Eggplant Stacks with Eggplant “Meatballs” …

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all recovered from the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and you and your families are well, staying safe and getting ready for 2022.

I know that I have posted the recipes for eggplant parmigiana and eggplant “meatballs” before, but I have to share this story with you today that involves eggplants.

Since the pandemic started, Bob and I have been ordering our groceries from either Instacart or Whole Foods and having them delivered. I am happy to say that the majority of the time the orders arrive in good shape and I am satisfied.

However, there are some orders you just shake your head and wonder how this order was filled and today was one of those days.

The first time I had to shake my head and wonder about the order was when I ordered 2 containers of Campari tomatoes (a little bigger than a grape tomato) from Costco and received ten extremely large tomatoes on the vine (bigger than the palm of my hand large) and had to make a vat of tomato soup to use them because they were too huge for my original purpose.

Well, today another incident happened that I had to shake my head at and wonder how this happened. (Keep in mind I request no substitutions). I ordered one small bag of Brussels sprouts and instead, I received 2 large eggplants.

Now other than being a vegetable, I don’t see the logic behind this substitution. It’s not that I ordered Brussels sprouts and they sent cabbage; that would seem close to the original order.

I had some frozen sauce, but I didn’t want stuffed eggplant and didn’t have the time to make a full eggplant parmigiana so I decided to use one eggplant for eggplant stacks (breaded and baked eggplant with grated cheese, mozzarella, and sauce) and the 2nd eggplant for eggplant “meatballs” which happens to be one of Bob’s favorites.

SERVED WITH A DOLLOP OF RICOTTA OVER CASSARECE PASTA

So dinner worked out in the end after a little extra planning because of this detour. I will repost the “eggplant meatball” recipe below if anyone is interested.

This just proves you just have to go with the flow some days, be grateful for what you have and keep going forward and step over the little bumps in the road.

Enjoy the remainder of the week and I will post my New Year’s Eve tablescape and dinner this weekend……

Eggplant Meatballs

(recipe courtesy of by Lynette Marie by way of Allrecipes – 2016)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant, with peel (I peeled the eggplant)
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ cup grated cheese (recipe called for Parmesan, I used Locatelli)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (recipe called for 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet (I used a silicone mat, parchment paper can also be used). 

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and sauté garlic just until lightly browned.

Mix in the eggplant and water. Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Allow eggplant to steam until soft, about 20 minutes.

COVER AND STEAM

Place steamed eggplant in a large bowl to cool.

AFTER 20 MINUTES, NICE AND SOFT

Mix the cheese, parsley, eggs, and bread crumbs into the eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture can be rolled into balls. Add more bread crumbs as needed to make the mixture workable.

ADD INGREDIENTS TOGETHER

Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes, then roll into balls or form into patties.

Place eggplant balls on a prepared baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.

I add the cooked eggplant balls to the remaining sauce and then serve immediately.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Holiday Greetings (plus a new Cookie recipe).

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well and you and your families are safe from the unfortunate Covid surge that is sweeping the nation.

I had every good intention to post my cookies and Christmas Eve seafood menu for the Italian, “Feast of the Seven Fishes “ on Christmas Eve, but time just got away from me with preparations and shopping for the holiday and I had to put the blog on the back burner for a little bit this holiday. My apologies….

Now that things are a little calmer I can get back to the blog. (My prayers go out to anyone that is going through any illness this time of year. We had Covid last year and I never want to go through that again and my heart breaks for anyone ill with this virus).

I did want to share with you some of the dishes I served this year. So this will be a montage of dishes for Christmas Eve- my favorite “food holiday”.

The majority of recipes I am posting today are already listed on the blog and you can find them in the right-hand column under Seafood, Christmas, and Christmas cookies categories, or just use the search box for the name of the dish you are interested in.

I did add one new cookie this year and I will post that recipe at the end of this post, but I wanted to share the pics with you.

I wish you many blessings, good health, and prosperity as we approach the end of 2021……

Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Here is a little background and definition of the meaning of the Feast of the Seven Fishes courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, although it is not called that in Italy and is not a “feast” in the sense of “holiday,” but rather a grand meal. …

This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

Typical “fishes” include baccalà (salt cod), Frutti di mare (shellfish), capitone (eel), calamari (squid), scungilli (conch meat) and vongole (clams). Fried vegetables are also a popular accompaniment to the fish; expect fried artichokes, pickled vegetables, fried squash blossoms, broccoli rabe, cold broccoli & lemon salad, and other cold seafood salads.

The tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve comes from the Roman Catholic practice of not eating dairy or meat on the eve of some holidays, including Christmas. And the number seven is a symbol that’s repeated many times throughout the Bible – and in Catholicism, there are seven sacraments and deadly sins.

So let’s start with the first course…… the shrimp cocktail, followed by linguine with seafood sauce and then the additional fish dishes and sides, the fruit and nut course, followed by pastries, cake, Christmas cookies, assorted candies, coffee, and finally after dinner drinks… (It’s a long process).

There are other dishes that my mother used to add to her menu that I have eliminated over the years because it was just too much food for my small family and they included smelts, lobster tails, fried eel, fried shrimp, octopus, cod, salmon, tuna, and well the list goes on and on.

But no matter what, we make sure that we eat at least seven different varieties of fish. I have been known on occasion to add canned tuna to my seafood sauce just to make the official “7th fish”.

Cooks Note: the stuffed shrimp are stuffed with crabmeat, diced bell peppers, breadcrumbs, and a touch of mayonnaise & mustard (similar to a crab cake mixture).

The stuffed calamari is stuffed with breadcrumbs, shallots, eggs, parsley, cheese and I add diced shrimp and some sauteed calamari pieces.

The cold seafood salad consists of calamari, shrimp, scungilli, celery, lemon zest, olives, in a lemon vinaigrette.

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And now for the candy confections (torrone is a soft nougat with flavors of vanilla, lemon, and orange), assorted chocolates, a variety of Christmas cookies, and desserts (Italian pastries and cakes)… with espresso served with a splash of anisette liquor.

I always serve dessert with a jar of Amarena cherries on the table just like my mother did to top some of the desserts.

I am sure you have seen this famous jar in specialty shops or online shopping.

Amarena cherries are small stemless wild sour cherries in a rich syrup grown in Bologna or Modena, Italy. They can be used for gelato, cakes, and cookies and in some savory dishes as well.

We always have them in the house and I used them on the cheesecake in the picture below. They are very, very sweet so a little goes a long way.

And the new cookie this year that is added to my rotation is dead center on the tray and called “BRUTTIBONI” which translates to “ugly but good”. Ugly for the irregular shape and good for the taste.

It is a meringue cookie with a crisp exterior with a soft, chewy interior flavored with almonds, hazelnuts, and cinnamon.

My grandmother used to make this cookie when I was a child and I recently found this recipe on The Gazette.

Bruttiboni

Photo courtesy of The Gazette

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1⅓ cup whole almonds toasted
  • 1⅓ cup hazelnuts toasted and skins removes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor to obtain a coarsely ground texture. Alternatively, chop by hand. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl (of a stand mixture), with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until they start to foam.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  • Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisk until you obtain stiff glossy peaks.
  • With a mixing spoon, fold in the nuts. Gently combine.
  • Transfer this mixture to a heat proof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. This mixture needs to be stirred for about 15 minutes.
  • Portion with a medium-sized scooper and place on baking sheet. 
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until tops are golden.
  • Allow to cool on baking sheet.

Notes

To roast the nuts: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position rack to the center.

Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes to obtain a light roasting. Remove the skins from the hazelnuts.

Let the nuts cool to room temperature before using them in the recipe. 

  • The almonds and the hazelnuts can be roasted in advance and stored at room temperature until needed. This ensures the use of room temperature ingredients until you are ready to make these nut cookies.
  • Do not rush the process of adding the sugar while whisking the egg whites. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites.
  • The addition of cinnamon is optional.

*recipe adapted from The Gazette

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Baked Buffalo Style Chicken Wings

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. I just wanted to share an old recipe with you that I added a “secret ingredient” to and it seemed to work out very well for me, and I just had to tell you about it.

When my son was still living at home, it seemed that I made Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings for him and his friends on a regular basis.

Back then I deep fried them and dipped them in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and melted butter served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

(No wonder he went to school in Buffalo, NY- close to “Anchor Bar” and the original hot wings recipe.)

