October 28, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

They're so simple to make, and you can switch up the variations from the traditional salt to more adventurous flavors. Our first three pumpkins became salted seeds, but I think I'm going to try a sweeter variety for a cupcake idea.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Toss pumpkin seeds lightly with oil. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, checking frequently. Sprinkle with salt. Cool completely before storing in airtight container.

October 27, 2011

Beef and Button Mushroom Stroganoff

As we're approaching winter (it's already snowed in parts of Wisconsin), it's time to utilize the crock pot for warm meals again. Who am I kidding-it's time to use the crock pot because I can cook without needing to be hovering over the stove or oven, which doesn't always work with a 6-week old.

This recipe for stroganoff turned out well, and we liked the addition of onions.

Beef & Button Mushroom Stroganoff
3 lbs. beef stew meat
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 medium onions, sliced
20 button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup flour
4 cups egg noodles, cooked and drained

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Coat beef in flour mixture, and then place in slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, except sour cream, 1/4 cup flour and egg noodles. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 4 to 5 hours. Combine sour cream and flour together, and add to beef mixture. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve over noodles.

Buttermilk-Apple Spice Bread

This is a new recipe that I'm trying this year from Farm Fresh Recipes from Lapecek's Orchard. The orchard is located near Madison, Wisconsin and always has plenty of fun activities and a family environment.

Buttermilk-Apple Spice Bread
4 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 cups apples, peeled and chopped
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add apples, and toss to coat. Beat eggs in separate bowl, and beat in buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients, mixing until just blended.

Spoon batter into two greased 9x5 bread pans. Bake for 70 minutes until done. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Graham Apple Coffee Cake

This is amazingly delicious! It reminds me of graham cracker cake, which was a treat in my husband's family for birthdays. I prefer it warm, although it is still tasty at room temperature.

Graham Apple Coffee Cake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. orange peel
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3 apples, peeled and chopped
Crumb Topping
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, combine the dry cake ingredients through the spices. Add the butter and milk, and beat two minutes with an electric mixer. Add eggs, and beat two more minutes. Spread batter into greased 9-inch pan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped apples.

Combine all crumb ingredients together, and spread evenly over apples. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is set.

October 25, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This year, I've decided to explore several coffee cake recipes with my plethora of apples. I don't have a favorite of the three I've tried because they're all delicious, this one included.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups finely chopped, peeled apples
Crumb Mixture
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the butter mixture. Beat until combined. Stir in the apples.

Then combine all the crumb ingredients together. Place about two cups of batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crumb mixture, and then alternate layers with the batter. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until done. Cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan. Cool on wire rack an additional 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening together. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

October 19, 2011

Cranberry Apple Bread

This bread has a lot of texture and is packed with the flavors of fall. Unlike many other quick breads, it uses a mere 2 Tbsp. of oil. My husband threatened to take an entire loaf in his lunch, so that at least tells you his opinion of it.

As an added bonus, it's a simple enough recipe to be the first bread I baked while home alone with my 1-month-old son. (And he even held his first kitchen spoon!)

Cranberry Apple Bread
2 cups peeled, chopped apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup barley flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine apples, sugar and oil. Add eggs. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to apple and egg mixture. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan. Bake 1 hour.

Brandied Apples

I deviated from my Ball Blue Book of Canning on this recipe, probably because I used Wolf River Apples rather than a firm red apple. Wolf River Apples turned to mush when cooked, so I used raw apples rather than cooking them. Here's the version of my Brandied Apples.
Brandied Apples
4 1/2 lb. apples, cored and evenly sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 cup brandy

Pack apples into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, and cook until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in brandy. Pour syrup into jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in hot water bath 15 minutes.

Tipsy Applesauce

I have made applesauce for the past several years. This was the first year I experimented with Brandied Apples (post coming soon), and I had a bit of brandy syrup left after that project. Rather than wasting good brandy, I decided to make Brandied Applesauce. Here's my rough recipe since I never measure anything when making applesauce.

Brandied Applesauce
As many apples as can fit into your heavy cooking pot (cored and cut into chunks)
About 2 inches of water in the bottom of your pot
1/2 cup brandy
Sugar to taste
Cinnamon to taste

Cook until apples are mushy. Process through a food mill to remove skins and turn the apples into a pulp. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Pack into hot jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Process in hot water bath 20 minutes.

Chicken Booyah


I had never heard of Booyah prior to moving to Northeast Wisconsin, where it is a staple at church picnics and family gatherings. The easiest (and probably most sacrilegious) way to describe booyah is glorified chicken soup.

This is my husband's family recipe, which makes approximately 20 gallons of soup. One important aspect of booyah is that it is cooked outside in a 50-gallon drum for the majority of a day. Normally leftovers are frozen into ice cream pails, but we are short on freezer space. That resulted in us canning approximately 17 pints, with one ice cream pail remaining in freezer storage for us.

