Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air! I know this because I have gotten out a bunch of cookbooks and have gone to the library and checked out a few as well. I think about baking; I bake; I think about baking some more.

Apples: we bought some nice locally sourced Gala apples as these are one of our favorites for eating. It is a portable fruit. Hubby goes off to work with an apple, a piece of cheese, and granola bars, none of which is homemade. We then bought five pounds of more apples, also locally sourced, with the express purpose of making apple pies, muffins, tarts, etc.

So this week’s apple recipe is an Apple Crisp. This is from King Arthur Flour’s 200th Anniversary Cookbook. They had posted one on line but I think that may be different. Not sure. Anyway this is a good one. I did add my own flair to it, though.

  • 4 cups chopped apples, peeled (KAF said this was about 8 apples, so I peeled, cored, and chopped exactly 8 apples.)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix (my addition: original recipe called for 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp allspice)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (I melted mine)
  • 2 Tab. chopped candied ginger (my addition)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (my addition)

Put chopped apples in lightly greased (or sprayed) 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle on the cranberries and the candied ginger. Blend the dry ingredient and add the butter. Melted butter (somewhat cooled) mixes in nicely. Stir until all ingredients are not dry. Put this on top of the apples. I patted it down like a crust. Bake 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.

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This came out well. Hubby said it had a “grown up taste”, not sure what that means. The topping was crispy and contrasted with the apples very well. In future I would reduce the brown sugar to 3/4 cup sugar as I think the topping doesn’t need that much sweetness. We did not have ice cream in the house and that would add a nice finish to this Crisp.

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Not Tuna Salad

We were going to make tuna noodle salad to have for dinner on one of these hot summer evenings. Hubby likes to put raw onion in these salads; I can do without. But we have Vidalia sweet onions in the pantry and these are easier to eat raw. Hubby says to let him make the salad as he knows how to. I abide by his wishes and agree to just cook the elbow noodles so they would be cooked and chilled for his return home from work.

But this did not turn out to be tuna noodle salad made with elbow pasta…

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So first of all, I found no elbow pasta in my pantry. I had two whole boxes in there recently, or so I thought. I did have these curly pasta, cavatelli, capatelli, something like that. I cooked all of that up; it was almost the entire pound package.

Hubby comes home and I start looking for the tuna. We have no tuna in the pantry; we have only one can in the Camper. This is not enough so he searches through the fridge for his ingredients. He leaves the tuna out altogether.

Can you guess what is in there? I have no clue what spices and herbs he used. But it was a very tasty dish and we had it for two suppers.

I do know some of the ingredients. He used broccoli, green pepper, Vidalia onion, shredded cheese, chunks of cheddar cheese, chunks of a beef summer sausage, and carrots.

 

 

Hubby’s hors d’oeuvres

Hubby had a food event at work. He was to bring something. These little treats are his go-to. Super simple and tasty, with a little spicy bite!

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  • one package ham slices, 14 ounces
  • one package cream cheese, 8 ounces
  • jalapeno peppers from jar, as many as suits your taste

Soften the cream cheese; chop the peppers. Combine these using some of the pepper juice to make a spread. Spread on slices of ham. Roll up lengthwise and cut into thirds. Serve with toothpicks.

Spaghetti Pie

Hello all! I have not posted for awhile. One would think that writing would be a good way to get relief from the stress and burn out from work, but I apparently did not have the discipline to do so. So here I am again. One of the difficulties is that I will make and bake the same things again and again. There’s not much new or interesting in writing about that. I searched my blog and do not believe that I have told you about Hubby’s way of managing leftover spaghetti. Techniquely this is not “spaghetti” pie in that I made it with elbow macaroni but this will have to do.

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So on a Monday I sliced up two green peppers, one red pepper, and two onions. I put these in the crock pot along with one 14.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, one 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning. Oh, and 6 sweet Italian sausage links. These cooked on low while I was at work for 8-10 hours. The aroma was wonderful when I walked in the door in the late afternoon.

When I put all this together I was not sure if we would be eating the sausages on bread as sandwiches or over pasta. Being uncertain when I got home I cooked too much pasta. And Hubby was correct, we did not have spaghetti noodles, but we had oodles of elbow macaroni noodles. We had our dinner of pasta and sausage sauce.

Leftovers make a spaghetti pie. Depending on the amount of leftovers we will alter the amount of additives. Lots of leftovers make a 9 x 13 inch pan. Not so much, we use a pie pan.

