Fall Recipes For Parties and Holidays

Balsamic Green Beans:

There are a few tried and true recipes of mine that I love and will keep making for years. This one is from a cooking light recipe where it called for Apple cider which I did not want in my beans and instead substituted cider for balsamic vinegar. My version tastes way better. Take these beans with you to the next family function or Thanksgiving/Christmas or a Superbowl party–and most of the women will be clamoring for the recipe. Men LOVE  this recipe too.

For this recipe—don’t try to use politically correct bacon. Turkey bacon is not going to work for this recipe. Most of the bacon for sale at places like Whole Foods do not crisp. You need the crisp with the soft beans for texture. And the turkey bacon actually has more salt than regular bacon and doesn’t have the full body taste of pork fat.

Ingredients:

1 lb. of green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 package of center-cut Oscar Meyer -bacon cooked till crispy
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 level spoonful of powdered thyme
1/4-1/2 cup (depends on the amount of beans) of FINI brand balsamic vinegar—this is the best balsamic vinegar I have used with this recipe

Cut and cook green beans until al dente and rinse with cold water and put aside.

Cook all bacon on the stove until crispy—keep a bottle or bowl where you can pour hot grease into as you are putting new batches in. When all is cooked, dice up bacon and put aside.

Use about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to cook the onions in. Cook until translucent. Then put in the green beans which have been drained with the chopped bacon, toss all, and then pour in 1/4 cup of FINI balsamic vinegar, 1 spoonful of powdered thyme and toss again. Put in sugar, pepper and a tiny bit of salt. Don’t forget not to salt more than I specify. You already have enough sodium from the bacon. Another reason not to overdo the salt is because it will mask the flavor of everything else.

Stir all and check for some caramelization. I cook mine low and long and add more balsamic and sugar and olive oil and I see fit. But keep it light with the oil. And turn heat down to low simmer.

Cook and stir for about 30-45 more minutes and then turn off the stove and let cool. You don’t want your beans so overcooked that they are shredded and limp. You can taste it as you are making it….it gets better with time.

Harvest Stuffed Sweets: Have made twice. It’s amazing.  Took some time but was the best  potato that I have ever tried. Also from cooking light

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=printerFriendly&recipe_id=10000000358672

Penne -Wise Pumpkin Pasta: (from Rachel Ray): this is amazing and easy to make and pumpkin puree is in season. I put in lots of red pepper flakes, black pepper, and if you really want to make it great, add Amy’s Sausage to it or your own preferred sausage brand. Also I like about a tablespoon of maple syrup to make it better. Cutting up the sage and tossing it in is important.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/penne-wise-pumpkin-pasta-recipe/index.html

Walnut & Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie:   (this has a video and is from CNN accenthealth.com as well as ingredients)

http://www.accenthealth.com/Physician-Practices/Recipes-Detail/161/

Barefoot Contessa Pumpkin Cupcakes: I make these without the icing or topping. The muffins are to die for and very moist. Everyone loves these. I put in about 3/4 of the can instead of 1/2 and that makes them more moist. Only cook in 20 minutes if you have a wolf range. 25 minutes would suck the moisture out of them.

http://www.housebeautiful.com/kitchens/recipes/ina-garten-pumpkin-cupcakes-1010

Photo Credit: CMR Interiors

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