Easy as apple pie

Well, technically, this is an apple tarte, although not the traditional apple tarte tatin, which uses puff pastry. This is my mom’s recipe. It’s just as impressive, but easier and healthier, since it uses only one crust. That gives you a few extra calories to top with ice cream or whipping cream, as some boys do! Plus, you probably have most of these ingredients on hand.

Apple tarte

  • 2-3 apples (braeburn, honeycrisp work well), thinly sliced. I don’t peel, but if you are picky and want to do extra work, go for it.
  • 1 ready made pie crust, at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp Karo syrup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and Karo syrup in pan (a 9-10″ skillet works, or pie pan) in the oven while it is warming up. Arrange apple slices over melted butter mixture. Top with pie crust, tucking edges under. Bake for 30-35 min until pastry is browned. Remove from oven and cool approximately 5 minutes. Be brave now….place a plate over the skillet, hold edges and flip! It’s OK if it isn’t perfect, that adds to the rustic quality, and there’s another crust in the box 🙂


Pot roast: No ketchup allowed!

There’s an ongoing discussion in our house about the “appropriate” use of ketchup. Yes, I believe there is a time and place for red sugar on food–primarily with other junk, like hamburgers and fries.

There is no place for it amongst well-prepared roasts, including pot roast. I get it. Many of us grew up with less-than-delicious overcooked roasts (not me, of course!) So when I first served this and Matt immediately put ketchup on it, I freaked out. He doesn’t do that anymore, and neither will you!

Based on a recipe from Julia & Jacques Cooking At Home

Perfect Pot Roast

  • 3-4lb chuck roast
  • 1-2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 1/2c white wine
  • 1/2 water
  • 2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 package green peas
  •  1-2 tsbp Cornstarch

Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable in roast pan on stove top, sear meat on all sides (about 10 min). Add wine and water, bring to simmer. Surround meat with tomato and onion chunks. Add thyme and bay leaves. Cover and roast for 3-4 hours at 300 degrees.

Peel potatoes and quarter.  Add potatoes and baby carrots to pan, season with salt and pepper, and return to oven covered for another 1- 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from oven and lift meat out to rest while thickening the sauce. The vegetables can either stay in the pan or also be removed. (Skipping the sauce thickening step is fine too!) Use 1 tbsp of cornstarch and mix in 1 tsbp of the pan sauce in a small bowl. Bring the pan back to a boil and mix in the thickener. Repeat this process until the sauce reaches desired consistency, adding butter if needed to finish the sauce (but generally it has enough fat in it already).

Add in peas, simmer for 3-5 min. Return meat to pan, if desired, carve into serving sizes.

And, please, no ketchup on the table!

Photo Oct 24, 6 42 00 PM

Crazy for carrot souffle

It’s November now, which means the holidays will quickly be here. As I say most years, “This is the year I’m going to be more organized and get everything done early.” Yeah. I really mean that.

But truly what that takes on the food side of things is trying out a few recipes well in advance. This is one that is a standing request at our friends-of-the-family holiday celebration because it appeals to young and old. It travels extremely well too, so it can be served at room temperature or reheated (microwave if necessary). **Recipe credit to Cooking Light magazine**

Carrot souffle

  • 2 lbs carrots
  • 2/3c sugar
  • 1/4c low fat sour cream
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2tbsp butter, melted
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Boil carrots until soft, about 15 min. Drain. Place carrots in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Pour into a baking dish coated in cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

The best way to tell if it’s done is to jiggle the pan — the middle should stay firm. NOTE: While this puffs up some, it is not a true “souffle” in its lightness or presentation. But still good, and still healthy!

Shown here with parmesan chicken and garlic butter noodles.

Photo Oct 20, 6 34 29 PM