Semi-homemade apple cake

Fall is the ideal time for apple recipes.

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, this recipe certainly comes in handy. From start to finish, this super-simple apple cake only takes around 35 minutes to prepare and tastes REALLY good.

It also makes a perfect day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast  😉

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Autumn squash soup

A chilly fall day calls for a hot bowl of homemade soup.

Squash is abundant in all the grocery stores, and butternut squash is one of my favorite varieties. I have made this soup before with roasted butternut squash as well as roasted acorn squash, but this time I used yellow squash instead. All three taste fabulous in this versatile recipe.

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Scallion & cheddar mashed potatoes – a crockpot recipe

Brrrrrrrrr…

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s friggin’ cold here in New York.

Cold weather means hot drinks, roomy sweatshirts, the holidays, and most importantly… comfort food. And what’s more comforting than a big bowl of mashed potatoes?!

Oh… REALLY EASY & CHEESY mashed potatoes. That’s right… I make these right in the crockpot, and they require VERY little work. These are perfect as a Thanksgiving side because we all know you’ll be too busy cooking the bird & other fixings to worry about some mashed taters…

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A double feature – Pumpkin “pie” fudge loaf AND Pumpkin spice walnut muffins

If you like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and healthy desserts – these are for you.

The first recipe is for a very moist and fudgey pumpkin bread. It has a consistency similar to pumpkin pie, with a bit of a cakey texture. It’s absolutely delicious while managing to also be low in sugar, dairy free, and egg free. Toast some up at breakfast or serve it with a dollop of cool whip at dessert – either way, you win.

The second recipe is for the EASIEST pumpkin spice muffins you could ever make. It’s literally 3 ingredients, including the walnuts I added (which are completely optional by the way).

This Basic B knows what’s up.

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Apple cinnamon pork chops

Everyone knows that pork chops and applesauce are a winning combination, and an epic comfort food duo.

I don’t have applesauce right now, but I do have a bunch of fresh apples ready for eating. Apples are a perfect autumn ingredient, and for once I’m not using them to make a dessert – they are also wonderful in savory dishes. Baking apples with sugar and spices will soften the fruit and create a wonderful caramelized syrup that would go perfectly with seasoned pork.

After trying this out, I realized I was 100% right. This is DELICIOUS. We ate our pork with french fries, but this would be even better with roasted (or mashed) sweet potatoes, a green salad, and some warm crusty bread. YUM!

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A-1 chicken meatloaf

One of my ultimate comfort foods is meatloaf – especially once fall weather has kicked in.

The best meatloaf recipe will always be the one on the back of the A-1 steak sauce bottle. I have tried countless meatloaf recipes, and I keep going back to the A-1 version. I could basically drink a bottle of A-1 and be happy… that stuff is delicious. Easily one of my favorite condiments.

Anyway… This is my lightened-up version of A-1 meatloaf. I used ground chicken, and omitted the tomato sauce for extra A-1. I added a couple more ingredients in as well, like fresh garlic and dried parsley. If you aren’t a fan of ground chicken, this works well with ground turkey, beef, or beef-pork-veal meatloaf mix.

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Cheeseburger pie

Like many kids who grew up in the 80’s/90’s and liked spending time in the kitchen, my first cookbook was the Alpha Bakery Children’s Cookbook. I remember my grandma ordering it for me from the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour. I remember how happy she was to give it to me when it came in the mail –  and how excited I was to look through a cookbook with recipes made for children, complete with colorful cartoon illustrations and large font. I still have this book on display with the rest of my cookbook collection, and I proudly whip it out when I feel like cooking a blast from the past.

the alpha-bakery, the OG of cookbooks.

My favorite alpha bakery recipe was called “Quick Cheeseburger Pie”. I absolutely loved it, and I still do. But as I got older, my taste changed a bit. I’ve made quite a few modifications to an already great recipe, adding in some extra flavors and making the dish more bold.

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Tuscan barley dinner

This was actually the first time I’ve ever had barley.

I heard it was similar to rice – but with a heartier texture, nuttier taste, and a decent amount of protein. Sounds like a carb I could get used to.

However, I didn’t really know what to pair it with. I searched online for some recipes, but nothing really jumped out at me. Since a plain carb is somewhat of a blank canvas I decided to liven it up with sausage, peas, onions, and cheese – as if it were a pasta dish.

The result was absolutely delicious & super filling! My husband and I practically licked our plates clean, and I’m definitely looking forward to making this again.

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Spicy lemon baked shrimp

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten (let alone cooked) seafood.

I was really craving flounder fillet… maybe broiled with some lemon, butter, and parsley…  but when I got to the fish market, these jumbo shrimp just caught my eye. They were huge.

I needed to buy them and eat them for dinner ASAP.

That broiled flounder does sound delicious, though. There’s always next time 🙂

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Loaded protein pancakes

My husband and I LOVE breakfast foods, especially pancakes and waffles. On the down side, they have little to no nutritional value – especially protein.

For me this is a big no-no. Since I work out regularly and lift weights, I need to eat enough protein to remain full, fueled, and ready to build muscle. This pancake recipe uses hemp, a plant-based protein. Though I prefer the taste of standard whey protein, it often gives me an upset stomach where hemp does not. The vanilla flavored hemp has a pleasant taste, and it blends in seamlessly with the Bisquick powder to create a mildly sweet pancake with great texture.

With a mix-in of chocolate chips, blueberries, or whatever else you want to toss in there – these pancakes will keep you full & energized and are super tasty.

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