A few fall recipe winners

Hi hi! Happy Friday! 

It's been QUITE a week, for better and for worse. I just sat down with my day planner this morning and looked at the calendar for the upcoming month, and while I was anticipating a slow-down, it's not looking like that will happen until (likely) the new year. Here's to marching on! 

I hosted a pretty impromptu gamewatch for Notre Dame's ignominious defeat at the hands of Stanford last Saturday, and naturally busted out fall recipes galore. For me, football comprises a huge part of fall, and as such "tailgating" type foods end up inextricably linked to September through November in my mind. I needed something quick and easy to put together for three guys (and myself) and ended up whipping up a dip my mom has had in her arsenal for years. Couldn't be easier, and it's a welcome change from the buffalo chicken dip I've resorted to since legit sophomore year of college.

(Fun fact: my family's recipe for buffalo chicken dip can be made entirely with ingredients stolen from Notre Dame's South Dining Hall. I know this, because I did it on the regular. Sometime, let's talk about the logistics of stealing 4 cups of cream cheese or 6 whole chicken breasts...let alone 2 cups of hot sauce!)

Cheesy Mexican Corn Dip

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cans Mexican corn 

1 cup shredded pepperjack 

1 cup light mayo

Mix all ingredients and bake in a casserole dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes! 

Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops. 

...see, I TOLD you it couldn't be easier. 

I also threw these raspberry balsamic meatballs together. Meatballs are my favorite fast go-to food lately as I've gotten much more comfortable with the "set it and forget it" crockpot world. The raspberry balsamic have a little more zing to them than ordinary barbecue meatballs, and tend to disappear (the guys ate all 50+ last Saturday!). Good thing, too...due to the jam in the recipe, these don't keep well. 

Naturally we needed sweet to offset all the savory, so I went in for my ultimate secret weapon dessert: Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars from Sally's Baking Addiction. While these are fairly time-consuming to make, the results are more than worth it, especially when served warm. I've always kind of cheated with the salted caramel sauce by melting and salting store-bought caramel, but this time I was feeling crazy ambitious and made Sally's homemade salted caramel sauce. It was shockingly easy, although I'm not going to lie, I was convinced I couldn't hack it. If I can, anyone can. And, um, HI it was to die for. 

Ready for me to sound like a yuuuuge idiot? When I went to cut and plate these, Michael wandered over and immediately stated "omg, these NEED whipped cream." I responded that, duh, I didn't have whipped cream, and he pointed out that I had just used heavy cream in the salted caramel sauce. I stood there bewildered, until he grabbed my hand mixer, poured the remainder of the heavy cream into the bowl, added some sugar, and was like "Whipped cream. You whip it. Duh." So I made homemade whipped cream too, and now I feel like a fairly domestic goddess (slash, huge idiot for not realizing that you could just make whipped cream). 

Finally, brunch! Every time our company puts out a quarterly filing, my department hosts a huge brunch party and everyone brings in a potluck dish to share. I usually get lazy and resort to store-bought mini muffins...who doesn't love a mini muffin?! This quarter, though, I was determined to flex my increasing kitchen confidence and signed up for coffee cake. Secret: I had already tried out How Sweet Eats' pumpkin coffee cake when I hosted a brunch gamewatch for the ND-Syracuse game, and knew it was a crowd-pleaser. It's also incredibly, obscenely easy. And the brown sugar glaze? The entire thing is so savory and sticky and incredible. I can't recommend it highly enough - the 9x13 pan was devoured. 

Next on the agenda: stuffed acorn squash, my favorite crack-delicious pumpkin cookies, and lots of homemade soups and stews as the weather turns! Happy cooking, campers :) 


*All photos sourced from blogs credited in links. Duh, I'm not a food photographer!*