Apple Pear and Cherry Chai Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pears (Anjou or Bartletts), peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 (9 inch) frozen pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Heat apple juice in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals until very warm, but not boiling. Add chai tea bags, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and chop apples and pears, tossing them in a bowl with lemon juice to keep from browning.
  3. Combine cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper for spice blend in a small bowl.
  4. Combine apples, pears, frozen cherries, apple juice-chai tea blend, the spice blend, brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit begins to soften, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer 1/4 cup of the warm apple liquid from the pot to a small bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk until completely dissolved into the liquid and no clumps remain. Stir mixture back into the pot. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Pour the filling into a bowl and set aside to cool, about 1 hour.
  6. While filling cools, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Press one of the thawed pie doughs into a pie pan.
  7. Pour filling into the crust. Do not overfill the crust or it may leak in your oven while cooking.
  8. Press the other crust dough over the top or cover your pie filling or create a lattice top.
  9. If covering without gaps in the crust, cut a small, shallow slit in the top with a sharp knife.
  10. Gently brush beaten egg over the top crust. Top with coarse sugar crystals if desired. Cover the outer edges of the pie with aluminum foil to avoid burning.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (place a pan below the pie to catch any drippings.
  12. Gently remove foil and continue to bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Allow the pie to cool until the pie is warm, but not hot, before serving.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here.

Halloween Menu

Finding Halloween dishes that are not only delicious, but kid-friendly was a challenge for me during the planning for my son’s first birthday. He was born on October 23rd, and I’m assuming every year that birthday plans will include something surrounding fall or Halloween. This year I decided to do a “Monster Smash”, with the consideration that most first birthday parties include a smash cake.

A monster themed cake and cupcakes was not that difficult to find, but kid-friendly foods that I could pull off myself, was a bit more challenging. So, after hours of planning and executing (a pretty awesome party), I decided to write this post in the hopes that others would benefit from it.

I also included a few dishes I put together the week of Halloween that might be tasty to include in your next 31st get together or family meal, enjoy!

Spooky Spiderweb Seven Layer Dip

A spooktacular dish to have at your next Halloween bash. Easy to throw together and delicious. Unfortunately there wasn’t any left because it was so darn yummy. Happy Halloween! Recipe here.

Wrapped Up Mummy Dogs

Wow these went quick at my last get together. Easy, delicious, quick, and kid-friendly! A perfect appetizer or pairing for a main dish during an October get together. Let us know how it goes. Recipe here.

Mummy Cupcakes

Cute and delicious! Dark chocolate cupcakes with a cherry compote filling and almond buttercream! Recipe here.

Monster Mac and Cheese

This recipe is simple, yes… but it just makes sense. Kids love mac and cheese! This recipe is easy and my suggestion is to make one box per 4-6 guests depending on whether it is a main dish to fill people up or if it is more like a side. If you want to save yourself some time and prep ahead, make this dish and put it into a crockpot on warm until guests arrive. Recipe here.

Halloween Candy Nachos

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy, make dessert nachos! A good mix of sweet and salty in a fix. Recipe here.

Monster Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 box of kraft mac and cheese, prepared
  • green food coloring
  • edible candy eyes

Instructions

  1. Prepare the box of mac and cheese as directed on the box.
  2. Stir in green food coloring until desired color has been reached.
  3. Plate or put into a crockpot to keep warm.
  4. When ready to serve, top with edible candy eyeballs.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here.

Halloween Candy Nachos

Ingredients

Serves 12

  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 4 large green, red, or a mixture of apples, cored and sliced (skin on)
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup various Halloween candy, chopped (any chocolate candy, candy corn, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1 ounce edible candy eyes
  • alternative option: instead of apples as your “nachos”, consider using any variety of graham crackers, sweet pita chips, or cookies

Instructions

  1. Select a circular serving platter to plate ingredients. Place the apples onto your serving platter in an even layer.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl microwave the marshmallow fluff for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the marshmallow is able to spread easily over the apples.
  3. In additional microwave safe bowls, microwave the peanut butter for about 30 seconds. Stir to check the consistency. It should be a little runny to allow for easy spreading across the apples.
  4. Spoon or using a ziplock baggy with the corner trimmed, spread the marshmallow mixture and peanut butter over the apples.
  5. Top with chopped Halloween candy, pretzels, and candy eyes. Serve immediately.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors.

Wrapped Up Mummy Dogs

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8-10-count) hotdogs
  • 1 can of refrigerated crescent roll sheets 
  • edible candy eyes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • optional: relish and mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll the crescent dough onto a large cutting board.
  3. Using a knife or pizza wheel, cut the crescent dough into 1/4th inch slices (with the length of the dough to make the longest strips possible).
  4. Starting at one end, wrap the dough randomly around the hot dog. Repeat with a second strip so that each hot dog has two strips creating a mummy wrapped look. While wrapping, think about where you want to place the eyes and leave a gap for them. You can put the eyes at one end or in the middle of the hot dog depending on what direction you want the mummies to face.
  5. Place the crescent wrapped hot dogs on the prepared baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Keep an eye on them to make sure they do not overcook. Cooking time will depend on how accurate your cuts are.
  6. Remove the mummies from the cookie sheet and place on a serving platter.
  7. Put a small dot of mustard or ketchup to glue on two eyes per hot dog.
  8. Optional Ketchup/Relish Dip: Fill a small serving container (around the outer edge) in a circular motion with ketchup. Fill the center with green relish. Randomly place eyes on top.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here.

