October Gourmet Night 2009 at Jill's

Almond Punch
2 c. water
2 c. sugar
2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

2 qt. water added when ready to serve

Heat the sugar and 2 c. water and boil 5 minutes. Then add orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract. Refrigerate to cool. This syrup is made in advance. When ready to serve, add 2 quarts of water. Makes 3 quarts total.

This is a nice subtle drink. If you want a little more kick add sprite or 7-up.
Artichoke Dip

1 cup mayo
1 cup mozzerella cheese
1 can artichoke hearts chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1/2 med. onion diced

mix together and heat in oven at 350 until bubbly. serve with crackers. Garden Vegetable Soup

2 lbs mild Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
3 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
3-4 cans beef broth
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 med. green pepper, diced
3 Tbsp basil
3 Tbsp parsley
8 oz. bowtie pasta
1/8 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil. Add sausage and cook. Drain excess grease. Add all other ingredients except pasta. Simmer 2 hours. Cook pasta and add 15 minutes before serving. Can serve with fresh parmesan cheese and bread bowls.

This makes a BIG pot full! Spinach Salad

1 bag of fresh spinach
cottage cheese
mozzarella cheese, shredded
bacon, cooked and crumbled

mushrooms, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. mustard

mix dressing ingredients in blender then add mushrooms and onions to marinate. Add to salad just before serving. Cheese Pumpkins (and honestly, these are cuter than they are delicious, but they're kind of fun and my kids LOVE them, both to make and to eat.)

Just buy some cheddar cold pack cheese, usually found by cheeseballs.
Thick pretzels
Cilantro or parsley

Make sure cheese is cold. Then roll cheese into small balls. Stick pretzels in for the stems. And cilantro for the leaves. Chopped up some peanuts and sprinkle on the ground. Easy.
Potato Pepper Jack Soup (all time favorite!)
4 Cups diced potato
3 Cups shredded chicken breast
4 strips thick bacon chopped
1 or 2 large jalapenos diced (I just use 1 and it still had kick)
1 med. Red bell pepper diced
1 carrot peeled and diced
1 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 lb. shredded pepperjack cheese
3 Cups Chicken broth
1 Qt. heavy cream
1/2 Cup flour
1/2 Cup butter

Cook bacon in the bottom of pot thoroughly. Add to the bacon: peppers, onion, garlic, and carrot. Saute on medium heat until vegetables are soft. Add chicken broth and let simmer. In separate pan boil potatoes in water until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and add to soup. Add cream, cheese, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Prepare roux by melting butter and stirring in flour to make a paste. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add roux to soup mixture, stirring to desired thickness. *note* this soup is a little spicy.Creamy Pumpkin Soup

1/2 c. butter
1 yellow onion diced
2 shallots minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 c. water
1 29 oz. can plain pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and saute onion until just translucent but not browned. Add garlic and shallots and stir frequently, being careful not to let garlic burn. Lower heat if needed. Sprinkle brown sugar over onion mixture in pan and continue to saute until onion, garlic, and shallot are tender and caramelized.

Add broth and water to mixture in pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add pumpkin puree and evaporated milk to simmering broth. Stir until well combined. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, process soup until smooth.

Stuffed Peppers

bell peppers (depending on the # of people you are feeding)- yellow, orange, or red.
wheat or white rice
mozzarella cheese
sausage or ground beef (1/2 pound or so)

1) Gut the bell peppers. Broil or cook on grill the bell peppers till they are SOFT, a little brown/black spots are ok.
2) Cook rice according to directions. set aside.
3) Cook sausage in a pan- into small pieces. drain- set aside.
4) Slices up tomatoes into small pieces.
5) Mix: sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, rice in a large bowl.
6) Stuff peppers full with mixture. top with mozzarella cheese.
7) Bake in over on 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.

We eat them like a pita.

Peach Cream Cheese Tart

Graham Cracker Crust of choice:
graham crackers

1/2 pt. whipping cream
1 c. powdered sugar, divided
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
2 whole peaches

1 c. sugar
1 c. mashed peaches
1 c. water
4 Tbsp. corn starch

Make your favorite graham cracker crust in a large pie pan.

Combine whipping cream and 1/2 c. powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and remaining powdered sugar. Combine both powdered sugar mixtures and pour into graham cracker crust. Thinly slice peaches and place on top of cream cheese.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, mashed peaches, water, and corn starch and cook over medium heat until mixture becomes translucent. Pour over sliced peaches. Refrigerate for 2 hours.


  1. Great post--quick, probably stupid question: what kind of mustard do you use in the dressing of the spinach salad? Thanks, I am looking forward to making it.

  2. Natalie, I just use regular mustard. But I've also used dry when I was out of regular and it tasted good too.

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