Apple Crisp

Now that the weather is cooling down, I have decided to start baking more often. I LOVE cooking but baking isn’t something that I do too often.  Ideally I want to bake something every week during the Fall and Winter season—which is LONG here in Ohio—but we’ll see how that pans out. So far I’m doing pretty well and in the past several weeks I’ve made cut-out cookies, chocolate chip cookies, white bread, and banana bread twice. Side note: Ramp up the exercise to offset all this deliciousness.

Last night I made Apple Crisp with fresh whipped cream. I shared a picture on Twitter and Facebook and the response was super positive. So I thought I would share the recipe. After all, it is the perfect time of year for warm apple crisp with a nice cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk.

applecrisp

Apple Crisp

8 medium sized tart apples
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick (8 TB) cold unsalted butter

Peel, core, and cut apples into one inch chunks. Spread into a 2 or 3 quart ungreased baking dish (2 may be a little small depending on the size of the apples).
Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Cut butter into dry mix using a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands being careful not to to over-mix the butter—it should resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
Scatter topping over the apples. Tap dish once or twice on counter to settle crumbs a little.
Bake at 375° for 50–55 minutes (topping will be golden and apples will be tender when tested with a fork).

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream

Whipped Cream

Beat 1/2–1 cup cold heavy cream in a cold bowl with cold beaters until the cream thickens and forms stiff peaks. Cream will about double in volume.

*This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking—one of my much loved and very worn cookbooks.

BBQ Chicken Meatloaf

Earlier this evening I twitpic’d a picture of the homemade mac & cheese with bacon and Vidalia onion I made for dinner. My buddy said I was making him hungry so naturally I had to pour salt in the wound of his empty stomach by mentioning the BBQ chicken meatloaf I was making along with it.

And then came the requests for the recipe.

So here you go.

Keep in mind this is a slow cooker recipe but can easily be adapted to the oven if you don’t give yourself enough time to cook it in the slow cooker. Which is what happened to me today.

Barbecue-Glazed Turkey Meatloaf
*taken (and slightly adapted every time I make it) from the WW Everyone Loves Chicken cookbook*

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast (I’ve also used ground chicken)
1/3 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard (I’ve also used Dijon mustard and honey mustard with a bit of horseradish)

  1. Fold a piece of foil slightly longer than your slow cooker (or loaf pan if doing in oven) in half lengthwise. Fit into the bottom and up side of slow cooker. This makes a handy method of removing the loaf when finished.
  2. Mix turkey, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, egg, oregano, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Use your hands. Seriously. Shape mixture into a loaf and place in slow cooker or loaf pan.
  3. Cover slow cooker and cook until meatloaf juices run clear and thermometer reaches 165°. About 3–4 hours on high or 6–8 hours on low. OR…bake in the oven at 350° for about 45 minutes.
  4. Combine ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a small bowl. Spoon over meatloaf. Cover slow cooker and cook about 30 minutes longer. (If baking in a loaf pan in the oven cook another 15 minutes. Uncovered.)

That’s it.

Pretty easy right?

Enjoy!

Go Ahead, Give Them a Squeeze

The juicer.

I think I’m in love.

Maybe it’s just lust.

No, really.

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We got the juicer a month ago as a gift from my dad and stepmom. Not something that we would ever ask for or buy for ourselves, but OH MY HELL is it awesome. It really does make the best juice I have ever had.

I think it is trying to seduce me.

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It may be in cahoots with that bottle of wine.

Either way it’s working. Now I’m craving juice.

Did I mention how freakin’ delicious this juice is? It makes the pain in the ass job of cleaning the juicer totally worth it.

Plus it’s really pretty.

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That gorgeous concoction is our favorite blend right now. We like drinking it out of those jelly jars with lots of ice. The only thing that could possibly make it better would be a little rum. Or maybe tequila.

And the nutritious value has to be off the charts. Check out what we put in it.

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1 apple (we have used Fuji, Gala, & Granny Smith)
1/4 to 1/2 pineapple
3 oranges
1/2 lime

No wonder my body craves it. Especially after subsisting on coffee and blocks of cheese for so long.

I bet my colon is in heaven.

Lined Up in Rows like 16 Soldiers of Deliciousness

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Every year there is a small cookie exchange where I work. The deal is 16 people sign up and each of those people make 4 of some type of cookie or other delicious sweet treat for everyone on the list. That’s 64 delicious treats. You drop off your treat on the designated day with a container for the stash you are going to walk away with , little elves divide up all the goodies, and next thing you know you have a bunch of different treats just in time for the holidays. And you only had to make one 1/16 of the varieties now in front of  you. Sounds pretty good, right?

