Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy

I hope you’re ready for a cocktail that’s as easy as it is delicious!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the most delicious, easy fall cocktail!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is quite likely the drink of any fall-lover’s dreams. After all, the two ingredients involved include pumpkin and apple, which we all know are the stars of the show for the months of at least September, October, November and maybe even December. And who doesn’t want a crowd-pleasing beverage that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice?


In case you’re not quite familiar with what a shandy is (aka “radler” in German), it’s basically a low-octane cocktail made with a mixture of light lager and some sort of citrus juice. Now, I’m not one to normally want to mix my beer with anything, but when it comes to pumpkin-flavored beer mixed with my favorite apple cider, I can certainly make an exception!

Pumpkin beer and apple cider are the only two ingredients you need for this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy!

And now that I’m breastfeeding our little one, I’m all about the low-octane drinks. Less alcohol + more liquids equal better hydration, which we all know is really important when you’re feeding for two!

At this time of year there is certainly no shortage of pumpkin beers out there, so feel free to use your favorite. To be honest, I’ve been a little bummed that Trader Joe’s hasn’t had a bigger selection this season, but I’ve still been able to find some of my favorites at stores like BevMo and Gelson’s. Right now the two I really like that I can seem to find fairly easily are Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale and Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down, so if you see either of those, I highly recommend you give them a try.

As far as the apple cider goes, you can either buy some from the store (preferably with as little added sugar as possible) or make your own using my super-easy recipe for From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider (which you should honestly have on hand at all times during this holiday season anyway.)

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect low-alcohol cocktail to serve over the holidays.

Aside from the fact that this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy involves, yes, just TWO ingredients, I also love it because it is sooo easy to make. I mean, you don’t even need to break out the cocktail shaker or jigger! You can totally eyeball the amounts, or just adjust the ratio of pumpkin beer to apple cider however you happen to prefer. I prefer a little more beer to my cider, but if you want more cider to your beer, by all means go ahead!

One final tip when making this delicious drink: Be sure your ingredients are well-chilled before mixing them together. I don’t often like to use ice in beer cocktails because I feel it waters them down too much, so you want to start out with your beer and cider being as cold as possible.

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect cocktail to serve at any time of day during the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy as much as I have been!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the most delicious, easy fall cocktail!
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Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This easy cocktail may be low on alcohol but it's certainly high in flavor! Two favorite fall ingredients come together to make one delicious drink.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 9 ounces of your favorite pumpkin beer, chilled
  • 6 ounces apple cider, chilled
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a large glass and enjoy!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese

Mixing it up with some hors d’oeuvres-y things today!

A tray of Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese ready to be devoured!

Because, I mean, what are the holidays without some delicious appetizers to snack on throughout the day? These Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese are certainly topping my list of delicious bites to get me through the day RN, especially as an extra-hungry breastfeeding mom. It doesn’t hurt that I am also completely reveling in the fact that I can enjoy charcuterie and moldy, stinky cheeses again!


Yes, these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears do involve some pungent, creamy blue cheese (my favorite) but I do understand that not everyone is as freaky about stinky cheese as I am. That being said, you could easily sub in something a bit mellower like brie or even your favorite hard cheese. Just do me a solid and try the prosciutto-pear-cheese combo roasted up in the oven ASAP…You won’t be sorry!

I have always been a fan of fruit and cheese. After all, we’re all about balance here on this site and mixing in some fresh fruit with sometimes slightly more indulgent (although still arguably with some health benefits) cheese is a great way to cut back on the crackers and breads and get in some extra fiber and nutrients at the same time. A win-win in my book!

A platter of Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese is the perfect appetizer for entertaining.

In fact, you can rarely find my entire family getting together for any sort of occasion without some sort of cheese and charcuterie selection making an appearance, so you can bet these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese will be one of our hors d’oeuvres selections for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more!

They’re sweet, salty and creamy all in one (or maybe two) bites and will absolutely just melt in your mouth. Plus, they’re pretty darn easy to assemble, so almost anyone should be able to assist in putting them together. I made a batch for my mother-in-law’s birthday at the beginning of October and they disappeared quicker than you can say “prosciutto.”

So let’s talk about the recipe for a minute. I decided to bake said Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese to give the pears a nice roast-y flavor and the prosciutto a little crispy crunch, but I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t end up being a little messy. That being said, if you love warm, oozy, roasted hors d’oeuvres, definitely give these babies their time to shine in the oven. But, if you’d rather keep things neat and simple (and also leave room for more important things, like a roasted bird or green bean casserole, in the oven) than it’s perfectly acceptable to serve these uncooked as well.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese can also be served completely raw for an even easier hors d'oeuvres recipe.

Tell me, besides making these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese, what are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you traveling to visit family and friends or staying put and entertaining on your own at home?

We’re gathering up the babe and headed up to NorCal on our first road trip with her. So far our game plan is to just take things slow and stop when needed (it’s normally about a four-hour drive) but I’d love to hear any suggestions you have for taking a newborn on a long car ride.

