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Fun, Kid-Friendly Fall Recipes

San Diego may be a bit behind in terms of temperature, but fall is officially here! This year, while some favorite seasonal activities can safely continue (pumpkin patch visit, anyone?), many families are opting to keep celebrations within their own homes. Whether you’re craving a comforting meal or the beloved taste of pumpkin spice, or want to whip up some delightfully spooky treats, the Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego Clinical Nutrition team has gathered up some simple, healthy recipes the whole family will want to take part in prepping … and, of course, eating. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Cream Pie: Vanessa Aldaz, MPH, RD, CDE

“This recipe offers the aromas and comfort of the autumn and winter season. Its luxurious, creamy texture and right amount of spice is sure to make you a sweet potato lover year-round,” says Aldaz.


  • 1 pie crust (you can make at home or purchase at the store)
  • 2 cups sweet potato, steamed and mashed (about two large potatoes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 eggs


  • Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small cubes.
  • Steam on low heat for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender, and then mash and set aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Prepare pie crust in a pie or tart pan. If you’re using a tart pan, place a cookie sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  • Mix sweet potatoes, sugars, syrup, spices and salt.
  • Add heavy cream and eggs, and then mix until well-blended. Pour mixture into the pie crust.
  • If using a pie pan, bake in the middle of the oven for 40–45 minutes, or until the filling is set. If using a tart pan, place the pan on top of the heated cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 35 –40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Note: Check at 35 minutes for both preparations to account for differences in ovens.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack. When fully cooled, garnish with whipped cream and toasted pecans.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins: Lora Beaston, RD, CSP, CLEC

“These muffins are bursting with flavor, and they have fiber and vitamin A, along with potassium, iron and vitamin E from the pumpkin,” Beaston points out.  “Be creative and add dried cranberries or chopped walnuts for color and crunch.  Enjoy them warm out of the oven, or as a great addition for a packed lunch.”


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 115-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour of choice (white whole wheat, whole wheat, all-purpose or a combination)
  • 3/4 cup (plus optional 2 tablespoons) rolled oats


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Prepare a muffin tin with muffin cup liners or nonstick spray.
  • Whisk honey, yogurt and oil in a large bowl, and then add in egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix pumpkin into wet ingredients.
  • Add baking soda and spices, and then use a whisk or spatula to mix together. Repeat with flour and oats.
  • Divide the batter into muffin tins, adding two tablespoons of rolled oats to the tops if desired.
  • Bake 25–28 minutes — check centers with a knife or toothpick.

Recipe via wellplated.com

One-Pot Baked Butternut Squash Risotto: Emily Bhattacharjee, MS, RD, CNSC

“Butternut squash is a vegetable that is grown in the summer and is harvested in the fall,” Bhattacharjee notes. “Because of its thick skin, it can be stored for long periods without refrigeration, and is therefore a common staple for the winter months.  Look for a butternut squash that is heavy for its size with a hard, smooth rind.  Butternut squash is a very good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.”


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium (approximately 2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bunch black or curly kale, stems removed and cut into thick strips
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat oil over medium-high in an ovenproof pot, such as a Dutch oven.
  • Add shallots and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add garlic and thyme and cook for approximately 1 minute.
  • Add rice and stir while cooking for approximately 3 minutes, or until grains are opaque.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and then add half a cup of the vegetable broth and lemon juice and stir for approximately 2 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add squash and the rest of the broth and cook until boiling, and then stir in kale.
  • Cover the pot and move to the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes — the majority of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Add parmesan cheese to the top and serve.

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

Halloween Banana Popsicles: Sierra Mirvis, RD, CNSC

“These Halloween-themed banana popsicles are the perfect activity for parents and kids this spooky season,” Mirvis states. “They only require five ingredients and can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.”


  • 4 large bananas (not too soft)
  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • 16 popsicle sticks
  • 1/3 cup creamy-style nut or seed butter of choice


  • Make room in your freezer and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • For ghost popsicles, peel two bananas and slice in half twice: first horizontally, and then vertically.
  • For mummy popsicles, peel two bananas and remove the tips, and then slice horizontally to make three round pieces.
  • Insert popsicle sticks into the ends of all slices and set on the baking sheet.
  • Freeze for a minimum of half an hour, or as long as overnight.
  • Mix yogurt and sugar together in a bowl.
  • Remove frozen popsicles from the freezer and then dip them in the “frosting.”
  • For ghost popsicles only, place dipped popsicles on the baking sheet and use chocolate chips to create eyes. Return all popsicles to the freezer for a minimum of an hour.
  • Microwave nut or seed butter for 30–45 seconds.
  • Remove frozen, frosted popsicles from the freezer.
  • For mummy popsicles only, drizzle the nut or seed butter in a bandage pattern across the popsicles and then use chocolate chips to create eyes.
  • Place popsicles in the freezer for at least half an hour.
  • Remove from the freezer and soften for several minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from wellplated.com