Quick and Easy Autumn by Gooseberry Patch, EPUB, 1936283360

December 13, 2017

Quick & Easy Autumn by Gooseberry Patch

  • Print Length:
  • Publisher: Gooseberry Patch
  • Publication Date: May 16, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VBI6K40
  • ISBN-10: 1936283360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936283361
  • File Format: EPUB



Welcome to Our Friends

Dear Friend,

The leaves are turning and there’s a chill in the air…autumn is here! It’s time for homecoming parades, Halloween mischief and Thanksgiving feasts. We love it all…but how to fit it all in?

In Quick & Easy Autumn you’ll find more than 220 tried & true fall classics. Most recipes are made in 30 minutes or less or with eight or fewer ingredients…just right for today’s families!

Before a weekend leaf-peeping hike, serve Scrumptious Apple Pancakes for breakfast. A speedy supper of Savory Beef & Peppers or Trick-or-Treaters’ Taco Soup is just the thing for busy weekdays. On game day, everyone will cheer for Vickie’s Favorite Guacamole and Dad’s Zippy Cheese Dip…yum!

With an easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu of Do-Ahead Roast Turkey, Tart Apple Salad, Honey-Mustard Sweet Potatoes and Harvest Pear Crisp, you can spend more time with your guests. There’s even a whole chapter of convenient slow-cooker recipes like Shredded Pork Sandwiches and Chocolate Pudding Cake…let the crock do the cooking while you enjoy all the autumn activities you love.

With the speedy recipes and easy decorating ideas in this book, you’re sure to create a scrumptious autumn with family & friends that you’ll always remember!

Wishing you the happiest harvest season,

Vickie & Jo Ann

What Folks are Saying About Us

I remember looking through the pages of my mother’s favorite cookbook as a child. Now I have many, many cookbooks myself and, just like my mother, I love to sit and read them. When I got my first Gooseberry Patch cookbook, I was hooked. I love the memories, the crafts, the clever hints and the wonderful recipes. They are the very best to sit and read. Whenever a new one comes out, I tell myself that I have enough cookbooks, and my husband reminds me as well! But I don’t want to miss any special treasures. I will continue this wonderful tradition that was passed on to me by my wonderful mother!

Pamela Elkin

Asheville, NC

I love your Gooseberry Patch Bookazine. I so look forward to relaxing with a cup of tea and reading all the great recipes, tips, and decorating ideas. Through Gooseberry Patch I am able to create a warm, cozy and inviting home for family and friends. Thank you!

JoAnna Nicoline-Haughey

Berwyn, PA

I’ve been buying your books for years and love them. I work at a nursing home where we recently opened an Alzheimer’s unit with a brand-new kitchen. Once a month, I bring in my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. My folks love looking through them and cooking your amazing recipes. I love making their lives a lot more fulfilling…thank you for making it easier!

Kimberly Raymond

Haverhill, MA

I have sixty-six of your Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and I love them. Years ago, when we had a craft store, we used to sell them in the store, and I’ve collected them ever since. I have given away many of your cookbooks as gifts…my whole family loves them. Going through some of my books on a rainy day is like getting all new ones again. Every holiday I use your ideas to make a special day. Every book is great…keep writing them and I’ll keep buying them!

Carolyn Deckard

Bedford, IN

Our Story

Back in 1984, we were next-door neighbors raising our families in the little town of Delaware, Ohio. Two moms with small children, we were looking for a way to do what we loved and stay home with the kids too. We had always shared a love of home cooking and making memories with family & friends and so, after many a conversation over the backyard fence, Gooseberry Patch was born.

We put together our first catalog at our kitchen tables, enlisting the help of our loved ones wherever we could. From that very first mailing, we found an immediate connection with many of our customers and it wasn’t long before we began receiving letters, photos and recipes from these new friends. In 1992, we put together our very first cookbook, compiled from hundreds of these recipes and, the rest, as they say, is history.

Hard to believe it’s been over 25 years since those kitchen-table days! From that original little Gooseberry Patch family, we’ve grown to include an amazing group of creative folks who love cooking, decorating and creating as much as we do. Today, we’re best known for our homestyle, family-friendly cookbooks, now recognized as national bestsellers.

One thing’s for sure, we couldn’t have done it without our friends all across the country. Each year, we’re honored to turn thousands of your recipes into our collectible cookbooks. Our hope is that each book captures the stories and heart of all of you who have shared with us. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or are just discovering us, welcome to the Gooseberry Patch family!


Gooseberry Patch

2500 Farmers Dr., #110

Columbus, OH 43235



Copyright 2010, Gooseberry Patch 978-1-936283-77-4

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Do you have a tried & true recipe…

tip, craft or memory that you’d like to see featured in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook? Visit our website at www.gooseberrypatch.com, register and follow the easy steps to submit your favorite family recipe. Or send them to us at:

Gooseberry Patch

Attn: Cookbook Dept.

2500 Farmers Dr., #110

Columbus, OH 43235

Don’t forget to include the number of servings your recipe makes, plus your name, address, phone number and email address. If we select your recipe, your name will appear right along with it…and you’ll receive a FREE copy of the cookbook!

Join our Circle of Friends and discover free recipes & crafts, plus giveaways & more! Find all your favorite Gooseberry Patch cookbooks through our Store Locator. Visit our website or blog to join, look for us on YouTube and be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter too.


Dedication & Appreciation

For those who love

all the flavors of

fall…and having

the time to

savor them too!

We’re thankful

for everyone who

shared their family’s

tried & true recipes!

Breakfast & Brunch

Spiced Harvest Pancakes

Shelly Smith

Dana, IN

A wonderful waker-upper on a cool fall morning!

2-1/2 c. biscuit baking mix

1 c. milk

1 c. apple butter

2 T. oil

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto a hot griddle that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cook over medium heat until pancakes start to bubble; flip and cook until golden. Makes about one dozen.

Dutch Honey

Katie Cooper

Chubbuck, ID

At our house, pancakes and French toast are always served with a pitcher of Dutch Honey! My father-in-law handed down this simple recipe.

12-oz. can evaporated milk

1-1/2 c. corn syrup

1-1/2 c. sugar

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Serve warm; refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 15 servings.

Watch for old-fashioned syrup pitchers at tag sales…set out a variety of sweet toppings like flavored syrups and honey for pancakes and waffles.

Scrumptious Apple Pancakes

Charlotte Smith

Tyrone, PA

These pancakes are so yummy! I like to serve them on a cool autumn day, along with warm apple cider.

2 c. pancake mix

1 c. chunky applesauce

1 c. water

1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat an electric griddle to 375 degrees or heat a stovetop griddle over medium-high heat. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased griddle. Cook until pancakes bubble; flip and cook until golden. Makes about one dozen.

For an autumn brunch, serve fresh-baked muffins and scones tumbling out of a wicker cornucopia basket…it’ll double as a buffet decoration.

Good Morning Sausage Casserole

Beth Bundy

Long Prairie, MN

I received this hearty all-in-one breakfast recipe from an old friend…it’s become a family favorite!

8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1 lb. ground pork breakfast sausage, browned and drained

6 eggs, beaten

1/4 c. milk

salt and pepper to taste

2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Unroll crescent rolls into the bottom of a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Spoon browned sausage over rolls. Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper; pour over sausage. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 15 servings.

Start a tailgating Saturday right…invite friends to join you for breakfast! Keep it simple…a make-ahead breakfast casserole, baskets of sweet rolls and a fresh fruit salad. Add mugs of hot coffee and cocoa if it’s chilly, or cold cider if the weather turns balmy. It’s all about food and friends!

Cheesy Sausage Ring

Debra McClure

Roanoke, VA

I love this three-ingredient breakfast recipe I discovered recently! It’s so simple to put together, and you can use different flavors of sausage and cheese to change it up.

2 12-oz. tubes refrigerated biscuits

1 lb. ground pork breakfast sausage, browned and drained

2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Flatten each biscuit to a 3-inch circle. Arrange 12 biscuits in the bottom of a Bundt® pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray, overlapping if necessary. Spread browned sausage evenly over biscuits in pan. Sprinkle cheese evenly over sausage. Cover with remaining biscuits. Bake at 375 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes, until biscuits are golden. Turn out of pan onto a serving plate; let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 8.

Visit a nearby farmers’ market for just-harvested fruits & vegetables, eggs, baked goods, jams & jellies…perfect for a farm-fresh breakfast!

Cranberry-Lime Cooler

Ellie Brandel

Milwaukie, OR

A refreshingly different beverage for an autumn brunch.

6-oz. can frozen limeade, thawed

4 c. cold water

16-oz. bottle cranberry juice cocktail

1/4 c. orange drink mix

ice cubes

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Prepare limeade with water in a large pitcher. Stir in cranberry juice and orange drink mix. Pour over ice cubes in tall mugs or glasses. Garnish each with a sprig of mint. Makes 8 servings.

Serve beverages in old-fashioned Mason jars. Setting the jars inside wire drink carriers makes it easy to tote them from kitchen to harvest table.

Angela’s Special Smoothie

Kim Burrell

Manitoba, Canada

I’ve been making this recipe for years…my little daughter Angela loves fruit smoothies! Don’t be tempted to use vanilla-flavored soy milk, as it will make the smoothie too sweet.

1 c. frozen mixed berries

1 c. plain soy milk

1/2 c. bananas, sliced

2 t. honey

Place all ingredients in a blender. Process on high setting until smooth, thick and well blended, about 30 seconds. Serves 2.

For an on-the-go breakfast, spread cream cheese or peanut butter and your favorite dried, chopped fruit on a bagel. So easy…and tasty!

Apple Cider Syrup

Ben Gothard

Jemison, AL

Treat yourself…this warm syrup is yummy drizzled over pancakes, waffles and homemade biscuits!

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

2 T. cornstarch

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

2 c. apple cider

1 T. lemon juice

1/4 c. butter, softened

In a saucepan, mix together sugars, cornstarch and spices. Pour in apple cider and lemon juice, mixing well. Cook over medium heat until thickened and boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter before serving. Makes 14 servings.

My brother-in-law invites us to glean his garden at the end of summer. My grandkids and I dress in our garden gear of jeans, long-sleeved shirts, “puddle jumper” garden boots, pulled-up socks and sun hats for our annual vegetable rummage. The delights and treasures we find are endless! We can always count on more than enough tomatoes, peppers and onions to make our favorite sauce. Later, on the snowiest, coldest day of winter, we go to my freezer and pull out our summer bounty. All the sunshine, laughs and giggles from that end-of-summer day come back as we sit down and say grace together.

–Kathie Poritz, Burlington, WI

Upside-Down Apple Coffee Cake

Amy Hunt

Traphill, NC

This recipe was shared with me by a childhood friend who’s still a very special part of my life. It’s delicious and so easy to make.

