Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

Say hello to some more fresh from the orchard apples!

This was a very easy recipe.  Only 4 ingredients including the apples!

All you do is chop up the apples and throw them in the crock pot, basically.

I served it in those adorable little ramekins shown in the first picture.  I’ve had them forever, but haven’t had a chance to use them before.

Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

½ cup water

8-10 Granny Smith Apples (or any tart apples), peeled, cored, and cubed

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (going to be honest – i did not measure this, i just cut a lemon in half and squeezed it over the apples)

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Pour water into slow cooker. Add apples, drizzle with lemon juice. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours, stirring every two hours. After removing from the heat, stir in brown sugar to taste.

The recipe said that it would make chunky applesauce, but this was really smooth.  If yours ends up being too chunky for your liking, just put it in a food processor and puree until it is your desired consistency.  I think this apple sauce would be good with cinnamon and nutmeg added to it, too.  There’s some left over, I might have to try adding some.

Yummy!

Spicy, home cooked meal with dessert!

This evening one of our good friends, Martin, came over for dinner.  It was really good to see him and hang out with him.  I tried out 5 new recipes! That makes for a very happy Jenn.

First of all, we had spicy grilled chicken for the main entree.  Zack and I marinaded the chicken starting last night in Buffalo Wild Wing’s Hot BBQ sauce.  Zack and Martin are both avid fans of Buffalo Wild Wings and I like all things spicy.  Grilling the chicken turned out really well, too.  Plus, we served it with the remainder of the bottle of sauce for dipping.

 

For the vegetable portion of the meal, we had corn on the cob.  I know this is no incredible feat, because anyone can boil corn, but I was still excited, because I’d never done it before.  I didn’t try it, but Zack and Martin both seemed to enjoy it.  All you do is bring a pot of water to a boil and then put in the corn and boil it for 10 minutes.  Easy enough.

 

Not everything went perfect with this dinner, though.  We were supposed to have Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes, but, alas, I broke the shells of the potatoes! Oh no! Instead of fretting, I simply mixed everything like I was going to for stuffing the potatoes and stuck the mixture in a casserole dish.  Then I baked it the second time like that.  No biggie.  It still turned out yummy, but looks kind of ugly.  I’ll give the recipe as it calls for, though.

Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes

– 2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed

– 4 slices thick cut bacon, diced into 1 inch pieces

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1/4 cup sour cream

– 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus about 1/4 cup more for topping

– 1/2 cup grate Monterrey jack cheese

– 2 green onions, diced, about 2 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Puncture potatoes with a fork about 6 times around the potato.  This will allow steam to escape while they are cooking.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the skins are crispy but the potato is soft.  You should be able to insert a fork and remove it easily.

While your potatoes are cooking, cook your bacon until brown.  Remove to paper towel lined plate.  Set aside.

Once your potatoes are baked, turn your oven down to 350 degrees.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise.  They will be HOT.  Be careful not to puncture the skin, spoon out the insides, place them in a mixing bowl and set the skins aside.

Add butter, milk, and sour cream to the potatoes.  Use an electric mixer and mix until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, green onions, and bacon.  Mix well.

Fill the potato skins with the mixture.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees in a baking dish until the cheese melts.

I also whipped up a batch of buttermilk biscuits.  There is something about biscuits…I cannot get them right.  I’ve tried two different recipes so far and both have not really gone that well.  These bottoms are a bit too brown and the biscuits are a bit too flat.  I keep rolling my dough too thin, I think.  I will get it right eventually.  I ate mine with apple butter (another marvelous thing about fall!).

Ester’s Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

– 2 cups flour

– 1 tbsp. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. baking soda

– 3 tbsp. Crisco

– 1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together.  Cut in shortening (fingers work great!).  Add the buttermilk and stir until all dry ingredients are moist.  Pour out on floured surface and work in a small amount of extra flour, just until it works smooth.  Do not let dough get stiff from too much flour.  Roll out to about 1/2″ thick, cut and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Do not overbake or biscuits will be hard.

Yield: 12 biscuits

 

For dessert we had Eclair Torte.  It was an incredibly easy and fast dessert to make.  It was also a huge hit! Martin took a bunch home with him and Zack really enjoyed it too (he should, he’s the one that picked it out for me to make!).

Eclair Torte

Prep: 20 minutes + chilling

Bake: 30 minutes

– 1 cup water

– 1/2 cup butter

– 1/4 tsp. salt

– 1 cup all purpose flour

– 4 eggs

– 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 cups cold milk

– 2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding

– 1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

– 2-3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil.  Add flour all at once and stir until a small ball forms.  Remove from the heat, let stand for 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Spread into a greased 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  If desired, remove puff from pan and place on serving platter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light.  Add the milk and the pudding mix.  Beat until smooth.  Spread over puff, refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Spread with the whipped topping.  Refrigerate.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving.  Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Yield: 12 servings

 

Today was such a good, fun day! I don’t think I’ll get to do any baking or cooking tomorrow, but I will probably post about something I’ve made previously.  Sunday and Monday I am making a ton of goodies, though!

 

Homemade French Fries

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve recently lost a bunch of weight (56 pounds!).  To do this, I completely changed my eating habits.  This included giving up fried foods (and fast food in general for the most part).

At first I really, really wanted some KFC or Popeye’s fried chicken, but now (it’s been almost 7 months) I don’t want either of them.  In fact, I don’t miss fried foods at all…except for these.

My mom used to make these every once in a while when I was growing up and they are seriously delicious.  They’re one of the first things I made when Zack and I moved into our apartment.  Plus, the fact that they’re pretty easy to make helps.

To make them, you need:

– Potatoes (russett)

– a medium-sized bowl of water

– oil

– a fry daddy or frying pan

First of all, cut your potatoes into fries.  You can totally peel the potatoes first or leave some skin on the ends.  I personally like them with some skin on them, but Zack doesn’t like skin at all.  It’s all personal preference.

Next, soak the fries in the bowl of water for about fifteen minutes.  While they are soaking, heat up the oil in either your Fry Daddy or frying pan.  The oil should be deep enough to completely cover the fries in batches.

After the oil is heated and the fries have soaked, put them in batches into the oil.  There isn’t an exact science to determining how long they should stay in there, just until they turn slightly brown.

Continue this until all are cooked.  I let mine cool on a paper towel to absorb some of the excess grease.

After they are all done, you can sprinkle them with salt and pepper, or Lawry’s Seasoning Salt like is shown in the picture.

Happy cooking 🙂