Harvest Soup

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Okay, so Harvest Soup isn’t the actual name of this soup. It’s proper name is Mushroom and Hazelnut Soup, but since my mom only made it on Thanksgiving, my sister and I started referring to it as this (and be grateful, because the runner up was Pilgrim Stew). This is yet another recipe that’s been in the family for years, and we have no idea where it originated, other than one of my mom’s cooking magazines from way back. You see, at one point in the early 90’s (about the time Martha Stewart hit the scene), my mom decided that she wanted to fancy up our Thanksgiving dinner by serving courses. She was looking for something seasonally appropriate for the first course and felt that hazelnuts and mushrooms sounded autumny and elegant. It was an immediate hit with our guests, who, nearly 20 years later, ended up becoming my in-laws; that’s how magical this soup is! (Just kidding. Kind of.) Anyway, since that fateful Thanksgiving, this soup has made a return appearance every single year, but ONLY on the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

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Tuna Casserole for Grownups

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Okay, this title may be a bit misleading. I don’t want to imply that this casserole is ‘R’ rated or anything, it’s just a little more sophisticated than the 4-ingredient medley that mom used to make growing up. Although now that I think about it, my mom never made casseroles when I was young, and somehow I feel like I was robbed of this very 70’s food trend. Anyhow, the first time I tried tuna casserole I was in my early (okay, mid)-thirties, and my husband and I had just started dating. We had planned to spend a rainy weekend at home and I desperately wanted to cook for him. Still unsure as to what his food preferences were (other than pizza and beer), I asked him what he was craving most. Much to my bewilderment, he requested tuna casserole. I had never made tuna casserole before, let alone tried it, but I was certain that it was something I could handle. Continue reading

Swedish Meatballs

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A couple weeks ago my family and I took a pilgrimage to IKEA to search for a “big girl” bed for my 3-year old. About 2½ hours into what was supposed to be a quick trip, we all started to show signs of hunger-induced crankiness (hangriness), so we stopped for lunch at the little bistro conveniently located in the center of the store. My husband and daughter split an order of chicken tenders (yawn), while I chose to splurge on a ginormous pile of meatballs (hey, when in Sweeden…). Just as I was tucking into my lunch, my daughter asked for a bite and before I knew it, she had finished the entire plate. Irritated but inspired, I decided that I would make my own meatballs for dinner later that week. Continue reading

Crunchy Butterfinger Cookies

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Happy Halloween, candy fiends! Before you and the kiddos embark on your day of rowdy parties, twilight trick-or-treating, and massive sugar consumption, I want to impart you with some knowledge. The quickest way to rid your house of excess Halloween candy is to bake it into cookies. That’s right folks, you know as well as I that every year we end up with gobs of candy that will take our little pirates and princesses weeks, maybe months, to get through (or eventually get toss out). Which is why I thought up a recipe that will put some of those confections to better use. These flourless peanut butter cookies are generously studded with hunks of Butterfingers and pack a candy-worthy crunch! Seriously, these guys are so good that your monsters won’t even bother with the Dum-Dums and Smarties in the bottom of their trick-or-treat bag. Continue reading

Healthy Greek Pasta

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Halloween is only two days away which means I still have time to sneak in another healthy recipe before for the proverbial candy hits the fan. This Greek inspired dish is fiber rich which will sustain you through hours of trick-or-treating, flavor packed to help you avoid dipping your hand into the candy bowl, and takes less than 15-mintues to make allowing you to focus your time and energy on dressing your little ghosts and goblins! Continue reading

Pumpkin Soup

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Pumpkin soup is one of my favorite meals this time of year. To me it feels like I’m getting away with something, almost like I’m eating pumpkin pie in liquid form – just without the sugar. (Incidentally, I made a pumpkin pie one Thanksgiving and forgot to add the sugar. I have yet to live it down.) Now, like pumpkin pie, this soup is bursting with warm autumn flavors like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, but unlike pumpkin pie, it’s incredibly healthy. So this Halloween why not put your conscience to rest, fill up on this festive soup, and leave the candy bowl to the trick-or-treaters. (Oh, who am I kidding, go ahead and stuff your face – it’s Halloween!) Continue reading

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I’m sure many of you already know (or can at least deduce from the name) that these red-hot chicken wings originated in the great state of New York, city of Buffalo (my dad’s hometown). When my husband and I first married, we took a trip back east to spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s family. My husband, being a connoisseur of bar food, was determined to order Buffalo chicken wings in Buffalo, so my dad took us to one of his favorite local joints. We grabbed a pitcher of Genesee from the bar, and when the waiter came to take our order, my husband asked for a dozen wings. He, like me, can tolerate some pretty spicy food, but since we were in the birthplace of the hot wing, he decided to play it safe and order the medium spiciness. The waiter nodded for a second, then said in his thick New York accent, “I can tell you’re not from around here, so I’m gonna bring you a plate of mild wings, and if they’re not hot enough, just send them back and I’ll getcha the spicier ones.” Looking slightly offended, my husband agreed. Continue reading