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Fall Favorites

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Happy September, Everyone! I don’t know about you, but there is something about September that makes me want to pull out my cozy sweatshirts, my fun sweaters, my trendy boots, AND my crockpot.

Okay, I know I probably had you until I mentioned crockpot. I admit, it’s kind of strange to include that in with my favorite fall wardrobe pieces, but when I think of Fall I do LOVE coming home on a cool, crisp day to the amazing aroma filling my kitchen of a warm delicious meal already prepared in my crockpot. With hearty soups, yummy pasta dishes, and savory roasts and vegetables—there are many options that help provide a healthy meal for my family during the busy evening hours. And don’t even get me started on my favorite Fall desserts…

So, for this week’s blog, I thought I would do something totally FUN and different and include my favorite Fall crockpot recipe. Whether I am I am taking a meal to someone, having company over, or just wanting to make my family happy—this easy recipe is at the top of my list. My husband’s mom gave me this recipe years ago, and it has become a well-loved favorite by many. If you like Italian cuisine, you will love this.

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Goulash

1 lb. lean ground beef, cooked & drained

salt & pepper, as desired

1 60-oz can tomato juice

1 10-oz jar Prego traditional pasta sauce

1/2 cup of sugar (I sometimes use less sugar and/or substitute Stevia for part of it)

1 10-oz package egg noodles, thin (whole wheat or gluten free egg noodles are also available)

2 cups of grated colby jack cheese

Brown beef with salt and pepper. Drain. Add juice, pasta sauce and sugar and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook noodles for 1 minute in salted water, drain, and rinse. Add to tomato mixture and simmer another 25 minutes on low heat. To enhance flavor, refrigerate 3-12 hours. Top with cheese before cooking. Cook in crockpot on low setting for 3 hours or bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes.

This is wonderful with a fresh, healthy salad and warm rolls.

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(Couldn’t resist including a picture of my little helper!)

Now that we have the meal out of the way, let’s move on to the best part of all—dessert. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE dessert…especially a homemade one.  And Fall definitely brings out the baking in me. I’m not sure if it’s the chilly weather that makes me crave warm treats or if it’s the fun trips to the orchard; either way, Apple Crisp is a dessert that we just can’t get enough of in the Fall. My husband likes to call it Apple Double Crisp because there is nothing worse to him than not having enough crisp to cover the apples, so I double the crisp part hence the name—Apple Double Crisp. Here’s my version:

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Apple Double Crisp

5 cups of thinly sliced & peeled apples (In the late summer, I sometimes do fresh peaches instead) with 2-4 Tablespoons of sugar & cinnamon mixed in. Set aside.

Crisp Topping:

1 cup of oatmeal

1 cup of packed brown sugar

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of butter cut in small pieces

1/2 cup of coconut (optional)

For the topping, in a mixing bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in coconut.

Place fruit mixture in a 8X8 square baking dish or 8x 1/2-inch round baking dish. (I always add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water on the bottom of the dish before I put the fruit mixture in). Sprinkle the crisp topping on top of the fruit making sure it is thoroughly covered. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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So, there you have two of my Fall favorites. What are some of yours? I’d love to hear from you and add some more wonderful Fall classics to my collection. Until next week,  Bon Appétit!

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