1-1/2 c. apples, peeled, cored, chopped and divided

12.4-oz. tube refrigerated cinnamon rolls, separated

1/2 c. pecan pieces

2 T. butter, melted

1/3 c. brown sugar, packed

2 T. corn syrup

Spread one cup of apples in a 9″ glass pie plate sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cut cinnamon rolls into quarters, setting aside icing from tube. Place rolls in a large bowl; add remaining apples and pecans. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well and pour over rolls. Toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture over apples in pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until rolls are deep golden. Cool for 5 minutes; invert onto a serving platter. Remove lid from icing and microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Drizzle icing over warm coffee cake. Make 8 servings.

Autumn is time for apple fun. Pick your own apples in an orchard, watch cider being pressed at a cider mill or go to a small-town apple butter stirring. Ask about different varieties of apples…you’re sure to find a new favorite!

Leather Bread & Tomato Gravy

Courtney Chapman

Moravia, IA

My grandmother has made this simple dish as long as I can remember. While she cooks, Grandmother tells me stories of her own mom & dad making many of the same recipes. Her daddy often made this Leather Bread. Grandmother wrote down many of her recipes for me, so I’ll always be able to make her dishes too, and remember the times we shared cooking together.

1/4 c. oil, divided

1-1/2 c. self-rising flour

1 c. milk

28-oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped

2 T. sugar

1/4 c. shortening

salt to taste

Spray a cast-iron skillet with non-stick vegetable spray; put 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Mix together flour, remaining oil and milk; pour batter over oil in skillet. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool bread in skillet for 5 to 10 minutes; invert onto a plate. Combine remaining ingredients in skillet. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and cook for several minutes, until thickened to desired consistency. To serve, slice bread and cover with tomato gravy. Serves 6.

A sweet keepsake for a family brunch. Copy one of Grandma’s tried & true recipes onto a festive card, then punch a hole in the corner and tie the card to a rolled napkin with a length of ribbon.

Simmered Eggs in Tomatoes

Janis Parr

Ontario, Canada

Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you…it is delicious!

2 T. olive oil

1 c. stewed tomatoes, cut up

1/2 c. onion, chopped

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

buttered toast

Heat oil in a skillet over low heat. Place tomatoes and onion in oil; cook for 5 minutes. Drop eggs into skillet, one at a time; add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until eggs are cooked through as desired. Serve hot on buttered toast. Makes 2 servings.

Leftover potatoes make scrumptious home fries! In a heavy skillet, heat one to 2 tablespoons oil until sizzling. Add 3 cups cubed cooked potatoes and 1/2 cup chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn potatoes over and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes, to desired crispness.

Lisa’s Easy Maple French Toast

Lisa Staib

Broomfield, CO

French toast with the syrup cooked right in! I use a pizza cutter to quickly cut the toast into triangles for my younger children. Top with jelly, sliced fruit or more syrup if you like.

1 T. butter

4 eggs

1/3 c. maple syrup

4 slices bread

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1/8 t. cinnamon

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and syrup together with a fork. Slowly dip each slice of bread into egg mixture on both sides. Fry in skillet until golden; flip gently and cook other side until golden. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Serves 4.

How beautiful on harvest-slopes

To see the sunshine lie;

Or on the paler reaped fields

Where yellow shocks stand high!

–Mary Howitt

Freezer French Toast

Gloria Warren

Ontario, Canada

A friend gave this recipe to me. I love French toast, but don’t have time to prepare it on those busy mornings. This pops from freezer to toaster!

5 eggs, beaten

1-1/4 c. milk

1-1/2 T. sugar

1/2 t. salt

16 slices white bread

Garnish: butter, maple syrup

In a shallow bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar and salt; mix well. Dip bread slices on both sides; place on baking sheets coated with non-stick vegetable spray. Bake at 500 degrees for about 5 minutes, until golden on bottom. Turn over; bake for 2 more minutes. Allow to cool, then freeze toast slices in a single layer. Once frozen, about 2 hours, package toast slices in individual plastic freezer bags. To serve, remove toast slices from bag. Heat in a toaster or toaster oven; garnish as desired. Makes 16 servings.

Tickle the kids at breakfast with Jack-o’-Lantern oranges. Slice the tops off navel oranges and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Draw on silly or spooky faces with food coloring markers. Spoon in fruit salad and serve…clever!

Spinach & Onion Quiches

Kelly Gray

Weston, WV

I first made this recipe one day when some relatives came to visit, a whole week early! I whipped it up in a panic and prayed…it was a hit! These quiches are now requested by all my family members and church friends. Try them with leeks & sausage or bacon & red pepper…delicious. These quiches keep well in the fridge and taste even better the next day.

2 9-inch pie crusts

1 onion, diced

1 T. oil

8-oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms

1 T. dried oregano

1 t. dried thyme

1-1/2 t. salt

1 t. pepper

10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

8 eggs, beaten

3/4 c. light cream

2 c. shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Place pie crusts in two, 9″ pie plates. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, until golden. While crusts are baking, sauté onion in oil in a skillet over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms; continue sautéing for 6 additional minutes. Stir in seasonings; cool slightly and transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly. Divide mixture evenly between pie crusts. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and set. Makes 2 quiches; each serves 6.

Make a quick, savory crumb crust for a quiche. Spread 2-1/2 tablespoons softened butter in a pie plate, then firmly press 2-1/2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs into the butter. Freeze until firm, pour in filling and bake as directed.

3-Cheese & Onion Omelet

Tiffanie Ansel

Temperance, MI

One rainy Sunday afternoon, I whipped up this omelet for my husband and myself. It’s now a favorite of his, even though there’s no meat in it.

1/4 onion, sliced

2 to 3 t. olive oil, divided

2 eggs, beaten

1 T. sour cream

sea salt and pepper to taste

1/4 t. onion powder

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/4 c. shredded Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheese blend

In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in 2 teaspoons oil until translucent. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and seasonings. If necessary, add a little more oil to skillet; reduce heat to low. Pour egg mixture into skillet; swirl eggs around to fill skillet. Cook without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until eggs are cooked through. Add cheese to one side of skillet; fold over omelet. Allow to stand briefly until cheese melts. Serves one to 2.

Buttery cinnamon toast warms you right up on a chilly morning. Spread softened butter generously on one side of toasted white bread and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Broil for one to 2 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with mugs of hot cocoa…yummy!

Jolly Pumpkin Oatmeal

Sandi Trader

Logan, WV

Your little goblins will eat this up! Be sure to use pumpkin pie mix in this recipe…it adds sweetness and spice that plain canned pumpkin doesn’t have.

1 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked

1/4 to 1 c. milk

1/2 c. canned pumpkin pie mix

2 T. raisins

Garnish: sugar

Combine oats and 1/4 cup milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high setting one to 2 minutes, stirring once. Stir in pumpkin; stir in remaining milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Microwave an additional 30 seconds until heated through. Stir in raisins; add sugar to taste before serving. Serves 2.

Make school-day breakfasts fun! Cut the centers from a slice of toast with a cookie cutter, serve milk or juice with twisty straws or put a smiley face on a bagel using raisins and cream cheese.

Applesauce Baked Oatmeal

Laura Wirsig

Holden, MO

I created this delicious recipe by making some tweaks to a recipe a friend shared with me. My husband loves this oatmeal and requests it all the time! Add more applesauce and less sugar as you wish, to suit your own taste.

1-1/2 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. applesauce

1 t. vanilla extract

Optional: warm milk, brown sugar, sliced fruit

Combine oats, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Add remaining ingredients except optional ones; mix to a smooth, thin consistency. Spread evenly in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges turn golden. Serve immediately by spooning into individual bowls. Add additional warmed milk, if needed for desired consistency. Top with brown sugar or sliced fruit, as desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

For a fresh fall table decoration, arrange berry-covered twigs of bittersweet in quart-size Mason jars or stoneware crocks.

Grama Ruth’s Bran Muffins

Dawn Caron

Iron Mountain, MI

These bran muffins are simply delicious! I love baking my grandmother’s muffins for my family because it reminds me of all the times I shared them with her. I even have the original recipe card in my own handwriting from when I was only ten years old.

1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. sugar

2-1/2 c. bran flake cereal

1-1/4 c. milk

1 egg, beaten

1/3 c. canola oil

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cereal and milk; let stand 2 minutes. Add egg and oil to cereal mixture; mix well. Add cereal mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Pour batter into greased muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Makes one dozen.

Fresh-baked muffins…sure to make sleepyheads wake right up! Save time on busy mornings by mixing the dry ingredients ahead of time. In the morning, just turn on the oven, whisk in the wet ingredients, bake and serve.

Pecan Pie Muffins

Melynda Hoffman

Fort Wayne, IN

When my daughter Brooke took these scrumptious muffins to the Allen County Fair, she won a blue ribbon. All the judges asked for another muffin…please! We make them for our holiday breakfasts, but they’re a great treat anytime.

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 c. butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

Mix pecans, brown sugar and flour in a large bowl; make a well in the center and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat eggs just until foam appears. Stir in butter or oil. Add pecan mixture; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into muffin cups greased only on the bottom, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Promptly remove from muffin tin; cool on a wire rack. Makes 9.

A wire basket full of brown eggs makes a terrific farm-style breakfast centerpiece. For a seasonal touch, fill the basket with colorful egg-shaped gourds.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Bacon

Caitlin Hagy

West Chester, PA

A delicious addition to any autumn breakfast table.

1 lb. bacon

1/3 c. brown sugar, packed

1 t. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped

Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Arrange bacon slices on rack, close together but not overlapping. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle evenly over bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until bacon is crisp and glazed. Drain on paper towels before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Wake up the family with a rise & shine omelet breakfast! Set out a variety of cheeses, vegetables and meats. Everyone can layer their favorite ingredients in a mini pie plate and get just what they want.

White Cheddar Cheese Grits

Tina Goodpasture

Meadowview, VA

Here in Virginia, we just love grits! Try this recipe and your family will love ’em too.

2 c. chicken broth

2 T. butter

1/2 c. quick-cooking grits, uncooked

1 c. shredded white Cheddar cheese

Bring broth and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

I grew up on a farm in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Like most people, we ate what we raised…chickens, pigs, cows, sheep and of course vegetables and fruit. But the thing I liked most was making molasses. Every September or October we would cut the cane to start the process. It was hard work and we would boil the juices all night long. But at the end of all the hard work we also got to make taffy. We’d butter our hands and have a taffy pull…boy, was it good! It was a great treat. It is one of my fondest memories of living on a farm.

–Tina Goodpasture, Meadowview, VA

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Barbie Hall

Salisbury, MD

This recipe is a staple at our house. Even with the whole-wheat flour and oats it is surprisingly moist. It’s an irresistible way to add these healthy ingredients to your family’s diet.

3 bananas, mashed

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 c. oil

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1 c. whole-wheat flour

1 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked

1 t. baking soda

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine bananas, eggs, oil and brown sugar. Blend well with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add flour, oats and baking soda; beat just until dry ingredients are mixed in. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased 9″x5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Makes one loaf.

