Everyday recipes, life and craziness from Jen's house.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Applesauce in the Crock Pot

JP and I made applesauce today in the large crock pot. I love my crock pot. See the previous post on my love/hate relationship I have my my crock pots. It's an all day affair and Jacob loves it. There's an easy way to make it, and a hard way. The hard way isn't so hard, but of course, we had to do it the hard way, which is a little messier than the easy way. I'll give directions for both.

Crock Pot Applesauce (the Easy Way)

6 pounds of apples
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla

Core, peel and quarter the apples. Place in a large crock pot. Sprinkle the apples with vanilla and then sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours. Every 1-2 hours, stir the apples. When the apples are tender after 6-8 hours, mash with a potato masher for a chunky applesauce. For a smooth applesauce, use a food mill.

This applesauce has no added sugar, so you may find it a little tart. You can add sugar or honey to taste, if needed. Store the applesauce in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the applesauce in small freezer containers and thaw when needed.

Crock Pot Applesauce (The hard way)

6 lbs. apples (I used Jonathan)
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla

Quarter the apples and place them in a large crock pot (seeds, skin and all!) Sprinkle the vanilla over the apples and top with cinnamon. Cook on high for 6-8 hours, stirring every 1-2 hours. When the apples are tender, spoon the cooked apples into a food mill and grind, scooping out the seeds and skin occasionally. After the apples have been run through the food mill, store in the refrigerator, or the freezer, depending on your needs.

Warm applesauce and ice cream!  YUM!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crock Pot Roast

Windy Poplars
I have a love/hate relationship with my crock pot.  Well, my crock pots.  I have 3.  I love that I can just throw ingredients in the crock pot and forget about it.  But I hate that if I don't plan it right, it takes a long time to cook.  I love that I can have serve hot appitizers and they stay warm (as long as I leave the crock pot turned on/plugged in.)  But I hate that meat becomes so overcooked that it shreds when I try and cut it....which is a good thing for some recipes, but not so good for others.  I love that I can throw in apples and it a few hours, I have applesauce.  I love that during the summer, I don't have to turn on the oven, but I hate that when a crock pot is on for many hours, it still heats up my kitchen.  I could go on and on, but I guess that over all, I love my crock pot...  ok, crock pots.

I made a roast in the crock pot a few days ago.  It's yummy, it's easy, it's wholesome, and the whole family loved it.

Crock Pot Roast
1 3-4 pound roast (any kind...I usually buy the cheapest roast I can find)

1 packet Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing mix

2 T. dry Ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 c. flour
1 beef bullion cube, crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed

1-1/2 c. water
1 c. white wine
1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained

4-5 potatoes, peeled and quartered

4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/3rds
1 onion, cut into 1/8ths, or 5-6 pearl onions, peeled
1/2 cabbage, cored and cut into 2 pieces (optional)

Spray the crock pot with non stick cooking spray.  Trim the roast of excess fat and place in crock pot.  Mix the Italian and Ranch mixes together with the flour, bullion cube, onion and garlic.  Add the water, wine and crushed tomatoes.  Mix well.  Pour over the roast.

Cook on medium for 4-5 hours.

Remove the roast from the crock pot.  Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage (if using) to the liquid.  Place the roast on top of the veggies.  Cook on high 3-4 hours, or until fork tender.  Remove the roast and slice into pieces.  Serve with the cooked veggies and the "gravy."  Enjoy~

Review:  JP told me that the roast was the best roast ever.  Enough said.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tator Tot Casserole

I love Tater Tot Casserole.  It is the ultimate comfort food for me.  It's easy to make and it's yummy!  My mum had gotten the original recipe in a recipe exchange 35 years ago.  I've changed it up a little bit and have made it a little healthier.  The first few times I made it for Jeff many moons ago, I didn't use corn in the TTC (we're a family of abbreviations!  TTC = Tater Tot Casserole.) but served corn with the meal and Jeff suggested to add it to the casserole.  I've made TTC with corn ever since!

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound ground beef (I use 97%)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use Campbell's Healthy Choice)
1 can corn, well drained
5 slices of American cheese
68 Tater Tots

Preheat the oven to 325*.

In a non-stick pan, brown the hamburger with the garlic and onion.  Cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent.  Drain.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix well.  Spread the beef mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x9 inch pan.  

Place the slices of cheese on top of the ground beef.  Place four slices close together and fold the 5th slice into 4 long rectangles.  Fit those pieces around the empty edges.

In a small bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup and drained corn together.  Spread on top of the sliced cheese.

Arrange the Tater Tots on top of the corn mixture.

Bake 45 minutes at 325*.  The TTC should be bubbly.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

So here it is, September 16...and I haven't blogged since August!  Ack!  Well, school has started and I am beyond busy.  I am taking two classes this semester (my LAST TWO CLASSES!) along with teaching two classes.  My students are seniors in college and I am teaching them how to teach Language Arts in elementary school.  Fun!  :)  I love teaching my students...they are like little sponges soaking up all I have to say about reading, writing, and the 4 other areas of language arts.  Do you know the components of Language Arts?  I've given you two...can you come up with 4 other components?  No cheating! (But they're listed at the bottom on this post!)

So onto Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad.  I love it.  Several years (more like 15 years ago) ago I got a recipe booklet from L.L. Bean.  They had 6 or 8 recipes on a foldout like booklet from employees.  One of them was for a Broccoli Salad.  The original salad contained a pound of bacon, a cup of mayo and 2 cups of cheddar cheese.  I've changed the recipe (haha, no surprise there!)

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

1 medium-sized broccoli bunch, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
2 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c. shredded cheddar (I used 2%)
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. raisins
1/3 c. craisins

1/3 c. mayo (I used lite Hellman's)
1/3 c. plain, fat free yogurt
1/3 c. Splenda
1/3 c. white vinegar

In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower and broccoli pieces.  Add the onion, bacon, cheddar, sunflower seeds, raisins and craisins.  In a small bowl, mix the mayo, yogurt, Splenda and vinegar together.  Whisk well.  Pour the dressing over the broccoli and cauliflower mixture.  Mix well and refrigerate.  Stir before serving.

You can easily double this recipe.  I've scaled this recipe down because JP and I are the only ones who like the salad...using a whole cauliflower and 2 heads of broccoli make a LOT of salad!  Feel free to use sugar or honey instead of the Splenda and regular mayo instead of the lite.  Also, you can use all raisins or all craisins...or whatever you like! 


Language Arts consists of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, visual representation