[stuffed cornish hens]

2-1 1/2-pound cornish hens
4 slices bacon
3/4 cup corn kernels
1 small white onion, diced
3 large carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
Salt & Pepper

Seasoning for Hens: (adjust to liking - this is an estimate)
1 tsp Cajun Seasoning

1 tsp Onion Powder

1/4 tsp Pepper

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season inside and out of cornish hens. In a bowl combine corn, onion, carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stuff vegetables into cavity of each bird to full capacity. Drizzle hens with remaining oil. Criss-cross 2 bacon slices across each hen, tucking ends under birds to keep in place. Place hens on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and pour chicken stock in bottom of pan. Roast hens 45 minutes to 1 hour or until an instant reading thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 170 degrees. Allow hens to rest, loosely covered with foil, for at least 10 minutes while you finish gravy.

[cornish hen gravy]

1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 sprig thyme leaves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Once you've made your cornish hens...

Pour any pan drippings into a degreasing cup or small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat discarding the rest and add the separated juices to the stock. Add the reserved fat to the roasting pan and place on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper. Cook until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, make a paste with the butter and flour in a small bowl, set aside. Add the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and whisk in the flour mixture. Boil until sauce thickens to make a gravy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaf. 


1 baguette
1 1/2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes (about 8-10)
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced + 1 clove cut in half to rub on bread
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes in half, squeeze out seeds and juice. Dice tomatoes and put in bowl. Add onion, minced garlic, basil, vinegar and olive oil. Stir and add salt and pepper as desired. Store in fridge for at least 1 hour, up to overnight. Drain most of the liquid and serve at room temperature.

For the bread: Cut baguette into slices. Rub each side with garlic. Broil on a sheet pan in the oven and flip once until each side is golden brown. Serve bread warm or at room temp.

Note: Any extra bruschetta can be used within a week for pasta sauce or marinade for chicken.

[espresso brownies]

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis's recipe
Nonstick Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup water, oil, eggs and 2 tbsp espresso powder in a large bowl. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 tsp of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tbsp of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla . Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies . Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.

[planter's punch]

We made this for our friends on Halloween. It was such a hit - we had to make two pitchers.
12.5 oz. of rum (Capt. Morgan, Bacardi, Parrot Bay, or a combo of any)
20 oz. orange juice
20 oz. pineapple juice
2.5 oz. lime juice
2.5 oz. lemon juice
10 teaspoons sugar
10 dashes grenadine

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher with ice.
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