Butternut Squash with Gouda

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Okay, so “Butternut Squash with Gouda” isn’t exactly the most exciting name for this dish, but I couldn’t think of anything better so there it is. Besides, while the name may be boring, the recipe is anything but– it takes a few simple ingredients and combines them into a rich, flavorful, autumn-centric (new word!) dish. You get tender chunks of butternut squash, mixed with sweet and savory caramelized onions, a hint of sage, a creamy strata of gouda cheese, and it’s all topped with a crunchy layer of toasted panko. It would make a fabulous side dish for this year’s Thanksgiving.

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Pumpkin Pecan Chip Muffins

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I’ve been making these muffins for years now, and they are invariably hailed by my friends as “the best muffins ever.” They’re moist, tender, with plenty of flavor from the pumpkin and spices, and studded with white chocolate chips and pecans as nice surprises in the middle. I tend to make them in fall (our freezer always has a batch ready to defrost for snacks at this time of year) but have been known to make them on a whim out-of-season– they’re that good! Make them yourself if you don’t believe me, and you will be converted!

I will note that the recipe below makes 12 muffins, but if you don’t want to find yourself with half a can of leftover pumpkin and half a bag of leftover chocolate chips, you may as well make a double-batch. You won’t regret it!

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Buttered Popcorn Cookies

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I’ve been reading the Smitten Kitchen blog for ages and the recipes are always amazing, so when I needed a quick and easy dessert for a Thanksgiving feast at my daughter’s preschool, I knew where to go. I wanted to avoid anything messy, or that required utensils, so it was going to be cookies. No nuts allowed, and I knew chocolate would smear– plus, I wanted something vaguely seasonal for the Thanksgiving event.

I remembered reading once about popcorn cookies (they had popcorn at Thanksgiving, right? I think I read that somewhere), and a quick search proved me right and turned up this cookie, which baked up chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty all at once!

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