Sunday, October 30, 2011

Individual Apple Crisps: Your Recipe, My Kitchen

I have a few pumpkin recipes in the queue to post next week, so I thought it was high time for an apple recipe.  After all.  Autumn means both apple and pumpkin, right?!  I was planning on making a regular apple crisp, but then I saw my ramekins and thought how fun they would be made in them.
In this post, everything was mini.  Even the photos.  Sorry.  I was playing around with pixels and ended up making all of them really small.  I really need to find a community college that offers a photography class.  Anywho, I was inspired by Jacob's Kitchen to make these.  He posted a gorgeous apple crisp last year.
I fiddled with these a bit.  I made the crumb topping totally without sugar, put that topping on two ramekins and then added brown sugar to the rest of the topping for the rest of the ramekins.  You know sugar melts and adds to the liquid ingredients in a dish, right?  Well that was definitely a problem in the sugar free versions.  Although tasty, they were a bit dry.  The others were well received, especially with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. Because there is no sugar in the filling, it doesn't develop a gloppy syrup around the apples.  You could add sugar if that is your desired outcome.

Individual Apple Crisps (adapted from This recipe)
apples  - as many as you have ramekins ( I used Granny Smith and McIntosh) (up to 10)
1 tsp cinnamon
Peel, core and chop the apples.  Mix in a bowl with the cinnamon.  Spoon into the ramekins.
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix topping ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apples.  Place the ramekins on a larger baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender. 
If you have leftover topping, put it in the fridge for muffins or some other use.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cake Batter Pancakes: Your Recipe, My Kitchen

I am probably the last person to make these amazing pancakes.  I have had this recipe bookmarked since January from How Sweet It Is.  Judging from the fact that there are 458 comments on that post, I think a lot of people know about these delicious treats.
My little girl told me they were the best thing she had ever eaten.  She has never said that before and unless she is entering a stage where she compliments everything I make, I think she meant it.  All of my boys thought they were great, too.  It may or may not have had anything to do with the cream cheese "syrup" that I used on top.  Cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar make a lot of things right in my world.
I did change the recipe slightly.  I used a "funfetti" cake mix instead of yellow.  I added a little bit of oil, cut out the extra sugar, and increased the baking powder.  Oh, and I used a cream cheese based topping instead of a plain milk/powdered sugar glaze.
Cake Batter Pancakes: (see How Sweet It Is for the original recipe)
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup funfetti cake mix (any flavor would be great...even chocolate!)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk, plus more if needed
3 Tbsp cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
enough milk to make "syrup" consistency
In a bowl, combine flour, cake mix, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla and 1 cup milk.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Add more milk, a little at a time, to get a good, thin pancake batter.  Heat griddle and cook as you would normally cook pancakes.  Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in another bowl and slowly add milk to get a pourable, but thick glaze.  Serve on top of pancakes.  If you want, you can put extra sprinkles on top. 

Your turn.  What wonderful goodies did you make in your kitchen this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding: Improv Challenge

I have joined another blogging group called Improv Challenge.  It is the brainchild of Sheryl, from The Lady Behind the Curtain.  This month, the first month of its existence, we have been challenged to come up with something using caramel and apples.  I tossed around a lot of ideas like baked oatmeal, bread, cookies, cupcakes and pies.  Finally, though, a batch of stale, uneaten rolls in my fridge convinced me to make bread pudding.  And I am so glad that I did.  Not only was it delicious, it used up those rolls so they weren't wasted. 

The tartness of Granny Smith apples really went well with the sweetness of the caramel sauce.  A healthy dash of cinnamon kept the kitchen smelling yummy for hours.  All of my kids gave this dish a big thumbs up.
Be sure to check out other caramel apple creations.  Thanks Sheryl for putting this fun group together!!
Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
1 dozen rolls or 8 slices bread, cubed
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
15 caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbsp milk
Layer the bread and apples alternately in a 9X9 greased pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Whip the eggs in a separate bowl and then add milk, vanilla and sugar, stirring until sugar is mostly dissolved.  Pour over the bread mixture, scraping out the bits of sugar that like to remain behind.  Cover with foil and bake 1 hour at 325 degrees.  Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to crisp.  Melt the caramels and milk in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Serve over the baked pudding.