Since then, I now bake our chicken wings and I started to use a dry spice rub on the wings before baking and then finish with the hot sauce, butter, and addition of minced garlic and honey.

You are probably wondering what my secret ingredient is and it is BAKING POWDER….. NOT baking soda.

A few recipes I recently came across used baking powder on the chicken to dry out the skin and make the chicken extra crispy and I am here to say it worked.

The skin was crispy on the outside and the chicken was juicy on the inside. I hope you all give it a try.

So here is my new and improved recipe for

Baked Buffalo Style Wings

Ingredients:

  • 2- 3 pounds of chicken wings (whole or they can be halved into party style separated at the joint into drumettes and flats).
  • 1 tbsp. BAKING POWDER
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp dried parsley (optional)

Cooks Note: if there are other spices you prefer, feel free to switch the spices to your liking and customize your wings, just don’t forget the baking powder.

For Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves

Cooks Note: if you can find “ Little Vicki’s Garlic Honey”, in your grocery store, that product is perfect for this recipe.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line a broiler pan with foil and spray the top of the broiler pan with cooking spray OR line a sheet pan with foil and place a non-stick oven safe rack on top of the pan.

Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel and place them in a large bowl. Add the BAKING POWDER and the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, dried parsley, and chili powder.

Toss the chicken evenly with the Baking Powder and the spices

Place the wings on the rack in a single layer

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the wings are light golden in color and crispy

Remove the wings to a bowl and set them aside

In a small bowl, whisk the minced garlic, melted butter, and Franks Hot Sauce

Pour the sauce over the chicken wings and toss well to evenly coat

Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.


Potato Roses Wrapped in Bacon

Hi Everyone,

I hope your Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful and you made wonderful new memories to add to your Thanksgiving full of gratitude and blessings.

We had a terrific Thanksgiving and this year our son was able to come home for the holiday.

The last time we were all together for Thanksgiving was 2017. Four years is a long time to wait but our son either had to work on call at the hospital, then the pandemic started and last year Bob and I had Covid during Thanksgiving so this year was an extra special blessing for all of us.

I posted my complete Thanksgiving menu the other day in my previous post and below are a few additional pictures showing some of our finished courses and side dishes along with our dinner plate and a sample of our Thanksgiving meal.

Italian Wedding Soup with escarole and mini meatballs…
Stuffed artichoke with kalamata olive bread stuffing
Thanksgiving 2021 on a plate

The side dish that was enjoyed the most was my new addition to the menu- “Potato Roses Wrapped In Bacon”…big, big, hit.

Some of you may remember my apple dessert roses or my pasta roses and this is the same idea. (I posted the “Roses… Sweet and Savory” entry in the link below…)

Potato Roses Wrapped In Bacon

The potato roses are easy to prepare and make a lovely addition to your dinner plate and the taste is out of this world. I used Russet potatoes but you can use Yukon gold because they are smaller and might give you a better petal size for the rose.

My favorite thick-cut bacon is mail order from Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse but you can use any bacon you prefer.

The link below is for the Amana Meat Shop website in case you want to browse their products.

(https://www.amanameatshop.com/product/amana-smoked-bacon/smoked-bacon)

I combined a few recipe tips from Tasty and Allrecipes sites and here is the recipe that I used. I hope you try these potato roses and they are a hit at your next special occasion dinner. Enjoy!

Potato Roses Wrapped In Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 5 Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 strips center cut bacon
  • fresh thyme, to garnish
  • grated cheese of your choice, to garnish

Equipment:

  • muffin tin
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F
  2. Using a mandolin or deli slicer and a hand guard, thinly slice the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. (My deli slicer was on opening #2- not too thin but pliable)
  3. Add olive oil, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, pepper, paprika, and salt to the sliced potatoes and toss with tongs until evenly coated.
  4. On a cutting board, lay out a long strip of bacon vertically (if the strips are too short than you can overlap two pieces).
  5. Line the bacon with the sliced potatoes (I use 7-8 pieces of potato per rose), making sure each potato is overlapping.
  6. Starting at one end, gently roll up the bacon, creating a potato rose.
  7. Place the rolled potato roses in a greased muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining bacon strips and potatoes.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Cover the roses with tin foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove foil.
  9. Top the roses with thyme and grated cheese. Bake for an addition 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  10. PLEASE WATCH THE BACON– some ovens run hot, so check the bacon and cook to your desired liking. It’s always better to start with less time and you can add a few minutes if you choose crispier bacon….

