Thursday, November 24, 2016

On the Homefront: Late Autumn Table

Dalmatian Amber is looking forward to one last seasonal meal
before winter takes over!

Not feeling especially celebratory at the moment, we are choosing to merely have what we are calling a late autumn meal rather than a Thanksgiving feast.  I will still enjoy my favorite time of the year, but instead of wasting time and money on a huge repast for just the two of us, I will prepare a simple, relatively inexpensive, and easy dinner that will satisfy and comfort without overindulgence.  The table features the Forest Friends appetizer plates I purchased recently, as well as the Mikasa Autumn Nights dinnerware I bought last year.  Here is my late autumn table:

Dark brown wooden bead placemat; Mikasa Autumn Nights dinner and salad/dessert plates; Forest Friends appetizer/bread plate; brown napkin; faux wood-handled flatware; autumn leaves goblet (from Kroger two years ago); Mikasa Autumn Nights mug; dark brown wooden coaster.

The other three appetizer plate designs:

I recycled the gourds from my Halloween table to create a simple

The wheat sheaf from my two previous tables appears again, this
time flanked by two pillar candles embossed with leaf patterns.

I recently bought a quart jug of pure maple syrup, so I decided to make this flavor the focus of our fall meal.  We both love this sweet treat, but a little goes a long way in our home.  Since it tends to take us forever to finish off a bottle of maple syrup I felt that adding it to recipes would help to keep the container from literally sitting around in our fridge for years!

Late Autumn Menu:

Three Ingredient Dinner Rolls*
One Pan Maple Roast Chicken and Autumn Vegetables**
Maple Ricotta Flans***

*Three Ingredient Dinner Rolls

2 C. self-rising flour
4 T. plain Greek yogurt
1 C. milk

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until well mixed.  Divide the batter evenly into a greased 12-cup muffin tin.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  Makes 12 rolls.

**One Pan Maple Roast Chicken and Autumn Vegetables

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 red onion, cut into chunks
3 T. olive oil
1/4 C. maple syrup
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fines herbes or Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange the chicken and vegetables in a 12x16-inch baking pan.  Toss with the olive oil.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over chicken and vegetables and toss to combine.  Spread in an even layer.

Roast the chicken and vegetables at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the vegetables are tender.  Serves 6.

***Maple Ricotta Flans

1/4 C. plus 1 tsp. maple syrup
4 eggs, beaten
1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon or nutmeg

Divide the 1/4 C. maple syrup among six 6-oz. custard cups.  Tilt each cup to coat evenly.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 tsp. maple syrup with the rest of the ingredients except for the cinnamon or nutmeg.  Mix until well combined but not foamy.

Place the custard cups in a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Divide the egg mixture among the cups.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.  Place the baking pan in the oven.  Pour boiling water into the baking pan around the custard cups to a depth of one inch.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

Remove the cups from the water and cool completely.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To unmold the flans, loosen the edges with a knife, slipping the point of the knife down the sides to let air in.  Invert a dessert plate over each flan.  Turn the cup and plate over together and remove the cup.  Serves 6.


I hope you get to spend quality time with friends and family over this holiday weekend!

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