Tag Archives: Baking

Apple Crisp

6 Jul

I am so behind on posting, these days. I’m in a production of Les Miserables this summer, so I’m not cooking new things as frequently (it’s a good thing my kids never get sick of mac and cheese), and when I do, I let them sit forever in my draft box because I can’t manage to upload the picture and write down the recipe in one sitting. So today I’m playing catch up! Hopefully I’ll get to the point that I can post more than one recipe a month. 🙂

This Apple Crisp is another one from my ‘there’s no way you can mess this up’ recipe collection. I like it because there is a single serving version, as well as a feed-the-crowd version.

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Apple Crisp For One:

Filling

1 medium cooking apple

2-3 drops lemon juice

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Crumb Topping

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp rolled oats

2 Tbsp brown sugar

dash of cinnamon

1 Tbsp softened butter

Peel and core apple and cut into 1/4″ slices. Place in 4″ round casserole dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Add to apples and toss to coat. Combine dry ingredients for crumb topping. Cut in butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

Method 1:

Cover prepared filling (no topping) loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir gently, then sprinkle with crumb topping mixture and bake, uncovered, at 375^F for 15-20 minutes.

Method 2:

Sprinkle crumb topping over apple/cinnamon sugar mixture and bake at 375^F for 30-40 minutes.

Apple Crisp for 6-8

Follow directions above for filling, using 6 medium cooking apples, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Make the crumb topping as directed using 3/4 cup flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup softened butter.

Sprinkle topping over filling and bake at 375^F for 40-45 minutes until apples are tender.

Serve with ice cream.

 

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Fruit Leather

2 Oct

One of the local grocery stores was selling flats of strawberries for $3.88 – that’s 8 of those little containers (I should know the volume, but I don’t) for less than $4!! Couldn’t pass that up! But I also couldn’t eat all of them before they went bad. 🙂 So, we opted to try to make our own fruit leather. I was frustrated at first because I couldn’t find a recipe with real instructions. They are all kind of like, “add some fruit, add some sweetener, add whatever flavor you want…” I’m not good at making things up. I need a recipe unless I’ve been making it for at least ten years – these are the rules. However, it turns out that there just isn’t a concrete recipe for fruit leather. You have to be a little flexible. Deep breath.

I made a strawberry batch and a strawberry banana batch – both were really good. I just got some raspberries and peaches and I’m going to try a few more concoctions…no recipe and all. I’m so brave. I was planning on using these for my daughter’s lunches and after-school snacks, but my husband took most of them to work with him for his snacks. 🙂 That works too!

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Ingredients:

2 1/2 – 3 cups fruit, diced

2 tsp lemon juice

spices and/or extracts to taste (optional)

honey, sugar, or agave to taste

Preheat oven to lowest temperature (mine is 170^F). Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap of silicone baking mat (don’t use foil or waxed paper). The plastic wrap will shrink in the oven, so leave the edges loose.

Puree fruit and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add sweetener to taste and any other spices/extracts you desire. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread as evenly as possible to about 1/4 inch thick (the puree will shrink a little so don’t spread it all the way to the edges). Place in oven and bake 6-8 hours or until center is not tacky. Remove from oven, let cool to room temperature, and peel off baking sheet. Cut into strips and roll in wax paper or plastic wrap. Store in air-tight container.

*Tip: If your fruit leather comes out too hard and cracks instead of peeling off of your cooking sheet, brush it with water then return it to the oven for another 10 min or so – it will soften right up!

Zucchini Bread

5 Aug

If you give a neighbor a zucchini, then that neighbor is going to want to make zucchini bread…

I don’t think I’ve ever actually made zucchini bread before. Ever have those recipes that you love to eat, but are afraid to make? I have a list of those – frog eye salad, teriyaki chicken, zucchini bread… And I don’t make these not because they are hard, but because I know someone who makes them so good that I just don’t dare, just in case mine doesn’t turn out as good. My oldest sister is a zucchini queen. You give her a zucchini and she’s going to do much more than just make bread! But, she lives clear across the country, so when my neighbor gave me a zucchini, it turned into bread and that’s it. But, if you’re going to get baked and eaten, you might as well go out with a bang. And, turns out, my zucchini bread tastes just as good as my sister’s. 🙂 There’s this funny thing about a good recipe being a good recipe because you can’t mess it up. Maybe I’ll tackle my mom’s famous mashed potatoes next…

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Ingredients;

2 cups sugar

3 beaten eggs

1 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Blend the rest of the ingredients, then add dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans, and bake at 350^F for 1 hour.

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

28 Jun

I got this recipe in the mail from the mortgage company that we got our very first home loan through – have I mentioned that we changed mortgage companies almost seven years ago and I am still on their mailing list? I’m grateful regardless, because gems like this one pop up here and there. Plus, we get free tickets to the local water park every year for ‘customer appreciation day’ – is it dishonest of us to still go? 🙂 You can go the lazy route (I’m all about lazy…no judging here!) and use the pre-made biscuits, or a biscuit mix. Most of the time I don’t pre-plan my meals (so wish I had the self discipline to do that!), so I don’t usually have either of those stocked in my kitchen. Luckily, homemade biscuits are pretty easy, if a little messy, and require very basic ingredients. So, you can always make your own in a pinch!