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

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We finished our Thanksgiving with a special “birthday cake” dessert for our son to make up for the two years of birthdays we couldn’t celebrate in person.

Rainbow Cookie Cheesecake

Thanksgiving Preparation 2021…..

Hi Everyone,

Well, the count down is on and we are all getting ready for Thanksgiving 2021. I am so excited this year because my son is coming home for the holiday.

Last year, Bob and I slept through Thanksgiving with a high fever and no sense of taste and smell when we contracted Covid 19- not a good memory.

But this year, we are grateful that we are well and we can see our son and the full menu will be served. My menu this year is listed below…

We couldn’t decide on our favorites so I decided to make scaled-down versions of each item so there is more variety and not a week’s worth of leftovers. (Have to save room for the turkey soup with tortellini the next day for lunch).

Thanksgiving 2021 Menu

Antipasto

Assorted cured meats and cheeses served with a Prosecco Holiday Toast

1st course

Italian Wedding Soup (or to us – “Uncle Vinny Soup”)

2nd course

Sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter sauce

3rd course

Roasted Turkey

Sage Cornbread Stuffing

Cranberry/Orange Compote

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole

Potato Roses

Homemade Turkey Gravy

Glazed Rainbow Carrots

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts in a Dijon Mustard / Bacon Dressing

Roasted Asparagus with Pumpkin Gouda Cheese

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Artichokes

4th course

Vertical Pear Salad with Mixed Greens, Cranberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese

Dessert Course

Apple Cake

Pumpkin Amaretto Pie

Apple Cider Donuts

Butterscotch Ice Cream

Warm roasted Chestnuts

I was cooking today in preparation, and I decided to share some recipes as I go along in case you wanted to add them to your menu.

Have a wonderful, safe, Happy Thanksgiving

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Vertical Pear Salad

THIS PHOTO WAS FROM THANKSGIVING 2018

This has to be the easiest salad to pull together and the best presentation….

In a large bowl add your choice of mixed greens (I love to use fresh baby spinach for this salad), cranberries or pomegranate seeds, pecans (optional), and goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon vinaigrette*.

* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice whisked together with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper – ADD ON OPTIONS- 2 cloves of fresh crushed garlic or 1 tsp of Dijon mustard.

Slice a pear into 3 sections and add some salad to each layer and attach the sections together with a large bamboo toothpick (can be purchased at any large chain party store). Once the pear is secured altogether, add a little extra salad to the plate and drizzle the entire pear with honey. — Guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

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Sage Cornbread Stuffing

8 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs (from a 1-lb white loaf with crust removed)

4 cups coarsely crumbled buttermilk corn bread
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 turkey liver or 3 chicken livers (2 to 3 oz total), trimmed and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup
turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spread all breadcrumbs in 2 shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven until dry, about 15 minutes total. Cool crumbs in pans on racks, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, and then add onions and liver and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crumbs and toss well. Add eggs, stock, and cream and toss well.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 2 1/2- to 3-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

Cooks’ note:
• Stuffing can be assembled (but not baked) 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Sour cream cornbread

1 cup All-purpose flour

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup sugar 

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda                                                             

½ tsp salt

1-cup sour cream

¼ cup whole milk or Buttermilk

1 egg (beaten)

2 TBSP melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a bowl, mix 1-cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup yellow cornmeal. ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp each baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 cup sour cream, ¼ cup milk, 1 beaten egg, and 2 TBSP melted butter.

Pour into a greased, 8-in square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cut in 16 squares. Best served warm.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS:

16 Mushroom caps

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves peeled and minced

3 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP butter

¾ cup grated cheese

½ cup breadcrumbs

Salt & pepper

(1/4-cup parsley –optional)

½ cup water or chicken stock

Wipe the mushrooms with a clean damp towel and remove the stems.  Cut off the root end of the stem, and coarsely chop the rest. Heat the 3 TBSP olive oil in a heavy saucepan and cook the onions with 1 TBSP butter, add the garlic and chopped mushrooms stems. Sauté until tender & just beginning to brown—5 minutes. Remove from the heat.  Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt & pepper and mix well. Place the mushroom caps flat in a baking dish already coated with cooking spray. Spoon the filling into each cap. Drizzle the tops with olive oil and fill the dish with ½ cup water.

