17 Autumn Desserts to Welcome the Season!

I just love fall. The cool crisp air. The gorgeous vibrant colors. And of course, most of all, the wonderful, aromatic flavors of autumn ingredients. Pumpkins, winter squash apples, cinnamon, caramel and spice! There’s nothing better than that. This collection of 17 Autumn Desserts is proof of my love for baking treats with these ingredients.

17 Autumn Desserts

 

 

Pumpkins are for more than Decorating!

1) This Caramel Pumpkin Cake is one of those that quickly jumped to the top [Read more…]

A Trio of Cream Cheese Appetizers – Maple Brown Sugar Pecan, Cranberry and Orange Marmalade

Trio of Cream Cheese Appetizers - Maple Brown Sugar Pecans, Cranberry and Orange Marmalade

If you need a simple appetizer for a holiday party, look no further.  In fact, I’ve got a lot of recipes to share with you today!  I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you Holiday Sweets and Treats.  Be sure to scroll down and visit all the links at the bottom of this post for more recipes.

If you find yourself in need of a holiday appetizer, but lack time to put one together, this is your recipe.  This trio of cream cheese spreads couldn’t get easier.

Cranberries, Maple Brown Sugar Pecans and Orange Marmalade are a perfect holiday combo.

It really is as easy as stir and pour.  And you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Cream Cheese appetizer

This is more of a method than recipe.  Vary it any way you like.

In fact, I ended up using apricot jam instead of marmalade because that’s what I had on hand.  I still think orange marmalade would be more Christmasy, but the apricot was very good.

For the pecans:

Use about 1/4-1/3 cup chopped pecans.

Add about 1 Tbs. brown sugar.

Add several Tbs. real maple syrup.

Stir together to make sticky, runny pecan topping.

The cranberry is just canned whole berry cranberry sauce.  Stir until it isn’t clumpy jelled anymore.

Use apricot or orange marmalade jam, stirring until smooth.

Cut one block of cream cheese in thirds.

Spoon the toppings over each of the pieces.

Serve with crackers and apple slices.

Cream Cheese appetizer trio

 

Holiday Sweets

Holiday Sweets

Best Party Recipes for Sharing from Mom’s Tool Box

Cherry Snowball Christmas Cookies from I’m an Organizing Junkie

Chocolate Chunk Toasted Pecan Oatmeal Cookies from Life Your Way

Chocolate Peanut Brittle from The Happy Housewife

Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Trifle from Mom Endeavors

Double Chocolate Candy Bar Pretzel Bark from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Easy Black Currant Scones from Good Cheap Eats

Frozen Inspired Vanilla Raspberry Bites from Bargain Briana

Gumdrops from Hoosier Homemade

Microwave Caramel Corn from Ashley Pichea

Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies from Mommy Hates Cooking

Snickerdoodle Puppy Chow from Smockity Frocks

Sugar Cookies for Dummies from Happy Little Homemaker

The World’s Easiest Christmas Candy Ever from Money Saving Mom

Savory Treats

savory treats

Bacon and Spinach Frittata Bites from Life as MOM

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus from Jo-Lynne Shane

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts from The Finer Things in Life

Black Bean and Avocado Salad from Kitchen Stewardship

Cheesy Pesto Crescent Bites from Andrea Dekker

Easy Cheesy Vidalia Onion Dip from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Homemade Sausage Balls from The Humbled Homemaker

Kale Spinach Bites from For the Love Of

Spiced Nuts from Modern Mrs. Darcy

Toasted Pecans from My Blessed Life

Trio of Cream Cheese Appetizers from Eat at Home Cooks

White Cheddar Cranberry Bites from Parenting Miracles

No Bake Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cheesecake Dessert

No Bake Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cheesecake Dessert

A few years ago, I learned that pumpkin cheesecake is a very common dessert to serve for Thanksgiving.  Cheesecake isn’t hard to make, but this no-bake version is even easier.

You can even make it a day or two ahead of time, which is perfect if you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner!

This Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Dessert is lighter tasting than a regular baked cheesecake.  The filling is fluffy and creamy, swirled with caramel sauce.  I used McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice to give it a great flavor.

No Bake Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Dessert ingr

You’ll want to have your cream cheese at room temperature before starting this recipe.  It only takes a few minutes to stir the crust together and press it into the dish.  And the filling whips together quickly too.

