Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Fall Dishes

Maple Chicken Wings

With a fresh new year, I’ve been thinking of some fresh new ideas for bloggage.  And here it is my friends….

Dave's Dish of the Week

Dave insisted that his head be super imposed on the body of the Swedish Chef from the muppets – and let’s just say the resemblance is frightening

Dave – my husband, my partner in crime, my doggy-daddy, the ‘other half of the newlywed whole’ fueling this blog – really hasn’t gotten much air time since we started just about a year ago.  Sure he’s there in the kitchen for better or worse recipes, often times taking the reigns himself and coming up with some really great meals, but to be honest with you, I like to enjoy the full benefits of being cooked for, which includes throwing my feet up with a glass of wine and control of the remote while Dave slaves away in the kitchen.

Diva alert.

So once a week, coming to a kitchen near you, is Dave’s Dish!  (let’s hope he doesn’t make quite as much clamor and is easier to understand than the real Swedish chef :))

First up is these AMAZINGLY delicious Maple Chicken wings that we made for that um…big sports game on Sunday night (too soo…still too soon).  For those of you that will be continuing to watch football in the next couple weeks, these are a perfect finger food for watching.  Took a little bit of patience, but as with most recipes that take a bit of doing, it was well worth the wait.

Maple Chicken Wings
*Adapted from Southern Food

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 3 – 4 dozen chicken wings

    4 pounds chicken wings
(preferably the type that are ready to cook so you can avoid the clipping/prepping/etc.)

    1 cup maple syrup, dark or grade B
(we used pure Vermont Maple Syrup)

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    2 cloves garlic, finely minced

    3 green onions, chopped

    1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

    1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  2 pinches of cayenne pepper, optional

   *Cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onions, for garnish
(we used green onions & sesame seeds)

1) Line a large baking pan bottom and sides with heavy duty foil.

2) Wash the chicken wings and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, teriyaki, and peppers.

Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chicken Wings

3) Add the chicken wings to the bowl with the marinade.  Coat wings evenly with the marinade and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting the wings marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight (the longer the better).

4) After your wings have marinaded, arrange the chicken wing pieces in the prepared baking pan and pour the sauce over them.

5) Bake the wings for 1 hour at 350 degrees, turning 3 to 4 times during that hour. After an hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes longer, turning the wings every 10 minutes to brown evenly.

Maple Chicken Wings

6) Remove the wings to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onion.

Maple Chicken Wings

“Bork…bork…bork!”


Carrot Souffle

I’m sure you’re thinking “Carrot Souffle? What in the world?”

I know – I know – but bear with me here…

A few years back, Dave and I attended a holiday dinner party at his former bosses house, and his wife did a bang up job with dinner!  I remember sitting down to the table with bug eyes at how amazingly delicious everything looked – except for this one orangey looking thing, covered with nuts.  I started to sweat, because it’s really in poor taste to not try everything at a dinner party, so I scooped a little teeny smidgen of it, and went at it with my fork in one hand and my glass of wine in the other, just in case I needed an emergency wash down.

Carrot Souffle

I took my first teeny little bite, small enough that I could taste what I was eating but not so much so that if I was about to gag it would be totally obvious – and thought “oooh, mmmm….this is pretty good actually.”  My next bite was bigger, and after only a couple bites my small little scoop was gone – but I wanted more! So I took seconds….thought about thirds but didn’t want to embarrass Dave in front of his co-workers by stuffing my face.  I knew I had to have the recipe and finally, she emailed the recipe to Dave and he forwarded it to me, and since then, it’s become a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas, like the mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.  It’s a light and fluffy combination of pureed carrots and lots of other ingredients that are better not to know – but luckily for you, I’m gonna share them, right now!

Carrot Souffle
*Dave’s former bosses fabulous cook of a wife! (guess I should have gotten her name, eh?)

INGREDIENTS
*yields enough for a 9×13″ baking pan for a larger crowd – halving it would be just enough for an 8×8″ dish

4 lbs carrot, cooked and pureed

12 eggs
(I know – seems like a lot!)

1 & 1/3 cups sugar

8 tbsp flour

4 tsp baking powder

4 tsp vanilla

few dashes of cinnamon & nutmeg

For the topping

1 cup cornflake crumbs

4 tbsp. brown sugar

2 & 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your baking dish by greasing the bottom and sides with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

2) Cook the carrots in boiling water until fully cooked through.  Puree them with an electric mixer or food processor and allow to cool completely.  In the mean time while they’re cooling, you can prepare the topping by pulsing the corn flakes in a food processor (or just crushing with your hands in a ziplock), then adding them to the brown sugar, melted butter and pecans.

