fall dinner party

One thing I love about fall is that it just makes you feel like cozying inside with friends, making a homecooked meal for dinner, and gazing out the windows at the beautiful fall foliage (that is, if you live in the suburbs, I guess.) But, as a city-dweller, we can at least take advantage of the first two. And this past weekend, I did!

I tried to construct a menu that consisted of all things fall. Here are the recipes I used:

Hot Caramel Apple Cider (yields 12 ounces)

1 1/2 cups of apple cider
1 1/2 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used the stuff that is used for ice cream sundae toppings)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine apple cider, caramel, and vanilla into a sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until apple cider is hot and caramel has melted. (Be careful, it gets REALLY hot!) Pretty simple, huh? And very delicious!

Cowboy Stew (courtesy of my good friend-chef, Caylen)

1 onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
1 lb mexican velveeta cheese
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. cumin

And, 1 can of each:
Black beans
Kidney beans (I used Pinto beans in place of this... because I like them better)
Rotel tomatoes
Stewed tomatoes

Chop veggies into small bite-sized pieces and saute in 2 tsp. olive oil until soft. Brown the meat, then add the veggies. Cut velveeta into chunks and melt into beans and meat, then add spices. Simmer until heated through. (Basically, I just cooked and opened everything and then poured it all together in a huge pot!) And believe me, it will feed an army!

I might have shared the recipe for these here before, but I'll share them again because they're that good!

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 cups buttermilk baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients until soft dough forms. Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine ingredients. Brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

A nice, not-especially-fallish salad (everything can't be fall-esque, I guess). Katherine majorly contributed to this, and Brendan got the cranberries and walnuts. The salad was his creation...too bad I forgot to snap a picture of it.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes by Maggie (get her recipe here!) They taste as good as they look!

And, a delicious Pumpkin Crumple made by Ann-Marie (and I think Jon did the crumple on top). I don't have the recipe for this, or a picture, yet. But believe me, you'll want to add it to your recipe box as soon as I get it!