Delicious roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese ready to be enjoyed as a holiday appetizer.

I hope you have a wonderful week filled with lots of delicious food!

A tray of Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese ready to be devoured!
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Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

The flavors of sweet, salty and creamy all come together in this quick and easy appetizer that is perfect for entertaining. 

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 7 ounces creamy blue cheese (or your favorite cheese to pair with pears)
  • 4 pears, cut into 6 wedges each
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

  2. Take one strip of prosciutto and spread on a small amount of creamy blue cheese. Wrap around a slice of pear and place on baking sheet.

  3. Repeat this process with the rest of the pear wedges.

  4. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the prosciutto looks slightly crispy and the pears slightly roasted.

  5. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

You can also just assemble the pears and skip the roasting part for an even easier method!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing

I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of holiday deliciousness today.

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini stuffing is an easy, tasty holiday side dish that everyone will love!

Because this is quite literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing not only due to its insane flavor, but also because it is sooo easy to make. Yes, your holiday menus are about to change forever.


I’m letting you in on a little secret today, because this stuffing is actually a family recipe that I’ve held near and dear to my heart….until now. I’ve debated sharing it for a while, and after receiving my Dad’s blessing (he’s the mastermind behind it all) I decided there’s no time like 10 days before Thanksgiving to do it!

So, I bet you’re wondering what makes this The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing when it only involves 5 ingredients? Well, let me tell you, those five ingredients are chock full of alllll the flavors and work together so perfectly that you will never regret making this your new go-to stuffing recipe for years to come. We’re talking not only the obvious zucchini (which also, BTW, makes this recipe fairly healthy as far as stuffing recipes go) but also fresh basil and plenty of garlic. Of course we also mix in some breadcrumbs and tie it all together with some high-quality butter. Have I won you over yet?

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.

What if I told you this stuffing is perfectly safe to eat raw (if you just can’t wait until you bake it off to try it) AND you don’t even have to stuff it into any sort of bird to enjoy it in all its glory? That’s my kind of stuffing.

Now, I know I’m sharing this with you before Thanksgiving just in case you’re looking for that perfect way to dress up your turkey a little bit, but in all honesty my Dad usually whips up this recipe for Christmas Eve. In fact, we usually rotate whatever type of poultry we use (sometimes we do chickens, sometimes Cornish game hens, etc.) but The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing is the one constant on the menu.

The best thing about this Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing? It can even be eaten raw!

For Thanksgiving, my mom has her own special stuffing recipe, but I’m not ready to disclose that one quite yet 😉

As far as making The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing, it’s going to be a snap as long as you have a food processor on hand. (But yes, you can also make it without one.) You can use the grater attachment of your processor to grate the zucchini, and the chopper attachment for the basil, breadcrumbs and garlic.

After you have all of the ingredients prepped, you’ll sauté the zucchini and garlic in butter, then at the last minute stir in the breadcrumbs and basil before dumping everything into a baking dish (or stuffing it into a bird). If you’re using a baking dish, I might recommend one with a lot of surface area so you maximize the crunchy golden topping, but that’s just me.

This is literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing and you need to add it to your holiday cooking schedule!

Once you have the stuffing in the oven, it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and relax with family and friends, hopefully with a delicious cocktail in hand. Because isn’t that what the holidays are REALLY all about??

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.
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The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 

This healthy stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful with just FIVE ingredients. It can be made as a vegetarian side dish or stuffed into a bird!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature you’re cooking your bird at.)

  2. Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a cheese shredder, shred the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water using a few paper towels and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shredded zucchini and garlic. Sauté until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then turn heat to low.

  4. In a clean food processor fitted with the blade attachment, make your fresh breadcrumbs using whatever type of bread you have on hand. Add fresh basil at the very end just to give it a rough chop.

  5. Stir breadcrumb mixture into zucchini mixture, then transfer into a baking dish, or stuff into your bird. Bake at desired oven temperature for about an hour, or until the surface of the stuffing takes on a nice golden-brown color.

  6. Serve with your holiday meal!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spiked Pear Cider

I’ve fallen hard for the homemade cider this year…

This Spiked Pear Cider is made in the slow cooker and can easily be made virgin for kids to enjoy!

And for this version I’ve even brought on the booze! That’s right, this Spiked Pear Cider is just as tasty as any hot apple cider and has a splash of bourbon to boot. My kind of cool weather treat!


In case you missed it, a little while back I forayed into the world of homemade ciders with this From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider and I was more than pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of spice. It made me start thinking about what other types of homemade ciders I could create, and a pear version was the first thing that popped to my mind.

And now that I’m back (at least a tiny bit) in the drinking game, I thought it only appropriate to make my pear cider into somewhat of a hot toddy by adding some tummy-warming bourbon. BUT, if you are not a drinker or not drinking at the moment for any reason (I feel ya) then I’m happy to say that this Spiked Pear Cider tastes just as delicious when it’s just plain ol’ “Pear Cider.” In fact, you don’t even add the booze until the end, so it’s easy to make a batch for a crowd and then just add the booze to the mugs of those who want it.

