Apples Plus Caramels Equals Delicious

Sweets and fall afternoons go together like caramel on apples.  What’s the best way to indulge your sweet tooth this season?

One time-honored favorite is the traditional caramel apple recipe.  Simply slide craft sticks into apples and dip them in a mixture of melted caramel candies (about 14 ounces) and milk (2 tablespoons).  Place the apples on a buttered baking sheet, set and enjoy.

For a fun twist on tradition, make your caramel sauce as usual.  Then scoop out the center of the apples (brush with lemon juice to prevent browning). Fill the hole with melted caramel.  Let it set, then slice.

If you’re looking for a truly decadent brunch treat, whip of a batch of french toast and then top it off with warmed apples, caramel sauce and even some walnuts.

Crab Rangoon Pizza

This recipe is unhealthy, but oh sooo good.  It technically serves eight, but when this is made at my family’s house it only serves four.  Like I said – So Good!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of imitation crab
  • 12 ounces of cream cheese, divided (1½ packages)
  • 1 clove garlic (or 1 tablespoon, minced)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (divided)
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 won ton wrappers (sliced into strips and fried crisp or pre-made)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 box pizza dough (We used gluten free for my Dad and it still tasted great)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Roll out your pizza dough and stretch onto a pizza stone or large baking sheet.  Bake pizza dough according to package directions.

3. While pizza dough is baking, mix half the imitation crab, 4 ounces of the cream cheese, the garlic clove, 1 green onion, sesame oil and Worcestershire sauce into a small food processor until smooth.

4. Once the pizza dough has been partially cooked (per the box directions), in small spoonfuls add the mixture to the pizza crust, then add the remaining 8 ounces of cream cheese to the crust as well.

5. Add remaining crab meat to the pizza.

6. To make the sweet and sour sauce: Add the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a small saucepan and cook until boiling and thickened.

7. Add ⅓ of the sauce to the pizza in small spoonfuls.

8. Bake for an additional  8­-10 minutes.

9. Put the won tons on the pizza, drizzle the top of the pizza with more sweet and sour sauce and add remaining green onions.IMG_1821

Won ton directions:

If you did not purchase pre-made won tons and got the won ton’s in the freezer section like we did, you’ll need to do this step, otherwise you may skip.

Put some oil, I used olive oil, in a saucepan on medium heat.  Then add the won tons and cook until golden brown and crispy.  As you can see from the picture, I may have overcooked the won tons.  In other words don’t cook them as long as I did, just a smidgen less.  They were still good though!  😉

Enjoy!

Cherry Pie

A classic American dessert.

For the Pie Dough (Double crust):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 10 tablespoons ice water

Directions for the Pie Dough:

1. Process the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 8 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if the dough will not come together. Divide the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. (If possible, weigh the pieces; they should weigh 16 ounces and 14 ounces.) Flatten the larger piece into a rough 5-inch square and the smaller piece into a 4-inch disk; wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.20150907_104413

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll the larger piece of dough to a 15×11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick; transfer the dough rectangle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a pizza wheel, fluted pastry wheel or paring knife, trim the long sides of the rectangle to make them straight, then cut the rectangle lengthwise into 8 equal strips.

4. Next, roll the smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Working around the circumference of the pan, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the pan bottom with the other hand. Leave the dough that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place. Place the baking sheet with the strips of dough in the freezer and the dough-lined pie plate in the refrigerator; chill for 30 minutes.20150907_105718

For the pie filling

  • 4 cups pitted tart red cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch20150907_114330

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the Cherry Pie Filling: Place cherries into a saucepan over medium heat, and cover the pan; heat cherries until they release their juice and come to a simmer, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar with cornstarch until smooth; pour the mixture into the hot cherries and juice, and thoroughly combine. Return to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until the filling has thickened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat, let cool, and use as pie filling.
  4. Add the filling to the pie crust.
  5. Remove the strips of dough from the freezer (if they are too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until softened slightly but still very cold) and top with a lattice design.20150907_110435
  6. Crimp the edges, brush the edges and lattice design with egg wash.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, checking on it periodically.
  7. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the cherries are bubbling. If at any time the edges get too browned, use a sheet of foil to cover any part of the crust (this will shield it from getting darker).20150907_111833
  8. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 hours for neat slices. For a mouth watering gooey warm cherry pie, serve right away.20150907_135211

