Fall Harvest Overnight Oats

I enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast every morning, but busy mornings leave me with little time for food prep. Overnight oats are one of my favorite go-to meals for hurried weekdays. They are almost effortless to assemble the night before and in the morning you have a delicious breakfast just waiting for you to open and enjoy. Preparing this recipe in a mason jar makes it a great portable breakfast option.

Pureed butternut squash is a fresh alternative to cooking with canned pumpkin, and it is extremely easy to make. After roasting the squash, simply puree in a food processor. If you have extra on hand it freezes well for future use, saving even more time when making these nutritious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats.

Ingredients:
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup pureed butternut squash
½ cup skim milk or non-dairy milk of choice
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of choice
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. In a pint-sized mason jar, add all ingredients and gently stir to combine. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy as a cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.

Servings: 1

Bourbon Roasted Chicken and Apples

Think beer can chicken only better, roasted with bourbon whiskey and seasonal apples. With the use of a pottery chicken baker from Sam Hitchman Ceramics, this meal is extremely easy to make and can be served from oven to table with this functional piece of art. Sam provides a general recipe guide when folks purchase a pottery dish, which I used to craft my version that is perfect for fall entertaining. This dish pairs well with mashed butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

I love the hands-free time you get with a slow roasted meal. While your oven is doing all the work, enjoy a delicious cheese plate and sip on a glass of wine or bourbon.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole roasting chicken, giblets removed
bourbon whiskey
3 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and diced
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine nutmeg, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and ginger. On a workable surface, pat the chicken dry and rub half the spice blend under the skin and the rest over the top of the chicken. Set aside.
  2. Fill the center cup of your pottery chicken baker ¾ full with bourbon and add apples, onions, cranberries and a cinnamon stick in the ring of the dish. Set chicken in the dish, bottom down, over the center cup. Maneuver legs to help stable the chicken over the produce. Cover the top opening of the chicken with a small piece of foil to prevent steam from escaping.
  3. Place chicken in a cold oven. Then, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the pottery to heat with the oven. Cook for 1½ to 2 hours, until the internal temperature in the breast area of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Slice chicken and serve with a big spoonful or two of apple mixture on top.

Servings: 4

Butternut Squash Grilled Pizza with Blue Cheese and Bacon

I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with, and I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Cooler fall evenings are perfect for firing up the grill and enjoying dinner on the patio with your favorite beverage. Round out the meal with a fall salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
  3. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
  5. Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Green Eggs Benedict with Hoecakes

Served over hoecakes, made from fresh ground cornmeal, this is a southern version of Dr. Suess’ breakfast, minus the ham. Sautéed kale and a light avocado sauce give this traditional egg dish two shades of green and a healthy makeover. Add ham for Sam or smoked salmon for a seafood take. Create a make-your-own Eggs Benedict station for brunch guests, along with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

Hoecake Ingredients:
¾ cup cornmeal
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
canola oil, for greasing the griddle

Green Eggs Benedict Ingredients:
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled
Juice of 1 small lemon
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
¾ cup water
a couple pinches of salt and pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, or 5 ounces baby kale
8 eggs, poached or over-easy

Directions:

  1. Prepare a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, make the hoecake batter by stirring together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  2. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, working in batches to create 8 hoecakes. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is cooked through. Place cooked hoecakes on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding remaining oil to the griddle as needed.
  3. Place avocado in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, 2 teaspoons canola oil, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a medium skillet and add kale leaves. Sauté until wilted, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Top each hoecake with sautéed kale and an egg. Drizzle with avocado sauce and serve.

Servings: 8