Alley's Recipe Book
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Apple Pie Chips - total time 7.5 hours

Eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away is not going to get through the bushel of apples I bought from the local orchard fast enough.  So even though I love eating apples plain... I needed to find another way to preserve and share them.  This recipe is super simple, but takes forever in the oven.  With apple pie spices, these could be a snack or dessert!

8-12 apples
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg

1.  Slice apples into thin slices (less than .25 inch).  You could use a mandolin, but be careful! 
2.  Preheat oven to lowest temperature, mine was 175 degrees.
3.  Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then coat each apple slice.  Lay apple slices on lined baking trays and bake for three hours, flip slices, and bake for four additional hours.

Personal Apple Pie a la Mode - total time 50 minutes

The hardest part of making a pie is keeping it together when cutting and serving.  So I am taking the phrase 'easy as pie' one step further and taking the hardest part out!  Plus, I really like using my muffin tin...  And you could accommodate individual tastes by making different flavors without making several whole pies.

Pie Crust
2.5 cups flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup cold butter
1 pinch salt
.25 cup ice cold water

Pie Filling
4 cup apples, chopped
1 tbsp butter
.5 brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg

1.  Make pie dough in advance.  Fill mixing bowl with flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut cold butter into the flour (or pulse in food processor).  Incorporate a small amount of cold water at a time until you can form a ball with the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl combine chopped apples, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg.  Cut small pieces of butter and stir into bowl.
3.  Rip off small chunks from the pie dough ball, form into smaller balls, and roll out onto a powder sugared surface (tastier than flour!)  Spray muffin tin lightly with oil and form the pie crusts into the muffin cups.
4.  Scoop apple mixture into each mini pie crust and cover with little lattice pieces.  Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Roasted Chestnuts - total time 55 minutes

Roasted chestnuts... the quintessential holiday snack.  Eat them warm from the shell or pop a few open to enjoy in a salad, muffin, or cookie.  They are pretty easy to roast in your oven if it is too cold outside to roast them over a fire (and you have a closed gas fireplace like me).

1.  Cut a long slit into each chestnut using a serrated bread knife.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chestnuts in a pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer for eight minutes.
3.  Drain and bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey - total time 2.5 hours

A holiday based on people coming together to cook and enjoy the harvest, being thankful for life's blessings while spending time with friends and family... what a great holiday!  Too bad the day is often defined by the usual centerpiece when there are plenty of vegetarian options that could celebrate the harvest even better.  With that being said, I ended up going the traditional route for 'Turkey Day' with a cranberry and orange glazed free range turkey (which was the only leftovers, everything else was gobbled up, ha).  So now I need to think of some recipes to use this turkey in...

1 turkey, separated
6 ounces whole cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter
4 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop turkey into pieces (legs, breasts, wings) because it will cook in less time without drying out.  Place breasts and legs in a casserole dish and rub with butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Roast in oven for one hour.
2.  In a small pot, pour cranberries into pot and cover barely cover berries with water.  Sprinkle a little brown sugar which will help thicken it up.  Heat to a simmer and cranberries will start bursting.  Smash berries, then strain to remove berry skins.  Pour cranberry sauce back into pot and add orange juice, rosemary, and thyme.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until preferred thickness.
3.  Coat turkey with half of the glaze and place back in oven for another hour.  After the second hour, coat turkey with remaining glaze and allow turkey to rest for 25 minutes.

Cook the wings separately and reserve remaining turkey to make stock for soups and stews!

Thanksgiving Menu

It's that time of year again, the biggest cooking day for America, right before the biggest shopping day.  A day to reflect on what you're thankful for while spending time with friends and family enjoying the year's harvest (although there isn't much left to harvest in my garden).  Went to buy our turkey today.  Free range and raised in Dayton (about as local as you can get for a turkey farm in Ohio), it will make a nice anchor to the Thanksgiving feast!

cranberry-orange glazed turkey
roasted chestnuts
butternut squash risotto
brussel sprout gratin
creamy mashed potatoes
spinach salad
apple pie a la mode

Most ingredients will be local (from the squash to the ice cream) and at the very least organic (I don't know of any cranberry bogs around Ohio, so organic will have to do).  Just thinking about Thanksgiving is making me hungry!

Chicken & Sour Cream Enchiladas - total time 35 minutes

There seems to be endless ways to make Mexican classics like tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas.  I mean, there must be a minimum of 200 options on any given Mexican restaurant menu, which is easy to know since they are usually numbered.  If a restaurant can have 200 preselected options, then you have ten times that when you make them at home!  Well, here's another one... sour cream enchiladas are super creamy, but still getting a little vegetables in too.

1 pound chicken
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 cup bell pepper
1 small onion
1 cup queso cheese, divided
3 tbsp butter
1 splash cream
.25 cup milk
a palm full of flour
8 flour tortillas
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken in a pan over medium heat (about five minutes each side).  Add chopped onions and bell pepper for the last two minutes.
2.  Shred the chicken with a fork and add to a mixing bowl with the onion and peppers.  Add half cup of sour cream, half cup of queso cheese, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and combine together.
3.  In a small pot melt butter.  Add palm full of flour while whisking and then the splash of cream.  Whisk out any clumps.  Add remaining sour cream and queso cheese, stir until melted and combined into sauce.
4.  Spoon out about a half cup of filling mixture and wrap into tortillas and place seam side down into casserole dish.  Pour sauce over all enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle chopped green onions on top (optional) and serve!

Salmon Burgers - total time 30 minutes

Since we don't eat a lot of red meat, we don't really eat traditional American hamburgers. Instead, we use ground turkey for when we grill out.  And after trying veggie burgers a year ago, I love them!  Another option is fish burgers, they are delicious.  Any fish could work, but I love salmon in this recipe.

1 lb salmon, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 egg
1 green onion
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 tsp red pepper flakes
.5 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper

2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp relish
pinch of paprika
pinch of chili powder

1.  Combine bell peppers, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Add chopped salmon to the mixture.  Heat pan to medium heat.  Form mixture into patties and coat with panko bread crumbs.
2.  Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil in the hot pan.  Cook patties on each side for six minutes.
3.  Mix mayo, relish, paprika, chili powder, and any left over green onion in a small bowl.  Scoop on top of each burger.  Toast buns in the pan for one minute after patties have been removed.  Serve with spinach and tomato.

Tortellini Soup - total time 30 minutes

Yippee!  I got a new pot this week!  It is 'tri ply' like my pans, which means it combines three different metals to get the best advantages from all of them (copper, stainless steel, and aluminum).  No more of the non-stick teflon coating!  Actually, my old soup pot didn't have the coating either, but anything that did is officially out of my kitchen now.  Using a small amount of healthy fats, like olive oil, to prevent food from sticking to your pots and pans is way better than something that the EPA says is a 'likely carcinogen'. 

Any way, I made this tasty tomato based soup in my new pot and it is delish!

1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter
.25 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups tomato juice (or tomato paste & water)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 package tortellini
italian herbs
salt & pepper

1.  Melt butter in pot.  Add in chopped onions and saute for two minutes.  Add in garlic, salt, and pepper and let cook for another 2 minutes.  Add stock, tomato juice, tomatoes, and herb; bring to a simmer.
2.  After it has been simmering for three minutes, add milk and cream, bring back to a simmer.  Once simmering again, add tortellini, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  Top with some shredded parm and enjoy!

 My shiny new pot!


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