Saturday, October 11, 2014

Disney Cruise Line's Apple Strudel

In 2011 my family and I cruised on the inaugural year of the Disney Dream. We had a rainy day on one of our sea days and they offered the "Anyone Can Cook" series featuring this Apple Strudel recipe. I have been making it ever since. Today was the lucky day! We visited Awe's Apple Orchard earlier in the week and were saddened to learn the picking season was over. I did bring home some Honey Crisp and other apples for this strudel and Taffy Apple Salad which I plan on making this week. Any tart apple like Granny Smith or Gala also work well here.

The recipe was pretty detailed so I will condense it here for you.

Apple Strudel

2 lbs. tart apples thinly sliced (about 6 apples cored and peeled)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon)

Strudel Dough

1 1/3 cup flour
1 TBSP unsalted butter softened
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 egg (I omitted the egg and it still turned out)
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup water
1/3 to 1/2 cup water

The recipe calls for you to let the apples set with the sugar, golden raisins, and cinnamon over night but I let mine set only for the 2 hours I was making the dough. In a food processor or a mixer with a dough attachment, mix all of the dough ingredients for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a
bowl that has been rubbed with olive oil. Let the dough rest for 2-3 hours covered.

Remove the dough after the two hours and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use your hands to stretch out the dough. Use a clean table to stretch the dough to measure 2 feet wide by 3 feet long. The dough may rip in some areas but it's ok. Just patch and keep stretching. Melt the butter and spread on the stretched out dough. Sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs, This helps absorb the juice from the apples. Place the apples on the lip of the short end being sure to leave room so you can roll. I didn't use a clean
dish towel but this is helpful to roll. Roll the dough until you get to the opposite end and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Make into a horseshoe or it won't fit. Rub the outside with the remaining butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let rest for 1 hour before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Let set for 30 minutes (It's very hot!) Serve with vanilla ice cream.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review of "Let's Dish" North African Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot

Let's face it, we are all busy with work. I also have school and two kids on my plate. This stew is a great budget extender and a good way to use those fall veggies coming into season. It was 50 fricken degrees here in Wisconsin yesterday and I had this ready waiting from me. This recipe is also great because you can make it sweet with the addition of sweet potatoes or squash. The only downside was I had to drain my crock pot of liquid a few times. This recipe calls for a 6 qt crock pot, but I used a smaller one and halved the recipe.

North African Stew

6 chicken thighs or 3 boneless chicken breasts
2 carrots cut into chunks
1 eggplant cubed
2 zucchini (I used a small squash) diced
1 onion diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can garbanzos or beans of your choice
1 cup raisins
1 cup almonds
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander or chopped cilantro fresh
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
16 oz chicken broth
couscous for serving

It's as simple as fitting all of the ingredients into the crock pot. I did drain the diced tomatoes of the liquid and I added white beans instead of the garbanzo. You may have to drain the liquid out. Also you can presoak the eggplant in some milk to get rid of the bitter taste. If using chicken thighs, you will need to cook for eight hours on high. I ended up doing 3 hours on high and the rest on low. Remove the chicken and shred. Discard skin.  By the time I got home at 6, the chicken was fall apart. Serve with couscous or over rice.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro Chicken Flavored Rice

I have wonderful neighbors that bring me the best produce! This week it was tomatillos. My youngest requested I make tomatillo salsa and my oldest requested enchiladas. Here is the marriage of both. The tomatillo salsa is really easy to make. On a sheet pan, I added 2 quartered onions, one pepper (not sure what type of pepper mine was but it was hot!) or jalapeno seeded and ribs removed, 1 lbs tomatillos (husks removed), 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt,  and about 2 TBSP of oil. Roast in a 325 degree oven turning once for 25 minutes or until the tomatillos become soft. Let cool and add to a food processor with 1 bunch of cilantro. You may need to add 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Enchiladas

Tip: warm the tortillas first for 45 seconds in the microwave in a tortilla warmer or between two paper towels to prevent cracking.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts diced
1  8oz. softened reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar divided
12 corn tortillas
2 TBSP oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the chicken breasts and add the softened cream cheese and 1/3 of the tomatillo salsa. Add another third of the salsa to the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. On the tortilla place two TBSP. of the chicken mixture and a pinch of cheese. Roll and place seam side down. I fit a few sideways.
After you are done rolling all of the enchiladas, top with the rest of the salsa. Spread out with a spoon and make sure all surfaces of the tortillas are covered. Cover with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with Cilantro rice.

Cilantro Rice

1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful of cilantro leaves
1 TBSP chicken bouillon

Bring the rice, cilantro leaves, chicken bouillion and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Move pot  from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Remove the cilantro from the top of the rice and add butter if you wish. Serve with the enchiladas.







Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marinara Sauce and Eggplant Parm

I got home after a long day at work and wanted to make Eggplant Parm. Earlier in the day I had soaked the slices of eggplant in milk to take out the bitterness. I however didn't check my pantry. I was not only out of bread crumbs but marinara sauce as well. I did have two cans of stewed tomatoes and a loaf of bakery multi-grain bread.

