Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake

Fall is in the air. LOVE this apple cake recipe from Midwest Living April 2009. Why in the world was it in an April issue is beyond me, but regardless, I LOVE THIS CAKE! So fall, so yummy, so not so bad for you...

3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/4 c canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled & chopped (or 3 cups) (I used a different "tart" apple)
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (I used walnuts and DID NOT rebellious, I know)
Sweetened whipped cream (optional-I used Cool Whip)
apple slices for garnish (optional)

Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt & cinnamon. Make a well in the center.

Combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir in apples and nuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture stirring until just moistened (batter will be REALLY thick). Spread into greased 13 X 9 X 2 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for at least an hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temp. We topped with cool whip and drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Country Style Ribs

I rarely make ribs, but these sounded so yummy. Plus, I love it when a recipe calls for things that you already have at home. All I needed to buy for these were the ribs themselves! This recipe came form June/July 2010 issue of simple & delicious.

1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c ketchup
2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder

Place ribs and onion in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

We enjoyed our ribs with green beans, mashed potatoes, applesauce & some pull apart bread.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots has done it again...provided us with another yummy dessert. She was also responsible for the delicious Strawberry Upside Down Cake that I posted this summer. My husband and Peyton LOVE Peanut Butter Cups so I knew I HAD to try these.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars. Add PB. Add vanilla and eggs. Add flour and baking soda. Stir in PB cups. (Maggie recommends chopping PB cups ahead of time and freezing. That way, when you stir them into your batter they keep their form when baking rather than melting.)

Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes.

(For a more detailed recipe, click on the link above to go to her post. Check out the rest of her blog too for great craft ideas, more recipes, and other fun stuff.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Minestrone Soup

As you know, I think a lot of Rachel Ray's recipes look fabulous, but never go through the work of making them (weird ingredients that I may never use again, time consuming, etc) BUT this soup is delicious. It is from her magazine. You are supposed to serve with homemade Garlic Bread Croutons, but Ellie and I made homemade French Bread instead. If you are curious about the recipe for the Garlic Bread Croutons, let me know and I will post it.

2 tbls EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 pound pancetta or thick cut prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)-we opted out for what we call "Meatless Monday"
1 pound zucchini, cut into bite sized chunks
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped (oops, I forgot this)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt & pepper
32 ounce container chicken or vegetable stock (we used chicken broth)
15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
15 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1/4 pound pasta (we used bow tie)
handful torn basil

Heat EVOO in soup pot over medium high heat. add pancetta or prosciutto if using and cook until browned. Add the zucchini, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in stock, beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and lower the head to low. (I cooked pasta separately and added later.) We served with shredded mozzarella on top and some yummy homemade French Bread (recipe posted).

Perfect Fall Meal in my opinion...

French Bread

I LOVE homemade bread. This recipe sounded too easy to NOT try it, right? I didn't know it was this simple. I have all of these ingredients on hand all the time. Oh carbs, I love you. How can people go carb-less? It's just not right... Ellie enjoyed learning how to knead, turn, punch down and shape dough. And I heard that kneading bread dough is a decent workout for your arms.

2 tbsp active dry yeast
2 c warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 1/2 to 5 c bread flour (we used all purpose instead AND about 1 c of whole wheat)
1 tsp cornmeal
(I also added a squirt of honey)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour)

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Shape into 12 inch long loaves.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Sprinkle with cornmeal. With sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ground Beef Noodle Soup

I'm a sucker for mini cookbooks hanging out at the checkout aisle... I found Taste Of Home's "Easy Back To School Meals" one day late summer. I've got a list of recipes I plan to try from it including this easy soup. I had ALL the ingredients on hand (oh, except 1). The broth was REALLY flavorful. It's hearty enough to act as a meal. We topped the soup with some shredded mozzarella and paired it with some yummy dinner rolls.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I used only 1 pound)
1/2 c EACH chopped onion, celery and carrot
7 cups water
1 envelope au jus mix
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 c uncooked egg noodles (we use "NO YOLK" b/c of my cholesterol problem)

In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onion, celery and carrots over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Add the water, au jus mix, bouillon, bay leaves and pepper; bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles. Return to a boil. Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oatmeal Cherry Chip Cookies

I can't even think of a catchy name for these. Any suggestions? I was toying around with recipes I found and ingredients I had on hand and came up with these. So yummy and fall like.

1 c butter or margarine (I used a stick of each)
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 c dried tart cherries
1/2 c chocolate chips
(also, I would have added nuts if anyone else liked them...)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, cherries and chips.

I used my large cookie scoop and it made about 24 big cookies. With this size cookie, it took about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A few weeks, my husband and I went to a Lifetime Cookware Party. It was really fun. I'd love me some of those pots and pans if it didn't mean taking out a second mortgage on our house! So, for dessert, the guy made pineapple upside down cake. It was so yummy. Although mine sadly was not prepared in a lifetime skillet on the stove top, it still is yummy regardless.

9 oz yellow cake mix including necessary ingredients to prepare it (we used Jiffy)
1 c brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
14.5 oz pineapple rings
maraschino cherries (optional)-we did not use

1)prepare cake mix as directed EXCEPT substitute pineapple juice for water. Set aside

2)melt butter and sugar & pour into greased 10 inch round cake pan

3) add pineapple rings & cherries to bottom of pan

4) pour cake mix over pineapple

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (ours took 45 minutes) Stand 5 minutes and invert onto plate.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Strawberry "Ice Cream" Makeover

Good housekeeping has a healthy makeover recipe in each issue. This month, it was a strawberry ice cream makeover. I would consider it a cross between frozen yogurt and sorbet. And the don't even need an ice cream maker/freezer.

1 pound frozen strawberries
1 c 2% plain Greek yogurt (we used fat free)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse 1 cup strawberries until finely chopped. Transfer chopped berries to large metal bowl.

In food processor, puree yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and remaining strawberries until smooth. Transfer to bowl with strawberries; stir until well combined. Cover and freeze about 1 hour, until firm but not hard. Garnish with additional berries, whipped cream, etc.

Stuffed Mexican Pork Chops

These were soooooo yummy. My posts have been scarce b/c A) we were gone a few days and B) I've made a handful of not-so-post worthy recipes. But this one was great.

(from The Lipton Kitchens)

4 boneless pork chops
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 thick style salsa
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400. Slice chops horizontally almost to opposite edge, forming a pocket.

In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, garlic salt, and oregano. In small bowl, combine salsa and 1/2 c of cheese. Stuff chops with cheese mixture and secure with wooden toothpicks. Dip chops into egg, then crumb mixture until evenly coated. Arrange in shallow baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

We served with corn, Spanish rice, chips and guacamole.