Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute

I have been making this for a couple of years now.  There is just something about the way that cream of chicken slides out of the looks like chicken jello.  Ick.  I feel like a food snob but I just can't use it any longer!  This substitute is really simple and tastes so much better in your casseroles!

1/4 c. flour
6 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Over medium heat, melt the butter in a sauce pan.  After it is melted, whisk in the flour until it is bubbly and smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the chicken and milk.  Return the pan back to the heat and bring to a soft boil until the soup thickens, whisking continuously.  Add salt and pepper as you see fit.  This recipe is equal to two cans of cream of chicken soup.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

This is a super speedy dinner that you can throw together and walk out the door in the morning.  The chicken is so tender and juicy--this would make a perfect dinner for a cool fall evening!

3 large frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag of frozen corn
1 can of cream of chicken soup or this substitute
1 can of frozen biscuits

Place chicken and corn in crockpot.  Pour soup over the top.  Cook in the crockpot on low for 8 hours.  Shred chicken and return to crock pot.  Place biscuits on top of the chicken/corn mixture.  If you can take the insert out of your crock pot, place in oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Or, you can place the lid back on your crock pot and cook for another hour.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beef Burgundy

I always knew that someone special was coming for dinner when my mom made this dish.  This isn't your run-of-the-mill Tuesday night dinner!

It's special for another reason too.  This recipe was my Mammaw's.  She taught my mom how to make it, my mom just taught me how to make it, and now I am passing the recipe to you!

Don't be too worried about getting the measurements exactly right; mom doesn't measure and everything is guesstimated! :)

Salt pork or jowl bacon for drippings
About 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 lbs sirloin, cubed
1 carton beef stock
12 oz. burgundy wine (I found a small bottle next to the vinegar at the grocery)
Half an orange, somewhat hollowed out
Thyme (I used a few fresh sprigs)
Marjoram (I probably used about 1 tsp.)
Tarragon (I probably used about 1 1/2 tsp.)
Black peppercorns (ummm...about 1 1/2 tsp.?)
Kosher Salt (about 1 tsp?)
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
Jar of pearl onions
Mushrooms (Ick, I pick these out!)

Fry salt pork in a dutch oven until done.  Dredge sirloin in flour.  Remove salt pork from grease and discard.  Brown sirloin in salt pork drippings.  (Don't cook it through, just enough to brown it!)  Drain meat of remaining grease and add broth and burgundy.

In the hollowed out orange, combine spices and garlic.  (I didn't measure, just filled it with a little of each.) Wrap up the orange in a cheesecloth and tie off with a knot.  Place orange in the center of the meat and broth.  Place in oven and cook at 325 degrees for about three hours.

Remove from oven and add onions and mushrooms.  Cook an additional hour.  Remove orange and serve over noodles.  You can also cook this in the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Caramel Apple Muffins {Applefest Recipe #10!}

This recipe originally called for butterscotch chips; which I thought sounded fantastic!  So off I went to the grocery to gather supplies.  I had the butterscotch chips in my hand and then I spotted these:
If butterscotch chips would be good...can you imagine caramel???  They did not disappoint!  These muffins are really yummy.  Bits of apple...bits of caramel...crunchy brown sugar on the top.  mmmm.  And surprisingly, they aren't too sweet.  They would make a great breakfast treat!

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
8 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup applesauce (I had this applesauce already made so I used it.)
2 large eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
¾ cup caramel bits
¾ cup chopped apples
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped (I left these out because I'm allergic.)
For topping:
about 1/3 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease muffin tins.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix lightly with a fork to blend.  Stir in the oats.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating just until incorporated.  Fold in the caramel bits and apples with a rubber spatula.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  Top each muffin with 1/2 tsp. of brown sugar and press down.  The batter is quite thick so it needs to be pushed down a little.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Sugar Plum
Thanks so much for hanging out with me the last ten days!  It's been fun trying out all of these apple recipes!  There will be more themed postings to come.  In a couple of weeks I will be posting five days of Halloween goodies.  Check back!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Dumplings {Applefest Recipe #9}

When asking what everyone's favorite apple recipe was, I got a comment about apple dumplings made with...wait for it, wait for it...Mt. Dew.  Mt. Dew?!  Well it sounded crazy enough for me to try.  Oh em gee.  These little babies were fantastic!  My hubby took one to work and shared it with a co-worker.  Because your child might be reading over your shoulder, I won't tell you how she described this delicious dessert.  Let's just say they are good.  Oh. So. Good.