This is the first year I participated. And as you can see, I made Rice Krispie treats. Which I felt compelled to tie up with some twine and a little punched circle of holly paper. For reasons that should be obvious to most. I can be a little obsessive at times. The treats were due today and I wanted them to be extra fresh so I waited until yesterday to make them. The thing is, I worked until 10:15 yesterday so by the time I got home and actually started making all the treats it was well after 11:00 pm. It also took me a couple of hours to make, cut, package, and finish off my treats. So yeah, I was up until almost 2:00 this morning making Rice Krispies treats.

But don’t they look delicious?

I mean, who doesn’t like Rice Krispie treats? And I’m not talking about those crappy things you buy at the store. I’m talking about the real thing, Rice Krispie treats made from scratch. I swear I could eat an entire pan in one night if nobody was watching.

The best part? They are so easy to make. When was the last time you whipped up a batch? What are you waiting for?

Rice Krispie Treats
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 TBS butter (cut into small pieces)
4 cups Rice Krispies

Butter an 11 x 7 (for fat treats) or 9 x 13 inch pan (for thin treats)

Melt marshmallows and butter together in the microwave for 2 minutes stirring half way. (I stir with a wooden spoon sprayed with cooking spray to keep the sticky factor down.)

Remove mixture and stir once more. Immediately add the cereal. Stir to coat (again, sprayed spoon)

Press treats into the pan. Cool. Cut. Eat.

Homemade Applesauce for Lazy Cooks

Sunday morning we picked apples and Sunday night I made homemade applesauce for the first time. Making applesauce from scratch is something I have been wanting to do for years. Now I can say I have—damn, why didn’t I put that on my list? Anyway, I made applesauce, it was super easy, and it kicks store-bought applesauce right in the pop-up cap.

I decided to make my applesauce via the slowcooker method so I could wake up Monday morning and have hot applesauce for breakfast. The recipes I found online were all over the board. Some called for as little as a tablespoon of sugar and others as much as an entire cup. So I did what any good cook would do—I consulted the various recipes and then completely adapted it to my own liking. The results were great and I will be making another batch very soon. Did I mention it was super easy to make? And delicious? Okay, good.

Seriously, tell me this doesn’t look yummy. Look at that melted butter dusted with cinnamon. Mmm…

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Here is my adaptation of the recipes I came across. Enjoy.

Slowcooker Applesauce

10-12 medium apples—peeled, cored, sliced/chunked
1/8 cup each white and brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup water
1/2 TB lemon juice

Toss it all in the crockpot.
Give it a stir.
Cook 8 or so hours on low.
Mash with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
Serve hot (with a pat of butter, my favorite) or cold.

Notes about what worked for me
I used Jonathon apples. I like the tartness of a Jonathon and they are good for cooking.
With the sugar I just eyeballed about half in a 1/4 c. measuring cup. You may find you need more or less, but this was a good amount for us.
You want the crockpot to be 2/3 to 3/4 full for good cooking. I used a medium size crockpot for this recipe.
I put the crockpot on around 6 pm. I finished the applesauce at 8 the next morning. So no worries about cooking it too long—within reason. You could probably cut the cooking time in half if you cook it on high.
I did a primarily smooth applesauce with just a few small chunks throughout and the immersion blender was perfect for this. You could also use a food mill or a fork to mash it up.  I imagine a blender or food processor. Just remember not to fill those last two more than halfway as the heat will cause the contents to expand. Hot applesauce on skin can’t feel good.

Roasted Chickpeas

Last week we talked about your favorite types of snacks. I thought I would share a recipe for one of my faves—Roasted Chickpeas.

They are addictive, easy to make and relatively nutritious as far as snacks go. Chickpeas are high in fiber and low in fat so you can eat handfuls of these without any guilt. They also involve few ingredients and little effort. Try them out.

Roasted Chickpeas
(2) 15 oz. cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Cooking Spray (like Pam)
Lawry’s Season Salt
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper Flakes

  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place in a rimmed baking sheet, a roasting pan, or a large baking pan. The more surface area the better.
  2. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle with seasonings.
  4. Mix to blend.
  5. Bake at 350° for 60–120 minutes (until dry and crunchy).
Plump beans, rinsed and waiting.

See that little white & blue dish? That’s where we keep our kosher salt.

Dry and ready. Yum!