The mercury is falling all over the country and autumn is well upon us. Squash, pumpkins, potatoes and other fall produce are filling the markets, too. Many of these foods are fiber-rich and full of antioxidants.

There’s something about colder weather that makes heartier food more flavorful. Soups, stews, casseroles and turnovers are all better in autumn.

Fill your home with the flavors of fall this week with a featured family meal of Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Casserole, Roasted Garlic Ginger Sweet Potato Soup and Maple Walnut Tapioca Pudding. Other autumnal recipes to enjoy all week long include Baked Orzo with Mushrooms, Chives and Parmesan Cheese, Bierocks (German Meat Turnovers), Green Chili-Chicken Casserole and Winter Fruit Turnovers.

Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Casserole

Number of servings: 4 (125 calories per serving)

1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced

3½ tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine squash and next five ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

3. Transfer mixture to a gratin dish or other shallow baking dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Bake about 1 hour in middle of oven until squash is tender and top is golden.

Roasted Garlic Ginger Sweet Potato Soup

Number of servings: 10 or more (217 calories per serving)

Sweet potatoes are the foundation for a flavorful soup with immunity-boosting garlic, ginger and chicken stock.

6 large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 head garlic, about 5 unpeeled cloves

2 to 3 slices ginger

6 cups chicken broth or bouillon

1 to 2 cups water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Rub cut surfaces with oil and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Scatter unpeeled garlic cloves and ginger slices in center of pan. Bake, uncovered, in center of oven until potatoes are very soft, from 45 to 60 minutes.

2. Scoop potato pulp from skins and place pulp in a food processor. Squeeze garlic cloves from peel right into processor. Add ginger. Whirl, adding broth as needed to produce a puree.

3. Spoon puree into a large saucepan. Stir in remaining broth and water, 1 cup at a time, until as thick as you like. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until hot.

4. (Optional) Serve with dollops of sour cream.

Cook’s Notes: Soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Maple Walnut Tapioca Pudding

Number of servings: 4 (299 calories per serving)

2 cups low-fat milk

2 large eggs, well beaten

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg


1. Combine milk, egg, tapioca and salt in a medium saucepan. Let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, 6 to 18 minutes (depending on your stove). Remove from the heat; stir in 1/2 cup syrup and vanilla.

3. Divide the pudding between 4 ramekins or custard cups. Let cool for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate until chilled.

4. Meanwhile, line a small plate with parchment or wax paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray. Combine walnuts, the remaining syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan or skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until most of the syrup has evaporated, 1 to 4 minutes. Spread the nuts out onto the prepared paper and place in the freezer until cool, about 10 minutes.

5. Crumble the chilled walnut topping into pieces. Serve the pudding topped with the maple walnuts.

Cook’s Notes: To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate the pudding for up to 3 days. Prepare the walnut topping (Step 4) 15 minutes before serving.

“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian-approved recipes with foods from all the food groups to reflect Dairy Council of California’s nutrition philosophy. For information, nutrition tools and additional family meal recipes, visit

© 2013, Dairy Council of California

Distributed by MCT Information Services