Sunday, December 9, 2012

Apple Butter Neighbor Gifts!

All Day Apple Butter

 This is an amazing and fun recipe for a great treat and /or Neighbor gift!  I was trying to think of what to do this Christmas for neighbors.  It is always a big decision because as much as I love the wonderful treats that come to my doorstep this time of year, it sometimes gets a little overwhelming when most of it is very, very sweet.  I like to find something to give that departs somewhat from the usual and this is the wonderful recipe I found on All recipes    here   ! It has been slightly adapted by me.  This year I am going to send (shhh!  don't tell my neighbors - it's a secret!)  par-baked dinner rolls(so they can finish baking them at home and have hot fresh rolls) accompanied by spicy, delicious apple butter.  I have heard about it for years and it was so easy to do I think I will be doing it every year now.  First....

Wash 5 1/2 lbs. of apples (I used Gala)
Then peel, core, and slice them. (I used my pampered Chef apple peeler, it cuts the time down a lot)

Then dice them into very small chunks.  I do love my Vidalia Chop Wizard! But you can certainly just chop with a knife or chopper.

Place apples in a slow cooker.  Notice how small the pieces are.  They will cook faster.

In a medium bowl, mix in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
Reduce heat to low and cook for 9-18 hours. Stir occasionally.  When apples are soft and a deep brown, uncover the cooker and cook on low for 1 more hour to reduce the liquid.  Then  carefully scoop out a few cups at a time and put in the blender.

 Keep blender lid on and be careful not to get burned, the apples will come up higher in the blender and burn if too much is added at once.  Pour pureed apple butter into a bowl and repeat with the rest of the batch.  Test to see if it is done by taking some on a spoon.  If liquid doesn't separate from it you are good to go!  Pour into sterile containers and cover and refrigerate or freeze. I found some cute red and white tiny plastic containers at the dollar store that have snap on lids to use.  I can't wait to give them to neighbors with some dinner rolls! Be sure to check out my next blog for some fantastic rolls that melt in your mouth! Hope you like this recipe too! 

All day Apple Butter

5 1/2 lbs apples cored, peeled, finely diced
4 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the apples in a slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well.
Cover and cook on high 1 hour.
Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 18 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
Uncover and continue cooking on low 1 hour to reduce the liquid and thicken the apple butter.  Scoop into the blender a little at a time and puree.  Refrigerate or freeze in sterile containers.

Can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks and frozen for up to 6 months!
Makes about 4 pints.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More about Pork

Italian Style Pork Chops

I have spent many hours searching for a pork chop recipe that has great flavor.  Many I have tried just don't make the cut.  They turn out dry or the flavor just overwhelms the meat.  Finally, I found this recipe that is just plain great every time.  It is also simple to prepare.  It is best just as it comes out of the oven when the breading is crispy and hot.  It is still good the next day or after being frozen but loses the crispness that is soooo good!

 This recipe began it's life on All Recipes but I read the comments and tried and tested and made a lot of changes for the better!  

1 cup crushed saltine crackers
1 Tblspn. Italian-style seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (Bottled kind)
1/4 teas. garlic pdr.
5 Tblspn. butter, melted
6 bone-in Pork Chops


     Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the crushed saltines, Parmesan cheese, Italian-style seasoning and garlic powder and mix together well.  Dip the chops in the melted butter and then dredge each chop in the cracker mixture, coating all sides thoroughly.  Place the chops in a 9x13 baking dish.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  (I check after 25 min. with a thermometer and by cutting in to them to see if the juices are clear.  Please don't let them get over done and dry!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Favorite Pork Chop Recipes

I have had a special request for some good pork chop recipes.  I have to admit that it has taken some time to get this done but when you taste these you will know they are worth the wait!  The first is a family recipe we have enjoyed for years and are my oldest son's favorite meal.  The second one, (that will be in the next post), came from All Recipes and has wonderful flavor and both are very easy to make.  These are for you Brittani!

  Tender Pork Chops in Mushroom  Soup

(catchy name huh?)


6 bone-in pork chops
2 Tbls. cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 26 oz. can mushroom soup
1/2 soup can milk

In a large fry pan, brown chops in oil on med high heat.
  Salt and pepper them to taste. Remove chops and place in a single layer in a 13x9 (Mine is actually larger about 15x 10 and holds 6 chops very nicely) baking pan. 

 Meanwhile, combine soup and milk in a medium microwaveable bowl.  Warm mixture and then whisk until smooth and blended.  Pour over pork chops and place in oven.  

I cover mine with a heavy cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Serve with rice. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Soup! Soup! Soup!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Fall is here and winter is not far away!!!


  Sorry if that isn't what you wanted to hear but there is good news!  We can now break out our great soup recipes!  There isn't anything quite as good as a hot bowl of delicious steaming soup when it is cold outside.  

     Here is a really flavorful and "good -for- you" recipe for Chili that has some ingredients that take it above the ordinary to a hearty soup that you will find yourself thinking about again and again!

