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Seasonal fruits and vegetables make delicious fall dishes

Garlic Roasted Vegetables combine seasonal root vegetables into a delicious side dish. (Special photo)

Garlic Roasted Vegetables combine seasonal root vegetables into a delicious side dish. (Special photo)

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Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts use the flavors of fall to create a comforting dessert. (Special photo)

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Butternut Squash and Pear Soup is a healthy and light entree to serve before a meal. (Special photo)

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Cranberry-Mustard Ham is easy to fix in a slow cooker, and makes a great entree or breakfast with toast or biscuits. (Special photo)

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Tomato basil rolls are a perfect complement to a soup or entree. (Special photo)

The weather is cooling, and nightfall is falling earlier — it’s the perfect time for staying in and cooking. With root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkins, and tangy fruits such such as cranberries and pears, there are endless possibilities of delicious seasonal dishes to make, ranging from appetizers and entrees to desserts. We’ve taken a few of our favorites and created a meal fit for fall.

Butternut Squash & Pear Soup

Total time: Prep: 1-1/4 hours Cook: 45 min.

Yield: 9 servings.

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 medium pears, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Balsamic vinegar and snipped chives, optional

Nutritional Facts

3/4 cup equals 190 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 527 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

Directions

Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly; scoop out pulp and set aside.

In a Dutch oven, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the curry, garlic, ginger and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, pears and squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Return all to the pan; add cream and heat through. Top with balsamic vinegar and chives if desired.

Tomato Basil Rolls

2 tablespoons yeast

1 cup hot water

6 oz. tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 3/4 cup bread flour

A beaten egg and freshly grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)

Mix together the yeast, water, tomato paste, basil, oil, and butter. Let sit for 3 minutes or until the yeast is dissolved. Add the sugar and then the flour and mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for 10 minutes. Add the salt in while it’s mixing. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm moist place for about 1/2 hour or until doubled. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it. Form the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for fifteen minutes more. Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 425º for about 10 minutes.

Garlic Roasted Winter Vegetables

Total time: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min.

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

2 medium carrots

1 medium turnip

1 medium parsnip

1 cup cubed red potatoes

1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash

3 whole garlic bulbs, cloves separated and peeled

3 shallots, quartered

4-1/2 teaspoons California Olive Ranch® Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

2/3 cup equals 135 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 137 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Directions

Peel the carrots, turnip and parsnip; cut into 1-in. pieces. Place in a large bowl; add the potatoes, squash, garlic, shallots, oil, salt, thyme and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 45-50 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Slow Cooker Cranberry Mustard Spiral Ham

This recipe is very adaptable; add less mustard if you want, throw in some honey or less cranberry, add more pineapple juice — it’s up to you! Use leftovers for breakfast the next day — ham and biscuit with mustard, anyone?

Ingredients

Can of pineapple (juice and fruit separated)

Half of a can of jelled cranberry sauce (save the other half for the cranberry mustard)

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 pound or so spiral sliced ham

Instructions

Place ham cut side down in slow cooker.

Mix rest of ingredients and pour over ham.

Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Garnish with reserved pineapple and a few dried cranberries!

Cranberry Mustard

Ingredients

Reserved half can of cranberry sauce from making ham

1-2 T Dijon mustard

1-2 T brown sugar

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together

Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

3 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin Purée (canned pumpkin)

1 1/2 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger) – I ended up using the pumpkin pie spice and fresh ground nutmeg and a pinch of ginger.

1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 3/4 Cups + 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

Coating Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Cinnamon and Sugar Mixed Together

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray/grease donut pan. If you don’t have a donut pan, you can bake muffins instead using a standard muffin tin.

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

Add the flour, stirring again until smooth.

Fill the wells of the donut pan about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).

Bake the donuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

Remove the donuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

While the donuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a plastic or paper bag with the cinnamon-pumpkin spice-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-pumpkin spice-sugar.

Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days.