What's for Dinner: Taco Bar with tortillas, ground beef, cabbage, cheese, salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, avocadoes & rice (by Troy & Allison Vasquez) Green Salad with Almonds and Avocadoes & Ranch Dressing (by Stacie & Forest Benedict) Dessert: Chocolate-Pumpkin Ravioli (recipe below)
Day Three of The Great Pantry Challenge solidifies more of my theory from yesterday: Living out of our pantry has been no real sacrifice because we live in community. Tonight we enjoyed a fabulous dinner with our Small Group friends. We get together with three other couples and their kids every other week for a shared meal and a chance to support each other in this season of life. We each bring an assigned part of the meal - Salad, Side Dish, Entree or Dessert. We rotate houses so the family hosting doesn't feel the burden of the Entree (and the dishes) too often. For the last five years we have celebrated community through food, conversation around the table, prayer and encouraging our kids to play together.
Tonight it was our turn to bring the dessert. Since it's fall, I had to bust out my favorite fall flavors - pumpkin & chocolate. (Yes, that's what was in the pantry!) At first, I thought about some kind of chocolate tart but I didn't really have time to mix up a crust, chill it and roll it out. After scrounging through the refrigerator and cupboards, I also found some wonton wrappers from the cooking contest I entered at The Big Fresno Fair two weeks ago. I thought about a dessert I saw an Italian chef once make - Chocolate Ravioli. What about Chocolate-Pumpkin Ravioli? That's a Harvest party in your mouth as far as I'm concerned. (Find recipe below.) The warm chocolate melded with the spiced pumpkin inside a crispy wonton is so flavorful we all wished there were more.
My favorite part of this challenge is that it forces me to be creative with what I have. Who says we can't eat healthy and delicious food? Who says eating out of the pantry has to be boring? Not me. That's why I tackled dessert tonight with the enthusiasm of a die-hard football fan at a home game. This is how new recipes are created. I encourage you to try something new this week. Grab a few ingredients you always have on hand and see what happens when you marry them together. It might just be a family hit!
A Note from our Nutrition Guy (aka my hubby Ericlee): Chocolate is not only a yummy treat, it also happens to be a great choice for dessert if you do it right. Some chocolate choices are high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other harmful chemicals for your body. Chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa is better for you. Choose chocolates that are labeled "semi-sweet" or "dark chocolate" and avoid milk chocolate or chocolate with other additives.
You've probably heard that chocolate is full of antioxidants. What are antioxidants? They are compounds that protect our cells from damage. Call them the policemen of your body. Policemen keep our city safe and fight off the offenders. Antioxidants do the same. They keep our body healthy and fight off cancer cells.
With Halloween right around the corner, you might choose a chocolate bar over a piece of hard candy filled with poisonous dyes. Trader Joe's as well as other stores are selling small-sized chocolate bars (with no additives) just for the occasion. That is, if you're looking for an alternative to the mainstream Halloween treats. We trade our daughter for non-food items or Jamba Juice cards.
Ingredients: 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned or from a baked sugar pumpkin) 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon cream cheese or mascarpone cheese, softened 1 egg 30 wonton wrappers olive oil spray or 2 tablespoons olive oil (& pastry brush) 3 tablespoons organic butter
Garnish: mini chocolate chips mint leaf whipped cream
1. Mix together filling ingredients: pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, chocolate and cream cheese in a small bowl. 2. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment or waxed paper. 3. Beat egg in small bowl and set at work station with pastry brush. 4. Brush the edges of a wonton wrapper with egg. Add teaspoon of filling to corner of wonton wrapper. Fold wrapper at a diagonal, forming a triangle shape. Press edges together . Lay out on cookie sheet. Continue filling wontons, (I like to do two at a time) until they are all filled. 5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray wontons with olive oil spray or brush with olive oil. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. 6. Remove from oven and serve 3-4 at a time on a dessert plate. For garnish, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, a mint leaf or add a spoonful of whipping cream.
*This is a dessert you will want to do the final steps right before serving so the chocolate is warm and melty.