Applesauce Pancakes

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I have a series of apple related posts, after receiving a giant bag of apples from my grandma, I have made tons of applely treats. My daughters Sasha loves pancakes and applesauce, and I thought she would be delighted if I combined the two. Needless to say, she was not disappointed. These are a perfect fall breakfast, we paired our pancakes with a sausage patty.

APPLE PANCAKES
2 c AP Flour
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 c milk
1 single serving container of non sweetened applesauce
1/4 c butter, melted

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine eggs, milk, applesauce, and butter; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown.

APPLE TOPPING
2 T butter
3-4 apples, pealed and sliced thinly
1/8 c brown sugar
2 T half and half

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Simmer apples and sugar in butter until apples are soft and carameled colored. Stir in half and half. Serve warm over pancakes. ENJOY!

My other pancake recipes
Banana Walnut Cornmeal Pancakes
Biggest Loser Blueberry Pancakes

My other apple recipes:
Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters

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I have made regular ole glazed doughnuts, which turned out wonderfully. Honestly, there is nothing like eating a doughnut that is still warm. Making yeast doughnuts are not something you can whip-up on a whim however,  you need to wait for them to raise before you can fry them. All the waiting is well worth it, I promise.

The other weekend we were low on grocery supplies, and I was craving something doughnutty. I still have a small surplus of apples from my great grandma’s tree that needed to be used. Like a light bulb going off in my head it came to me, APPLE FRITTERS!

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This fall at the farmer’s market  I had an apple fritter that was as large as my head. It was a perfect combination of crispy outside and soft inside. It was delicious. I have never had homemade apple fritters before and wondered how difficult it would be to make at home. I found my recipe at the appropriately named The Picky Apple blog, after searching for a recipe that included chopped apples, not fried apple rings. I did try to make an apple fritter as big as my head, like the ones at the farmer’s market. I failed miserably. The outside was super crunchy (which I like), but the inside was not cooked. I did not have enough oil to adequately fill my dutch oven to fry such a giant fritter. I settled with doughnut hole size fritters, and enjoyed the applely deliciousness. These are so easy to make. You must try this recipe!

Head on over to The Picky Apple get the recipe. ENJOY (I know I did)!

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna Rolls with a Pesto Tomato Sauce

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WOW that title is a mouthful, at least it is a tasty one! My husband raved over these little lasagna rolls. In fact, he said if I ever openned a restaurant I would HAVE to have these on the menu. What a great compliment for a dinner I threw together with stuff in the fridge.

Those of you who know me and/or have been following my posts know that I LOVE pesto. I could honestly just eat it right off the spoon (and have). Yum! I hope to someday have a Cuisinart food processor where I can make all sorts of great pestos, right now the jarred-grocery store kind works wonderfully. I had a partially used jar of pesto in the fridge and could not let it go to waste. Pesto was the inspiration for these lasagna rolls. I also had a partial jar of marinara sauce and a couple handfuls of baby spinach in the fridge that needed to be used. A little spicy Italian sausage in the freezer and I had the workings for a tasty sounding lasagna.

Let me just say that adding pesto to your jarred tomato sauce really freshens it up. The garlic and basil really complement the tomatoey flavor of a marinara. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

Sausage and Spinach Lasagna Rolls

1 lb spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
3 c mozzarella cheese
1 10 oz jar Pesto
1 28 oz jar Marinara sauce
couple handfuls Baby Spinach
1 package “boil” Lasagna noodles
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Fill large pot with water, bring to boil. Salt water and add lasagna noodles, cook to package directions. Drain (reserving 1 c liquid), and rinse in cool water. Separate noodles on counter or cookie sheet, so they don’t stick together. Heat skillet over medium heat and brown sausage, breaking up large chunks, drain. Grease 9 x 9 baking dish.

Mix together pesto and marinara. Add 1/2 c sauce to bottom of baking dish. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, 1 c mozzarella, spinach, and reserved noodle liquid.

Assemble rolls:

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Spread ricotta mixture on lasagna noodle.

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Top with some browned sausage. Roll.

Place seam-side down in pan. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Top with remaining sauce mixture and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil, bake 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese browns.  ENJOY!

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Cottage Pie

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Have you ever heard of a Cottage Pie before? I hadn’t. I have always called this dish Shepherd’s Pie regardless of the meat used. Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, something I am not a fan of. I can say “I do not like lamb” because I have given it many tries. I think ground lamb (with spices and herbs mixed in) is tolerable, but the thought of lamb chops or leg or lamb make my stomach turn.