Make a fabric liner for a basket of freshly baked bread or muffins…no sewing required! Use pinking shears to cut an 18-inch square of cotton fabric in a perky fall print. It’s so simple, why not make one for the breakfast table and an extra for gift-giving?

Cinnamon Applesauce Muffins

Amanda Hensley

Church Hill, TN

Equally yummy at breakfast or with a warming bowl of soup.

1/2 c. butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 t. vanilla extract

1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1 T. cinnamon

1/8 t. salt

1/4 c. sour cream

1 c. applesauce

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in eggs and vanilla; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture, sour cream and applesauce to butter mixture. Stir batter by hand until blended. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes one dozen.

For a change, try an old farmhouse tradition…a big slice of apple or pumpkin pie for breakfast!

Easy as 1-2-3 Cinnamon Rolls

Dannielle Spencer

South Solon, OH

A friend at work shared this recipe, telling me anyone can make these sweet rolls. She was right! So now my daughter requests them for breakfast all the time. Be sure to start the night before.

1/2 c. chopped pecans

20-ct. pkg. frozen dinner rolls

4-oz. pkg. instant butterscotch pudding mix, divided

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

2 T. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. butter, melted

Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of a greased and floured 13″x9″ baking pan. Arrange frozen dinner rolls on top of pecans; set aside. Measure out 1/4 cup dry pudding mix from package; reserve the remainder for a future use. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup pudding mix, sugars and cinnamon; mix well and sprinkle over rolls. Pour melted butter evenly over pudding mixture. Let rise for 8 hours to overnight, uncovered, on kitchen counter. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. To serve, turn rolls out of pan onto a plate. Makes 20.

Spice up an autumn breakfast with cider-glazed sausages. Brown and drain a 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage links. Add a cup of apple cider to the skillet, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Yummy!

Homemade Doughnuts

Megan Brooks


Doughnuts are a BIG Halloween tradition at Grandma’s house. My grandmother is eighty-five and she still makes these doughnuts for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they come to her house trick-or-treating. Frightfully delicious!

2 c. biscuit baking mix

1 c. sugar, divided

1/3 c. milk

1 egg, beaten

1 t. vanilla extract

oil for deep frying

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

Mix together baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, milk, egg and vanilla until well blended. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead about 10 times. Roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Add oil to 3 inches depth in a heavy skillet or deep-fat fryer. Heat oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Drop doughnuts into hot oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden on both sides, about one minute per side. Remove doughnuts with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Combine remaining sugar and spices in a small paper bag. Add doughnuts to bag, a few at a time, and shake to coat. Serve warm. Makes about 1-1/2 dozen.

Doughnuts in a dash! For speedier homemade doughnuts, separate refrigerated biscuits and cut a hole in the center of each. Fry biscuits in hot oil until golden on both sides; drain on paper towels. Roll in sugar and serve warm.

Rita’s Turkey Hash

Rita Morgan

Pueblo, CO

This is my favorite hearty breakfast to serve every Black Friday, before my sisters and I head to the mall to do some serious shopping. Add a side of leftover cranberry sauce…delish!

1 T. butter

1 T. oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 c. potatoes, peeled, cooked and diced

2 c. roast turkey, diced

1/2 t. dried thyme

salt to taste

Melt butter with oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper. Sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Spread out mixture in skillet, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Cook until golden on bottom. Using a spatula, turn over mixture (it doesn’t need to stay in one piece). Cook until golden. Remove from heat. Spoon hash onto 4 plates. Top with Poached Eggs and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Poached Eggs:

1 T. white vinegar

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

Add several inches of water to a deep skillet or saucepan. Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in vinegar. One at a time, crack eggs and add to water. Cook just until whites are firm and yolks are still soft, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove eggs, one at a time. Season to taste.

Keep track of all those holiday shopping lists and recipes on a handy bulletin board! Glue a picture hanger to the back of a vintage painted metal tray, then use button magnets to hold notes in place.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Barbara Hunter Sturm

Bakersfield, CA

The ticket to a fuss-free morning when you’re having a crowd for breakfast! Assemble the evening before, then just pop into the oven in the morning. Jazz it up with sautéed mushrooms, green peppers, green chiles and different flavors of croutons. Serve with a sliced fruit salad…guests will love it!

6-oz. pkg. seasoned croutons

1 lb. bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

1-1/2 to 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 doz. eggs, beaten

1/2 c. half-and-half or milk

salt and pepper to taste

Spray a 13″x9″ baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Arrange croutons in bottom of pan. Layer with bacon and cheese. In a bowl, beat together eggs, half-and-half or milk, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until heated through and eggs are fluffy. Serves 6 to 8.

Spoon individual servings of a savory egg casserole into toasty bread bowls. Cut the tops off round crusty bread loaves, hollow them out and brush with olive oil. Pop the bowls and lids into a 400-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Mamaw’s Apple Crescent Pies

Debbie Dunham

Lumberton, TX

Wonderful for breakfast…speedy enough for a quick dessert any time pop-in guests arrive!

8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 8 slices

Optional: 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Garnish: whipped cream

Separate crescent rolls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over rolls. Place one apple slice on each roll. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Roll up crescent-style. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream. Serves 4.

Whip up a luscious topping to dollop on pancakes, French toast and slices of fruit bread….yum! Combine 3/4 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese and one tablespoon powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Keep refrigerated in a small covered crock.

Quick Cheese Danish

Virginia Arbisi

Elmont, NY

Turn this into a fruit & cheese Danish in a jiffy! Spread a small can of pastry fruit filling over the cream cheese mixture.

2 8-oz. tubes refrigerated crescent rolls

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

1-1/4 c. sugar, divided

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. butter, melted

Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and place in the bottom of a lightly greased 13″x9″ baking pan. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, one cup sugar and vanilla until creamy; spread mixture over rolls. Unroll second tube of rolls and layer over cream cheese mixture. Mix remaining sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle over rolls. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares. Makes 12 to 15 servings.

We have a fun family gift exchange that we call our Yard Sale Swap. At the first summer picnic of every year, family members draw names (shh…it’s a secret!). Then you hit the yard sales and tag sales to find a gift that costs no more than five dollars for the person whose name you drew. At the last picnic of the year, which is usually in October, we exchange our gifts. It’s a lot of fun for very little money.

–Virginia Hagerman, Jolo, WV

Crustless Ham & Spinach Quiche

Tracie Daugherty

Kittanning, PA

My family enjoys this satisfying egg dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s good either warm or cold, travels well and freezes very nicely. What more could you want?

1 doz. eggs

2 c. whipping cream or milk

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. dried oregano

1/8 t. pepper

1 c. cooked ham, finely diced

10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1/4 to 1/2 c. onion, finely diced

2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, beat eggs and cream or milk well. Stir in seasonings with a spoon; set aside. Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly into a 13″x9″ baking pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Slowly pour egg mixture into pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden and a knife tip inserted in center tests clean. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares. Makes 8 servings.

A breakfast trifle! Layer creamy yogurt, crunchy granola and juicy fresh berries in a clear glass bowl…perfect for brunch guests with lighter appetites.

Sticky Bun Toast Topper

Irene Robinson

Cincinnati, OH

A special way to dress up plain toast…it goes together in a jiffy!

2 T. brown sugar, packed

1 T. butter

1 T. light corn syrup

1/4 t. cinnamon

4 slices white bread, toasted

1/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted

Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and cinnamon in a glass measuring cup. Microwave on high setting for one minute. Stir; spread evenly over toast slices. Sprinkle with pecans. Makes 4 servings.

Set a pillar candle in a canning jar that’s partially filled with candy corn, whole cranberries or acorns…it sets a fall mood instantly for any breakfast table!

Tex-Mex Egg Puff

Carol Creed

Battlefield, MO

I experimented with the ingredients until this recipe was just right! Mix, bake and serve, how easy is that?

1 doz. eggs, beaten

2 4-oz. cans chopped mild green chiles

16-oz. pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

16-oz. container small-curd cream-style cottage cheese

1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Pour into a greased 13″x9″ glass baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until set. Cut into squares. Serves 8 to 10.

Take your family to a nearby park at sunrise for a breakfast picnic filled with rosy skies and singing birds…you’ll have the park all to yourselves! Tote along a warm breakfast casserole, a basket of muffins and thermoses of coffee and hot chocolate…perfect for making memories together.

Snacks & Appetizers

Vickie’s Favorite Guacamole


Whenever we have a Mexican-themed potluck here at Gooseberry Patch, I’m requested to bring my guacamole. It’s almost foolproof and oh-so-good!

4 avocados, halved and pitted

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T. lime juice

1/8 t. kosher salt

tortilla chips

Scoop pulp out of avocados into a bowl. Mash to desired consistency with a potato masher. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. Makes 2 cups.

Use tiered cake stands for bite-size appetizers…so handy, and they take up less space on the buffet table than setting out several serving platters. Don’t have a cake stand? Simply turn over a large sturdy bowl and balance a platter atop it.

Easy Mexican Dip

Donna Scheletsky

Baden, PA

This simple recipe has been a favorite at our tailgate parties when we attend the local bi-annual community musical. All our friends take over the entire parking lot of the fire hall and enjoy snacks and beverages before the play, during intermission and afterwards! The money raised by the performances goes to our all-volunteer fire department. It’s a great cause and a lot of fun!

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 T. taco seasoning mix, or more to taste

1/4 c. tomato juice

tortilla chips

In a bowl, mix together cream cheese and taco seasoning. Add tomato juice; stir to desired dipping consistency. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Make a fluffy fabric garland to celebrate the season. Use pinking shears to cut strips of fabric, about 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Cut a piece of thick jute the length you’d like the garland to be, then tie on the fabric strips with a simple knot. A mix of colors and prints is pleasing…try team colors for a tailgating party or black and orange for Halloween!

Creamy Pumpkin Spread

Sheila Gwaltney

Johnson City, TN

Perfect for fall get-togethers…everyone raves about it!

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

7-oz. jar marshmallow creme

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

shortbread cookies, graham crackers, gingersnaps

Combine all ingredients except cookies; mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Serve with cookies or graham crackers for dipping. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

Great Pumpkin Dip

Jenny Sarbacker

Madison, WI

My version of a recipe I found years ago. It’s always a hit!

15-oz. can pumpkin

15-oz. jar creamy peanut butter

1-1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

2 t. vanilla extract

1/8 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

apple slices

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except apples until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with apple slices. Serves 10.

For a yummy lunchbox treat, tuck in a covered container of creamy dip along with some fresh fruit or veggie dippers.

Spicy-Sweet Pumpkin Pie Dip

Krista Smith

Dayton, OH

I make this for Thanksgiving gatherings and carry-ins and am always asked for the recipe!

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

4 c. powdered sugar

15-oz. can pumpkin

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. ground ginger

gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers

Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl until well blended. Add remaining ingredients except cookies; mix well. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers or graham crackers. Serves 12 to 16.

Pumpkin Patch Dip

Anne Ptacik

Yuma, CO

This recipe is a great way to use leftover pumpkin. It tastes yummy and always makes me think of autumn, my favorite season.

