Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Soup

2 T. olive oil
3 c. chopped yellow pepper (about 2 med.)
1 1/2 c. chopped carrot (about 2 med.)
1 c. chopped onion (about 1 med.)
3/4 t. smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth, divided
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 c. whipping cream

Heat oil in Dutch oven and saute yellow bell pepper, carrots and onions over medium-high heat until soft and tender, about 20 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, and 2 cups chicken broth; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to a food processor, add pumpkin and process until smooth. Return mixture to Dutch oven and add remaining 3 cups chicken broth, salt, sugar and whipping cream. Whisk until smooth and heat until piping hot. Ladle into individual soup bowls and garnish with large crispy croutons.

Serves 8-10

Fresh Fall Apple Cake with Hot Buttered Rum Sauce

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour, sifted
1 t. baking powder
¾ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
4 medium to large apples, peeled, cored and chopped.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Gradually add to egg mixture, combining thoroughly. Stir in apples and nuts. Pour into buttered tube pan and bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or room temperature. Spoon Hot Buttered Rum Sauce over individual slices when serving.

Serves 12.

Hot Buttered Rum Sauce
Combine in saucepan over medium heat until smooth and hot:
1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
½ cup light cream or half-n-half
1 t. rum extract

Pork Roast Stuffed with Cornbread, Golden Raisins, Spinach and Feta Cheese...Served with Orange-Ginger Sauce

3 lb. fresh pork roast
2 T. butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
3/4 c. chicken broth or stock
1/2 t. dried sage
2 c. cornbread dressing crumbs
1/2 c. golden raisins
3 c. fresh spinach, packed
1 (4 oz) carton crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spinach on cutting board and chop finely. Set aside.
In large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chicken broth, sage, and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine. Add cornbread crumbs and toss to coat. Add raisins, spinach and feta cheese. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.

Double-butterfly the pork roast. Here is how you do it:
1. Lay the pork roast on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut lengthwise, separating the top 2/3 from the rest of the roast (it is helpful to start in a corner) - but stop at the opposite side before cutting all the way through. Open this top 2/3 of the roast onto the cutting board like you are opening a book.
2. Starting at the center line of the roast, repeat this same procedure by cutting the two-thirds (left) side of the roast in half - but once again, stop at the opposite edge before cutting all the way through.
3. Once laid out, it will resemble a tri-fold book, laid flat. Pound the roast, if necessary, to a thickness of about 1/2".

Generously salt and pepper both sides of the flattened roast. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly on top, stopping 1/2" from all four sides. Starting from one side, tightly and securely roll up the roast and tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches. Place in a roasting pan on the middle oven rack and cook for 50-60 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130-135 degrees. Let rest 10-15 minutes. Slice into 1-inch slices and arrange on a platter. Serve with Orange-Ginger sauce. Serves 8.

Orange-Ginger Sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 c. orange juice
1/2 t. ground ginger

Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add orange juice and ground ginger. While stirring, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce temperature and simmer, continuing to stir until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.