Fall Recipes for Senior Health

Fall Recipes for Senior Health

After a long, hot summer (PBS News Hour reported that over 5,000 records related to heat or rain have been set during the months of June and July), you may be happy that autumn is just around the corner!1

The first signs of fall are already appearing. The farmer’s markets are starting to fill up with butternut squash and pumpkins. Harvest colors are popping up everywhere. And cool breezes and cooler temperatures are already on the way. Before you know it, it will be sweater weather.

You also might start looking for recipes that celebrate the harvest season. Here are some healthy fall recipes for seniors who want to invite autumn to have a seat at the dining room table.

Butternut Soup and Grilled Apple Cheese Sandwiches

Don’t let this list of ingredients fool you – the meal comes together quickly and serves up bursts of fall flavor. Change up the cheese or create a blend of different cheeses to suit your fancy. Remember to wear your in-home or on-the-go emergency alert system for optimal safety in or out of the home.

·        2 tbsps. coconut oil, divided

·        1 cup finely chopped onion

·        2 tbsps. fresh minced ginger

·        1 tsp. ground cumin

·        1 tsp. ground turmeric

·        Pinch of cayenne pepper

·        5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

·        1 15-ounce can coconut milk

·        2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

·        1 small apple, thinly sliced, divided

·        Dash of salt

·        Healthy dash of lime juice

·        4 slices whole-wheat bread

·        1 cup shredded cheese, like Gouda or provolone

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the veggies soften. Add the cumin, turmeric and cayenne and gently incorporate. Add the squash, coconut milk, broth, and half the apple slices. Stir, then add the salt and stir again.

Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the squash is tender – it should take about 30 minutes. Add in the lime juice. Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool enough to puree it safely.

Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches. Remember to use caution when blending the liquid, because if it’s too hot, you could get burned, and you also don’t want a plastic blender to crack from excessive heat!

Let the soup cool a bit more as you make the sandwich.

Divide the cheese evenly between two slices of bread. Top the bread with the remaining apple slices and the second slice of bread.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches on the first side until lightly browned, then flip and cook for another two minutes or so until the sandwich is browned and the cheese is melted. Serve alongside the soup.

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

This is a very simple recipe with delicious good-for-you ingredients. Go with baby Brussels sprouts for a tender dish and savor their caramelized outer leaves; those are packed with flavor that may make you see this veggie in a whole different light.

And as an added bonus, WebMD reports that Brussels sprouts are packed with nutrients that help prevent many chronic conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.2

·        2 Tbsps. maple syrup

·        3 tsps. olive oil

·        1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

·        A few dashes of black pepper

·        2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes

·        1 pound baby Brussels sprouts, cut in half

·        1 onion, cut into thick slices

·        4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs

·        ¼ cup dried cranberries

·        ¼ cup toasted pecans

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, half the olive oil, the thyme and the pepper. Blend well and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and onion. Drizzle the veggies with the remaining oil and hit them with some black pepper to taste. Toss to coat.

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and spray with cooking spray. Arrange the chicken with the meaty sides down. Arrange the vegetables around the chicken in one layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken and vegetables and brush them with the maple syrup mixture. Roast another 15 minutes. Check to make sure the chicken is tender and the veggies are done – the chicken should reach an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve topped with the cranberries and toasted pecans.

Hearty Tomato Soup

No list of healthy fall recipes for seniors would be complete without a classic tomato soup. It starts with a canned version for ease of preparation but then adds wholesome ingredients that make it so much better for you – case in point, the kale that will be pureed to create an earthy balance to the brightness of the tomatoes.

Always wear a fall alert for senior safety and protection.

·        Two 14-ounce cans of low-sodium tomato soup

·        1 tbsp. olive oil

·        3 cups chopped kale

·        2 tsps. minced garlic

·        One 14-ounce can of no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed well

·        ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat to a shimmer, then add the kale and garlic. Stir until the garlic is wilted. Add the tomato soup and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until the kale is well-incorporated into the soup.

Stir the beans into the pureed soup and blend well. Simmer until the beans are heated through, which should take about five minutes. Serve the soup topped with Parmesan.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Have you ever thought about trying a veggie burger? This is the one! These hearty burgers come together quickly with a little prep work. Serve them alongside sweet potato chips for an autumn treat!

·        2 cups sweet potato, finely grated

·        ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

·        1 cup no-salt-added black beans, rinsed well

·        ½ cup chopped scallions

·        ¼ cup mayonnaise

·        1 Tbsp. tomato paste

·        1 tsp. curry powder

·        Dash of salt

·        ½ cup plain yogurt

·        2 Tbsps. fresh dill

·        2 Tbsps. lemon juice

·        2 Tbsps. olive oil

·        4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted

·        Pickles, onions, and other condiments

After grating the sweet potato, squeeze it between paper towels to remove all the moisture; you might need to go through a few paper towels to get the sweet potato dry enough. Place the sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.

Pulse the oats in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add them to the sweet potato and mix well. Add the beans, scallions, mayonnaise, tomato paste, curry powder, and salt to the bowl. With clean hands, mash the mixture together until you can form it into patties.

Shape into four patties. Place the patties on a plate and refrigerate them for 30 minutes to make them firmer for cooking.

In the meantime, stir the yogurt, dill, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Set it aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) until it simmers. Add the patties and cook until they are golden brown. Flip them over and cook through on the other side.

Divide the yogurt sauce among the bun halves. Add the patties. Dress the patties with the condiments of your choice.

Pecan Pumpkin Biscuits

This fresh take on the classic southern biscuit is a delicious taste of fall. According to the Cleveland Clinic, pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse that’s great for your eyes, boosts your immune system, and strengthens your heart. It also fights cancer!3

·        2 cups all-purpose flour

·        ¼ cup sugar

·        4 tsps. baking powder

·        ½ tsp. salt

·        ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

·        ½ tsp. ground nutmeg

·        ½ cup cold butter

·        1/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans

·        2/3 cup canned pumpkin

·        1/3 cup milk or half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Blend in the pecans.

Combine the pumpkin and the milk. Stir it into the dry ingredients. You should have a thick, slightly sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough several times until it becomes smooth.

Roll the dough out to ½ inch thickness. Cut the biscuits with a 2-inch cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remember Kitchen Safety

When you are in the kitchen, always keep safety in mind. When you’re using immersion blenders or sharp knives, staying safe can’t be stressed enough. When peeling a butternut squash, use a peeling tool instead of a knife – it’s best to ensure there are no slips of the hand that could result in injury.

Clean up spills on the floor right away. That spill could make it very easy to fall, and that could lead to serious consequences. When you’re working in the kitchen, wearing your choice of medical alert systems for seniors can help ensure your safety and peace of mind. Alert1 wishes you the best of senior health and a very happy fall season!