Monday, October 26, 2015

Gingersnap Rum Apple Crisp

We have had such a lovely autumn this year with warm temperatures and beautiful leaves. We are trying to soak up every minute of it and made a visit to a local orchard yesterday. They make their own hard cider on site, and it was fun to see the inner workings of a small cidery. Of course, we couldn't leave without getting some apples, and after seeing this recipe recently, I knew exactly what I wanted to use some of them for - the rest will be eaten quickly, I'm sure - they are delicious! We tried a new to us variety - Keepsake, bred by the University of Minnesota in 1978! - and love the crunchy bite. Not quite as crisp as Honeycrisp, but a wonderful eating apple nonetheless. It may be my new favorite.

Anyway, on to the dessert! I love it when traditional desserts have a bit of a twist and that's exactly what is happening here. Apples mixed with sugar, spices and flour are then amped up with just enough rum/caramel sauce and a crunchy gingersnap topping. The gingersnaps really add a new dimension of flavor and texture and is a nice change of pace from the regular oatmeal-based topping. And you can be sure that this recipe is safe for the whole family - the alcohol from the rum cooks off, and you're left with great flavor - but you can sub orange juice if you prefer.

This crisp is best served warm with a dollop of ice cream. Enjoy this wonderful fall!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, What's Cooking, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate.

Gingersnap Rum Apple Crisp

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium)
8 caramels
1/3 cup rum (or orange juice)

3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 15 cookies)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Place the apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, salt and ginger; toss to coat. Transfer to an 8 or 9-inch baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine caramels and rum. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted. Pour evenly over apple mixture.

For topping, in a small bowl, mix crushed cookies, brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sausage and Apple Flatbreads

I love experimenting with new things to put on flatbreads. They make a fun, easy dinner and can also double as appetizers or snacks, depending on how they're cut and served! Some of my favorite combos have been bbq shrimp, Mediterranean shrimp, (are you sensing a shrimp theme?) and prosciutto and roasted asparagus (fancy!). I tend to improvise with what I have on hand, and so far I haven't come up with a loser.

After trying this recipe for Secret Recipe Club from Jamie's blog, Our Eating Habits, I have a new favorite, especially for fall. Apples and Italian sausage over a layer of cheese. Hello. This is great football watching food, party food, lunch food, you name it. It's just great.

If you don't have a source for naan (Indian flatbreads), both Costco and Aldi have wonderful options. I'm sure wherever you shop has them too - and you could use pitas in a pinch. Thanks, Jamie, for an awesome flatbread idea!

Find more great stuff at What's Cooking, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Try a New Recipe, Showcase your Talent, Full Plate.

Sausage and Apple Flatbreads

4 links Italian Sausage, removed from casings
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 apples, cored and sliced
6 garlic or plain naan
2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Mexican-style cheese

In a large skillet, crumble sausage and cook with onion over medium high heat, about 3 minutes. Add apples and cook an additional 5 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

Sprinkle cheese evenly between naan breads and then top with sausage apple mixture.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Banana Split Brownies

If you need a bit more summer in your life (I love fall, but I must confess I so enjoyed the 80 degree temperatures here yesterday!), try these brownies. All the goodness of a banana split baked into a bar form. A dense, rich, fudgy brownie is filled with chopped up cherries and then topped with a creamed cheese topping laced with banana and strawberry.

These are delicious. I did find the brownies a bit TOO dense and fudgy for my taste. Next time I make these, I will use the brownie base from Mississippi Mud Bars, which is perfect. Either way, I think you will love these bars - so fun and different, and a wonderful accompaniment to ice cream!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Create Link Inspire.

Banana Split Brownies

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cubed
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped (one small jar)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (low fat is ok)
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts

In a medium bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Heat in the microwave at 50% power in 1 minute increments, stirring between heatings, until mostly melted. Stir until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Gradually stir in flour. Fold in cherries. Spread into a greased 9x13 baking pan.

For topping, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mashed banana and preserves. Add egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Spread over brownie batter; sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake at 350 40-45 minutes or until topping is set and a toothpick inserted in brownie portion comes out mostly clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 2 dozen.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cranberry Pork Loin {Crock pot!}

This recipe has so many things going for it:
-it cooks all day while you are at work or doing other things
-it features an inexpensive cut of meat
-the sauce is excellent on potatoes
-cranberry - what could be better?
-did I mention it cooks all day without any help from you?

We loved this served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Embrace fall and your crock pot and have a fantastic dinner, even on a week night!

Get more inspiration at Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Hearth and Soul.

Cranberry Pork Loin

3 pound pork loin
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water

Place roast in slow cooker. In a medium size bowl mash cranberry sauce; stir in 1/2 cup water, sugar, mustard and cloves until mixed. Pour mixture over pork loin. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove pork loin from crock pot to platter, shred, and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour liquid from the crock pot into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a small bowl combine cornstarch and cold water to make paste. Stir paste mixture into saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve with pork.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Julie's Eats and Treats
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