I thought the flavor was just right for what I wanted, but you could always add some additional spices if you wanted to mix it up or increase the heat.
Toss or keep? Keep! You won’t necessarily create a fancy masterpiece with this straightforward recipe, but some nights I have no desire for that. This is easy and creates a delicious meal and great leftovers. What more could you want?
Vegetarian Slow Cooker Bean and Polenta Casserole by Better Homes and Gardens (Click here for the original post and recipe)
Thoughts on the recipe: The original name of this recipe on the BHG website was “Vegetable Casserole.” Seriously? This title is so lame that I almost missed out on one of the best recipes I’ve tried! This was a lunch swap recipe, and a TOTAL hit, so you know it’s been approved! This is another crock pot recipe and could not be easier. You just mix some spices with some cans of beans, and then layer into the crock pot with polenta and cheese, and top with spinach and tomatoes at the end. I’m telling you, I cannot describe how great this was. The italian spices with the polenta and cheese… the smell of it cooking was out of this world, and the taste did not disappoint. And it also made for great leftovers! The hardest part of this recipe is just finding the polenta in the grocery store. If you don’t know, polenta is just a form of cornmeal (and is gluten-free!). It comes in tubes, and usually it can be found in the aisle with the other grains (quinoa, rice, pasta), but is also sometimes found other places in the store (like mixed in with the produce, which is where I found mine…).
Thoughts on the blog: Again, a magazine not a blog. But a simple, incredibly delicious recipe nonetheless.
Adaptations: None. Followed this to a T and wouldn’t change a thing.
Toss or keep? KEEP. Go make this right now.
Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili from The Girl Who Ate Everything (Click here for the original post and recipe)
Thoughts on the recipe: THIS WAS SO GOOD. It was good the first day, and in true chili fashion was even better on days two and three. I have never made chili with quinoa, and wasn’t sure how I would like it, but folks let me tell you, it was awesome. It adds some heartiness and texture without taking anything away from what you love best about a good chili. I’m generally lukewarm about quinoa – I like it, but I don’t loooove it – but I really loved it in this. This would be a great recipe for those of you on the fence about quinoa, and for everyone else, you’re guaranteed to love it too. This recipe is also incredibly healthy, which I love. It’s full of chicken (much leaner than chili’s best friend ground beef), beans, tomatoes, corn, plus some extra whole grains from the quinoa. The next time you’re wondering what to cook on a cold day, the answer is this chili.
Thoughts on the blog: I pulled this one from pinterest at the last minute before grocery shopping, but given how good this was I’ll definitely be heading to the blog for more!
Adaptations: Absolutely none. For reference, it had a mild-moderate level of spiciness, so you could adjust the spices as you like it. Oh! And be careful if your crock pot is any smaller than 4.5 quarts. My 4.5-er handled this okay, but any smaller and this will boil over.
Toss or keep? Keep!!! So, so good.
Super Soft 100% Whole Wheat Apple-Pumpkin Muffins from The Comfort of Cooking (Click here for original post and recipe)
Thoughts on the recipe: This is a great healthy muffin recipe. I love muffins, and I get disheartened looking at all of the recipes full of processed sugar and unbleached white flour. Those sugary, high-fat muffins are great for a treat, but when I want them for breakfast or to snack on, I want something a bit more healthy. This recipe is just that. Not sugar or fat-free, but definitely lower in both than your typical muffin. Plus, the apple-pumpkin flavor makes them a perfect fall treat! The best part about these muffins is the texture. The title does not lie – they are seriously SUPER soft and very moist, which isn’t normally what you get with a whole wheat muffin!
Thoughts on the blog: Again, a pinterest recipe, but will be back for more.
Adaptations: When I made these, I was making them for a friends’ brunch and didn’t want them to be too whole-wheaty. Often the best way to avoid this but still get some good whole grains in there is to do half white/half whole wheat flour, so that’s what I did, and I was happy with the result (though I think they would be just fine with all whole wheat flour). If I made them again, I think I would add a bit more cinnamon for flavor. Also, these would be awesome and more flavorful with tiny apple chunks mixed in the batter, or blueberries, or raisins, or dark chocolate chips!
Toss or keep? Keep, with some add-ins to the batter. These are a great healthy snack!
I also made some seriously outstanding [gluten-free!] pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last weekend, but that recipe will have to wait just a little longer. They deserve a post of their own! I hope you’re loving these cool autumn days as much as I am, and that these recipes make your days just a little bit warmer and a whole lot yummier. :)
What have you been cooking lately? Have you tried anything from Recipe Run-down, and what did you think?