The Improve Cooking Challenge

Aunt Viola's Chocolate Cookies: Week #4 Christmas Cookies

Growing up, I was the only grandchild on my Mom's side. It afforded me a lot of one on one time with the older grown ups. We would travel to upstate New York for the holidays and because I was the only child around, I was in the room while all of the visiting and reminiscing happened. My Grandmother's sister, Viola included me on her Christmas shopping list for many years. She passed along to my Mom (who then passed on to me) the recipe for her Chocolate Cookies with Boiled Butter Frosting. Mom used to make these up in huge batches and freeze them between waxed paper in square Tupperware containers. I would sneak out to the freezer and eat them frozen all of the time. (Apparently I used to sneak quite a bit of food as a child, it is a wonder I am not 300 pounds!!!)

Chocolate Cookies with Boiled Butter Frosting:

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup shortening

6 Tbls cocoa

Beat sugar, egg and milk together. Sift flour, salt, cocoa and soda together and add. Add vanilla. Melt shortening and add last. Beat until smooth. Drop by teaspoonsful on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes.

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Boil sugar, butter, milk and salt vigorously. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and powdered sugar. Spoon onto cookies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Asiago Garlic Rolls: Secret Recipe Club

 It's Secret Recipe Club time.  I think I speak for most of the members when I say that this may possibly be one of the most fun groups I have ever joined.  You can check out all of the details on the Secret Recipe Club blog.  Basically, each month we are assigned another blog from which we must choose at least one recipe, make it, and blog it.  We are divided into 4 groups.  I am in group "B" which, as you can see by the links below, has about 75 members.  We all reveal our posts at the same time all over the world.  My assigned blog this month was My Hobbie Lobbie where Trisha writes from India.

I was excited to get Trisha's blog.  I have been wanting to introduce my family to more Indian food and expand their palates.  I figured this was going to be the month that I did it.  However, when I came across her recipe for Easy Garlic Rolls with Red Chile, I knew I had to make them.  There was just no question about my choice.  I am a complete carb-n-garlic-holic.  The only thing I could do was cave to my cravings and make these amazing rolls...with a few flavor changes. And I doubled the recipe to feed the gang.

Asiago Garlic Rolls: (adapted from Hobbie Lobbie)
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3 cups flour
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic
plus 1/4 cup shredded asiago for top
Combine water, yeast, sugar and oil in a mixing bowl.  After the yeast bubbles, add the flour and herbs.  Knead well.  Cover and let rise until double (about 45 minutes).  Punch down and roll out to 1/2 inch thick in a rectangle.  Make the filling by combining the butter, 1/4 cup cheese, herbs and garlic in a small bowl.  Spread over dough all the way to the edges.  Roll up jelly roll style.  Slice into 9 pieces.  Place into a greased square baking pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or  until nicely golden brown on top.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Your Recipe, My Kitchen Blog Party

It's Secret Recipe Club week for me, so the recipe I made from another blog will be live Monday morning.  In the meantime, let's see what you have made this week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Easy Date Drops: Week #3 Christmas Cookies

These cookies come from my mother-in-law.  When I first married the Good Guy, I had not tasted dates much and didn't know if I liked them.  By our second Christmas together, we were living within 45 minutes of my in-laws and that is when I first tasted these treats.  This recipe has been in my mother-in-law's recipe file for well over 50 years.  It just wouldn't be Christmas in that house if these cookies didn't make an appearance.  
The soft brown sugar cookie and the date filling combine to make an almost butterscotch flavor.  They are sweet and unassuming, but oh so addictive.  I was hooked after just one bite.  They are super simple to make.  The "filled" look is achieved simply by putting a spoonful of dough on the sheet followed by a smaller spoonful of filling and topped off with a second,  even smaller, dollop of dough.  While they bake, they flatten out but the filling mostly stays between the dough layers. 
Easy Date Drops:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water or buttermilk
3 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon 
2 cups chopped, pitted dates
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Cream the sugar and butter until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and add them alternately with the water.  Boil the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick.  Drop a spoonful of dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Top with a slightly smaller spoonful of filling and then top that with about half the amount of dough as you used on the bottom layer.  Bake 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dim Sum: Your Recipe, My Kitchen

