If you read a few posts back (here), you’ll recall that I had a fall luncheon for my neighbors. The weather was incredible – beautiful sunny and warm out – and you could feel Fall in the air.

I love the colors and I love the feel of it. I love the crisp mornings and the sunny afternoons. I love soups, stews, breads and pulling out some of my favorite recipes.

That is what I served for this luncheon. And because I love orange, I cooked my delicious Orange Carrot Soup, which is so fresh tasting with a zip of orange zest. And I baked one of my favorite recipes that I’ve made for years, Pumpkin Pie a La Easy! (From my Pampered Chef days over 11 years ago – did you know that in a two year period I had over 160 kitchen shows?)

I delegated the salad to my neighbor who lives on my left, and the appetizer to my other neighbor who lives on my right. Sharing the meal sure takes a lot of pressure off of the hostess! A few less things to worry about is what this girl needs!

Refreshing water is always my favorite. I sliced up one lemon for a sliver of a slice in each glass.

Orange Carrot Soup
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions (I use sweet)
12 large carrots 1 ½ to 2 pounds, peeled and chopped

4 cups chicken stock
1 cup fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated fresh orange zest to taste
(I always double or triple this recipe!)

Melt butter and sauté onions on low heat for 25 minutes. Add carrots and ½ of the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the mixture in blender or Cuisinart, to a texture that you prefer. Return to the pot and add the rest of the stock, and add fresh orange juice, spices and zest.

Serve hot! Delicious leftover! (Recipe modified from The Silver Palate cookbook.)

Sauté’ onions and butter

Peel & chop carrots, cook with onions & broth

Puree the softened vegetables

Heat, and add spices, orange juice and zest

(My new favorite kitchen tool is the Zester Grater, made by Microplane. It’s used for grating parmesan, zest or coconut!)

Serve – and watch your guests’ faces when they take their first bite!

Mary’s Caesar Salad
The ladies raved over Mary’s salad. And do you want to know what her secret was? Squeeze a lemon over your lettuce before you toss the salad, chicken and dressing! It made all the difference in the flavor.

The girls added parmesan cheese and croutons to each salad before serving

Elli’s fig appetizers
I don’t have the recipes, but Elli makes a scrumptious fig foccasia and fig dip! It was out of this world, served with toasted bread and goat cheese.

Pumpkin Pie A la Easy
Yes, I make this dessert every year. It really is so easy and it tastes just like pumpkin pie – well, it is pumpkin pie – just in a larger proportion. I enjoy making this recipe because it feeds a lot of people. (You can also ½ this recipe and bake in a 9×9 pan.)

Using a food chopper, make the pecan crust and bake

1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup quick or old-fashioned oats
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cups butter, melted
Mix above ingredients and press to the bottom of pan, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Other ingredients

Add together and whisk

4 eggs
2 cans (15 oz each) solid pack pumpkin
2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
Mix above ingredients and pour onto the baked crust. Bake 30-35 minutes. Let cool and serve with whipped cream on top!

Pour onto the cooked crust

Bake, cool, cut, and add whipping cream

Find 2 cute girls to serve it up!

Both of the recipes I’ve included are excellent fall or winter recipes! By tripling the soup recipe, they both make hefty portions, perfect for a larger group or dinner party.

I’ve made the soup and the dessert many, many times. They’re both winner recipes and we love the leftovers!

Do you have a favorite winter soup that you prepare for guests?

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