Time to Soup Up

There’s just something about this season that brings out the cravings for a warm spoonful of yumminess.  To satisfy your appetite for steaming sensations, why not build your soup-making skills with these three delicious varieties:

Garden Minestrone: This classic Italian loaded with vegetables such as tomatoes, corn, pealed acorn squash, carrots and Swiss chard.  Typically, a pot of garden minestrone is made with pasta for a hearty addition.

French Onion Soup: This simple soup is made with onions, broth, salt, butter, Parmesan cheese and a crusty slice of French bread on top.

Butternut squash: This rich creamy soup includes a medium butternut squash, two medium potatoes, a medium carrot, a stalk of celery, a small onion, two tablespoons of butter and low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth.

soup

Mom’s Famous Stuffing

IMG_1465My family gobbles this stuffing recipe up for Thanksgiving.  Even though we take this recipe times 9, it’s always gone by the end of the day.  Granted, there is usually at least 50 people at my family Thanksgiving.  (Note: This is because my Mom has 11 brothers and sisters.)  Anyway back to the recipe…and no, I did not take this recipe times 9.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bread
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

IMG_1463

Directions:

Toast bread and spread with 2 tablespoons of butter; cut into 3/4-in. cubes.  Place in a 1-qt. microwave-safe dish; set aside.  Place remaining butter in a microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on high for 50-60 seconds.  Stir in broth, onion, and seasonings.  Pour over bread cubes and toss to coat.  Microwave, uncovered, on high for 6 minutes, stirring once.

IMG_1464

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

This is my go to recipe to use up zucchini’s from the garden and it is oh so delicious!

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) light ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, divided
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) low-sodium spaghetti sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-in. slices.  Place in a basket over 1 in. of boiling water.  Cover and steam for 5-6 minutes or until just tender.  Drain; pat dry.  In a bowl, combine ricotta, egg substitute, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper; set aside.  Spread a third of the spaghetti sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs.  Cover with half of the zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella.  Repeat layers of sauce, zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Combine remaining crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over top.  Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 12 servings

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Bunny Rolls

For many people, Easter tradition means Easter Egg hunts, candy, decorating Easter eggs, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  We still do the Easter eggs and the real celebration, but we also add another tradition every year and that is making the most adorable rolls to ever be created…BUNNY ROLLS!  Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Dinner Rolls Dough
  • Raisins

Directions:

Frozen Dinner Roll Dough

Thaw frozen dinner roll dough overnight in refrigerator.

Bunny rolls

Place 1 thawed roll on greased cookie sheet (dough should be cold).  Gently press to form a 2 1/2″ circle, about 1/2″ thick for the head.  Form nose from a small part of the second roll.  Divide remaining 2nd roll into 2 parts to make ears and attach to head.

Bunny rollsBunny rolls

Make whiskers with knife tip and press raisins in dough to form eyes.

Bunny Rolls

Let dough rise according to directions.  Bake in preheated 350° oven 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Roll butter over top to keep “bunnies” fresher longer.

Bunny Rolls

Complete Directions:

Thaw frozen dinner roll dough overnight in refrigerator.  Place 1 thawed roll on greased cookie sheet (dough should be cold).  Gently press to form a 2 1/2″ circle, about 1/2″ thick for the head.  Form nose from a small part of the second roll.  Divide remaining 2nd roll into 2 parts to make ears and attach to head.  Make whiskers with knife tip and press raisins in dough to form eyes.  Let dough rise according to directions.  Bake in preheated 350° oven 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Roll butter over top to keep “bunnies” fresher longer.