When our little apple tree gave us several bags of apples I wondered what I was going to do with them all. My husband suggested I use our dehydrator to make some apple chips, I thought “do we still have a dehydrator?” Sure enough we did, I dug it out of our basement and got to slicing up apples. It only took a matter of minutes and my dehydrator was full. In about 24 hours I had some yummy apple chips.After my first batch of apple chips, I decided to add some sugar and cinnamon to the apples and of course we loved them. My dehydrator only took about 5 large apples so I made several batches and now I think, I will continue as long as apples are in season.
When I was at the grocery store I priced dried apple slices and they are really quite expensive, three dollars for a small bag is pretty ridiculous when I know I can make my own for much less. I’m sure you’re wondering what you are going to do if you don’t have a dehydrator, simple use your oven on it’s lowest setting with the door slightly ajar.
Dried Apple Chips
Apples (any type you like)
Step 1: Wash apple well and dry
Step 2: Peel if you like, core and slice thin using a mandolin slicers or apple corer-peeler slicer. If you like to sweeten the apple slices then you can put the slices into a gallon size plastic bag then add sugar and cinnamon and close the bag and shake. If the slices are too thin then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture on top when the slices are on the rack. Store the dried apple chips in a air tight container.
One of my favorite recipes to make is this Creamy Spaghetti Casserole because it’s a crowd pleaser and it makes great leftovers too. The recipe is basically homemade spaghetti sauce over a cream cheese and sour cream mixture with spaghetti noodles on the bottom. The creamy middle keeps the sauce from saturating the noodles which makes this a great leftover meal since the sauce is not absorbed into the noodles. Any pasta noodle could be used here but I found that it’s easiest to spread the creamy mixture on the spaghetti noodles versus penne or some other pasta shape. The casserole can also be made ahead and then baked later. I like to use ground turkey in my spaghetti sauce but use what meat you like. Some of the time I will use whole wheat spaghetti noodles and my family never knows. If you are gluten free then use gluten free noodles. I hope you try this family favorite casserole and maybe it will become your families favorite too.
Creamy Spaghetti Casserole
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1 pound ground turkey
1 yellow onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic pressed
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. onion powder
fresh cracked pepper
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 pound dry spaghetti noodles cooked al dente
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces soften cream cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 ounce can sliced black olives (optional)
Step 1: In large skillet pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan over med-high heat and cook the chopped onion, garlic and meat until meat is not longer pink. Drain fat.
Step 2: Return skillet back on heat and sprinkle the dried herbs, onion salt & powder on the meat, stir well then add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, remainder olive oil and water in and stir well put lid on and let come to a boil. When it boils turn heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or half hour with lid askew.
Step 3: While the sauce is simmering mix the cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth.
Step 4: Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook your noodles according to directions on package.
Step 5: When noodles are done drain them and put into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan. Let them cool slightly then spread the cream cheese and sour cream mixture over the noodles. Pour the spaghetti sauce on. If using the olives drain them and sprinkle on top of sauce, then sprinkle cheeses on top. Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes, taking off the foil about 10 minutes before cook time is up. Let set for 5 minutes and serve by cutting into squares.
Scones, scones how I love thee! I crave scones on a regular basis but don’t make them as often as the craving hits because I do try to maintain my weight . The holidays are here and I love to use cranberries in my baking so I couldn’t resist putting these flavors together. Oranges are especially good this time of year and that bright citrus tastes goes so well with cranberries. These scones tasted really good and hit the spot for that craving I was having. These scones would make a great Christmas morning breakfast or brunch since you can make them ahead of time, up to the dough and cutting into the triangles stage, then put them into the freezer. When ready to bake just pre-heat oven and bake until golden brown, so simple! But don’t forget the glaze it’s a must have.
Also for a quick update on my life/blog/year, I haven’t posted a recipe in 6 months or so because I have been going through a divorce this whole year and with that comes a lot of changes. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and married for 25, and that status has changed to part time working mom and full time student. My desire for cooking has dwindled with my family not being traditional now. I haven’t had the desire to cook or blog or had much time to do either. I know that when my life slows down and I have more happiness than sadness in my life I will do the things I like to do again and just my writing this post says that happier days are climbing above 50/50 now :). I’m not writing these things to make you feel bad for me, it’s just “life” and “it is…what it is.” I’ve been learning and growing much more than I thought possible this year and that much growth is a tad bit painful, like when you are a kid and your legs hurt from growing pains. I have no doubt that “better things are ahead”(sorry for all the trite sayings here, but they seem appropriate) and I’m looking forward to that. As for my schooling in case you are interested, I am going to school to become an occupational therapy assistant. I’m very excited about this new career path and can’t wait to help others in this way, I hope it really suits my desire for work fulfillment.
I hope that everyone enjoys the holidays with family and friends as I will be doing. I may have a few more recipes to post on here since I will be out of school for 6 weeks! Enjoy life it passes much to quickly.
Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 orange and juice
1 cup half and half
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into chunks
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
Step 1: Put lemon juice in 1-cup measuring cup, pour in half and half to 1-cup mark, and let stand a few minutes to make soured cream. Put the cranberries in the juice from the orange to plump them up.
Step 2: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Step 3: In a food processor put cold butter cut into chunks, then flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and turn on until the butter is in small beads.
Step 4: Add egg and vanilla and turn on food processor then add soured milk until the dough forms into a ball.
Step 5: Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the drained cranberries and white chocolate.
Roll dough out into a circle and cut with a pizza cutter like a pie. Put the scones onto the baking pan and pop into freezer for about 1/2 hour or over night (if you put in the freezer over night make sure they are covered with something like foil or plastic wrap)
Step 6: Bake until golden brown 15-20 minutes if straight from the freezer. If you froze the scones over night the bake time will be 20 minutes.
Step 7: When scones are down let them cool on the baking sheet while you mix the glaze up. Take 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. orange zest, and 1 T. orange juice, mix together with spoon or fork to make a glaze. If the glaze is too thick add a little more orange juice if it’s too think then add some more powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over the scones let cool and enjoy.