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updated 12/3/2010 11:12:14 AM ET 2010-12-03T16:12:14

Recipe: Fire-roasted tomato and winter squash soup with shrimp

  • 1 2-pound acorn squash
  • 1 large garlic bulb
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 cooked large shrimp, peeled and the tails left on
  • Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cut squash in half and  discard the seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheet.

Cut 0.25 inch off of the pointed end of garlic bulb, keeping cloves intact. Place garlic, cut side up, on a small sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and place on the baking sheet with squash.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until squash and garlic are very tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop squash pulp from peel into a small bowl; discard peels. Squeeze garlic pulp into bowl.

In the container of a blender, combine squash, garlic pulp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup broth, and tomatoes; process until smooth. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until warm. Spoon into small serving cups; top each serving with a shrimp. Garnish with cracked black pepper if desired.

Serving Size

Makes 12 servings

Recipe: Balsamic-fig glazed pear flat bread

  • 1 11-ounce can refrigerated thin crust pizza crust dough
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 3 medium pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup prepared fig preserves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unroll dough onto a large baking sheet; gently press into a 13x10-inch rectangle. Bake dough for five minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together cheeses. Then, gently spread cheese mixture over warm crust. Arrange pear slices over cheese mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir together fig preserves, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Spread over pears with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of rosemary.

Recipe: Lobster mac 'n' cheese balls

  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup chopped steamed lobster tails, or about two tails
  • Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray one 12-cup miniature muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust bottom and sides of pans with Parmesan cheese. Reserve any remaining Parmesan cheese.

In a medium saucepan, cook macaroni in boiling water for four minutes or until almost tender. Drain.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, salt and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. Stir 1/2 cup milk mixture into egg. Then return egg mixture to saucepan. Simmer for about two minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Add fontina cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in macaroni and lobster.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run the tip of a sharp knife around edges to loosen.
Remove from pans using a small spoon. Garnish with black pepper, if desired.

Serving Size

Makes 12 balls

Recipe: Mini bacon balls

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1.25 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 2/3 cup cooked and finely crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Fresh basil leaves

In the work bowl of a food processor, place cheeses, basil, garlic powder and pepper. Process until combined. Spoon into a bowl and cover and chill until firm.

In a shallow bowl, combine almonds, bacon and paprika. Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, scoop cheese mixture into balls.

Roll cheese balls in bacon mixture, gently pressing to adhere. refrigerate until ready to serve. Skewer cheese balls. Garnish each with a basil leaf, if desired.

Serving Size

Makes about 24 balls

Recipe: Red-hot cran-apple punch

  • 1 quart unfiltered apple cider
  • 1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/2 cup hard red cinnamon candies
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Apple slices

In a large saucepan, combine cider, cranberry juice cocktail, candies and lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat until candies are dissolved, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into serving glasses. Garnish with apple slices, if desired.

We use Red Hots Cinnamon Candies. Can add rum if desired.

Serving Size

Makes six servings

Video: Holiday hors d’eourves made easy

  1. Closed captioning of: Holiday hors d’eourves made easy

    >>> this morning in "today's holiday kitchen" serving up a party that's fun, affordable and of course delicious. here to show us from recipes from the deen brothers good cooking are jamie and bobby.

    >> good morning, lester.

    >> thanks for coming. do you normally take the lead on holiday recipes at home?

    >> we kind of all share the duties, i think.

    >> but mom --

    >> mom starts.

    >> yeah.

    >> the theme here is affordable things, right?

    >> holiday stuff. nothing says holiday like acorn squash .

    >> all right. let's start off with the first res. . jamie's got the acorn squash .

    >> this is super easy. you say oh, that's a pretty decoration but how would you eat it? the best way to do it is to roast it. we cut it in half, removed all the seeds, put it in a pan, and you roast it for about 45 minutes.

    >> that's what it looks like when it's done.

    >> correct. to this all you need is to top off the garlic, a little bit of oil and we'll roast this, as well.

    >> just roast this.

    >> and stick it right here. this is down, and this is what it looks like when it comes out. if you want to step around. we're going to take, i've got the puree out of this squash in to here. and to this we're going to add a cup of chicken sauce, which is a great, great cooking ingredient. can you do it yourself, it's awesome. fire-roasted tomatoes in a can. this is delicious. so you've got a can of this going in. and our garlic mush that's come out of our rested garlic.

    >> lots of garlic.

    >> yes, sir. and a little bit of oil. now once we blend all this together we're going to put it into our saucepan. and you might find you want to add a little bit more chicken stock to this. but it's super simple.

    >> this is what it's going to be like.

    >> really delicious. and we're going to serve it in this pretty glass bowl , in a really nice garnish for this is a shrimp and a little bit of black pepper .

    >> that looks nice and hardy for a winter day like this. and perfect for today.

    >> that 's wonderful .

    >> wonderful.

    >> really super good. and simple.

    >> bobby's working with looks like a pizza dough and ricotta.

    >> exactly. we cut corner wherever we can.

    >> look at you.

    >> this is --

    >> this is a fig and balsamic glaze bear flatbread. try to say that real fast.

    >> i'm not going to.

    >> but combined gorgonzola and ricotta cheese and i'm just spreading it out over the crust here.

    >> so you had me at ricotta.

    >> it's so good. but the breath is going to be --

    >> with the garlic here, yeah.

    >> exactly. we've got three pears sliced up. we're just going to lay these out. probably won't finish the whole thing. it will take you about 20 minutes . this is the most boring tv y'all have ever done. and a little bit --

    >> actually, no, we had a --

    >> never mind.

    >> this is the fig preserves and balance salic and there's a little bit of rosemary in there. and right at the end, which just get to the end, lester --

    >> let's get to the end. look at this.

    >> we'll take a little bit more of that rosemary and sprinkle right on top. this is really nice --

    >> you obviously baked the whole thing.

    >> for about ten minutes.

    >> this is really cool.

    >> simple is the name of the game . try it if you'd like.

    >> don't mind if i do.

    >> this is all ready to go.

    >> very, very good.

    >> and we've got to garnish our soup with a little bit of black pepper . this is one of my favorite things. amy --

    >> favorite things. i like those.

    >> that's whatever you --

    >> nice to see you.

    >> i'll probably take dessert. i'll save that towards the end.

    >> the entree.

    >> yummy.

    >> it's all good.

    >> and we have cheese balls with bacon and almonds, really simple. and a punch that we've done with cranberry and apple cider . and then we melt red hots down in it.

    >> oh, wow.

    >> you can add a little adult beverage .

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