Apple Recipes Galore

As I mentioned in my Apple Picking post, Daniel and I ended up bringing home about 20 lbs. of apples.  And we were on a mission to use all of those apples in a variety of sweet and savory recipes.  We mainly looked up recipes online, but actually ended up inventing a few ourselves as well!  Below is the first round of meals we made.  Enjoy!

Apple Pie

First up:  PIE!  I’ve never made a pie before, but have been wanting to for a while now, so this was the perfect excuse.  We followed the Apple Pie by Grandma Opie recipe, but changed a few things based on reviews.

  1. We cooked the pie at 350 degrees the whole time.
  2. Added 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract to the filling.
  3. Omitted 1 tbsp of water (because of the vanilla extract).
  4. Mixed the apples and syrup mixture together first before putting into pie pan.
  5. Brushed the top crust with milk, and generously sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

We ended up only using 6 medium sized apples, which turned out to be the perfect amount.  We cooked the pie for 45 minutes uncovered, and then covered the top with foil for another 15 minutes.  I would definitely suggest waiting until the pie is cooled before trying to cut into slices, as it WILL fall apart!

We did use a store bought crust to cut down on time (since we knew we’d be cooking a lot that week).  The crust was a little small for our pan, so we chose not to do a lattice top crust.  It turned out just fine keeping it whole and cutting a few vents.  Next time I make a pie I will be trying out this Pie Crust recipe.

The bottom crust became a bit mushy, one reviewer suggested brushing the bottom with an egg white.  Not sure if that would have helped, but I will definitely try it for my next pie!  Other than that the pie turned out beautifully, and (in the words of my boyfriend) tasted “legit.”  Sweet success!

Chicken Salad IngredientsThe second recipe I made was a Curry Chicken Salad for lunch that week.  The recipe would have been fine on its own, but I added a few of our favorite spices to customize it a little.  I added 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and a little bit of fresh ground black pepper.

Something I always keep in the freezer is Trader Joes frozen chicken tenderloins.  These are so great to have on hand – it’s a fast and easy way to add protein to any meal.  I always cook them straight from a frozen state by adding a little olive oil to a pan, and cooking them with the lid on.  Usually as they melt it provides enough moisture to steam them, but if not I’ll add about a tablespoon of water.  This takes about 10-15 minutes to cook a whole pan of chicken.  Towards the end I take the lid off so the tenderloins can brown.

Chicken

About 7 tenderloins made 2 cups of chicken (my pan is too small, so sadly I had to cook the last two separately).

Chicken Apple SaladDefinitely try this recipe if you like chicken salad!  Next time I might add a bit more curry power and chop the apples smaller, but this was one tasty lunch!

CranberriesNext up:  dinner!  We made Apple Bacon Baked Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Aioli.  This recipe was great not only because it incorporated apples, but it also used apple cider (which we had far too much of)!  We did not soak the cranberries as long as the recipe indicates; we just soaked them while preparing the rest of the ingredients, which seemed sufficient enough.

We wanted to switch it up a little and bought turkey breasts instead of chicken.  Trader Joes had two HUGE turkey breasts, which I cut in half and pounded out to about a 1/2 inch thick.

Turkey Breasts

We used apple smoked bacon, which obviously went perfectly with this recipe!

Turkey Breast and Bacon

Turkey Apple BakeThis meal was SO good!  Hearty, tasty, comforting, and the epitome of fall flavor!  Here are a few things that I would do differently next time:  I’d add the apples and onion halfway through the cooking time, as they became extremely mushy (would have liked a little more texture).  And I’d cut the onion and apple slices a little smaller, maybe even exclude 1 of the onions.

The recipe for the sweet potato fries and spicy aioli came from a recipe binder Daniel had, so I am including them below.  Please note that I am not taking credit for inventing them!

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In small bowl, combine Lawry’s seasoned salt, paprika, garlic powder and chili powder; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil; sprinkle with seasoning mixture and toss to coat.  On baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, arrange potatoes in single layer.
  3. Roast, turning once, 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden.

Fortunately, the temperature for the fries and turkey breasts was the same, so we were able to cook them at the same time.  Easy peasy!

Spicy Aioli

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix all ingredients with a whisk in a medium bowl.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Serve as a dipping sauce for fries, or as a spread on burgers.

This aioli is to die for, you’ve absolutely got to try it!

Apple MuffinsLastly, we couldn’t forget about breakfast.  Specifically, Apple Strudel Muffins!  We read through a lot of the reviews, and here is what we changed based on reviewer suggestions:

  • Added 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg to the batter.
  • Shredded half the amount of apple and chopped the other half for even distrubution.
  • Used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar.

This recipe made 14 muffins for us (two of which were bigger than the rest).  These muffins were perfect with my cup of coffee in the morning, but they would also be delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Whew, there we have it – the first round of apple recipes!  My next Foodie post will be an original apple dinner recipe.  Thanks for reading!  Let me know in the comments section if you try any of the recipes (and how you like them)!


Chili Mac Dinner Recipe

We always keep ingredients for Chili Mac in our cupboard, and it’s often our go to dinner recipe!  Not only is it delicious, but on a busy night it’s a super quick and easy meal to get onto the table.  It’s great if you have a bunch of veggies you need to use up before they spoil.  And there are so many ways to vary the basic recipe it never gets old!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 boxes of mac and cheese
  • 3/4 large white onion, diced
  • 3/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can turkey or chicken chili

Here’s what you do:

Prepare the mac and cheese according to the instructions on the box.  In a large skillet, saute onion and pepper in olive oil for about 3 minutes (or until slightly softened).

