Monday, November 02, 2009

Those autumn leaves …

I love autumn. I love the scents, the colors, even the crisp chill that arrives after a blistering hot summer of sun and humidity. I know, falling leaves herald the coming of falling snow flakes in some parts of the country (mine included) but even knowing those sub-zero winter days aren’t far behind and that the humming birds have already started their migration to warmer climates, there’s a special something about fall that I embrace even more than spring.

One of my favorite things about the season is the scents – especially those coming from the kitchen this time of year. Let’s face it, as wonderful as the smell of steaks or burgers on a charcoal grill is, nothing can compete with the mouthwatering aroma of a pot roast cooking in the crock pot permeating the entire house. Or a pot of chili simmering on the stovetop. And don’t get me started on pumpkin pie and hot chocolate.

Well, you knew where this was headed. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a recipe exchange here on TOP DOWN so here’s one that’s super easy and super good.

Hunter’s Stew

1 – 2 pounds lean cubed beef stew meat (your preference on how much meat you like)

4 medium potatoes peeled and quartered

20 – 30 baby carrots

1 large sweet onion chopped

2 – 3 stalks celery chopped

1 – 12 oz can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons tapioca beads

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Layer ingredients from bottom to top in order listed in large dutch oven. Cover and bake at 300 for 5 hours.

So simple. So good. So hearty and if you go light on the beef and heavy on the veggies you’ve got a really nice low cal stew. Yum Yum.

So … What’s your favorite thing about fall? And do you have a favorite traditional (or non-traditional) autumn recipe you’d like to share that we might all enjoy during the upcoming cool months?


Terry Odell said...

I'm still waiting for fall. It's been nearly 90 all last week. A tad cooler today, but not enough to make me want to heat up the kitchen.

However, I have a great recipe for a crock pot white chili.

White Chili
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t ground cumin
2 whole large chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and cut into 1 inch
1 can (15-19 oz) white kidney beans (cannellini), drained
1 can (15 1/2 -19 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 12 oz can white corn, darined
2 4 oz cans chopped green chilis
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken broth

Stick everything in the pot.
When chicken is tender, it's done. Adjust liquid to taste.
To serve, stir in some hot pepper sauce, to taste, if desired.
Add 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese; garnish with parsley.

Cindy Gerard said...

Terry. Sounds yummy! This is something my DH will LOVE this! Thanks!

Keri Ford said...

I did this last week and it was great. not really just a fall food, but here we go:

raw chopped up chicken meat
chopped bell peppers (I like to use all three colors)
add some banana pepper too.
chopped pineapple (with the juice!)
chopped onion

throw it all together and bake covered. I slow cooked mine to really get that pineapple flavor going. about 300* for an hour or so until chicken is done.

Serve it over rice.

turned out better than I was expecting. if I can think of a more fall'y food, I will post that one.

Michele Hauf said...

Oooh, I have the neatest recipe for a fun fall drink. Lunaticcafe posted it at Bite Club last week, and I still marvel over it. I'm not sure if links work in the comments, but I'll try:

The lower right picture of the orange and black drink. Isn't that cool? It's got black vodka in it, which I've never heard of. Here's the recipe:

Screwed-Up Screwdriver
Serves 1
1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1 1/2 ounces black vodka
1 black licorice twist, for serving

Place ice in a tall glass. Pour juice into glass. Pour vodka over the back of a cocktail spoon into glass so it sits on top of juice and creates a layer of black. Slice 1/4 inch off each end of licorice, and use as a straw. Serve immediately.

lois greiman said...

There really is something about the cooler months that makes food so much more appealing. I love soups and stews when it gets cold.

Thanks for the great recipes, guys. I may even try some of them, though, generally (especially when under deadline) my meals consist of toast with various toppings.

Helen Brenna said...

Apple crisp and pie, pumpkin bread, soups, crock pot recipes ... you're so right, Cindy. The coming of fall always brings a welcome change in meals. by the end of summer, I'm sick of cold meals and grilling.

