Thursday, October 29, 2015

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread Baked in Crock Pot's New Casserole Pot

I didn't even know Crock Pot had made a casserole pot until I stumbled across this one at a Kroger store.
Loving crock pots like I do (I only owned 8 of them)
This baby came home with me making it my 9th pot :-)

First day I baked enchiladas in it, second day I baked baby back ribs.. everything turned out delicious and perfectly done.
So then my devious mind went to work thinking up what else I might use it for..
I started wondering whether I could bake in it.. maybe something like monkey bread.. 
Here's what I did and the results:
BTW don't ask for a recipe because I don't have one, I just used what I had and could fix up myself such as caramel sauce which I will share that recipe with you.

Chopped and slightly cooked 4 apples with a bit of lemon juice and sugar. I wanted to get all the moisture out of them.
 Then I poured a bit of white sugar into a bowl and added cinnamon until it looked good to me.

Chopped up and toasted a bit of pecans.. you can toast them in the microwave, just drizzle on a bit of olive oil and do in 30 second increments, stirring each time and checking until their the way you want them.. go slowly, they do burn easily if cooked too long.

 Once all the moisture is out of the apples, spread them on a plate to cool.
While their cooling make the caramel sauce:

Put in a sauce pan
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of half and half or cream
4 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer until thick stirring frequently..
Once thick add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and simmer again until as thick as you want..

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and sit it aside to cool
Now you're ready to assemble the monkey bread

I used two cans of cheap biscuits for this.. 
cut each biscuit in quarters and toss in the sugar/cinnamon mixture
After you have one can sugared, lay them out in the bottom of the greased casserole dish.
Spread the apples over top, add the nuts and then cut and sugar the second can of biscuits and lay them on top.. sorry I forgot to take a picture of the separate layers.. but there are two of them, biscuits on bottom, apples and nuts in the middle with the last can of biscuits on top..
Drizzle the melted butter on top and then the caramel over it all.
Cover and bake on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.. I started out on low then got impatient and turned it to high.  just keep a check on them, you can tell if their done by pinching a center piece of dough..
here they are when they were done.. you can see where I pinched off a tiny piece of a biscuit :-)
I let them sit for 5 minutes before turning out onto a platter..
I learned something.. not only is the casserole dish heavy it's hard to flip over so the next time I bake something in it, I'm going to remove piece by piece using a spatula.. or just leave it in the dish.. 
Here it is upside down out of the pan
 Will I do this again? 
I sure will.. its fun, easy and no oven heat..

Friday, October 23, 2015

Main Street Meatloaf using Dehydrated Veggies

This is a recipe that came with my FoodSaver..  
I made a few changes such as using dehydrated veggies but the basic recipe is still the same.. 
All the dried foods came from my garden and was dried in my Excalibur

4 tablespoons dried onions 
4 tablespoons dried celery
4 tablespoons dried chopped or shredded carrots
3 tablespoons dried chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons dried chopped red, orange and yellow bell peppers
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used fresh)
1/2 cup light cream or milk
1/2 cup ketchup
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb of savory pork sausage
3/4 cup bread crumbs 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 thick slices of bacon

place all dried vegetables (not herbs) in a bowl and cover with boiling water.. let sit for about an hour then drain. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Coat a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
Place everything except the topping ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly either by hand or using a Kitchen Aid mixer..
Shape into a loaf and place in baking pan.
Mix the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce together and spread over loaf.. place bacon on top and bake for 45 minutes or until internal temp reaches 162
Remove from oven, loosely cover and let rest for 15 minutes. 
Slice and enjoy
One of the best meatloaf recipes I've found.