Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Red Candy Apples

This was the first time I tried this. It was totally out of desperation. It was the morning of my son's preschool Halloween party. I had NO candy. Just a bunch of leftover apples. I looked this up online and found I had everything. I held my breath as I started. I have heard horror stories. Amazingly enough there were no incidents. I think the trick is to be patient, don't try to rush it! Another important note: you need a candy thermometer, it's a must with this.

8-10 apples washed dried and stemmed
  1. Corn syrup (1/2 cup)
    • Use light corn syrup if you want to color your coating.
  2. Sugar (2 cups)
  3. Water (3/4 cup)
  4. Food coloring (if desired), (1/2 tsp)
Prep: Butter a cookie sheet. Put sticks in the bottom of your apples.

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Start to heat over medium-high heat, stay on the lower side of medium. Stir to dissolve sugar. You want all the sugar to dissolve before it starts to boil.

Once it's dissolved bring to a low boil. Keep it at the same heat, it will continue to get hotter. DO NO STIR!! Just let it go by itself. I kept coming back to make sure it wasn't morphing into a red monster or boiling all over my stove, it was fine.

Keep an eye on your thermometer and take the candy to 290 that's a soft crunch stage. Once it gets there take the candy off the heat and roll your apples around to coat and set on the cookie sheet to cool. They are ready to eat in just a couple minutes. Seriously they are beautiful and look impressive. Good luck!

*If you want to take it up one, right after you roll in hot candy you can roll the apples in nuts, candy, crunched up cookies, really anything that you think would taste good with your apple.
Recipe found on

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner in a Pumpkin

This is a seasonal favorite in our house. Every October we break it out. Steve loves it. The meat mixture is infused with the taste of the pumpkin while it cooks in the oven. So fun and so good. My only beef is the water chestnuts. I wish I could think of something else to use, just for a little variety. I don't mind them but something else might be fun too, what do you think?

1 large pumpkin large enough to fit the following:
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef, cooked
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1- 4oz can mushrooms (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
2 cups cooked rice
1- 8oz can sliced water chestnuts

Clean out your pumpkin and move your oven rack down. Start the rice. Heat a skillet and saute onion for 5 minutes and brown the beef. Combine cooked meat with all other ingredients and mix well, let heat through and fill up your pumpkin. Bake at 375 30 mins to 1 hour.

* The longer this cooks the softer the pumpkin will get. I like it a little soft but not to where it falls apart. I'm not gonna lie I've had gooey pumpkin on the bottom of my oven before so put it on a cookie sheet to bake!

Potato Bacon Soup

I have never been a huge fan of the potato soup but this one I liked. It may have had something to do with using home grown taters. It was super easy and there was just enough leftover for Steve's lunch.

1 large potato grated (the original recipe called for frozen hash browns)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c milk
1 small onion finely chopped
5 slices bacon
1-2 c cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix soup, milk, and water in a pot. Add has browns and onions. Just a side note, when this starts to warm it smells amazing. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Cook the bacon to almost burnt. Drain and crumble into small pieces. Serve soup topped with cheese and bacon crumbles. Super yummy! yummy

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Quesadilla

I know, I know it sounds gross. It even sounds gross to me, but nonetheless, this is an MD original with my son being my inspiration. Here is the story: I rarely buy bread form the store, I make my own. Needless to say it's never around for more than a day and half, kind of hard to keep up. So when we are in a bind for some carbs we turn to tortillas. It's basically the same thing right? My son is not a fan of cheese (I know, how is this possible, I have even questioned where he came from). So he doesn't like the quesadillas I make the other kids, I make it with peanut butter. He always likes a little jam on the side for dipping. Try it out maybe you'll be surprised, Ive yet to be so adventurous.

1 whole wheat tortilla (white will do fine too)
peanut butter
jam (we like strawberry)

Heat a skillet big enough for your tortilla to lay flat over medium heat. Butter one side of the tortilla. Place butter side down in the skillet. CAREFULLY apply peanut butter to half of the tortilla. I always get spooked and end up dolloping, it works fine cause it's gets gooey anyway. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Then flip the none peanut butter half over the peanut butter and check to make sure it's to the desired crunchy and golden-ness. Serve it up on a plate with some jam for dipping on the side.

*A word of caution, the peanut butter will be a little warm so proceed carefully :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

De-lish Biscuits

Last night we had breakfast for dinner. Breakfast food has to be one of my favorite types of food. Maybe it's because a lot of it is hard to mess up. Like pancakes, eggs and toast... all pretty easy. Believe it or not these biscuits are easy too. I have tried many times to make fantastic biscuits and every time I have failed. I've made good ones but never fantastic... until last night, SUCCESS! The recipe is courtesy of my good friend Alton Brown and the Food Network website.

Southern Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

*Try putting a little homemade strawberry jam on a warm one, you will think you're in heaven.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hawaiian Haycstacks

This is a Utah staple. My mom was here visiting and saw this on the school lunch menu, she said "Hawaiian Haystacks?!" Like what the heck? I was introduced to this delicacy my freshman year at USU, thanks to my roomie, Kim. I have seen this done a million different ways but of course I like mine the best. It just so happens it's Kim's way too.

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped (or you can use canned chicken, blah)
1 1/2 c rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 large tomato chopped
1 can olives sliced
2 c cheese (cheddar is my favorite)
1 can pineapple tidbits drained
1 bag chow mien noodles

Cook rice in 3 cups boiling water. You may want to add a bullion cube for a little extra flavor (that's a secret of mine so hush!). Cook on low for 20 mins, perfect rice 99% of the time. Mix the cream of chicken soup with a can of milk or water. Bring to a simmer. Now, to assemble (Steve always gets confused at this part): Chow mien noodles, rice, chicken, cheese, gravy, then the toppings like the olives, tomatoes, and pineapple. There are a bunch of other things you could use as toppings. Feel free to suggest some, I'm always up for something new.

*This makes GREAT leftovers, especially for lunch ;)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Candied Butternut Squash

I am a big fan of vegetables and all sorts of things that are good for you. However, I HATE sweet potatoes. They are full of great vitamins and such. Since I always miss out on the candied yams and sweet potato casserole I decided to make it out of butternut squash. It's just a better flavor for me. This one Steve really liked, I think it may have to do with the brown sugar.

  • 1 2 1/4-pound butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place squash in 9x12-inch glass baking dish. Drizzle with butter; toss to coat. Blend sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cloves in small bowl; mix into squash. Bake until squash is tender and syrup bubbles thickly in dish, stirring gently every 15 minutes, about 50 minutes total.