Sunday, November 30, 2008

Caramel Apple Pie

Yes this is as delicious as it sounds!!! I made this for one of our Thanksgiving pies, and almost ate the whole thing myself!!!

1 recipe for 9 inch double pie crust (or just buy the already made ones from pillsbury like I did)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. all purpose flour
5 c. thinly sliced apples ( I used about 6 granny smith's, and I would definitely reccommend a tart apple like this to balance out the sweetness!)
2/3 c. white sugar
3 T. all purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. lemon juice
20 caramels, halved
2 T. milk

1.Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Make taffy: In a small bowl combine brown sugar, melted butter, and 1/3 c. flour. Mix well and set aside.
3. Make apple filling: Place apples in a large bowl. Add white sugar, 3 T. flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss until all ingredients are mixed and appled are coated well.
4. Line your 9 inch pie plate with bottom crust. Spoon half of apple filling into pie plate. Top with half of caramels, and half of taffy mixture. Repeat process with remaining apples, taffy and caramels. Place top pastry over filling and SEAL WELL ( or caramel filling will leak out!). Cut steam vents in top and brush with milk or light cream.
5. cover pie with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

**Sorry again for no pic....I still have to replace the batteries in my camera!!!

Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, Pine nuts and Parmesan

This recipe came from The Recipe Girl. It was my new twist on green beans this year for Thanksgiving. It was a hit! Definitely a keeper!

1 1/4 lbs. green beans, rinsed, stems trimmed
1 small head of garlic, coarsley chopped ( I only ended up using about 5 cloves and it was perfect for our tastes)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T. finely grated lemon zest (1-2 medium lemons). DIVIDED.
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 T. coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put beans in large mixing bowl. Add garlic, olive oil, and 1 T. lemon zest, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread beans on a cookie sheet, and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, stir with spatula, and continue roasting about 5 more minutes until the beans are lightly browned and tender throughout. Transfer the beans to a serving platter and add lemon juice, remaining lemon zest, parmesan and parsley, toss to coat. Can serve hot or at room temperature!!!

**Sorry no picture, my camera batteries died!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My mom's Brownie Cake

This cake was famous when I was growing up. Whenever we were invited to parties this was what my mom brought almost always! She makes it the best, and it is one of the first recipes that I learned how to make. It is a cakey brownie, not a dense one. Light and fluffy, with rich chocolately frosting. The above picture was during Easter time and I had added some coconut (died green with food coloring) and a chocolate egg for decoration....

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 sticks margarine (i use butter)
1 c. cold water
3 T. baking cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk( if you don't have buttermilk, you can "make" your own by adding 1/2 T. vinegar to 1/2 c. regular milk)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Sift flour and sugar together in large bowl and set aside. Put butter, water, and cocoa in saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add to flour/sugar mixture, beat well. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Grease and flour a large cookie sheet. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes. 5 minutes before cake is done, make frosting.

1 stick butter
3 T. baking cocoa
6 T. milk
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
Put butter, cocoa, and milk in saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix and pour over cake immediately after removing cake from oven.

Mexican Hot Dip

This is a very good, warm dip good for football parties, bbq's etc. Top with shredded cheese and serve with tortilla chips. Num, Num!

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 qt. stewed tomatos with juice
1 can tomato sauce
1 pkg. lawry's chili seasoning
1 can corn (drained), or about 2 cups frozen
3 T. chopped olives
3 T. chopped green chiles

Brown hamburger and onions in a saute pan. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put in crock pot to keep warm. Serve with shredded cheese on top and tortilla chips to dip!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a staple in our house all year round. Lamb family comfort food at its best. This is my own recipe, adapted from my mom's, and I usually just add ingredients to taste, but I will try to give measurable amounts as close as possible. So feel free to add more or less to your own tastes. I also use homemade noodles (recipe follows). The tradition at our house is to put a big dollup of mashed potatoes in the bottom of your bowl and then pile the soup on top. It may sound weird, but it makes the soup creamy and delicious. Give it a try!

