Earlier this fall, my mom and I took a trip to South Carolina and Georgia. Almost everywhere we dined featured Pimiento Cheese in some form or another. In tribute to this trip, I decided to make Southern Living’s Ricotta Pimiento Cheese spread as another appetizer on Thanksgiving.
Do-again?: There was nothing wrong with this dish and it did the trick as an appetizer, but it didn’t necessarily beg to be made again either. I might prefer it on some sliced cucumbers or celery.
Usually my family does Thanksgiving in the early afternoon, where it serves as the single big meal for the day. This year, due to travel schedules, we had Thanksgiving at dinner time, which presented an opportunity to serve appetizers mid-day to keep us sated before the big meal. I made Cooking Stoned’s Stuffed Brussels Sprouts, along with some stuffed mushrooms for those afraid of the little green guys.
Alterations: I added some chopped mushroom stems and used low fat ricotta.
Do-again?: These were great, as tasty as stuffed mushrooms but you feel better about eating them since you get to believe you’re eating something green. The hardest part is finding big enough Brussels sprouts to be able to stuff!
Some of my best recipe discoveries have been made while cleaning out fridge remnants. It’s like playing my own game of Chopped. Tonight’s ingredients included lamb bacon and peas. Drawing inspiration from the Noble Pig’s Bacon Quinoa Snap Pea Salad, I concocted my own dinner straying from the recipe to use just ingredients in my own kitchen.
Alterations: I used pine nuts in place of pepitas and swapped in white instead of black sesame seeds. For the dressing, I swapped lemons for limes and amped up the heat a bit.
Do-again?: I was a little wary of the combination but it all came together really well and was very tasty. Was also great the next day for lunch.
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Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh delicious salads. And while I love squash season, I don’t necessarily love peeling and seeding them - which is why the delicata is awesome. It’s the low maintenance squash, which must be why Heidi at 101 cookbooks has so many delicata recipes including this one for a roasted delicata squash salad with miso harissa dressing.
Alterations: Instead of marcona almonds, I used pistachios and I used a combination of yellow and purple fingerlings (which tricked my boyfriend into thinking there was sausage in this salad). I also left out the radishes.
Do-again?: Even after his initial disappointment about the lack of sausage in this salad, this got the thumbs up. The dressing was awesome - tart and salty and spicy.
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Weather-wise, it was predictable that I would get sick this week. It took a dive into the low 40s following a nice 70 degree weekend last week. It has left me craving soup. I’ve satisfied this craving with butternut posole, spinach lentil and now Giada’s Hearty Tomato Soup. This appealed to me because it snuck in some extra veggies - carrots, onions and white beans - and didn’t use any dairy.
Alterations: I skipped the lemon and creme fraiche topping and instead decided to make grilled cheese “croutons” with some toasted rosemary bread and jalapeno jack.
Do-again?: This was definitely heartier and more filling than a standard tomato soup, due to the protein from the beans. Next time I would likely amp up the spices a bit more - but maybe I would have gotten that if I had used the creme fraiche topping. All in all, a solid winter soup.
In addition to making a pumpkin fondue for my Scandinavian dinner party, I also decided I wanted to try curing my own salmon after reading a Saveur article gravlax as an essential component of a smorgasbords.
Alterations: I used a little over two pounds of wild Alaskan salmon which I purchased at Trader Joe’s. I let the salmon cure in my fridge for about 50 hours before washing off the salt/spice rub.
Do-again?: I have to admit I was a little skeptical about rubbing something with cups of salt and then letting it sit in my fridge for days, but this was quite tasty. It was a bit hard to thinly slice the salmon and the end result was a bit salty but I think I could just adjust the ratio if I tried making gravlax again, something I became aware of after reading Marc Bittman’s tips. I served the leftovers as a Thanksgiving appetizer.
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This year we bought three pumpkins but only got around to carving one of them. As far as I’m concerned, I hope I always remember to keep a Halloween pumpkin around to make Bon Appetempt’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Cheese Fondue as it’s an even better table decoration than a cute glowing face. It was an impressive centerpiece for the smorgasbord for the Scandinavian potluck dinner party I held with a handful of other couples.
Alterations: I used veggie broth and next time would add a little more cream/broth mixture to keep the insides even moister.
Do-again?: Definitely - it looked great and it was also super tasty - the consistency is more savory bread pudding than fondue but I bet a bit more liquid could thin it out. In any case, I’ll definitely make this again next fall at least once, if not several times.
The other day I had a craving for stuffed peppers but didn’t want to use rice or breadcrumbs to fill. AllRecipe’s Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables gave me the confidence that I could have stuffed peppers that maximized the veggies and minimized the superfluous carbs.
Alterations: I used one red and one yellow pepper and chopped another small one for the filling. I used a can of rotel tomatoes and chile peppers to keep the filling moist and substituted arugula for spinach. Also used chopped mushrooms, zucchini and onion. Instead of tomato paste, I used a little bit of spaghetti sauce.
Do-again?: We didn’t miss the carbs at all and were happy to pack as many veggies as possible into the meal.
For better or worse, we generally don’t have much in the way of sweets around the house but that doesn’t mean we don’t get cravings for dessert. One cold night, we had these cravings and didn’t feel like leaving the house so had to get creative on how to satisfy the sweet tooth. Enter Food Network’s Peanut Butter Cookies, which used ingredients we had in the cupboard.
Alterations: Halved the recipe and only baked six cookies, freezing the rest of the dough in little balls so we can bake cookies on demand when the sweet tooth strikes again.
Do-again?: These came together quickly and were great with a glass of milk. The frozen dough balls are also delicious on their own :)
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I blame the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice latte, but sometimes even if its 80 degrees out, you start to crave fall. Martha Stewart’s Sausages with Acorn Squash and Onions brought a real sense of fall to our kitchen table even though we only loosely followed the recipe.
Alterations: We used chicken apple sausages, skipped the dried cherries and used rosemary in place of sage.
Do-again?: Absolutely, the onions in particular were crispy and delicious and bonus: everything looked pretty on the baking tray.
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