Monday, August 17, 2020

Apples, Apples Everywhere!

We are getting closer to Fall in my neck of the woods and the grocery stores are already lining up all varieties of apples, some old and some new.  There are so many things to do with apples, the obvious one is baking with them.  I have friends who make delicious applesauce from them. I love fried apples along with any cut of pork chops or roasts.  They are so good when they take on a savory taste and not so much sweet with sugar as expected. You can stuff them with a variety of things, either sweet or savory, then bake and serve as a side to any any entree.

My all time favorite apple are Honeycrisps.  I bought a bag the other day and made an Apple Crumb Pie. I usually make a regular 2 crust apple pie, but stepped outside the box of my normal. I used oatmeal in my crumb mixture and it gave it a nice texture.  I also thought afterwards that some chopped walnuts would have been really good too.  Check out my recipe below, it's pretty good even if I do say so myself!

These beauties are going to make an awesome pie!
The good stuff.

More goodness!

And here it is ready to be baked.

Piping hot!
It's so good hot from the oven with some ice cream and caramel sauce! 



1 pre-made 9" pie crust

7-8 medium sized Honeycrisp apples

1 lemon, juiced

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

pinch of salt

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

6 Tablespoons of cold butter, 


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the pie crust into a 9" pie plate. If crust is too big you can trim it, or roll it under and crimp with a fork.  Prick the bottom with a fork in a few spots, set aside.  Wash, peel and core the apples.  Slice apples and toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice to coat them so they don't turn brown. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, cornstarch and salt. Toss together until all apple slices are coated.

In a medium size bowl, add flour, oats, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and butter.  With a pastry blender or fork, combine all until most of it looks like large pea size shapes.

Scoop the apples into the crust, be sure not to get all the juice or the crust will get too soggy.  Spread them out evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the apples.  Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Remember all ovens and temperatures are different. When pie is done, set on a cooling rack.

Serve warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of gooey caramel sauce.  Enjoy! 


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Happiness Is A Basket of Strawberries.......

Strawberries are one fruit we have in our house all year long, blueberries as well.  They are full of antioxidants and fiber, fight bad cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and last but not least my favorite, they're anti-aging! What a great little fruit they are.  Strawberries have so many good things about them, besides the fact that they are just plain delicious and sweet. 

I try to find many ways to use my strawberries, outside of putting them in cereal or just eating them out of the box. I do put them in many different kinds of salads that I make, because we eat a lot of salad in this house too. Plain salad with vegetables is boring to me, so I like to push things up to a new level with salads, especially when that is the main course.  I made this fruit-full salad last night and it was spectacular! It was so filling I didn't need a dessert and still wasn't hungry when I woke up this morning. Check it out and make it, you'll love it.
Recipe Below.

I started with 2 boxes of greens, one was a mix and one was spinach. Don't mind the organic labels, unless you are an organic food eater.  This is what I buy, I have an organic vegan in the house so you all know how that goes.  I also used romaine in my salad for crunchiness.
Toss the lettuces together in a large bowl. Some of my ingredients.
 I added in a few more ingredients and chicken.
 Building the salad with all this healthy deliciousness.
 And what is a salad without cheese, any kind of cheese, and crispy wonton strips.
 And, what can I say about glazed pecans, they're so good! You could also use sliced 
almonds or walnuts if you like.
 Dice up and add the chicken breasts after they cool so your salad doesn't wilt.
 Now the best part, the Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, it's awesome!
All ready to go.
 Let's Eat!
Hearty Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients for Salad
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
6 cups of mixed greens, washed
1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits
1 cup crispy wonton strips
1/2 cup glazed pecans

Ingredients for Dressing
1 cup Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, more if you like heat
Shake vigorously in a jar until all is combined.

In a frying pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until hot.  Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.  Cook the chicken breasts for 8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.  Cover with a lid, turn off the heat, let cool.

In a large bowl, toss all the greens together.  Add the strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, onion, feta, bacon, wonton strips and glazed pecans. Add chicken around the sides of the bowl.