   I found this recipe here.  I love the recipes Our Best Bites post and this one is does not fail to impress!   They are amazing!  So here is my version of how to prepare it and I hope to do it justice!  (I have only very slightly modified it!There is a lot of chopping and mincing here so I included some of the helps I used to make this a whole lot easier! 

    This is my Vidalia Chop Wizard.  It was a gift for my birthday and it saved me so much time!  You need to slice the veggies so they will lay mostly flat on the dicing screen but it only takes seconds to finish the job!  I used my NorPro Deluxe Vegetable Chopper to mince the Jalapeno.  I love it as well.
                                   Add to a large frying pan,
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 
1 medium diced onion, 
4 cloves minced garlic, 
1 diced bell pepper
1-2 minced jalapenos, (I used 2 smallish jalapeno peppers and it was just perfect.  I don't like very much heat but just a little bite so use that as a guide.)   
Saute on medium high for about 5 minutes until tender.
Place all of this in the slow cooker.

     Next, add the remaining oil to the skillet and add:

1- 1/2 lbs ground beef.  (Best Bites uses ground turkey and tell me that ground chicken would work well too.)  

Add 8 oz. minced mushrooms.  (The Valalia Chop Wizard has a small dice plate too and it worked well with these.)  

Sprinkle in,
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt (less if using regular salt, start with 1 tsp and add more to taste later), 
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder,  
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (available at most grocery stores, I found mine at WinCo where you can buy a small amount inexpensively). 

 Mix and brown the meat mixture and then add all to the slow cooker.

1 1/2 lbs diced sweet potatoes (These were too hard for the choppers to chop).
1 28 oz. can tomatoes, undrained
2 15 oz. cans drained and rinsed black beans
32 oz beef broth
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree, (not the pumpkin pie filling mix
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 

     Mix until well combined and then cook on high 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours. Chili is done when the sweet potatoes are tender.  Makes about 16 cups. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marinated Baked Chicken

Let me just say at the beginning of this post that I do love to cook but...I am not a computer or camera whiz in any sense of the word.  So I promise to bring amazing recipes and tips and also to keep learning to make this a super fun and great blog.  I sooo appreciate your patience!

Now for the main attraction!

     I chose this recipe because I really wanted to "Wow" you with a simple yet elegant main dish.  This is oh so easy to make but totally great to serve to guests.  I got this recipe a few years back from a Simple & Delicious Magazine.  (Unfortunately I cut it out and don't have the name of the person who submitted it to give her credit.  Please let me know if you have seen it). It has been only mildly adapted by me. 

     This succulent (I love using big juicy words!) chicken breast will melt in your mouth with amazing flavor.  To top it all off there are only 5 ingredients!  Just be very careful to check it often and don't over cook it!  Enjoy!

Marinated Baked Chicken Breast 


1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 bone-in chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

In a measuring cup, combine salad dressing and soy sauce.


 Pour 3/4 cup into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken.  Seal the bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, turning several times. Refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.  (This is where I always mess up choose to do it differently. Remember to set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade ingredients before  pouring the rest into the bag.  If you forget it is easy to just make a little more using even amounts of dressing and soy sauce). 

Drain chicken, discarding marinade.  Place chicken, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle with onion salt and garlic salt.  (I don't measure I just sprinkle a light coating of each on each piece of meat).  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-60 min. or until juices run clear, brushing occasionally with reserved marinade. (I begin checking after 40 minutes by cutting into the meat with a small cut to see if the juices are clear.  Please don't over cook this.  It usually only takes 45 min. for mine to be done but it depends on the size of the chicken breast.)
 Yield: 6 servings
                   Try it, you will love it!

This recipe was shared with the following sites!
Anyonita Nibbles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

S'More's Cookie Bars and a Dedication!

This is an exciting day for me!  This is my first opportunity to share wonderful recipes with anyone I can talk into visiting. I hope you will love cooking them as much as I do.  This first post is dedicated to my sister who gave me the recipe (it was only mildly adapted).  She was one of the first in my life to introduce me to the fun and creative world of cooking.  
Thanks, Peggy!

So here goes!

S'Mores Cookie Bars
1 cup butter, softened                         2 cups flour               
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar       2 cups graham cracker crumbs (12 crackers)
2 eggs, beaten                                     1 tsp. baking powder
                                                                1/4 tsp. salt 

2 cups marshmallow cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1-2 cups mini marshmallows 

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang on the ends.  Spray with cooking spray.  Soften butter in microwave for a few seconds on defrost.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs until combined.  

Reduce mixer speed then slowly beat in dry ingredients (flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt) that have been combined in a separate bowl. 

Divide dough in half

                                Press dough into pan until dough is flat and uniform

                                       Spread marshmallow topping over the dough 

                   Sprinkle chocolate chips and mini marshmallows evenly on top of that.

                                          Scatter remaining dough on top in clumps. 

 Don't worry about covering the top, the marshmallows and chocolate chips should peek through.  Bake until golden brown.  

                           About 30 - 35 minutes.  Cool completely.  Remove from pan.

                                       Peel off foil and cut into bars.  Eat some now! 

This recipe linked to Mandy's Recipe Box ,  lil' luna
 Back for Seconds
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