Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Strudel Bread

Apples are coming back in season (or maybe they are just on sale where I live). The other day, Hubby bought a few Granny Smiths. I knew immediately that I wanted to make or bake SOMETHING with these apples. There wasn't enough for a pie, so that was out of the question for now. I began my search for recipes online. I think I must have found what I was looking for from my Better Homes and Gardens email list. I was looking at a bunch of their Fall recipes when I found one for Apple Strudel Bread. I followed the recipe exactly, except for a few minor changes.
First, I used all purpose flour instead of bread flour because it's what I have. It worked just fine.
Next, I used only 2 apples. I don't think it added up to the 3 cups the recipe asked for, but it worked well because..
Lastly, I only rolled out the dough to 17x14 inches because that's how big my largest cutting board is.
This bread is so delicious! A whole (huge) loaf has lasted me and the hubby several days, and I can safely say that I am not tired of it yet. Usuallu having something that many days straight will get me tired of it. Not this. I am not a big raisin fan, but I added them in anyways, and let me tell you that all of the lovely filling components go so well together with the lovely sweet yeast bread.
Oh, and that yeast bread. It's made in the bread machine! How much easier could that be?? You can certainly make it by hand, no doubt about that. But I love all of the free time this gave me.

Apple Strudel Bread
(recipe slightly adapted from

3/4 c. milk
1/3 c. butter, cut up
1 egg
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 tbl. butter, softened
2 med-large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. raisins
4 tsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
optional glaze (I didn't think it was necessary): 3/4 c. powdered sugar + 1/4 tsp. vanilla + milk

Add the first seven ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle. When the cycle is over, punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Line a large cookie sheet or baking dish with foil. (I didn't line my cookie sheet with foil, and ended up with that delicious brown sugar goo all over the bottom of my oven.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle (17x14 worked for me, but 24x12 would give you a bigger loaf). Brush with the softened butter.
To make the filling, mix together the apples, brown sugar, raisins, flour and cinnamon. Spoon the filling on the middle third of the dough, lengthwise. Another option is to shingle the apple slices all the way across and drizzle the sauce and raisins over that. Make sure to leave about 2 inches on either side so it can be sealed up.
Roll the whole thing up like you are making cinnamon rolls. I ended up just folding the top third over the apples, then the bottom third of the dough over that. Pinch all of the ends and place on your baking sheet/pan. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Mix together the glaze ingredients if desired. The amount of milk is up to you and how thin or thick you want the glaze to be. Drizzle over the bread once cooled.
Slice up and enjoy!!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Taco Seasoning

My husband made guac several days ago, and to eat guac, one uses tortilla chips. Well, now we are left with half a bag of tortilla chips. What is a person to do? The first thing I thought of was taco salad. I haven't had it in a while, but the parts list is pretty simple and flexible. We used tortilla chips, kidney beans, romaine lettuce, a mexican salad dressing, sauteed onions and bell peppers, sour cream and of course, ground beef.
The ground beef needed to be seasoned, that much was certain. So while scouring the internet yesterday for taco salad recipes to see if there were any parts I missed, I noticed several used taco seasoning packets. After making my own ranch dressing mix, I knew there had to be a homemade version that would be both delicious and wallet friendly.
I finally found one with superb ratings here. Let me just say right here that I really like (formerly partially because of ratings that other people like me post. Lots of people will post about any changes they made, or if the recipe was just all around horrible. I know not everybody has the same tastes, but when 20 people all comment saying they added one thing, you have to go with it. :)
I took my taco seasoning recipe to the kitchen and scaled it down to 1/4 of the original. I left all of the ratios the same except using 2 teaspoons of cumin because I was far too lazy to figure out what a quarter of 3 tablespoons was, and try to measure it with standard measuring spoons. It was still delicious, I assure you.
So, if you are one of those people that uses a lot of taco seasoning, feel free to make the whole recipe. I didn't want to use the last of the paprika in the house, so I scaled it down. Either way, it's tasty.
I feel that how much you add to ground meat is up to you too, I did about a teaspoon to almost a pound of ground beef and it was just perfect for us. You may like it kicked up a bit more. Whatever makes you happy.

