Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baked Apple Crisp

While Tricia was visiting, we also made this yummy dessert.  And by "we", I mean "she".  We had more apples from my neighbor that were just begging to be baked and smothered in ice cream.  This betty crocker recipe was great.

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
cream of ice cream

Heat oven to 375.  Grease bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan.

Spread apples in pan.  In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Salsa Verde Chicken and Dumplings

    My friend, Tricia, was visiting recently.  We are alike in many ways and one of the things we do best together is eat yummy food!  We did a lot of eating the week she was here (especially desserts!), and really enjoyed this dish that I saw on Jessie's blog.  Tricia actually made it for us while I wrangled my little gingersnaps to bed and mowed the lawn.  What a friend!  We both decided that, while it was delicious as is, the chicken and sauce were the best part and would make awesome enchiladas.


    1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
    1 jar (15 ounces) salsa verde (2 cups)
    1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
    1 large rotisserie chicken, meat deboned and left in large chunks (about 6 cups)


    1 cup whole milk
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Chicken:  Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large (11 – 12 inch), deep ovenproof skillet or 5-6 quart Dutch oven.  Whisk in flour to make a paste.  Mix broth, salsa verde, and evaporated milk and whisk in all at once.  Whisk, vigorously at first, until mixture simmers and thickens to sauce consistency.  Stir in chicken, heat through, and cover to keep warm.  Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

    Dumplings: Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until steamy.  Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, scallions, and cilantro in a medium bowl with a fork.  Stir in milk mixture to form a smooth, firm dough.  Pinch off Ping-Pong-ball-size peices of dough with your fingers and drop onto chicken mixture.  Return chicken to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Cover and transfer pan to oven and bake until dumplings are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Sausage and Egg Biscuits

    These are super simple and were the perfect freezer-go-to when I hadn't planned ahead for the kids' lunch.  They weren't my personal favorite, but I'll make them again to have on hand.

    Start with 1 lb sausage (maple flavored) - or use ground meat and make your own (to make your own maple flavored, replace the thyme an oregano with 2 Tbsp maple syrup from the following recipe):

    make your own sausage with 2 pounds ground meat:
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tbsp salt
    2 tsp oregano
    2 tsp thyme
    1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp pepper

    Okay, back to the biscuit things . . .

    Brown the sausage.

    In a bowl, mix:
    6 eggs
    1/3 cup milk
    2/3 cups spinach
    1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

    Grease muffin pan.  Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with sausage.  Then add egg mixture to fill another 1/3 full, so each cup is 2/3 full.

    Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

    Either cool and freeze or serve on biscuits with slices of cheese.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Baked Berry and Banana Oatmeal

    A while ago I shared the recipe for my first go at baked oatmeal.  It was delicious.  And still is.  But the family has decided that we like this one, from Heidi Swanson, even better.

    3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
    2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, toasted and chopped
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    2 cups milk
    1 large egg
    2 tsp pur vanilla extract
    2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2" slices
    1 1/2 cups berries
    maple syrup, for drizzling

    Preheat oven to 375.  Butter and 8-inch square baking dish.

    COmbine the oats, half the nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, half the butter, and vanilla.

    Arrange bananas in a single layer on the bottom of the coated baking dish.  Sprinkle with two-thirds of the berries, then cover with the oat mixture.  Slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats.  Gently tap dish on a work surface to distribute liquid.  Scatter remaining berries and nuts across the top.

    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set.  Let cool slightly.  drizzle with remaining melted butter and maple syrup.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Bran Muffins

    My family was needing a little . . . ahem . . . help this week.  So we tried these from allrecipes (photo, too!).  They're not my favorite bran muffins, but they were still tasty and did the trick.

    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 1/2 cups bran cereal
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 apple, cored and shredded or finely chopped
    • 1 ripe banana, mashed
    • 1/2 cup honey

    • Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper cupcake liners.

    • Cover raisins with water in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 1 minute to plump. Drain the raisins, and set aside.

    • Beat the egg with milk in a bowl, and mix in the bran cereal. Let the mixture stand until the cereal absorbs the liquid, about 5 minutes. Gently mix in the plumped raisins, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, melted butter, shredded apple, mashed banana, and honey, and stir a few times to mix.

    • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Easy Little Bread

    I know it's been a while, but I'm still here!  And I have a few new things to share later thanks to time spent with a dear friend.  This simple bread was dense and delicious.  I bet you have everything you need already.  The trick is to start the bread, then make applesauce while it's cooking and have a softened chunk of butter waiting nearby when both are done baking/cooking.  YUM! 

    1 1/4 cups warm water
    2 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
    1 Tbsp honey
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
    1 1/2 tsp sea salt
    2 Tbsp butter, melted, for brushing

    In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves.  Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit; 5-10 minutes.

    In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

    Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter.  Turn the dough into the pan, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.  (this is when you can start the applesauce!)

    Preheat the oven to 350, with a rack in the middle.  When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan.  I finish things up be leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color.  Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly.  Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan.  Serve warm.

    Makes one loaf.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011


    One of our neighbors has a full apple tree in her backyard and offered to let us have our fill.  The kids and I picked as many as we could carry home and have been making applesauce like crazy!  My 3-year-old loves the peeler-corer-slicer, and we all love the finished product!  There's really no way to mess this up (mushed apples with a little sweetener, right?!), but this is how we do it in the Payne kitchen.

    8-10 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 cinnamon stick (or a little less than 1 tsp. ground cinnamon)

    Place everything in a large saucepan.  Stir to mix well.  Cover pot with lid and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until apples are soft.  Remove lid, mash apples and try to be patient enough to eat without burning your mouth.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Banana Pineapple Cake

    This was one of the most moist cakes I've ever made.  It was delicious, too!  

    3 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp soda
    3 eggs
    2 cups sugar
    1 1/3 cups oil
    2 cups thinly sliced bananas
    one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (including juice)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup pecans or walnuts (toasting optional)

    Mix all the above ingredients by hand.  After mixing, gently fold in bananas, pineapple (including juice), vanilla and nuts.  

    Pour batter into greased and floured bundt or tube pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
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