I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was filled with family, laughter, and LOTS of food (of course!). I pretty much ate my weight in potatoes, rolls, turkey, and pie last week. I don’t regret it…but I think I do need a little time to let the food settle.
I’m sure many of you have some extra apples lying around this time of year. No matter how wonderful that Thanksgiving apple pie was, the thought of any more pie at this moment does NOT sound appetizing to me. Ask me in like a week and my tune might change…but for now, let’s talk apple chips! A little lighter apple snack is worth a shot and these are SO DELICIOUS!
These oven-baked apple chips are super easy to make. Good food that requires little work = happy Steph. I’m sure this resonates with more people than just me. Especially after the busy Thanksgiving baking/cooking rush. You do need some patience, but you don’t need to fuss with the recipe for sure. It’s a breeze!
My little guy devoured these apple chips. As you can see, he even helped put them on the tray. Well…he did if “helped” means “took each of them off the tray and made me chase him so he didn’t drop them all over the floor.” I try to give him some credit at least for being interested in cooking. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ways to have our little ones help in the kitchen. This could have potentially been a great activity if he didn’t love dropping things on the floor and eating apples…Maybe you’ll have better luck with your little ones. Let me know how it works out for you! (p.s. the picture shows an unlined baking sheet. I tried it lined and unlined. They both work but lined is much easier!)
*Note: Please don’t let your kids use a mandolin if they help. They can certainly help mix and put the slices on the trays though!
5 apples (I used Granny Smith and Fuji, but you can use whatever you'd like)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a mandolin on the thinnest setting to slice the apples*. Remove the seeds as you go.
Toss the apple slices with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Place the apple slices on parchment-lined baking sheets (or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets) in a single layer. It's okay if they slightly overlap, but you want most of them in a single layer.
Bake for 1 hour, flip the apple slices over, and bake for an additional half hour to 1 hour. The amount of time needed will depend on the the thickness of the apples. The apples will not be completely crisp until they cool, but you want them to feel mostly dry to the touch.
Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
*You can either core the apples prior to cutting, or leave the core in and remove the seeds as they are sliced. I did not core my apples and it worked great.
If the apple chips begin to get soggy, throw them back in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes until they crisp up again.
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This could not be any easier, folks. There are some super tempting, most definitely delicious applesauce recipes out there that have all sorts of ingredients in them, including loads of sugar. Nothing against those applesauce recipes, but a couple of things to remember about unsweetened applesauce:
It’s Fall, so the apples are fresh and naturally sweet and AMAZING! Let the apple flavor be the star ingredient, not added sugar!
When you cook the apples low and slow, they literally melt apart and form into the most magical applesauce ever.
I have a 1-year-old and sometimes the simple, no sugar added option is the best for little bodies (and for big bodies too, really).
I can’t even concentrate anymore because my house smells like I live in a ginormous apple pie…I’m seriously having a brain fart here.
I used McIntosh apples because they’re so naturally sweet. If you use another variety of apples (such as Jonathan or Braeburn), or if the apples aren’t at all sweet for some reason, there’s a chance you MIGHT need a touch of sugar. However, I beg you to try it without the sugar first! You might just be surprised. I mean, I have a SUPER sweet tooth and 9 out of 10 times I don’t need to add sugar. If it needs a little something, try cinnamon first. Sometimes that gives it just the boost it needs to be perfect! Then, if it really does need the sugar, so be it. You can call me liar forever. I accept this possibility as long as you give it a try.
Fun fact about McIntosh apples that I learned from my sister — I guess McIntosh apples make an applesauce with a slightly pinkish tint to it. It makes sense since they turn a little pink once you peel and dice them. So interesting, though! Yeah, I know. I’m a nerd for being fascinated by simple food facts like that.P.S. I heated some of the applesauce up until it was warm and just starting to bubble. I sprinkled some granola on it and ended up with a healthy little dessert. It was so, so satisfying!
P.P.S. Extra credit if you noticed that the apples in the final pictures are Gala, not McIntosh apples, like I used for the applesauce. I got so carried away, I used all the McIntosh apples I had for the applesauce and left none for the pictures. Oops!
splash of water (enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot)
cinnamon, optional, to taste
Peel and dice apples into 1/2" pieces.
Put a splash of water in the bottom of a large pot (enough to barely cover the bottom) along with the apples. Cook on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. The applesauce should be slightly chunky but tender.
Add cinnamon, if desired, to taste.
Serve warm or chilled. Store in refrigerator.
Makes about 3 cups of applesauce
You can use other kinds of apples to make applesauce, such as Braeburn, Cortland, Jonathan, etc. However, I love how naturally sweet the McIntosh apples are. If you use a variety that is more tart, you may have to add a pinch of sugar.
If you want completely smooth applesauce, use an immersion blender or blender to blend until smooth. Make sure the applesauce is cooled before transferring to a normal blender.
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Can I be real for a minute?? I now have a one year old. EEK! I get it now when people say kids grow up fast…where did the time go? When our little man was first born we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and now we have no idea what it was like before him. The laughs, smiles, and squeals just melt my heart. He plays like it’s his job (busiest boy in the world) and I swear he can run faster than I can. Something I must work on I suppose…Maybe less galette and more salad? Only if it’s this spicy chicken Southwest salad, of course! (Nice transition, right? Totally worked real hard on that one. Also, not giving up the galette. That would be silly.)