3) Once the carrots are completely cooled off (the eggs will cook when you add them to the carrots if they haven’t cooled enough), add all of the other ingredients and blend with a mixer until fully combined.

4) Pour carrot mixture into the dish and then top with cornflake/pecan topping.  Feel free to make more of the topping if you’d like – it is quite delicious!

5) Bake souffle in preheated oven for 1 hour.

This Carrot Souffle is a sweet treat for your tastebuds to take bites of in between the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and….

Is it Thursday yet?


pumpkin cheesecake dip

I’m not afraid to admit when perfectly laid out recipes go astray.

Last Thanksgiving, we had some friends over for a makeshift ‘Thanksgiving Dinner” and our friend Alissa brought this pumpkin dip with various treats to dip in it, and OMG – it was beyond good.  And the best part was that it was served in a hollowed out pumpkin! Major points for presentation!

So this past Sunday, Dave, Hairy and I had plans to meet up with my cousin Catherine and Buddy and my Aunt Jane at Buddy’s fab apt. in the north end (recess lighting and all).  Pizza from the ORIGINAL Pizzeria Regina, which is right around the corner from his apartment  (I swear I’d be well over 300 lbs if I lived there) was on the menu, so I decided I was going to make this pumpkin dip as a nice ‘lighter’ option for dessert.

Ooof.

I literally stood over the bowl with the electric mixer for a good 10 minutes, just waiting for all these little lumps of cream cheese to disintegrate.  But it didn’t happen.  And while it tasted pretty good, I am a firm believer that you taste with your eyes just as much as your mouth, and the sight of this mess of a dip even made me, someone who never passes on dessert, want to say “Ahhh ya know what? I am just SO full I think I’ll pass on dessert!”  I was so ashamed of it, I frustratedly tossed it in the dumpster outside of Buddy’s apartment as we were walking to our car – $1 leaf bowl from Target and all.

But I was determined to make this better somehow.  So I tried it again last night, using essentially the same recipe, but using a different process to combine them together, and BINGO!!!! We have a winner!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
*Adapted from Allrecipes & Very Best Baking

INGREDIENTS
*makes about 1.5 cups – perfect amount for a small pumpkin!

1 – 8oz block of cream cheese, softened (room temp is ideal)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin puree with an electric mixer on low until both are fully combined and smooth.

2) Gradually add the powdered sugar to the pumpkin/cream cheese mixture (I did about 1/3 at a time) mixing well in between.

3) Add the pumpkin pie spice and mix well until all ingredients are combined and smooth.

4) Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight).  Serve with whatever you see fit to dip! Personally I think that chocolate goes really nice with this, so  I used chocolate animal crackers, graham crackers and bite sized oreos, but the options are endless!

So what was the difference between the two?

In version 1, the directions said to mix the softened cream cheese and the powdered sugar together until smooth – without sifting the sugar first, causing big sugary lumps of cream cheese to form before the pumpkin even went into the mixture.  After that, there was no going back, no matter how much you mixed.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

The second version though, I mixed the pumpkin and cream cheese together first, until smooth, and then gradually add the sifted confectioners sugar, which honestly makes perfect sense now that I look back, but at the time I just followed the instructions without giving it any thought.

Finally, after 2 tries, it was what I had always envisioned it being – a deliciously smooth combination of pumpkin and cream cheese that’s fun to eat and ridiculously easy to make. Feel free to tweak the measurements of pumpkin too, adding more or less depending on your pumpkin tastes.  And, putting it in a cute hollowed out little pumpkin = genius.  Perfect for a pre-dinner dessert for people to graze on, or a nice, lighter alternative for people after the big meal is over, as you can dip as much or as little as you like – it’s commitment free!

So go now and dip it.  Dip it good 🙂


Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Happy Friday everyone! Man, these 5-day weeks are BRUTAL!

To say that the weather around here has been crazy lately would be a complete understatement.  Within about a week and a half, we had a Hurrricane AND a Nor’ Easter that brought the first snow of the season to Boston – and now it’s all melted and it’s supposed to be 70 degrees on Monday.  Wuddup mother nature? I only have so much room in my closet to be prepared for all these weather scenarios!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Snow on my cabbage?

