October 22, 2012

Dinner Club - Theme: Fall Foods

Big thank you to TiNeill for hosting our October Dinner Club.  I missed attending our September Dinner Club because I was sick so I'll thank Lisa for hosting that one as well.  I have no post for September however.  October dinner club was just a small group of us compared to some of the previous get-togethers because October is always super busy for everyone.  I loved the theme "Fall Foods".  We were instructed to either bring foods that had the Fall theme such as pumpkin, cranberry, apple and so on, or Halloween scary stuff.   Since TiNeill was this months host she made a delicious White Chicken Chili that you see above.  She also made a yummy Pumpkin Praline dessert that you see below.

Arriving at TiNeill's house was as it always is, which means her house is spotless and festive.  I really don't know how she manages to keep her house looking so good with a husband, two kids and a dog.  I aspire to be like that one day. Today is not that day though.

Crockpot Chicken Chili

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, powder
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Drain and rinse beans thoroughly and toss them in the crockpot. Add everything else except the sour cream and whipping cream. Stir a little bit and cook on low for 7-10 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken a little bit with two forks (this should be super easy - the chicken will be falling apart by this point). Stir in the sour cream and then the cream. Let sit for another 15 minutes or so to warm through. Serve.

Pecan Pumpkin Dessert

  • 2 cans (15 oz) each solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan with waxed paper and coat the paper with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cake mix and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with pecans.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto a large serving platter; carefully remove waxed paper. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Frost dessert. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings.

Melissa Y brought some delicious Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.  Seriously a must try if you're a cheesecake lover.  This one was found off of Pinterest. 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  5. For the streusel topping:
  6. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
  7. Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Makes 16 servings.
Lisa F was in attendance as well and she brought Macaroni and Cheese and Apple Cider.  I didn't photograph the Macaroni and Cheese because the recipe is top secret and I couldn't post it anyway.  She could have told me but then she would have had to kill me (name that movie). I just wanted to tell Lisa that it was cooked perfectly. ;)

I bought this cranberry salad and thought it was very good.  It reminded me of a salad that both TiNeill and I used to have growing up that was green and had crushed pineapple and mini marshmallows too.  Can't remember what it was called but man it was good.  I really liked this salad and in many of the reviews that I read for it people were using this to replace the regular cranberry sauce they usually served with Thanksgiving dinner.  Not a bad idea!  

Fresh Cranberry Salad
modified slightly from Allrecipes

  • 1 pound bag cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar (I used slightly less)
  • 8 ounces miniature marshmallows
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup whipped cream, unsweetened
Cooking Directions
  1. The day before the dish is needed - place the fresh cranberries in a food processor or a blender and coarsely chop. pour in the granulated sugar and put in an airtight container overnight.
  2. In a large bowl about 30 minutes before you plan to serve it place the chopped cranberry and sugar mixture and mix in the pineapple, marshmallows and red grape halves.
  3. Right before you are ready to serve, fold in the unsweetened whipped cream.

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