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Last night, James and I were discussing what to have for dinner when I hit upon the brilliant (to me) idea of having luscious fondue for our evening repast.  We love to have parties and fondue parties are in our repertoire, so we had all the apparatus necessary to make our own fondue party happen.  One thing we needed was some nice crusty bread.  Sooo, we headed down the street to the nearest grocery store (thankfully, we can walk to the store so I already felt better about the dinner I was about to consume).  We made it through the intersection with no problem and were almost to the grocery store when it hit–the PizzaMan sign, that is.  Facing us down temptingly, we passed the mediumcheesepizzafor3.99carryoutonly sign.  And the fragrance.  We almost lost our fondue dinner right there.  We knew we were going to spend over four dollars at the grocery store and the pizza would be kind of like fondue.  And, did I mention the fragrance?  The delightful fragrance of freshly baked pizza??  We kept walking and debating.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  What shall we do?

Well, we decided on fondue.  I know those of you who are in no way tempted by a medium cheese pizza for four dollars are cheering us and wondering what the big deal was.  Those of you who are tempted know exactly what we’re talking about.

At the grocery store, we bought loaves of french bread, bananas, apples, flavored coffee, whipping cream, squash, flour (for tortillas, mmm…thanks Andrea!)–all for under 15 dollars.  I consider that a good deal.  We could have had all that AND a cheese pizza for under twenty but we try to know when to call it quits.

So, what was on the menu?  Since I’m becoming savvy to the tricks of successful meal planners, I decided not to try any new recipes.  I stuck with the fondues that we know and love:

  • Asian Hot Pot Fondue
  • Cheddar Cheese Fondue–the easy way
  • Cinnamon Chocolate Fondue
  • Dippers: noodles, celery, green beans, crunchy bread, apples, marshmallows, bananas, strawberries…

Yes, it was as wonderful as it sounds.  So sorry there are no pictures!  We ate out on the deck near the sound of our pond and counted ourselves blessed.  Afterwards, discussing whether we had come out ahead by not buying that pizza, James admitted that yes, we had.  However, there was a moment as I was directing him in the special art of cutting celery that he had second thoughts.  When will I learn not to antagonize a man wielding a chef’s knife?

Asian Hot Pot fondue

3 cups beef broth

3 cloves chopped garlic

2-3 T fresh, chopped ginger

chopped cilantro

chopped green onion

2-3 T soy sauce

Bring broth to a boil in electric fondue pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  This “hot pot” is superb for all types of vegetables and even bread.  It’s very tasty!  As you are eating veggies, drop lo mein into th pot and let the noodles cook.  I promise you will love the flavor of the noodles cooked this way.  You may also cook shrimp, beef or chicken in this hot pot.  Enjoy!

Cheddar cheese fondue

cheddar cheese

milk

2 t corn starch

1 t worcestershire sauce

Shred 1-2 cups of cheddar cheese.  Toss with corn starch.  The corn starch helps the shredded cheese to meld with the milk, instead of separating.  In saucepan or fondue pot, melt cheese together with about 1 cup of milk (be your own judge on this, according to thickness of fondue desired).  As cheese begins to melt, add worcestershire sauce.  Before adding cheese to fondue pot, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the inside of the fondue pot with cut side of clove.  Delightful!

Cinnamon chocolate fondue–easy!

It’s amazing how easy this fondue dip is!

3 cubes chocolate candy coating

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 t almond extract

1 t cinnamon

Melt all ingredients together in fondue pot (a chafing dish is good for this fondue so you don’t burn that lovely chocolate).

So, we had a three course fondue dinner for under 20 dollars!!  The last time we went to the fondue restaurant in town, we spent about 100 dollars for the both of us (thank goodness we had a gift certificate, right??)

I hope you will enjoy some of these recipes at your own home.  If you make any of your own special additions, please let me know.  I love trying out new recipes.

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