I just made a ground buffalo, barley and vegetable soup last week that was awesome. It's a basic tomato based soup recipe, but instead of tomato sauce, I used spicy V8 juice.

Oh, and I made a meat loaf with Italian bread crumbs that was to die for. I love substituting things in recipes.

Was at my mom's yesterday and she made a stew similar to your recipe and she used Bloody Mary mix instead of tomato sauce! Is that a great idea or what?

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I've never heard of black vodka either. Sounds so interesting!

Cindy Gerard said...

Keri - sounds like this one has the makings of a new staple at our house! thanks

Michele - Black Vodka?? Who knew??

Cindy Gerard said...

Lois - good luck with your deadline, sweetie! I'm so relieved to be out from under the gun - at least for the moment :o)

And Helen - you echo my thoughts exactly. It's kind of that "nothin' spells lovin' like somethin' from the oven," line. and nothing smells as good as fall food baking.

Playground Monitor said...

After a hot and humid Alabama summer, fall is a welcome season around here. Of course it won't be long before we're griping about being cold and forget that just a few months earlier we were griping about sweating so much.

My apartment complex is filled with maple trees and they are vivid this year.

I make a crock pot beef vegetable soup that's quick and easy:

~1 lb stew meat
~large can of diced tomatoes + one can of water
~16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
~chopped onion to taste
~a large potato, cut into bite-size pieces
~a handful of rice for thickening
~salt and pepper to taste plus a dash of Worcestershire sauce

Put it all in a crockpot and cook on low for about 12 hours. Add additional water during cooking to adjust the consistency to your liking. This freezes well too.

Could you do the Hunter's Stew in a crock pot? And can you freeze it? I'm all for something easy that makes a lot I can freeze for later on.


Cindy Gerard said...

This also sounds like a great soup, Marilyn. LOVE soup recipes.
And yes, you can do the hunter's stew in a crock pot and it freezes well.

Kathleen O said...

Terry this stew sound yummmy...Although I am not a great stew lover.. Idon't like my veggies mushy.. drives my mother nuts.. I would maybe saute some of those veggies just before serving..And the smell of pumpkin pies... yuuummmmmmmmm.. I have candles that smell like pumpkin pie and also cinnimon and apple spice too.. Love to have them burning at this time of year...

Kathleen Eagle said...


Here's one I like to play with. Try this, try that. The oats are a must for us, though.

Apple Crisp

5 or so cups sliced apples (I don't peel them, and I use a couple of Grannies and some reds)
1 cup cranberries (or another cup apples if you don't like cranberries, maybe a handful of raisins or blueberries)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Combine apples, cranberries, sugar in greased baking dish/pan. Moats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in margarine/butter until crumbly. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over apple mixture. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with yogurt, ice ream, or whipped cream. About 6 servings.

Cindy Gerard said...

oH KATHY. That sound sooo good.
Thanks. I'm filing that one.

Cindy Gerard said...

Kathy O - Yes on the candles. I always have a vanilla candle burning in my office when I write but sometimes I splurge and get one with cinnamon as well.
Sets a perfect mood :o0

Terry Odell said...

Kathleen O - I'd saute and add more onions afterward (the canned veggies don't get any more mushy for the cooking in the crockpot), but by cooking them together, you get that added sweetness and the flavors blend.

The original recipe was done stovetop and oven, but I was too busy, so I threw everything into the crockpot.

catslady said...

Oh getting lots of ideas! This past year I've been cooking sunday dinner for my grown kids (6 of us with husbands and a boyfriend) and I love using my crockpot. Unfortunately I'm terrible at recipes - a little of this and a little of that and lots of everything lol.

Cindy Gerard said...

Catslady - something I made up last Sunday that was really good and really easy was tossing a pork loin roast in the crock pot. Then I sprinkled a pkg of dry onion soup over it. I added a can of whole Irish potatoes, a handful of baby carrots and mixed the liquid from the can of potatoes with a can of cream of celery and poured that on too. I just let it simmer all day. When we were ready to eat, I had my meat, potatoes, veggies and gravy all finished. and it was delicious.

