PumpkinWho doesn't love pumpkin and not just in some latte either? This of course of like the Fall stable food and known mostly for the pie fillings or to carve our jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins orange coloring means it loaded in beta-carotene, a plant based form of vitamin A which is necessary for vison and healthy skin. Pumpkin like most plants are low in calories with only 49 calories per cup, but high in potassium, fiber and vitamin C. The antioxidants in pumpkin have also been found to help in controlling blood sugar and blood pressure.
If you want to add more pumpkin to your fall menu this year consider buying a whole pumpkin for maximum benefits. If you do buy can make sure it has only one ingredient "pumpkin" without any added sugars or preservatives. Oh and don't forget the seeds they are great roasted as a snack.
Curried Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto
- 2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced (see Tips) or ⅔ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 16 ounces fresh mushrooms (such as chanterelle, stemmed shiitake, cremini, and/or stemmed oyster), sliced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2¾ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- ¾ cup arborio rice
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
- Parsley sprigs (optional)
ApplesYeah apples are available year-round, they are however considered a seasonal fall fruit and are at their peak during this time. Everyone has heard of the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and this is actually true in many ways. Apples are high in fiber , vitamin C and antioxidants. Apples help prevent or help manage multiple diseases from cancer, to diabetes, to heart disease. The secret to the apple is eating the skin that is where all the good stuff is at.
Chicken & Spiced Apples
- 2 apples, preferably Braeburn, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1⅛ teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Butternut SquashButternut Squash is one of my all time favorite winter squashes that I love as a soup. Butternut squash is a cream colored elongated bell that often describe in tasting like sweet, a bit nutty and a little like a sweet potato. It's healthy and hearty and can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.
Slow-Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash (2-2½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed (about 5 cups)
- 3 cups "no-chicken" broth or vegetable broth
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
ParsnipsParsnips are a white root vegetable that looks similar to carrots and often used in the same manner due to there hearty, dense texture.
They are low in calories and crazy high in fiber which is great for digestion, lowering cholesterol and of course weight loss. This white root is also loaded with minerals from the soil such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron which are all great for heart health.
If you want to add parsnips to your diet this fall you will need to peel and cut them much like you do carrots. They are great in soups and stews or even roasted, steamed and boiled.
Curried Parsnip & Apple Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ pounds parsnips (about 5 medium), peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
- 1½ teaspoons mild curry powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
CranberriesCranberries best known for cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving is almost as popular as pumpkin during the fall season. This tiny tart berry is packed with nutritional value and high in antioxidants. Cranberries have been shown to be beneficial with many medical condition such as decreasing blood pressure, improving immune system, lowering the risk of cancer and preventing urinary tract infections by keeping the bladder healthy.
Cranberries are best enjoyed dried because they are sweeter and less tart. Dried cranberries can be used on top of hot cereals or added to baked goods, but do be on th
e look out for added sugar because that adds calories. The same goes for cranberry juice which is usually mixed with other fruit juices to add sweetness.
Cranberry Whole Wheat Scones
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute equivalent to 3 tablespoons sugar (see Tip)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup butter
- ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup Buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (some of the dough may look dry). Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.
Sweet Potatoes are another one of my favorite foods and not just in the fall. I have them pretty much all year around rather than the typical potatoes. Sweet potatoes are known for their high source of beta-carotene due to orange color, but did you know they don't only come in orange but white and purple as well which contain even more nutrients!
Just one sweet potato of average size contains 200 percent of the vitamin A needed for the day. They are high in vitamin C, B6 and several minerals. They are lower in the glycemic index the white potatoes which means they don't raise blood sugar as quickly and why I prefer them in my diet. The purple sweet potatoes in particular have been found to lower blood pressure and a high level of antioxidants. Eating a combination of sweet potatoes will help you get the best benefits and guess what there are over 200 varieties.
Sweet potatoes can be baked roasted and eaten plain. They do taste good with a bit of butter or I prefer olive oil and it helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamin A. A dash of cinnamon or some nutmeg will bring out that flavor or they can be mashed and added to casseroles or soups just like white potatoes.
Sweet Potato, Apple, and Bacon Mini Casseroles
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 10 slices lower sodium, less fat bacon
- 2 cups chopped cooking apples
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 10-ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ cups refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup fat-free milk
- ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
Cauliflower can be roasted or evened mashed like potatoes and often used as a substituted for mash potatoes. You can also pickle it or add it to soups. However my favorite way of eating it is raw with a bit of humus.
Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos
- ¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo sauce (see Tips)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 small head cauliflower (see Tips), cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 (15 ounce) can refried black beans, warmed
- 8 corn tortillas, warmed
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
- Sliced red cabbage, fresh cilantro, guacamole, jalapeño slices and/or lime wedges for serving