Cooking for Two (and then some): Cold Weather Comfort

By Jessica Love

The colder months have brought success to the Love kitchen… and beyond.

With Thanksgiving, Jason’s (fiancé) birthday and a steady craving for hearty meals to brave the chilly nights, I have been hard at work reading recipes, studying techniques and cooking. Here are some of my favorite moments and recipes…I hope you find success with them, too.

Pumpkin biscuits

This recipe is so fall, so I made a big batch and brought the extras to my parents’ house for dinner. It was my first attempt at baking from scratch, and I was thrilled when my biscuits turned out. The always trusty Cooking Light website offered this recipe. Be aware, though, that the mixture gets really sticky when working with it. Keep extra flour next to you for rolling out the dough.

Check out Jessica’s Cooking for Two: Part I here!

I thought you had to have proper utensils to make baking work. Not so. No rolling pin? Try a wine bottle (yes, I used one). No biscuit/cookie cutter? Use a peanut butter jar lid or empty soup can. No one will ever know the difference!

Apple Rosemary Blue cheese bites

An appetizer that calls for crescent dinner rolls, apples and blue cheese? It does exist, and it’s delicious. Throw in rosemary and pecans, and your guests will be dying for another taste. I made these blue cheese bites twice in the past couple months – most importantly for my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. The fusion of flavors is spectacular. Give this one a chance even though it may sound odd (recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.com.)

If you love the savory element, use more blue cheese and fewer apple slices than the recipe calls for to pack extra flavor. If you’re short on time, don’t cut the crescent roll dough in half during prep time – just double the filling for each roll, fill them whole and cut them in half when they come out of the oven.

Jason’s Birthday Dinner: Macaroni & Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie

Determined to make his first birthday in California a memorable one, I surprised Jason with a big, classic birthday dinner featuring homemade macaroni & cheese and good ol’ fashion chicken pot pie. It was so much fun trying these challenging (at least for me) recipes and since family was coming over to celebrate with us, I had a crowd to please.

After pouring over recipes, I decided on Alton Brown’s macaroni and cheese recipe, but substituted smoked gruyere in for half of the cheddar (and used ½ cup more cheese than called for). I also sprinkled bacon bits over the top for an extra punch. This recipe has more ingredients and steps than others, but for good reason. This was the star of my show and when my picky father complemented it, I knew I could claim success!

For an easy chicken pot pie, I used a Bisquick recipe that I found on Bettycrocker.com. Other pot pies may be better, but this one was simple and still a hit. Use more filling than it calls for – it needed a little bit more chicken and more creaminess.

Fall has seen many a night of novice cooking – I’ve cooked for two, four and six, and I think I may be ready to take it to the next level: Dinner party for friends! We may not have a dining room table, but we do have dishes for eight.

Jessica Love is a public relations professional in downtown Sacramento. While she adores her gig in PR, she also loves to write, travel, cook, drink red wine (what other kind is there?), and sweat it out in fitness classes. Most of Jessica’s free time is currently occupied with planning her wedding to the New Hampshire-bred love of her life, of which she will try to spare you the nitty-gritty details in blog posts.

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