Gather any leftover meats and vegetables and cheese you need to use up. We’ve had a leftover pork chop, ham, breakfast sausage in our pie before. Clean out that produce drawer,  mushrooms and half chopped onions work well here, carrots too. Add these to your leftover pasta. If needed add a can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. I use 2 cups or so frozen mixed vegetables also. Mix in 2 eggs for a pie pan, 4 eggs for the bigger pan. Place the entire mixture into your pan. Top with grated or sliced cheese if desired. Cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes. Dinner is served!

 

Dry-aged steaks

I was reading, again, my various Cook’s Illustrated magazines looking for seasonal recipes to try. A magazine reader had written in about dry-aged steaks and wondered if this could be done at home. (Reference the March-April 2010 edition of the magazine). The editors replied about their efforts and I decided to give it a try.

  • 2 top sirloin steaks (about 6 ounces each?)

Wrap thoroughly with cheesecloth and place on a rack in the back of the refrigerator (where it is coldest) for four days. Pan sear and enjoy. Supposedly these are tender and intensely flavorful like the more expensive dry-aged steaks. Cook’s used 2 rib-eye and 2 strip steaks.

  • I put mine in the fridge on a Monday and we cooked them on a Saturday so that was a bit longer than the magazine.
  • I wrapped mine while they were still frozen.
  • They had a nice flavor but were not particularly moist or tender.
  • Hubby says the verdict is still out as these were some of the leftover pieces from a top sirloin butt that he had cut up earlier this year.
  • He would like to try this with rib-eyes.

 

Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Greetings my dear readers! This is an updated version of a casserole I used to make when I first started a family many years ago. I am not sure where I got this but it is one of those canned soup recipes. And back then I used canned soups. I don’t anymore and haven’t for a long time. I have learned how to make my own cream sauce. I thought I would share this with you all. I had thawed chicken thighs and didn’t want to do another lemon chicken recipe. So here is what’s for dinner.

Original recipe: 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 pound large cut vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, shredded cheese if desired, and one cut up chicken.

Here’s my update:

  • 8-10 medium sized chicken thighs; I wanted to be “healthy” so took the skins off.
  • 1/2 super large bag of frozen Normandy style vegetables: zucchini and yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower; use at least two pounds of large cut vegetables. You could cut fresh vegetables for this as well.
  • (I could have added about  4 ounces of mushrooms but the ones I had smelled too earthy for my liking.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • generous sprinkling of seasonings of your choice; I used Herbs de Provence; it is my new go-to herb mixture
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt; I threw this in at the last minute to add a creamy “healthiness”
  • 1 cup shredded cheese; I used a mixture of cheddar.

Super simple to make: heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, or oil it if you prefer. Place your vegetables in here. Place your chicken on top of the vegetables. Make your sauce.

Melt the two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Add broth. Sprinkle on your seasoning or herbs. Mix the cornstarch with the half-and-half. Add to pan and bring just to boil. This will not be thick but on the verge of thickening. Pour the sauce on top of the chicken. This looked thin to me so I smeared the yogurt on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over this.

Bake for at least one hour. Test chicken for done-ness with meat thermometer: 165-175 for thighs.  Dinner is served. This has your vegetables and your protein. Rice or egg noodles could be a side which would be nice with the sauce.

Enjoy!

The Feast: the savory and the sweet

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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the savory
  • green salad (every item green) dressed with lime juice and olive oil
  • grilled steak
  • baked sweet potatoes
  • homemade rolls
  • mashed potatoes
  • autumn mixed-grains bake with butternut squash and cranberries
  • quinoa salad with dried apricots
  • sauteed mushrooms and onions in butter and red wine
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the sweet
  • rainbows sprinkles birthday cake from a box mix for the 4 year old and the 34 year old
  • vanilla ice cream with real ingredients anyone would recognize
  • tofu chocolate pudding for the dairy-free
  • pumpkin pie (the Betty Crocker standard)
  • apple pie with an oatmeal crumb topping
  • whipped cream freshly whipped from a carton of whipping cream (the bowl and whisk kept in the freezer beforehand)

I am thankful that we have enough food, actually more than enough. I am humbled that through my church I can take part in feeding hungry people a spaghetti dinner every week. I am thankful that my son and daughter were home to join us for the pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday feast this year. I am thankful for a loving Hubby, our home and our neighbors, our jobs, and our pets Leo and Squeaky.

I am thankful for all you who read my blog. I am thankful to get to know a little bit of each of you by reading yours.

And there are many more blessings I am thankful for. I will try to be grateful each day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.