Chicken Booyah
16 lb. stewing chickens
3 lb. stewing beef
3 lb. onions, diced
2 bunches of celery, diced
20 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cans mixed vegetables
1 can corn
1 head cabbage, shredded
12 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 quart tomato juice
2 cans tomato soup
3/4 cup salt
5 Tbsp. pepper

Boil meat in water for two hours until chicken falls off of bones. Remove skin and bones. (Note: This can be done in roasters ahead of time. Just freeze the meat in the liquid until you're ready to make the batch of booyah.)

Bring meat and liquid mixture back to a rolling boil. Add onions, celery and carrots. Boil for another two hours, and then add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil, and cook for an additional two hours.

Note: You can continue to cook the booyah longer. The longer it cooks in the day, the better it tastes.

Rice Casserole

This is something my mom always made for holidays by baking it in the oven. However, I discovered it cooks just as well in a slow cooker. It's easy to put together and makes a fairly large amount.

Rice Casserole
1 can French onion soup
1 can beef broth
1 cup rice
1 package slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 stick butter

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on high until liquid is mostly absorbed (about 3 hours), and then turn to low until liquid is completely absorbed (about 1 hour).

October 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

This is addictive.

To quantify how addictive it is, I made 5 batches in less than a week. My 89-year-old grandfather ate his entire quart bag himself without sharing with anyone. My father stole the remainder of the gallon bag at the end of his visit. Once you start eating it, you cannot stop until the bag is empty or you have stuffed yourself silly (or I suppose you possess far more self control than anyone in my family).

For those peanut butter fans, you don't taste an overwhelming peanut butter flavor in the final treat. However, it provides a subtle enhancement to typical caramel corn.

This is a Cooking Light recipe that I have modified slightly. However, it is only remotely good for you when you treat a serving size as 3/4 cup, which means 20 servings per batch. Good luck with that.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup popcorn
1/2 cup unsliced almonds (I also used macadamia nuts for a batch)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla (I also used maple extract for a batch)

Preheat oven to 250ºF. Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Pop popcorn using 2 Tbsp. oil. Add nuts to popped popcorn. Meanwhile, combine sugar, syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

Pour syrup mixture over popcorn, and stir to evenly coat popcorn. Spread evenly onto jelly roll pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking apart and devouring.

Note: I am out of corn syrup, so I'm going to use that to prevent me from making more of this in the immediate future.

October 4, 2011

Tomato Butter

I think the last tomatoes of our garden are now officially canned. We have some green tomatoes, but I'm not sure that I have the right combination of the perfect recipe, enough ambition and sufficient time to make those a priority right now. The last of the tomatoes met their fate as Tomato Butter, an idea I found on my new favorite blog Food in Jars. I followed the recipe from this blog, minus the lemon zest as I didn't have any fresh lemons on hand.

Tomato Butter

5 pounds tomatoes, peeled and pureed (approximately 10 cups)
1 1/3 cups honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

Put the tomato puree in a slow cooker. Cook on low, with the lid propped on a chopstick or wooden spoon laid across the rim of the cooker, for 12-18 hours, until the tomato puree has reduced by more than half. I actually cooked mine for probably 20+ hours, but I also did a slightly larger batch than this recipe.

When most the liquid has cooked off and the tomato puree is quite thick, add the honey, brown sugar, spices and lemon juice and zest. Transfer the butter into a blender or bowl of a food processor and carefully puree.

Fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start time when water has returned to a boil).

When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool on a towel-lined counter. When jars are cool, remove rings and test seals. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Note: I used Linskens Honey for this recipe. I think the quality of the honey shines through particularly with the large amount used in this recipe. Linskens Honey is produced locally by a friend and his family and is available at Woodman's Foods.

October 2, 2011

Broccoli Frittata

My husband brought me a magazine page (after one of our late-night/early-morning feedings for our son) and said he'd like to try a broccoli frittata. So, our breakfast this morning was a spinoff of the magazine's Spinach, Red Onion and Feta Frittata. It came together fairly quickly and tasted delicious. Although the recipe says it serves four, it was our breakfast for the two of us. (We need our energy with our newborn!)

Broccoli Frittata
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup cheese
Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over in ovenproof non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute broccoli, onion and garlic until desired tenderness is reached. Meanwhile, whisk eggs well, and add cheese and pepper. Add vegetables to egg mixture. Clean nonstick pan, and return all ingredients to the pan.

Stir gently with a spatula until you feel the eggs start to set at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, and place in oven under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until completely set. Serve warm or cold.

Cheddar-Beer Sauce

After a long but enjoyable pregnancy (my baby boy was two weeks overdue), I finally had my first sips of beer today. And they were delicious, as was the Cheddar-Beer Sauce I made for our steamed broccoli. Simple recipe that leaves you with more than half a bottle of beer to enjoy!

Cheddar-Beer Sauce
1/2 cup beer, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar
1/4 tsp. salt
Parsley to garnish

Whisk 1/4 cup beer and flour together. Combine remaining beer and milk in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Simmer, then add flour mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer two minutes. Stir in cheese, salt and parsley. Serve warm over steamed vegetables.