I sliced the bread and cut it into cubes and coated them with some oil. I toasted them in a hot 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes and flipped once. When they were crunchy I pulsed them a few times in my food processor. I was a bit rushed and should have pulsed them a few more times. I am in need of a new food processor. The shoot broke off so I have to place my hand over the opening. Bread crumbs were flying out of the top and sides. To the bread crumbs I added 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  It was really quite comical! I then followed the three step breading process or flour, egg, bread crumbs for the eggplant. Once coated, I fried them in some olive oil on the stove top and drained them on paper towels.

The marinara was really easy to make too. In my cleaned out food processor, I pulsed two cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, and a handful of parsley, 1 tsp. salt, and one tsp. Oregano. To that I added two small cans of stewed tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. One of the stewed tomatoes was drained of liquid. I then pulsed until it was a the consistency I wanted which was a bit chunky. Again I had a bit of a mess.  I removed the sauce to  a pan and reduced it on low for 25 minutes. I added it to the bottom of a Pyrex 9x13. I added a layer of eggplant followed by a layer of sauce and another layer of sauce. Then I topped off with about a cup of cheddar cheese and baked for 25 minutes.

This is one of our favorites in my house! For a more detailed recipe, search it at the top of my page.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Deep fried Pescado Tilapia con Puerto Rican Rice


Yesterday I made my family's favorite dish Arroz con Pollo or chicken and rice. Today I did something I have always wanted to try, I deep fried a whole fish. We don't have fish markets like in other big cities. We oftentimes have to buy our fish frozen. I was perusing Woodman's and came across these whole Tilapia in the Hispanic section. When I shopped this week, I found them in the clearance bin. The only thing wrong was the package has split open. This was my chance to try to make this.

The fish come whole, are scaled, and the innards removed. They still have their bones in so be careful! I made a seasoned flour with two cups flour, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 2 TBSP Emeril's Essence. 

In a wok I added two cups of vegetable oil and heated it to 375 degrees. I had a thermometer on the side of the pan to insure I kept a constant temperature.  I fried mine for 5 minutes per side and it came out nice and flaky. I flipped with a metal spoon on either side. The last thing you want is hot oil to splatter.  You can eat the skin but I don't recommend eating the fins. They are very sharp and crunchy. I made one at a time and held one on a baking sheet in a warmed oven. 

Serve along with your favorite rice. You could make this fish Asian style with 5 spice powder and Hoisin Sauce too. Serve with white rice. 

Puerto Rican Rice 

2 cups long grain rice 
4 cups chicken broth
2-3 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP chicken bouillon 
1 onion diced 
12-15 olive with pimento 
2 TBSP capers optional 
2-4 pieces ham diced 
2 TBSP oil 

I love making Arroz con Pollo. In that case I use 4-5 bone in chicken thighs. I coat them in flour seasoned with Adobo and fry on each side for 8-10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. If not using the chicken, just go on to the next step. Add the onions and saute' for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute another 2 or so minutes. Add the rice and coat with the oil or chicken grease. Then add the liquid and the chicken pieces back in on top of the broth along with the ham and olives. Bring to a boil and turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid. Without chicken cook for 20 minutes. With the chicken, cook on the stove for 25-30 minutes. Remove this chicken and add the chicken bouillon, Stir the rice and check for flavor. 
I like to make a lot of rice. Just make sure use the 2:4 ratio. It's even better the next day and your family will love it!  


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Not So Waterproof Camera Vs. The Waterpark

I haven't blogged in a week or so because my waterproof camera somehow got wet inside and no longer works. I tried drying it out in some rice but that didn't work. I am very sad because I love the pictures this camera takes and it's very convenient to use in the kitchen. I constantly spill food on it and being waterproof helps a lot. I might have to use my daughter's camera in the weeks to come. I haven't been doing much food wise except for making pickles. I finished a batch of bread and butter pickles that the family has loved. They go great with my homemade sloppy joes. I am also back to school as of yesterday which will make my time more limited. I hope all of you are having a great day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

My family loves this one and yours will love this too. Creamy mashed potatoes along with delicious turkey bacon make the perfect combination. 

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

6-8 medium sized potatoes peeled cut into quarters
1/2 cups milk (I used Fat Free)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 TBSP butter
2 minced garlic cloves
a bunch of chives diced
1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
3 slices turkey bacon or bacon of your choice fried and chopped
8 oz cheddar cheese
1 pizza crust
cornmeal for dusting

Note: You can find pizza crusts in your frozen food section or at your local bakery or pizza place. Mine only cost a buck at Woodman's.
In a medium pan add enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until fork tender. Add the milk and sour cream to the potatoes and beat with a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pre Bake the pizza crust for 5 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Remove from the oven and evenly spread the mashed potatoes over the pizza crust. Top with the cheese. Season again with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes. After it comes out of the oven, garnish with chives and chopped bacon. Serve immediately.