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Fun Fall Food

From cranberries to pumpkins, celebrate the abundance of the harvest season with these kid-friendly recipes.
 

Learning Benefits

Glorious colors; crisp, fragrant air; an energized bounce in your step. At this time of year, fall's magic is everywhere. As you and your child savor the season, you can soak up the learning, too. When you visit a farmers' market or pumpkin patch, check out the names of the pumpkin and squash varieties. (Baby Boo, spaghetti, and Sweet Mama are sure to win a chuckle!) See how many different kinds of vegetables you and your child can identify. Try to taste the difference among apple varieties. Ask your child to help weigh your picks on the hanging scale. When you return home, showcase your delicious bounty with these easy recipes.

 

Baked Apples with Gingersnaps


What you need:

  • 4 large apples
  • ½ cup crumbled gingersnaps (about 8 small cookies; to crumble with no mess, place cookies into a zip-sealed plastic bag and carefully crush with a rolling pin.)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 fresh lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces (if desired)

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel apples halfway down from top. Remove core, leaving the bottom intact. Place in a shallow 1- to 1½-quart baking dish large enough to hold apples without touching.
  2. In a small bowl, combine gingersnaps, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and juice from one-half lemon. Fill apples with mixture. Pour cider into baking dish. Squeeze remaining lemon over apples, dot with butter (if desired), drizzle honey over each, and cover tightly with foil.
  3. Bake 30 minutes, uncover, and baste with syrupy pan juices. Bake uncovered 10-15 minutes more or until tender (but still intact) when pierced with a knife. Serve with vanilla ice cream and warm pan juices.

Your child can help by:

  • crushing cookies
  • squeezing lemon
  • drizzling honey
  • filling apples and pouring cider

Acorn Squash Canoes


What you need:

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (chopped if desired)
  • ½ cup maple syrup or brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 cubes

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking pan with foil.
  2. With a large, sharp knife, cut squash in quarters through the stem or "blossom" end to resemble a canoe shape and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast cut-side up for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine cranberries, maple syrup or brown sugar, and walnuts. Set aside.
  4. Remove squash from oven and fill each quarter with cranberry mixture. Dot with butter and roast 15-20 minutes longer or until squash is tender when pierced with a knife. (To save time by microwaving: Place squash in one layer in a dish. Fill with cranberry mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; cook on high 8-12 minutes.)
  5. Drizzle with extra maple syrup, if desired, and serve.

Your child can help by:

  • removing squash seeds
  • lining pan with foil
  • brushing with oil and seasoning
  • combining cranberry mixture
  • spooning mixture into squash

Pumpkin Tartlets


What you need:

  • 12 mini graham cracker pie shells    
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar    
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
  • Whipped cream, toffee candy bits, and fresh mint (optional)

What to do:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Blend in softened ice cream. If mixture is too soft to mound, refreeze until it reaches the desired consistency.
  2. Pour ice cream mixture into each pie shell and freeze until firm. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream, toffee bits, and fresh mint or cinnamon, if desired.

Crazy-for-Cranberry Cream Cheese


What you need:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dry cranberries (coat the blades of your knife or food processor with a bit of oil for easy clean-up)

What to do:

  1. In an electric mixer or food processor, combine the cream cheese, zest, juice, yogurt, and cranberry sauce until smooth. Add more orange juice if you prefer a looser consistency.  
  2. Fold in dried cranberries and zest. Chill well before serving. Serve up a side of this creamy pink spread with veggies and apple slices or try it on a turkey wrap or sandwich.

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