Baked Cheese-Stuffed Whole Pumpkin

Baked Cheese-Stuffed Whole Pumpkin

Start your Halloween party with this easy, cheesy, stuffed pumpkin appetizer. The pumpkin is filled with Gruyere, Parmesan, toasted bread, and a creamy mixture with garlic, fresh sage, and cognac. Then baked in the oven, the pumpkin serves as a serving dish as well as the walls get scraped into the delicious baked dip served on toasted baguette.

1 baguette, cut into ⅜“ slices
2 tablespoons melted butter
Kosher salt
3-lb. Pie pumpkin
Olive oil
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac
¾ cup salt-free chicken stock
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup  grated Gruyere

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Brush one side of the baguette slices with melted butter and top with a pinch of salt. Toast baguette slices in one layer on a baking sheet in oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. When cooled, cut 6-7 slices into cubes. Set aside and save the remaining slices to serve with the pumpkin.

Using a knife, cut around pumpkin stem to make a lid and remove the top. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside the pumpkin. Lightly salt the inside of the pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a foil-lined sheet pan. Brush outside of pumpkin and lid all over with olive oil.

Whisk together the cream, cognac, stock, pepper, sage, garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Combine the cheeses together in another medium bowl.

Start with a layer of the toasted and cubed baguette by adding ⅓ to the bottom of pumpkin, cover with ⅓ of the cheese. Continue layering the bread and cheese two more times. Whisk the cream mixture one more time, then pour into the pumpkin, stopping frequently to allow the cream mixture to soak in, until pumpkin is filled to within about ½” to the top. You may not use all the cream mixture, discard any remaining cream mixture.

Cover pumpkin with its top. Place in the oven and bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffy, 55-60 minutes. To serve, scoop out some of the flesh with the cheesy filling on to the remaining baguette slices.

Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Swirl

Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Swirl

Get inspired during pumpkin season and fill your home with the fragrance of fall while these cinnamon swirl pumpkin bars bake away in your oven. Moist and delicious, we filled these bars with warm spices, a delicious cinnamon cream cheese, and toasted walnuts.

1 cup walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Cinnamon swirl
¼ cup unsalted butter softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup cream
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, (leaving the oven on) cool slightly, and chop. Set aside.

To make the bars: Line bottom and sides of an 8×8“ baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree then reduce speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the walnuts and stir into the batter by hand until incorporated. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.

To make the cinnamon swirl: With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and cream. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla, then beat until combined. Drop in tablespoons over the pumpkin batter; swirl into the batter. Smooth the top and place in the oven.

Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Using the foil, lift from pan, peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Buffalo Sauce Potatoes Wedges With Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Buffalo Sauce Potatoes Wedges With Cilantro Ranch Dressing

You will be bringing your “A” game when you serve these crunchy, spicy, potato wedges at your next Tailgate or Football Watch Party. Crispy and drenched in a buttery Buffalo Hot Sauce, they are perfect for dipping in our cool Cilantro Ranch Dressing.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Buffalo Sauce Potato Wedges
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, medium size
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup hot sauce, we prefer Uncle Franks
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Cut each potato into 6 wedges, place in a large bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil; add 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and toss again. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil and place the potatoes, cut side down, on the baking sheet leaving space between the wedges. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes, so the other cut side is down and cook 10 minutes longer or until golden. Turn the oven off.

While the potatoes bake, combine the hot sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk the sauce while bringing to a to a simmer. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, set aside and keep warm.

Combine the warm pepper sauce and hot potatoes in a large heatproof bowl and gently toss to coat evenly. Place the bowl of potatoes back in the warm oven and rest for 5 minutes. Remove and carefully toss again. Serve warm with the Cilantro Ranch Sauce.

