Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sliced Baked Potatoes

Living in Idaho and having in-laws who own a potato farm, I have lots of opportunities to use potatoes in my cooking.  

Just last week, my in-laws finished harvesting all of their potatoes, a mighty feat every year!  It sounds like this year they were very happy with how they turned out too.  

My kids got to go and help with the harvest a few times and each time they brought home some real treasures.

Look at these spuds!!!  They're both over 8 inches long!

So in celebration of a great harvest, I'm posting a way to use the wonderful potato.  Today's recipe is a very simple, yet very elegant way to use potatoes.  And there's hardly a "recipe" for it; just make it to how you would like it.  Pretty easy.

Here's what you'll need:

Russet potatoes (however many you want)
Olive oil
Melted butter
Salt (table salt and/or course sea salt)

Clean each potato and let dry completely.  Slice each potato into thin slices, but don't cut completely through the potato.  You'll want the bottom of the potato to stay in tact.  Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter, then drizzle with oil, and finally season with salt and pepper.

 Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely cooked through and tender.
So easy and such a beautiful presentation!  You can serve them as is or top with a dollop of sour cream, chopped bacon, and sliced green onions.  Enjoy!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples

Halloween is in two weeks!  Are you ready?  I'm not.  We've still got to figure out what costumes to get for the kids.  But one thing I've done in anticipation for the Halloween season is make yummy caramel apples.  

For some reason, I just can't eat caramel apples unless it's October.  Weird, I know.  But, wooo-hooooo for it being October now!!  These treats are super delicious and easy too!


Here's what you'll need:

5 medium apples, washed and completely dry
One bag of caramels or caramel bits
2 T. water
1 C. chocolate chips
1 - 1 1/2 T. shortening
Any candy, chopped (opt.)

When I saw these at the store, I knew I had to try them.  I LOVED that I didn't have to unwrap tons of caramels.  So easy!!

Place the caramel and water into a medium pan.

Heat on Medium-Low until the caramel is melted and smooth.

You can push sticks into the apples before dipping them, but I didn't have any.  So I just made sure the apples I used had stems to hang on to.

Dip the apples into the warm caramel.  Set them on a parchment lined tray (you can spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray if desired).
 You should have some caramel left over in your pan.  Scoop it out and drizzle it over the apples.  It may look funny at first, but don't worry.  The caramel will slowly ooze down and cover the apple more smoothly after a while.

Place the caramel covered apples into the fridge and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While you're waiting, you can chop whatever candy you would like to cover the apples in.  I went with Snickers.  I used a whole bag of the fun-sized candy bars.  Chop them small.  Mine are a little bigger.  I'd probably go smaller next time.

After the caramel has set on the apples, you'll notice that there's some at the bottom of each apple.  No worries.  Just mold the caramel back up onto the apple.  Or if you'd rather, you can just cut it off and eat it.

Once you've got the caramel pressed back up, you're ready for dipping.  I melted milk chocolate chips with the shortening in the microwave for 30 seconds on High, stirred it well, then microwaved it for another 15 seconds until the chocolate was smooth and the shortening was incorporated.
 Holding on to the apples by the stick or the stem, dip the caramel apples into the chocolate, turning to cover it all.  Or pour some chocolate over the top and let it run down the apple.

For the candy covered apples, I dipped the whole apple into the chocolate.  And for the chocolate covered caramel apples, I drizzled chocolate over the top.  You can do whatever you'd like.

If you want your apples covered with candy, roll the chocolate covered caramel apples into your chopped candy coating well.

Place back onto the parchment lined pan to set.
 Refrigerate until ready to use.
 I took these to a party and gave away two of the candy covered ones as gifts.  Everyone loved them!

So I only had the chocolate covered caramel apples left to photograph.  They were both VERY good!

Enjoy, my little pretties!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oven Sprite Can Chicken

First of all, I have to say WELCOME to all of the new followers and people coming to check out my food blog!!!  Can I just tell you how excited I am to have you?!  I truly hope you find some recipes on here that you and your loved ones can enjoy.  I'm so glad you're here!

On to today's recipe...I came across this recipe in our ward cookbook and I'd heard about cooking techniques like this, but never tried them.  On this particular day, I happened to have everything I needed to make this dish.  So I whipped it together with every intention of it turning out like most other roasted chickens - dry and not much flavor.

Once we tried this for dinner, I was blown away with the flavor and moistness of the meat!  Oooooh, baby, I won't be cooking chicken any other way now!

Here's what you'll need:

1 C. butter
2 T. garlic salt
2 T. paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 (12 oz.) can Sprite (or anything similar)
1 (3.5-4 lb.) whole chicken, rinsed and patted completely dry

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a small skillet, melt the butter, then add the garlic salt, paprika, salt (I probably used about 1/2 tsp.) and pepper (about 1/4 tsp.).  Discard 1/2 the Sprite, leaving the remainder in the can.  

**That's what the recipe says. I say pour half of it into another glass, add some Torani raspberry-flavored syrup and a couple of cubes of ice, and you'll have something yummy to sip as your making the rest of dinner.**

Using a funnel, very carefully and very SLOWLY pour half of the melted butter mixture into the Sprite can.  If you pour it in too fast, it will bubble out all over your counter, just like it did to mine. 

 Place can on a rimmed baking sheet then set the chicken over the can, inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken.  Try to keep all of the naked chicken jokes and narrations in your head at this point.  Otherwise your children may think you're crazy.

Baste chicken with the remaining melted butter mixture.  

Place baking sheet with the Sprite can and chicken carefully into the oven.  Bake for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 180 degrees.

This is seriously the best baked/roasted chicken that has ever come out of my kitchen.  And though I rarely eat the skin, you MUST try a little of it with the meat.  It's amazing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Southern Peach Cobbler

Guess what I have.  A big box of fresh peaches sitting on my counter.  Peach season is here and I love it!  So does the rest of my little family.  I really should be canning them, but eating them fresh and baking with them are just way more fun for me!

We've been eating them in our crepes with a fresh strawberry sauce.  We've eaten them sliced, sugared, and drenched with milk (like peaches and cream).  And, of course, we've been chowing down on them as they are.  But my favorite way to eat these juicy, sweet globes is as peach cobbler.

Did you know that I'm originally from Georgia?  That's right, I'm an official Georgia Peach!  Maybe that's why I like peaches so much.  And, maybe that's why this recipe for Southern Peach Cobbler spoke to me, cuz I really am a Southern Belle (that last part was totally meant to be read with a Southern accent).  ;)

Anyway, I got the original recipe from allrecipes, but changed it a touch, as usual.  I really do hope you get a chance to try this recipe out.  It may seem a little daunting at first, but once you make it, you'll see how easy it really is.  And it is so good!

Here's what you'll need:

Peach Mixture:
8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into wedges
1/4 C. white granulated sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch

Pastry Mixture:
1 C. flour
1/4 C. white granulated sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed
1/4 C. boiling water

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1 1/2 Tbsp. white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry Peach Mixture ingredients, then add the sliced peaches.  Toss evenly to coat.

 My little Aubree wanted to be the photographer for me.

Pour the peaches and juices into a 7 1/2" x 11" baking dish.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

While the peaches are baking, in a medium bowl, combine the dry pastry ingredients.  Blend in the butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until you get lots of pea-sized portions.  Stir in the water until just combined.  Don't over mix this.

In a very small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

 After the peaches have baked for 10 minutes, pull them out of the oven and sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the peaches.  Then glob the pastry mixture over the top of the peaches.  Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!  YUM-MMMY!!
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