In the end, resistance is futile.

It’s impossible to ignore all the pumpkins, candy corn, and apple cider, now ubiquitous at every corner store.

So I have embraced the inevitable and am actually ok with it (I can’t say that about winter but maybe I’ll get there too).

So whether you’re organizing a tailgate or hosting something a bit more elegant on your patio, it’s time to incorporate some easy fall recipes into your repertoire and effortlessly bridge the gap between summer barbecues and hearty, holiday meals.

Set the Scene

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Fall Table Decorating

Of course, nothing says fall like pumpkins and gourds, which you can use for fall decorating of tablescapes, and to hold dips and chips too. (See the clever pumpkin serving bowl above from BHG.com.)

Other small, easy touches include using a plaid throw as a table cloth (in team colors if it’s a tailgate) and natural elements like berries, branches, and Indian corn. And don’t forget the mums, which can be planted after the party!

As for fall foods, we’ve already given you some of our favorite apple recipes so now we’re focusing on other “iconic” fall ingredients like cranberries, butternut squash, and pumpkin, just to name a few.

As I’ve said multiple times, I’m a bit “time challenged,” so all of the fall recipes below are easy and delicious.

Butternut Squash Soup Three Ways

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Butternut Squash Soup

The easiest way to prepare butternut squash is to poke it with a fork and bake it, whole, at 400F for one hour.  Let it cool, and then halve lengthwise and remove the seeds. The flesh scoops out easily with a spoon, so no cutting or dicing is required.

You can also buy cubes of it at many grocery stores this time of year, which saves you the time of cutting and dicing.

The name says it all: Easy to Make Butternut Squash Soup. This one uses Greek yogurt as a topper for a tangy bite at the end.

This is another winner, Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup, which is slightly sweeter due to the honey.

Last but not least? This tasty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Chow.com, which also contains apples, sage, and onion.

Fall Recipes: Tasty Appetizers

This Cranberry Walnut Baked Brie recipe from OutToLunchCreations.com us not only beautiful to look at but also gluten free.

What’s not to like?

I know we promised no apples, but these Cranberry, Apple Sage Bites from ACoupleCooks.com were too good to miss.

I also like their vegetarian Slow Cooked Black Bean Chili recipe, which you could modify by adding either beef or turkey, because you can just put it in the crock pot and forget about it until people are ready to eat.

(I know chili isn’t technically an appetizer but you can use as a starter like soup.)

Another fall appetizer recipe that’s gotten rave reviews on Food.com is this one for their Roast Beef Horseradish Spirals. I haven’t made them, but the comments were extremely positive and used words like “easy,” “make ahead” and “delicious.” My kind of appetizer!

This next recipe is easier if you buy the sweet potatoes already cubed (I get them from my local Trader Joes). Sweet Potato Squares with Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise from southernliving.com sound complicated and look elegant but they are a breeze to make.

Need a carb-cheese fix? This last one, Arancini, from FoodNetwork.com is a fried rice ball with a cheesy center. Yum!

Non-Alcoholic Fall Drinks

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Hot Apple Cider

There’s nothing quite like fresh apple cider with a little cinnamon on top, hot or cold.

But I also love how the Cranberry Apple Crush from bhg.com starts with cider and then adds cranberry juice and other flavors like mango, ginger and lime for an unexpected warm drink treat.

You could serve Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, from food.com, as a dessert but I think it’s also a great way to get calcium into any young partygoer. Containing canned pumpkin pie, evaporated milk, and yogurt along with pumpkin pie spices. it’s something delicious and nutritious for all ages.

Alcoholic Fall Drinks

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Mulled Wine

There are a lot of seasonal drinks on the shelves and menu, including special beers brewed for Oktoberfest and numerous coffee drinks from Starbucks. (Oh, how I’ve missed you, Pumpkin Spice Latte!) I’ve chosen three to highlight.

First, I chose the Perfect Pear Brandy Sidecar from allrecipes.com since pears, another seasonal fruit in fall, tend to get overlooked.

In the summer, we drink sangria, but in the fall, we drink mulled wine, like this easy Hot Spiced Wine recipe from Food.com. It combines red wine, cider and lots of the same fruit in sangria but this time, it’s warm.

Finally, I leave you with the Pumpkin Old Fashioned from saveur.com, which blends the orange-scented old fashioned with subtly sweet pumpkin to produce a brilliantly colored an delectable seasonal cocktail.

Hopefully at least a few of these easy fall recipes will make the cut for your next get together. Bon Appétit!