I’ve been loving McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice.  I’ve added it to Homemade Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream and other recipes.

But I’ve also used it sprinkled on bananas with a little honey and pecans for a morning snack.

I’ve made Pumpkin Pie Spice and Sugar Toast, by using it in place of cinnamon.  That really pumps up the flavor of plain old cinnamon sugar toast.

I’ve added it to oatmeal in place of cinnamon.  Pumpkin Pie Spice is versatile stuff!

Check out McCormick FlavorPrint for more ideas on combining and using spices and discover your own FlavorPrint Profile.

No Bake Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cheesecake Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
  • 1½ tsp. McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 12 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
Instructions
  1. Stir the sugar and graham cracker crumbs together.
  2. Add the butter and mix well. Reserve ½ cup for the topping.
  3. Press the rest into a 9×13 pan.
  4. Combine the cream cheese, sugar in a mixer bowl. Beat until well combined.
  5. Add pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice to the mixer bowl and beat until combined.
  6. Fold in whipped topping.
  7. Spread pumpkin mixture onto graham cracker crust.
  8. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the pumpkin.
  9. Use a knife to swirl caramel into pumpkin fluff.
  10. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top of dessert.
  11. Refrigerate 4 hours or over night.

No Bake Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Dessert

For more Thanksgiving recipe ideas, see American Homemade.  There are lots of ideas here to put a flavorful spin on traditional dishes.

Disclosure: I have partnered with McCormick and have been compensated for my time.  However, all opinions are my own.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

This was the first cheesecake I’ve ever made.  Can you believe that?

The reason I’d never made one was that I lacked a springform pan.   This Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping justifies the purchase of a set of pans.

Oh my goodness!  This is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted.  It’s smooth and rich and oh-so-very chocolatey.  The pretzel crust adds a bit of salty to the sweet chocolate and the nut topping brings a little crunch to the creamy.

Ever since I first saw a post on using the slow cooker for making cheesecake on Mommy’s Kitchen, I’ve wanted to try it.  I used an 8 inch springform pan, which fit inside my crockpot with a small amount of room to spare around the edges.  I also used the rack from my pressure cooker in the bottom of the crock.  This kept the pan a little bit higher, making it easier to get the finished cheesecake out of the crock.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping

 

I pieced together several different recipes and ideas to come up with this one.  I used the chocolate cheesecake recipe from Taste of Home as the base, but changed the cooking method to slow cooker.  And I used the pretzel crust recipe from Bake or Break.  I did leave the pretzels in larger crumbs though, so it was more identifiable as pretzel.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

Blooming Blueberry Bread

You know those pictures of blooming bread on Pinterest?  The ones with pepperoni and cheese or bacon and onions and cheese?  Always cheese!

I decided that a sweet version of that type of bread would be a great idea.  I was right!

Blooming Blueberry Bread

 

It starts with a loaf of artisan bread.  I bought mine in the bakery section of the grocery.  Then I added sweetened cream cheese, fresh blueberries a drizzle of melted butter and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Pop all of that into the oven and what comes out is purely marvelous!

I could not stay away from this bread.  And neither could anyone else.

When I made it, there were only two of us at home.  And my youngest son, who was with me doesn’t like blueberries.  I wasn’t sure he’d even give the bread a try.  I decided I didn’t need to eat a whole loaf, so I gave some to our neighbors.

Then my youngest daughter and her friend came in.  They both ate bite after bite.  By the time my oldest son got home, there were only a few bites left.

Blooming Blueberry Bread eatathomecooks

 

See all that gooey, sweet cream cheese?  And the blueberries that have “popped” in the oven?  Amazing!

It’s very easy to make, only taking a few minutes to put it together.  Your family will love you for serving this!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Blooming Blueberry Bread ingr

Blooming Blueberry Bread

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 round loaf artisan style bread
  • 4 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tsp. sugar
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer until blended.
  2. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Score the bread in a grid pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and spread cream cheese and blueberries all through the scored sections of bread.
  5. Drizzle melted butter over bread.
  6. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle over the top of bread.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot through.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

10 Graduation Party Menus Plus Desserts and Snacks!

It’s that time of year when our graduates take the stage with caps and gowns and march off to get their diplomas and take on the world! Graduating is a great milestone and it’s something that should be celebrated.

