Apple Pie Tacos


Apple Pie Tacos
Sweeten up your taco game with this pie-inspired dessert made dressed up with apples, cinnamon-sugar, and caramel sauce.

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon or apple pie spice
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 12.6 ounce package street taco corn tortillas (24 4-inch tortillas)
3 tablespoons butter
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
Caramel ice cream topping (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a heavy large saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil to 375 degrees F over medium heat. Use a deep-frying thermometer to monitor temperature.
  3. Using tongs, place one tortilla in the oil for 5 seconds. Turn it over and hold in a curved shape with the tongs for 1 minute or until crisp and browned.
  4. Immediately remove from the oil, letting any excess drip off, and dip in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Repeat with remaining tortillas and cinnamon-sugar.
  5. In a large saucepan heat butter and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon over medium heat. Stir in apples, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons water.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until softened.
  7. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water.
  8. Slowly drizzle into hot apple mixture while stirring and continue to cook until apples are tender and filling is thickened.
  9. Continue to simmer 2 minutes more.
  10. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
    Spoon filling into prepared shells and serve immediately.
  11. If desired, top with whipped topping and caramel topping, if desired.
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Christmas Star Twisted Bread


CHRISTMAS STAR TWISTED BREAD
This gorgeous sweet bread swirled with jam may look tricky, but it’s not. The best part is opening the oven to find this star-shaped beauty in all its glory.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

 

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water until foamy. In another bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, sugar and salt; add yeast mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four portions. Roll one portion into a 12-in. circle. Place on a greased 14-in. pizza pan. Spread with one-third of the jam to within 1/2 in. from edge. Repeat twice, layering dough and jam, and ending with final portion of dough.
  4. Place a 2-1/2-in. round cutter on top of the dough in center of circle (do not press down). With a sharp knife, make 16 evenly spaced cuts from round cutter to edge of dough, forming a starburst. Remove cutter; grasp two strips and rotate twice outward. Pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining strips.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until golden brown, 18-22 minutes. (Watch during final 5 minutes for any dripping.) Remove from oven; brush with melted butter, avoiding areas where jam is visible. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 16 servings

Cook’s Note

Kickstart the flavor by trying blueberry jam and 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, or blackberry jam and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom.

Triple Cranberry Sauce


TRIPLE CRANBERRY SAUCE
Cranberry fans will ask for this sauce again and again. It’s loaded with their favorite fruit—in fresh, dried and juice form. Orange and allspice make it awesome.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup thawed cranberry juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, cranberry juice concentrate, dried cranberries and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat; stir in the orange juice, marmalade, orange peel and allspice.
  4. Transfer to a small bowl; refrigerate until chilled.

Yield: 3 cups.

 

 

 

Braised Chicken and Black Pepper Dumplings


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Ingredients

Soup

  • 1 (3-pound) chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 Large yellow onion, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 16 Cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons Louisiana Hot sauce
  • 3 Tanlespooms Worcestershire
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream

Dumplings

  • 2 cups Bisquick Mix
  • 2/3 Cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 dashes Louisiana Hot sauce

Preparation

  1. Combine all the soup ingredients except for the cream and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken and pull the meat from the bones. Reserve for later.
  3. Strain the stock into another stock pot and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and season.
  4. In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the dumplings and mix together.
  5. While the soup is simmering take a soup spoon and slowly drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mix into the soup.
  6. Poach the dumplings until cooked through.
  7. Add the pulled chicken back into the soup and season one last time.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Ramen Noodle Soup


thai peanut chicken and ramen noodle soup
The ramen noodles soak up a lot of the broth if not eaten right when the noodles are done cooking. You can prepare this ahead of time, just make sure to add the noodle right before you are ready to eat.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound chicken thighs or breast or a mix sliced (or left whole if using the crockpot)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated (you may add more to your liking)
  • 1 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 sweet potato chopped (skin removed if desired)
  • 2 red peppers thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1/4 cup thai red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 packages Ramen noodle soup seasoning packets discarded (you may also just use your favorite pasta)
  • chopped peanuts for serving
  • chopped cilantro for serving

Procedure

To make this on the Stove

  1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the chicken.
  2. Brown the chicken, stirring once or twice for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cookedI through. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot.
  3. Add another tablespoon of peanut oil, the ginger, garlic, sweet potato and peppers.
  4. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
  5. Add the mushroom and cook 5 more minutes.
  6. Add in the curry paste and smoked paprika, stirring until the curry paste has coated the veggies.
  7. In the meantime, add 1 cup of chicken broth to a heat safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute or unitll very hot. Carefully stir in the peanut butter until completely smooth.
  8. Add the chicken back into the pot along with the coconut milk, remaining chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, peanut butter mixture, lime juice and brown sugar.
  9. Stir until the peanut butter has been fully incorporated into the soup.
  10. Bring the soup to a boil and then add the ramen noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes (if using regular noodles you will need to cook the noodle for a longer period of time, probably about 8 minutes).
  11. Once the noodles are ready serve soup immediately and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and peanuts.

To make this in the crockpot

  1. Add the peanut oil, chicken, ginger, garlic, sweet potato, red peppers, curry paste, smoked paprika, coconut milk, chicken, broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, peanut butter and brown sugar to the crock pot bowl.
  2. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, stirring if you can once or twice.
  3. During the last 30 minutes add the mushrooms and then during the last 5 minutes add the noodles (if using regular noodles you will need to cook them for a longer period of time, probably about 10 minutes).
  4. Once the noodles are cooked serve immediately and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and peanuts

Salted Caramel Frosting


 

Salted Caramel Frosting
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 5 – 6 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (240-300g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Optional Garnish

I’ve Procedure

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add salt.
  4. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds or so.
  5. Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  6. With a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3 more Tablespoons of heavy cream.
  7. Slowly add 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
  8. Add 1 more Tablespoon heavy cream if you find the frosting too thick.
  9. Frost cake or cupcakes and garnish with Salted Caramel Sauce if desired.

Cook’s Notes

The best piping tip for this frosting is the Wilton #12 round tip. If you pipe this salted caramel frosting with star tips, it will not hold its shape as nicely since the frosting is so creamy. So I suggest a simple round tip.

 

Okra and Tomatoes


Okra and Tomatoes
Fresh summer okra, sliced and cooked with canned tomatoes (you could use fresh instead), bacon, onion, celery, and a few seasonings makes a delicious vegetable side dish for almost any meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
  • 4 cups sliced okra
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in a cast iron Dutch oven. Remove bacon and set aside.
  2. Add onion and celery to the bacon grease and cook until soft, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, water, okra, and seasonings. Cook 20-25 minutes, maintaining a simmer and stirring occasionally.
  4. Crumble bacon and stir in just before serving.