The switch has officially flipped in my home. It feels, looks and smells like fall around here. Fall flavors are about as distinct as any. Warm, earthy, and of course…pumpkin spicy. I’ve been invited by my friends at She in the CLE to create some fun fall recipes. To me, a collection like that wouldn’t be complete without incorporating apples, pumpkin and a clam bake!
For those of you who have a countdown programmed in your phone for when the Starbucks PSL is finally available…this breakfast is for you. Pumpkin. Spice. Pancakes. Now, I could have developed my own pancake mix recipe, but I’m a realist. And I think most of you are too. So the base of this recipe is Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix. Then I put my own #Cheftovers twist on it. Creative pancakes, like characters, or animals, have become a weekend tradition in my household (check out my Instagram account, @jenpicciano. My pancakes are usually my most popular posts). Just like jack-o-laterns, make these your own. Use what you’ve got in the house to decorate these fun fall flap jacks. Or don’t. And just enjoy fall’s favorite spice blend in a new way.
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
1 c. Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix
2/3 c. water
2 T. pumpkin puree
1/2 t. cinnamon
one pinch each of ground ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Add a pad of butter on to a hot frying pan or griddle and spoon in a ladle full of the batter. Cook until you see bubbles. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Decorate like a jack-o-latern with candies, or just top with powdered sugar or syrup.
I’ve also taken some filling from leftover pumpkin pie (I know, who has that?? ) and added it to pancake batter, with similarly tasty results.
Apples are abundant, cheap and versatile. But why do something complicated…or expected with them? That’s not what you’re here for, right?! Every time I walk past the caramel apple stands at late-summer county fairs, or fall festivals, I’m tempted by the combinations of sweet, tart flavors. But I’m turned off by the task of tackling the whole apple and thick layers of caramel, chocolate etc. when I bite into them. So why not break it down and still get all you’re after?
Caramel Apple “Nachos”
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 T. chopped peanuts
1/4 c. Smucker’s salted caramel, warmed
1/4 c. chocolate chips, melted
Arrange the apple slices in a pile on a plate. Drizzle with melted chocolate and caramel. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and pumpkin spice morsels.
Clam bakes are one of my favorite fall traditions. I love the steamy, savory smells, and appreciate the process of cooking clams, potatoes, corn and chicken in one giant pot of heavenly fall goodness. But it can be intimidating and time-consuming. So I took the elements of the fall party favorite and made it into a pizza!
Clam Bake Pizza
1/2 russet potato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 doz. middle neck clams
4 T. butter
1 T. shallots
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cooked chicken (can be grilled, roasted, or leftover)
1 ear corn, kernels removed
2 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 T. chives (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and chop the potato, add to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until fork tender, then drain. Mince the garlic. Steam the clams with half the butter, stock, shallots, 1/2 of the garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and stock. Once they all open, remove them from the shells and reserve the liquid.
In a food processor, blend the cooked potatoes, the other half of the butter, the other half of the garlic, and several tablespoons of the liquid from the clams, until you get a consistency like Alfredo sauce.
Spread the potato mix on the pizza dough/crust like you would pizza sauce.
Top with chopped chicken, bacon, corn kernels, clams and cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, (about 10-12 minutes).
No season can compete with fall when it comes to flavors. I hope you enjoy my favorites as much as I do!