Anyway, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching in just two weeks! And this recipe for Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie is a special one as it’s a Schoon Family ‘Dessert Heirloom’ of sorts.  Dave’s Mom and Grandmother make it every Thanksgiving and it’s really a nice change to your run-of-the-mill Apple and Pecan pie.  After hours of grazing and face stuffing on Thanksgiving Day, when you think you can’t fit another morsel of food in your already overstretched stomach, out comes the Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie.  And suddenly, ah ha! Whaddaya know, I found room for a sliver!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
*A Schoon Family Specialty

INGREDIENTS
*Yields 1 – 9″ pie – however, there is probably enough ice cream to make 2 pies, so if you double the graham cracker crust, butter and sugar measurements,  you’d have enough crust for 2 pies. 

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1.5 – teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon orange juice

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) To prepare crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Coat 9″ pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and then press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the the plate.

2) Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. You’ll notice that the crust will puff up a little bit while baking – simply take your hands or a rubber spatula to push it back down into the pie plate.  Cool on rack before filling.

3) To prepare the pumpkin filling, combine ice cream, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice.

4) After the crust has cooled, pour the pumpkin ice cream filling into the pie plate.  As mentioned above, there will be quite a bit of ice-cream filling left over, so feel free to save it or prepare another pie with it.

5) Freeze until ready to serve.  Feel free to top with cool whip, or as you can see, I ‘bedazzled’ mine with some fun harvest colored sugar crystals for some texture.

Be sure to spray your pie plate – I actually did NOT do this, and the crust was kind of sticking to the plate, so I think the cooking spray would help that (or you could totally cheat and buy one of those pre-made Graham Cracker crusts! But the homemade one just tastes that much better :))

I would also recommend letting your pie sit for 5 minutes or so before trying to cut a slice – it just makes it a little easier to take it out of the plate.

Happy Friday everyone – happy weekend to all!


Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake Bites

I’m stuffed – wanna know why?

I was stressed last night – what a nail biter the election was! And I don’t know about you guys, but  I am a stress eater.  Instead of knitting, chewing gum or taking a brisk walk when I’m feeling anxious about something, I stuff my face with whatever is in arm’s length of me and not nailed to the table.

So, all in all, not the best night to make these Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake bites – we’ll leave it at that.

Lucky enough for you, I spared some to actually take pictures of so you could see:

1) how cute they are

2) how delicious they are

3) how ridiculously easy they are to make

A similar flavor to those Pumpkin Oreo Truffles from a couple months ago, but much more rich and dessert-like.  And the best part is there’s no fork needed – you can pick them up with your hands and in 2 (maybe 3 for most normal humans) bites, down the hatch they go!

Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake Bites
*Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life (clearly I tried to make them ‘healthier’ to justify eating a dozen of them)

INGREDIENTS
*yields 24 cheesecakes

    2-8 oz pkgs. reduced fat cream cheese, softened

    1/2 c. sugar

    2 eggs

    2 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream

    1 tsp. vanilla

    1/2 c. canned pumpkin

    1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

    48 Reduced-Fat Oreos

light whipped cream

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Spray a 12-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottoms with 1 Oreo cookie per slot.

3) Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar and cream again. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each one. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat again.

4) Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with the cheesecake batter (on top of the oreo at the bottom), then push another whole Oreo into the top of the batter.

5) Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes and then take a knife around the edge of each cheesecake to loosen them from the pan.  At this point, they should pop out easily.  You can then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

6) Keep refrigerated. Top with whipped cream and crushed oreos before serving.

Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake Bites

oh and, they were breakfast too…

These would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dessert table! Easy to make and to eat 🙂

In the mean time, I’ll be doing 2 hours of cardio tonight to work off last night’s (and um, this mornings?) Pumpkin Oreo binge – in the middle of the nor’ easter we’re getting – DOH.


