With snow on the ground & the leaves all long gone, it seems like we’ve made the abrupt transition to winter here in the upper Midwest. Of course, I’m mourning the fact that my favorite season is always so short lived, but I’m trying to make the most of it and take this time to get a head start on the holidays ahead. One of my favorite things to do as soon as the weather cools off is bust out the crockpot and baking sheets as I pull out some of my favorite recipes that are the perfect warm up this time of year.
Cookies, bread, chili, pie….anything and everything pumpkin is always my first choice, but I’ve had to adapt a few things for my non-pumpkin loving husband. Though he will happily admit to loving my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ;)
So with the change of seasons out in full force, I wanted to take some time to share some of the best tried & true recipes that I love….and a few new ones I’ve ventured to try this fall. With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away (say what?!) these are the perfect treats to bring to share with the whole fam.
First up, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies….I’d be really doing you all a disservice if I didn’t mention these. I’ve been making these for the past three years and they are always a hit.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin; beat well. Gradually mix in flour mixture on low speed of mixer. Stir in LOTS of chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks & try to not eat them ALL in one day.
Next, for you chili lovers, Five Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili. This was basically all I ate when I lived in Seattle. It’s the perfect thick chili to dish up on a drizzly day.
Five Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
1.5 lbs. ground turkey
3-4 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
1 cup of quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
Spices to taste! (I like cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt & pepper!)
Brown your turkey in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in your seasoning of choice to add some extra flavor. One browned. remove from pan & set aside.
In the same pan, add sweet potatoes and spices, browning slightly. Add water and broth. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes (until your sweet potatoes are soft!) *Optional: Using either an immersion blender or transferring your liquid to a blender, puree the sweet potatoes until they reach your desired consistency. This makes a nice, thick & creamy base, but I’ve made it just leaving the sweet potatoes in chunks because, #lazy and it’s been just as good.
Add sweet potato mixture back to your soup pot, mix in turkey, black beans, corn & cooked quinoa. Add additional spices to taste, simmer & enjoy!
Two words, Homemade Bread. Oh my word, why have I not made this sooner?! Yes, it can seem intimidating, but it’s really pretty simple. Four ingredients, no kneading and very much husband approved. Shoutout to my mama for sending me this recipe!
No Knead Bread
3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, more for dusting (I love King Arthur flour!)
1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 5/8 cups of water
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast & salt. Add 1 5/8 cups of water, stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy & sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature.
Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour your surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
Using enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or your hands, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, place dough on towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with finger.
About a half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, pyrex, enamel or ceramic) in oven as it heats. (To be totally honest, I definitely used a ceramic pie pan….with no lid because it was all I had! It worked, but I think cast iron would be a whole lot better.) When dough is ready, carefully remove your heated pot from the oven. Turn your dough into the pan and shake a few times until the dough is evenly distributed. It may look like a hot mess, but it’s ok! It will even out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on rack & enjoy! I promise this loaf won’t last long!
Hopefully these recipes will get you through the long, chilly days of winter just like they do for me! If there’s one thing I’ve learned after my first winter in North Dakota (which most locals called “mild” UM WHAT….excuse me? I don’t think -30 qualifies as mild) it’s that you’ve got to have some kind of hobby to help get you through the many months of winter up North. And while I love the outdoors and would much rather be outside, the weather out here doesn’t really provide the best environment for outdoor activities….so to the kitchen I go!
Sending love from up North,