John Contratti and Meredith Vieira

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It’s been a few months since our lunch at NBC Studios, so it was nice to get together with the lovely Meredith Vieira again.

Sugar Pumpkin Cookies

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Ingredients:
Pumpkin Cookie Cutter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of white sugar
3/4 cups of butter (soft)
1 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
5 drops orange food coloring
1/2 lb. dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and mix.
2. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix thoroughly.
3. Roll dough out. Use a pumpkin cookie cutter and cut out cookies.
4. Bake on a greased (a little butter) baking pan for 8-10 minutes. Check around 7 minutes, so they don’t burn.
5. Remove and let cool.
6. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir frequently.
7. Let chocolate cool briefly.
8. Put chocolate in a Ziploc bag. Cut off an edge.
9. Decorate a face on each cookie. Let cool.

Pumpkin Raisin Bread

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, nutmeg and baking powder.

2. In another bowl, mix pumpkin puree, butter, eggs, and vanilla.

3. Continue to mix pumpkin while slowly adding flour to it.

4. Slowly add raisins and mix in.

5. Grease a loaf pan with a little butter. Pour batter into loaf pan.

6. Bake for about 50-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Toothpick should be dry when taking it out of the bread.

7. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from loaf pan. Let cool on a wire rack.

Dinner In Manhattan With Mr. C.

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Some lucky person and a guest will join me in Manhattan for dinner. It’s all part of a charity, the Children’s Health Fund, that I’m very involved with. Below is the link. Thank you from me and the Children’s Health Fund for those who donate.

http://chf.childrenshealthfund.org/goto/Cooking-with-Mr-Cs-Fundraiser

Pumpkin Soup

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Ingredients:

6 cups chicken stock

4 cups pumpkin puree

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tbs. chopped parsley

1 clove of garlic (chopped)

1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. In a large pot, warm chicken stock. Add pumpkin, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low heat for 30 minutes.

2. In a blender, puree the soup. Return soup to the pot. Add heavy cream. Stir well and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot.

Homemade Blondies

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Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp.  vanilla extract

1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup  semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla just until blended.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to brown sugar mixture.

3. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips.

4. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

5. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

 

Chicken and French Fry Parmesan

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Ingredients:

8 chicken cutlets

1/2 lb French fries (potatoes)

fresh mozzarella (8 slices)

tomato sauce

sea salt and black pepper

2 egg whites beaten

2 cups bread crumbs

olive oil

Directions:

1. Dip chicken cutlets in egg whites. Then coat cutlets with bread crumbs.

2. In a large skillet, put 1/4 cup of olive oil. Fry cutlets on each side for about 3 minutes each. Turn so they don’t burn. Remove and put to the side.

3. For the French fries, you can buy frozen and bake them. If not, get 4 large potatoes and slice into shape of fries. Sprinkle with sea salt and coat with olive oil. Put on a baking pan and bake in a 400 degree oven, and bake for about 25 minutes. (until crisp and tender) *Note: It’s faster to bake the frozen ones.

4. In a large baking pan, coat the bottom with tomato sauce. Put cutlets in pan. Put some sauce on each cutlet. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

5. Layer five or six fries on each cutlet and top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. (see photo)

6. In a preheated 400 degree oven, put cutlets in oven for about 5-7 minutes to heat through. You also want the mozzarella well melted.

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