Creamy Baked Apples

You’ve never had baked apples like this before! This is an old family recipe that is ‘required’ at Thanksgiving but eaten all year round. The original recipe from my husband’s great grandmother called for baking the apples in the oven. I was in a hurry one day and tried the microwave and no one could tell a difference. The smaller the apple slices, the quicker they cook. Be careful not to over cook them though, or they start turning into applesauce. Still tasty, but not as pretty.

It works fine to use light butter and/or reduced fat milk to trim a few calories. The leftovers are delicious cold or reheated.

Creamy Baked Apples

3-4 large granny smith or Winesap apples
butter
cinnamon sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon
nutmeg (optional)

Peel, core and slice apples. Place in a baking dish, and dot with butter.
Sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake in microwave on HIGH for about 10 minutes or until fork inserts easily, stirring at least once.
Remove from microwave and set aside.
In saucepan bring flour, sugar and milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will be thick.
Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir well.
Pour over apples and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg if you desire.
Serve hot or warm.

 

 

Cheesy Cauliflower

While we love macaroni and cheese, we do not love the carbs. When I ran across George Stella’s recipe for Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese Casserole, I knew I had to try it, even though I’m not a huge cauliflower fan. It’s actually even better than it sounds!

As usual, I tweaked it a bit to suit my cooking habits and our tastes. Since I don’t use garlic in any of my Mac & Cheese recipes, I skipped it here too. We both felt the consistency was more comparable to potatoes than pasta. I have a feeling if you used the garlic, the comparison would be even closer to an au gratin potato type dish than macaroni and cheese.

I served it with ham steaks, steamed sugar snap peas and pinot grigio. We are both hooked and I can see a lot of it in our future!

Cheesy Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy or light cream
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 oz. shredded 2% extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8x8inch baking dish or similar sized casserole dish with vegetable oil spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander while preparing the sauce.

Warm the cream in a small saucepan, and stir in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in approximately 6 ounces of the shredded cheese, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish. Remove the sauce from the heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Top with the remaining cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 20 minutes.

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

There’s not much more appealing in the category of comfort food then a plate full of Mac and Cheese. This version is an easy stove-top variety with the added plus of having been tweaked to make it more waist friendly without losing any taste. The secret is the hot sauce and dry mustard.

Dress it up a bit for adults by serving it with a buttery, oaked Chardonnay. It makes an excellent side dish for grilled ham steaks or enjoy it as your main course.

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz. elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons light butter
1 egg
6 ounces milk
1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh black pepper, to taste
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
8 ounces 2% extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to desired tenderness and drain.
Melt the butter in the pan on low. Return the pasta to the pot and toss to coat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and dry mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Stir over low heat until cheese has melted and creamy.