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Creamed Chicken:

4 cups shredded, cooked chicken (can use canned)

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350^F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, and milk in a medium bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Bake for 15 min (this is a good time to prepare your biscuits if you are making your own). Remove from over. Sprinkle baked layer with 3/4 cup cheese. Arrange uncooked biscuits in a single layer over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and the sauce is bubbly – about 20 min longer.

Buttermilk Biscuits:

1 3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl (I don’t usually have bread flour, so I will use regular all purpose for both the 1 3/4 cup and 1/3 cup). Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk all at once and stir just until dough forms a ball – it works best if you mix with your hands. Pat or roll 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds. If baking separate from recipe above: bake on a greased baking sheet for 15-20 min at 425^F until golden brown and flaky.

Mac and Cheese

28 Jun

This is a staple at my house. Way better than the boxed stuff, and just as easy to make – my picky eaters snarf it down and it is fast for those summer nights when you suddenly realize its 8:00 and you haven’t fed your kids (this has never happened to me…ever). The recipe calls for more pepper than I like to use – the first time I made it fir my kids, they said it was too spicy, and the next ten times I tried to feed it to them they wouldn’t eat ‘the spicy noodles!’ They came around eventually. Now I just pepper to taste. I made this last night – on top of having a 2 week old baby, I had the brilliant idea to potty train my two year old. Not sure what possessed me. But, yesterday was day three and going pretty well, considering the fact that it is potty training and that’s really all you can ask for. But, after cleaning up a million and a half pee accidents, I needed something fast and easy for dinner – something that no one could call ‘yucky’ and push away. Mac and cheese to the rescue! It’s a good thing too…while it was baking, I caught said two year old doodling on the couch and throw pillows with a pen! So, since dinner was already worked out, I could dish up plates and feed their little faces while I wiped the tears from mine and scrubbed the couch.

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Preheat oven to 350^F

Prepare elbow macaroni (can use any kind of noodles – this is a grab and dump what you have kind of recipe!) – enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish – in boiling water until soft.

White Sauce:

4 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper (or to taste)

Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan. Add flour and cook over medium heat until light brown in color (a couple of minutes). Slowly add milk. Add salt and pepper and stir constantly until thickened. Add to noodles and place in 9×13 baking dish. Top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

27 Jun

So, I have 2 confessions to make:

1. I love cinnamon rolls

2. I am an epic failure at making cinnamon rolls

When I was about 12, my grandma had me come over to her house for a bread making tutorial. She spent hours with me teaching me what temperature to keep the water at to activate but not kill the yeast, how to roll out the dough and get rid of air bubbles, the best conditions for rising bread…the result? She declared me the worst bread maker she had ever had the pleasure of teaching. That hasn’t stopped me from continuing my efforts, however :). About 1 in 10 tries I get it right. This wasn’t one of those. But I did like the recipe – even though my dough didn’t rise (I blame the yeast…something has to be wrong with it) the dough was still soft and easy to work with. The rolls didn’t even get close to doubling in size, but they looked pretty enough and tasted even better. I just had a baby and am homebound for a bit, which means I make things that aren’t really all that conducive to shrinking my post-baby-belly. This was my effort to make cinnamon rolls into a healthy treat. If you add fruit, that makes it good for you, right? 😉

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Ingredients for the dough:
1 cup milk
⅔ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Ingredients for the filling:
2 tablespoons softened butter
10-ounces frozen berries, not thawed Use any type of berries you like. We love blueberry and raspberry. I used the tiny wild blueberries for the rolls in the photo.
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Ingredients for the glaze: 
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ tablespoons half and half or whole milkDirections for the dough:
1. Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove top over moderately low heat until it reaches 110-115°F. Remove from heat and pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.2. Add the softened butter, eggs, grated lemon zest and sea salt. Add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer.3. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands 2 or 3 times. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or two 9-inch baking pans.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a 10-by-24-inch rectangle. In a medium bowl, toss the frozen raspberries with the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then scatter the raspberry mixture evenly over the dough.

6. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them in the baking pan(s), cut sides up. Scrape any berries and juice from the work surface into the baking pan between the rolls.

7. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.

8. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the berries are bubbling. Cover with foil if browning too fast.

9. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

10. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and half and half (or milk) until the glaze is thick and spreadable. Invert the rolls onto the rack, then invert the rolls again onto a platter. Drizzle glaze over rolls and spread with an offset spatula, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

~ To make ahead, prepare the recipe through Step 7. Cover the rolls, refrigerate overnight and then return to room temperature before baking.
~ For variation the sweet rolls can be filled with a variety of frozen fruit. Try blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or chopped sweet cherries.