Spooky Spiderweb Seven Layer Dip

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Frito Lay Bean Dip (found in the chip aisle)
  • 1 cup of prepared guacamole
  • 1 cup of sour cream + 1/2 cup for the decorative spider web.
  • 1 ounce pouch of taco seasoning (2 tablespoons)
  • 8 to 10 black olives sliced in half, reserve two whole olives to make the spider
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup of kale, shredded thinly
  • chips for serving (corn tortilla or blue corn chips)

Instructions

  1. Use a circular or round tray for platting the dip. Start by spreading the bean dip across the plate in an even layer, making sure to leave a 1-2” perimeter of open plate (this will be for your sour cream mixture).
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of sour cream with the taco seasoning. Spread the sour cream mixture around the perimeter of the plate surrounding your bean dip.
  3. On top of the beans and just in the center of the sour cream ring, spread the prepared guacamole.
  4. Put 1/2 cup of sour cream into a small ziplock. Using scissors, cut a small piece off the corner and use the bag to draw the spider web on top of the guacamole.
  5. Sprinkle kale, cheese, tomato and olives on top of the sour cream.
  6. To make an olive spider, place one whole black olive in the center of the web, then slice the other olive into 8 thin strips to make the legs.
  7. Serve with your favorite chips! I enjoy corn tortilla or blue corn chips.

Thank you to the big community of food visionaries out there in the world, working together to inspire and pass on food traditions and flavors. The recipe found on this page started here.

Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 med/large butternut squash
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 3 cups kale chopped
  • 1 medium apple, chopped (honeycrisp or pink lady)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° degrees F and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut open each butternut squash lengthwise so you have 4 long halves. Scoop out the seeds and strings, then drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Place halves face down on the baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until softened (check at 30 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook sausage into the skillet until almost done.
  5. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  6. Add in the fresh herbs and continue to cook for another minute.
  7. Stir in the kale, apples, and pecans, and cook for another minute or two until just softened.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the cranberries, and season the mixture to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Once the squash is done, allow it to cool until you are able to scoop out the squash, leaving about 3/4” border around the sides and bottom.
  10. Stir the scooped out squash into the sausage mixture.
  11. Generously fill the sausage mixture into the squash boats.
  12. Place filled squash boats onto the the baking sheet and broil on high until the top of the stuffing and squash are golden brown, 2-4 minutes or so.  
  13. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Cinnamon Apple Rose Pastries

Ingredients

  • 3 apples
  • 2 sheets of puffed pastries thawed
  • 6 tablespoons of apricot preserves
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice and peel shavings
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. Allow puffed pastries to thaw (according to package directions).
  2. Prepare 12 muffin tins with cooking spray and a light dusting of flour.
  3. Slice apples in half from top to bottom and remove cores.
  4. Slice apples into very thin slices.
  5. Fill a large bowl halfway with water.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl of water.
  7. Place slices of apples into the water. Microwave uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Drain apples.
  9. Set oven to 375F and prepare a floured surface for pastries. Lay thawed pastries flat on floured surface. Slightly roll the pastries out further with a rolling pin.
  10. Cut each pastry into 6 equal slices.
  11. One at a time, spoon apricot preserve mixture onto a slice of pastry. Place 7-9 apple slices on one half of the pastry. Apple slices should be peel side facing out.
  12. Fold the pastry in half, overtop of the apples.
  13. Starting on one end, roll the pastry and apples and then place each pastry into the prepared muffin tin.
  14. Continue with the other pieces of pastries until you have 12 apple roses.
  15. Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over pastries.
  16. Shave half of a lemon rind onto pastries.
  17. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of oven so the bottom of pastries do not burn.
  18. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Top with powdered sugar. 

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

In 2018 I was lucky enough to go to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. My husband and I were gifted tickets to see the snowboarding competition at Phoenix Snow Park and were able to see Shaun White win gold on the men’s halfpipe.

The night before the competition we arrived and wanted to visit the olympic village. With below temperatures and icy sidewalks, we shivered our way throughout the streets looking for a local restaurant to warm up.

We ended up in a little coffee shop where we had a beer and delicious pastry.

I was so inspired by the pastry, that I set out to find a similar recipe to make at home. While it takes a little time and delicate execution, the pastry really is pretty simple and they turn out beautiful. Serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat!

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 3-4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • Additional parmesan, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. 
  5. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or large bowl. Puree with processor or immersion blender.
  6. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  7. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling.
  10. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered.
  12. Option to serve with additional parmesan.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled butternut squash, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 strips of turkey or regular bacon
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz pasta, any type
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup provolone, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

Squash, Bacon, & Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare two oven safe cooking trays with foil. 
  3. Spray one pan with cooking spray and spread cubed butternut squash evenly over pan. Top with garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, place bacon onto the second prepared pan and set a second timer for 10 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes check the bacon. Continue cooking bacon in 5 minute increments until bacon is brown and crisp, but not burnt. 
  7. Allow bacon to cool on paper towels and then crumble.
  8. While bacon cools, spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray (or coat pan with bacon grease) and cook onions on medium low until translucent.
Pasta & Sauce
  1. When squash is browned and done baking, increase oven temperature to 450F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente, drain.  
  3. Meanwhile combine flour and a pinch of salt in a dutch oven, over medium high heat. 
  4. Slowly add milk while constantly whisking. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a low boil, cooking an additional minute until slightly thickened. 
  5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in provolone cheese until melted. 
  6. Add cooked squash, bacon, and onions to pasta and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. 

Thanks to Cooking Light Comfort Food  for the original recipe! (p. 212)