Apple Dumplings

This post is dedicated to my friends Sherri and Dale.  They are going through some difficult times right now, but they remain amazingly strong and have had tremendous faith throughout everything.  Their cloud has a silver lining and they are wonderful examples to anyone that knows them.

Sherri and I have known of each other just about all of our lives.  We grew up in the same small town and back when we were growing up that’s the way it was.  If you didn’t know someone personally, you at least knew their uncle, cousin, or grandparents.  We became friends 25 years ago when we worked in the same office.

Dale, her husband, is currently undergoing treatment for Melanoma.  There have been a few hiccups, but he hasn’t lost his lust for life.  He remains strong with the help of God, a good wife, and family & friends.

This recipe is one of Sherri’s.  Sherri is the friend that never liked to cook, yet some of my favorite recipes came from her.  She shared this recipe with me several years ago and it’s just as good today as it was back then.  It’s so simple but I promise you it will impress!  The recipe calls for one can of Crescent rolls, however, in the picture below I used two cans.  My apples were large and I cut them into eights instead of fourths.  I did not increase the amount of sugar or Sprite but I did melt additional butter.

So…as you prepare Sherri’s Apple Dumplings, please take a minute to say a prayer for Sherri and Dale.  They will be most grateful and I thank you!

 

Apple Dumplings
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 can (8-oz.) Crescent rolls
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 1 c. sugar, divided
  • 1 can Sprite or Ginger Ale
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Peel and core apples. Cut into quarters. Wrap each apple piece in one roll triangle. Dip into melted butter to coat and place in baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle rolled apples with ½ c. sugar. Pour soda over apples, then sprinkle with remaining ½ c. sugar (I use Demerara Raw Sugar for this sprinkling.)
  5. Bake about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
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Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies

I love it when I find a really easy recipe and everybody likes it!  If you cook for your family I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.  Even when I’m taking food out, I like to make something that my family likes.  I made these last week for tailgating.  We liked them so well that I ended up making them again Saturday morning for breakfast.
Toward the end of the cooking time you need to watch the little smokies closely.  You only need to cook these until the bacon is done.  They go from being perfect and done to burnt really quick.
Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1 (14-oz.) pkg. beef little smokies
  • ½ c. packed brown sugar
  • toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Wrap each little smokies with a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Roll smokies brown sugar to coat bacon. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until bacon is done. Serve warm.
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Broccoli Cheese Soup

This was a soup weekend at our house.  I made White Chili and Broccoli Cheese Soup.  I’m not sure I’ve made a pot of soup all summer so the were both GREAT!  You can find my White Chili here at Not Just Sunday Dinner under Soups and Stews.

I have been craving this Broccoli Cheese Soup for about a month.  I finally made it this weekend and ate two bowls right away.  It is delicious and simple to make.  Honestly, I’ve never measured to see how much this recipe makes, but I’d say it’s about 1 1/2 -2 quarts.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. half-and-half
  • 2 c. chicken broth (homemade is great)
  • ½ lb. fresh broccoli (about 4 cups chopped)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg, if desired
  • 8 - 12 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese (to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in Dutch oven. Saute onion in melted butter until tender. Add flour and cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Slowly add half-and-half while whisking. Add chicken broth and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add broccoli and carrots. Cook over medium-low heat (do not boil) for about 45 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. If desired, blend slightly with submersion blender. Return to heat and add grated cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in nutmeg, if desired.
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Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

I love this time of year!  Cooler nights & mornings bring the promise of sweater weather in the not to distant future.  I start to think about and plan for the holidays.  I made homemade chicken broth last week to put into the freezer for my Thanksgiving dressing.  Greg’s grandmother always told me that dressing is better made ahead and frozen so the flavors meld together.  So, I’ll be pulling my chicken broth out of the freezer to make dressing in the next week or so.  Although I may buy a Christmas gift or two throughout the year, this is the time of year I seriously start thinking about it.  In fact, I’ve bought several things over the past couple of weeks.

My menu changes when fall is in the air too.  I cook chili & soups, I start to make lattes and spiced cider.  I found this recipe for Vanilla Chai Mix on Christy Jordan’s blog, Southern Plate.  I love it hot, but you can also serve it over ice.  I’m thinking that you could package this really cute for a great Christmas gift!

 

Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 c. powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 c. sugar free French Vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2½ c. sugar or Splenda
  • 1½ c. unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. cardamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or large blender. Blend until the mixture is consistency of fine powder. Store in airtight container.
  2. To make Vanilla Chai tea, add 2 heaping tbsp. of the mix to 8 oz. of hot water.
  3. Makes about 6 cups of mix.
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Vanilla Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Fall is in the air, football Friday nights are back and along with that comes tailgating.  I made these for Friday night and thought they were really good.  I got the idea online.  I knew right away I would like it.  I discovered the Pumpkin Spice Jello Instant Pudding last year and loved it.  I used my recipes for Celebration Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and added the pumpkin spice pudding and additional spices.  They were supper easy and delicious!

Vanilla Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 (18.25-oz.) box French Vanilla cake mix
  • 1 (3.4-oz.) box Pumpkin Spice Jello Instant Pudding mix
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1⅓ c. water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 lg. eggs
  • Ingredients for frosting:
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. butter flavoring
  • ¼ tsp. almond flavoring
  • 1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp. meringue powder
  • pinch salt
  • ½ tbsp. milk, if needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners, set aside.
  2. Whisk together cake mix, pudding mix, flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric mixer until well blended. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling about ¾ full. (I get about 36 cupcakes) Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Remove to a wire rack and cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. When cool top with frosting.
  5. To make frosting:
  6. Mix butter, shortening, and salt on low speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract, butter flavoring, and almond extract. Beat until well blended. Add cinnamon, meringue powder, salt, and half of the confectioners sugar, mixing on lowest speed of mixer until the sugar is mixed in. Add remaining sugar, mixing on lowest speed until sugar is mixed in. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat about 5 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
  7. Spread of pipe onto cupcakes. Decorate if desired.
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