Top Ten Treats for Samhain

I thought I would do a companion piece to Thursday’s post with ‘treats’ for Samhain to go along with the ‘tricks’. These are some of my absolute favorite fall recipes, including a few new ones I am going to be trying out for our party this year! Any recipe without a link is below the cut (except that I can’t seem to find the macaroni and cheese recipe – will keep an eye out for it. :()

Entrees

Duck Breast with Pears and Balsamic Vinaigrette: Duck is one of my favorite and, I think, least appreciated fall entrees. This one is especially juicy and tender and the sweetness of the pears is the perfect touch.

Pork Apricot Stew: This is the new one for this year. I am not going to be able to slave in the kitchen Samhain morning so I am changing it just slightly to go in the crockpot. I’ll just be letting it simmer all day and then it will be fall-off-the-bone delicious!

Pot Pie: You can easily use any meat you prefer or replace it with extra potatoes for a vegetarian version. Also, you can make this in one large serving or in ramekins for individuals.

Sides

Cheddar Apple Bundles: These are great for make-ahead breakfasts. Make them up to the point of sealing the dough, then wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. You’d be surprised how long they’ll keep! My only complaint is that the pecans are just way too intense on top of the white cheddar so I usually like to replace them with something lighter like almonds or leave them out all together (but that may just be me.)

Roasted Deviled Potatoes: One of my favorite recipes year-round, this one is especially great in autumn. If the butternut from the garden keeps long enough, I may replace some of the potatoes with cubed butternut – yum! Because I’ve made it so many times, a suggestion: double the sauce.

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese: We had company over once, my grandparents and some friends of theirs we didn’t know. Mom had announced she was making macaroni and cheese but when we sat down to eat, the sweet old man with them looked about bowled over. He admitted he had been bracing for neon-orange Velveeta but this… Well, you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

Spicy Yam Soup: My mother hates yams. Or at least she did until her best friend fooled her with this amazing soup years and years ago. Fair warning though – as the note scrawled on the side reads: “Ashley made the mistake of using his big pinchers for the cayenne – maybe use Tenae’s little ones!” In other words, it’s a little pinch or you might be clearing out your sinuses.

Desserts

World’s Best Pumpkin Pie: I made this for the first time last year for Thanksgiving and at Christmas my cousins were still talking about it! I didn’t make the hazelnut mousse and honestly it doesn’t really need it; this is one pumpkin pie that stands on its own two feet.

Ginger Pumpkin Meringue Pie: If you aren’t a big pumpkin pie fan, this recipe is for you. There are so many flavors and textures going on here, you may not even be able to call it pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Rum Cheesecake: Another family classic, this recipe has been long-preserved in a 1994 magazine and every year my dad digs it out and sets about making a giant mess in the kitchen. And we’re always happy to be dusting flour off the chandelier the next day because it is that good.

Spicy Yam Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 small jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 qt chicken broth
1 ½ lb yams, peeled and diced
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup cream
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt or to taste
Healthy pinch cayenne pepper

  1. Heat the butter in a soup pot until bubbly. Add onion and sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add jalapenos and thyme; sauté 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the carrots, yams and chicken broth. Simmer 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the veggies to a food processor. Puree the mixture, adding a bit of the liquid to help the process.
  4. Pour back into the pot. Add milk, cream, brown sugar, salt and cayenne.
  5. Heat soup very gently for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

Pumpkin Rum Cheesecake

1 cup crushed gingersnaps
¼ cup ground pecans
¼ cup butter, melted
3 8-oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp rum flavoring
¾ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves

  1. For crust, combine gingersnaps, ground pecans and melted butter. Press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs, pumpkin, the 1 ½ tsp rum flavoring, and spices; beat until just smooth. Pour into crust lined pan. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg if desired.
  3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 70 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen crust from pan sides. Cool 30 minutes more; remove sides of pan. Cool completely. Chill at least 4 hours.

 

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