Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hot Mulled Cider

By Carol Carlson

1 gallon of apple cider.
2 - 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 - 1 teaspoon allspice
pinch of nutmeg
1 orange sliced thinly

* Please note that some people add some brown sugar or use cinnamon sticks and whole cloves but then you have to strain the cider or pick them out.
Heat on stove just to a simmer and then put in a crock pot on low. Float the orange slices on top. Simple but delicious and incredibly fragrant. Your house will smell wonderful.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crock Pot Crazy - Lasagna

I came across the blog A Year of Crockpotting through another blog that I love, PastaQueen. I think that discovery alone may have turned me into a crockpot monster. I never knew that you could cook so many things with a crockpot! I decided to try lasagna since I enjoy eating lasagna but never feel like putting in the effort to make it. Stephanie's original recipe is here.

I used:

~1 pound extra lean turkey, cooked with poultry seasoning
~lasagna noodles
~1 can tomato garlic sauce
~ricotta cheese
~Italian cheese

Since my husband hasn't quite expanded his horizons with vegetables, I made a salad to serve with it, but didn't put any vegetables in.

I started by cooking the turkey in a skillet with poultry seasoning, then simmered it with the sauce for a few minutes. Next, I layered the turkey/sauce mixture, followed by a layer of dry noodles, then the ricotta cheese and Italian cheese, then the sauce, etc. until the crockpot was full. Then I poured water into the empty sauce can, shook it, and poured that mixture over top of the entire lasagna. I cooked it on high for 4 hours. Just before it was done, I put garlic bread in the oven and made the salad. The lasagna came out very well--it was very tender and flavorful. My husband's one comment was that it needed more sauce, so I might put in another half-can next time. I think this would taste good with vodka sauce as well.

I'm looking forward to trying more of Stephanie's recipes!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chicken and Spinach Risotto

This recipe comes from our former colleague at TPL, Katie Salley. I am looking forward to trying it!

In a large skillet, brown 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces.
Add 1 T. Olive oil.

When this is browned, add all at one time:
1 can chicken broth
1 ½ cups Minute rice, or Minute brown rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 cups baby spinach

Cover with a lid, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so rice doesn't stick. After the ten minutes is over, remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup
parmesan cheese. Serve.

Katie says if you don't have parmesan cheese, you can substitute mozzarella. You can also add additional vegetables. Be sure to read the back of the spinach bag--you probably will not need an entire bag, meaning you can make it again!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Caramel Apple in Peanuts and Chocolate

6 small apples - Granny Smith or Macintosh make the best
1 package caramels (14 oz.)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
6 popsicle sticks
1 cup melted chocolate

Line a small bowl with waxed paper and fill with chopped peanuts. Wash and dry the apples. Twist off the stems and push popsicle sticks half way onto the apples where the stems used to be. Melt the caramels in the microwave or a saucepan over low heat according to the package directions. Dip apples in the melted caramel to coat. It helps to use a spatula. Use a knife to help cover the whole apple. Place each apple, stick side up into the bowl and roll over bottom to cover that half. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 10 second increments, stirring between until thoroughly melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the caramel apples. Refrigerate until the caramel is firm, about 1/2 hour.

An easy way to eat the apple is by cutting in small slices. First put the apple on a plate. Take a sharp knife and cut, starting at the top, parallel to the core and slice on all four sides. Then, make another cut with the knife tip pointing in at the center or stick, cutting each side in half.