4 recipes to get you in the mood for fall

It's getting colder outside, and there's no better way to embrace the new season than with recipes that warm you from the inside out. In these months, it's all about apples, pumpkins and squash, so try incorporating the ingredients of the fall with some of these treats and savory dishes the next time you have visitors at your independent living community. Your guests are sure to enjoy them and welcome the season with open arms - and open mouths.

1. Pumpkin quesadillas

Try Rachael Ray's autumn-inspired spin on a classic Mexican dish that features pumpkin as its main ingredient.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Combine pumpkin and cumin into a large bowl and stir in any additional seasoning you prefer. Scoop the mixture onto four tortillas, spread evenly and add in goat cheese and walnuts as desired. Place another tortilla over each spread so it resembles a sandwich. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet and cook each one separately, flipping it once until it turns golden brown. Cut into several slices, and enjoy.

2. Yam French fries

If your guests love French fries but healthy aging is a priority for you, this recipe from Allrecipes.com is the perfect solution. It involves baking rather than frying, and it substitutes potatoes with a healthy fall favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 yams, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 5 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

For starters, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and cover a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the yams on the sheet, making sure that none of them overlap, and season with the salt. Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft - leave in for longer if you'd prefer them to be crispier. In a small bowl, mix in the sour cream, mayonnaise and remaining seasonings and serve it to your guests to use as a dip for the healthy fries.

3. Classic apple crisp

A fall staple, this apple crisp recipe from Taste of Home will satisfy your guests' sweet tooth and get them ready for the season.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups chopped, peeled apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions

While the oven preheats to 350 degrees, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in butter until the mixture begins to look crumbly. From there, get a 9-inch square baking pan and press in half of the mixture. Place apples on top of the covered pan. In a separate pan, bring the sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla to a boil. Stir for two minutes and then pour over the apples. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, and bake for an hour. Depending on your preference, you can serve it cool or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

4. Mashed sweet potatoes

Making a savory dish? Trade in standard mashed potatoes for a sweeter version from the Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 4 chopped scallions
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Place sweet potatoes in the microwave for eight minutes, poking holes into each of them to help them cook all the way through. Scoop the flesh from each potato and place into a bowl, mashing them until they're smooth. In a saucepan, cook the butter and add the sage leaves until they're crispy. Separate the leaves from the pan and add in the scallions and salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle in the sage leaves.