Friday, October 4, 2013

31 Days Of Halloween: Fall Time Goodies!

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Now that fall is slowly but surely getting underway, it's about that time to start thinking about all of those harvest food goodies to begin stocking up on! Let's face it, the best part about this time of the year is really THE FOOD or at least for me anyway! Especially when it comes to warming up that kitchen with the smells of pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, or chocolate goodness and making such amazing treats to get you ready for the season.

If you're like some people I know who have given up on making anything for the holidays due to pumpkin pie overkill, believe it or not, there are lots of easy drinks, sweets, or main dishes other than the usual pie or typical graveyard brownies that you can actually prepare right at home and still have something relevant to the fall season but without all of the fuss.

Also, if you are throwing a Halloween party or attending one this year and need a dish to bring, then you know the importance of getting a jump on what ingredients you will need to get in order to have everything you need to put whatever you make together.  Even if you aren't bothering with a party this year and just want to start making some goodies now to stash around the house, not to worry I still got you covered!

Below are a few recipes I came across that I felt were a tad bit different from the usual suspects but still simple enough for even the most basic cook to try. If you do make any of these recipes, please let me know how the final product came out. Also, if you're health conscious, just know many of these ingredients can be substituted with better alternatives to suit your diet!

Sweet Potato Quiche


INGREDIENTS

  • Crust
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Filling:
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2-3 large onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 2½ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To make crust, combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and cut in butter with your fingers (or a pastry blender.) Once butter is broken down to the size of peas, add water to the mix and stir/knead until the dough comes together. Roll out onto a flour surfaced and gather into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. Pre-heat oven to 425˚. Roll out dough and crimp into an 11″ quiche pan. If you have dough left over, store in the freezer for later use. Parbake the crust for 10-15 minutes, just until the crust gets a little brown color. Remove from oven and set aside on a baking tray.
  2. To caramelize onions, slice onions into an even ¼” slice and heat a medium pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Start cooking onions, stirring occasionally. After onions have cooked for 15-20 minutes, add salt. Continue to let cook, letting more time go by before you stir the onions (I go for about 15-20 minute increments.) Continue to cook and stir onions until golden, soft, and cooked down- usually 60-75 minutes. Set aside.
  3. To prepare sweet potatoes, peel and cut into ¼” slices. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and place on a covered baking tray. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and begin to brown. The crust, onions, and sweet potatoes can be done all at the same time.
  4. Reduce or preheat oven to 375˚.
  5. Once these three elements are ready, layer the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese on top. Finally, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together. Pour over filling ingredients. It is at this point you can cover the quiche, place in the refrigerator, and let sit for up to day before baking.
  6. To bake, carefully transfer quiche to the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the filling domes up and barely jiggles. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

If you're looking for some sweet treats:

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds‏


 INGREDIENTS

 1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
2.5 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup can be used in the absence of brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly beat the egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring 3-4 times during the hour, until golden. Allow to cool, then store nuts in airtight containers.

 

Pumpkin Spiced Kisses‏


INGREDIENTS

 Yields 24 cookies, depending on size

  • 24 Hershey Pumpkin Spice Kisses, unwrapped
  • 1 log store-bought sugar cookie dough, softened
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup raw or coarse sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, add the cookie dough, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, mixing very well. Chill the dough for at least one hour or until it becomes stiff and easy to handle.
  3. In a small bowl mix the raw sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  4. Using a mini cookie scoop or spoon, roll dough into balls trying to keep them all uniform in size. Keep the cookie balls rather small because they will spread as they bake. Roll each ball into the raw sugar mix and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven and gently place a Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for several days.

Hope these recipes give you a jump start on your fall festivities. I'll be bringing more fun treats throughout the season so stay tuned.......!


XOXO
-M

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