Bella’s Dreaded Dead Dinner

I am the one in my group of friends that says “Hey I Have An Idea” and I say it a lot!  I am famous for my inventive (crazy) ideas and or picks that go down quick!  Everyone still says yes, when I ask them if they are joining us!  You never know what adventure my lie ahead!

So fast forward to this great idea!

I will host a “Halloween Dinner Party” casual, we will go to the walkway, see the moon, watch the fireworks then back to the house for dessert and game night.

FUN Right, what could go wrong?   Well this time NOTHING DID!  We had a great evening while making memories!  I am so blessed that I have such great family and friends!

THE MENU

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Guest arrive and are asked to read the menu and try to figure out some of the special ingredients from the recipes.  Real bad guesses are sent to bob for apples!

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Table SettingDSC_0052

First Course:  Acorn Squash Soup with Pomegranate and Toasted Pipitas
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Second Course: Chicken Caccaitore with Green Olives
DSC_0072Third Course: Drunken Spaghetti 
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Road Trip12063455_10208021468115171_4007733635372761658_n

The Fireworks Were So Beautiful!11223651_10206238064423998_6958577246099676077_n

Dessert:  Vanilla Ice Cream with Cream de Menthe  and  Panna Cotta EyeballDSC_0086 Stuffed with a Raspberries 
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All while sipping ;) my husbands AMAZING bootlegging Merlot! 

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Rice and Bean Acorn Squash Bowl Bakes

 

 

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Autumn…

I actually won a recipe contest with a stuffed acorn squash; however, this is not that recipe!  Sorry, but the winning recipe does give me merits for having successful stuffed squash recipes!

I have a vegan daughter….Yes sometimes it feels as though she ties my hands while cooking for her, but at times it has challenged me, I am always happy to meet the challenge for her! The stuffed squash phase I went through has proven fruitful in our house!  No one was truly a squash fan; they only ate it because it was on the plate, with the same old…same old recipe.

 I decided that such an awesome ingredient needed more of my attention!  When I give something my attention everyone knows that ingredient very…very well!  I am Happy to announce that I have made a fan of my vegan daughter and my picky eater daughter, as a Mom, cook and recipe developer that is a win…WIN!  

Stuff your favorite squash with your favorite ingredients, let your food favorites fly, and remember…food should be fun, inventive and shared! 

Nothing says Autumn like an In-Season Vegetable like Squash!

This squash bake is so easy and very dramatic in presentation!  When this dish bakes, the inside becomes creamy, the top becomes crispy and crunchy and I just love the contrast of texture, plus the beans take on a nutty flavor.  DELISH! 

Rice and Bean Acorn Squash Bowl Bakes

2 large acorn squash- cut in half and seeds scooped out

3 cups cooked rice

2 cups broccoli spears-cooked

3 cups cooked red beans-drained

2 cloves garlic-minced

2 to 3 cups almond milk

1 1/2 teaspoons five spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place all ingredients besides squash and almond milk into a medium size bowl and mix.*

Place cut squash onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cut side up.  Stuff each squash evenly with prepared stuffing; pour almond milk evenly into each stuffed squash. Brush the top of edges of each stuffed squash with olive oil.  Place stuffed squash in the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour or until squash is tender.

Take out of oven.   Serve and enjoy!

Serve 2-4

*You can add more warm coconut milk during cooking to make the stuffing more creamy as the squash and rice will absorb milk.

Serves as a side dish or main course.

Recipe also available @ Bellasbanquet.com

 

 

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Fall Vegetable Quiche

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Fall Vegetable Quiche

2 Tablespoon Butter or Olive Oil

1 Large Sweet potato-thinly slice-

1 Zucchini –spiraled or thinly sliced

2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach-washed and dried

3 Vine Tomatoes –quartered

5 Eggs

½ Cup Half and Half

1 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease quiche pan with butter or olive oil.  Take sweet potato slices and line the pan around the edge and then the bottom.

Place zucchini on outer edge of pan next to potatoes.  Place spinach next to zucchini, then tomatoes.  In the middle of the pan place a round of the reaming potatoes then in the center place the remaining spinach.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Pour mixture over vegetables.

Place in oven, loosely top with foil and cook on bottom rack for 40 minutes, or until when shaken the middle does not shake.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly and serve.  Enjoy!

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It’s not broke – Blueberry Pie

DSC_0048If it’s not broke don’t fix it!

There is nothing better then an old favorite recipe!  Blueberry pie happens to be my husbands favorite dessert, so I make it a lot!  Of course it tastes better with Maine blueberries!  I have found two great recipes years ago for crust and blueberry pie  filling and I have been using them since.  So it isn’t broke and I haven’t fixed it…Here are my favorite recipes.

 Williams-Sonoma Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water

Directions:

To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie or one 10-inch galette.

Sunset Pies and Pastries Deep Dish Blueberry Pie Recipe

4 cups blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, just until combined.  Place in prepared pie crust.  Top pie with crust, brush with egg wash and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until pastry is browned (about 30 minutes).