At Easter I ate at a brunch buffet with my in-laws. As I was eyeing all the lovely food options, I saw a man (actually a teenage boy) standing at the carving station with a beautiful piece of meat in front of him. I thought to myself “Wow that looks like some good  prime rib, I will have that for lunch.” I waited in line, and as I held my plate up to him I said “I will take a couple pieces of prime rib.” He slapped the meat on my plate without a word.  I returned to the table and eagerly cut into my “prime rib”.  I took one bite and almost regurgitated it all over the table. I leaned over to my husband and said “DO NOT get the prime rib, I think there is something wrong with it.” He took a bite of mine and agreed it had a funny flavor. After awhile we heard my husband’s uncle and cousin talking about the lamb –my stomach turned even more. That experience has tainted my perception of lamb, because lamb tastes nothing like prime rib.

I digress. Since I do not like lamb I could not called this dish Shepherd’s Pie, it most certainly is a Cottage Pie made with ground beef. It is tasty. I found my recipe on a really cool website called Cooking for Engineers. They lay out their recipes in a unique manner, for those who like to cook and have an analytical mind. Head over there and check out this recipe for Cottage Pie.

Great looking recipes from blogs I read:

Family Pleasin’ Shepherd’s Pie from Picky Palate

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie from Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Easy Shepherd’s Pie from Simply Recipes

Cottage Pie from What Geeks Eat

My recipes:

Rachael Ray’s Shepherd’s Pie Redo

Where’s the Chicken? Noodle Soup

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I love the fall and winter, cooler temperatures mean I can heat up my house by cooking up a storm in the kitchen. A mug of soup and fresh baked bread are two of my favorite cold weather foods. No meat, no problem. I added boiled potatoes to this soup to make it a little more filling since there wasn’t any meat in the soup. ENJOY!

WHERE’S THE CHICKEN? NOODLE SOUP

2 T Olive Oil
3 Stalks Celery chopped (greens included)
3 Carrots, pealed and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 large potatoes, pealed and cubed
8 c chicken or veggie stock
1 1/2 -2 c Egg Noodles
Pinch of Thyme
Salt to taste

Place potatoes in large pot, cover with cold water, and salt water accordingly. Boil potatoes until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat oil in Dutch oven, sautee celery, carrots and onion until tender. Add stock and bring to boil. Add egg noodles and boil until tender. Drain potatoes and add to Dutch oven . Salt to taste, add in thyme. Simmer.

Some great looking soup recipes from blogs I read:

Beef Barley Soup from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

Turkey Soup from Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Vegetarian Lentil Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen

My soup recipes:

Tortellini Soup

Old-Time Beef Stew

Broccoli Cheese Soup –Most popular

Chicken Noodle and Chunky Potato

Craft Apron

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At the end of October my oldest niece O celebrated her 4th birthday. O loves to paint using watercolors, and she is really good at it. I thought I would make her a little art/craft apron to protect her clothes. I did not use a pattern for this apron, and completely improvised everything. For the pocket “flower pot” I ironed on a stabilizer to the back of the yellow fabric, to give it more structure. When making the flowers I did whatever came to me. I attached them to the green fabric by using stitch witchery. I also added a decorative stitch to the flowers. I hope O enjoys her new apron and gets lots of use out of it. It was fun to make and watch it come together.

Here is a link to free patterns and tutorials for making your own apron.

These are links from blogs I currently read that offer apron tutorials:

Retro Cocktail Apron at Craft Stylish

Craft Apron at Creative Little Daisy

A Walk in the Park Apron at Craft Leftovers


Focaccia Bread

As the weather gets cooler I begin to crave hearty foods, like homemade soups and breads. Awhile back I made Old-Time Beef Stew and with it I served some homemade focaccia bread. Sasha, now 2 1/2 loves to help in the kitchen, and I thought this focaccia would be the perfect opportunity for her to help.

I used Michael Chiarello’s Potato Foccacia recipe for the dough, and instead of topping it with potatoes I used dried thyme, rosemary and cheddar cheese. It was great for dunking into our stew.

For the Dough:

1 envelope active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm whole milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, preferably gray salt

Combine the yeast, sugar, and milk in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1/2 cup of the flour. Stir well, cover with a towel, and let rest in a warm place for 25 minutes.

Mix in the olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour, until well incorporated. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough adheres to the hook. It should remain soft and slightly sticky. Continue mixing for about 6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Remove from the bowl, shape the dough into a ball, flatten slightly, and put into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and put in a warm place for about 1 hour, to let the dough rise until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a baking sheet.

Lightly flour the dough and punch it down. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 10 inches. Brush off any excess flour and transfer to the oiled baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

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Dimple the dough by poking your fingers into it. Add dried herbs and cheese.

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Please don’t lick your fingers until you are completely done dimpling the dough!

Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown and the bread is crisp on the bottom. Let cool in the pan to room temperature. Cut into squares, “fingers,” or triangles to serve.

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Here Sasha is enjoying all her hard work.