Short Rib Tacos

Not only did a Hurricane blow through this week, but so did Halloween! Luckily, Sandy swept in and out just in time for a cool, fall night for the kiddos to do some trick or treating.  And this guy got to hand out lots of candy…Short Rib Tacos

the before….
Short Rib Tacos

…and after

I was trying to find the perfect Halloween dinner (hot dogs were off limits) and I went through lots of pumpkin/squash/fally’ type entrees.  But then, for some reason, short ribs popped into my head, followed by tacos. So boom – Short Rib Tacos it was!  I investigated a variety of different recipes, but this one from So Tasty, So Yummy sounded like the best flavor combination to me.  I took the base of it, added a little of this and a little of that, and I don’t often throw rose petals at myself, but Halloween night, it was a shower of rose petals, because man were these good! We paired them with those delicious Pickled Red Onions from the Southwestern Pulled Brisket Taco recipe, some cilantro and fresh homemade salsa, and oooh it was a Halloween dinner to remember!

Short Rib Tacos
*Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

INGREDIENTS

8-10 short ribs (bone in or boneless)

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 small cans of black beans

1 – 14.5 oz can tomatoes w/ green chilis

1 – 14.5 oz can regular diced tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored but I don’t think it matters – if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could probably use 2 cans of the tomatoes w/ chilis)

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves minced

1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli flakes

juice of 2 limes

3 cups beef broth

*corn or flour tortillas

*queso fresco

*fresh salsa

*chopped cilantro

1) Mix the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a bowl.  Rub each short rib in the spice mixture and place them in a large ziplock bag.  Let marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (obviously, the longer the better! I think I did mine for about an hour and a half)

2) In a food processor, take the 2 cans of black beans and the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and puree together.  Set aside.

3) In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) heat 4 tbsp. olive oil.  Brown each short rib on both sides and then set aside on a plate.

4) To the same dutch oven, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the garlic and chili flakes and saute another minute, or until fragrant.

5) Add the beef broth, lime juice and black bean/tomato puree to the garlic and onion mixture, scraping the brown bits from the short ribs.  Return the browned short ribs to the dutch oven in a single layer and let come to a boil.

6) Reduce heat to low and cook the short ribs on low heat for up to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have (the longer cooked, the more tender the meat).  After about an hour and a half, shred the short ribs and return the shredded meat back to the sauce to soak in the flavor.  If they’re on a bone, the meat can be removed from the bone and shredded, or if they’re boneless, you can just shred the meat.

7) Be sure to reserve some of the sauce from the short ribs and reduce it for 10-15 minutes before serving.  It’s a great little accompaniment to the tacos!

Serve the short ribs on corn or flour tortillas with the reduced sauce, some salsa, queso fresco and cilantro. Mmmmmmm.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

It’s Friday! Woo Wooo Yeahh Yeahhh Woo Wooo Woooooo!

Pumpkin Cheesecake BrowniesI’m extra excited for this coming weekend because:

1) Tomorrow a WEDDING is happening!

2) I get to spend time with these clowns – a.k.a my family – a.k.a the farkles.  Don’t ask.

My cousin Allison is getting married to Neil.  They’re story is one of my faves.  Al moved to Dublin to channel her inner Irish self a couple years after college – she met Neil, a legit Irishman who might be one the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life – they fell in love – last year they got engaged in Budapest (NBD) and tomorrow they’re getting married! I’m picturing a lot of jigging on the dance floor and a lot of guinness consumption, but mostly, lots of laughs and fist pumps with family and friends!Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I’ll be honest – there’s no correlation between Al and Neil nuptials and these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies, but nevertheless, they were amazingly easy to make (primarily cuz’ I cheated – cheaters DID prosper in this case!) and amazingly delicious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
*Cheescake portion adapted from A Taste of Home

INGREDIENTS

Your favorite boxed brownie mix, prepared according to instructions

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or whatever temperature the box says)

2) Prepare your brownie batter and set aside.

3) For cheesecake batter, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined.

4) Line a 12-muffin tin with paper baking cups.  Fill the bottom about 1/3 of the way with brownie batter.  Then place another 1/3 of pumpkin cheesecake batter on the top, and then top the last 1/3 with the brownie batter.  Take a knife and swirl the pumpkin cheesecake and brownie batter together so they look ‘swirly’.

5) Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

*You could also make these as just a standard pan of brownies by again, following the instructions on the box for the different pan sizes and following the same method of brownie batter/pumpkin cheesecake layering and swirling.

My only change would be maybe alternating the pattern and doing cheesecake/brownie/cheesecake next time, as to make them a little more pumpkin flavored.  But it’s totally up to you, depending on what flavor you prefer.

Next week is Halloween – BOOOOO!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies



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