Meg’s Cooking Corner

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cooking with Fall Apples

Aah, the first crisp apples of Fall. They are the only thing that help me get over losing the summer fruits. Fall is my favorite time to bake. Apples and cinnamon and pumpkin, oh my! And yes, I did notice that I am posting more dessert recipes than main dish recipes. I just can't help it. I get excited every time I have an excuse to make a dessert whereas I have to do main dishes every day. The boys picked our apple tree clean of apples last week so we were excited to use them in some recipes.

This recipe for apple dumplings is from The Pioneer Woman website. This is hands down my favorite cooking site. She is so hilarious and shows descriptive step by step pictures of making the recipes. You will probably never visit my cooking blog again after seeing hers, but it's so fun I still need to share it with you! We made these dumplings last week and were in heaven. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 9x9 pan instead. Later I wished I had made the whole recipe because I loved them so much. I didn't have any leftovers to hide and eat after the kids went to bed. Oh well, next time, because I will be making these again soon!

Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
cinnamon
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel, core and cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top. Bask in the praise from your family and friends!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Hot Chocolate" Brownies in a Mug

Brownies are the only dessert I make where I have to stop myself from licking all the batter. I am very selfish with my brownies, only sharing a few with the boys and gobbling up the rest after they are in bed. I curl up on the couch with my warm brownie in a bowl, topped with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate syrup. Pure chocolate bliss. Luckily for my boys, the Crock Pot Lady blog had this fun recipe for making brownies in mugs in a crock pot. Of course it’s easy to make brownies in the oven, but this is novel and fun! We made these brownies for a family movie night last week. It was hard for me to share so much with them, but my boys were so excited and LOVED eating their "hot chocolate" brownies. And sharing is good!
Brownies in a Mug
-mugs (I fit 4-5 mugs inside of a 6 quart crockpot. Don't pick fancy mugs--use ones that you would throw in the dishwasher or heat up in the microwave.)
-your favorite brownie mix and ingredients per box instructions
-whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream
-chocolate syrup and/or sprinkles or mini m&m's (optional)

Mix up the brownie mix according to the directions listed on the package. Spray the mugs with cooking spray. Spoon brownie mix into each mug, filling it about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way. Put the mugs in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 ½ hours.

Cook time depends on what brownie mix you use, just check about every half hour after 2 hours. You will know they are fully cooked when they have risen, pulled away at the sides and you can insert a knife and pull it back out clean. Unplug the crockpot, and let the mugs sit with the lid off. They will be HOT. Leave them alone for a bit before removing. When the mug is coolish to the touch, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and optional toppings.

Sanity Savers : The Crock Pot

I really, really love my crock pot. I think it is definitely in my top 10 favorite things list. I usually use my crock-pot once a week but last week I was inspired to use it everyday. What a difference it made for our evenings! I will be posting some favorites that help make for stress-free dinners!

This recipe is the quickest and easiest crock pot recipe I use with only 4 ingredients! It is not what I would call low-fat, but more importantly it is delicious and comforting! Of course you could use low fat cream cheese and cream of chicken soup if you wanted to. I just don't. Although I probably should. Nah, I'd rather just go walk it off instead! I got this recipe from my friend Stephanie C. a few years back - thanks!

Cream Cheese Chicken

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
8-12 chicken tenders
(this recipe is easy to reduce/double as needed for your family)

Combine cream cheese, soup and Italian dressing mix and pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice (or egg noodles if you prefer).