“Easy” Oreo Truffles

These no-bake cookies, excuse me, truffles, are by no means easier than baking a cookie. I’m not an avid baker but this turned out to be about the same amount of work. Mrs. E saw them in a magazine add so we gave ‘em a whirl. They were fun to eat, didn’t use many ingredients, but they were definitely more of a challenge than we anticipated.

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I think these “Easy Oreo Truffles” have been around for awhile but they seem to be a crowd pleaser. Kraft Foods included them in a recent magazine and the recipe is online everywhere!

Ingredients

-1 package Oreo Cookies, divided
-8 oz. Cream Cheese
-1 pkg. Baker’s Chocolate, melted

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Directions:

Set aside 6-8 cookies for the topping.
Crush cookies in food processor or in a sealed bag until finely chopped. Add cream cheese and blend.
Roll into 1″ balls with a mini melon baller or teaspoons.
Dip in chocolate, and sprinkle top with crushed cookies.
Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.

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These are extremely sticky. Mrs. E and I would advise figuring out a few tool options prior to getting your hands oreo-ified! Refrigerating the cream cheese mix and crushed oreo might have helped make it easier to form.

I also recommend melting chocolate chips instead of solid chocolate pieces. We used a double boiler allowing us to take our time to dip them. I first attempted toothpicks, to no avail…maybe it would have worked if the formed balls were frozen. I ended up dropping the formed balls into the melted chocolate on the double boiler and spooning them out.

What else could go inside? Maybe nuts would have been good for a varying texture. The recipe calls for 1” balls, we made them smaller but maybe bigger would have been better. My last thought was making them a cookie bar with a chocolate topping or making them into mini muffin tins with chocolate topping, of course.

Pasta with Home Baked Goodness

Miss L had me over for a delicious dinner. She made Baked Pasta as a deviation of Martha’s recipe. Ours didn’t include chicken sausage but Miss L has made it with it, or with chicken instead. The possibilities here are endless.

This was so good because of the strength of flavors but none were overpowering. Baked pasta warms the heart, especially in pink sauce with fontina. Yum!

Miss L was the perfect host by laying a premade dip (thanks to Trader Joe’s) and pita chips while dinner spent the last few minutes baking. Miss H poured the wine and the night began!

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Ingredients

Serves 8
-Coarse salt and ground pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 medium red onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup vodka (optional)
-1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 pound rigatoni
-10 ounces baby spinach
-12 ounces smoked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
-6 ounces fontina cheese, 4 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat; add vodka, if desired. Return to heat; cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and oregano; cook until tomatoes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot.
  4. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes.
  5. Top with grated fontina and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

This dish reminded me I don’t eat enough rigatoni or enough pink sauce. Martha kindly reminds her readers this makes enough for two smaller pans (to freeze one). The noodles were cooked perfectly and they absorbed the right amount of sauce to keep the flavor throughout.

I really liked this dish and thought it would be a great one to share with friends because this dish actually enables the host to enjoy the guests while it does it’s thang. There’s nothing worse than missing your company because you’re stuck in the kitchen.

Post Thanksgiving Pumpkin Beer Taste-Off

My Thanksgiving Day was with family but my the day after was with friends. I hosted a Non-Thanksgiving Pot Luck with a pumpkin beer taste-off. It was great fun and amazing food. Here are some highlights.
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While it was a true potluck, it wasn’t until the day of that we knew who was bringing what. The challenge was to stay away from the foods we had all enjoyed the day before: no pumpkin or squash, no turkey, no cranberries.falfel_sliders_290_200
I made falafel sliders & black forest bread pudding. We also enjoyed: buffalo chicken dip, bruschetta, pizza, breadsticks, 7-layer mexican dip.

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I know, this is a lot of food for nine people.

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Dessert included: banana chocolate “ravioli”, black forest bread pudding; and turtle brownies.Our only nod to the previous day’s holiday was a pumpkin beer tasting. I seemed to track down the last pumpkin beer in all the liquor stores in Somerville, MA. Apparently it is a Halloween thing, not a fall thing. Noted for next year. Here’s how it worked.

We labeled the cups everyone could pour his/her sips from. We made a list to keep track of which was which. I thought about having everyone rank them but decided to keep it easy and just let our guests learn which were the favorites and drink the rest. Check out the variety of the beers!

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I see more taste-offs in my future. When I first had trouble finding pumpkin beer, I decided my second option was for a seasonal beer taste-off. Who knows, maybe that’ll be next!