Rustic Fall Foods: 5 Savory, Delicious Recipes

sweetpotatoesAs the fall weather slips in it may seem work should slow down.  Not so for those of us that has chosen to live a life closer to the Olden Ways.  Many of us have farms, animals, and gardens to tend.  There is firewood to gather and the last of the harvest to put up.  But that doesn’t have to stop you from serving rustic and hearty meals to keep that energy up.

These recipes are rich in vegetables and rib-sticking good in the cooler weather.  Some use the slow cooker; others are quick and easy. All are perfect for supper one night and a hot lunch the following day.

Cuban Pork and Sweet Potato Stew
1 large (1 lb.) sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½” dice
1 pound lean pork loin, cut into 1″ pieces
1 can (14½ oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¼ cup orange juice
2 medium scallions, chopped (green part only)
½ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. black pepper
1½ TB fresh lime juice
2 TB fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Place potato, pork, tomatoes, garlic, orange juice, scallions, salt, cumin and pepper in a 4 to 5 quart crock pot/slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW heat setting for 7 hours.
2. Stir in lime juice and cilantro; cover slow cooker and cook for 5 minutes more.

Yields about 1½ cups per serving (including some cooking liquid)
Servings:  4

Crock Pot Beef Ragout
1½ lb. boneless beef top round steak, cut into 1″ cubes
Nonstick spray coating
1 can (11 oz.) condensed cheddar cheese soup
½ cup water
¼ cup dried minced onion
3 TB tomato paste
½ tsp. lemon pepper
1 pkg. (9 oz.) frozen green beans, thawed and drained
2 cups (8 oz. pkg.) fresh small whole mushrooms, halved
½ cup buttermilk
10 oz. fettuccine, cooked and drained, or pasta of your choice
Pine nuts, garnish, optional

1. Trim fat from beef. Cut into 1″ pieces. Spray a large skillet with
nonstick coating.  Preheat over medium heat. Brown meat, half at a time. Place in a 3½ or 4 quart crock pot.
2. In a bowl combine soup, water, onion, tomato paste, and lemon pepper. Pour mixture over the meat. Cover; cook on LOW heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
3. To serve, if cooking on low, turn crockery cooker heat to high. Run frozen beans under cold running water to separate; add to crockery cooker with mushrooms. Stir in buttermilk. Cook, covered, on high-heat setting for 30 minutes more or till beans are crisp-tender. Serve over hot, cooked fettuccine.

Makes 6 servings.

Oriental Pork and Spinach Soup
4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 medium minced onion
2 tablespoons margarine
3 cups chicken or pork broth
¾ pound unseasoned ground pork
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (3 oz.) package Ramen noodles
1 pound washed fresh spinach

1. Sauté garlic and onion in margarine in a heavy soup kettle until golden. Add broth and bring to boil.
2. Combine ground pork, pepper, cornstarch and soy sauce in bowl and form ¾-inch balls. Drop into boiling broth; cover and simmer 10 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center.
3. Add noodles and cook 2 minutes. Add spinach; cover, simmer 1 minute, until spinach is barely wilted and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Crab Chowder
1 6-ounce package frozen crabmeat or 1 6-ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
1 medium zucchini, cut into 2-inch strips
1 medium red or green sweet pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
½ teaspoon bouquet garni seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
¹⁄ 8 teaspoon black pepper
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, cut up
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Thaw crabmeat, if frozen.
2. In a medium saucepan cook zucchini and sweet pepper in hot margarine or butter until crisp-tender. Stir in the flour. Add the milk, green onion, bouquet garni seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
3. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Add the cream cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese melts. Stir in the crabmeat and snipped thyme; heat through. Garnish each serving with additional fresh thyme, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Weeknight Spaghetti Pie
7 ounces spaghetti or vermicelli — cooked
2 teaspoons dried basil — divided
1 garlic clove — pressed
¼ cup butter or margarine — melted
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion — chopped
1 can tomato sauce – (15 oz)
1 can tomato paste – (6 oz)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
6 ounces mozzarella cheese slices

1. Combine pasta, 1 teaspoon basil, garlic, and next 3 ingredients. Spoon into a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Spread ricotta cheese over mixture.
2. Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles; drain well. Stir remaining 1 teaspoon basil, tomato sauce, and next 3 ingredients into beef mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spoon over ricotta cheese.
3. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Top with cheese slices, and bake 5 more minutes.

Makes 6 servings

Enjoy the cooler nights with your family – feast together with some hearty meals that were easy for you to have ready.  These are also ideal for that potluck supper you are going to!

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.