Apple Spice Waffles

You guys. I have a dilemma. If you’ve been around here for any period of time, you might know that my weekend breakfast of choice is homemade buttermilk pancakes. I love pancakes so much that I’ve got them as an answer to a security question with one of my online billing accounts. When I go out for brunch I scan the restaurant’s menu for their version of pancakes, even if I don’t feel like ordering them. I could go on for hours about the best types of pancakes and debate the merits of box mix vs. scratch made. Homemade vs. restaurant. Restaurant vs. restaurant.

I like pancakes, y’all.

So when I had a weekend guest a while back and knew I wanted to throw together breakfast for us in the morning, my mind immediately went to pancakes. However, this particular guest had already experienced my homemade pancakes and I didn’t want to repeat myself too quickly. So what’s the next best thing to pancakes?

Waffles. After all, they’re pretty much just pancakes with built in syrup receptacles.

And these waffles are a lot like the pancakes that I’ve been making for years so it was like second nature to throw them together. I wanted to give them a little something extra and was feeling all sorts of fall that weekend so I peeled and diced up a couple apples and stirred them into the batter along with cinnamon and nutmeg. I actually might make another batch of these this weekend. I went apple picking last week and the local apples I have are amazing.

The necessities: Milk, flour, eggs, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, fresh ground nutmeg, two apples, juice of a lemon.

Peel and chop the apples into small dice. Toss with lemon juice to avoid browning. Forgive me, but I don’t remember what kind of apples these were, but really almost any variety will work. Something tart yet sweet and not super crisp will do very nicely.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Separate eggs. Whisk whites until stiff and stir yolks together with brown sugar and vanilla. Melt butter in microwave, and measure out milk.

Whisk together butter and egg yolk/brown sugar mixture, and stir into the dry ingredients along with the milk. Whisk until mixture just comes together. It will still be lumpy.

Add egg whites to mixture and fold together gently. Add chopped apples and stir until combined.

Pre-heat waffle iron and brush with more melted butter (or spray with cooking spray). Pour batter onto waffle iron (I used a little less than a cup worth of batter for my iron, and it was a tad too much as you’ll see). Close iron and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, until waffle is at desired doneness.

I think this was only the third or fourth time I’ve actually used my waffle iron, so I had some trial and error here.

But they still came out pretty damn good.

Serve with some more butter (if desired), and your choice of syrup.

So good. Crispy on the outside, tender and just a little moist on the inside, with a nice sweet/tart/slight crunch from the apple, and great spice. They’re perfect for a lazy fall morning. Another bonus?  These freeze beautifully. Make a double batch and save some for a busy weekday morning – just throw them in the toaster!

Apple Spice Waffles (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 11/2 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel and chop apples into small dice. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Mix egg yolk with brown sugar and vanilla, add melted butter and combine.

Whisk egg whites until stiff (can be done with a hand or stand mixer as well to save time and your arm).

Mix dry ingredients with egg yolk, sugar and butter mixture. Stir together with milk until just combined – will still be lumpy.

Gently fold in egg whites and stir into batter. Fold in diced apples.

Heat up waffle iron and brush with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. Pour batter onto waffle iron and close. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, until browned on the outside and cooked through. Try to avoid opening the waffle iron too much!

Serve waffles with butter and your choice of syrup.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corn and Crab Chowder

As soon as September 1st rolls around it begins. Jack Skellington memes on Facebook. Reports of Pumpkin Spice everything at the grocery store. Young women who just spent the summer in sun dresses and sandals are digging out their boots, flannels, and puffy vests. “OMG it’s finally FALL!”

Except it isn’t. Not really. Not in Pennsylvania. We had sunny, hot, summer-like 80 degree weather until…

Like a week and a half ago. I was still sleeping with my air conditioner on. It was maddening, especially given the crappy rainy summer we did have. But now, finally, MIDWAY THROUGH OCTOBER, fall has arrived. Leaves are changing, the air is crisp and cool and I’m craving soup pretty much 24/7.

This is a great soup to make during late summer/early fall, when the corn harvest is still abundant. You can make this any time of year with frozen corn, but fresh corn is fantastic with the crab meat and bacon in the chowder.

You will need: Corn, fresh lump crab meat, bacon, four medium potatoes, one large onion, two to four cloves of garlic, one large bell pepper (or 1/2 to 3/4 each of two medium sized ones), vegetable stock, seafood stock jelly packet (optional, you could use a carton of seafood stock if you have it available), fresh parsley, heavy cream, and seasoning.

Note: This isn’t a “chowder” in the strictest sense of the word, because it’s not super thick or rich  – I don’t add flour to the fat with the cooked vegetables to make a roux before adding the stock. You absolutely can do so if you prefer a richer soup. I’ve always just made it this way and I really enjoy it. 

