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F/W '11 Season's Best Recipe Review

esavvymom

Legend Member
Staff member
Sep 8, 2008
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I wasn't able to find a recipe review thread already in progress. But I just got this from my hosp. director. Thought I'd share.....



A group of consultants got together and each made one of the recipes - here's their 'take' on them....

2011 Season’s Best Fall/Winter Recipes

Rosemary-Citrus Champagne Cocktails – This was delicious! We made it using sparkling grape juice instead of champagne, since we were meeting at a church. Great the way we had it – can only imagine how great it will be with champagne!

General comments about tapenade: This was not a hit for us. And the ingredients were really expensive. I made all of the savory ones and breads, pizza crust, etc. to put it on and it was over $100, in fact closer to $125. I used an entire bottle of olive oil (small bottle but still….). This isn’t something I’ll be doing at my shows. When we had the tapas a few years ago, that went over like a lead balloon in my area. I had ONE host choose that from my list out of about 75 shows that season. It’s probably really a big hit in northeast, on west coast and maybe Chicago. Not here….

Spinach & Olive Tapenade – Easy to make and really shows off the manual food processor but must be a big green olive fan. I’m not… The olives tended to stay whole and just move around in MFP, so I ended up using professional shears to cut them into smaller pieces and then used MFP again. I ended up throwing out most of this – not a hit with our crowd.

Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade
– This one was my favorite of the savory ones. Recipe says to microwave the sun-dried tomatoes for 15-20 seconds; I think they need more microwave time – still very hard and wouldn’t chop well in MFP. Had to use shears on this one, too. I used this one on the Tapenade Flatbread and it was really tasty, but not so great on bread/crackers.

Artichoke Tapenade – Again must be fan of green olives. I didn’t care for this one at all and ended up throwing out most of it. Not a crowd pleaser in my area.

Apple & Walnut Tapenade – This one was really pretty tasty. I’m not sure if this one or Apricot-Fig was my favorite. They looked a lot alike and I’m not sure what I was eating! But both sweet versions of the Tapenade were edible and I would consider making one of them for a show. Some thought this one was more bland, but I liked it.

Apricot & Fig Tapenade – see above. We had a hard time finding and used dried peaches instead. Here’s our thought: dried fruit is really expensive and you have to microwave in water to rehydrate. Why not use fresh fruit instead? The color of this one was not too great to view – figs are dark. But the taste was really good.

Goat Cheese & Tapenade Crostini – Couldn’t find goat cheese logs at 2 different groceries, so I used crumbled goat cheese. Our consultants were not goat cheese fans. I actually think using crumbled cheese was better for people who aren’t crazy about the strong flavor – less of it!

Tapenade-Turkey Meatballs – we didn’t make this one. I bought the ground turkey and then found out that most ground turkey in our area was recalled for contamination – ewwwww! But frankly, I had about all of the tapenade I could stand.

Tapenade Flatbread – This was pretty good with the roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato version. Ingredients were really expensive though.

Bacon & Water Chestnut Cups – we didn’t make this one. It’s a repeat from another old Season’s Best. We didn’t like it the first time….

Creamy Crab-Filled Potato Nests
– I made this. Read the SHOESTRING POTATOES as frozen thin-sliced French fries, but then read the cook’s tip – it’s the crunchy snack food. I searched every department of my Walmart Supercenter that carries almost everything. No shoestring potatoes. One of the managers suggested I used the Pringles sticks so I used ½ cheese flavor and ½ jalapeno. It worked ok and they had a good flavor. I think the potato sticks would work better but may not be at every store. I made the crusts ahead and then put filling on top just before taking time. This would be a good demo and pretty tasty.

Chicken Mole Pizza – We did this one as a demo at our kick off. On corn chips, we interpreted as Fritos. Test kitchens are pretty literal in the way they list ingredients. I originally thought corn tortilla chips but nope…. Use Mix N Chop or MFP to crush chips rather than plastic bag. This is a super starter recipe so you can use LOTS more tools to do it than ones listed. Some of our group liked the Mole flavor and others didn’t. It did make a good demo and would be good for super starters. You might consider using a different seasoning, like southwestern or chipotle.

Quick Curried Couscous Skillet – we didn’t make this one. It has a lot of acquired-flavor ingredients and some don’t like texture of couscous. (Trivia: don’t pronounce coos-coos – it’s cus-cus. Coos-coos means something not very nice in Mediterranean areas!!!! I'll leave that to your imagination....)