Bake for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees or until mushrooms feels soft when pierced with a fork. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful holiday and make special memories you can hold dear to your heart for years to come.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi in a Roasted Acorn Squash

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well. I can’t believe we are two weeks away from my favorite holiday- THANKSGIVING!

I just love Thanksgiving, no pressure of gift-giving, a great meal and desserts, and a great time of the year – I enjoy the Fall season.

This year I am especially thankful because I passed my 1,000 days from a heart transplant and I am feeling well, and my son will be able to visit for the holiday this year.

Last year I slept through Thanksgiving because Bob and I were stricken with Covid. Thankfully we recovered without hospitalization and life is good. I do pray that the pandemic comes to an end soon and life returns to pre-pandemic 2019 days… I am hopeful and waiting for the day when we can all gather once again without worry or fear….. Be safe!

Now on to the recipe I want to share with you …

Every year on Thanksgiving, for our first course, we have chicken soup with escarole and meatballs, which some would recognize as Italian Wedding Soup. In our home, we lovingly call it “Uncle Vinny Soup” because that was my Godfather Vinny’s favorite soup and he would be happy if you served it every day even on the hottest day of the summer he loved it so much. He was thrilled when we named the soup after him.

The link below is for the soup and the story.

If I don’t add a small pasta to the soup such as Acini de Pepe, then we have the second course as a complete pasta course and usually, it is a small taste of either a filled pasta such as tortellini or stuffed rigatoni.

When I was growing up we had the soup with the pasta and then an additional pasta course after that. There was no such thing as skipping courses.

A few years ago, I decided to combine both a pasta dish and a side vegetable as my second course and it was Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi in individual Acorn squash.

Acorn squash is usually small and you can pick out the smallest size you can find and add a small amount of pasta. This is an eye-catching presentation served in the squash with a delicate butter sage sauce.

This looks so beautiful when served and it is a lighter course so that you are not full before the “main event” of the turkey.

I have to say that in an Italian home and I do hate to admit this, but the turkey is usually not the featured attraction (at least not when I was growing up). There was the antipasto, the soup, the pasta, then the turkey and many sides, a salad, followed by fruit and nuts, and dessert which included apple pie, pumpkin pie, coconut custard pie, and Italian pastries with after-dinner liquors and espresso. It is a full day of food and a marathon of eating.

I have reduced and altered the menu quite a bit over the years but still include all my family’s favorites.

I just wanted to share this recipe in case anyone wants to add something different to their Thanksgiving table this year. I made homemade sweet potato ricotta gnocchi but there are so many packaged and frozen varieties of pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash gnocchi, or tortellini in stores that you could use either one of them to save some time.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.

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Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi


By combining the sweet potatoes with ricotta, you retain the flavor and end up with pillowy soft gnocchi, just what gnocchi should be!

Ingredients:
2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
2/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese (Full Fat Is Best)
1 Large Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour (Approximate)


Browned Butter Sage Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
20 Fresh Sage Leaves
Salt & Pepper- cinnamon and nutmeg


To Serve:
Freshly Grated Parmesan Or Pecorino Cheese, a dash of cinnamon, and some fried sage leaves.


Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prick the potatoes with a sharp knife and place them on a baking sheet.


Bake until very tender, about 55 minutes to an hour.

Cool slightly, cut in half,
and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.

Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes into a bowl. (You should end up with approximately 2 cups of sweet potato pulp.)

Add the ricotta, egg yolk, and salt,
and pepper and mix well.

Lightly flour a baking sheet and set it close to your work area.

Adding about 1/2 cup of flour at a time, add just enough to create a workable dough.

Take a fist-sized
ball of the dough and roll it into a 1-inch roll on a lightly floured counter.

Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 1-inch pieces and set it aside on the floured baking sheet.

Cooks Note: you could get fancy and roll the piece of dough over the back tines of a fork to get the desired lines or leave it as is to look like little pillows.

Continue to work the rest of the dough in this same manner.

Refrigerate the gnocchi on the baking sheet until ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In the meantime, place the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to foam.

Add the sage leaves and season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the butter is lightly browned, and keep warm.

