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Sara Stirs shares one sweet and two savory recipes you will fall in love with this autumn

Editor’s note: Sara Stirs is contributing to My Buckhannon on an occasional pop-up basis to give readers an exclusive look at some of her favorite recipes she’s perfected over time. For more content, follow her on Instagram at @sarajstirs.

Easiest Caramel Sauce/Dip (sauce for two)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan (always go bigger when candy making), add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow boil.
  3. Continue to cook while stirring 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Allow to cool 15 minutes and then serve. This sauce will harden as it sits. It reheats beautifully (stovetop or microwave), so no worries.
Easiest Caramel Dip/Sauce

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced, (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups broccoli, diced small
  • 1+ cup grated carrots
  • 3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Grated nutmeg is best (or 1/8 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh parsley for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat sauté the onions and garlic in the oil, season with salt, and cook until soft and golden in color.
  2. Remove and set aside. Add butter and flour and whisk until a paste forms. Cook this roux for a few minutes; you want to see an amber color. Then, gradually whisk in the milk; this will be thick.
  3. Next, whisk in the stock. Add onions, garlic, broccoli, carrots, ground mustard, black pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Also, season with salt, but be cautious, as the stock and cheese are salty. (You can always season at the end if needed.)
  4. Cook for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Remove a few cups of the soup and blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender directly in the pot to partially purée.
  6. Return the blended soup back to the pot and stir in the cheeses.
  7. Cook an additional 5 minutes to combine. Serve with fresh parsley and either red pepper flakes or more fresh ground black pepper.
Broccoli Cheese Soup

Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients for meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (more for garnish)
  • 3 green onions chopped (more for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for pickled vegetables:

  • Any combo of peppers, carrots, cucumbers, radish, lime zest, julienned.
  • For 1 1/2 cups of veggies combine with 1/2 salt, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons white or rice vinegar. (This may be made sweeter or more tart in accordance with taste.) Allow to marinate while you cook the meatballs.

Ingredients for the sauce (you choose the ratio):

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sriracha

Directions:

  • Combine all meatball ingredients gently with your hands.
  • Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Rub your hands with oil, as the chicken mixture is wet and sticky, and this will cut down on the mess.
  • Roll the meatballs (I make mine kind of small for sandwiches) and drop them right in the skillet.
  • Cook in batches until crisp and cooked through.
  • Garnish sandwiches with cilantro and green onions.
Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs in a wrap/sandwich

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