Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Slow Cooker Applesauce

From The Crock Pot Lady blog.

This makes enough for 4 people. If you would like to freeze or can, use more apples.

--4 large apples, skinned ,cored, and cut in quarters

--juice from 1 lemon

--1/2 tsp cinnamon

--1 tsp vanilla

--1 T brown sugar

--1/4 cup H20

The Directions.

I used a 4 quart crockpot for the applesauce.

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters.
Plop the pieces into your crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, and the water. Pour in the vanilla, and add the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. My apples were very tender after 6 hours, and I used a fork.

This was good. The problem, however, was that BAJ had made Baked Applesauce a few days earlier, and it was so good, he claimed that he had to hide his bowl, or he would have licked it clean. NICE.

Anyway, this just didn't quite measure up for us as a result. It was definitely EASIER than his, but easy isn't always best.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

I saw this in my google reader and had to make it, especially after our recent trip to the apple orchard yielded 26 pounds of apples. For two people and one young toddler. Yikes.

OUT-FREAKING-STANDING is all I can say about this. It smelled fantastic while it baked, and was so easy to put together. The hubs liked it, as did his doesn't like a freaking thing I make father. I brought half into work, and they were gone by lunchtime. When I offered one to hubs the other night, he said no because he had had "three or four" for breakfast.


I even thought I had goofed, adding 1/8t of the ground cloves, but it wasn't at all bad.

Thanks to Kayla for posting about this, as well as to Good Things Catered's Katie for providing the original recipe!

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling Omitted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.-In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine.

Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.

Fold in apples.-Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar.

Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet "Citrus" Chicken

I was going blindly through my google reader looking for something to put on this week's menu. This looked really good, and then I discovered it was from the blog of my buddy Lauren. Goodness, do we have the same tastes or what?

Anyway, here's what she had to say about this one.

I made this exactly as written, except that I used two chicken breasts. It, obviously, had a LOT of Stove Top leftover. In the future, I think I'll put it all in individual containers and freeze them for future dinners... we really liked this one! It was so easy, and it was very very tasty too.

Thanks, Lauren!!

Pictures Coming soon!

  • 1-2/3 cups hot water
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Add hot water to stuffing mix; stir just until moistened. Set aside.

PLACE chicken in 13x9-inch baking dish. Mix juice, sugar and butter until well blended; pour over chicken. Top with prepared stuffing.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF).

Grown Up Mac and Cheese

I saw that the Barefoot Bloggers made what most of them considered a great mac and cheese dinner. You can find it on the food tv site, or by clicking here.

This was pretty easy to put together, although it does have a lot of steps.

We didn't, however, like this so much. I thought it was "ok," but BAJ had one bite and gave up. When he saw the blue cheese, he grimaced... but actually he said he didn't taste it at all, and neither did I. The problem was the Gruyere, which was just overwhelming a flavor in this. I also really wish I had scrimped a little and gone with regular old Swiss cheese, which surely would have been much cheaper.

I did like that this didn't have hard pieces, as is so common with baked mac and cheese. I did encounter one or two hard pieces, but mostly they were perfectly done.

Ah well--my first Ina recipe is a bust.

Pictures coming soon--it sure was a pretty thing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sauteed Cajun Shrimp

This came up in my google reader from the fabulous Dinner Tonight blog.

Here's the original recipe.

This was really easy and very good. It was my first time eating or using andouille sausage, but BAJ requested I use the kielbasa next time. I misunderstood the directions a little, and didn't precook the sausage, which made for some tough slicing. It looked kinda like sausage clumps, but the flavor was still there. Woops.

I used Uncle Ben's brown rice, which worked really well.

In all, this recipe cost us about $10... SCORE! The shrimp was on sale, and the only other ingredient I had to buy was the sausage. Everything else was in the pantry, so it cost a little more than $10. Unless you're supposed to factor in the cost of the pantry stuff? How the heck do ya do that?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuffed Pizza Pie

I saw this on Lauren's blog the other day, and as I was browsing for something to make for dinner today, this is what struck my fancy.

I went to the store and looked at the pizza dough, but it looked icky. Making the dough in the bread machine is so EASY, it was worth having dinner a little on the late side.

I used one bag of spinach, but it seemed like a LOT, so I didn't end up using it all. Next time, I'll save it and make spinach and strawberry salad as a side. I did toss some garlic in with them as I sauteed 'em.

Also, I forgot about the tomatoes, which are probably very necessary. I think I would have liked this a LOT more with them in there. It was a little confusing because the recipe didn't mention them but DID mention roasted red peppers. Luckily, though, I didn't start chopping them so they didn't just go to waste.

And, like Lauren's son, mine went nuts for this. Since we ate so late, we chose to eat *gasp, shock, Bad Mommy Role Model Alert* on the couch in front of the tv and The Boy. Which makes for easy begging for The Boy. I couldn't believe that he ate up the broccoli and the spinach, but he seemed to love it, as well as the dough. KEEPER!!