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon     4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup

Taco Seasoning
recipe from

1/2 tbl. paprika
1/2 tbl. dried onion flakes (ground down in a mortar and pestel
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tbl. (about 3/4 tsp) garlic powder
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
heaping 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. coriander

Combine all of the ingredients and add as much or as little as prefered to the ground meat of your choice.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Super Easy Potato Wedges

This recipe is oh so simple to throw together. Everyone that has come over and tried them absolutely loves them. Crispy on the outside, moist and soft on the inside. And what could be easier than just a few ingredients and a few steps?
These potato wedges can be seasoned with whatever flavors you like. It's really fun to make each potato a different flavor.
If you are only using a couple potatos, then the toaster oven makes the job even easier. I haven't tried putting any more than 2 potatoes worth of wedges in the toaster oven because you don't want the wedges to touch while baking, and my toaster oven baking pan isn't big enough for any more.
There is no frying involved, and no par-boiling the potatoes or what-have-you. Just wash, slice, mix and bake. Easy cheesy! (You could top them with some shredded cheese fresh out of the oven if you like!)

Super Easy Potato Wedges (1 potato per person)
recipe inspired by and adapted from Ina Garten

1 medium to large Russet potato per person serving
about 1 tbl. olive oil (or veggie oil) per potato
1-2 tsp desired seasonings per potato(rosemary & garlic is our favorite, but cajun is also good. It's really whatever flavors you like)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Thoroughly wash your potatoes- they do grow in dirt after all. Slice them in half lengthwise and then slice each half lengthwise again into either thirds or quarters depending on how big the potato is. I like them to be about 3/4 inch thick. Thinner will cook faster and be crispier, while thicker will be more moist in the middle.
Put the potatoes in a bowl and drizzle over the oil and seasonings. Move everything around with your hands to ensure that every part of every wedge is covered. The oil you put in here is going to be what's keeping them from sticking to the pan. If you don't think there is enough oil or seasoning, just add more at this point.
Lay the wedges out on a baking sheet with cut sides down and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip each of them to their other cut side and bake another 10 t0 15 minutes or until they are as cooked as you prefer.
 Serve warm with something to dip them in. Ranch would be good, but I like plain old ketchup. Yum!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Mozzarella Stuffed Jalapenos

Hubby and I decided this year to try growing a variety of hot pepper plants. Instead of just the usual bell peppers and jalapeno. The pepper plants were actually part of the reason I started this blog. I wanted to document my pepper creations. And with 6 different peppers, I was hoping for some fun creations!
Well, 2 of the plants aren't producing quite like I had hoped for. Never the less, our jalapeno plant is packed full of peppers. That's where this oh so simple idea came from!!
Be careful when slicing the peppers in half and scooping ou the seeds and membrane. I used to not think much of it- not with jalapenos, then I reiceved all of the warning I will ever need. A small squirt from the pepper got into my eye. I know what pepper spray must feel like, ladies and gentleman, and it is NO GOOD! ( I plan to use gloves and safety glasses when all of my cayenne peppers are ready!)
Since this recipe is really more of a guideline, I don't have any specific measurements. Fell free to doll it up as you wish.

Mozzarella Stuffed Jalapenos

fresh jalapenos
mozzarella cheese sticks (or a small block of mozzarella)
bread crumbs (I used plain, but seasoned would be tasty)

Wash the jalapenos and slice them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out all of the insides- its those seeds and membrane that make the pepper hot! Be careful not to flatten out the jalapeno, we need it's shape to stuff it. You can cut the top part off if you want, just to make sure all of the hot part is gone (I didn't cut the top off, so mine were pretty hot).
Take your chees stick and slice it into small strips that will fit into the jalapeno. Sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top- as much as you like. Put the peppers on a foil lined baking sheet (easy clean up!) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or so, until the cheese has begun melting and the bread crumbs are sufficiently browned. Keep an eye on these, they will go quickly! Enjoy!
Note: I used my toaster oven for this and it worked PERFECTLY for something so small!

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