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. canned pumpkin

1 c. finely shredded Cheddar cheese

1 T. brown sugar, packed

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. allspice

1/4 t. nutmeg

assorted snack crackers, vegetable slices

Mix all ingredients together except crackers and vegetables in a bowl. Stir until well-combined and smooth. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with assorted crackers and vegetables. Makes about 2 cups.

Pork & Apple Meatballs

Emmaline Dunkley

Pine City, MN

These have been a big hit at office potluck parties! Serve immediately or keep warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve.

1 lb. ground pork sausage

1-1/4 c. pork-flavored stuffing mix

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 c. onion, diced

1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 t. mustard

1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Form into balls by tablespoonfuls. Place on a 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan coated with non-stick vegetable spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until meatballs are no longer pink in the middle. Serves 8 to 10.

My favorite fall tradition is our town’s festival in October. Everyone comes home for Fort Days, even if they don’t come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The center of town is shut down for the festival’s food and craft booths, all within walking distance. There’s a big community parade that goes on for two hours. My favorite festival memory is from 2008, our town’s 250th anniversary, when the National Anthem was sung for the opening ceremony. No one said a word, just listening to the man who sang it. It was very moving, as if time had stopped.

–Pam West, Ligonier, PA

Savory Party Loaf

Irene Robinson

Cincinnati, OH

It’s impossible to stop nibbling on warm pieces of this cheesy, oniony bread…yum!

1 round loaf sourdough bread

1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, sliced

1/2 c. butter, melted

1/2 c. green onion, chopped

2 to 3 t. poppy seed

Score bread lengthwise and crosswise without cutting through the bottom. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine remaining ingredients and drizzle over bread. Wrap loaf in aluminum foil; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap loaf and return to oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is melted. Makes 10 to 15 servings.

Throw a pumpkin painting party! Provide acrylic paints, brushes and plenty of pumpkins…invite kids to bring their imagination and an old shirt to wear as a smock. Parents are sure to join in too!

Sticky-Sweet Caramel Apples

Melody Taynor

Everett, WA

I like to use the smallest apples I can find and make ’em mini…so cute for party favors! You’ll be able to make 10 to 12 mini apples with this recipe.

4 to 6 wooden treat sticks

4 to 6 Gala or Jonagold apples

14-oz. pkg. caramels, unwrapped

2 T. milk

Optional: candy sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini candy-coated chocolates

Insert sticks into apples; set aside. Combine caramels and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool briefly. Roll each apple quickly in caramel, turning to coat. Set apples to dry on lightly greased wax paper. When partially set, roll in toppings, if desired. Makes 4 to 6.

Stir up some old-fashioned fun this Halloween. Light the house with spooky candlelight and serve homemade popcorn balls, pumpkin cookies and hot cider. Bob for apples and play pin the tail on the black cat…kids of all ages will love it!

Homemade Gummy Worms

Heidi Jakubiak

Chrisman, IL

This is such fun to do with my kids and we love to eat them when they’re ready. Hope you enjoy trying it! If you’re a real candy connoisseur, you might like to make these in candy molds for fancier gummy candy.

1 c. boiling water

2 .3-oz. pkgs. favorite-flavor sugar-free gelatin mix

2 .3-oz. pkgs. favorite-flavor unsweetened drink mix

3 1-oz. envs. unflavored gelatin

Coat an 8″x8″ baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until dissolved. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until completely set. Cut into 1/4-inch wide strips to form thin “worms” for serving as is or decorating other treats. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen.

Create a spooky greeting for trick-or-treaters…it’s simple! Paint a dried bottle gourd white and use a black felt tip pen to add a ghostly face. Line up several along the mantel.

Chili-Lime Pecans

Sharon Jones

Oklahoma City, OK

These spicy nuts for nibbling are very easy to make and are enjoyed at all kinds of get-togethers. I usually double this recipe, to make sure I’ll have enough!

2 T. lime juice

1 T. olive oil

1 t. paprika

1 t. sea salt

1 t. chili powder

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

3 c. pecan halves

In a bowl, stir together all ingredients except pecans. Add pecans and toss to coat well. Spread pecans in an aluminum foil-lined, lightly greased 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes, until pecans are toasted and dry, stirring occasionally. Cool completely; store in an airtight container. Makes 3 cups.

Take the family to a small-town parade for real hometown spirit. Marching bands, horse-drawn wagons and antique cars…what fun! Remember to tote along a blanket to sit on, a snack for munching and some mini flags for the kids to wave.

Snackin’ Pumpkin Seeds

Suzanne Bayorgeon

Norfolk, NY

Every Halloween we carve pumpkins…I can’t resist doing something yummy with all those seeds!

2 c. pumpkin seeds

3 T. butter, melted

1-1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce

In an ungreased shallow baking pan, combine all ingredients; stir to mix. Bake at 250 degrees for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until seeds are crisp, dry and golden. Cool completely; store in an airtight container. Makes 2 cups.

Give your fireplace a welcoming autumn glow, even if Indian summer weather has made it too warm for an actual fire! Fill it with pots of flame-colored orange and yellow mums or marigolds.

Queen’s Cheddar-Onion Dip

Traci Beck

Howard, PA

This is something I always serve when having “the girls” over. We feel like queens eating such a rich and velvety treat!

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1 onion, chopped

nacho-flavored tortilla chips

Mix together all ingredients except tortilla chips. Place in a lightly greased one-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until it bubbles. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes; serve warm with tortilla chips. Serves 6.

Fran’s Potato Chip Dip

Fran Bodenhamer

Gillette, WY

I make this dip year ’round…for Halloween, Christmas and other party occasions. My husband and daughter always ask, “Are you ever going to make this just for us?”

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. mayonnaise-type salad dressing

garlic powder to taste

1-1/2 to 2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. sweet pickle juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat together for several minutes, blending well. Keep refrigerated until serving time. Makes 1-1/2 to 2 cups.

A hollowed-out squash or pumpkin is a fun way to serve favorite dips…place it on a serving tray and surround with a variety of crackers and veggie dippers.

Laurie’s Cheesy Bean Dip

Sharon Lampman

Clawson, MI

My co-worker Laurie brought this simple slow-cooker dip to one of our staff luncheons and I fell in love with it. The next day, I took this new-found yummy dip along to a friend’s housewarming party. All I heard was, “Wow, this is good!” So I asked Laurie if I could submit it to my favorite cookbook company…she said “Sure!” and here it is!

2 11-1/2 oz. cans bean with bacon soup

16-oz. container sour cream

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

2 t. taco seasoning mix

tortilla chips

In a slow cooker, blend all ingredients except tortilla chips. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 hours, or until dip is warm and bubbly. Turn down to low setting to keep warm; serve with tortilla chips. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Decorate a grapevine garland to wind around the front door. Garland can be found at craft stores…use orange or yellow raffia to tie on gourds, mini Indian corn and dried seed pods. It’ll look welcoming all autumn long.

Parmesan Shortbread Crisps

Jo Ann

These crisp, flavorful rounds bake up in a jiffy. They’re tasty with bowls of hot soup or with your favorite herbed cheese spread.

1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. plus 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1 t. salt

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

1 c. chilled butter, cubed

In a food processor, mix together flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic and seasonings. Add butter; process until dough begins to form. Form dough into a ball; divide in half. Shape each half into a 12-inch log. Slice logs into one-inch pieces; roll each piece into a ball. Arrange on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, 1-1/2 inches apart. Flatten each ball into a 2-inch circle; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until dry on top and dry and golden on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen.

For super-simple cheese snacks, cut several 8-ounce packages of cream cheese into 10 cubes each. Shape cubes into balls and roll in snipped fresh parsley or chopped pecans. Easy to make ahead…just arrange on a plate, cover and pop in the fridge until party time.

Pizza Roll Snacks

Diane Cohen

The Woodlands, TX

Who needs frozen pizza rolls when it’s a snap to make these yummy rolls? My girls love these for after-school snacks. If there are leftovers, they warm up great in the microwave.

8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1/3 c. pizza sauce

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

16 slices pepperoni, divided

1/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Unroll rolls but do not separate; press perforations to seal. Spread pizza sauce evenly over rolls, leaving a one-inch border. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roll up dough jelly-roll fashion, starting with the short side. Using a sharp knife, cut into 15 slices. Place slices cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Top each slice with one pepperoni slice and one teaspoon mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are golden and cheese is melted. Makes 16 servings.

Bite-size mini sandwiches make an easy, tasty addition to any appetizer buffet. Whip up some grilled cheese, BLT, Reuben or other favorite sandwiches, then cut them into small squares. Top with an olive or a pickle slice and spear with party picks.

Pub Beer Dip

Karen Hazelett

Fremont, IN

We enjoy the time we spend at Lake James in northeast Indiana. Winters at the lake are lonely for year ’rounders, so we started a monthly card club with five other couples. It’s a terrific way to see your neighbors during colder months and try each other’s recipes. Our friend Jan is a wonderful hostess and shared this slow-cooker recipe with us. It was an immediate hit!

2 5-oz. jars sharp Cheddar cheese spread

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. regular or non-alcoholic beer

1 t. Worcestershire sauce

5 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce

4 to 5 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

pretzels, crackers, bread slices

In a 2-1/2 to 3-quart slow cooker, mix together cheeses, beer and sauces. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Dip will become thicker the longer it cooks. Stir in bacon just before serving. Serve with pretzels, crackers or bread. Makes about 4 cups.

Make the most of your front porch! A porch swing, rocking chairs, comfy pillows and hanging baskets of fall flowers create a cozy place for family & friends to visit and enjoy the crisp air.


Teresa Stiegelmeyer

Indianapolis, IN

Make this peppery slow-cooker dip even spicer by adding hot pepper sauce to taste or using extra-hot salsa…if you dare!

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained

10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

1 c. salsa

1/4 c. butter, melted

2 T. chili powder

16-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed

corn chips, party rye bread

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except chips and bread. Cook and stir until bubbly and cheese is melted. If preferred, combine all ingredients except chips and bread in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with corn chips or party rye bread. Serves 10 to 12.

Treat yourself to a jolly jack-o’-lantern shake! Add 3 scoops vanilla ice cream, 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin, 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into two tall glasses and share with a friend.

Goblin Good Snack Mix

Denise Oravecz

Pittsburgh, PA

Family, friends and co-workers love “goblin” up this yummy snack mix! I make it for Halloween parties, fall gatherings and even for Thanksgiving.

4 c. bite-size crispy cereal squares

4 c. popped kettle corn or regular popcorn

1 c. honey-roasted peanuts

1 c. salted roasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 c. butter

6 T. brown sugar, packed

2 T. light corn syrup

1/4 t. vanilla extract

1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice

1 c. candy corn and/or candy pumpkins

In a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl, mix cereal, popcorn, peanuts and pumpkin seeds; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Microwave, uncovered, on high setting for about 2 minutes, until mixture is boiling; stir after one minute. Stir in spice. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated. Microwave 5 minutes, stirring after every minute. Spread on wax paper. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any large pieces. Add candy and toss to mix. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 11 cups.