Onions and Peppers

Sauted VeggiesIf you have any softer veggies, you can add them to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes.  For this batch of chili mac, we had some mushrooms we needed to use up, so in they went!  Add frozen corn and black olives, and cook for another 3 minutes or until the corn has defrosted.

Add spices, garlic, and chili into the pan and cook until heated through.  Add the chili to your prepared mac and cheese, and you’re done!

Ordinary mac and cheese…

Mac and Cheese

Chili mac!

Chili Mac Dinner Recipe

For Daniel and I, this usually lasts about 4-5 dinners if we don’t have a side dish.  We often pair it with a salad though, so it ends up yielding A LOT more.  Bonus:  Chili mac freezes extremely well!  We always have too much to eat and end up freezing about half the pot, which is great for nights we don’t feel like cooking!

Chili MacWe prefer to use either turkey or chicken chili, but you can certainly use any chili you like.  We’ve seen a tofu chili at Trader Joes, which would easily turn this meal into a vegetarian friendly dish!  Some other ingredients we’ve added in the past:  beer, diced canned tomatoes, canned green chilies, extra shredded cheddar cheese, and we’ve substituted regular mac and cheese with white cheddar shells.

We have topped it with bread crumbs and parmesan, and popped it in the oven to turn it into Baked Chili Mac!

Baked Chili Mac

We’ve also added it on top of a hotdog with jalapenos to make a Chili Mac Dog!

Chili Mac Dog

Trust me, you’ve got to try it!


Pumpkin Beer Float

The weather in Portland has been especially fall-like lately.  As I’m remembering what it’s like to have seasons again, I’m getting pretty pumpkin crazy!  After recently buying Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Trader Joes Pumpkin Ice Cream, I quickly realized what must be done:  Pumpkin Beer Float.

I first heard of a beer float when I went to The Golden State in Los Angeles (highly recommend for anyone in the area), but had never tried it.  The reason being, well, it didn’t sound as delicious as a regular ice cream float.  But something about this combination told me it was going to be good!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 scoops Trader Joes Pumpkin ice cream
  • One 12 oz. bottle of Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

I recommend putting the ice cream in first and slowly pouring the beer in after.  Be warned though, as soon as the beer touches the ice creamit will foam up A LOT, no matter how slowly you pour it in.

Boom!

Pumpkin Beer Float

Daniel seemed a little suspicious about the combination beforehand, but he later agreed that it was super tasty.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the Sam Adams on its own, as it was very pumpkin-y.  But the ice cream gave it the much needed flavor and sweetness, and it really balanced out the bitterness of the ale.  Although these two worked well together, I’m sure other brands would be great in this as well.

Try it out!  I will definitely be having another one before the season is over!


A Weekend in Bend

 

 This past weekend my boyfriend Daniel and I had the pleasure of visiting Sunriver, Oregon – thanks to our friend, whose aunt and uncle own a beautiful vacation home and were kind enough to let us have a short couples retreat with our friends!

Sunriver is about a 3 hour drive outside of Portland, and about 15-20 minutes outside of Bend.  On our way we stopped in Welches, OR for dinner at The Rendezvous Grill.  Beautiful patio, and great food with an emphasis on seasonal items and local products – which I love!  However, I will say that if you are in a rush this may not be the best choice for you.  We waited about a half an hour for our order to be taken, and a bit more than that for our food.

Since we didn’t make it to the house until almost midnight, most of our exploring happened the next day.

First stop:  brunch at Chow in Bend, OR.

Another amazing meal in Oregon – I’ve lived here for a few months, and have yet to be disappointed in the quality and deliciousness of the food at, literally, every restaurant.  Chow also has an emphasis on local products, and many of their produce come from their garden right outside the restaurant.  Besides their tasty food, they also have grapefruit, mango, guava, and (of course) orange mimosas – any of which you can mix and match!  I did half orange and half grapefruit!

Being the beer-loving folks that we are, we chose to mainly stay in Bend during our mini-vacation, as Bend is home to many craft breweries.  There’s even an Ale Trail Map so you can be sure to check out all of them!  We first stopped at Boneyard Beer where your first tasting is free and every tasting after is $1.  There are no seats inside and no food, so this is definitely a good stop if you just want a few tastings or to pick up a growler.

Our 2nd and one of my favorite stops was Worthy Brewing Co.

As you can see, they grow their own hops right outside the brewery!

When we visited they had a special going on where we combined fresh hops into certain beers.  Very cool to see how it changes the flavor!

We decided to share two flights so we could try all of their beers.  Bonus:  they have a bean bag toss outside!  Which, I’m proud to say, I was victorious at!

3rd stop was Crux – sadly, I had to forego this one as I was the lightweight in the group.  Lastly, we stopped at Brew Werks for dinner.  This was my favorite for atmosphere – they had a large patio with a beautiful view.  Again, I will say if you have somewhere to be this may not be the best choice, as this was one of the longest waits for food during the trip.

The next day, before heading home to Portland, our very last stop was the Sunriver Golf Resort.  While we didn’t stay to play a round, I wanted to include this photo just to show how gorgeous it was here!

All in all we had a great time and can’t wait to return!