But planning a graduation party menu can feel a bit overwhelming. Feeding a crowd can be a lot of work, and picking a menu that pleases everyone isn’t always easy. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!


Whether you are looking for a casual feast in the backyard, a pizza party, or a special sit down family dinner after your Grad gets home, these ten menu ideas will inspire you with some fun ideas and make planning your meal easy and fun. There’s plenty of different kinds of meals to fit all kinds of personalities and preferences, and I must say that they all have me drooling.

Don’t forget to read to the bottom for all the dessert and cookie ideas! Instead of adding one idea to each menu, you can pick your guest of honor’s favorite…or make it a dessert bar and serve a few!

Easy and Casual BBQ Feast

Super easy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork in the slow cooker, or any other easy slow cooker BBQ sandwich for that matter!

The pork can be made ahead of time and frozen, then heated in the crockpot.  The baked beans cook in the crockpot and are easy to put together.  The only thing that will have to be done the day of the party is tossing the dressing on the Asian Broccoli Salad.

Pair this with favorite sides like these:

potatosaladdone_thumb

bakedbeansdone_thumb

asian broccoli salad done

Asian Broccoli Salad

Add desserts and probably potato chips and perhaps some cut fruit!

Grill Out

Get out the grill and make it a backyard party!  Serve any of these and your crowd will be raving.

And when you pair these smoky meats with some classic sides, you have the makings of a winning combination!

Plus, you can get more backyard barbecue side dish ideas in this post here!

Nice Family Dinner

If you are thinking a nice sit-down dinner at home after the ceremony is the way to go, these recipes are mouthwatering and so easy!

italian seasoned salt pork tenderloin done

To make this meal easy and special, pair the tenderloin or chicken with:

Enchilada Buffet

Make a buffet of a couple big pans of different kinds of Enchiladas and let everyone serve themselves!

Some of our family favorites include:

white enchiladas

enchiladas with chili-tomato sauce

Serve these with fresh things like:

Need more side dish inspiration? Check out this post about what to serve with Enchiladas!

Build-Your-Own Fajitas or Tacos

Cook up meat in your crock pot or instant pot. Set out the meat, grilled veggies and a plethora of favorite toppings and let everyone build their own fajita or taco!

You could also grill up some chicken breasts in advance or buy a few rotisserie chickens and have them all prepped and ready to go for the big day to make one of these tasty options.

Serve them up with:

Teens Party Menu

Convert this snackadium into a teen’s dream meal! Both of these strombolis were part of a meal I made for super bowl, but with a few little tweaks it’ll be a great “main course” for your graduate and his or her friends.

Keep it simple and add a variety of chips and dips, chilled drinks and cookies and candy.  Anything they can grab, munch and head back out to dance or talk with friends.

Sandwich and Salads Buffet

Make up some easy sandwich trays that your crowd can pick and choose from!

  • Get a bag King’s Hawaiian rolls or other small buns to make a plate of small ham sandwiches and a bag of croissant rolls for Chicken Salad Sandwiches. You can get Virginia Brand ham in the deli section and have it shaved.
  • We love this easy Peach Chutney Chicken salad for sandwiches. So delicious and moist!

Serve these with a plate of assorted cheese slices, mayonnaise and mustard and almost homemade pickle slices.

 

Round out your menu with an easy pasta salad, a veggie tray with dip and some chips.

pastasaladdoneclose.jpg

Pizza Party

Whip up a bunch of homemade pizza and make a party out of it! You can make this easy dough in advance, and even make super easy awesome pizza sauce. Or buy your favorite premade crust and sauce and top the pizzas in any way you like. Here’s a few of our favorite pizza combos.

Serve this with a veggie tray with ranch dip, and a fresh fruit tray and fruit dip and some favorite chilled drinks.  I love root beer floats as a dessert option with pizza!

Spaghetti Feast

Cook up a bunch of pasta and serve it with one of these easy and delicious homemade sauces and meatballs! These meatballs are freezer friendly so you can make up a big batch in advance and they are absolutely delicious!

Round out the menu with garlic toast and an easy salad! Here are a couple more side dish ideas, too.

Brats or Dogs Your Way

Cook up a bunch of dogs and brats on the grill or stove top and let your people go to town topping them however they like.

