Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crock Pot Apple Butter

I have been wanting to try this recipe for awhile, and finally got the chance. It took about 13 hours, but was easy and made the whole kitchen smell great! It tastes just like the Amish stuff I remember.

5 1/2 lbs apples, peeled and finely chopped (I use 3-4 different types of apples)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (2 to 3)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place apples in a large bowl.

2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

3. Pour over apples and mix well.

4. Place in crock pot, cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

5. Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown.

6. Stir occasionally.

7. Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer.

8. If desired, whisk until smooth.

9. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space.

10. Cover and freeze.

Makes 4 pints

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Bites (cookies)

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbl instant expresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbl boiling water (optional)
1 Tbl vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teas. baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup dried cherries

Grease or use parmchment paper on cookie sheets

Beat butter and sugar for 1 minute, add eggs and beat 1 minute
Add expresso. Add vanilla, Add dry ingreiants that have already been mixed

Drop by rounded Tbl on baking sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees
Cool on sheets 10 minutes before removing

Monday, September 15, 2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I found these on allrecipes (where else?), but found they make great jumbo muffins! They are SO good, one regular sized-muffin just wasn't enough.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (*OR 3/4 cup sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (*at least one cup)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt/sour cream and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. (* I lightly floured the chocolate chips to help keep them from sinking during baking)

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes (for regular muffins, 27 minutes for jumbo) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

SERVINGS: 16 regular or 8 jumbo muffins

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Absolute Best Ever Lasagna

This was the first time I made this recipe, so we'll see if it's really the "best ever." Stay posted!

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cans whole tomatoes (14 1/2 ounce) undrained and chopped (*I used petite diced)
2 cans tomato paste (6 ounce)
24 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (* I used ricotta)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese, divided
12 lasagna noodles (12 to 15)

1. Brown ground beef, Italian sausage, onion and garlic. *Directions don't call for it specifically, but I strained the grease out at this point.*

2. Add salt and next 5 ingredients; stirring until well mixed.

3. Simmer 1 hour.

4. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.

5. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, pepper, 2 tablespoons parsley, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese; In a lasagna pan, layer noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture; repeat.

6. Top off with layer of noodles; sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese.

6a. Freeze unbaked.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cheese mixture is thoroughly melted.


Jamie's Minestrone

This has been a "keeper" recipe ever since I found it on allrecipes.com. My notes are within the recipe, which is pretty much the same as posted.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 can green beans, 15 oz
2 cups baby spinach
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried basil)
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup seashell pasta (we like to double this at least)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese for topping, grated

1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. (I do it for one hour.)

FOR OAMC: 2a. Cool soup and freeze. A double batch fills 3 ziplock gallon sized bags. FYI: This makes A LOT, so I use a pretty huge pot when I double it.

3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.

4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through, place portions of cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Servings: 8

A Mini-OAMC Plan

I did a "mini-OAMC" today, since our weekends are tending to fill up quickly, and it's difficult to make a ton of meals at once.

* Three-Way Chili
* Jamie's Minestrone
* Absolute Best Ever Lasagne *NEW*
* Quick Chicken Curry

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Zucchini Brownies

These are AWESOME. My new favorite way to use zucchini, found at allrecipes. But they really are more of a cake than a brownie. It's a good feeling to watch the girls unknowingly gobble up all that zucchini!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine (I used butter)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. ***NOTE: if the mixture is very dry and crumbly at this point, add in water a couple tablespoons at a time until the batter is moist and will pour into the pan. When I use thawed zucchini shreds, the water in the bag is enough to moisten the batter.***

Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.