For crunchy variety in autumn snacking, try Mexican pumpkin seeds, called “pepitas.” They’re available year ’round in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores.

Super-Simple Candy Mix

Denise Neal

Castle Rock, CO

I got this little recipe from a lady while we were waiting in line at the grocery store. It’s my favorite treat to toss together for Halloween or bunko parties…a yummy combo that tastes like a candy bar!

1 c. candy-coated chocolates

1 c. salted peanuts

1 c. candy corn

Mix ingredients together in a serving bowl and serve. Makes 3 cups.

Our family has a fun craft we do every fall…we call it Haunted Halloween Heads! I save lots of juice and water jugs and bottles in all sizes. We spray-paint them in fun, spooky colors and paint faces directly on some of the bottles. For others, I have my husband cut small circles for faces out of wood and we attach them to the bottles for a 3-D look. Finally, we glue on raffia for hair. When we’re done, we dig little holes in our front garden and bury the necks of the bottles so it looks like a haunted graveyard. We like to decorate bricks for little tombstone markers with funny sayings like “Barry A. Live.” It’s a cute twist on a silly Halloween!

–Kelly Lowry, Johnstown, CO

Oh-So-Easy Apple Cider

Teri Johnson

Montezuma, IA

My daughters ask for this warm-you-up beverage every year. I sometimes put it in a percolator coffeepot…its spicy aroma makes the whole house smell yummy!

3 qts. apple juice

2 qts. cranberry juice cocktail

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

4 4-inch cinnamon sticks

Mix all ingredients together in a large stockpot. Simmer over low heat until hot; keep warm. Makes about 40 servings.

There’s a funny little fellow

Sitting out on our fence

And you know who I mean.

He came last night

from Pumpkintown

To spend the Halloween.

–Old children’s song

Apricot-Apple Harvest Brew

Kelly Gillow

Easton, PA

Just as the trees begin to show off their radiant autumn colors and there’s a chill in the air, I look forward to serving up this warm & cozy harvest brew in my home and my country store. My family, friends and customers look forward to this drink every fall…I’ve shared many copies of the recipe!

1 gal. apple cider

11-1/2 oz. can apricot nectar

1 c. sugar

2 c. orange juice

3/4 c. lemon juice

4 4-inch cinnamon sticks

2 t. allspice

1 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. nutmeg

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer for about 10 minutes. Makes about 20 servings.

For tasty fun at your next game-day party, turn any favorite Cheddar cheese ball recipe into a “football.” Just shape, sprinkle with paprika and pipe on sour cream or cream cheese “laces”…so easy!

Peanut Butter-Banana Roll-Up

Wendy Ball

Battle Creek, MI

As a healthy treat for young children, I modified a favorite snack that I just love. I have made this for my children and now my grandson and nephews. It’s a super busy-day snack!

10-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla

1/4 c. crunchy or creamy peanut butter

1 banana, thinly sliced

Optional: 2 to 3 T. fruit jam or marshmallow creme

Spread tortilla with peanut butter all the way to the edge. Arrange banana slices over peanut butter in a single layer. If desired, dollop with jam or marshmallow creme. Roll up tortilla with the seam on the bottom. You can either serve it immediately or warm it up for 30 seconds in the microwave. Serves one.

That first crackling fire and scent of wood smoke tell us it’s fall! Gather lots of games and puzzles for cozy nights at home with family & friends.

Elephant Ears

Tonya Adams

Magnolia, KY

I used to love eating these sweet, golden rounds of dough at the county fair, so I joined 4-H and learned to make them myself!

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

10-oz. tube refrigerated biscuits, separated

oil for frying

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. For each elephant ear, press 2 biscuits together. Roll out between 2 sheets of wax paper until as thin as possible. Add enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom. Over medium heat, fry elephant ears, one at a time, until golden on one side. Flip gently and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar mixture; serve warm. Makes 5 servings.

Invite friends and neighbors over for a backyard festival on a sunny autumn day. Games like a hay bale toss, sack races, Red Rover and three-legged races add old-fashioned fun!

Hot Ham & Cheddar Dip

Jessica Branch

Colchester, IL

A hearty warm-you-up snack for fall.

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

1 onion, diced

1 lb. cooked ham, diced

1 t. garlic salt

4 c. shredded mild Cheddar cheese, divided

tortilla chips, crackers

Blend together cream cheese, onion, ham, garlic salt and cheese, reserving 1/4 cup cheese for topping. Spread in a greased 2-quart casserole dish; sprinkle with reserved cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese has melted. Serve with tortilla chips and crackers. Makes 4 cups.

A striking autumn bouquet is as close as your own backyard! While you’re raking up fallen leaves, keep an eye out for short branches of colorful leaves, late-blooming flowers and interesting bare twigs to arrange in a tall vase.

Dad’s Zippy Cheese Dip

Cynthia Anderson

Mantua, OH

This was my father’s special recipe. We always kidded him that he never measured anything and just dumped it all together. It was always delicious, though!

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 onion, minced

1/4 c. catsup

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

2 5-oz. jars sharp Cheddar cheese spread

crackers, chips, vegetable slices

Place garlic, onion, catsup and Worcestershire sauce in a blender or food processor; blend well. Add cream cheese and blend; add cheese spread, one jar at at a time, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or more. Serve with crackers, chips or vegetables. Makes 12 servings.

Cherry tomatoes make yummy party nibbles. Cut off the top of each tomato, scoop out seeds with a small melon baller and turn over to drain on paper towels. Pipe softened cream cheese or a favorite creamy dip into hollowed tomatoes and sprinkle fresh parsley over top.

Rainbow Popcorn

Jill Ball

Highland, UT

This is an easy, fun treat! Use any color of food coloring you like…orange for Halloween, your team’s colors or your child’s favorite color for a birthday party.

8 c. popped popcorn

1/2 c. milk

2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

few drops desired food coloring

Completely coat the inside of a large brown paper bag with non-stick vegetable spray. Place popcorn in bag; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, being careful not to let it burn. Do not scrape the sides of the pan, or the sugar will crystallize. Add vanilla and food coloring; mix well. Pour milk mixture over popcorn in bag. Close bag and shake to coat popcorn evenly. Spread popcorn on a baking sheet to dry. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 8 cups.

Pick up some plastic icing cones when you shop for baking supplies. Filled with party mix, tied with curling ribbon and placed in a wire cupcake stand, they make fun gifts to keep on hand for drop-in guests.

Party Popcorn Balls

Marie Yoder

Hudson, MI

I used to make these scrumptious goodies for my children by the bushelful whenever they’d have a fall gathering or hayride. You can substitute any flavor of gelatin you wish.

16 to 20 c. popped popcorn

1 c. light corn syrup

1/2 c. sugar

3-oz. pkg. strawberry gelatin mix

Place popcorn in a very large heatproof bowl; set aside. Mix together remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cool slightly; pour over popcorn. Stir well. Working quickly, with well-buttered hands, form popcorn mixture into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Makes about one dozen.

Mix up some mulling spice bags to have on hand when chilly weather arrives. Fill a small drawstring muslin bag with one teaspoon each of whole cloves, allspice and orange zest plus two or three cinnamon sticks. Simmer the spice bag in 2 quarts apple cider for a hot, bubbly beverage that will warm you right up.

Claudia’s Famous Wing Dip

Jason Keller

Carrollton, GA

My wife Claudia makes a triple batch for me to take tailgating with the guys every October. They’ve threatened to leave me behind if I don’t bring it…that’s how good it is!

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

16-oz. container sour cream

1 c. blue cheese salad dressing

1/2 c. hot wing sauce

2-1/2 c. cooked chicken, shredded

1 c. provolone cheese, shredded

tortilla chips, celery sticks

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing and wing sauce until well blended. Stir in chicken and cheese. Transfer to a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips and celery sticks. Makes 6-1/2 cups.

Do you love tailgating but can’t score tickets to the big stadium football game? Tailgating at the local Friday-night high school game can be just as much fun…round up the gang, pack a picnic and cheer on your team!

Dee’s Buffalo Dip

Deanna Lyons

Roswell, GA

This yummy dip is oh-so easy to make and incredibly delicious…you will never have leftovers. Surprise…it’s low-fat too!

2 10-oz. cans white chicken, drained and flaked

2 8-oz. pkgs. Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1 c. low-fat ranch salad dressing

3/4 c. hot pepper sauce

2 c. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided

assorted vegetables, crackers

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chicken and Neufchâtel cheese. Microwave, uncovered, on high setting for 45 seconds. Blend well. Add salad dressing, hot sauce and one cup Cheddar cheese; mix well. Transfer to a lightly greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with assorted vegetables or crackers. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Serve crunchy homemade tortilla chips with your favorite salsa! Simply cut corn tortillas with seasonal cookie cutters…how about footballs, ghosts or autumn leaves? Spritz cut-outs with non-stick vegetable spray and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Try seasoned salt or garlic salt for an extra kick.

Speedy Texas Salsa

Colleen Trenholm

Salado, TX

My mom gave me this recipe twenty-five years ago. We both still enjoy making it. Everyone always wants the recipe and can’t believe how easy it is to make!

28-oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1/4 c. fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 to 1 whole canned jalapeño pepper

1/2 t. garlic salt

1/2 t. seasoned salt

Combine undrained tomatoes and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until well mixed. Serve immediately or chill until serving time. Makes about 4 cups.

Forty years ago this October, my two daughters and I met my four soon-to-be “new” children for the first time. Tom and I had been dating awhile and decided it was time to get our families acquainted. We planned a picnic for the eight of us and our parents too. Before we began grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs, we decided to play a game of tag football. Autumn leaves were everywhere, crunching under our feet. At one point I got the ball and it became evident that I was to be “buried” in those leaves. All six kids played the Bury-Sherry game with great glee. The crisp autumn day was glorious and so much fun. But, the best part was realizing that I had been accepted. We have been a wonderfully blended family now for over thirty-five years and Tom and I have fifteen grandchildren with whom to share another autumn!

–Sherry Huxtable, Wichita, KS

Jalapeño-Cheese Squares

Jo Ann Garcia

Alpine, TX

An acquaintance brought this wonderful dish for a luncheon one day. Everyone fell in love with its zesty taste! Increase or decrease the jalapeño peppers to your preference.

2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3/4 c. pickled jalapeño pepper slices

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

12-oz. can evaporated milk

Mix together cheeses; spread half of mixture in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Top with peppers; sprinkle remaining cheese mixture over top. In a bowl, stir together eggs, flour and evaporated milk. Pour over cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares. Serves 4 to 6.

Dress up a party table with “pumpkins” made of bright orange crysanthemums. Trim the stems of real or silk mums to one inch and insert the stems into a large styrofoam ball until it’s completely covered. Add a cluster of green leaves at the top for the pumpkin “stem.” Balance several pumpkin balls atop stemmed glasses…so eye-catching!

