Updated 2011-10-05 22:20:46 ID=653:1

© 2011 The Romantic Table
©2011 The Romantic Table, Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu 2011-10-02 20:51:36:305
©2011 The Romantic Table

Rotini with Eggplant Sausage Ragu uses eggplant and fennel sausage to make a wonderfully-seasoned and very flavorful Ragu

October-Fall's Best Month Has Some Fun and Yummy Recipes to Please Everyone!

So it's finally October, perhaps Fall's best month for outdoor activities, so we've come up with some fun and savory recipe favorites that just about everyone will like when they finally come inside.

October has always been one of my favorite months -especially my favorite Fall month over the years! This is the month that all the good apple, squash and pumpkin varieties finally hit the market. October is also less stressful than September -with its back-to-school" demands or November with less "mandatory food-based" and heavy-entertaining events taking place. We can just kick-back and enjoy this cooler-weather month with friends and family on our own schedule. So this month we've come up with some recipes that are multi-purpose, easy to make and even easier to tempt you.

©2011 The Romantic Table, Stuffed Manicotti 2011-10-02 20:55:35:306
©2011 The Romantic Table

Stuffed Manicotti is filled with steamed spinach that's been sauteed with nutmeg, butter and onion, then combined with ricotta, provolone and Parmesan cheeses.
Our first recipe this month, Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu uses still in-season eggplant which is still available in most of our gardens or in the grocery stores. We combine this vegetable with a fennel sausage and make a wonderfully-seasoned--and very flavorful Ragu. This is "mama-cooking" and OH! So good!

A more sophisticated recipe is our next one: Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style --though still very much in the Mama-cooking tradition. Partially-cooked manicotti tubes are filled with spinach, nutmeg, and onion, combined with ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses, then baked with home made Marinara Sauce and a topping of mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan cheese. When you are cooking for a crowd, this recipe is always a winner.

The next recipe is Meatloaf Romantic Table Style . This recipe is one that I've been making many decades --in fact since my teens! It's a winner and not only a "manly-meal" but also a crowd-pleaser. It's a cook-pleaser too since this can be made in advance-in fact even tastes better when done ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.

©2011 The Romantic Table, Meatloaf Romantic Table Style 2011-10-05 20:08:42:308
©2011 The Romantic Table

Meatloaf Romantic Table Style is a cook-pleaser that can be made in advance, and in fact even tastes better when done ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.
What makes this a little unusual and taste so flavorful is the fact that I like to use a combination of hand-ground beef stew meat and pork sausage. Then I add some sauteed onions and garlic with Parmesan, soft bread crumbs, oregano and sage and some lightly-cooked tomatoes. Oh is this a wonderful flavor-experience!

Our last recipe is one you can use as an appetizer, side-dish or wine-tasting accompaniment: Crispy Shoestring Onions Romantic Table Style! These can be dangerous-It's hard to stop eating them!

Our recipe was inspired by the ones Chef Ian McPhee used to make. People from miles around would flock to his restaurants ("Ian's" in Cambria years ago, then "McPhee's Grill" in Templeton. ) Everyone raved and devoured his Shoestring Onions until for no explained reason he stopped serving them! --And they were SO good too! So, since we loved them so, we came up with our own version. The only prerequisite to make them, you DO need to use a mandoline to slice the white onions finely enough- that, and a little flour to coat the onion rings in prior to cooking and you'll be in flavorful mouth nirvana!

©2011 The Romantic Table, Crispy Shoestring Onions 2011-10-02 20:58:30:307
©2011 The Romantic Table

Crispy Shoestring Onions! These can be dangerous -it's so hard to stop eating them!
These are so easy and can be used so many ways and with so many other foods that you'll want to find new ways to use them! These are DEFINITELY a crowd-pleaser! And because you only use a few white onions, canola oil, a little bit of flour and kosher salt, they're economical enough to make often!

There you have it! Four new recipes to try out on your gang when they come in from football, Harvest Festival, Pioneer Day Parade or what other Autumn activity at hand. Enjoy this cooler-weather sweater-season and have some fun making these offerings for your family and friends.

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A tip from Sue!

A good cook should control the salt and spices!

Do not use salted butter, garlic powder, or heavily salted canned foods. Instead, if you need butter, use unsalted butter and then add in the salt separately so that YOU control the amount of salt you need. The same goes for spices. Using commercially salted and seasoned products will homogenize the taste of your recipes. When you eat something, you should be able to taste all the individual.flavors of a dish.