Start by heating a large soup pot over medium heat, and cut four strips of bacon into large dice. Add the bacon to the hot pot and cook until browned and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels.

Snack on a piece or two, I won’t tell. Dice the onion and bell peppers and add them to the rendered bacon fat in the pot and saute until translucent and soft. Mince the garlic, add to pot, and saute until fragrant. Add a little salt and pepper and some onion and garlic powder if you like.

While the vegetables are sauteing, remove the corn from the cobs and dice the potatoes into small bite size pieces. Add the corn and potatoes to the pot, along with the seafood stock jelly and vegetable stock, and increase the heat to medium-high.

This isn’t a necessary ingredient; you can just buy liquid seafood stock, or use plain vegetable or chicken stock(low sodium) if you prefer. I just tried this to see if it made a difference in flavor – I think this definitely made the chowder more “fishy” than when I’ve made it in the past.

Allow the vegetables and stock to come to a low boil, reduce heat back down to medium, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. While the soup is simmering, drain the crab meat and pick through to make sure there are no pieces of shell left in the meat.

Fresh lump crab meat is best here – don’t scrimp on this ingredient. It’s a bit pricey but sometimes you can hit a good seafood sale at your local grocery store.

When the potatoes are fork tender, add the crab meat to the soup along with the cooked bacon. Stir together and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes so the flavors mingle. Add 1/2 pint of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley. Check seasonings and serve.

Corn and Crab Chowder

  • 4 or 5 ears fresh corn on the cob, husked and kernels removed
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (can leave peels on, just scrub well)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 orange pepper, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices of bacon cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb fresh lump crab mean, drained and any remaining bits of shell removed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • seafood stock jelly
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs fresh parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels and set aside. Saute the onion and bell pepper in the remaining bacon drippings (add a little olive oil or butter if you need more fat for sauteing) until translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more. ~This is where you would add a tablespoon of flour to the fat to thicken the soup if you prefer.~

Add corn, diced potatoes, and seafood stock jelly to the vegetables and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable stock to the pot and allow to come to a slow boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked through. Add crab meat and bacon to the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in cream and parsley and adjust seasonings to taste, if necessary.

Serve with crackers and enjoy!

Philly Cheese Steak Rolls

Okay, so here’s that recipe I promised you almost a week ago.

I’m terrible at this, aren’t I?

But I’m really good at some other things, so it evens out. Kind of.

Anyway, these are the cheese steak roll ups that I made for my birthday game night last month. They were super easy to make and really tasty. You can make them ahead, freeze them and bake them whenever you need them too.

What you’ll need:

Thin sliced or shaved steak (see below – you can usually find it in the frozen meat section), frozen puff pastry sheets, a good sized onion, sliced bell or banana peppers (or both, depending on preference), sliced american or provolone cheese, one egg, and some sesame seeds (again, your preference). To season the meat mixture I used salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of Dijon mustard.

Set frozen puff pastry out to thaw for about 30-45 minutes. Peel the onion, cut it into halves or quarters and slice thinly. Saute onion in 2 Tb olive oil until softened and slightly browned (Add sliced bell peppers – if using – and cook until soft). Cut the shaved steak into bite sized pieces and add to pan, saute with onions until just cooked through. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. Stir together and set aside, letting cool slightly.

Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water in a bowl to make an egg wash. Roll one sheet of puff pastry out with flour into an approximate 12 x 16 rectangle. Pile approximately one half of the meat mixture down the length of one end of the dough. Top with sliced banana peppers (if using),

And then the sliced cheese.

Roll meat and pastry tightly end to end. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or poppy seeds, or caraway seeds…you see where I’m going here. You can also go seedless if you prefer). Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and meat mixture.

Rest on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for an hour to set. This step isn’t a necessity, but it will allow the pastry to slightly firm back up and make slicing the roll much easier. If you have the time, rest it; even for a day or two, as long as it’s wrapped in plastic.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice rolls into 12 slices; about 1 inch thick. Bake on a lined cookie sheet 10-12 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the pastry is nicely browned.

Serve warm with some marinara sauce on the side.

And watch them disappear.

Philly Cheese Steak Rolls

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 package shaved steak, chopped fine
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 1/4-1/2 cup (or more) sliced banana peppers (if desired)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 lb sliced deli cheese of your choosing
  • 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tb Olive oil
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Slice the onion thinly and add to a sautée pan over medium heat with olive oil. Sautee until lightly browned and add chopped steak. Cook until just browned, add salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Stir together and set aside.

Roll out one sheet of thawed pastry on a flour-topped counter with a rolling pin. Pile one half of the meat mixture down the length of one end of the pastry. Top with sliced banana peppers and cheese, and roll from meat to other end tightly. Repeat with other sheet of pastry, remaining meat mixture, peppers, and cheese.

