Easy apple crisp for fall.Caitlin Houston, special to the Record-Journal

Two easy fall recipes for dinner and dessert

Two easy fall recipes for dinner and dessert

Two easy fall recipes for dinner and dessert

Try this quick and easy Squash Spinach Sausage Soup for dinner on one of the cold nights ahead of us. The recipe takes just one hour from prep to finish.

We eat a lot of soup in our house throughout fall and winter. My family loves a hearty soup on a cold night, especially with a side of crusty bread. This Squash Spinach Sausage Soup was inspired by a similar soup from last fall, but this one contains sweet Italian sausage. I love how the flavors meld together so quickly — a little sweet and a little salty.

Tips for the Best Squash Spinach Sausage Soup Ever

Watch the pasta. You never want to overcook pasta in a soup, so it may be easiest to cook it separately and add it last. My favorite dutch oven for cooking is this 7.5 Quart Dutch Oven

Season your soup to taste — we like a lot of salt so I don’t include measurements for that. Does your soup taste bland? Add a little sprinkle of garlic powder or dash of red pepper flakes.


Dutch Oven


1/2 onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

3 large carrots diced

3 celery stalks diced

4 links sweet Italian sausage sliced into small cubes

2 c butternut squash cubed

2 c baby spinach leaves

8 c chicken broth 2 32 oz boxes

1/2 box pasta can use 1 box but add 2c additional water

Olive Oil

Sea Salt + Ground Pepper

1 tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley chopped


1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in dutch oven. Add garlic and onions. Cook 2 minutes.

2. Add diced celery and carrots. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add squash.

3. Cover vegetables with 4 cups chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

4. Add sausage, spinach, pasta, and 4 cups of chicken broth. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until pasta is tender.

5. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh chopped Italian parsley. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and serve with crusty bread.

The Best Apple Crisp is oat free and dairy free (in my opinion). I could eat Apple Crisp year round, but really begin to crave the fall dessert around September. Many of my birthday cakes have actually been the homemade baked fruit dessert topped with streusel. I’ve always used my Grandma Mary’s famous recipe, but it calls for real butter (which I avoid in large quantities). This easy and delicious fall dessert recipe uses a plant based butter substitute and tastes just as great!

I don’t follow a vegan or dairy-free diet, but I do try to steer clear from many milk products. The best desserts usually contain some form of dairy, so I love when I can recreate a classic without it. Another ingredient I try to avoid is oats as it aggravates my IBS. This oat free and dairy free apple crisp is the perfect indulgent fall dessert.

One ingredient in this recipe that I’ve never used before when making my Grandma’s dish is cornstarch. If you don’t like a thick dessert, omit this ingredient.



5 Apples firm and crisp (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith)

1 tbsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch

Streusel Topping

1 c Light Brown Sugar

1 1/2 c All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1 stick Earth Balance Butter Cold and Diced (plus 1 tbsp)


Preheat oven to 375. Use butter to coat a medium-sized shallow casserole dish.

Peel the apples and then chop them into ½-inch pieces. Place the apples in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and gently stir to coat the apples. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cornstarch – gently mixing with a spatula until the apples are coated.

Pour the apples into the buttered casserole baking dish.

Stir together the dry ingredients for the topping in a large bowl. Add the butter. Use your fingers to smash the butter, mixing it into the dry ingredients to create a crumble.

Sprinkle half of the topping over the apples in the casserole dish. Gently mix the topping into the apples.

Sprinkle the remaining topping over the apples.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown (and bubbly!). Keep an eye on this dish because all ovens cook differently!

Allow the Apple Crisp to settle for at least 10 minutes before enjoying!

Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of two who loves sharing all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Learn about fun activities at home, family friendly travels, easy recipes and more.

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