The church I attend, Springdale Community Church, which I will unashamedly plug @ www.springdalechurch.com, put on an event called Food 411 last Thursday. With men not allowed; this is a night for women to get out and enjoy a few hours with other women, watching some live food demos and even more importantly tasting the demoed food. Our evening was themed around Fall Finger Foods. We demonstrated food that you can serve at your fall gatherings or even upcoming Halloween parties. My friend Michelle hosted the event and kept the mood hilarious, yet enlightening. First up was my friend Sheila demonstrating the madness behind her Spiced Apple Cake (modified from William Sinoma) and topped it with a ridiculously delicious Caramel Frosting (modified from our good friend Paula Deen). Next my friend Bonnie made a yummy Pumpkin Spice Latte (www.crockpot365.blogspot.com) and some of her addicting Caramel Corn! Then it was my turn; I demoed a Pumpkin Cheese Ball and Taco Scoops. This was so much fun!
It was just a wonderful evening getting to know, and even meeting for the first time different women who came together to enjoy each other and of course food!
Pumpkin Cheese Ball*
Yield: 16 servings
2 (8-ounce) blocks extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (Remember it's cheaper ounce per ounce to shred it yourself)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 broccoli stalk**
1 sprig of parsley
Red and green apple wedges
Combine Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients in a bowl until blended. Cover and chill 4 hours or until mixture is firm enough to be shaped.
Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth entire outer surface with a frosting spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips.
Cut florets from broccoli stalk, and reserve for another use. Cut stalk to resemble a pumpkin stem, and press into top of cheese ball. Serve cheese ball with apple wedges.
Note: To make ahead, wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap without stalk, and store in refrigerator up to 2 days. Attach stalk before serving.
*modified from Southern Living @ www.southernliving.com
**I decided to use a braided pretzel stick as a stem instead; also you can use the remaining pretzel sticks on the platter with the apples, which is a wise use of your pennies. Add a sprig of parsley for added cuteness factor.
1 bag of Fritos Scoops
Fillers for Scoops (here are my two variations):
Variation #1 (Sheila's Idea)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and seasoned with 1 pack of low sodium taco seasoning or your own variation of seasoning-I tend to just go to my pantry and add 1 tbsp of Cumin, a pinch of Cayenne Peeper, a little salt and pepper
1 jar of pickled jalapenos
1 block of cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. Spread out Scoops to cover the baking sheet facing up. Fill each scoop with seasoned ground beef, top with cheese and place one jalapeno on top. Bake until cheese it melted; 5-8 minutes.
3-4 cans of seasoned black beans-I cook these in my iron skillet over medium heat. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chopped garlic, the beans, ground cumin, a pinch of Cayenne Pepper, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Stir, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Smash up the beans as they cook every so often as you stir occasionally. This makes the beans thicker and more flavorful in my opinion.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheet with wax paper. Spread scoops to cover the baking sheet facing up. Fill each scoop with seasoned beans and cheese. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Take out of oven and let set for a few minutes. Top with a tiny piece of avocado and a sprig of cilantro.
Serve both variations with sour cream and salsa or pico-de-gallo. Mmmm Mmmm good! O, also you can substitute Fritos Scoops for Tostitos Scoops; I don't know if Frito Lay likes that idea though.
Let me know which variation you like better; think the women at Food 411 liked the black bean version best, but my hubby dug into the ground beef ones like they were going out of style. Tell me what you think!
Also let me know if you want any of the other recipes, actually trust me you do. I don't think Bonnie or Sheila would mind; I know they wouldn't! Have fun hosting your fall parties!