I am not sure what I really made.  Are they dim sum?  Are they steamed pot stickers?  Are they gyoza?  I really don't know enough about real Asian food to know.  I took a recipe for pot stickers, changed it and then I steamed them in my bamboo steamer.  What does that make them?  We thought it made them delicious.  I think I will stick with Dim Sum because that means "snack."  It seems safe.
Dim Sum (third cousin once removed to this recipe on Cooking with the Junior League)
1 pound ground pork
1 package cole slaw mix
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp Chinese 5 star spice
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder (because I had no scallions)
1 48 count package won ton wrappers
In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together all ingredients except the wrappers.  Spoon a small amount of filling onto the middle of each wrapper.  Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the wrappers.  Fold over one corner to the opposite corner and press together firmly.  Bring the opposite corners down to meet each other and press together again (the directions were on the wrapper package).  Put steamer on top of Dutch oven filled with boiling water over medium heat.  Steam the dim sum for 15 minutes in batches.    If you don't have a bamboo steamer, but you have a steamer insert for a pasta pot, you can use that instead.  Just spray it with PAM each time so the dim sum don't stick.

What's been cooking in your kitchen this week?  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kolacky: 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies (week 2)

When I was little, my mom always took any extra pie crust from pie baking and put it in the oven with a dollop of jam on it.  I had no idea that there were actual cookies, fancy schmancy cookies even, that mimicked those pie scraps.  That's basically what these little cookies are.  You could even make them using store bought pie crust if you don't have the time or inclination to make the crust homemade (though these are very easy!).

Make sure that you really pinch the dough good and hard.  My first batch opened during the baking process.  Not good. Not pretty.  Still tasty.

1 stick butter, softened
1 8 ounce brick cream cheese
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Add the flour and mix until it forms a smooth dough.  Divide the dough in half form balls,  wrap them with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out one half of dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into 3 inch squares.  Put jam diagonally in the middle and fold up two of the corners.  PINCH WELL!!!  Fold the pinch to one side and pinch it against the jam filled part.  Bake for 12 minutes or until nicely golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sausage, Beans and Pasta

My son dislocated his shoulder playing golf this week.  When he was in 6th grade, he got a stress fracture in his leg playing tackle football, so we decided he needed to play something safe.  You know, no contact.  Golf seemed like the perfect sport.  After all, as long as you don't play in a lightning storm, there doesn't seem to be many ways you can hurt yourself.  Enter the Thinker.  His coach was showing him a new way to swing.  He missed the ball completely and hit the Earth.  Not  a "dig up a clump of dirt" kind of hit, but an "I am going to hit the Earth out of orbit" hit.  Guess what?  The Earth didn't move and his shoulder did.

Here's the thing.  The Thinker didn't panic.  He simply reached back and attempted to pop it back in place.  When it didn't go all the way, he lay down on the fairway and pressed it back in.  He attributed his calm, quick thinking actions to his "superior Boy Scout training."  Whatever it was, it was amazing.  The doctor said that nothing was torn and that all he has to do is take it easy for a few weeks.

How I am going to segue into the recipe is beyond me.  So I will just let you have it.  It's an old tried and true from Sunset.

Sausage, Beans and Pasta (taken from Sunset's Low Fat Cookbook in the early 1990s)
1 pound Italian sausage cut into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (or a large spoonful of the kind in the jar)
1 can chicken broth
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked pasta
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
In a 5-6 quart pan, combine the sausage, onion, garlic and 1/4 cup chicken broth over medium to medium high heat.  Stir often until browned bits stick to the pan and add another 1/4 cup broth and stir again until liquid is gone.  Add remaining broth, beans, pasta, tomato sauce and seasoning.  Stir until heated through.  Remove from the stove, stir in the cheese.  Salt and pepper as you wish.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie: Your Recipe, My Kitchen

This a recipe that I am going to have to redo.  I was in a hurry, didn't read the recipe right and over-baked it.  However, I think it has potential to be a great dessert.  Things I would do differently: not skimp on the crust....make a real one instead of a cheater graham cracker one; remember to write down the temperature and time for baking instead of winging it....this was the biggest failure of this baking adventure; use a liquid sweetener instead of brown sugar;  and finally use shredded, sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened flaked was really the wrong texture for this.  I think the pie should have had more of a chess pie texture, but my results were way off.  I am not writing this recipe off, though, but will try again using the following recipe.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie (from Dying for Chocolate)
2 eggs
3/4 cup pure maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 unbaked pie shell
Mix filling ingredients and pour into pie shell.  Bake for 1 hour at 350.  Cool before serving.

Your turn!  Last week was the biggest group of recipes yet, thank you.  Feel free to link up anything you have made in your kitchen this last week.  Just remember, please, to link back to this blog.

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