Call me lazy. Or just really busy. But I’m going to mush my five (yes–five!) new recipes we’ve tried in the past three weeks or so into one gargantuan post. But each individual review will be fairly short. I’ve been slacking on my camera duties when we’re done cooking, and for most of them, I followed the recipe exactly, so there’s not going to be too much to say. Ready for my delicious fall spread?
The first thing we made, and this was a while ago, was this Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna. I won’t lie–this was time consuming. It wasn’t hard, but there was a fair amount of chopping and cooking even before we could put the whole thing in the oven for 45 minutes. That being said, it was delicious! It was rich and creamy and chickeny, very different from a traditional lasagna and a little bit heavier. The vegetables were great–I was generous with the amounts that I used, and I might even use a bit more next time. The one definite change we would make is either cooking the chicken whole and then shredding it, or maybe even just using a rotisserie chicken. The pieces we cut to saute were too large, which made it a bit difficult to eat. Shredding into smaller pieces would be the way to go. Another plus to this dish? It makes a lot, so there were lots of leftovers–and it reheated well for another dinner or for a hearty lunch.
Next up was these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. I needed something to bring to a departmental work day at school. Last year I made pumpkin hummus and it was a huge hit, so I felt like there was some pressure to deliver something good! (I could have brought the hummus again, but how predictable would that be?) I found these cookies and thought they looked like a nice fall treat, and they definitely were! They stayed nice and soft, and there was a hint of pumpkin without it being overwhelming. I liked the tartness of the cranberry and the sweetness of the white chocolate; Chris said he thought they’d be better with dark chocolate. I think that could certainly work…but he also just isn’t a huge fan of white chocolate. Oh, and as a side note, this recipe makes a lot of cookies! I probably ended up with 3 dozen respectably-sized cookies. I’m glad I didn’t decide to double it!
Next on our list of culinary adventures was this Chicken Noodle Soup. We have a bunch of homemade chicken stock in the freezer, but for some reason, I’m waiting for the “perfect” opportunity to use it. So, I thought I would try to recipe for chicken soup and see if it still provided a flavorful enough base, even with just simmering for an hour. And the answer? I added a little bit of Penzey’s chicken soup base to ramp up the flavor, but with that extra boost, it absolutely did! This soup was fantastic. Flavorful and filling, stuffed with tender meat and fresh vegetables and lots of noodles. Comfort food at its best.
Our next endeavor was one that took a little more effort on our parts. We kept putting it off because our weeknights have been late and hectic, and who wants to eat dinner at 8:30 on a school night? On a Friday, though? That’s apparently okay. So on Friday we undertook this Pumpkin Risotto. The recipe calls for scallops and candied pancetta (which I’m sure would be delightful), but we opted for a roasted pork tenderloin, something we could season, throw in the oven, and not worry about while we busied ourselves with the risotto. The risotto was wonderfully creamy and delightfully pumpkin-y, and I really liked it with the pork. There are two adjustments I would make to the recipe, if you’re thinking of trying it. First, we were lazy and opted not to blend up the pumpkin puree and butter–and we couldn’t tell the difference. As long as you melt the butter in a little at a time and make sure it’s mixed up really well, I don’t think the blending is necessary. Save yourself the extra dishes! Second, make sure you taste the risotto for doneness before adding the pumpkin puree and the final ingredients. We didn’t do this–we should have known better–and we ended up with slightly al dente rice. It probably could have used another ladleful of broth.
The final fall recipe I’ve got to share with you is for your weekend mornings, something to munch while you curl up with a warm beverage of your choice. Check out these Pumpkin gingerbread biscotti. (If you’re fall-crazy like I apparently am this year, one large can of pumpkin should see you through the oatmeal cookies, the risotto, and a double batch of the biscotti.) I made them yesterday as a splurge to myself–besides, I had all of the necessary ingredients, so I considered it something like fate. I was initially a bit concerned about all the spices, but the cookie’s flavor isn’t too heavily spiced at all. And the smell as they’re cooking? Amazing. (Chris came in from walking the dog and pronounced that it smelled like home.) I think I skimped a little on the first cooking time, and so my cookies could be a little firmer. Another change I made that might have thrown the texture a bit was chopping the walnuts and adding them right to the batter, along with a dollop of extra pumpkin because the batter was so dry, I couldn’t get all of the flour incorporated. I was going to mix in white chocolate chips, too, but I forgot, so I “iced” them with white chocolate after they cooled. They don’t look as pretty as the picture on the website, but they’re still really tasty.
*Phew!* So, that’s my fall rundown. For now, at least. I hope if you’re looking for something with an autumnal twist that you can find something here that you’d like to try!