by Ashley Fagan
We've officially hit soup season! The temperature is dropping here in the North East and chilly Fall days call for something warm and comforting. Broccoli and cheddar are a classic flavor combination that has been a favorite of mine since childhood. The only way my mom could get me to eat my broccoli as a kid, was to coat it in gooey, yellow cheese sauce so that only a subtle hint of green could we detected underneath. I can’t really blame the child version of me, cheese will forever be a favorite of mine! This recipe is very reminiscent of the cheesy broccoli soup you can find at the popular food chain...we'll just say it rhymes with "Schmanara". I've upped the veggie content here and opted for a more sophisticated cheese in place of the processed yellow hunk of goodness my mom used to use. I like to use freshly grated, white sharp cheddar here but if you want to stick with the classic appeal, go with yellow cheese. I also cut the veggies into bite size pieces for easier mouthfuls and speed of cooking. Serve it up nice a hot and if you’re feeling extra cozy, eat it straight from a bread bowl! Enjoy!
Serves 4 - 6
Bread Bowls or Hunks of Bread for serving
In a large Dutch oven, over medium, heat, add the 2 T olive oil. Saute the onions for 3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, add the butter to the pot of veggies. Once melted, stir in the flour (this will create your roux, which thickens the soup) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly add the chicken broth to the pot while stirring constantly to evenly incorporate the roux mixture without lumps. Add the chicken base and bay leaf to the soup and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the soup over low heat for 10 minutes with the lid ON. Remove the lid and add the potatoes and cauliflower. Continue to simmer with the lid OFF for another 5-7 minutes. Now add the diced broccoli and continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the broccoli softens but remains a vivid green color.
Stir in the cheese and cream until melted and the soup becomes thick and creamy. Remove the pot from the heat and serve immediately with toasted bread or in a bread bowl!
by Ashley Fagan
I just love Halloween! Everything about this Holiday just screams FUN! The month of October is an all out Autumn celebration full of Fall walks, Halloween movie nights, hot apple cider, toasty fire side s'mores, and of course lots of delicious Halloween inspired treats! These one bite, no bake pumpkin cheesecakes are the perfect treat to help celebrate the holiday season! They are tasty, super simple and take all of 20 minutes to put together! Happy Halloween!
Makes 30 Ghosts
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
2 – 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese at Room Temperature
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
¾ cup Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch of Ground Cloves
Pinch of Salt
To Make The Mini Ghosts
2 – 15 Count Packages Store Bought Mini Fillo Shells, Thawed. (in the freezer section)
1 Gallon Size Ziploc Bag
Mini Chocolate Chips or White Chocolate Chips
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients through salt. Using a hand-held electric mixer, mix on medium speed until nice and creamy. Use a rubber spatula to scrap down to the bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Give it one more mix with the electric mixer.
Using the rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the large Ziploc bag and zip it closed, ensuring all the air is removed. Cut a small tip off the bottom corner of the bag. Pipe the mixture into the individual fillo shells, be careful not to over stuff them. Once all the shells are filled, decorate the pumpkin ghosts with the mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to serve and enjoy!
Every year around the holidays, my friends and family request this appetizer for every gathering. It's warm, gooey, sweet, savory and the perfect accompaniment to a festive cocktail or glass of wine. I'm always happy to oblige my guests by serving this upon their arrival, mostly because it's crazy, stupid, easy to pull together and looks incredibly sophisticated! Don't skip this during your next holiday party! You and your guests will be so very happy!
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
Cut the top rind of the brie off. Place the brie, cut side up in a small oven proof baking dish large enough to fit the whole wheel with some room around the sides.
In a medium bowl mix together the cranberries, pecans, honey, orange zest and cinnamon.
Pour the cranberry mixture on top of the brie and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese warms through and begins to melt. The topping will become fragrant but keep a close eye, you don't want to char it.
Serve immediately with some good quality crackers. I like to use a stone ground wheat crackers.