Spicy Sloppy Joe Dip with Cheddar and Pickles

Spicy Sloppy Joe Dip with Cheddar and Pickles

This beefy dip appetizer will upgrade your Tailgate or Football Watch Party to the championship level. While the charm of Sloppy Joes is the messy sandwich, when it comes to partying this easy recipe makes a neat little dip. Serve with mini bun pieces (made from hot dog buns) and/or crunchy kettle chips for dipping. Serves 8-10 appetizer portions.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat
½ medium onion, small dice
½ green bell pepper, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon Ancho chili powder
¼ cup tomato sauce
¾ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons pickle relish

For Serving:
Toasted bun slices, recipe follows
Kettle chips

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned on all sides but not thoroughly cooked through, about 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the remaining fat in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium, put the pan back on and add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6–8 minutes; season with a few pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Add the Ancho chili powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, molasses, and the beef along with any accumulated juices back into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until mixture is thick and saucy, about 15 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the shredded cheese and cover to melt the cheese, about three minutes. Top with the pickles and serve with toasted bun pieces and kettle chips for dipping.

Toasted Bun Slices
6 uncut hot dog buns, sliced into ⅜” pieces
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lay the bun slices on a parchment lined sheet tray. Brush lightly with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes until toasted. Serve warm with the dip.

Oven-Roasted Vidalia Onion Dip

Oven-Roasted Vidalia Onion Dip

An original 1970’s throwback staple, the dried-onion-soup-package-with-sour-cream dip was a special treat served at sleepovers and parties. Oven-roasting the onions, and stirring in fresh green onions, gives this updated dish a deliciously deep onion flavor. While we dig the ‘70’s vibe eating this dip with potato chips, the platter can also be updated and shared with some seasonal fresh raw vegetables such as cucumber, celery, carrots, radishes, baby peppers, cauliflower and more.

In this recipe, you let the oven do all the work; roasting the onions to caramelized sweetness before combining them with the remaining ingredients.

6 medium Vidalia onions, Papery parts peeled, cut into ⅛“ rings
¼ cup olive oil
kosher salt
2 cups sour cream, divided
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
dash hot sauce, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

potato chips
seasonal fresh veggies: cucumber, celery, carrots, radishes, baby peppers, cauliflower

Heat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl toss the raw onion slices with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, then pour on to a baking sheet. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until soft, darkened, and caramelized, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Strain off any excess oil and cool.

Add the cooled roasted onions to the work bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Add 1 cup of sour cream, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and purée again until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, very thinly slice the green onions. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the dark green parts, then stir the rest into the remaining 1 cup of sour cream with a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Transfer the onion dip to a serving bowl, top with the sour cream/green onion mixture and gently swirl into the onion dip. Try not to over mix; you want the mixture to be swirled together. Add the remaining green onions on top and serve with fresh vegetables, potato chips, or both. Serves 8-10.

Summer BBQ Nachos

Summer BBQ Nachos

Create these tasty nachos using up any shredded leftover BBQ meat – chicken, pork, or beef. Just toss the meat with your favorite sweet BBQ sauce and top over tortilla chips. Add lots of cheese, green onions, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, and fresh grilled or roasted corn off the cob.

1 cup grilled chicken, pork or beef
½ cup sweet BBQ sauce (we like Williams Sonoma Sweet Onion Applewood)
½ cup green onions, thinly sliced white and green parts
1 jalapeno, very thinly sliced
½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
½ cup roasted corn on the cob, removed from cob
4 cups tortilla chips, we like the homemade version at Lucky’s
1 8-ounce package of Mexican Mix shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
Juice of ½ lime
Zest of one lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

Shred the meat with two forks, add the BBQ sauce and mix thoroughly. Thinly slice the green onions and jalapeno, cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters, and removed the grilled corn from the cob; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In an oven-proof pan or cast iron comal pan add a layer of tortilla chips. Top the chips with 1/3 of the cheese, chicken, green onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, and corn. Repeat with two more layers of chips, cheese, and toppings. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

While the nachos bake, whisk together the sour cream with the lime juice. Place in a serving bowl then top with the lime zest. Remove the nachos from the oven and top with the fresh chopped cilantro. Serve the sour cream with the warm nachos.

Makes 4 servings.