I add a dash of nutmeg and some cinnamon to taste to the butter sauce.

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water just until they rise to the surface.

Use a slotted spoon to remove them to a heated platter.

Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and gently toss to coat.

Serve immediately offering grated cheese at the table.

Roasted Acorn Squash

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the tops of the squash and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Rub the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20- 30 minutes or just until tender to touch but not falling in.
  5. Scoop the gnocchi into the acorn squash shell and add some shredded gruyere cheese to the top.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven…dig in!!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Three Bean Turkey Chili and Sour Cream Cornbread

Hi Everyone,

We had such a busy Halloween this year with all the donated raffles to prepare and the baking that went on in my kitchen. I promised to post the recipes for our traditional Halloween night chili and sour cream cornbread, so here it is……..

We have been making this meal for the past 25 years for Halloween and every year we just can’t give it up. It’s officially a tradition.

The only difference is now is instead of having all my sons friends over for chili, we freeze half the chili to deliver to my son, who is now an adult and lives over 8 hours away from us- it is part of a food “care package” for him because he misses all the family traditions.

I am working on some new recipes for sweet and savory meals coming up in the next few weeks (so keep your eye out for something new), but I wanted to make sure I posted the chili and cornbread for those of you who have been waiting. Enjoy!

Turkey and Three Bean Chili

Ingredients:

1- 2 tbsp. olive olive

1 large onion- diced (1 cup)

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 bell peppers- diced (I use one green and one red just for color)

3 carrots- diced in coins

2 (1 lb.) pkgs. of ground turkey OR ground beef

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cayenne

2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. oregano

salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1 capful of hot sauce (Frank’s red hot or Revenge)

4 tsp. of green chiles (fire-roasted in a can found in the Mexican food aisle- I use the entire 4 oz. can of MILD because I find if I don’t use them all at once, I just end up throwing them out.

2 cups of water

1 ( 28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can pink beans (or pinto beans), drained and rinsed

½ cup green scallions plus additional for garnish

1 bag of shredded cheese (cheddar, jalapeno, or Mexican blend) for garnish

Sour cream for garnish

Optional–Chipolte peppers in adobo sauce (also in a can in the Mexican food aisle). These are very spicy so be careful…I usually use 1 or 2 chopped up because I like heat in my chili. You can freeze the rest for another meal.

Optional – for some added spice, I use a squirt of sriracha sauce ( You can tell I like spicy)

Cooks Note: if you choose to use both optional items perhaps you should keep a box of tissues handy on the table for the watery eyes and the runny noses that will follow from the spicy heat.

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat.

Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots, COVER and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, combine your spices, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.

After the vegetables are soft, ADD the spice mixture and stir well to incorporate the spices and vegetables. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the ground turkey or beef, raise the heat to high, and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon into bite-size pieces, until the meat is no longer pink.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the tomatoes, water, green chiles, hot sauce, and scallions.

Add the chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and sriracha, if using.

Cook partially covered, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes.

Remember, taste for seasonings!

Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper before serving.

Garnish with shredded Hot Jalapeno, cheddar, or Mexican cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and additional scallions.

Serve with Sour Cream Cornbread (recipe to follow)

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Sour Cream Cornbread

(To get the top crusty -I used a lot of butter on top of the cornbread before baking but that is not really part of the recipe- just a personal preference- Follow the recipe as written and your cornbread will be lighter in color.)

You will need an 8 X 8 square pan

(I prefer a glass pan, I think it cooks evenly in glass)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (fine or medium-coarse)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt 

1 cup full-fat sour cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1 egg (beaten)

2 TBSP. melted butter

Additional butter and raw honey for garnish

Directions:

In a bowl mix all your dry ingredients – flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl mix all your wet ingredients – sour cream, milk, beaten egg, and melted butter. Whisk until well combined

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. (Batter will be very sticky)

Pour the batter into a greased, 8 X 8 square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean

Cut into squares. Best served warm with extra butter or raw honey.

Enjoy!

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I hope you try both recipes and enjoy!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookie Bars & Candy Corn Cocktail

Hi Everyone,

Well, after the Halloween raffle tray was packed and sent off to a good cause, Bob and I realized that we didn’t have a dessert for us for Halloween, but I had an idea…

I saw a recipe that intrigued me on Pinterest from a great website “dessertnowdinnerlater” by Amber Brady, a few months ago and I double-checked that I had all the ingredients in the house.