Toss with desired amount of dressing. 

Makes 4-6 servings

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Homemade Funnel Cakes

OH funnel cakes! Eating them brings back all the memories of childhood.  Going to the local seasonal fairs and carnivals, smelling and eating all the food they had to offer, what a great time that was.  My favorite was always funnel cakes, they were so much fun to share and eat.  When the grand kids come over now, I sometimes make these for everyone and they are always a hit.  It's that time of  the season again and funnel cakes will be made and served at the local fairs and carnivals. I don't go to them anymore, but I can still enjoy these at home.
Recipe below.
Just a few things to mix up.
Hot oil in a frying pan.
Pour the batter into the oil.
And here you go!  A fresh, hot, Funnel Cake of your very own.

Funnel Cakes
Makes 8 servings

2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups Oil for frying
Confectioners Sugar

In a large bowl beat eggs.  Add the milk, water and vanilla, beat until well blended.  In another bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Beat the dry mixture into the egg mixture until all is combined.  In a heavy frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat.  Drop a dot of the batter to test the heat of the oil to make sure it is hot.  Fill a small pitcher, or cup with a spout, with some of the batter. Hold the cup a few inches above the fry pan, make a circular motion around the pan to form a funnel cake, criss crossing and continuing with the circle motion.  Let the cake get golden brown on one side for about 2 minutes, then flip it over to fry on the other side.  Drain on paper towels, dust with confectioners sugar.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Oui, Oui! French Onion Soup

There is just something about a nice hot bowl of soup that warms my soul.  Any kind of soup, I love almost all of them - Vegetable, Tomato, Chicken Noodle, Mushroom, Minestrone, Italian Wedding and French Onion, I could go on, but to name just a few.  Most people eat soup in winter, well I'm an all year round soup girl.  Homemade always tastes better to me and I make a lot of it.  Here is my take on homemade French Onion Soup.
Recipe Below.
 Just a few ingredients that's all it takes.
 And everything is better with butter.
 I used three very large sweet onions.
 Minced garlic and sliced onions.
 Into the pan they go!
 Break up the onions.
 Add herbs....
 Cook them down....
 a little Sherry doesn't hurt....
 It's lookin' good....
 The aroma is amazing!
 A little flour to thicken.
Add the beef stock.
Simmering with all that good flavor.
Wow, it looks so good!
Almost ready....
I did use an immersion blender for some of the onions.  Took out about 3/4 of them and used the blender on what was left in the pan and then put the rest of the onions back in.
And here it is, yummy homemade onion soup.  Toast a few baguette slices and top with cheese, put under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese melts.  Please use an ovenproof crock or bowl.
Makes 4-6 servings

1/2 cup butter
3 very large sweet onions, sliced (mine were huge)
4 big cloves of garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme (you can use 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 cups Sherry or 1 cup red wine (not cooking sherry/wine)
3 heaping Tbsp. flour
3 quarts beef stock
Baguette slices, toasted
Sliced Baby Swiss cheese (or Mozzarella or Parmesan)

Over medium heat in a large dutch oven, melt stick of butter.  Add - onions and break them apart, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook until they are soft and somewhat caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Turn off heat (to be safe) and add the sherry/wine, turn heat back on and bring the pot to a boil.  Reduce heat until the sherry/wine has evaporated and the onions are on the dry side, not so much liquid left in the pan, around 10-15 minutes.  Take out the bay leaves, and if using fresh thyme, strip the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Put thyme leaves in the pan. Sprinkle the 3 Tbsp. flour over the onions, mixing in as you sprinkle to coat the onions.  Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn in the pan.  Add all the stock, bring the pan back to a slow boil and cook for about half hour. Season with salt and pepper if you like.

When ready to eat, start the broiler.  Ladle soup into oven proof ramekins or bowls, arrange baguette slices over the soup and top with cheese.  Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and browned. Serve immediately.