There’s a certain sense of nostalgia that sweeps in with the crisp air when the leaves start turning vibrant shades of crimson, gold, and orange. While spring signifies fresh beginnings, and summer is all about life’s simple pleasures, the cooler months seem to usher in a desire to return to the things that bring comfort: cozy blankets, crunchy leaves, crackling fires … and delicious food. The link between memories, taste, and smell has been well-researched. As it turns out, the part of the brain called the hippocampus—which aids in forming long-term memories—has strong ties to the areas of the brain that regulate emotion and smell. That’s why it is no surprise that, for many of us, the food we enjoy during the significant holidays of autumn and winter often stirs up warm memories and feelings from days gone by.
Fascinatingly, there’s also a biological reason behind the foods we crave in fall and winter. When the weather is cold, our bodies want warming foods—such as root vegetables and starches. These warming foods are also in season: carrots, sweet potatoes, cranberries, broccoli, spinach, and pumpkin, to name a few. Shifting to a diet rich in seasonal produce when the weather cools can help to improve our mood during the time of year when natural sunlight is in short supply!
Residents at The Hickman enjoy fabulous cuisine tailored to every season. Each month, Director of Culinary and Nutritional Services Rodney Sykes holds a menu feedback meeting with residents. Residents share their opinions about the menus, sample new recipes, and suggest future dishes. Now that fall is officially here, the menus at The Hickman abound in hearty, delicious recipes that fill heart and soul. Here are some of our fan favorites—we think you’ll love them, too! What are your favorite flavors of fall?
Cranberry and Brie Stuffed Chicken
from Eat the Bite
- 3 boneless chicken breasts (halved)
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
- 1 ½ cups shredded SHARP provolone cheese
- ¼ pound of brie cheese
- 6 tablespoons craisins or dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cups plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, optional garnish
- Start by using your kitchen scissors to trim the fat around the chicken breasts.
- Once the fat is trimmed, slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to make six cutlets.
- Place the cutlets on your board and wrap some plastic over them. Pound them down to about ¼” in thickness. The cutlets will be delicate after you pound them. Have a spatula on hand to gently lift the chicken off the cutting board.
- Once all the chicken is pounded, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides of the chicken. the measurements in the recipe card above are meant to be divided to season each side.
- Shred the SHARP provolone cheese. Note that we are using SHARP provolone cheese, which has a stronger flavor than the regular sliced provolone you get at the deli counter. The SHARP provolone is purchased as a block of cheese.
- Slice twelve smaller pieces of brie. The pieces should measure about 2”x1” and approximately ¼” in thickness. You want them small enough to fit inside the chicken, which we’ll be folding over.
- Put the craisins (or dried cranberries) in a small ramekin to prepare them for the assembly.
- Using two wide, shallow bowls or plates, add the olive oil to one and the plain breadcrumbs to the other.
- ASSEMBLY: Dip the chicken into the olive oil, getting just one side coated in the oil. Pick it up to let the oil drip off a bit. Next, place the chicken into the dish of breadcrumbs (olive oil side down) and press gently. Place two slices of the brie in the middle, a small handful of the shredded sharp provolone cheese on top of that, and 1 tablespoon of the craisins (or dried cranberries). Roll/Fold the chicken up, sprinkle a bit more breadcrumbs to ensure full coverage. Place chicken into baking dish and do this for all the chicken.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. After the 15 minutes or so of baking time, turn the broiler on high with the baking dish still on a lower rack and brown the breadcrumbs a bit.
- While the chicken is cooking you can chop the fresh parsley garnish.
- Let the chicken cool for 5 minutes or so before serving. Serve with brown rice and broccoli tossed with candied walnuts.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
from Simply Recipes
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (58g) unsalted butter
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Scant pinch ground cloves
- 8 tablespoons (117g) unsalted butter at room temperature (plus more for buttering the pan)
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with sides at least 2 inches high.
- Make the caramel topping:
- In a small saucepan, place the 4 tablespoons of butter and the 3/4 cups of packed brown sugar.
- On medium-high heat, stir the sugar as the butter melts.
- Once the butter is melted and mixed in well with the sugar, stop stirring and let the mixture simmer for 15 seconds or so.
- Pour the brown sugar butter mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spread the cranberries on top of the brown sugar butter mixture.
- Prepare the dry ingredients:
- In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cloves.
- Prepare the wet ingredients:
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light. Add the sugar and beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Stir in the orange zest.
- Mix a third of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Beat in half of the sour cream. Mix in another third of the dry ingredients. Mix in the remaining sour cream. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the milk.
- Pour batter over the cranberries in the cake pan and smooth the surface.
- Place in the preheated oven and lower the heat from 350°F to 325°F. Bake until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs. When pressing down on the cake, the surface should bounce back, about 55 to 60 minutes.
- Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
- Run a blunt knife around the inside rim of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then, turn the cake out onto a platter.