Autumn Risotto with Chicken & Cranberries – this was GOOD! This will be a great fall recipe. The Arborio rice in some stores is only sold in a plastic container for $7.50 to $8. If you tell a host to get it, you will end up with them buying regular rice and I’m not sure how that would turn out. I plan to buy the Arborio and bring it to my shows. Also, on all savory recipes that call for dry white wine, I use white grape juice and it turns out GREAT! It gives much more flavor than using additional broth/stock.

Harvest Pasta Skillet – This was pretty good. The color was weird. Some thought the pumpkin flavor was too distinct. This is intended as a vegetarian dish. I would have liked it better with chicken. Again, I would use white grape juice instead of wine.

Turkey & Pesto Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Sauce – we had this last fall. Pretty tasty but looks really messy in the skillet and hard to make the pasta part. Would recommend using the Cut ‘N Seal instead of the biscuit cutter, so the pasta will seal around the edges.

Curried Chicken Noodle Soup – we didn’t have this one. Will try later.

Mexican Chicken Napoleons – again repeat from last fall. I’m not a big fan. It’s not that great and a lot of trouble to put together. I made it at one show and did as nachos instead of stacking. It worked lots better. We can’t find Chihuahua cheese here (and name kind of gives me the creeps….. where do they get that??? Milking a tiny Chihuahua????)

Mile-High Apple Pies – These are really tasty. Wouldn’t change a thing. Would be easy to make the crusts ahead of time. Would be a good demo and shows off the new Small Ridged Baker.

Decadent Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte – another repeat. I like this one. Hazelnuts are a bit hard to find. Pretty good demo.

Pear Gingerbread Cake – YUM! I really liked this one. Pretty and really tasty. Great demo.

Microwave Rocky Road Brownie Dessert – DOUBLE YUM!!!! I loved this! Really good demo. Be sure and tell host to get regular large marshmallows, not the new Campfire huge ones – they would be hard to cut up – a sticky mess.

Mini Carrot Cake Cups – A repeat. Really tasty. I wouldn’t even THINK about grating the carrots on the mandoline. Much easier in the Rotary Grater but be sure to wash quickly, as it stains. It will wash off, after a few runs through the dishwasher. We made about 500 of these for a food bank fund raiser dinner, so I don’t want any more for a while…. J

Chocolate-Banana Cream Trifle – this is a great demo. Love it. Tasty and pretty.

Chewy Chocolate-Coconut Joy Bars – this is wonderful! Would be a good demo. Feeds a big crowd. Hard to find the Jiffy Chocolate cake mix (9 oz), so I would use ½ of a regular cake mix.

Caramel-Filled Cashew Cups – YUM! These were great. I think they would be an ok demo. Repetitive.

Other recipes we had:

Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Dip (from MFP recipe cards) – this was pretty good. I would suggest not pulsing too long in MFP because the texture was too mushy and uninteresting.

Family Burrito Bake (from DCB cookbook) – Pretty tasty. Would make a good demo.

Bacon & Swiss Quiche with Walnut Crust (from MFP recipe cards) – Pretty tasty but very long baking time so wouldn’t make a good demo (12-15 min. and then 32-35 min.). Would be good to take to an event.
 

flemings99

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Jun 27, 2007
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Thanks for the great review!!!

Mile-High Apple Pies - LOVED these. Very easy to make. Wasn't able to come out with 12 circles out of one pie crust, but boxes come with 2 so prob. solved.

Mole Pizza--Did NOT Like. I've heard you like Mole or you don't. We are a DON"T.

Tried potato chips in the chip maker last night and was disappointed. While it does create a crunch the flavor was like eating a raw potato. I'm not a bbq fan but we did try them with the bbq rub. Better flavor, but not a bbq fan so wouldn't make them again. Watch carefully as you make them the first time as I "burnt" the first batch b/c I went by the time frame on the use care card. It actually was done in 1/2 the suggested time the 2nd time around. Hope to try apples on it today.
 

lt1jane

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Sep 9, 2010
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the Mile-High Apple Pie (not stacked) and the Chocolate Banana Cream Trifle are my go-to cheap and easy recipes.

I made the pies for our meeting and made the crusts ahead of time and all the ingredients and just assembled at the meeting. So easy and cheap. It cost me $7 for the ingredients and I had enough to make TWO batches. I recommend putting the cool whip mixture into the EAD to make assembly go quick and easy. I don't own the biscuit cutters, so I used the outside of my Measure-All cup to cut the circles and got 14. I rolled it straight onto my round stone and didn't pull the extra dough off until after I was done baking them. The extra "chips" were a good snack, reminded me of being a kid and mom & grandma baking the scraps for us to eat.

