By Megan King |

September marks the time of year when students and teachers are returning to classrooms and PhD candidates are…well, wondering where those “quiet” months of summer writing time went. While it also technically ushers in Autumn, September also has that so-called “lingering summer” vibe that leaf-crunching, apple-picking, scary-movie-watching individuals like me attempt to drown in pumpkin spice lattes and smother in oversized cardigans.

So, to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new season and academic year, here are five of my go-to recipes that a.) won’t break the bank, b.) won’t force you to spend hours in the kitchen, and c.) will hopefully make you as excited for Autumn as I always am!

I’ve portioned each of these dishes for at least two servings, but these recipes are really adaptable, so feel free to swap ingredients to suit your dietary needs.

Overnight Apple Pie Oats

This recipe yields two servings, and better yet, these babies will last up to four days in the fridge. Two reasonably healthy breakfasts with only one load of dishes?! Count me in.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup oats (I tend to use steel cut, but any type will suffice!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 sprinkle ground ginger (Precise, I know!)
  • 1 sprinkle pinch ground cloves
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced (Co-op had pink ladies, so that’s what I used.)
  • 1 cup unsweetened, dairy free milk (I like oat or almond.)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Optional toppings: nuts, dried fruits, or a swirl of honey

Steps:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend just long enough to mix the ingredients well.
  • Divide between two food storage containers and pop them in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, feel free to add a bit of additional yogurt or dairy-free milk to get the texture you’re looking for as well as any extra toppings you might enjoy!

Pumpkin Protein Waffles

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder (I used a diet whey blend.)

Steps:

  • Combine pumpkin, egg whites, and vanilla, and beat the mixture until it’s fluffy.
  • Add baking powder, protein powder, and pumpkin pie spice, mixing well.
  • Empty batter into a preheated waffle iron (Alternatively, make pancakes on a hot griddle!)
  • When the waffle is fully cooked, plate and add a drizzle of maple syrup and a few chopped pecans (As a North American, this step is the most critica!).

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of store-bought gnocchi (I mean, do you have to make it from scratch?!)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used walnut, but any old cooking oil works)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large apple, cored and diced (Preferably one of the red variety for added sweetness!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 2.5 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk (Coconut adds a nice flavor.)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Steps:

  • Add the cooking oil to a large pot and sauté the onion and apple over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes). Add in the garlic, cinnamon, and cayenne, and stir for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the butternut squash, water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot, allowing it to simmer until the squash is tender (about 20-25 minutes).
  • Next, add the dairy-free milk and maple syrup.
  • From here, puree the mixture either by using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring the mixture to a traditional blender.
  • If you’re not a gnocchi fan, this sauce actually makes a beautiful soup (made fancier with a swirl of sour cream and some walnuts on top).
  • Otherwise, boil your gnocchi until its soft and stir it into the sauce.
  • Additional toppings that I opted for include walnuts and crispy bacon bits.

Cranberry Pot Roast

This is an ideal pop-it-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-it meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef roast (approximately 2-2.5 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (I used cauliflower and brussels sprouts)
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons thyme

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 200°C
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan. Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Then, brown each side to get a nice crust.
  • While the meat is browning, dice the onion and carrot, prepare the mixed veggies, and mince the garlic.
  • When the roast is finished browning, set it aside on a large plate or cutting board. Add the vegetables and garlic to the frying pan, and sauté until they soften.
  • Stir in the cranberries, port, beef stock, sugar, and thyme.
  • Take out a large ladle of the sauce and spread it across the bottom of a roasting dish. Place the beef on top, and distribute the rest of the sauce evenly around the roast.
  • Cover tightly and bake for two and a half hours or until fully cooked.
  • Recommended side dish: Yorkshire puddings and cream cheese mashed potatoes (See Pinterest.)

Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups diced apples

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 200°C
  • Beat the oil, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy. Then, add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.
  • When the mixture is well-combined, add the apples and mix until each the apple is coated.
  • Add the flour and mix well. Then, pour the batter into a greased 13×9-inch baking pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.

Caramel Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter

Steps:

  • In a saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Then, evenly distribute the glaze over the cake.

Images 1: Mizner Country Club

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: Megan King

Megan King is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, studying the process of radicalization in pre-Revolutionary America, and she serves as the Pubs and Publications social media coordinator. You can find further ramblings from her on Twitter.