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Fall Food Needs To Be Fast...
And Fun

Kara Kimbrough

Donuts on Cake

Using the first letter of the all-too-brief season, fall is filled with festivals, football, family time and fun activities in the span between six months of searing heat and the cold, rainy weather that accompanies winter. Finding time for preparing food can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a chore, especially when so many one-pan, intriguing and minimal-ingredient recipe are as near as the latest cookbook or the internet.

Without further ado – after all, you’ve got FUN fall activities to get to – here are a few “trending” recipes that’ll allow you to enjoy the season while enjoying some…here’s that F letter again…fabulous food!

Viral One-Pot Pasta Dinner
(Simple and easy to make, but still delicious; it’s been shared over 1 million times on TikTok... I know, I know... don’t judge until you’ve tried it!)
1 pound ground chuck or Italian sausage
8-ounce cream cheese
Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning)
1 jar favorite pasta sauce
1-pound grated mozzarella cheese

Brown ground chuck or sausage in oven-safe skillet until done; drain. Add seasonings; mix well. Over medium heat, add cream cheese and pasta sauce; stir well until cream cheese is melted and all three ingredients are well mixed. Top with mozzarella cheese, then place under oven broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Serve straight from the skillet.

Big Mac Tacos
1 pound ground chuck
Soft street taco tortillas, small size (can substitute any soft taco shell if needed)
Shredded lettuce, diced onions, pickles
American cheese slices
Big Mac Sauce (recipe below)

Place about two ounce of ground chuck on each street taco tortillas; press thin and flat in a circle on the tortilla. Coat a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and cook meat fully, using a spatula to fully flatten and cook.

Flip over tortillas once meat is cooked and top each one with a slice of cheese. Cover skillet with lid and cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Remove each one from pan and top with shredded lettuce, diced onions, pickles and “Big Mac” sauce.

Big Mac Sauce recipe:
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup pickle relish
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Half teaspoon each: salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly before topping each tortilla with a spoonful or more to taste. Double recipe if you plan to dip tacos in sauce. Bend tortillas at edges to hold ingredients together. Dip in Big Mac sauce for additional flavor.

Penicillin Soup
(I’m allergic to this drug, so I was quite hesitant to try the soup that’s trending all over the internet. My fears were forgotten after tasting this warm comfort food that’s guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.)
3-4 pounds chicken
10 to 12 cups water
3 stalks celery, divided
2 white or yellow onions, peeled, divided
3 large carrots, peeled, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon reduced sodium chicken base (such as Better than Bouillon)
1 cup pastina or other tiny pasta, such as stars
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, or to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste (optional)

Place chicken in a large pot and pour water over to cover. Roughly chop 2 stalks of celery, 1-1/2 onions and 2 carrots and add to pot with chicken. Season with 2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the chicken to simmer 1 hour, covered.

Remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool before removing and shredding the meat. Strain the stock and discard the solids. Reserve liquid and add water if necessary to measure 12 cups of liquid. Wipe pot clean.

Finely chop remaining celery, onion and carrot. Place pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Add chopped vegetables, remaining salt, pepper and garlic and cook frequently until vegetables are tender and onion is translucent (the veggies should not be browned). Add reserved stock and chicken base and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce it to simmer. Allow soup to simmer 10 minutes.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Reduce heat to low and add chicken and season if desired. Cook 5 additional minutes. Stir in chopped parsley and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Donuts on Cake
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