Crock pot Applesauce

I love homemade applesauce. But I never make it because I always thought it was too time consuming. Then Pinterest alerted me to this surprisingly easy version in a crock pot! The most time consuming part was peeling and chopping the apples. With a few tweaks, it tasted just like Gramma’s!

Ingredients:
8 to 10 apples of any kind (you might need more or less depending on the size of your crock pot)
2 cinnamon sticks (if you don’t have sticks, just use a few dashes)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (we actually used about 2 teaspoons)
5 tablespoons brown sugar (we ended up just using a quarter cup of light, use your best judgement and taste!)

Directions:
Peel, core and chop the apples. Put them in the crock pot. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice. Cover. Cook on low for 6 hours. We stirred every hour for a total of six time. When the apples are cooked through, use a potato masher to make chunky applesauce. If you prefer your applesauce thinner, put it through the blender or the food processor.

My opinion:
We left out the lemon peel and fresh lemon juice from the original recipe because we didn’t have any lemons on hand. I was a bit saddened by how little 10 apples made! There was really only enough for about 2 and a half servings. I guess I’ll need a bigger crock pot!

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Butternut Squash with Gruyère

You might have noticed I’ve been on quite a squash kick lately. I’m trying all kinds of different squash types and squash recipes and recently fell in love with this side dish from Shape.com with a few modifications. It’s super easy to make.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (about 11/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Gruyère (our grater was in the dishwasher so I just sliced it. Trust me, it’s better grated!)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the squash: Cut off and discard the stem of squash. Divide squash into two pieces by slicing through it horizontally (use a really sharp knife. It makes it easier). Peel each half with a peeler. Using a spoon (if you have a grapefruit spoon use that), scoop out seeds. Then cut squash into ¾-inch pieces. Place squash slices in a large saucepan, cover them with chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then drain. Pour a thin layer of chicken stock on the bottom of a 9″ x 12″ baking dish and alternate layers of squash and Gruyère, saving some cheese for the top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the remaining chicken stock and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and add remaining cheese. Continue baking until cheese melts and slightly browns, about 10 minutes.

My opinion:
So yummy! I’ve made this several times and each time it gets better.

Self Magazine’s Shrimp and Orzo (modified)

(Note: this is a guest post from Matt LaCasse. He and I have traded recipes since before he started #cookchat.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve been seeing me use the hashtag #hawaiidiet. As a part of this diet, my wife and I get 8 ounces of meat a day, but that’s limited to seafood, chicken or turkey. Up to this point in my life, I’ve had a saying that goes something like, “If it’s from the sea, it’s not for me.” I’ve had to get over that since one can only eat so much chicken and/or turkey. So, I turned to the one place I knew I could get a fantastic shrimp recipe. The host of this here blog.

God bless Aurora. She sent me this recipe for shrimp. I’ll give the recipe (from Self Magazine) as it’s supposed to be made first:

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound medium shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup feta

#Hawaiidiet also bans dairy products, so the feta was out, and I’d never heard of capers before this, didn’t have any on hand, and so ended up substituting cilantro. Orzo was also out due to the no carbs aspect of the diet. So, here’s what I ended up using:

  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup green onions (Didn’t have an onion on hand, used these instead, worked great)
  • 1 Tb garlic powder (Thought I had garlic on hand, but I didn’t. This worked OK)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (Again, didn’t have any white wine on hand)
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbs parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 1 tbs cilantro
  • The rest of the ingredients I used as listed

This was a GREAT recipe. It was a bit spicier than I had expected, but that wasn’t a bad thing. There’s LOTS of flavor here, and I really wish I could have used feta and orzo as I have no doubt that makes this taste completely different. It was a little over-tomatoey, but I’m chalking that up to the lack of feta and orzo. The cilantro added a little citrus twist to it, which I really enjoyed and would add to the original recipe; then again, I’m a cilantro freak.

Thanks to Aurora for passing along the recipe! This and a tilapia recipe she passed along have been big hits at Casa de LaCasse and will become a part of the regular rotation.