Autumn is upon us and it’s all we can do to not hear the words pumpkin spice whispered in our ears. But seriously, what about all of the other great flavors for fall? Let’s give our palates and our plates some seasonal warmth and flare this year with these great spice recommendations.

Cider Is Your Friend
Growing up in Michigan, I always looked forward to our annual school trip to the local apple orchard. Once there, we would get to pick apples from the trees and then were treated to fresh apple cider and cinnamon glazed donuts. Sadly, as an adult, I can’t enjoy apple cider due to my mounting acid reflux, but that got me motivated to find new ways to enjoy the flavor (without the pain).
Here’s my favorite way to enjoy cider now: use it as a marinade! The natural acids and sugars in apple cider work great as a marinade for chicken or pork. In a hurry? Throw a pork loin in the slow cooker with two cups of cider and a few handfuls of chopped apples and carrots. Set it to low and leave it for the day. Your house will smell amazing and your dinner will be filled with robust flavor! Try throwing together a salad of mixed greens, dried cranberries and walnuts as a side dish. Enjoy!

It’s Squash Season
Every type of squash is in season in the autumn. My personal favorite for cold autumn nights is roasted butternut squash. Cut the squash in half, brush on your favorite cooking oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until tender. It’s the perfect quick side dish that will fill you up and bring a healthy punch of nutrients.
Live somewhere that doesn’t get cold in the fall, but still want some overflowing flavor? Try a squash-based gazpacho. This cold soup can be made with a variety of vegetables, making your flavor choices nearly limitless.

Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Spice Cabinet!
When was the last time you used your sage? Well, pull it out of the back abyss of your spice cabinet and place it front and center. Try seasoning your next roasted chicken with some sage, garlic, and a little onion. Throw in some pears and braised Brussel sprouts for a meal full of flavor and color.

Looking for Some Traditional Ideas?
I can’t explain my love for all things Julia Child (though my hips may disagree). One of my favorite recipes from the old cook book is beef bourguignon. Don’t have the recipe? That’s okay—just get creative. The premise of this dish is to marinate and slow roast a beef roast with your favorite cabernet and fall garden vegetables. The classic recipe calls for carrots, potatoes, and onions. You can easily throw in diced squash, celery, dried cranberries and more.

Don’t Forget Oktoberfest
I lived in Germany for three years, and previous to that I was completely clueless about this major German holiday. But after having experienced the excitement first hand, I can’t imagine an autumn season without brats and kraut. Now listen, a lot of people cringe at the thought of sauerkraut, including me! The trick is to RINSE the kraut thoroughly in a colander. This will take away the sour flavor. Then try sautéing in a little unsalted butter and you have a tasty pairing for your brat.
Make your autumn plate flavorful and fabulous! There are many other sites where you can search online for more great autumn meal ideas you can start making today.