Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls

Back in the fall, I had stocked up on pumpkin with big plans to bake a lot of delicious new things with it; but we all know that didn't happen. So when searching for a sweet dish for my Christmas Eve Brunch, this recipe looked yummy and practical. Plus, you can never go wrong with cream cheese icing!

Don't be daunted by what may seem like a complicated preparation - they really take no time at all and if you work carefully with the crescent rolls, you'll have no problem. My icing turned out a little differently than Jenny over at Picky Palate - hers looks a little thinner, which I probably could have remedied by adding a little milk to thin mine out.

Otherwise, I didn't make any changes so here's the link!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

300th Post and Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms

Well, it took me a little longer comparably to get to 300 posts than it did 100 and 200 but I made it! And this is the perfect little appetizer to celebrate it. I love stuffed mushrooms and am always looking for a different way to make them, so when I saw these in my friend Lauren's blog I thought, what's better than Brie?!
Please excuse the photos in this post - they were taken as we were scrambling to put everything on the table at my parents' party. So they were taken in the wrong setting as well as not very pretty. Check out the photos in Lauren's post below instead!

*And special shout out again to my wonderful sister, Meghan, who helped me with this.*

I didn't change anything so I am linking you to the original recipe - the amount in my photos is double the amounts. Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eggplant Caviar

I have had this recipe from Good Things Catered bookmarked for quite awhile. I love using eggplant in appetizers, and decided my parents' annual holiday party was a good occasion for this one.

My sister and I made this together, and it was super easy. You don't even have to peel or chop the eggplant - just throw the whole thing in the oven to roast and the rest is done in the food processor!
Changes I made: I have an aversion to peeling whole tomatoes (it NEVER works for me) so I substitued a 14.5 ounce can of drained petit diced tomatoes for the two fresh ones in the recipe. We also served this on untoasted baguette slices, but if you like the toasty version, just follow the directions in Katie's original recipe.

Otherwise, everything else was the same as the original recipe found right here:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rigatoni Woodsman-Style

So in order to start cooking again, I was looking for some simple dishes on my Google Reader, and came across this recipe on Sarah's blog. It looked like a nice hearty pasta for a cold night; and while it took a little longer than I anticipated, it was delicious and I would make it again!

I made a few adjustments to the amount of certain ingredients. Most notably, I doubled the amount of sausage since I wanted to stretch this into several meals. (Yes, half of this went into the freezer!) I also upped the amount of chicken stock since I did add more sausage - I wanted to make sure there was enough sauce to go around. The result was probablly a thinner sauce than the original, so go back to the 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock if you want a thicker sauce.

Sarah suggests garlic bread to go along with this meal. I agree, and served with a green salad, you have a winter night's feast!

Rigatoni Woodsman-Style

1 pound rigatoni
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, preferably without fennel seeds
2 8-ounce packages sliced mushrooms
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup ricotta cheese (part skim or whole milk)
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring until translucent and beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Remove the casings from the sausage and crumble into the skillet and stir, until the sausage is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir half the mushrooms into the sausage mixture. Add the remaining mushrooms as those in the pan wilt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms give off liquid, allow time for the juices to boil off before the mushrooms start to brown.

Add the tomatoes and peas into the skillet and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook a minute or two. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce is lightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil.

Spoon the ricotta into the sauce and stir gently to mix. Combine the pasta and sauce into a pot large enough to accommodate everything. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring gently to coat the pasta with sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup grated cheese. Check the seasonings, adding salt and pepper if necessary.

A nice, hearty sauce:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Eve Brunch 2009

Abbie wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

Hello again! I know it's been awhile since I've posted and I am slowly getting my energy and desire back to cook after taking care of a certain someone pictured above :) But I know some of you (hi, Nicole!) have been waiting for new posts so I'm back!

Since Chuck and I have been married, we have hosted Christmas Eve brunch at our house for our immediate families. It's a nice little tradition that I hope continues for a long time. This year I have planned the menu around things I can make in advance along with favorite dishes that I serve every year.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Christmas Eve Brunch 2009