Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese & Orange Cardamom Cookies from the Big Brothers/Big Sister Autumn Culinaire

standard October 24, 2014 Leave a response
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On Thursday, October 23rd, I had the chance to join my culinary colleagues for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mercer County Autumn Culinaire at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville, NJ. It was such an honor to join some of the finest restaurants and chefs in Central Jersey and to share my passion with other food enthusiasts. It also gave me a chance to talk about our cooking classes and the catering I do for Debbie at Mrs. G. And we are always thrilled to help an organization that supports the success of local children.

Below are two of the recipes I prepared for the event. Of course, I had to do one with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Mac 'n' Cheese | Fall Recipes from the Big Brothers/Big Sister Autumn Culinaire  | Mrs. G's Appliance Chef

There are so many health benefits of pumpkin. It is loaded with Vitamin A and beta-carotene which is good for heart, skin and eye health. Plus the cancer-fighting antioxidants make it a super food you want to make part of your regular diet. For mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s a nice substitute for the usual heavy cream. You still gave the comfort food taste, but with lower calories and more healthy rewards.

Yields 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. • 1 pound pasta (elbow, rotini, farfalle)
  2. • 4 tablespoons butter
  3. • 3 rounded tablespoons flour
  4. • 1 cup chicken stock
  5. • 2 cups milk
  6. • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  7. • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  8. • pinch of cayenne pepper
  9. • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  10. • salt and pepper, to taste
  11. • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  12. • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  13. Parmesan Crumble Topping
  14. • ½ cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
  15. • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  16. • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  17. • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  18. • fresh sage leaves (optional)
  1. 1. Preheat Oven 350 degrees
  2. 2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until it has reduced down where there is almost no liquid left. Whisk in milk. Season with the allspice, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  4. 4. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese until melted. Combine the pasta and the sauce and transfer to individual casserole dishes, or one large casserole dish.
  5. 5. In a small bowl combine panko, Parmesan, and bacon, sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with fresh sage leaves.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef https://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/

Orange Cardamom Cookies | Fall Recipes from the Big Brothers/Big Sister Autumn Culinaire  | Mrs. G's Appliance Chef

For this recipe, I kept with the orange/fall theme, but used grated orange peel for a little zest. The cardamom is a versatile spice that is often paired with nutmeg, cloves, and all spice in fall baking and drinks. You can use this to add some warmth to anything, from ice cream to a meat rub.

Yields 4
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  1. • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  2. • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  3. • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  5. • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  6. • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  7. • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. • 1 large egg, room temperature
  9. • 6 ounces of good quality semi sweet chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  1. 1. Whisk flour, cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend.
  2. 2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in finely grated orange peel and vanilla. Add egg; beat to blend. Add 1/3 of flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Add remaining flour in 2 additions, beating on low speed just until blended. Refrigerate until firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.
  3. 3. Divide dough in half. Form each half into ball. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm enough to roll out, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let chilled dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes.
  4. 4. Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured surface to generous 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using festive cookie cutters. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps into ball. Flatten, cover, and freeze dough until firm enough to roll out again, about 10 minutes.
  5. 5. Bake cookies until light golden brown, about 16 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking for even cooking. Carefully slide parchment paper with cookies onto racks to cool completely. Let baking sheets cool completely, then repeat process with remaining dough, lining sheets with fresh parchment between batches.
  6. 6. While cookies are cooling make chocolate drizzle: put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon, continue to heat and stir in 30 second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it is completely smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier. Drizzle ½ of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat
  1. These delicious cookies are finished with a drizzle of dark chocolate.
Mrs. G's Appliance Chef https://appliancechef.mrsgs.com/


Chef Vance Slocum Follow on Instagram at Instagram.com/appliancechef

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