What a pleasure cooking is with all my friends here in the neighborhood! In this edition of Chef Ricco Presents, I am bringing a bayou favorite to the table in my Shrimp Etouffee. I am also going to be sharing with you an amazing meatloaf inspired by none other than my beautiful mother, Dolores. We’ll also try something a bit different but amazingly tasty. We’re blending the flavors of squash and honey in a 6-ingredient recipe that you’ll want to make every season over and over. Lastly, since the holidays are right around the corner and apple pick- ing season is upon us, I am sharing my hot apple cider recipe. This can be enjoyed with or without alcohol and is a wonderful and fragrant drink that is not only great tasting but great for you.

Meat Loaf Alla Dolores:
2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef
1 1⁄2 cups of whole milk
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese 2 fresh eggs
6 slices of white bread
1 medium minced onion
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp of granulated onion
1 tsp Paprika
1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Kosher Salt

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the ground beef, make a slurry and then add the slurry to your meat in a separate bowl and mix very thoroughly. Once finely mixed add mixture to a Pyrex baking dish and top the meat with a nice layer of Heinz ketchup. Bake on 390 degrees until cooked thoroughly. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into slabs and serving with mashed potatoes, rice or on a nice piece of seeded Italian bread with provolone for a fantastic Italian Meat Loaf Hero!

Shrimp Etouffee:
1 pound peeled deveined shrimp
1 cup shrimp stock (made from your shrimp shells, shrimp heads make great stock as well!)
3-4 ribs of minced celery 4 cloves of minced garlic 4 tbsp chopped red onions 3 pinches of thyme
4 pinches of cayenne pepper Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter salted
In a stock pot, melt the butter and sauté the vegetables until translucent, add all your spices and mix thoroughly. Add your shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a sim- mer and add your shrimps. Simmer on low for 15 minutes and serve over jasmine or wild rice.

Hot Holiday Apple Cider:
Juice 6-7 apples of your choice. (I recommend a blend of Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
6 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 pinches of nutmeg
4 pinches of all spice
4 pinches ground cloves 4 pinches lemon zest
1 tbsp sugar

To make this a hard cider once complete add 1 oz. of either Apple Brandy or Schnapps to your cup add the cider and stir well. Heat all the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Immediately turn off the stove, let the mixture sit 2 minutes and serve hot. This can be enjoyed cold as well however the warm version really makes the spices pop! Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash w/Spicy Glazed Pumpkin Seeds Over Hot Honey Infused Greek Yogurt
1 Butternut Squash
1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
5 oz full fat Greek yogurt
3 oz ricotta salata cheese
Spicy Honey (available at most fine retailers, if you prefer just the sweet and not the hot, use some great orange blossom or blueberry blossom honey)

First take your pumpkin seeds and coat them with your honey. Once they are coated place them on a baking sheet and roast them until they are nicely toasted. Allow the glazed nuts to cool and store them in a Tupperware for later. Keep in mind they will stick together so it is common to have to break them up a little before using. They make a great everyday snack as well!

Next, peel your butternut squash, clean and cube it into 1” cubed pieces. Spice some olive oil with some fresh grated garlic (1-2 cloves) salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray. Roast the squash at 350 degrees until slightly charred and fork tender.

Next weigh out about 5 ounces of the yogurt, in a bowl, fold in some of your hon- ey (hot or sweet) just a few drizzles, add some your glazed pumpkin seeds and place the yogurt in the center of your serving bowl. (If you are serving multiple people, infuse all of your yogurt in one big batch)

On top of the yogurt place a healthy heaping of your roasted butternut squash, shave some of the ricotta salata cheese on top and finish with another drizzle of honey and some more pumpkin seeds. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do and I want to wish everyone from my family to yours, a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!