There are so many delicious harvest foods this time of the year. Here are some recipes using Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cranberries, which can be used for holiday dinners also.

There are so many delicious harvest foods this time of the year. Here are some recipes using Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cranberries, which can be used for holiday dinners also.

The seafood lasagna is a delicious dish and sometimes I just make it with the shrimp and scallops, and maybe a can of drained chopped clams. Low fat products may be used as a substitution for the milk products. The cheese-pecan ball makes a great appetizer with this dish.

The cranberry coffee cake can be made all year long if you have packages of frozen cranberries in your freezer. It makes a great hostess gift.



Cheese Ball with Pineapple and Pecans

Make this recipe the night before.

2     8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1     8-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained

3     scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

2     cups pecans, toasted and chopped

In a large bowl with and electric mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Fold in pineapple, scallions, and ½ cup toasted, chopped pecans. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving roll cheese ball in the remaining chopped and toasted pecans. Serve with a favorite cracker.


Seafood Lasagna

1     medium sweet onion, finely chopped

2     tablespoons EVOO olive oil

½    cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided

½    cup chicken broth

1     bottle clam juice

1     pound bay scallops

1     pound fresh small shrimp, peeled and deveined

1     8-ounce package imitation crabmeat , chopped

Pinch of salt

1/2   teaspoon garlic powder

1     teaspoon onion powder

½    cup all-purpose flour

1 ½   cups milk

1     cup heavy cream

½    cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided

1     8-once package mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided into thirds

9     lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and set aside.

In a large skillet sauté onion in olive oil and 2- tablespoons butter until tender about 3-4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and clam juice; bring to a boil. Add scallops, shrimp, and chopped crab; bring to a boil again. Lower heat, simmer uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until shrimp just turns pink and scallops are opaque, stirring gently. Drain, RESERVING cooking liquid; set seafood mixture aside.

In a large saucepan, melt ½ cup butter, stir in flour until smooth; add garlic powder and onion powder, stir.

Combine milk and reserved cooking liquid; gradually stir into saucepan. Add salt, to taste. Bring to a boil, stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir ¾ cup of this white sauce into the seafood mixture.

Spread ½ cup white sauce into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top with 3-cooked lasagna noodles; spread with half the seafood mixture and 1 ¼ cups white sauce, sprinkle one third the mozzarella cheese over top. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until a light golden brown. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before cutting.


Sirloin Steak Tips in a Slow Cooker

2     pounds beef sirloin, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

1 ½   tablespoons olive oil

1 ½   tablespoons butter

4     garlic cloves minced then smashed

1     large sweet onion, coarsely chopped

1     pound button mushrooms, sliced

1     8-ounce can tomato sauce

4     bay leaves

½    cup ginger ale

½    cup dry red wine

1     tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter in olive oil. Add the cubed beef, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Brown beef on all sides, in batches if necessary. Add garlic and onion when browning the last batch. Sauté for about 4 -minutes.

Transfer browned beef and onions to a slow cooker. Add mushrooms, tomato sauce, red wine, ginger ale, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6- hours or on high for 3-4 hours. If sauce is thin, just before serving, add a little cornstarch dissolved in cold water.


Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Serves 4

6     slices smoked bacon, diced, cooked crispy and crumbled

1     pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in lengthwise

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

¼     cup heavy cream

2     tablespoon maple syrup

Prepare bacon and cook until crispy, cool and crumble; set aside.

In the same skillet pour off drippings and save 2-tablespoons in skillet. If there’s not enough fat drippings add canola oil to compensate. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in heavy cream, simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and crumbled bacon. Cook 2 more minutes until Brussels sprouts are tender and sauce has thickened. Serve hot.


Carrot Souffle

1 ½   pounds carrots, peeled and cut in half crosswise

3/4   cup granulated sugar

½    cup brown sugar

¼     teaspoon ground cinnamon

1     teaspoon baking powder

1     teaspoon vanilla extract

3     eggs

1     stick of butter

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil carrots until soft. Drain well. While carrots are still warm, add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and vanilla. With an electric mixer beat mixture until smooth. Add flour and mix well.

In a bowl whisk eggs together and then add to the carrot-flour mixture and blend well. Pour mixture into a buttered baking casserole dish and fill about half full. Bake for one hour or until top is a golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar.


Cranberry-Nut Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

1     8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1     cup butter, softened

1 ½   cups granulated sugar

1     teaspoon vanilla extract

½    teaspoon almond extract

4     large eggs, room temperature

2 ¼   cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 ½   teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

2     cups fresh or frozen cranberries, patted dry

½    cup chopped pecans or walnuts

¼     cup orange liqueur (Optional)

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl beat cream cheese, butter, sugar, almond extract, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add orange liqueur and mix well.

In another bowl whisk together 2 -cups flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture.

In another bowl mix remaining flour with cranberries and pecans; fold into batter. Batter will be very thick. Spoon into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan.

Bake for 65-70 minutes in a 350 degree oven until cake tests done with an inserted toothpick. Let stand for 8-10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. When ready to serve sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.