Chocolate Pots with Polenta Orange Cookies

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A wonderful silky and rich dessert.  Ideal for dinner parties and can be made the day before your party. 

Chocolate Pots with Polenta Orange Cookies
 
Serves 8
 
Chocolate Pots
 
2 cups heavy cream
¾ pound semisweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
 
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until it bubbles around the edges, Remove from heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, and then stir until smooth.
 
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks then whisk in ½ cup of the hot chocolate cream. Scrape the mixture into the saucepan and whisk constantly until smooth. Stir in the rum and butter.
 
Pour the custard into eight ½ cup ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Polenta Orange Cookies
 
1 ½ cups non-instant polenta
6 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
¾ cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
 
In a food processor, combine the polenta with the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and salt.  Pulse until well combined and resembles coarse meal.  Add the eggs and pulse just until the mixture comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
 
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
 
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat, drop slightly rounded teaspoons of the dough onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden around the edges and on the bottoms.

 

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Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Bread
 
1/3 cup shortening
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/3 cups sugar
 
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray with cooking spray a 9×5 loaf pan or use 3×5 mini loaf pans (makes 6), set aside.
 
In a large bowl add the first five ingredients and using a hand mixer, mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl stir together the remaining ingredients then add to the wet mixture and mix until smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and cook for 1 hour.

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Beef Filet Rolls with Soy Dipping Sauce

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This is a great appetizer for a dinner party or any special occasion. A real crowd pleaser.

Beef Filet Rolls with Soy Dipping Sauce
 
Makes 24-30 rolls
 
2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
5 scallions, green tops cut into 3-inch strips sliced lengthwise (slice white tips thin for sauce)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3-inch thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3-inch thin strips
 
Pre-heat oven to broil.
 
In a bowl mix together the soy sauce and brown sugar until dissolved. Slice beef into thin slices (about ¼-inch thick), place some plastic wrap on each piece and using a meat pounder, pound until about 1/8-inch thickness.  Place beef in the soy sauce mixture and marinate for 5 minutes.
 
Reserving the soy marinade, remove the beef, separate and shake off excess soy mixture and place each piece on a large work surface. Sprinkle each beef piece with salt and pepper then place one strip of scallion, red and orange bell pepper strips.  Roll up and place a wooden toothpick into center to hold together.


 
Lightly oil a broil pan and place beef roll ups evenly on pan.  Cook under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.
 

 

 

In a small sauce pan, pour in the reserved soy marinade and boil for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a dipping bowl and add sliced white tip scallions.  Serve with the beef roll ups.

 

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Pumpkin Soup

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This is a perfect Fall soup that will warm you up on a chilly day and is very easy to make. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup
 
Serves 6-8
 
1 medium-sized fresh pumpkin, skinned, seeded and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large onions, sliced
5-6 tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup olive oil
32 ounces chicken broth
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup milk (regular or low-fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a drizzle of heavy cream.
 
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
 
In a large roasting pan add the pumpkin chunks, garlic, onions and tomatoes.  Toss with the olive oil and roast for 1 hour until the pumpkin is tender.

 

 

 

 

 

In a large pot add the roasted vegetables and chicken broth.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or you can use a blender or food processor and puree in batches then return to the pot.
 
Over low heat stir in the nutmeg, milk and salt and pepper to taste.   
 
Note: add additional milk and nutmeg to taste.
 
Serve with garlic, parmesan cheese baguette toasts.

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Candy Corn Cupcakes

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Candy Corn Cupcakes
 
1 box of plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk
2 large eggs
Yellow and orange food coloring
White frosting
Candy corns
 
Place cupcake liners into a cupcake pan.
 
In a large bowl add the cake mix, sour cream, oil, milk and eggs.  Using a hand mixer, mix until well combined and divide the batter evenly into two separate bowls.  Color half the batter with a few drops of orange food coloring and the other half with a few drops of yellow food coloring.  Fill each cupcake liner with ¼ cup of the yellow batter then top with the orange batter until each liner is half full.
 
Bake according to cake box directions.  Let cool and top with frosting and candy corns.

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Octoberfest Bar Peanuts

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These peanuts are perfect for celebrating Octoberfest or if you are just kicking back watching a football game.

Make these this weekend and serve with a cold beer.

Bar Peanuts
 
1 pound raw peanuts
1 tablespoon clarified butter
½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon  fine salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon Lowry’s seasoning salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
 
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
 
In a large bowl toss the peanuts and clarified butter until coated.  Place the peanuts  evenly on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Stir the peanuts every 5 minutes until done. 
 
Mix together the remaining ingredients. Once the peanuts have cooled to a warm temperature toss with the herb/spice mixture and serve warm.

 

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Homemade Apple Sauce

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This apple sauce is absolutely pure sweetness and so easy to make. During the Fall season I like to serve as a side dish in carved out mini pumpkins.

It is also a wonderful served warm over a scoop of vanilla ice cream as a dessert.

Homemade Apple Sauce
 
Serves 6
 
4 cups red apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice from ½ of a lemon
¾ cups water
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
 
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add all the ingredients and stir together.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat and mash with a fork.  Serve warm or cold.

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Caesar Salad

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This is my husband’s recipe — I love it!

He gets full credit for this one, recipe and picture.

Caesar Salad

1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup light virgin olive oil
2 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
Croutons*

Combine the first six ingredients together and mix well.  Chill until ready to use.

Chopped lettuce and chill in refrigerator.

*For the croutons — cube a ¼ baguette.  Lightly toss with olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese and baked in a 400 degree oven until toasted light brown.

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Oreo Cookie Truffles

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Oreo Cookie BallsSuper easy and fun to make.  Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.

Oreo Cookie Truffles
 
36 regular Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
10 oz. milk chocolate chips
 
In a food processor add the cookies and cream cheese and process until smooth.  Roll the cookie mixture into 1-inch round balls and place on a large tray lined with waxed paper.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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In a small bowl place 1/3 of the chocolate chips and microwave on high for 1 minute, remove and stir until smooth.  Remove the cookie balls and roll into the melted chocolate and place back on the same tray.  Repeat the same process working in 1/3 batches of the chocolate chips. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

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Mini Stuffed Sweet Peppers

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Mini Peppers 005

 

Mini Stuffed Sweet Peppers
 
1 pound mini sweet bell peppers (assorted colors)
8 oz. lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small yellow onion, shredded (using a cheese grater works great)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and using a small teaspoon scoop out the seeds and pith (Helpful hint: Even though my kids are older I still have a couple of baby spoons that work perfect for this task). Arrange peppers on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes then remove from the oven to stuff.Mini Peppers 002

In a large sauté pan over medium heat cook the turkey for 5 minutes then add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, onion and garlic.  Cook until the turkey is fully cooked then add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheeses and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff each pepper then bake for 20-25 minutes.

These can be made up to a day ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

 

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