Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup (Stovetop and Instant Pot)

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Chef Michael Symon’s Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Chef Michael Symon* has a new show on Food Network called Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out. It’s a fun half-hour with Symon grilling all his recipes with the help of his wife.

I wanted to share this recipe as soon as I saw the episode. Such a perfectly simple way to prepare eggplant and fresh tomatoes. As we wind up garden season, this is a perfect late summer grilling recipe.

Check out all the recipes from the show, most are simple and unique takes on popular favorites. 

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Level: Easy
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving

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Grilling Dinner Menu: Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken

I get gifts! One I got this year was a box of assorted large bottles of spice mixes. I’ve enjoyed each unique blend, especially the Peruvian one, since it’s been a while since we have been able to frequent our favorite Peruvian restaurant here.

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for summer and great for grilling.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled peppers and onions (toss sliced onions and favorite mix of peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and grill in a grilling pan)
  3. Cucumber-Tomato Salad (recipe here)
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

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Birthday Gelato: Vanilla and Hazelnuts

I decided a few days ago that gelato would be a fun birthday treat. I decided on vanilla with hazelnut chocolate spread and chopped hazelnuts.

I have made Hazelnut Gelato before (recipe here) and it’s yummy. But I wanted guests to have the option of plain gelato, a variety of chopped nuts, chocolate sauce and the hazelnut spread.

The key to a great vanilla ice cream or gelato is using the best vanilla extract you can find, or really splurge and use vanilla beans. Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

More of my most requested grilling recipes.

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

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Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

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Instant Pot: Egg Cups

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this yet. I make them all the time.  You do need silicone molds, that you can also use for brownie bites, mini-muffins or mini-pancake bites, or a recipe I’ll be trying and will post, mini-cheesecakes.  The molds come with a rack to raise and lower them from the pressure cooker, which is important because they are unstable when filled.

You can mix up just about anything you like with your eggs – diced tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, shredded potato, ham, bacon…you see the list is endless. Continue reading