Graveyard Crunch

Kerry Mayer

Dunham Springs, LA

Our Halloween celebration wouldn’t be the same without this tasty spooky treat! I like to give away small paper treat bags filled with Graveyard Crunch to party-goers, complete with tombstones drawn on the front and names, dates and silly messages scratched on them.

1/4 c. pancake syrup

2 T. butter, softened

1/4 t. cinnamon

4 c. cocoa-flavored crispy rice cereal

1 c. dry-roasted peanuts

2 c. mini marshmallows

1 c. candy corn

1 c. candy-coated chocolates

Mix syrup, butter and cinnamon in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high setting for one minute; stir until butter is completely melted. Add cereal and peanuts; toss to mix. Spread on a lightly greased 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Cool completely. Break into pieces; toss with remaining ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Makes 9 cups.

Mummy’s the word! Whip up some fun treat containers in a jiffy. Glue wiggly eyes to the front of clear plastic drink cups, then wind cotton gauze around & around, fastening at both ends with a little glue…clever!

Monster Munch

Sandy Groezinger

Stockton, IL

I’ve made this irresistible crunchy mix for my daughter’s class parties for many years. My son couldn’t wait to take it for his class parties too. It may look complicated, but just follow the recipe step-by-step…it will come together like magic!

6 2-oz. sqs. white melting chocolate, divided

1-1/2 c. pretzel sticks

few drops orange food coloring

2 c. graham cereal squares

3/4 c. Halloween-colored candy-coated chocolates

3/4 c. mini marshmallows

1/2 c. chocolate sprinkles

Place 1-1/2 squares white chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium setting for one minute; stir. Repeat as necessary, stirring every 15 seconds, until completely melted. Place pretzel sticks in a medium bowl. Pour in melted white chocolate and stir until all pieces are coated. Spread pretzel sticks onto wax paper, separating pieces; let stand until set. Place remaining white chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium setting for one minute; stir. Repeat, stirring every 15 seconds, until completely melted. Stir in food coloring until white chocolate is tinted bright orange. Place cereal in a large bowl. Pour in half of orange-tinted chocolate and stir until cereal is evenly coated. Add candies, marshmallows and sprinkles to cereal. Pour in remaining orange-tinted chocolate; stir until mix is evenly coated. Stir in coated pretzel sticks. Break mix into small clusters and spread out on wax paper; let set before serving. Store in an airtight container. Makes 5 cups.

Show your spirit…dress up a garden scarecrow in a hometown football jersey. Go team!

Speedy Sausage Scoops

Rebecca Etling

Blairsville, PA

Crunchy, cheesy, yummy finger food! This is one of my favorite quickie appetizers when I need something fast. You can use hot sausage if you like your snacks a bit spicier.

1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned and drained

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

10-1/2 oz. pkg. scoop-type corn chips

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Place sausage and cream cheese in a bowl; mix until well blended. Spoon mixture into corn chip scoops; sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place chips on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

I came up with this idea one year for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it! Get two large real or artificial pumpkins and a selection of permanent markers in brown, orange and maroon or other dark colors. Decorate one pumpkin by drawing fall leaves and vines. Add a favorite Thanksgiving Bible verse. On the other pumpkin, write “We are thankful for…” Display the pumpkins and markers near your entryway. As your guests arrive, invite them to write what they’re thankful for on the second pumpkin. I predict your guests will enjoy this as much as mine did.

–Michelle Caldwell, Totz, KY

Soups, Sides & Salads

Cranberry-Apple Sweet Potatoes

Terri Melton

Taft, CA

This sweet, fruity dish is a must at our family dinner gathering every Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

21-oz. can apple pie filling

2 18-oz. cans sweet potatoes, drained and cut into bite-size pieces

8-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce

2 T. apricot preserves

2 T. orange marmalade

Spread pie filling in a lightly greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Arrange sweet potatoes on top. Mix remaining ingredients; spoon over sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serves 6.

When I was a young girl, my mother and I always got together with Grandma and Great-Grandma for the fall harvest. This included shucking corn, canning vegetables, making relishes, apple butter and apple cider and doing other things to prepare for winter. It was believed that all should get together to help one another out. As a small child, this seemed like such a waste of time to me…after all, there were much more important things to be doing, like crunching leaves or playing with the dog. But now this is a very fond memory of mine…how often does one have four generations of loved ones helping one another out? It taught me to always treasure the time we spend with our family. Even the most everyday activities can become cherished memories if we look at them in the right way.

–Wendy Love, Hillsboro, OR

Sweet Potato Toss

Janet Monnett

Cloverdale, IN

As my family and I were changing to a vegetarian diet, I tried to create dishes that everyone would find tasty. This is a delicious side dish that we all just love!

canola oil for frying

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced

4 potatoes, peeled and sliced

1/2 to 1 T. onion powder

1/8 t. sugar

salt to taste

Into a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil to 1/2-inch depth. Combine all potato slices in a bowl; toss with seasonings. Add potatoes to hot oil in skillet. Cover and cook, turning as needed. Reduce heat to medium when potatoes begin to soften. Uncover for the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking to crisp up potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.

To create a fragrant pumpkin, use an apple corer to carve out round vents in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Rub pumpkin pie spice on the underside of the pumpkin’s lid or push whole cloves into it. Set a lighted tealight candle inside. This will give off a delightful scent for about six hours.

Cranberry Gelatin Salad

Sarah Oravecz

Gooseberry Patch

I made this the first time I was asked to bring a cranberry dish to my boyfriend’s family Thanksgiving dinner. I was a little nervous how it would turn out…but it was delicious! Since then, I’ve made it for several more Thanksgiving dinners.

2 3-oz. pkgs. raspberry gelatin mix

3 c. boiling water

16-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce

20-oz. can crushed pineapple

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

8-oz. container sour cream

1/4 c. sugar

1 c. chopped pecans

Dissolve gelatin mix in boiling water. Add cranberry sauce and undrained pineapple; mix well. Pour half of of gelatin mixture into a 13″x9″ glass baking pan; cover and refrigerate for one hour. Cover remaining gelatin mixture; let stand at room temperature. In a separate bowl, blend remaining ingredients. Spread cream cheese mixture over chilled, set gelatin layer. Return to refrigerator for about 10 minutes; pour remaining gelatin mixture over top of cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, until firm. Cut into squares. Makes 20 servings.

On warm fall days, set up harvest tables and chairs outdoors for a soup supper. Decorate with plump pumpkins, bittersweet wreaths, straw bales and scarecrows. End the day with a hayride in the country.

Strawberry-Cranberry Salad

Charlotte Smith

Tyrone, PA

We serve this salad for just about every holiday year ’round…it’s so good you can enjoy it anytime! It needs to chill for quite awhile, so be sure to start a day ahead.

2 3-oz. pkgs. strawberry gelatin mix

2 c. boiling water

20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained and 1/2 c. juice reserved

16-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce

10-oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

1 c. chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, mix together gelatin mix and boiling water; stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover and chill for 12 to 24 hours. Transfer to a serving bowl; stir before serving. Serves 20.

Make a mini recipe album for a tried & true friend. Jot down favorite recipes on individual cards, along with your special touches or hints for success. Slip the cards into the pages of a mini photo album and tie with a homespun ribbon. Add a handwritten note that says, “I’m thankful we’re friends.” She’ll think of you whenever she uses it!

Country-Style Creamed Cabbage

Candra Graves

Mannford, OK

For as long as I can remember, this old-fashioned recipe has been served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We love it!

10 c. cabbage, chopped

Optional: 1/4 c. bacon drippings

10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup

1/4 c. milk

8-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed

salt and pepper to taste

Place cabbage and bacon drippings, if using, in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover. Boil over medium-high heat until tender, about 45 minutes to one hour, adding more water if needed. While cabbage is cooking, mix together remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drain cabbage and add to soup mixture; mix well. Place in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted. Serves 8.

When the weather starts to turn chilly, sort through your family’s closets and donate gently used and outgrown coats, clothes and extra blankets to a nearby charity. They’ll be much appreciated!

Italian Zucchini

Kari Mott

Galloway, OH

A tasty way to use up some of those end-of-the-season zucchini from the garden.

1/4 c. olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 to 3 zucchini, sliced

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. salt

Garnish: 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes with juice, zucchini, Italian seasoning and salt. Cook and stir until zucchini is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

When the kids are studying another country in school, why not try out a food from that country? Let them help choose a recipe and shop for the ingredients…you’ll all learn so much together and have fun doing it!

Chill-Chaser Noodle Soup

Sherry Shuford

Lynchburg, VA

Every year we head out to our local pumpkin patch for some fall family fun. Afterwards, everyone is tired and hungry from picking pumpkins, walking the corn maze and going on a hayride. This satisfying soup is quick & easy. I serve it with homemade popovers.

1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 to 3 t. oil

2 14-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth

1/4 c. roasted red peppers, drained

15-oz. can mixed vegetables

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 t. poultry seasoning

1 t. garlic powder

16-oz. pkg. thin egg noodles, uncooked

In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in oil until translucent. Add remaining ingredients except noodles. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in noodles. Simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until noodles are tender. Makes 8 servings.

Dot’s Popovers

Nadine Jones

Corinth, ME

It was always a treat when Gram made her popovers. They are especially good with a hot bowl of chili or stew. Gram always cautioned me not to open the oven while they were baking.

2 eggs, beaten

1 c. milk

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. salt

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into well-greased muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Place muffin tin in a cold oven; set temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes without opening oven door. Makes 6 to 8.

Trick-or-Treaters’ Taco Soup

Olivia Gust

Independence, OR

We always make this quick, yummy soup for Halloween dinner before trick-or-treating. It keeps our tummies warm as we’re out & about visiting family & friends.

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 c. onion, chopped

14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

15-1/4 oz. can corn

16-oz. can kidney beans

15-oz. can tomato sauce

1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix

Garnish: shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced olives, corn chips

In a large stockpot over medium heat, brown beef and onion. Drain; stir in undrained vegetables, tomato sauce and seasoning mix. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often. Garnish bowls of soup as desired. Serves 6.

Cowboy Biscuits

Sheila Connolly-Mainous

Valrico, FL

My mother interpreted this recipe from my father’s description. The biscuits were made in the cow camps where my dad spent the winter. She said it was quite a challenge…the cowboys didn’t use cups or spoons for measuring, they used tin cans and their hands!

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1 c. milk

3 T. shortening or bacon drippings, melted

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt thoroughly. Make a well in the center; pour in milk and shortening or drippings. Stir just until moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; turn over and pat to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut, or just cut into squares to save time. Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden. Makes 8.

Champagne Fruit Salad

Elizabeth Burkhalter

Oshkosh, WI

I have fond memories of my grandma making this fruit dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s sweet and almost tastes like dessert, but we usually serve it as a side dish along with the turkey and all the trimmings. It got its name because it could be served with a glass of champagne!

