Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caramel Apple Strata

Don't know what I had planned to post this week, but this recipe just moved itself to the top of the list. My husband's Sunday School class teases me that they are my guinea pigs. I do often try new things on them, but they haven't complained yet. I was concerned that this recipe would be overly sweet, but it turned out wonderful! I has some sweetness, but not the caramel apple sweetness I had envisioned. This would be great for a holiday brunch!

Caramel Apple Strata

2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 large apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice
1 loaf (1 lb) day-old cinnamon bread
1/2 cup chopped pecans
10 eggs
1 cup 2% milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside. [CAUTION: This heated mixture is extremely hot and because of the sugar content will stick and burn badly.]

In a small bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar and pie spice. Arrange half of the bread slices in a greased 13"x9" baking dish. Spoon apples over bread; drizzle with half of the caramel sauce. Sprinkle with pecans; top with remaining bread.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla. Pour over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining caramel sauce.

Remove strata from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. (I cut recipe in half since most of our kids were out for Thanksiving break. I baked it in an 8x8 pan for 30-35 minutes.)

In a small microwave-safe dish, microwave reserved sauce, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Drizzle over strata.

Photo and recipe from Taste of Home simple & delicious magazine August/September 2010 edition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankgiving Cookies

This would be a great little "project" to do with your kids over the holiday. I just received this in an email today and think we will try to do it with the kids on Thanksgiving Day.

Click here to get recipe. I am going to try using orange Starburst candies cut in quarters instead of mini Chiclets since they will be hard to find.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spanish Rice Bake

This week's recipe come by way of one of our readers! Thanks, M! She says her family doesn't typically like Spanish Rice, but even her picky eater ate this dish.

Spanish Rice Bake

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can canned tomatoes
1 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup chile sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (can substitute chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess fat and transfer beef to a large pot over medium low heat.. Stir in the onion, green bell pepper, tomatoes, water, rice, chile sauce, salt, brown sugar, cumin, Worcestershire sauce and ground black pepper.

3. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then transport this to a 2-quart casserole dish. Press down firmly and sprinkle with the shredded Cheddar cheese.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Photo & recipe from As always with recipes from this site, you may want to read the reviews to see what others thought and to consider any changes they made to the recipe.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amish Sugar Cookies

Without exaggerating, these are by far the best cookies in the world! Okay, maybe not THE best, but at least one of the best. These cookies are unbelievably moist (even after freezing them without icing) and have a wonderful flavor probably because of the Brown Butter Icing -- mmmm! (I recently left a couple out overnight. Placed them in a resealable bag for a few hours and they were moist again! Unbelievable.)

I lothe making cookies (except no-bake cookies cuz they are easy-peasy), but if I do make cookies these are some that I'll actually put forth the effort to make. I will give you fair warning . . . a whole batch makes almost 7 dozen! That's good and bad. If you make a whole batch, you'll have PLENTY of cookies, but if you make a whole batch, you'll eat PLENTY of cookies! I've only made a whole batch twice. I usually only make a half batch which I will give you the breakdown for at the end.

Amish Sugar Cookies

2 c margarine
4 c brown sugar
6 large eggs
2 Tbs vanilla
1 c milk
1 tsp salt
8 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder

1. Using a LARGE bowl, cream sugar and margarine thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk.

2. Drop cookie dough on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes. *I use a medium cookie scoop which is approximately 1 1/2 Tbs. and makes nice size cookies. [Key to good cookie: needs to be slightly brown all over.]

Yield: approximately 7 dozen large cookies

Brown Butter Icing

Melt 1/2 c butter in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until butter stops bubbling and is nut brown in color. Do not scorch! Combine with 2 c powdered sugar and 2 to 4 Tbs boiling water; beat until smooth and of good spreading consistancy. Makes enough to frost 5 dozen cookies. (I usually make 1 1/2 recipes for full recipe of cookies.)

Half recipe: Amish Sugar Cookies

1 c margarine
2 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Follow same directions above for full recipe. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen large cookies

Note: I recently learned that if you use butter instead of margarine in a recipe, the cookie will spread out more while cooking.

Recipe given to me by Cheryl Dunlap.