You can serve this with:

Add a bowl of chilled melon balls or just an easy plate of watermelon slices and cantaloupe chunks.

Snacks

Want to have a few snack foods on hand for easy munching? Here are a couple of our favorite snack mixes and other snack ideas that are really easy to make!

Dessert Ideas

Clearly no celebration is complete without dessert! Or better yet – desserts! Make one or more of these and your graduate will feel like the party is complete.

derby-pie

peanut butter fluff pie done

lemon cheesecake dessert slice

tuxedo bars done 2

blue velvet cupcakes 2

School color cupcakesBlue Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet, Green Velvet, Orange Velvet, Purple Velvet

Here’s a handy tip on how to cut cake to feed a crowd!

Cookies

Narrowing down your favorite recipes to include in your menu is sure to be easier than choosing a college major these days. Especially since any of them will leave you at the top of the class when it comes to a graduation party!

Pin this post!

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Jalapeño Chicken Tacos

These were such a hit!  They have just enough spice to make them interesting without being too spicy.  The sweetness of the corn balances the spice.  And they’ve got cream cheese.  What more can you ask for?

Bonus – they cook in the slow cooker!

Recently, I was asked to try out the new Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeño Cream Cheese as part of Kraft Foods and PHILADELPHIA Spicy Jalapeno blogger program.  Cream Cheese is one of my favorite ingredients and I knew we would love this one.  We did!  The jalapeño and cream cheese are a perfect pair of contrasting flavors.

Here’s what you’ll need for the Creamy Jalapeño Chicken Tacos:   [Read more…]

Iced Coffee Dip

 

It’s no secret that I love International Delight Light Iced Coffee.  I’ve made it into Ice Cream Cappuccino, churned it into ice cream, and served it up with Cinnamon Chip Scones.

My afternoon snack often consists of Light Iced Coffee (I like the Vanilla flavor, but it also comes in Mocha and in June there will be a new Light Caramel Macchiato to try) with animal cookies.

This time, I decided those animal cookies could use a sweet dip.  And what better flavor for a dip than Vanilla Iced Coffee!  This is so easy to make.  It would also be good with chocolate graham crackers or shortbread cookies.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

Skillet Angel Chicken

As much as I love my slow cooker, sometimes I just forget to load it until it’s too late.  On days like that, a skillet can come in handy.  Skillets cook things quicker than baking them and much quicker than a crockpot, of course.

The other night I decided to make a skillet version of Angel Chicken.  This is altered a bit from the original Angel Chicken recipe.  Instead of the Italian Seasoning mix, I used Herbs de Provence.  You could use a favorite of herbs and spices in this dish, depending on what you have available and what you’re in the mood for.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

Pear Tart with Cream Cheese Icing (using Crescent Rolls)

Simple is sometimes best and this is surely an easy way to make a pear tart.
I had a couple of pears I needed to use up, a can of crescent rolls, and some leftover cream cheese icing.  The end result was delicious, and I’m not even a big fan of pears!  Of course, you could sub pears for apples, and probably peaches too.  This came together in just a few minutes, which is always a plus around here!
I keep cinnamon sugar mixed together in my pantry, so I did not measure this. I just sprinkled it over the pears until they were covered. This recipe is so simple, you can’t really go wrong.  Add or delete whatever you like!  I also had some leftover cream cheese icing already in the fridge, but you could make a simple icing of confectioner’s sugar and milk too.  It was a quick, yet tasty way to use up fruit that my kids begged me to buy, yet hadn’t eaten!
I think from now on, I’m going to keep an extra can or two of crescent rolls, so if I need an impromptu dessert…I’ll be ready!
Pear
Ingredients
  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 1 T. softened butter*
  • 1-2 Pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • cinnamon sugar
  • cream cheese icing (optional)
  • chopped walnuts (optional)
  • *I used Smart Balance in the tub
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to temperature on crescent rolls.
  3. Unroll crescent roll dough onto prepared pan, sealing perforations.
  4. Spread butter over dough.
  5. In a bowl, add pear slices and pour cinnamon sugar over them. Toss to coat.
  6. Spread pear slices evenly over dough.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar over pears.
  8. Bake in oven until crescent dough is cooked through. (I followed baking time on can)
  9. Once done, drizzle with icing & sprinkle with nuts if desired.
When not contributing here, Kim is Makin’ it Mo’Betta with 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 crazy life!