Place on rack to cool.

 

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Limoncello Blueberry Ricotta Cake

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OMG!  This cake was so easy and so DELICIOUS! 

Limoncello Blueberry Ricotta Cake 

Cake:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups ricotta

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon lemoncello

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ cup blueberries

1/2 cup silvered almonds

Glaze:

the juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10 1/2″-diameter cake pan removable bottom tart pan.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

With a mixer on medium low speed, mix eggs, ricotta, limoncello and vanilla until smooth; slowly add dry ingredients just until blended, then mix in butter.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour batter into prepared tart pan. Sprinkle almonds on top of batter.

Bake cake on lower rack of oven, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Let cool.

Mix together sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. (add more sugar or lemon juice until you reach the right consistency)

Lift cake from pan, Drizzle cooled cake with glaze and serve.  Enjoy!

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The Maine Blueberry Mojito

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On a recent trip to Maine I discovered the blueberry Mojito!  I loved it so much, because Maine blueberries are amazing, I was on a quest to find which Boothbay restaurant served the best Maine Blueberry Mojito, well I found which one I liked the most, it was a fun journey, but I have to say…the second one was not as good as the first because who served it, it was much more sour, if you will!  Always have a smile when you serve your Mojito, IT TASTES BETTER!  
 

The Maine Blueberry Mojito

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh blueberries
12 fresh mint leaves
juice of 4 limes
ice
4 teaspoons simple syrup
4 shots clear rum
seltzer
 

Directions:

Muddle blueberries, mint and lime juice together. Fill 4 glasses half way up with ice, evenly place muddled blueberry mixture into each glass, add a teaspoon of simple syrup and a shot of rum into each glass, top with seltzer and serve.  Enjoy!  
 
*Any blueberry with work with this recipe
 
Serves 4
 

 

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Maine Blueberry Breakfast Parfait

DSC_0033DSC_0036Maine Blueberry Breakfast Parfait

Maine is one of our favorite places to visit, we love Maine so much we go twice a year, every year!   The sunsets are amazing, the views are breathtaking and the Lobsters shake in their shells when they hear I am on my way!  Then there are those blueberries!  Maine blueberries are like nothing else in the world, they have a taste of their very own and I go mad for them!  While in Maine, I consume as many lobsters and blueberries possible and believe me, I have shocked some people, they thought I was kidding!  HA!

So I bring home LOTS of Maine blueberries!  I love this recipe because it starts the morning right, thinking of Maine and it’s pretty healthy!

Oatmeal

Blueberries

Slivered Almonds

Honey

Cinnamon

Vanilla Granola

Unsweetened Almond Milk

In a glass, or glasses, layer desired amount of all ingredients, except milk.  Once your parfait is layered, leaving an inch room on the top.  Pour milk into parfait to the top and cover.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  Top with more blueberries, granola and honey in the morning and serve.  Enjoy!

Any blueberries will work!

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A glimpse of the damage I can do while in Maine!  YUM!

Some photo’s to show some of the reasons why I love Maine!

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Italian Chopped Seafood Waldorf Salad

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Sometimes a recipe idea comes together that just makes you excited!  Well; this recipe was just that kind of recipe …. Yes, it is a winner!  I will serve this for and appetizer, meal, salad, etc…. OK, not desert! It is a win win recipe!

 Impressive~ Great Presentation~ Delicious !

Italian Chopped Seafood Waldorf  Salad

Roasted California Walnuts:

1 tbsp butter

1 cup California Walnuts

1 tbsp honey

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp salt

Dressing:

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

1 clove garlic-diced

1 small shallot-diced

2 tbsp sambuca

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp dried parsley

Court Bouillon:

8 cups water

1 carrot-chopped

1 stalk celery-chopped

1 clove garlic-smashed

½ red onion

½ tsp old bay seasoning

Salad:

½ pound shrimp

½ pound Scallops

½ pound squid- prepared rings

1 sweet apple-diced small

1 large celery stalk with leaves-diced small

1 head romaine lettuce-sliced

20 endive leaves

10 grape tomatoes-halved

1 small bunch fresh parsley

½ cup balsamic pearls

Roasted California Walnuts:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a sheet pan lined with foil, grease foil with butter.  Place California Walnuts onto greased sheet pan, spread honey, cayenne and salt onto California walnuts and mix to coat all nuts.  Arrange in a single layer.  Cook in oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool.

Dressing:

In a small sauce pan add olive oil, garlic and shallots.  Cook on medium/low heat for a minute, do not brown garlic.  Add in sambuca and continue to cook another couple minutes to let the alcohol burn off.  Add the remaining dressing ingredients; simmer for another couple of minutes.  Let cool.