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. sugar

10-oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed and drained

2 bananas, sliced

8-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut

10-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, blend together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in remaining ingredients by hand. Spread in a 13″x9″ baking pan. Cover and freeze until firm, 3 to 4 hours. Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving time; cut into squares. Serves 12.

Scatter pressed autumn leaves on a crisp white tablecloth for a simple and splendid decoration. Layer leaves between paper towels, then between sections of newspaper. Top with a heavy book or other weight…leaves will be ready in a week or two. If time is short, you can substitute silk leaves from the craft store.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Ashley Billings

Norfolk, VA

This is a flavorful twist on classic cranberry sauce…it’s a Thanksgiving favorite at my house!

16-oz. pkg. fresh cranberries

1 c. orange juice

1/2 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Let cool; serve at room temperature. Serves 8.

My three girls and I used to make “potato turkeys” while Thanksgiving dinner was cooking. It kept them busy while waiting and the turkeys were so cute on the dining table. Choose a potato with a flat bottom, so it will sit and not roll. Cut out a turkey head shape from construction paper and draw on a face. Glue the head to a plain toothpick and poke it into the front of the potato. For the turkey’s tailfeathers, poke some frilled cocktail toothpicks into the back of the potato. You now have a little potato turkey to place on your Thanksgiving table. My girls would keep their turkeys well after the holiday, until the potatoes grew sprouts!

–Marcia Bills, Orleans, NE

Cheesy Corn & Hominy Posole

Paul Shoup

Caseville, MI

A meatless Mexican dish that feeds an army! Our yummy version came from the border town of El Paso, Texas.

1 onion, chopped

2 4-oz. cans chopped green chiles

10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

2 15-1/2 oz. cans hominy, drained

2 15-oz. cans shoepeg corn, drained

Combine onion, chiles, soup and cheese in a large bowl. Add hominy and corn; mix well. Transfer to a 13″x9″ baking pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cover with aluminum foil. Place a pan of water on the rack beneath pan in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8.

Hard-skinned winter squash is versatile, tasty and cooks in a jiffy in the microwave. Place a halved, seeded squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high until tender and easily pierced. Acorn squash will take about 6 to 8 minutes, butternut squash about 10 to 13 minutes. After cooking, the squash pulp can be scooped out and mixed with butter, spices and other ingredients.

Quick & Easy Pinto Beans

Pam Massey

Marshall, AR

A terrific meal on a cold day! Brown the meat and onion ahead of time, then just add the canned ingredients for a very fast supper. A great dish for nights when Dad is doing the cooking!

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1 onion, diced

2 10-oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

2 16-oz. cans pinto beans

Garnish: tortilla chips, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream

Brown meat and onion together in a skillet over medium heat; drain. Add undrained tomatoes with chiles; bring to a boil. Stir in undrained beans. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Serve with tortilla chips and desired toppings. Serves 8.

A muffin tin is useful when you’re serving tacos, enchiladas, chili or bean soup with lots of tasty toppings. Fill up the sections with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, guacamole, diced tomatoes and sour cream…and let everyone mix & match their favorites!

Game-Day BBQ Onions

Cheryl Breeden

North Platte, NE

So simple…a true football night party favorite that will turn anyone into an onion lover!

11-oz. pkg. mesquite barbecue-flavored potato chips, divided

2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of chicken soup

1/2 c. milk

4 sweet onions, thinly sliced and divided

2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Crush 2 cups of potato chips; set aside. Whisk together soups and milk; set aside. Place half of onion slices in the bottom of a 13″x9″ baking pan coated with non-stick vegetable spray. Spread uncrushed chips over onions; add one cup cheese and half of soup mixture. Repeat layering. Top with reserved crushed chips. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour. Serves 10.

Host a tailgating cook-off. Invite everyone in the neighborhood to bring their own game-day specialty like chili, chicken wings or barbecued ribs. You provide the beverages, baskets of warm cornbread and plenty of napkins. Have a prize for the winner!

Swiss-Onion Casserole

Dolores McCurry

Pueblo, CO

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe many years ago. It’s always a big hit when I take it to church suppers and other events…a delicious side dish that goes with just about anything.

6 onions, sliced

1/2 c. plus 3 T. butter, softened and divided

10-oz. pkg. shredded Swiss cheese

10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup

1/2 c. milk

1 t. soy sauce

pepper to taste

12 to 15 slices baguette bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in 2 to 3 tablespoons butter until tender. Spread in a lightly greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Cover with cheese; set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together soup, milk, soy sauce and pepper. Heat until bubbly; spoon over cheese. Spread remaining butter over both sides of bread. Arrange bread on top of casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 10.

Whip up cozy throws in bright red or russet plaid fleece…simply snip fringe all around the edges. They’re so easy, you can make one for each member of the family in no time at all.

Autumn Acorn Squash

Jenny Sarbacker

Madison, WI

A family fall favorite! This recipe started with one my mom used to make for us…I’ve added a few touches of my own.

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 T. brown sugar, packed

3 T. chopped pecans

1 t. all-purpose flour

1/4 t. cinnamon

2 T. butter, softened

Place acorn squash halves cut-side down in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients. Turn squash over and fill with apple mixture. Bake, uncovered, for another 15 to 30 minutes, until squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Serve squash halves as is or scoop contents into a serving bowl. Serves 4.

Jumping in leaf piles is a not-to-be-missed part of childhood fun! No fallen leaves in your yard? Ask some neighbors with a big maple tree or two for permission to rake up their leaves…you’ll have a ball!

String Beans & Corn Casserole

Donna Clement

Picayune, MS

Whenever our family gets together, someone always asks, “Who’s making the string bean casserole?”

2 14-1/2 oz. cans French-cut green beans, drained

2 15-oz. cans shoepeg corn, drained

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1/4 c. celery, chopped

8-oz. container sour cream

10-3/4 oz. can cream of celery soup

4-1/2 oz. pkg. cheese crackers, crushed

1/4 c. margarine, melted

Garnish: slivered almonds

In a bowl, mix vegetables, sour cream and soup. Place in a lightly greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Mix crushed crackers and melted margarine; sprinkle over casserole, followed by almonds. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Always keep the pantry stocked with canned vegetables, hearty soups, rice and pasta for quick-to-make side dishes.

Savory Pumpkin Soup

Sarah Cameron

Maryville, TN

A scrumptious beginning to any autumn meal. Garnish with a swirl of cream and a toss of toasted pumpkin seeds.

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped

2 T. butter

1 T. all-purpose flour

2 14-oz. cans chicken broth

15-oz. can pumpkin

1 t. brown sugar, packed

1/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

1/8 t. nutmeg

1 c. whipping cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter until tender. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients except cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for about 2 minutes, until heated through. Serves 4.

Just for fun, use a hollowed-out pumpkin as a soup tureen, but try something unexpected. An all-white Lumina pumpkin or a plump green and orange Cinderella pumpkin makes the prettiest presentation!

Chicken & Barley Soup

Angela Murphy

Tempe, AZ

We like to substitute leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner in this hearty, quick & easy soup. It’s a terrific pick-me-up after a day of post-Thanksgiving shopping.

1 c. onion, chopped

1 c. carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 c. celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t. olive oil

2 14-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth

1/2 c. quick-cooking barley, uncooked

1-3/4 c. water

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 c. cooked chicken, cubed

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic in oil for 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Add broth, barley, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add chicken; heat through. Serves 4.

When my daughter was little, I began making Pumpkin Stew, which is simmered on the stove, ladled into a hollowed-out pumpkin and placed into the oven to finish cooking. When it is served, you scoop out the pumpkin along with the stew. This was always our dinner the night before Halloween and it became a tradition. My daughter is married now with two little girls of her own, and they still come to my house to share Pumpkin Stew. I set the table in fall colors, with torn muslin for napkins, plastic spiders for napkin rings and Halloween crackers to pop open. It’s my favorite time of year…we all look forward to it!

–Connie Peterson, Sunland, CA

Mom’s Butternut Squash Bake

Sue Ellen Crabb

Glendale, AZ

My mom got this recipe in a cooking class she took. I remember how delicious it was with fresh veggies from our garden! She made it every Thanksgiving until she passed away, then it became my turn.

10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup

1 c. sour cream

1 c. carrots, peeled and shredded

2 lbs. butternut squash, cooked and lightly mashed

1/4 c. onion, chopped

8-oz. pkg. herb-flavored stuffing mix

1/2 c. butter, melted

In a bowl, combine soup and sour cream; stir in carrots. Fold in squash and onion. Combine stuffing mix and butter; spread 1/2 of mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 3-quart casserole dish. Spoon in squash mixture. Top with remaining stuffing mix. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.

–Charles Dudley Warner

Icebox Mashed Potatoes

Helen Helgeson

Albany, OR

These delicious potatoes are a real time-saver! They can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for several days. I make this for our church’s Thanksgiving feast…everyone likes them!

5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 c. sour cream

3/4 c. cream cheese, softened

2 T. butter, softened

2 t. onion salt

1 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

Garnish: additional butter, sliced

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; mash until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except garnish. Beat until light and fluffy. Cool; cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. To serve, place desired amount of potatoes in a well-buttered casserole dish. Dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until heated through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Potatoes may also be reheated in the microwave. Makes 15 to 20 servings.

When topping a casserole with bread crumbs, potato chips or cereal, place in a plastic zipping bag and seal. Roll with a heavy rolling pin until the crumbs are crushed…clean-up is a breeze!

Pear Harvest Salad

Lori Ritchey

Narvon, PA

I love a sweet, crunchy salad with fruit and nuts. This is a delicious combination that’s just right for any autumn meal.

8-oz. pkg. mixed salad greens

15-oz. can pear halves, drained and 1/3 c. juice reserved

1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

2/3 c. blue cheese salad dressing

Place salad greens in a large salad bowl. Top with pear halves, nuts and onion. Stir reserved pear juice into salad dressing; drizzle over salad. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Banana Bread

Julie Latendresse

Quebec, Canada

A friend gave me this easy recipe.

1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

3 bananas, mashed

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 egg, beaten

1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, blend together bananas, mayonnaise and egg. Add flour mixture to banana mixture. Mix gently just until moistened; stir in nuts. Pour batter into a greased 8″x4″ loaf pan. Place pan on center rack of oven. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool completely before slicing. Makes one loaf.

A crock of honey butter…so yummy on warm bread, biscuits and muffins. Simply blend together 1/2 cup each of honey and softened butter.

Tart Apple Salad

Leona Krivda

Belle Vernon, PA

My husband really likes this nice fall salad. I always serve it at Thanksgiving.

6 tart crisp apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1-1/2 c. red grapes, halved and seeded

1 c. celery, finely chopped

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/4 c. sugar

1 T. mayonnaise-style salad dressing

1/2 pt. whipping cream, whipped

1/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries

Toss together apples, grapes, celery and walnuts in a large serving bowl; sprinkle with sugar. Stir in salad dressing; mix well. Cover and chill until serving time. Fold in whipped cream and cranberries just before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

The simplest table decorations are often the most charming! Fill a rustic wooden bowl with shiny red apples or fragrant yellow lemons for the kitchen table, or pile the bowl with bright-colored balls of yarn for a crafting corner.

