Holiday Appetizers

Susan Ritts is the creator of which has tons of tasty recipes.  She’s also the author of Cooking and Entertaining With Ease. She stopped by to make tasty holiday appetizers that will warm you up this holiday season.


NOTE: If serving soup in pumpkins, you will need to purchase one pumpkin per person, plus 2 addition pumpkins for the soup.


3 cups pumpkin “meat” from the 2 pumpkins
2 white onions, chopped
2 TBS chopped garlic
Finely grated rind & juice of one orange
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS fresh thyme, stalks removed
2/3 cups 2% milk
6 cups vegetable stock
2 TBS cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hollow out pumpkins & cut in half or quarters. Put – skin side down – on a non-stick cookie sheet & bake for  an hour. If insides & skin can be pierced with a fork, remove from heat and set aside. If not. cook longer & check every 15 minutes. Once cooled, scoop out pumpkin insides & reserve 3 cups.

In a large soup pot, heat oil & add chopped onion & garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add pumpkin meat & cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add vegetable stock, Orange rind & juice. Simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Add thyme & continue simmering for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat & cool. Puree mixture in a food processor or hand processor until smooth. Return to soup pot & add milk & cornstarch. Add a generous amount of salt & pepper. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat & simmer, stirring until cornstarch is thoroughly mixed in & soup is thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve & enjoy!

NOTE: If serving in cooked pumpkins: hollow desired number of pumpkins & cook in preheated 350 degree oven, upright for an hour or longer, until insides are soft.  Once soup is done, pour into cooked pumpkins, top with pumpkin “lid” & serve.


ROASTED VEGGIES – serves 10-12


2 large red or white onions, halved crosswise with skins on
2 yellow squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 roma tomatoes, or 2 beefsteak tomatoes cut into quarters
2 red or yellow peppers, cut in quarters
8-10 small red or white potatoes
10 large mushrooms or 15/20 smaller mushrooms
CGD Seasoned Olive Oil (or olive oil & salt & pepper)


Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Slice potatoes in half & put on large non-stick cookie sheet. Pour some CGD (or oil) over potatoes & mix to coat. If using plain oil, also salt & pepper potatoes.

Cook potatoes in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add onions, drizzling with CGD or oil. Cook for 10 minutes. While cooking, put all other veggies in a large bowl & toss with CGD or oil.

Remove sheet from oven & add all veggies to the cookie sheet – use an additional cookie sheet if needed. DO NOT overlap veggies. Cook for about 30 minutes. Veggies should be wrinkled & soft & a knife should pierce potatoes easily.

Place all veggies on a serving platter & put a small bowl of dipping sauce (ranch dressing, Italian – whatever you want) near along with some grilled bread & slices of cheese so people can make veggie sandwiches if desired.



1 package fresh cheese tortellini pasta
long wooden skewers (soaked in water for 1 hour)
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 tea minced garlic
1 cup plain yogurt
1 TBS chopped dill
Salt & pepper


Cook tortellini according to instructions – don’t overcook as you want this a bit al dente.

While pasta is cooking, zest lemon. In a bowl combine yogurt & lemon juice & zest. Add dill & garlic, mix well. Drain & cool cooked pasta. Add 3-4 pieces of tortellini to each skewer. Stack on a serving platter, or put finished skewers in a pretty glass. Serve with dipping sauce.

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