Debra Dixon said...

Oh, I love stew! We just had it last week.

I generally like any "pot dish." Soups. Love those.

I'd offer a great recipe but we all know that hubby does the cooking. I can cook, just don't enjoy it. I do love watching other people cook on Food Network and I found a fabulous book that brilliantly explains everything you need.

Want to make caramel? You don't just get a recipe, you get all the whys and multiple ways to accomplish the task.

Cookwise - Shirley Corriher

Cindy Gerard said...

Cool on the Cookwise book. thanks Deb. And lucky you with a 'cooking' hubby :o)

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- Yeah, it's a great book for anytime you have a character cooking. You can get a very good feel for how to cook something you don't normally cook.

Yes, I research everything. It's very sad. LOL!

Betina Krahn said...

Ahhh, Cindy, I'm nostalgic for the cool autumn days and cilly nights and chili and stew and crocl pot goodies! It's finally cooling off here and I'm thinking about Thanksgiving and pumpkin stuff. . . yum. Terry that white chili sound wonderful-- I'm trying that. In fact, i think I'm going to print out this whole line of comments and get cookin'!

Also-- I'm about to become a grandma again-- the fourth one! I'm on pins and needles! Maybe this week!

Cindy Gerard said...

Betina - how wonderful!!! I'm excited for you. You'll have to keep us posted on the blessed event!

LSUReader said...

This soup is so simple...and so good!

Ham & Corn Chowder:
Melt 2 tbsp margarine. Add 1/2 cup each chopped onions and chopped celery. Cook a few minutes until soft. Add 2 cups milk, 1 can of Fiesta corn, 1 can of creamed corn, 1 can of whole potatoes, 1 cup of cubed ham. Cook until heated. Then, season to taste--I use a little salt, white pepper, nutmeg and parsley.

Linda Henderson said...

I like my staple potato soup when it gets cold.
5-7 pounds potatoes cut into pieces a little smaller than quartered
1/2 to 3/4 package noodles (I like krinkly ones)
1 stick of butter
2 cans of cream
salt and pepper to taste.

Boil potatoes in 5 qt pan until almost done, add noodles and finish cooking. Add butter and cream and let simmer for a few minutes.

This is not diet friendly. I've made it with low fat butter and cream and hated it.

Keri Ford said...

Congrats Betina!!!

thought of another fall's food. I modify cornbread recipe so it's sweet.

Get a bag of Aunt Jemima yellow cornbread mix. instead of 2TBL (or is 1? don't know, but it's not enough) add 1/4 cup of sugar instead. Make the rest of it as directed.

Comes out wonderful. husband's favorite way is like this.

Cindy Gerard said...

LSUreader, Linda and Keri - these all sound amazing! Can't wait to try them!!

Virginia C said...

Recipe: Easy Apple-Berry Crisp
BY: Virginia C

1 can apple pie filling
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10" x 13" baking pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine fruit. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, sugar and oatmeal (mixture will be crumbly). Spread fruit mixture evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle oatmeal topping evenly over fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp (do not over bake). Serve warm or cold.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Cindy Gerard said...

Virginia. yum yum. I just love apple dishes. this sounds great with the cranberry sauce!

Pamela Keener said...

Thanks for all the recipes. I am not hungry but my mouth is watering. I love a chuck roast baked with onions, potatoes and carrots on a cool day. Warms the house up and smells wonderful.
Love & Hugs,

Ketutar said...

Oh, yes... you are so right! All the spices and shades of brown in food :-D Somehow food in Autumn is supposed to be brown! In Summer I want colors, but in Autumn - brown and spices. :-) You could try baking gingerbread now, and not save it to Christmas :-)
I love soups. I think beetroot soup (borscht) is one of the few non-brown foods I like in Autumn... it just doesn't smell that much.
Soup with home-baked bread, now that's a real winner :-D And baking bread fills the house with lovely smells as well :-D