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 small whole chicken
1 onion
3-4 stalks celery
4 whole carrots, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
garlic salt
poultry seasoning
celery salt
water to cover
Put all above ingredients in a large saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. No need to chop veggies as this is just to cook the chicken and make the broth. Cook for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and let cool. Strain out veggies and discard. SAVE BROTH. When chicken is cool enough, remove all the meat from the bones and discard bones and skin. Bring reserved broth to a boil and add:
1 onion, chopped
10-15 baby carrots, chopped into bite-size pieces
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste
shredded reserved chicken pieces
Bring to a boil and cook until veggies are cooked through, skimming off the fat as it cooks (the frothy stuff that collects at the top of the pan). If you are adding homemade noodles add them during the last 5-7 minutes. (If not you can add premade bowtie or macaroni noodles at this point).

3-4 eggs
about 2 cups milk
pinch salt
wisk together and add enough flour to make into a dough (1-2 cups i think). dough shouldn't be overly sticky. Roll out onto a floured surface, and cut into thin, long noodles. I usually make the noodles before I start the soup, because they need to sit on the counter and dry out for a little while.
Add to soup during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Scoop a big dollup of mashed potatoes in the bottom of the bowl and cover with soup. ENJOY.
***Try the potatoes, you will never eat chicken noodle soup without them again****

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a delicious pumpkin cupcake recipe that I found on my friend Jen's, "Yummy Fun" website. She made them bite size in mini cupcake tins, I tried full size and they were a hit!

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. apple sauce
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c heavy cream (or milk)
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cloves
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
pinch of ginger

Mix sugar, eggs, applesauce and cream together. Add flour, soda, baking powder, spices and salt. When smooth add pumpkin and blend until creamy. Preheat oven to 400*. Line muffin tins with paper cups, or grease them. bake for 20 minutes. (12-15 for mini muffins).

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 stick butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 T. cream
powdered sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
dash of cinnamon
Blend all ingredients well and chill if necessary until set. I add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until frosting is at the consistency that I want.

**Variation: omit frosting and add chocolate chips to the batter.....

Beef Stew

mmmmmm! One of the ultimate comfort foods in my opinion! I love Fall, and all of its warm foods, and beautiful colors. This recipe is actually my OWN, believe it or not! I adapted it from how I remember my mom making it. And we can't get enough.....especially when there's lots and lots of warm, buttery breadsticks around. Beef Stew

1-2 lbs of stewing beef
4 T. flour
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
10-15 baby carrots, chopped
3-4 potatos, peeled and chopped into bitesize pieces
1 lg. can stewed tomatoes in juice
1 bay leaf
1 c. dried soup mix (not seasoning packets, but the kind from the cannery).
2 cans beef broth
garlic salt
onion salt

Season the beef pieces with seasonings and dredge in the flour. Saute onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add beef pieces and brown on all sides until cooked through.
Add the rest of indgredients and bring to a boil. If more liquid is needed to cover meat and veggies, add water or more beef stock as needed. Cook for 15 minutes or until veggies are cooked through.

Mac and Cheese

Nothing is better than Mac and cheese, right? How about HOMEMADE Mac and Cheese????
Creamy, dreamy, satisfying!

1 bag elbow macaroni, cooked per package directions
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
3 c. half and half or cream
1 c. milk
garlic salt
Melt butter and flour together in saute pan until combined. Add half and half and milk. Stir until creamy, gravy-like consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. colby jack cheese
1/2 c. swiss cheese
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. velveeta cheese
dash of tabasco or Frank's red hot sauce

Pour cooked elbow macaroni noodles into 9x13 casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over top and mix together. Cook at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
**Option: can mix up the cheeses and add different kinds for different flavors, can also make a crumb topping of crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter and sprinkle over top before baking.
mmmmm. Can you say "comfort food"????


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