Whisk egg in a bowl with 1-2 Tbs cold water to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash over rolled pastry and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set rolls on baking sheet in refrigerator for at least an hour to over night.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice roll into 12 1-inch slices and place on to lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes on one side, flip, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the cheese is melted.

Remove from baking sheet onto serving platter, and serve warm with a side of marinara sauce.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

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Loaded Buffalo Chicken Burgers

I’ve had this recipe sitting around for a while. And sitting and sitting and…well, you get the point. I figured now is as good of a time as any to share, especially since it’s peak grilling season.

I’m a big fan of buffalo chicken anything (well, almost anything. I mean, some people are out here making buffalo chicken hummus and stuff and I’m so not about that. Leave hummus alone, y’all. It’s wonderful the way it is.), and after a big crisp salad with buffalo chicken strips on top, I’d say this burger is my favorite form. Resting on a toasty onion roll, paired with a smoky/sweet bacon jam, all topped with a crunchy blue cheese “slaw”. This burger is enormous and will totally make your summer cookout.

First things first: Make THIS Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam (if you already have a favorite bacon jam recipe, make that – or – ::Ina Garten voice:: store bought is fine). I would recommend making the jam a day or two in advance, it takes some time (totally worth it).

Bonus: It makes a decent amount, so you can eat it on other things! Like toast. Crackers. And…um…spoons.

Next step: Prepare apple/celery slaw. Slice/dice apples and celery, toss in a bowl with chunky blue cheese dressing, a touch of white vinegar, salt and pepper, and set aside.

Snacking optional.

For the burgers, keep it simple. Mix ground chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of an onion, grated. Shape into four patties, making sure to place a dent in the center of each to prevent the patties from puffing up while cooking. Grill over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 17o.

While the burgers cook, toast your buns! If you want.

I found that toasting the rolls makes for a more sturdy surface to handle all that burger. Also while the burgers are grilling, cook butter and hot sauce over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture is bubbling gently.

When the burgers are done cooking, immediately dunk them in the butter and hot sauce mixture, coating on both sides.

Enjoy your bath, lovely.

Time to assemble dat burger.

Spread the bacon jam on the bottom of the roll, top with the buffalo sauce-coated burger, then the apple/celery slaw. Add the top of the roll (obvs), and. Dig. In.

I think these would really go nicely with some baked sweet potato fries. But you do you, boo. Enjoy!

“Loaded” Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam and Apple/Celery Blue Cheese Slaw

  • 1 batch Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam, made ahead and refrigerated
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated fine
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, julienne cut
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced on the bias
  • 1/2 cup chunky blue cheese salad dressing
  • 2 TB distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s)
  • 4 TB butter
  • salt and pepper
  • rolls of your choice (I used onion rolls)

Take bacon jam out of the fridge and set aside (You might want to just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off and make the jam ‘spreadable’). Mix dressing and vinegar in a bowl, add sliced celery and apple and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Note: if you’re  a big blue cheese fan like me, feel free to add some extra crumbled cheese to the slaw if you have any on hand. I didn’t have any this day but it would have made the slaw that much yummier. Refrigerate slaw while finishing burgers.

Mix ground chicken, grated onion, salt and pepper. Form into four patties, pressing a dent in the center. Grill over medium high heat, 6-7 minutes per side.

While the burgers are cooking, toast rolls in the oven if desired. Add hot sauce and butter to a small pan and cook over medium heat until butter melts and the sauce bubbles gently.

When the burgers are cooked through, toss each in the sauce until covered.

Assemble burgers and serve.

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup


It’s fall, y’all! No way to deny it anymore. The days are shorter, the nights cool and crisp, the leaves have started changing, and I’m fighting with every fiber of my being the urge to turn the heat on in my house until November 1st. The arrival of fall brings with it my most favorite “season” of all…soup season!

Don’t get me wrong, I could(and do) eat soup during a heat wave in July, but there’s just something infinitely more comforting about tucking into a bowl of steaming hot goodness while you’re cuddled on the couch on a chilly autumn afternoon; wearing flannel pj pants, fuzzy socks, and a big cozy sweatshirt; wrapped in blankets while your two purring cuddle monsters perch precariously on your lap trying to see what you’ve got there, momma.


These two. Menace to society, they are. Not to mention a threat to my sanity and glassware.

ANYWAY. Back to soup. I could eat soup almost any day of the year, but I always seem to specifically crave it when I’m feeling under the weather. Which I was after returning from vacation the other week. Those damn airplane germs get me every time. So before I fully succumbed to sinus ickiness I dug out my soup pot and got cooking.

Since I was in the mood for something with Mexican flavors (am I ever *not* in the mood for Mexican? No.), I went with a simple chicken tortilla soup – chock full of fresh veggies, beans, a little heat, and served up with a touch of freshness with some cilantro and lime at the end.

