Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

I love pumpkin ravioli but who has time or energy to make that, get all the flavor with none of the work with this baked ziti dish.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

1 16 0z package of ziti or other pasta cooked and drained

2 c pumpkin puree

2 c ricotta cheese

1/4 c  shredded parmesan cheese

1 T honey

1 egg

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

While pasta is cooking, mix pumpkin, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, honey, egg, nutmeg and sage in a bowl. When pasta is done drain and return to pot, add butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add pumpkin/cheese mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in salt and pepper. Add to a large baking pan and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 min at 325 or until cheese is melted.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

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Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

 

I love pretzels and cheese fondue, ok I love cheese fondue with everything. I would eat cheese fondue for dinner every night but let’s admit it that is really an appetizer. So how to make it into a real dinner….. I will put it on a sandwich, and add some healthier things and hey, its dinner. So I put fondue, chicken, apples, and spinach on a pretzel roll and voila dinner is served. I made my own pretzel rolls because I like to set myself up to fail. I am not a baker, in fact I hate it and I am not very good at it either. I had to make a second batch because the first batch looked like a dog had chewed on all my rolls. The second batch was slightly better and tasted great but from now on these will be an item I get from my bakery.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

4 large or 8 small pretzel rolls

4  thinly sliced chicken cutlets

1/2 t thyme

1/2 t nutmeg

1T oil

1 apple sliced thin

1 c  fresh baby spinach

2 oz goat cheese

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 c flour

1 t chopped garlic

1 c white wine, beer or water

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with the thyme and nutmeg. Heat oil in a skillet and cook chicken for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Cover with foil and set aside. Add garlic and wine/beer/water to a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Toss flour with shredded cheese to coat, add to sauce pan with goat cheese and whisk over med.heat until melted and well combined, turn heat to low.

Goat Cheese and Cheddar Fondue

Slice rolls and add chicken spinach and sliced apples, spoon fondue on top and serve. If fondue gets too thick, turn heat up and stir until melted.

I think they were great without the chicken too, so they would be a good vegetarian option.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

I usually don’t try out recipes before an event, yes I know I live on the edge, but when it is a delicious cocktail, well reserch is important. I was trying to think of a festive drink for Thanksgiving, I’ve done cranberries and pumpkin in the past so I was thinking of something new and different. Apples? hmm too boring how about pears? So I came up with a spiced pear sangria. It’s very yummy and I am glad I practiced first.

Spiced Pear Sangria

2 pears sliced

1/2 apple sliced

3/4 c pear nectar (found by the fruit juices in the supermarket)

1/4 c ginger liquor

1/8 t nutmeg

1/4 t cinnamon

2 c ice

3 c champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine.

Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir.

 

Garnish with cinnamon sticks and or sliced pears.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

1c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter

1/4 c water

1 egg

1 t vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.

Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes,  this  keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.

Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Chili

 

Get out the spice rack, this thick and satisfying chili has a great depth of flavor, warm, hearty, earthy and spicy. Perfect for Halloween night or any fall dinner, serve  it with naan or couscous.

Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Chili

1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb

3 tbsp hot curry powder

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t cardamom

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t cumin

1/4 t nutmeg

1 T cinnamon

1 T honey

1 T tomato paste

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 c yellow onion chopped

1 150z can of pumpkin

1/2 c chopped dried apricots

14 oz can peeled tomatoes and juice

2 cups small gold potatoes quartered (or bite size)

3-4 c beef broth

salt to taste

In a large heavy pot brown ground beef over med high heat until cooked through, add, all the spices, tomato paste and honey, stir and cook 1 min, add garlic and onions, cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring constantly.

 

Add pumpkin, apricots, tomatoes and potatoes, stir, add broth and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

 

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

This dip is perfect for a Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving gathering. All the taste of pumpkin pie with out the hassle of baking, and its a finger food so it is perfect for parties.

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

1 8oz brick of cream cheese softened

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 c brown sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 t vanilla

ginger snaps

sliced apples

Mix the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spice and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric beater until smooth and incorporated. Serve with apples and ginger snaps.

For a pretty and festive presentation, hollow out a small pumpkin or gourd and serve dip inside.

 

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Nutella Glaze

 

Fall is here, time to use one of my favorite seasonal ingredients, pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Nutella Glaze

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1 c canola or vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 T vanilla

2/3 c water

3 c sugar

3 1/2 c flour

2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

1/4 t cloves

1/2 t ginger

1 c chocolate chips

1/4 c Nutella spread

2 T powdered sugar

2-4 T milk

 

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large bundt cake pan. In a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar. In a medium bowl stir together, flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet gradually stirring until smooth.

 

Add chocolate chips and pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Let cake cool in pan. Meanwhile make Nutella glaze by whisking together Nutella, powdered sugar and milk. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. When cake is cool invert onto a plate or cake stand. Drizzle glaze over top and serve.

 

 

Fall Flavor: Apple Ginger Pork Roast

What is a more classic combination than pork and apples? This is an updated version of pork chop and applesauce night. It’s made in a slow cooker and has a beautiful, savory ,and delicate flavor of apples and ginger.

Apple Ginger Pork Roast

1 1/2 lb pork loin roast

2 T coarsely chopped fresh ginger

1 large onion quartered

3 large or 4 small apples peeled and sliced into 1 inch wedges (use a firm variety)

3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped

2T soy sauce

2 C chicken broth

2 T apple cider vinegar

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ground nutmeg

Add roast, apples, onions, garlic and ginger to a large crock pot / slow cooker. Add soy, chicken broth, vinegar and spices. Turn on high, cover and cook for 4 hours.

Remove Roast and slice, meat will be very tender.

Serve, I served mine on top of mashed potatoes and served the au jus and apples from the pot over the top.

I Love a Good Jerk: Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Pigeon Peas with Rice

We recently took a little trip down to Boca Raton, Fl and happened upon a cute little Jamaican bistro called Rock Steady Jamaican Bistro. The food and service was excellent. I love a good jerk and the spicy, sweet, fresh flavors of Caribbean cuisine, luckily so do my kids. I realized I don’t make enough of this at home, time to change that. I have used the dry jerk seasoning from the spice aisle at the grocery store but it just doesn’t cut it. Time to try my hand a a real, wet, jerk, marinade. I think it was a hit, it had all the flavors I was looking for. Unfortunately neither my local grocery or produce stand had scotch bonnet peppers so I used fresh jalapenos from my garden. I think it still tasted fine but if you are going for authentic switch out the jalapenos for scotch bonnets, just remember they are much spicier so use half the amount.

Jerk Marinade

Combine the following ingredients in a food processor:

1 T allspice powder

1/3 c brown sugar

2T minced garlic

2-4 jalapenos (depending on your spice preference)

1T fresh Thyme

1 bunch scallions

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

2 T soy sauce

Pour marinade over 1 1/2 pounds of pork, shrimp or chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I used chicken cutlets and grilled them over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.

A traditional side in Jamaica is Rice and pigeon peas. Pigeon peas come in red and green and can be found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store. They are not sweet like english peas but more like a legume, or small red bean. This easy recipe is made in a rice cooker.

Rice and Pigeon Peas

2 1/2 c jasmine rice rinsed until water runs clear

2 1/2 c water

8 oz canned pigeon peas (red or green)

1 t fresh thyme

1 t minced jalapeno

1/4 c sliced scallions/green onions

1 t salt

Place all ingredients into a rice cooker, and cook until done.

Serve with a sweet fruit salad to balance out the heat of the Jerk and enjoy a little taste of the islands without leaving home.