Cream Cheesy Mexican Corn

Anne Welborn

Fort Wayne, IN

This recipe brings memories of a time when I worked as a university resident director. When the students went home for Thanksgiving, several of us resident directors would stay to supervise those who remained on campus. The dean of residence life invited me to his family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner so I would not have to spend it alone. This is the dish I took…it was a hit!

2 15-oz. cans corn, drained

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese melts and peppers are cooked through. Serves 6.

Greet your guests with a whimsical pumpkin tower on the front porch. Arrange pumpkins and squash in graduated sizes in a stack, using skewers to hold them in place. Clever!

Corn Mazatlán

Tracee Cummins

Amarillo, TX

This recipe originally came from the label on a can of corn. I’ve tweaked it slightly over the years to suit my family’s tastes, and it’s one of our favorites. It’s easy, fast and tastes like you worked all day, but you don’t even have to turn the oven on!

16-oz. can corn, drained and 1/4 cup liquid reserved

16-oz. can shoepeg corn, drained

1/4 c. green pepper, chopped

1/4 c. green onions, chopped

2 4-oz. cans chopped green chiles

1 t. ground cumin

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

In a saucepan over low heat, combine reserved corn liquid and cream cheese. Cook and stir until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat through. Serves 8 to 10.

A no-fuss side…tuck some roasted vegetables into the oven along with a main-dish casserole. Toss peeled, sliced veggies with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until tender. Sweet potatoes, beets, leeks and Brussels sprouts are all tasty…choose a favorite or mix ’em up!

Mom’s Filling Balls

Beth Myers

Dover, PA

I remember Mom making these filling balls for all the holidays. My grandma used to cut up the celery, and when she passed away, it became my job. Try this recipe…I think you’ll love it!

15-oz. pkg. stuffing cubes

1 T. dried parsley

pepper to taste

1/2 c. onion, chopped

1/2 c. celery, chopped

1/2 c. margarine

2 cubes chicken bouillon

1 c. boiling water

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 c. milk

Place stuffing cubes in a large bowl; sprinkle with parsley and pepper and set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in margarine until tender. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water; add to onion mixture. Remove from heat; pour over stuffing mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together eggs and milk. Pour over stuffing mixture; toss to mix well. Form into 6 to 8 balls; place on a greased baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Dressing, stuffing or filling…whatever you call it, it’s better with gravy! Measure 1/4 cup pan drippings from your turkey or beef roast into a skillet over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup flour. Cook and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add 2 cups skimmed pan juices or broth; cook and stir until boiling. Boil for about one minute, to desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Grandmother’s Scalloped Oysters

Kay Neubauer

Taylorsville, NC

My grandmother always served this dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas. When my son-in-law joined our family, it quickly became a favorite of his too. This casserole reheats well in the microwave.

1/2 c. round buttery crackers, crumbled

1/2 c. saltine crackers, crumbled

1 pt. fresh oysters, drained and liquid reserved

1/2 t. pepper, divided

1/2 c. butter, sliced and divided

1 to 1-1/2 c. whipping cream

Mix cracker crumbs together. Place 1/3 of crumbs in a buttered shallow 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Spread half of oysters over crumbs; sprinkle with half of pepper and dot with half of butter. Make a second layer; top with remaining cracker crumbs. Combine reserved oyster liquid and cream; pour over casserole. With a knife, make slits all over the top so the liquid will go all through the dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through and golden on top. Serves 8.

Purchase a bundle of wheat straw at a craft store. Arrange a few stalks on each folded napkin for a beautiful yet simple reminder of a bountiful harvest.

Joan’s Ratatoûille

Joan Shaffer

Chambersburg, PA

I created this recipe from the abundant supply of fresh vegetables my father grows every year. He so enjoys sharing his garden bounty with family & friends! This is a delicious side dish, but I enjoy serving it in rimmed soup plates as soup.

2 c. onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. olive oil

8 c. tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 to 6 c. zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 green peppers, cut into thin strips

2 red peppers, cut into thin strips

1 T. chili powder, or to taste

salt to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 6.

Visit the farmers’ market for the best homegrown veggies…toss a market basket in the car and let the kids pick out fresh flavors for tonight’s dinner.

Cheesy Veggie Soup

Jenny Bishoff

Mount Lake Park, MD

My grandmother makes this simple, satisfying soup for my girls & me after a busy day of work and school. Really good!

1 to 2 14-oz. cans chicken broth

16-oz. pkg. frozen California-blend vegetables

1 lb. pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed

Garnish: croutons or crackers

Place broth and vegetables in a large saucepan. Cover and cook according to directions on vegetable package; do not drain. When tender, mash vegetables with a potato masher; stir in cheese. Stir gently over low heat until cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Serve with croutons or crackers. Serves 4 to 6.

Autumn is a terrific time to get outdoors. Place a hook by the back door and keep a favorite comfy sweater on it. You never know when you’ll want to run outside to see the colorful trees or a harvest moon.

Mashed Root Vegetables

Mary Lou Thomas

Portland, ME

This side dish is so delicious I often forget to eat whatever else is on my plate. And it’s such a great way to use autumn veggies!

1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 lb. parsnips, peeled and cubed

1/2 lb. celery root, peeled and cubed

2 to 3 T. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 T. butter, softened

1/2 c. milk

In a bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, parsnips and celery root with oil, salt and pepper. Place on an ungreased 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to the pot. Add roasted vegetables and butter; mash and stir until butter melts. Add milk; stir to mix. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Roast garlic is heavenly to spread on bread and so easy in the microwave! Slice the top off a whole garlic bulb and set it in a microwave-safe container. Sprinkle to taste with salt, pepper and olive oil, add a little water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 8 minutes, until soft.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes


Filled with fresh herbs, these potatoes are just wonderful! Serve topped with a large melting pat of butter, of course.

6-1/2 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cloves garlic, halved

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. sour cream

1 T. butter, softened

2 T. fresh parsley, minced

2 T. fresh oregano, minced

1 T. fresh thyme, minced

3/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender. Drain; return potatoes and garlic to pan. Add remaining ingredients; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed to desired consistency. Serves 6 to 8.

Make herbed butter in a jiffy to dress up mashed potatoes or serve with warm rolls. Simply roll a stick of butter in freshly chopped herbs, slice and serve.

Fusilli Garden Salad

Sharon Tillman

Hampton, VA

Filled with curly fusilli noodles and lots of other good stuff, this is a Halloween tradition at our house. I tell the kids that the wiggly noodles are worms…it makes them squeal, but they eat it up!

16-oz. pkg. fusilli pasta, uncooked and divided

1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 c. cherry tomatoes

1 c. snow pea pods

1 c. black olives

1 c. green olives with pimentos

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 c. Cheddar cheese, diced

1 c. sliced almonds, toasted

8-oz. bottle Italian salad dressing

Divide pasta in half, reserving the remainder for a future use. Cook remaining pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta and remaining ingredients except salad dressing. Add desired amount of salad dressing; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 12.

Turn a bowl of cream soup into spiderweb soup…eek! Spoon several tablespoons of sour cream into a plastic zipping bag. Snip off one corner and squeeze the sour cream in circles on the soup. To create a web effect, pull a toothpick across the circles, from the center to the edges. Fun for Halloween!

Mom’s Cucumber Gelatin Salad

Natasha Morris


This cool, refreshing salad is always requested for our family’s holiday dinners…it’s terrific with roast turkey.

3-oz. pkg. lime gelatin mix

1 t. salt

1 c. boiling water

2 T. vinegar

1 t. onion, grated

1/8 t. pepper

1 c. sour cream

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 c. cucumbers, peeled and diced

Combine gelatin mix and salt with boiling water; stir until dissolved. Add vinegar, onion and pepper; cover and refrigerate about one hour, until very thick. Blend in sour cream and mayonnaise; fold in cucumbers. Return to refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, until set. Serves 10.

Drizzle spring mix greens with a quick & easy honey dressing. Whisk together 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup olive oil and one teaspoon soy sauce until smooth. Top salad with ruby-red pomegranate seeds or diced orange persimmons and a toss of candied pecans…yum!

Gingersnap Baked Beans

Nancy Elder

Lincoln, NE

I found this easy recipe years ago in a women’s magazine…the gingersnaps add a flavor that’s just a little different! This hearty dish has become one of our favorites for cookouts.

4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

2 16-oz. cans pork & beans

2 T. onion, chopped

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1/4 c. catsup

3/4 c. gingersnap cookies, crushed

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Spoon into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

Casseroles that feed a crowd are great take-alongs for any harvest party. Keep them warm by wrapping the dish in aluminum foil and then tucking into a newspaper-lined basket.

Honey-Mustard Sweet Potatoes

Tara Horton

Gooseberry Patch

Being a mustard fanatic, I enjoy working it into all kinds of recipes. These yummy potatoes are right at home on a holiday buffet.

1 T. margarine

1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 c. chicken broth

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 T. honey

1/4 t. pepper

Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and sweet potatoes for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat; whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Serves 4.

I grew up in a very old house surrounded by huge maple trees. You can imagine the bounty of colorful leaves we amassed each fall! My mother taught my brothers and me to make “leaf houses” by raking small piles of leaves into long lines to form the walls of various rooms and hallways, leaving openings for the doorways. We would design huge maze-like play-homes and then we’d play for hours. I’ve shared this fall tradition with my own eight children and we all enjoy wandering through our leaf houses.

–Kathy White, Cato, NY

Spicy Squash Soup

Arden Regnier

East Moriches, NY

One year we were getting tired of eating leftover Thanksgiving turkey and I had a lot of leftover squash too. So I came up with this recipe…my original recipe is written on a paper napkin! It’s a very satisfying supper with a basket of cornbread muffins.

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. water

2 c. chicken broth

12-oz. can evaporated milk

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

salt and pepper to taste

ground cumin to taste

Garnish: sour cream

Cover squash with water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until tender; drain. Mash squash and measure out about 4 cups. Return squash to saucepan over medium-low heat; stir in remaining ingredients except cumin and sour cream. Simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Purée soup until smooth, using an immersion blender or adding to a blender in small batches. Return soup to saucepan just long enough to heat through; stir in cumin. Garnish servings with a dollop of sour cream. Serves 6 to 8.

Top bowls of soup with crunchy cheese toasts. Cut bread with a mini cookie cutter and brush lightly with olive oil. Place on a broiler pan and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Turn over and sprinkle with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. Broil another 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese melts. Yum!


Everyone wants to celebrate the Autumn season but who wants to spend all those blue-sky days cooped up in the kitchen? Quick & Easy Autumn is another great book in the best-selling Gooseberry Patch series and it’s filled with simple recipes and ideas to inspire on each page…it’s just the thing for the time-crunched families of today.




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