I did, so I made a batch of “Candy Corn Sugar Cookie Bars”.

This recipe came to the rescue for a Halloween dessert for us.

Amber also includes her recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting.

(The frosting recipe is also below…)

In addition, I had a recipe for a Candy Corn Vodka Cocktail but we were too tired to make the cocktail tonight, and I really needed a cup of coffee instead.

I will include the cocktail recipe if anyone is interested. We might try to make it another night but I was just too tired with all the baking today. One sip and I would have definitely fallen asleep.

So, here is the LAST Halloween post of the day for Halloween 2021.

By the way, we had our annual Halloween chili & sour cream cornbread for dinner and I’ll post that tomorrow with the recipe.

It seems this year, I needed a few more hours today to get everything done with all the doorbell interruptions. We had over “one hundred trick or treaters” and it was quite a busy day.

So enjoy the recipe… and visit Amber’s website.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies Bars

Recipe courtesy of http://www.dessertnowdinnerlater

INGREDIENTS

  •  1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  1 egg
  •  1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  •  orange and yellow food coloring (I used Wilton’s food coloring gels)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay parchment inside a 9×13-inch baking dish with the ends hanging out the 13-inch sides (so you can lift out the cookie after it’s baked) and spray the 9-inch edges with pan spray since they aren’t covered with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until combined.
  4. Split dough in half and color one half orange and one half yellow.
  5. Press the yellow cookie dough onto the bottom of the baking dish; I used a mini rolling pin to roll mine evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  6. Press orange cookie dough onto the yellow cookie dough layer. I found it easiest to roll the orange cookie dough onto a lightly floured counter about the size of the dish, cut the orange dough into large squares and then assemble the squares on top of the yellow layer, smoothing over the cracks.
  7. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.
  8. Pulling on both sides of the parchment paper, lift the cookie dough out of pan. Trim the crisp edges with a knife, if desired.
  9. Prepare The BEST Cream Cheese Frosting and spread it evenly over cooled cookie bars. Cut the large slab of cookie in half lengthwise, and then cut into triangles. Enjoy!

NOTES

Cookies can be kept at room temperature OR refrigerated if you are worried about the cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

courtesy of Amber Brady

INGREDIENTS

  •  8 ounces cream cheese, cold (I typically use Neufchatel cream cheese)
  •  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •  1 cup powdered sugar
  •  1 tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  2. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the butter 2 Tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until smooth and well blended.
  4. Add powdered sugar and vanilla all at once. Blend until combined and smooth. (Don’t beat too long or the frosting will be too soft to pipe. If this happens, place the frosting in the refrigerator or freezer until it firms back up.) Use for any recipe that calls for cream cheese frosting.

NOTES

*You can store this frosting either at room temperature (which is 70 degrees Fahrenheit) or in the refrigerator. Do not go back and forth storing from one to the other, for food safety reasons. Use your own judgment.

YIELD: 1 1/2 cups frosting, which will frost about 12-14 cupcakes

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Candy Corn Cocktail

Courtesy of Tasty.com

For the video on how to prepare, click the link- https://tasty.co/recipe/candy-corn-cocktail

Ingredients:

for 1 serving

  • 1 cup whipped cream flavored vodka
  • ½ cup candy corn, plus more for garnish
  • 8 tablespoons orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons whipped cream

Directions:

  1. In a medium glass bowl, combine the whipped cream vodka and candy corn. Set aside to infuse for 1-2 hours. Strain the candy corn solids from the vodka and discard.
  2. Add the orange juice to a 1 cup (7½-ounce) martini glass.
  3. Place a spoon, back side up, against the inside wall of the martini glass. Very slowly begin pouring 3 tablespoons of the infused vodka over the back of the spoon, making sure that the vodka hits the inside of the glass before reaching the orange juice. This will create a layered effect, causing the vodka to sink to the bottom of the glass, below the orange juice.
  4. Top with whipped cream and garnish with more candy corn.
  5. Enjoy!