A couple of mugs of warm Spiked Pear Cider are just what you need on a cold fall or winter's night.

Aside from a little difference in the spices, the directions for making this Spiked Pear Cider are nearly identical to those for the apple cider. And whereas my apple cider recipe had no added sweetener, I did decide to add some honey to the pear cider to help counteract the booze a little bit. Which means it’s that much closer to a legit hot toddy and that much more acceptable to drink if you’re ever feeling a little bit under the weather this winter. Am I right?

So what I’ve done here is included the recipe for the pear cider itself – which you’ll make in the slow cooker – and then also the ratios for boozing it up. Plan on making the nonalcoholic pear cider in the slow cooker at least one night before you want to drink it (or first thing that morning since it takes 7 hours to cook) and then you can easily just keep it warm in the slow cooker or refrigerate it and reheat it when you’re ready to enjoy it as a cozy adult beverage.

A mug of Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect hot toddy for the holidays.

This Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect drink to have on hand for the holidays when you have guests and visitors stopping by at any given moment, or when you’re just looking for a little something special to serve up for family. It’s easy to throw together and can be made suitable for kids and adults alike. Plus, who doesn’t love a great “set it and forget it” recipe for this crazy time of year?

A couple of mugs of warm Spiked Pear Cider are just what you need on a cold fall or winter's night.
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Spiked Pear Cider
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
7 hr
Total Time
7 hr 10 mins
 

This slow cooker recipe is a fun new take on cider and can easily be made nonalcoholic for the young 'uns or non-drinkers in the crowd.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cider:
  • 8 pears, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 of a whole vanilla bean
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 cups filtered water
For one cocktail:
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 4-6 ounces pear cider
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the cider ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

  2. Strain cider into a pitcher or a few Mason jars and discard solids.

  3. To make the cocktail, measure out 2 ounces of bourbon into a mug and add 4-6 ounces of the cider (depending on the size of your mug.) Enjoy warm.

Spiked Pear Cider | CaliGirlCooking.com

Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble

Apparently I’m all about the butternut squash this week!

This Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is the perfect easy side dish for fall!

To be fair, it was somewhat on purpose. I feel like by now all of you, my dear readers, might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the pumpkin recipes currently populating the web and social media. I also feel that butternut squash is a delicious yet often overlooked fall ingredient and I wanted to be sure to give it its fair share of attention before we go too far down the pumpkin recipe rabbit hole. Enter this Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble!


I realize I haven’t posted a ton of vegetable side dish recipes on the site, and I honestly can’t tell you why. Maybe it’s because I like to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into my main dishes, or maybe it’s because often our “vegetables” are prepared simply and easily without a lot of flourish. But every once in a while I think we can all agree it’s nice to have a fancy veggie side dish to contribute to a get-together or family dinner, especially during the holidays when group gatherings are in full force.

And let me tell you – this Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is seriously one for the books. I mean, anytime you combine a super-healthy vegetable, tons of fresh herbs, crunchy amaretti crumbles, pancetta and CHEESE, I call it a surefire winner.

Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is a tasty side dish for fall that even picky eaters will love.

I may have come up with this recipe in the middle of September when it was still blazing hot out, but I sure as heck haven’t stopped making it since and plan to continue to make it whenever our little babe allows me the time to get in the kitchen and cook. I may also subtly share the recipe with my family so they can make it for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. I mean, it would only be appropriate, right?

I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess that said Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is going to please even the pickiest of little eaters. After all, what kid doesn’t want a nutrient-filled side dish that also happens to include CHEESE and COOKIES and taste out-of-this-world? I dare you to give it a shot.

Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is the perfect side dish to add to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu.

The great thing about this holiday-appropriate recipe is that it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe, meaning you prep everything in a baking dish, pop it in the oven and forget about it until it’s ready to eat. So sure, you may need to coordinate the oven time with other important holiday things – like turkey! – but once it has it’s moment, it’ll be ready to shine along with everything else gracing your feasted table.

I don’t have too much else to say about this Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble, except that you really need to make it ASAP, even if it’s just for a trial run before the big day when you plan to wow all your family and friends. I guarantee it’s going to be a huge hit!

A hefty serving of Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is the perfect addition to a holiday meal.

This Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble is the perfect easy side dish for fall!
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Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 5 mins
 

This butternut squash side dish is full of flavor with fresh herbs, Gruyere cheese and crispy prosciutto. Perfect for the holidays!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups amaretti cookies
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 ounces pancetta
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Place butternut squash slices neatly in a rectangular baking pan, drizzle on olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Follow by sprinkling on the thyme, sage and grated Gruyere.

  3. Combine the amaretti cookies, softened butter and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until a crumble forms. 

  4. Sprinkle the crumble over the squash and then sprinkle on the pancetta. 

  5. Place pan in oven and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Then increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 5-10 minutes longer, or until butternut squash feels tender when pierced with a fork and pancetta is slightly crispy/bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.

Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble | CaliGirlCooking.com