2 baking apples (I used golden delicious)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 oz. Mt. Dew

1 can crescent roll dough (I used the kind that is not cut into rolls, just a sheet that you roll out)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray an 8 x 8 casserole dish.  Peel and core apples.  (I used my handy dandy Pampered Chef peeler/slicer/corer so they were sliced too, but they don't have to be).  

Roll out crescent dough (you might need to break out the rolling pin to make the dough a uniformed rectangle).  Cut dough into four rectangles with a pizza wheel.  

Cut apples in half and place a half an apple on each dough rectangle.  

Gather corners of dough and lift up.  Hold it there for a few seconds, letting the weight of the apple stretch the dough a bit.  Twist the four stretched out corners and tuck down over the apple.  

Repeat with the other three.  Place apples in the greased casserole dish.  Melt butter and sugars in small saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in Mt. Dew and cinnamon.  I sprinkled some white sugar sprinkles on the top to give a little sparkle. :)  Pour mixture over apples and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Tomorrow is the last day of Applefest--make sure to check back!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Cider Syrup {Applefest Recipe #8}

Mmmmmm.....what can be better than a fresh stack of pancakes or a crisp waffle on a Saturday morning?  A pancake or waffle with this syrup; that's what!

This syrup is thrown together in a snap and will keep in your refrigerator for a few weeks.  This makes a great gift in a jar with a pretty ribbon!

3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
TBs cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups fresh apple cider (or juice would work)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
Mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg well. Add apple cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, use within a week or two.

I found this recipe on

I hope you enjoyed today's apple recipe--there are only two more left!  Which has been your favorite?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sauteed Apples with Thyme {Applefest Recipe #7}

I really enjoy apples cooked over the stove top or baked in the oven, smothered in brown sugar and cinnamon.  But I always wind up putting it in it's own little bowl or cup and eating it after I've cleaned my plate....because....let's face it, it's a dessert.  

These apples will make you feel much better about adding it to your dinner plate.  The normal sweetness of the apple is still there, but there is no added sugar.  The thyme and lemon zest really complement the cooked apples.  Enjoy!

4 McIntosh apples, or Golden Delicious apples (or a mix of both)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Core apples. Cut each apple into 8 wedges; halve wedges crosswise.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 

This can't be a bad start, can it?

Add apples and 1 teaspoon each fresh thyme leaves and grated lemon zest; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until apples are just tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Thanks for checking out today's Applefest recipe!  Tomorrow will be a REALLY yummy that is a staple around my house in the fall.  Want a hint?  It's a condiment!  Weird, huh?  Check back tomorrow!

    Apple Cider Pudding Cake {Applefest Recipe #6!}

    I have been making this yummy little cake for about two years now.  As a matter of fact, it has been on the Thanksgiving menu for the last two Thanksgivings--everyone LOVES it!

    What's not to love?  A warm apple spice cake with a gooey pudding layer, topped with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream.....YUM!

    Another added bonus...there is very little fat in this recipe!  (Let's not talk about the ice cream we plop on top, ok?)

    1 cup flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ginger
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 large egg
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    2 tablespoons melted butter
    1 teaspoons vanilla
    2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
    Boiling Mixture:
    1 cup apple cider (apple juice can be substituted if apple cider can’t be found)
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons cold butter
    Butter an 8×8 inch square baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, 1 cup brown sugar, milk, melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in apples. Spread in prepared pan.
    In a small saucepan, bring apple cider, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a boil. Pour slowly and carefully over the batter.

    Bake for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, put streusel ingredients in food processor (you can use a bowl and cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork) and pulse until butter is cut up and mixture is crumbly. After the cake has baked for 35 minutes, sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the cake and bake 8-10 minutes more (until a toothpick inserted into the top layer of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs).

    Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    this recipe is from

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Apple Pie Float {Applefest Recipe #5!}

    OK...this one recieved mixed reviews.  My husband: "Ick."  Me: "It's Ok, it needs something."  My ten-year-old: "This is REALLY good, mom!"

    So normally, I wouldn't post a recipe that everyone didn't absolutely love.  The discussion around the dinner table is always, "Is this blog worthy?"  But, you must understand, I have the pickiest ten-year-old on earth.  Not only did she try it (trying something new usually turns into a tear fest), but she LIKED it!  This is monumental!

    It was my mission to make this taste better, because she begged for more every night after dinner.  So I switched from diet to regular and it was a major improvement.  I also tinkered with the measured amounts--as opposed to just "willy-nilly" pouring! :)  The results: Delish!

    For one float:
    2 scoops of vanilla Ice Cream
    3/4 c. ginger ale
    1/3 c. apple cider 
    a sprinkle of cinnamon

    Put the ice cream in a glass.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Combine ginger ale and cider in a separate glass, then pour over ice cream.  Enjoy!

    Note: I have no idea why this post is highlighted in white.  Sorry bout that!!

    idea from how does she

    Thanks for checking out Applefest!  Tomorrow's recipe is a delicious fall recipe.  If autumn had a taste....this would be it!  Check back tomorrow!

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Waldorf Salad {Applefest Recipe #4}

    This is something my mom (a.k.a. Nana) has made ever since I can remember.  I wouldn't touch it as a kiddo because it had celery in it.  (I still don't like I didn't put any in my version of this salad!)  I do wish I would have though--I was really missing out all of those years!  The dressing that coats the apples is made from Cool Whip and mayonnaise.  It might sounds strange but it is a perfect combo that has the tang of the mayonnaise but a very slight sweetness from the Cool Whip.

    I think this would be delicious any time of the year but it really seems like the perfect time of year for this right now.  The apples and the spices remind me of fall but the dressing still has a light flavor that is perfect for these in between summer/fall days.

    10 apples (I used 5 Macintosh and 5 Golden Delicious)
    1-8 oz. container Cool Whip
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1/3 cup raisins
    1/2 cup candied almonds (recipe below)

    Candied Almonds:
    1/2 cup whole almonds
    2 Tbsp. cup white sugar
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    Chop apples and toss with a little bit of lemon juice, pineapple juice, or 7-Up.

    Combine Cool Whip, mayonnaise, and spices in a bowl.  Add the dressing mixture to the apples along with raisins and top with nuts.

    For Candied Almonds:
    Place almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in a skillet and heat over medium heat.  Sugar will start to look sticky then will begin to melt.  Once it begins to melt, stir continuously until the sugar has turned a caramel color and all nuts are coated.  You will be tempted to add water, but don't!  The sugar takes a while to melt, but trust will!

    When all of the almonds are coated, spread them out as best you can on parchment or wax paper.  Once cooled, you can pick them up and break them apart.

    (Note: My mom always used walnuts or pecans in her salad.  I use almonds because I am allergic to almost every other type of nut.  If you candy whichever nut you use, I would suggest putting a good amount on the top of the salad.  When the candied nuts get mixed in the candy coating dissolves.  Still good--but not the same!)
    Thanks for stopping by for day 4 of Applefest.  I have two recipes completed and ready to go.  Which one for apple drink or an apple dessert?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Roasted Applesauce {Applefest Recipe #3}

    • I didn't know applesauce could take like this!  The butter makes such a huge difference.  It really gives the applesauce a depth of flavor that I don't think could be achieved without it.  This is good cold but absolutely delightful warm!

    • 1/4 cup water
    • 6 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • Pinch of coarse salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
    • 3 pounds small assorted apples, such as Gala, McIntosh, or Fuji (about 10)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • Pinch of ground clove

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

    • Peel and core apples.  (I used one of those handy dandy corer/slicer/peeler contraptions from pampered chef).  Scatter butter pieces over mixture, and top with apples. Roast until apples are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

    • Working in batches, puree apples in a food processor, adding the juice from the baking dish. Stir in spices. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Applesauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Thanks for stopping by for Applefest Day #3!  Come back tomorrow for another delicious apple recipe!

    recipe from Martha Stewart