Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Comfort Foods

Here are a few of my favorite weeknight meals inspired by brussels sprouts, the fall season, cranberries, maple syrup, local bloggers, sage and pumpkin.

Sometimes, the most satisfying dinnertime meal is a plate of roasted vegetables. Easy prep, easy bake, easy clean - are you sensing a trend?! Besides the ease of all steps involved, I feel super healthy after eating a big ol' plate of them! And as the central focus of the meal, rather than a typical side, I seem to appreciate them that much more.
No vegetable makes me happier than roasted brussels sprouts, they stand in a class all their own. I toss them in a generous amount of olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them on a foil lined baking sheet. Into a 400 degree oven they go for about 20 minutes, until a golden caramelized exterior begins to form.
The baked sweet potato needs 45 minutes to an hour in the oven. Once cooled, I topped the halves with a light, creamy Maple Sage Yogurt.
The simple preparation courtesy of We Are Not Martha mixes 6 oz of Greek yogurt with 1.5 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and a tablespoon of finely chopped sage. It's a delicious component that livens up, and lightens up a meal of hearty roasted vegetables.

The ultimate seasonal comfort food proves to be a Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese, I borrowed this recipe from The Small Boston Kitchen.Coarse breadcrumbs incorporated with sage top a creamy cheddar, gouda and goat cheese blend using whole milk and lots of butter, a can of pumpkin puree (the original recipe used fresh), onions, spices and a tablespoon of grainy mustard. All of it gets baked until golden brown and yields plenty of velvety pumpkin meets gooey cheese goodness; with lots of leftovers to boot.
Back to brussels sprouts because I seriously can't get enough, this time they get sauteed and coated in a Maple Dijon Dressing and studded with a few extra components! I spotted this dish last season on Delicious Dishings and have made it once before. The sweet and savory dressing is really tasty. This time, I put my own twist on the inventive pairing of the coveted green veggie with buttery egg noodles, lacing them with toasted pecans for a textural crunch and dried cranberries which lend a tart sweetness. How badly are you craving a bowl of this?!
The second installment of fall cooking here on III is nothing without dessert! I made Butterscotch & Cranberry Blondies after I spotted the recipe on A Cambridge Story, originally adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Fall Entertaining. The mix calls for a truckload of butter, as in 12 tablespoons of it - which I took the liberty of reducing to 10! These are ridiculously buttery and indulgent even so. The dried cranberries make another appearance, they definitely give a tart and juicy complex to the blondies, while the real start is the sweet butterscotch chips. True comfort is evoked in each and every bite. I absolutely love fall foods!!

17 comments:

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Mmmmm everything looks delicious! Now I want a plate of roasted veggies; I definitely love how healthy I feel when I eat them, and they are so good!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I love your cooking blog posts! I've been obsessed with sweet potatoes this fall! I love simply baking them and topping them with whatever I have on hand!

Elizabeth said...

Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are at the top of my list too. And your blondies look fabulous! I need to try that recipe.

Kim said...

im with michelle, i have been on a huge sweet potato kick this fall. i was dying to make small boston kitchen's pumpkin mac and cheese, but instead i made martha stewarts mac and cheese for an early thanksgiving feast my friends and i had, and it was unbelievable. would love to try those blondies. yum!

In and Around Town said...

Looks like you have been getting your cooking on! Your roasted brussel sprouts look amazing. I book marked those blondies as well - definitely need to try those :)

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

So fun that you've been experimenting in the kitchen so much. I must try that yogurt sauce! Your blondies look perfect!!

Jennifurla said...

I LOVE roasted Brussels, try roasting them chopped up then add white beans, lemon juice, parmesan....great succotash.

Shannon said...

i wish you were cooking for me :) i've actually been doing alot of the same things lately!!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Oooh brussel sprouts with egg noodles sound great. I love fall inspired dishes!

Amber Blue Bird said...

everyone looks really tasty but if I could that many vegetables, well my husband would starve to death (he is such a picky eater)

Last day to enter my Shabby Apple Giveaway!

MOLLY GALLER said...

I would like to be invited over for this exact, multi-course meal please! Wow. Everything looks super delish!

Michelle Collins said...

Everything about this post makes me happy - especially the Brussels sprouts and pumpkin mac and cheese!

kfenton917 said...

We are on the same wave length! Just this second I finished a plate full of roasted brussel sprouts. May I have a cranberry blonde please?

Megan said...

I am seriously craving brussels sprouts (more than usual) now! I usually sauté them with olive oil and salt and pepper but I should try roasting them like you do as well. Love all the fall-inspired cooking you're doing!

Lin @ BeantownEats said...

I just cooked Brussels sprouts for the first time last night! They didn't look as good as yours. I'll definitely have to try roasting like you suggest next time.

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

OMG, I'm drooling over every single thing here... from the brussels sprouts to mac & cheese to these ridiculously amazing looking blondies. Well done! :)

Gretchen said...

Look at all this cooking you've been doing! This all looks great, I can't get enough brussel sprouts either. Will you come over and cook for me and Fausto? And I guess Stripes could have some, too.