The trifle is a repeat from 2009. Love it because most of the ingredients would be in your pantry. Graham crackers, vanilla pudding, milk, cool whip (most likely, it is in mine), chocolate chips, lemon (again, in mine, but they are cheap), and bananas (go bad fast, but they are cheap) it's a super starter recipe and you can use more tools than it calls for.

Loved the Harvest Pasta Skillet and will definitely make this at home minus the expensive pistachios and add meat and use half and half in place of the calorie laden heavy cream.

I am not a cranberry fan. Was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the Autumn Risotto with Chicken & Cranberries . My director made it with long grain rice because she didn't like the price of the Arborio rice. I will try it using the Arborio, but I will definitely make this one at home.
 
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babywings76

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Jun 19, 2008
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We had the Mole Pizza at our last meeting and we really liked it! She used 1/2 the amount of the rub I believe, so maybe that was the difference? It smelled soooo delicious as it was cooking. She put the toppings in prep bowls on the side in case people didn't want cilantro, tomatoes, or avocado on their piece.
 

gailz2

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Jun 1, 2007
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The man who brought the Chocolate Banana CreamTrifle said he recommended doubling the pudding, but perhaps he used too many crackers--what did you think when you made this? I wonder if he did it wrong as it was dry.
 

lt1jane

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Sep 9, 2010
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I wouldn't double the pudding, but 16 ounces of cool whip instead of the 12 ounces called for wouldn't hurt it at all. Not like the Strawberry-Coconut Tres Leches trifle where 16 ounces of cool whip is too much
 

esavvymom

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Sep 8, 2008
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The man who brought the Chocolate Banana CreamTrifle said he recommended doubling the pudding, but perhaps he used too many crackers--what did you think when you made this? I wonder if he did it wrong as it was dry.

I know the lady who made it for our meeting said she would probably cut back the crackers a bit. There were alot, but the rest of it was delicious. She did also say that when you spread the ganache/chocolate, that it was easier if she put it in 3 separate ziploc bags- to evenly divide it, and then snip the ends to spread it. I think because there wasn't alot of it, so to make sure it was even, this was what she found worked. The director there also said that you can microwave (in its tub) any chocolate frosting to melt it (?) and when it sets up, it is just like ganache. I've not tried that trick yet though.
 

bcowdin

Member
Jul 11, 2011
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2
Thanks so much for sharing. After reading your reviews I tried the Autumn Risotto with Chicken & Cranberries. I didn't feel like going to the store, so I used basmati rice, and all chicken broth. It turned out well, but a little bland, so I added salt, pepper, and crushed peppercorn and garlic rub.
 

lt1jane

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Sep 9, 2010
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I know the lady who made it for our meeting said she would probably cut back the crackers a bit. There were alot, but the rest of it was delicious. She did also say that when you spread the ganache/chocolate, that it was easier if she put it in 3 separate ziploc bags- to evenly divide it, and then snip the ends to spread it. I think because there wasn't alot of it, so to make sure it was even, this was what she found worked. The director there also said that you can microwave (in its tub) any chocolate frosting to melt it (?) and when it sets up, it is just like ganache. I've not tried that trick yet though.

Funny, I think the crackers are OK, but I only use one PACK out of a box, maybe that's why. I count 1 cracker as 1 SQUARE, not one whole rectangle, which is two the way I count.
 

ChefCKHall

Advanced Member
Jan 30, 2010
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Thanks so much for sharing. After reading your reviews I tried the Autumn Risotto with Chicken & Cranberries. I didn't feel like going to the store, so I used basmati rice, and all chicken broth. It turned out well, but a little bland, so I added salt, pepper, and crushed peppercorn and garlic rub.

I used ground chicken breast and the rest as per menu. I thought it was okay. Hubs and son thought it was bland.

Today, I reheated some and put a healthy dose of fresh salsa on it....

NOW WE'RE TALKING!
 

lt1jane

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Sep 9, 2010
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just tried my modified Harvest Pasta Skillet. It was a hit with my husband and I, our five year-old, has the taste buds of a five year-old so his vote doesn't count. He did try a couple bites, but didn't finsih his serving.

My modifications:
no pistachios
2% milk (forgot to buy ½ and ½)
chiken breasts added
cheap regular rigatoni (same shape as the penne, just a different size)
 
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