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I hope you try both recipes and enjoy!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Halloween Dessert Tray

Hi Everyone,

Happy Halloween – part II

“Dishing with Diane” had the honor of being asked to participate in a local fundraiser toward different charities during a local Halloween party.

I jumped at the opportunity since that was part of my background before my heart transplant; running fashion shows and fundraisers and I know the strain of getting donations and sponsors so I wanted to help with anything I could do.

I decided to donate a “Halloween Dessert Tray” and asked that it be raffled off toward The American Heart Association.

The following is my finished product before we wrapped it to go and it was off to auction. I hope you like the tray and it gives you some ideas for your Halloween get-togethers.

I baked the oatmeal cookies and the rainbow cookies but if you are pressed for time, this tray can easily be completed with all store-bought goods with a little “Halloween” enhancement from you”.

I’ll tell you how…..

Stay well & safe and have a Happy Halloween!

The rainbow cookies were made using the same recipe from my Christmas cookies but used different gel paste to color the dough.

The link to the recipe is below but you can also find these cookies in a variety of bakeries for Halloween.

The donuts can be homemade or you can buy a box of Entenmann’s chocolate frosted donuts and frost three thin circles on the top of the donut and run a knife through the circles toward the outer edges of the donut to get the spider web effect. Let the donuts sit and set before adding to a tray.

The oatmeal cookies can be homemade or store-bought and this time, pipe four rows of white icing directly across the cookie (leaving a space for the eyes) and add a criss-cross design on top of the cookie. Add edible sugar wiggly eyes on top for the mummy look. Let the frosting set before adding to the tray.

The candy eyes can be purchased in Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

The large sugar cookies of the ghost, pumpkin, and trick or treat bag were purchased in a bakery (I am definitely not that talented).

The cupcakes can be homemade or you can find a decent selection of Halloween cupcakes at Costco, grocery stores, or bakeries. I added the cupcakes to spider cupcake holders to continue the Halloween theme.

The cupcake holders were purchased at Crate & Barrel and I am not sure if they are still a stock item.

Additional fillers to complete the tray- My suggestions: I used black licorice, Halloween Peeps marshmallow treats, candy corn, candy sugar pumpkins, Chocolate popcorn with Halloween assorted candies, and snack-size Halloween candy that I placed underneath for a surprise layer of goodies…

More suggestions– Chocolate-covered white pretzels with holiday sprinkles, nutter butter cookies dipped in white candy melts can look like ghosts, mini popcorn balls and the list goes on and on….

To complete the tray I always included a package of Halloween napkins that can be used as a plate when making selections off of the tray and to name the theme of the tray.

Just have fun with the tray and let your imagination run wild.

Depending on the age of the recipients, you could also add plastic spiders to the tray and spider web gauze, or skeleton hands to keep the theme going, but always be mindful of small objects and any choking hazards with little ones around.

I did not include any of those items on this tray because I wasn’t sure of the age group that would receive this tray.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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Pumpkin Muffins

Hi everyone,

Happy Halloween Weekend!

I decided to spread the Halloween Holiday throughout the weekend since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year so I am starting out with “Pumpkin Muffins” for our Saturday breakfast.

Of course, we don’t count the extra calories of the whipped cream and sprinkles on a holiday because after all, we have to decorate and celebrate.

This is a recipe that is a compilation of a few pumpkin muffin recipes that I have tried over the years and this is my final draft. I hope you give this recipe a try. (I sometimes add pumpkin seeds into the batter).

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  •  
  • 1 can 15 oz 100% pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted (OR vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • pumpkin seeds added to the batter (optional)

Cooks Note:   How to Properly Measure Flour

  • Fluff the flour with a fork
  • Use a spoon to scoop the flour into your measuring cup
  • Use a butter knife to level off the flour in the measuring cup

Scooping the measuring cup straight into the bag or canister of flour will result in too much flour being packed into the cup, which can result in dry muffins.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place 12 paper baking liners into each well of a standard size cupcake pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, and the next 7 dry ingredients (In italics above in the recipe).  Whisk together to combine and set aside.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl combine the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir to combine with a spatula or mixer on low for 30 seconds. 
  4. Por the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined into a batter. Do not over mix. (ADD pumpkin seeds now if using and combine).        
  5. Fill the liners to the top with batter. This will help give your muffins a nice puffy dome.
  6. Bake your muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan. 

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.