Tag: homemade

Simple Apple Crisp

This time of year, apple trees are heavy laden with the beautiful fruits of the summer’s growing. One of the simplest, quickest, and desired deserts around here is apple crisp.

Use your own judgement on how many apples to use. When it comes to availability of a varied sizes of suitable tart cooking apples, a good rule of thumb is to fill 2/3 to 3/4 of the 8×8 pan with apples.Apples

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 sliced medium sized cooking apples(Approximately 4-5 cups)
  • 3/4c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2c flour
  • 1/2c old fashioned oats
  • 1/3c butter(softened)
  • 3/4tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4tsp nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Slice up the apples however you want. If you have an apple corer that also slices the apples for you, this process is even faster.Apple corer
  3. Grease an 8×8 pan with shortening or cooking spray.
  4. Spread apples in the pan. Filling it up to 2/3 full.
  5. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  6. Sprinkle topping over the apples evenly.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Apple crisp is best served warm with a dollop of ice cream but you can do it any way you wish. It’s your apple crisp after all.

Continue Reading

Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

In our eternal search for finding enough recipes to keep from throwing out a single zucchini from our garden due to spoilage, we came up with this nice cake because of the overwhelmingly positive response to our Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread recipe. It again uses fruit to bring add favor and character to the mundane, but nutritionally abundant, zucchini.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1c white flour
  • 1/2c whole wheat wlour
  • 1 1/4c sugar
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8tsp ginger
  • 3Tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs(lightly beaten)
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2c grated zucchini
  • 2 1/2c drained crushed pineapple(or a 20oz can)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients(flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the oil, eggs, vanilla, zucchini and pineapple. Mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour contents of bowl into a greased 9×13 cake pan.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is a nicely medium brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

We used some of the reserved pineapple juice from crushing to put in the frosting. It continues the flavor throughout the frosting that you get from the cake. If there’s no juice left(because someone over zealously drank it) then substitute milk.

  • 2Tbsp softened butter
  • 8oz package of cream cheese
  • 2c powdered sugar
  • about 1Tbsp pineapple juice(be careful not to overdue it or your frosting will be runny)

Simply mix the ingredients together until even texture and it has a thickness you are comfortable with. Then spread on your COMPLETELY COOLED cake. It should be completely cooled or your frosting will become a runny mess. You may also like to sprinkle crushed nuts or your choice over the top.

Continue Reading

Mushroom Alfredo with Italian Chicken

Sunday is a great day for cooking here on the home front. It’s the day that I get to spend with the kids in the kitchen creating tasty things for a big dinner or sweet treats for the busy week ahead.

I wanted to do a twist on the traditional cream sauce to go with some leftover stuffed ravioli from a previous recipe post. Chicken sounded like a fantastic pairing with it, so I simmered chicken tenderloin strips with enough broth in the bottom of the pan to keep them from drying out while cooking. Sprinkled with some Italian herb seasoning, salt, pepper garlic power and onion powder flipped once to brown both sides and wrapped them up to keep them warm while building the sauce.

I started by sauteing two 16oz cans of baby Bella mushrooms and pulled them just as I had rendered the moisture from them without letting it cook at this time. With the butter and mushroom liquid still fresh I whipped together the roux. If you have questions about the roux please look to my previous article about mac and cheese, the gooey details can be found there.

Once the roux had been prepared, I added equal parts of milk and cream(three and three for us but if you are feeding less people you can decrease that).

While the base of the sauce was being brought back up to temperature, in a mini chopper I combines two tablespoons of minced garlic that was roasted previously with a tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ cup of cream and blended until smooth and then added it to the sauce. Finally, add butter with two cups of mixed Italian shredded cheese. Stir this until the cheese is entirely melted and incorporated.

Serve sauce, chicken, and mushrooms with the ravioli for a fantastic dinner!

Continue Reading

Comfort Food: Zucchini Bread

There is something special about zucchini bread in our household. The kids regularly ask to make it when it’s their time to bake with daddy. Warm, soft, and sweet. Add a little butter and it is a great go-to breakfast sweet bread. People often ask for the recipe. Well…here it is.

Ingredient:

  • 3c flour (I use 50% white, 50% whole wheat)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1c oil
  • 2 1/4c sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2c grated zucchini

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Grease/spray and flour 2 8×4 loaf pans.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients(flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon) together in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Combine the wet and dry together and mix well. (The batter will be stiffer at this point.)
  6. Add the zucchini to the batter and mix well.(You will noticed with the addition of the zucchini the batter will thin out nicely.)
  7. Split the batter between the two plans evenly and back for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean at the center.
  8. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes or so.
Continue Reading

Mac and Cheese: The Next Level

By simply using the words “comfort foods”, you have got yourself a whole conversation when in a group of friends. It’s meaning is as wide and as varied as we are.

One common comfort foods may be pasta. That old familiar “blue box” macaroni and cheese may have been one of the first things you were allowed to cook by yourself. Even the most poor college student could rummage through the couch to find enough to afford a meal to make it through one more cram session. As adults with children of our own we may even still reach for our powered packet friend from time to time. But mac and cheese doesn’t have to be a last resort and we can even ditch the blue box, at least for the moment.

Once the pasta is boiled and drained the real corner stone of any great cheese sauce it the roux. Roux is not just for the great kitchen chefs behind sparkling sliver doors. It’s for you too, I promise.

While it’s binding abilities may seem a bit mystifying it’s really not magic. If you can understand a one to one ratio you’ve got it! When making a roux you need equal parts of fat to dry. The trick is equal parts by weight not by volume(Thanks, dad!). So that means if you are using four tablespoons of butter you need to whisk in four tablespoons of flour. Keep stirring while it’s cooking. The cook time depends on your own preferences. However, the darker the roux the less thickening ability it will possess. Once it’s to your liking, add your cold cream, milk, or the liquid of your preference and… Bingo bang-go! You have a great base for your cheese sauce.

Now comes the fun part. The cheese! The tried and true cheese of choice is of coarse cheddar. If you are at my house, the sharper the better. For those of you who like a kick, pepper jack is always tasty too. Gouda and blue cheese can add depth and dimension for those with a more distinguished palette. Mix and match, pick and choose, with the cheese the world is your oyster.

mararoni and cheese

Steamed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach can all be used as stir in options. Although, steaming them first and removing as much water as you can is helpful. Adding extra liquid may thin out your dish. Finishing touches can be anything from simply adding additional cheese on top, some precooked bacon, ham, chicken, or even pork chops. Once finished, you have a one-pot meal that the entire family can enjoy.

Continue Reading