Pumpkin Gnocchi with Tomato-Sage Sauce

It’s no secret that I love pumpkin things. Sweet or savory, pumpkin has got my attention! I know that Thanksgiving is over and I should be moving on to more wintery flavors, but I just can’t give up on pumpkin for the season yet.

Take these awesome pumpkin gnocchi, for example. They are simple to make and full of rich, pumpkin goodness! What’s not to love?

I added a less traditional spicy tomato sauce (you know, instead of a brown butter sauce), which cuts down on the calories a bit, in case you are still recovering from Thanksgiving. The sprinkle of sage makes it just divine!

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Growing up, I never much liked Thanksgiving. (Gasp!) I just couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for stuffing or gravy or cranberry goop.

But luckily, our family Thanksgiving dinners prized the pie as much as the bird itself. I mean, in my family, there are usually as many pies as there are people at the dinner table. I kid you not…everyone has their own favorite pie, the one dessert that they can’t live without on Thanksgiving. (No wonder my sweet tooth is so out of control…) Personally, I can do without the pumpkin pie, but pecan pie and chocolate chess pie spell Thanksgiving.

So imagine my delight when a friend brought us these German chocolate pecan pie bars after Jake was born! They are a perfect storm of Thanksgiving pie amazingness! I knew I had to make them right away and share them with you.

These bars consist of a chocolate shortbread crust, a layer of melty chocolate, and pecan pie filling mixed with coconut on top of that. They are actually a bit similar to magic cookie bars, but they are gooey—almost fudgey—in the center. You will love them. And if you want an alternative to the typical Thanksgiving pie course (or if you are having Thanksgiving dinner this year with a family that, unfortunately, could care less about pie and certainly doesn’t need two extras to show up at the table…), these are a winner!

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Apple Cheddar Quickbread

Apparently when I was a kid, I liked apples. (For those of you just tuning in…I am a bona fide fruit hater, so the apple thing is unusual.) I have no memory of this, but my parents swear I used to pinch apples that my dad had been eating, toddle away, and bring him back the core.

Whether or not that is just a story they made up to try to convince me to eat apples at lunch every day in elementary school, I don’t know. What I do know is that I am developing a begrudging acceptance of apples in my adulthood. Granny Smith apples, to be specific. I like the tartness and the crunch.

Don’t get me wrong—I still don’t like fruit. So imagine my surprise when I started seeing recipes that threw apples and cheddar cheese together, and my first thought was, “Oh, interesting! I’ll have to try that!” (…who am I?) Apple cheddar biscuits, apple cheddar scones…it seemed like a perfectly weird Fall combination that I might actually enjoy!

So when I was assigned No Reason Needed for this month’s Secret Recipe Club challenge, and I spotted a recipe for apple cheddar loaf, I knew I had to try it. It’s quick, it’s simple, and no matter how strange you find the combination of fruit and cheese, it’s delicious!

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Pecan-Crusted Salmon

When I was little, I thought I hated fish. (Okay, what little kid doesn’t think they hate fish?…especially when fish sticks are one of the main examples they have to work with…) In my case, I had a scarring experience with flounder, which to me tastes fishy in all the wrong ways. I still refuse to eat flounder.

But the main reason my hatred of flounder doesn’t extend to all fishes is this salmon dish. My mom made this recipe for Sunday dinner one week and insisted I try it…and to my great surprise, I discovered that I liked salmon! And I’ve never looked back.

If there are any resistant palates in your family or circle of friends, try this salmon out! It’s very easy to make, and it’s delicious! Relatively mild flavor with just the classic salt and pepper as spices, a nice crusty coating from being browned, all accented by nice, toasty pecans…yum!

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