I realize most of the country is having fall weather right now. Being the displaced northerner that I am, I really miss those 60-degree temperatures. But after four years of living in Dallas, I’m learning to be thankful for whatever level of “cool” weather we get. And truly, after experiencing over two-months’ straight of 100-degree plus weather, with temperatures “cooling down” to the low 90s and mid-80s now, I guess we are indeed having cool, fall weather.
So now that it’s nearly fall and the temperatures have dipped a bit, it’s time for some comfort food. We had a dinner party tonight and that’s exactly what I served. And I must admit, it really did hit the spot. Not only that, it was a very easy meal to get on the table since every single thing I served tonight was prepared in advance. Here’s the menu and recipes:
CROCK POT ROAST BEEF IN MUSHROOM GRAVY
3 pound boneless chuck roast, thawed
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 family-sized can cream of mushroom soup
Place roast in 6 quart crock pot, and top with onion soup mix and mushroom soup. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
MAKE-AHEAD GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
5 lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup chives, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 tsp. salt (to taste)
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Cook potatoes in boiling water about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and mash. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add potatoes and remaining ingredients except the paprika, beat just until combined. Spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered 2-quart casserole, sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Serves 8 to 10.
BAKED ASPARAGUS IN GARLIC BUTTER
2 lbs. frozen asparagus spears
1 cup butter
¼ cup minced garlic
Salt and peper to taste
Place the spears in a single layer on baking sheet. In a saucepan over medium heat on stovetop, melt butter. Add garlic and stir to combine. Cook 3-4 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic. Ladle the garlic-butter mixture evenly over the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The asparagus can be prepared to this stage a day in advance. Cover with foil and put in freezer until ready to bake.) Bake in 350 degree oven, covered with foil, for 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and just tender. Be careful to not overcook, as the asparagus will become soggy. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.
BREAD PUDDING MADE WITH CHALLAH BREAD
1 loaf braided Challah bread, torn into ¾ inch pieces (about 10 cups worth of bread chunks)
1 (29 oz.) can sliced peaches (in natural juices), drained and diced
7 large eggs
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
Butter a 9X13X2-inch baking dish. Mix bread pieces and peaches together in the dish. In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour evenly over bread mixture. Press down to soak all the bread pieces. In small bowl, combine pecans, melted butter and brown sugar. Drizzle evenly over bread-egg mixture. Cover tightly with foil. Chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread pudding for 30 minutes with foil still on top of dish. Remove foil and bake another 30-40 minutes, or until custard is set in the center. Remove from oven. Let set out at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with with Melissa’s Raspberry Sauce or caramel syrup.