Pictures coming soon.

  • 16 oz whole wheat or white pizza dough
  • 1 Cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ Cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (dried or fresh)
  • 2 Cups fresh broccoli florets, steamed until fork tender, about 3 minutes in boiling water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ Cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ½ Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Spread and press one piece of dough into the bottom and sides of a 9-9 ½ inch round baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and parmesan cheese until well combined. Spread into pressed pizza dough.

2. Place olive oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute spinach until wilted down, about 3 minutes. Place evenly over ricotta cheese layer, and sprinkle garlic on top. Place steamed broccoli florets over spinach and season with a pinch or two of kosher salt. Layer roasted red peppers, then mozzarella cheese over top. Press out remaining piece of dough and place over filling, tucking edges inside of pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cooked through.

3. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan or cutting into wedges.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicken Milano

Another from allrecipes. See it here.

This is DAMN good. And easy too. I've made this before, and decided to go through some of the old recipes again. I used the jarred sun dried tomatoes, in oil, despite the author of the recipe's suggestion not too. Woops.

I also used whole wheat linguine. It was great here. It was the Stop and Shop kind with the greenish logo.

This is a keeper!!!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I got this from allrecipes. Well, sorta. Find the original here.

I used a bottle of poppyseed dressing. I'm lazy, and it HAD to be cheaper than buying all those individual ingredients...right?

So in the end, I guess this isn't really a recipe. But I'm dumb, so I needed one. It was really good, though!

Picture coming soon.

"If yours tasted like this, I might eat it!"

OUCH. Yep, that's what I heard today. My mom gave us a pan of baked ziti. This is the same baked ziti she showed me to make, but yet mine doesn't taste nearly as good, God knows why. But for BAJ to say it? OUCH.

Monday, October 13, 2008

DON'T Check out this contest!

I want to win it A LOT because not only am I in need of an apron (I'm such a messy cook), but also because it is too durn cute.

So DO NOT go here to enter the contest!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chicken Parmesan Heroes

Another from Quick from Scratch One-Dish Meals by Food & Wine Magazine; it can also be found here.

This was pretty tasty, and very easy to make. It isn't really that impressive of a recipe, since it's no different than any other skillet chicken recipe (egg, dredge, breadcrumbs, fry), but I guess I've never made a chicken parm sub before.

I probably should have done this the pizza shop way, and served spaghetti on the side to use up some of the leftover sauce (the recipe is for four, and there's only two of us), but my chosen sides were good anyway!

Apple Galette with Cider Drizzle

I got this from Everyday with Rachael Ray, but it can also be found here. I made this to take to a friend's house, and completely left the cider drizzle at home. Ugh. Anyway, this was really good. I took the suggestion to serve it with vanilla ice cream, which was a perfect touch. Our friends raved about how good it looked and smelled and tasted.

I was reading the directions rather than looking at the picture, and didn't really load the thing up with apples. I'll definitely do that next time, if only so I don't have so much waste!

BAJ wasn't thrilled with this, but I told him I'll make it again--I have to use up the second puff pastry AND we have to try it with the drizzle. Plus, we're planning to go apple picking soon, so I'll need some ways to use them up.

I had this the next day for breakfast, too, and it was very good then too!

Autumn Spice Ham Steak

This is one of the things I love about fall... this recipe has become a favorite in our house, but its flavors just aren't right for spring and summer. I found it on allrecipes, and we just love it. It's not especially GOOD for us, but it's a once in awhile kind of meal. I made a sweet potato for me, and the pasta side is some side dish from a box.

This is a very easy meal, which always wins high marks in my book. I've made it with a large ham steak (like Cook's,) but also have used the smaller ones I find in the store if they're on sale.

Summer Pizza

This is from Food and Wine Magazine's One Dish cookbook, but can also be found here.

This was really good. We tried a whole wheat Boboli for the first time, and it was nice. The flavors of the pizza are really delicious and as the title implies, a great one for summer time. I will probably make this on my homemade pizza dough next time to cut costs, but will definitely make this again!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mac and Cheese

I forgot to take pictures. Woops.

Since BAJ isn't a huge fan of macaroni and cheese, I decided to try using a taco blend of monterey jack, cheddar, and taco seasonings in my attempt. I used ATK's recipe for stovetop mac and cheese as a start.
My mom always used to serve stewed tomatoes with her mac and cheese. Having a large amount of them in the basement, I decided to go for it.

It was nice, overall, but not fantastic. I ate it, and BAJ ate it, and The Boy ate it too, so it must have been good enough!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not (exactly) cooking related

I am reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I love her idea of cooking her way through a whole (exceptionally influential) cookbook over the course of a year. Unfortunately, it just isn't possible in this house. I'd hit a road block as soon as I got to a recipe involving beans or beef, or any number of things my husband doesn't like to eat. **sigh**

It's a fun idea, though.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the book so encourage you to pick it up too. It's fun, it's about food, and it's GOOD!
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