Court Bouillon:

In a large sauce pan, bring all court bouillon ingredients to a boil.  Cook shrimp in court bouillon for about 2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, remove shrimp with slotted spoon.  Bring bouillon back to a boil and cook scallops for about 2-3 minutes, or until just cooked, remove with slotted spoon.  Bring bouillon back to a boil and cook squid for about a minute.  Let all seafood cool.

Salad:

Chop cooled seafood into smaller then bite size pieces. Mix seafood, apple and celery with dressing and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Plating: 

Place desired amount of sliced romaine evenly over plates, place endives into a circle over romaine, alternating big and small to resemble a flower.  Place a cut tomato, cut side up to the end, inner center end of each endive.  Fill each with seafood salad, place a honey, cayenne roasted California Walnut at each outer edge of endive.  Top with a small sprig of fresh parsley.  In the middle of each salad, place a small bowl and evenly place balsamic pearls into each bowl.  Serve and enjoy!

Makes:  2 Dinner Salads or 4 Lunch Salads

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Summer Fruit Pie

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This Dessert Was  A Hit!!!

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 Refreshing, Easy and No Cook, it was just simply delicious!!!!

A must make again!  Great dessert to make or bring to your next summer party!

Summer Fruit Pie

1 Large Middle Slice of Ripe Watermelon

8 Ounce Cream Cheese-room temperature

8 Ounce Marshmallow Spread

2 Pints Fresh Black Berries

2 Pints Fresh Red Raspberries

2 Pints Fresh Blueberries

Cut a thick 1 to 2 inch thick slice of watermelon round from the center of the watermelon.  Set on serving dish.

In a mixer, blend cream cheese and  marshmallow spread.  Place desired amount of spread to cover the top of watermelon.  Arrange black berries around the outer edge then a round of red raspberries and fill center with blueberries.

Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.  Serve.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Grilled Mega Mocha Cowboy and Sweet Potato Salad

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Grilled Mega Mocha Cowboy and Sweet Potato Salad

 

Grilled Cowboy Steaks:

¾ Cup Cajun Seasoning

1/3 Cup Unsweetened Dark Coco Powder

1/3 Cup Ground Espresso

2 Teaspoon Salt

4 Cowboy Steaks*

Mocha Espresso Gravy:

½ Stick Butter

½ Cup Flour

½ Cup Dry Red Wine

4 Cups Beef Broth

1 Small Sprig Fresh Rosemary

1 Small Sprig Fresh Thyme

4 Tablespoons Prepared Rub Mixture

Sweet Potato Salad: 

Potatoes:

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

Drizzle Olive Oil

Cream Sauce:

6 Ounces Cream Cheese

1/3 Cup Cream

¼ Cup Fresh Chives – Diced

½ Teaspoon Salt

Salad:

3 Tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste

4 Handfuls Fresh Pea Shoots

6 Large Fresh Chive Flowers

4 Dollops Balsamic Pearls/or Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar

 

Grilled Cowboy Steaks:

In a medium size bowl, mix together, cajun seasoning, coco, espresso and salt.  Remove steaks from refrigeration and allow steaks to reach room temperature. Generously rub each steak on both sides with mocha rub, reserving 4 tablespoons.  Place steaks on grill on medium high heat and sear steaks on both sides for a couple of minutes on each side or until steaks have a dark crust. (with the dark rub you cannot achieve crosshatch marks) Place steaks on medium low heat or if getting to dark, off the heat on above rack or with one side with gas turned off and steaks on the other side, with top closed.  Cook until internal steak temperature reaches 125 degrees for medium rare.  Allow steaks to rest for ten minutes before serving.

Mocha Espresso Gravy:

In a medium sauce pan, on medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour.  Let cook a couple of minutes whisking often.  Add in red wine and cook for another minute or so, to cook off wine.  Add in the broth whisking continually, until mixture is smooth.  Add in rosemary, thyme and reserved prepared rub mixture and let simmer until reduced and thickened (about 5 minutes, add more broth is needed).  Remove herbs, before serving.

Sweet Potato Salad:

Potatoes:

Clean potatoes, cut potatoes in half, then wrap each potato in foil and place on a hot grill, and cook on medium high, turning often, until just soft (about 30-40 minutes).  Unwrap potatoes, drizzle with olive oil on cut side and grill on high heat to achieve grill marks.

Cream Sauce:

In a small sauce pan, heat up all cream sauce ingredients until warm and pourable.

In a medium size bowl, mix together cabernet sauvignon wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add pea shoots and gently toss pea shoots to cover with dressing.

Drizzle the desired amount of cream chive sauce onto each seared sweet potato.  Top each evenly with dressed pea shoots, chive flower petals and balsamic pearls.

Place a Grilled Mega Mocha Cowboy onto 4 plates or a platter, drizzle the desired amount of Mocha Espresso Gravy and serve each with a Sweet Potato Salad.  Enjoy, Kelly and Michael!

Makes 4 Amazing Grilled Meals!  More if you want to share, I suggest you do!

*Bone in Rib Eye Steaks of Any Size Will Be Fine For This Recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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