This is a super simple, weeknight, use-all-your-leftover-veggies, I-can’t-even-think-of-making-dinner kind of meal. And it’s AMAZING! Sometimes simple is better than the hard stuff and this is definitely quick and easy. Perfect for someone who wants to be somewhat healthy but also has to chase a one year old that they can’t keep up with (aka…me).
My absolute favorite part is that I usually have everything I need to make it because the ingredients are staples in my house. And actually I lied because I have another absolute favorite part…there’s not actually a recipe! MIND BLOWN! If you say you can’t cook because you can’t follow a recipe, this is good news for you. All you really need to do is follow a shopping list. Or maybe just go find these things in your fridge or pantry.
Travis and I probably have this once a week. I’ll have Travis grill up some extra chicken if we’re already grilling, I cut it up, and either freeze or refrigerate it depending on how quickly I plan on using it. Then it’s just a matter of chopping, heating some ingredients up (if you so choose) and eating. Nom, nom!
Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad
Hot and spicy chicken DEFINITELY spices up this Southwest salad!
Lettuce (Romaine, or your favorite kind), ripped or cut into bite size pieces
Grilled chicken, cubed
Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado, sliced or diced
Hard boiled egg, cubed
Cheddar cheese, grated
Tortilla chips, crushed
lime, for garnish
Bell pepper, diced
Red onion, finely chopped or diced
Mix desired amount of hot sauce with the grilled chicken (I like mine hot so I add quite a bit!). I usually heat up the chicken and hot sauce in a saute pan if it's not already warm, but this is optional.
Heat the black beans and frozen corn in a saute pan over medium heat. Again, optional but if you eat it cold, please make sure to use canned or fresh corn so you don't break a tooth!
Layer desired ingredients over lettuce. Top with ranch dressing and crushed tortilla chips. Finish with a squeeze of lime to garnish.
By Flavor From Scratch
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If you missed my love story about focaccia, you can read it here. The love is real. So real, in fact, that my recipe makes 2 whole loaves of the magical bread. That’s stupendous if you are having guests for dinner. It might even be stupendous if you are super duper hungry and plan to eat an entire loaf in one sitting. Don’t judge, please. I can neither confirm nor deny that this may or may not have happened.
However, since it’s currently just Travis and I typically eating the focaccia recipe at our house, we usually have plenty of leftovers. Perfect for creative leftover recipes like this focaccia grilled chicken sandwich! I’d like to say that this is a totally Italian take on a chicken sandwich…But then I threw some guacamole in there and made it a bit of a mutt of a recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry about that. It’s too delicious to be sorry.
Why is this focaccia chicken sandwich a winner? The bread is salty and rich, the cheese and guac are creamy, and the chicken and veggies are fresh and delicious. Oh, and then throw some herbs/spices on there and BOOM! You have a taste explosion. In your mouth.
So, first make the focaccia and enjoy it for all it’s worth with some pasta or whatever you may desire. Then, take what’s left and make yourself a sandwich that will leave you asking for more.
Focaccia Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chicken sandwich with an Italian twist...focaccia bread, mozzarella cheese, and Italian herbs
Slice the focaccia loaf into quarters. Slice each quarter in half so there is a top and bottom half.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the bottom halves of the focaccia topped with the grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, oregano/Italian herb blend, and red pepper flakes. Put the top halves of bread on the baking sheet next to the bottoms halves, cut side up (so they can toast).
Broil on high until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
I know I’m a bit late here but I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and new year celebration! I find it hard to write 2017 on anything without wondering where 2016 went. Thinking back, this past year has sure been one to remember. Travis and I suddenly transformed from a couple to a family of 3 in a blink of an eye when our little guy arrived in August. There have been so many sleepless nights and diaper changes and too little time for cooking but we’ve made it so far!
Our first 2017 adventure involves wondering if we need a larger house. It’s funny how a house that seemed to work so well with the 2 of us gets loaded down so quickly with endless things for a tiny human being. He’s SO little…yet he requires SO MUCH stuff. My mind is baffled by that. Between looking what seems to be nonstop at houses online and a couple houses in person, I have to admit that I haven’t had a lot of extra time to come up with new and exciting recipes. What do I do when I have no time? I revert to my “go to” dishes that are simple and quick. Tacos are just that. And this taco seasoning can’t get much more simple!
My favorite part of this seasoning is that if I have ground meat (which is usually something I have in my freezer), I can make tacos with the spices already in my pantry! Don’t have tortillas?? What to do, what to do? I make them with this also simple but *amazing* recipe!
I’m sorry that I’m making it hard for you to come up with excuses not to make tacos. I’m not really sorry though because it’s hard to be sorry for something like that. I mean, they’re delicious. Top these tacos with a little salsa, guac, lettuce, and cheese and you’re on your way to an amazing meal. If you’re feeling fancy, make some rice or beans as a side and then it’s an extra special taco night!
So whether you’re busy like I am, or have all the time in the world, here’s to a new year with new adventures and more cooking!
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in airtight container or spice jar.
To use with taco meat, brown 1 pound of ground turkey or beef in a skillet. Drain the excess fat. Add 1.5-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning and a splash of water (about 1/4 cup) to the skillet along with the ground meat. Combine until the meat is coated with seasoning.