Monday, September 24, 2007

Apple Crisp

I'm hating our weather right now. Seriously, who wants 90 degrees and humid in September? We had a couple nice days just to tease us and then right back into this dreadful stuff again. If I wanted this, I'd move to Arizona or Texas or one of those other crazy hot places!

When we have normal fall weather, it is my favorite times of year and I have 4000 apple dessert recipes to prove it. This is our favorite though. I think it was originally from Vegetarian Times magazine but I've been making it for over 10 years so I'm not sure how much it resembles the original recipe. We've already had it twice thanks to a big bag of apples my parents brought us from our local apple orchard (the formerly charming and quaint local place that is now an overpriced commercial place).

Kay never likes this as much as we do but, to her credit, she tries it again every year just to make sure!

Apple Crisp

4 large apples cut in chunks

1 cup nuts, chopped (any combination)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

4 tablespoons chilled margarine cut in pieces

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Put the apples in a 9 inch round baking dish. Dust with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

In a food processor chop the nuts. Add the flour and sugar and process until combined. Add the margarine and pulse 8 to 10 times.

Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake 30 minutes more. Serve warm.

Kay: I like the taste of the topping but I think the apples are too soft.

Dana (Mom): I use all different kinds of nuts in this but it is always at least half walnuts. Usually the other half is pecans but this year I've been using almonds and we are really liking it. I've used all walnuts before as well and that works fine.

The smell in your house is heavenly! It is almost worth making just for that!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Broccoli and Potato Bake

Have I mentioned that Kay likes broccoli?!! You may have noticed that we eat it often.

This is one of those great recipes to have for nights when you don't have any fresh food in the fridge and you don't feel like thinking too much. It is similar to the casseroles from when I was growing up but it is healthier because it does not use condensed soup with all that salt.

You can also assemble it ahead of time and then bake it at the last minute. I really need to find more recipes like this!!

Broccoli and Potato Bake

10 oz frozen broccoli, thawed
10 oz frozen hash browns, thawed
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup other shredded cheese (such as cheddar, Swiss, etc)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Thaw the broccoli and the hash browns (either in the fridge over night, in the microwave, or by running under hot water in a colander).

In a medium sauce pan, melt the margarine. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes. With the heat on low, slowly add the milk, half cup at a time, stirring constantly. When all the milk is incorporated, add the cheeses and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the hash browns.

Pour this mixture into a casserole dish. Cover evenly with the broccoli.

Melt the margarine in the microwave and add the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the broccoli. Add salt and pepper if you like.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are starting to brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 5-6.

Kay: I like this very much. I eat all of it and don't complain at all. I like that it doesn't have onions in it. Sometimes I add extra breadcrumbs to mine.

Mom (Dana): We prefer the diced hash browns (here they are called "southern") but the shredded work as well. I've used fresh broccoli before and it has worked fine. I've never used fresh hash browns but I'm sure that would work as well.

We use different cheese every time. This time we had cheddar and havarti on hand so we used a combination of the two.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The most unbelievable chocolate dessert ever!!

Seriously, this dessert is amazing! I love chocolate. It is definitely my favorite food. I could have passed out on on the spot, this tasted so good!

We were watching "Nigella Feasts" tonight during dinner and I have never seen her make anything that I would want to recreate. Then this dessert came on and I thought, "well, it is chocolate and I have all those ingredients". This is so chocolaty and rich and gooey and amazing!!

I've mentioned before that Bill doesn't really like chocolate very much. As soon as I tasted this (and regained the ability to speak) I turned to Kay and said, "Daddy will not like this." Much to our shock, he came out and asked if he could have the extra one (it made 4 and there are only 3 of us). We were shocked. I wasn't even able to finish it! Here is my bowl. I was very sad to leave any but it was just too overwhelming!

It is kind of like a brownie stuffed with pudding type thing. Try to eat it when it is straight out of the oven. It might burn your mouth but it is worth it!

Yum yum yum!

Butter 4 ramekins and place them on a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a double boiler, melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) and 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to cool about 5 minutes.

In bowl, whisk two eggs. Add 3/4 cup sugar and then 3 tablespoons flour. Fold the chocolate mixture into this.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins and bake 20 minutes.

Kay: These were fun and easy to make. They were really hot though. Usually my dad thinks things are too chocolaty but this time I did!

Mom (Dana): I know you have all these ingredients on hand. Go make them now!! (I promise we aren't eating only desserts right now. The "real" food just hasn't been able to compete with the desserts!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Before being baked.

This is not the recipe we had planned to post. Yesterday for dinner, Kay and I made a Rachael Ray recipe. I know, I know. I've never made any of her recipes and had them turn out good. But this one had broccoli (and you know how often we eat that!), noodles, and emmentaler cheese (one of Kay's favorites) so I figured it couldn't be too bad. Well it was. We were able to eat it but it was completely bland and used just about every pot and pan I own. Hopefully now I've learned my lesson! Here are some funny pictures of Kay eating it that I didn't want to waste.

So to make up for our dinner, we decided to make meringues (we also made and ate vanilla crepes with nutella and caramel apples but that is really beside the point!). I've been promising Kay we would make these for months now but it has always been too humid or we didn't have time. Finally we had the chance. They turned out perfect and were even cooled in time to have one before bed. They were a great ending to our nine million dessert courses for the night.

We combined several recipes in order to get to this one. Next time we might try reducing the sugar a little bit.

A half eaten meringue.


4 egg whites

1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites for about 4 minutes until you start to get soft peaks. With the mixer on medium-high, slowly spoon in the sugar and the cornstarch. Then add the vinegar and vanilla. Increase the mixer to high and whip about 3 more minutes until it is glossy.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop meringue by large spoonfuls. Smooth out any peaks so that they won't burn.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and they are starting to turn a very light golden color. Turn off the oven and leave them in there for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and allow them to complete cool before storing them.

They should have a nice crunchy outside that crumbles when you bite into it and a soft, marshmallowy inside.

Makes 6-8 depending on the size.

Kay today after soccer.

Kay: These taste really good but eat them all together. Don't break the top off and eat that first because the inside doesn't taste as good without the outside. It was very cool watching the eggs whip up. I've never seen our mixer on that high of a speed before.

Mom (Dana): I don't really have any comments. I'm still a little comatose from all those desserts last night!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007


We love tacos and eat them at least once a month. Of course, because everything we do has to be difficult, I have to make three different kinds of tacos. Kay eats chicken, Bill eats beef, and I eat the vegetarian crumbles. We also like various different toppings so the kitchen is piled high by the time we are done with dinner!

We used to buy individual packets of taco seasoning. The problem we ran into was that Bill and I both liked a little more seasoning than what you get in a packet and Kay likes less so we always had partial packets floating around. We had found a large container of taco mix but it was too salty for us so we threw it away but kept the container and I made our own.

This recipe can be adjusted to add more or less of any of your favorite flavors.

Taco Seasoning
1 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cilantro
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Mix them all together and use about 1/4 cup per pound of "meat". Add water as needed to get desired sauciness.

Kay: I like chicken tacos very much. I put just cheese on mine.

Mom (Dana): I make myself summer tacos and winter tacos. My summer tacos get fresh tomatoes and avocado which, obviously aren't available in the winter. I was so disappointed last time we went shopping that the avocados in the store were complete mush so I had to eat a boring winter taco in August!