Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Falling in LOVE with FALL Recipes

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This is my absolute favorite time of year. Have I told you that already? Like, I luff, luff, LUFF it! If I had to pick just one holiday, this would be in a very close race with Christmas and, you know, it just might win. I love it that much.

I think what I love about it so much is the idea of it.... The feeling of overwhelming gratitude in my heart paired together with totally stellar meals and the people I love and care about most... Pure delight! 

Today I thought I'd take you back into my past and share some of my favorite dishes from my holiday memories with you! My mom has always been a solid cook and these are some of the recipes she's been making for years... They aren't her original recipes, but she has them mastered, I tell you what! She never disappoints!  So if you're looking for something new to spice things up this holiday season, here's a good place to start :)

*I'm really sorry I don't have any pictures... But I promise you, they are really so so so good!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH NUTMEG CREAM

This is incredible!

Serves 8 – 10

5 tablespoons butter 
2 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-2” cubes

2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
½ cup chopped peeled carrot
½ cup chopped onion

½ teaspoon salt

2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme (or fresh used 2 teaspoons)

¼ teaspoon nutmeg---plus ¼ teaspoon for cream topping FRESH IS BEST

1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 ¾ cups apple cider
½ cup whipping cream
 
chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in a heavy, 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add squash, leeks, carrot and onion, sauté’ until onions are softened, about 15 minutes.

Mix in apples, thyme and spices.  Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Puree soup in pan with immersion blender (or working in batches, puree soup in blender when cooled down). Boil remaining ¾-cup cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes.  Cool.  Whip cream and ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg to a soft peak, fold in concentrated cider.
Bring soup to simmer. Ladle soup into bowls.  Drizzle with cider cream.  Top with chives.

Soup can be frozen and is YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!!!

PUMPKIN PECAN CHEESECAKE

This is my personal FAVORITE THANKSGIVING DESSERT EVER! Beats a pumpkin or pecan pie any day. To die for.

Topping:
¼ cup packed brown sugar
 
6 T. butter, chilled
1 ½ cup chopped pecans

Crust:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
6 T. butter, melted

Cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
¾ cups packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 lb. canned pumpkin
½ cup whipping cream
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. cloves

For topping: Place sugar in small bowl.  Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir pecans into mixture.  Set aside.

For cheesecake: Blend crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, and butter in medium bowl.  Press crumb mixture in bottom and up sides of 9” spring-form pan.  Chill.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth.  Mix in remaining ¾ cup sugar and brown sugar.  Add eggs 1 at a time and beat until fluffy.  Blend in pumpkin, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Pour into crust.  Bake until center no longer moves when pan is shaken, about 1 ½ hours.

Sprinkle topping over cheesecake.  Bake 15 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Serves 10




Cinnamon Roll Pulls

These are just downright delicious! We make them in the morning and I tell you, they are soooooo yummy!

1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make Vanilla Honey Butter: Whip butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar together until smooth; stir in honey and vanilla.  Set aside. (You can use regular butter if desired)

Cut the bread lengthwise into 1/2" slices, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread vanilla honey butter in between slices.  Rotate the bread 90 degrees and slice the bread again into 1/2" pieces, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread more vanilla honey butter in between new cuts. This doesn't need to be perfect - just make sure there is lots of butter in between all the cuts. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Generously sprinkle in between all cuts. (You may have extra butter and cinnamon sugar.  It will just depend on how large your bread loaf is.)

Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until bread is warm.  Unwrap cinnamon bread and place on serving platter.  Combine powdered sugar and milk - adding milk until you get the consistency desired.  Drizzle icing over bread and serve immediately.


RED HOT JELLO

This one has been in the family for years and is actually my grandma Ginger's recipe. We've been making this gem since before I can even remember! Some peeps in my fam adore this, other's not so much... I, personally, think it's delish and I look forward to it every year!! MMMMM!

2 pkg lemon jello

1/2 cups red hot candy
3 cups boiling water
2 cups applesauce
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 dash salt

Mixture:

1/2 cup chopped nuts
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup cream or milk
2 tablespoons mayo

Dissolve candies in three cups boiling water and jello. Add applesauce, lemon juice and salt.

Chill until partially set and then swirl in cream cheese mixture. (I use a fluted jello/cake pan)


Autumn Chopped Salad

This is just a great fall recipe for any day, really. Easy and super good!

Ingredients:

6 to 8 cups of Chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon (I used turkey bacon) crisp and crumbled
4 to 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Poppy Seed Dressing (store bought)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (store bought)

Directions:

Combine lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese.  Drizzle with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette.  Toss and serve! 


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