Firstly I baked a couple boneless skinless chicken breasts in the oven, 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. I don’t like to poach my chicken in the broth, I think roasting in the oven gives a better flavor ( it’s even better when the chicken is roasted over some root veggies with the bone in and skin on, but I used what I had on hand here). Dice the chicken up and set aside.

Now get to chopping all those veggies. Onion, garlic, celery, and bell peppers. Maybe some carrots if you’re so inclined (I was carrot-less this time around). Dice everything up fine and sauté in olive oil over medium high heat until the onions are nicely translucent, the celery has softened, and the peppers have slightly browned.

Seasoning time. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and chipotle powder to vegetables. Stir in tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast spices and paste in the oil.

Onto the canned goods. I love canned beans for soups and chilis, they’re such a big time saver. Be sure to drain and rinse that liquid off though, it’s a bit salty. Drain and rinse two cans of black beans and add to the pan. Add two cans of diced tomatoes with chilis (Ro-Tel), including liquid and stir. Bring to a low simmer.

Add six cups of chicken stock and the diced chicken and bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Chop cilantro finely and add to soup (if desired, I know some people aren’t cilantro fans). Serve with desired additions — wedge of lime, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, even a touch of sour cream or guacamole.

Note: This makes a lot of soup. You can absolutely store some of this in the freezer.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Makes approximately 12-14 cups

  • 12-16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, baked and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles, with liquid
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh lime wedges, and some additional cilantro, for serving.

Saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly browned. Add all seasonings and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for a couple of minutes to allow spices to toast up a bit. Add drained and rinsed beans and tomatoes and chilis with liquid. Add cooked diced chicken, chicken stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add chopped fresh cilantro and serve with desired toppings.

It’s good for what ails ya.

You can also check out some of my other fall soup recipes — they’re all ridiculously delicious and super simple to make.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (my personal favorite!)

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup Ever

Enjoy! And happy fall!

Chicken, Stuffing, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole: My Favorite Comfort Food

My mom used to make this casserole a lot when I was growing up. Matter of fact, I remember specifically requesting it for my birthday on more than one occasion. And we’re talking, like, into my 20’s. She found the recipe on the back of one of those cans of french fried onions — you know, the kind people use to make that awful green bean casserole at Thanksgiving? (Cream of Mushroom soup? No.)

The first time she made it, it blew my tweenage mind. It was some of my favorite things in one dish! I was never a picky eater growing up (quite the opposite, in fact), but I especially loved anything with or involving box mix stuffing.

I know, it’s terrible. I should feel dirty just saying it.

But I don’t. Stuffing mix is awesome, especially when you’re short on time or don’t have the room to bake a pan of home made stuffing or you just need something quick to serve alongside your main course.

Or if you want to make this casserole. It’s the most delicious mess you’ll ever put in your oven (and your mouth). It takes a little bit of work to put together, but you can easily make it a day or two ahead of time. You can take a couple of short cuts with it, too – use rotisserie chicken, or pre-made cheese sauce (WHY, precious?); but I would refrain from using frozen broccoli — it might get too watery.

First step is to cook your chicken. I used boneless/skinless breasts because that’s my go-to protein, but you can do a mixture of white and dark meat if you prefer. Even roast it with the skin on, just remove it before dicing up and adding to the casserole.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients – cut and steam the broccoli and set aside, make the stuffing according to package directions (stir in half of the can of the french fried onions at the end), make the cheese sauce and let it thicken a little bit.

Once your chicken is cooked through, dice it up, assemble the whole glorious mess, top with the remaining onions, and bake, covered, at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Remove the cover and return to the oven for a few more minutes for those onions to get brown and crispy. Let cool and serve.

Oh heck yeah. Tastes like 1991. (What does 1991 taste like, you ask? AMAZING.)

Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheese Casserole with Stuffing

Serves: 8

  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • 1-11/2 lb boneless skinless chicken, roasted and diced into cubes
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, steamed until fork tender
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk (stick with 2% or full fat)
  • 1 can french fried onions, divided
  • 2 TB unsalted butter (plus more for stuffing)
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 TB dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Stir in 1/2 can of french fried onions. Set aside.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until slightly brown and the flour is cooked out. Add paprika and stir together. Add milk slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until thoroughly combined. Stir for 2-3 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add shredded cheese and continue to whisk until completely melted. Stir in dijon mustard. Cook cheese sauce for 3-5 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. Add salt and fresh ground pepper as needed. Set aside.

Assemble the casserole:

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread the stuffing mix in the bottom of the dish. Top with steamed broccoli florets (you can absolutely chop your broccoli smaller than I did, hide it for those kiddos if you need to!). Spread roasted and chopped chicken over the broccoli. Pour cheese sauce over the entire casserole. Top with remaining french fried onions. Cover casserole with lid or foil and bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Remove lid and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes, until onions have crisped and browned slightly.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (or longer, this stuff’s like molten lava), and serve.

Yes.