Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Apple Cider

"I make this apple cider every Halloween.  I mix it up in the slow cooker and let it simmer all afternoon.  Which by the way makes the house smell so good!  Then my hubby and I drink it while we watch our Halloween movies.  I wait for Halloween night all year!"

1 large container of apple cider (I used an 89 ounce container of LITEHOUSE brand apple cider.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (You can add more if you like it sweeter.)
1 Tablespoon McCormick apple pie spice

Whisk together cider, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Ladle into cups and sip away!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

"This recipe was handed down to me by my Aunt.  It makes the yummiest popcorn balls!  They would be great to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters this Halloween!!!"

2-(10 ounce) packages of marshmallows (You can also use 2 large jars of marshmallow cream.)
1/4 cup butter
desired food coloring (I mixed red and yellow to make orange.)
2 bags Microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (*According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn makes about 10 cups popped corn.  I used the equivalent of air popped popcorn when I made this recipe.)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows until melted.  Add desired color and amount of food coloring and mix well.  Add popped corn and stir until completely covered.  *Using greased hands, form into popcorn balls and allow to cool completely.  Wrap in waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 
*TIP:  This is very messy, so make sure to grease your hands often to keep them from sticking to the popcorn balls.  I sprayed my hands with non-stick cooking spray several times.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Candy Corn White Chocolate Bark

"I made this yummy candy and packaged it in cute little take out containers and decorated them for Halloween.  They turned out SO CUTE!"

2-(12 ounce) bags white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon orange extract
red food coloring + yellow food coloring
1-(11 ounce) package of candy corn (I used Brach's.)

Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.  Remove from the heat and add orange extract.  Stir until well incorporated and smooth.  Pour onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Spread chocolate out with an off-set spatula until it's about 1/4 inch thick.  Drop food coloring onto chocolate and swirl around with off-set spatula or a butter knife.  (I used 4 drops of red and 6 drops of yellow food coloring.  I mixed the food coloring into the white chocolate with an off-set spatula to make a light orange color, but you could use orange and yellow food coloring and just swirl it around to make a tri-color bark.)  Sprinkle candy corn on top.  Allow to set up.  (TIP:  You can place in the refrigerator to speed up the set up time.)  Break into pieces. 

Use an off-set spatula to mix in food coloring and spread to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Sprinkle on candy corn.

Break into pieces of candy corn covered bark.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Caramel Corn

"My Aunt shared this recipe with me.  She makes this yummy caramel corn for the holidays.  This year I am going to make it for Halloween treats."  

1-(12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks or 1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup Karo light corn syrup
3 bags of microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn will make about 10 cups of popped corn.  When I made this recipe, I used the equivalent of air-popped popcorn.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook milk, brown sugar, butter and Karo syrup until mixture reaches *220 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  (TIP:  Be Patient-This will take about 30-45 minutes.  Don't be tempted to turn the heat up to speed up the cooking time, because the caramel will burn easily!)  Pour over popcorn and stir to coat popcorn completely.  Spread out on a large piece of waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow to cool and air dry.  Store in a covered bowl.

Most caramel corn recipes produce a dry, crunchy popcorn.  This caramel corn has a soft and  chewy texture and that's why my husband and I love it!

*Note:  The elevation where I live is approx. 6,500 feet above sea level.  It is very important to adjust the cooking temperature according to where you live in order for the caramel to turn out. Adjust as follows:

-For every 1,000 feet LOWER in elevation that you live, ADD 2 degrees to the cooking temperature.  For example, if you live at 1,500 feet, you would add 10 degrees and cook the caramel to 230 degrees F.

-For every 1,000 feet HIGHER in elevation, SUBTRACT 2 degrees from the cooking temperature.  For example, if you live at 8,500 feet, you would subtract 4 degrees and cook the caramel to 216 degrees F.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

"I love any caramel apple, but I must admit this is my new favorite!  It tastes just like apple pie and it's a new twist on an old favorite!"

4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  ENJOY!  

Friday, October 12, 2012

BOO To You! Brownies

"I made these Yummy Brownies for our family last weekend.  I called them BOO To You! Brownies because the mini marshmallows reminded me of little ghosts.  They turned out so cute and by the way they tasted really good too!" 

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
Halloween sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee granules, baking powder, salt, eggs and vanilla. Stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drizzle Mocha Frosting (recipe follows) over hot brownies.    Cool completely.  Top with mini marshmallows and Halloween sprinkles.  Cut into squares and serve.  TIP:  Cover any leftovers well in order to keep marshmallows from drying out.

Mocha Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add cocoa powder, coffee granules, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Pour over hot brownies.

TIP:  I used Wilton Halloween sprinkles, but you could decorate the brownies with candy corn, candy pumpkins or your favorite Halloween candy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Croissants

"These croissant sandwiches are so quick & easy!  They are perfect for a busy weekday morning breakfast on-the-go or for a lazy weekend brunch!" 

Bakery croissants
Bacon, cooked to desired crispness
eggs, cooked to desired doneness  (We like the eggs cooked over-medium, but you could also scramble the eggs.)
American cheese slices, or your favorite sliced cheese

Using a bread knife, slice croissants open.  Layer bacon, egg and cheese in-between top and bottom halves of the croissant and enjoy.  See I told you it was quick and easy!!!

TIP:  We have also used sliced ham and breakfast sausage patties on these sandwiches.  They are great served with a side of hash browns and a tall glass of milk or orange juice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Davy Crockett Pockets

"I saw this recipe on Food Network many years ago.  It was being featured as a recipe that was created for and had won a beef cooking contest.  I can't remember the gentleman's name who created the recipe to give him credit for it, but we love it and make it often.  So to whoever you are, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!  It has definitely become a 'winner' in our house and I'm sure it will be one in your home also!" 
1 pound ground beef
1 medium sized onion, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2-(8 count) tubes of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (We use Pillsbury brand.)
2-(7 ounce) cans whole green chilies (We use Ortega brand.)
1-(8 ounce) package or 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onions
sour cream
hot sauce or salsa
In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion.  Season with desired amount of salt and pepper.  To make the bottom layer of the pockets, open 1 can of crescent rolls.  Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles (2 crescent triangles each) by sealing perforations in between the crescent triangles with your fingers.  Lay crescent roll rectangles on a non-stick baking sheet.  Open both cans of green chilies and drain.  (There will be a total of 8 whole chilies.)  Slice each green chile open.  Lay 2 chilies on each crescent rectangle.  Divide ground beef  and onion mixture equally and place on top of chilies.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top of ground beef.  Open 2nd can of crescent rolls and form into 4 more rectangles to make the top layer of the pockets.  Place these rectangles on top of the cheddar cheese.  Using your fingers, press the top and bottom crescent roll layers together to seal pockets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with remaining cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, dollops of sour cream and hot sauce or salsa.  ENJOY!  Makes 4 Davy Crockett Pockets.

Check out this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch Recipe Roundup .  It was featured as part of the Beefy Roundup.