Right now I am supposed to be either loading the dishwasher, cheering on the Razorbacks, or baking cookies to take to a friend’s house later. But I’m not. I’m sharing this yummy recipe with you! (Go, Hogs!)

This recipe was in the October 2010 issue of Southern Living. (Yes, that is the actual page out of the magazine. You can see where I folded down the corner of the page and where I ripped it out of the magazine.) Check out the recipe here or click on the picture below. This was my first attempt at this recipe. It was ooooo, la, la!

Fresh Apple Cake

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges

•Preheat over to 350˚.

•Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5-7 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

•Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

•Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended.

Next come the apples. Apples have been rather expensive lately-$1.69 a pound! I don’t remember exactly how much apples were when I bought them, but I am telling you I DID NOT pay $1.69 a pound!

They are happy looking though, aren’t they. I love my little basket with the ceramic handles. I think my friend Tammy Shumake gave that to me. (insert a warm, fuzzy smile here)

Back in my days as a Pampered Chef consultant, the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer was one of the stars of the catalog. Can you tell I’ve had mine a while? I’m missing one of the little feet off of the stand.

It really is a cool tool. It was always a crowd- pleaser at parties. It does just what the name says. It peels, cores, and slices all at the same time! However, this tool is not required for this recipe. Duh, like you really thought it was!

After you have done all your peeling and such, cut the apples into smaller pieces.

•Stir in the apples and 1 cup of the pecans. (Batter will be very thick, similar to a cookie dough.)

•Spread batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.

•Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes or do that toothpick thing.

•Cool completely on a wire rack. If you don’t cool completely, your frosting will be all melty and you don’t want that!

Now, here comes the really cool part. There were three different frosting recipes to choose from for this recipe—

Browned-Butter, Dark Chocolate, or Cream Cheese! click the picture-the recipe link in the second paragraph will take you to all three frosting recipes, too!

I chose the Browned-Butter Frosting. Doesn’t it just sound yummy?!

I had never “browned” butter for anything—at least not intentionally.

Browned-Butter Frosting

1 cup butter

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from heat immediately, and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.

With my lack of butter-browning experience, I was not very confident about my butter. Was my golden brown the golden brown it was supposed to be?

Here is what my butter looked like after a stint in the fridge. What am I supposed to do with all that junk in the bottom of the bowl?!

I think maybe I needed to let my melted butter solidify a little longer, then scoop it out and leave the crumbs behind. Nobody said that in the recipe!

• Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

I’m really thinkin’ that I needed a little more milk in my frosting. It was VERY YUMMY, but it was kinda hard to spread. A few more pecans wouldn’t have hurt my feelings either.

By the time I finished writing this post, the dishes got loaded, the Hogs won, and the cookies got baked and taken to the friend’s house. I’m sure you feel better knowing that. haha

Critics’ Corner

Chip: It was good.

(This short response is a personal protest! I accused him of “taking over my blog” because he wrote a long comment for the Apple Slaw.  Therefore, he got all sassy and wrote this short comment. I even asked him at press time if he wanted to add anything.  A curt “NO!” was all I got.)

Megan: This dessert has captured the essence of fall. It was a superb masterpiece.

Katie: It felt like it was fall. All I needed was a cup of apple cider! I savored every bite.

While cleaning off a little shelf in the kitchen the other day, I came across a blue file folder. I recognized it immediately, even though I had not seen it in quite some time.

When I was a Pampered Chef lady, there was a chat room for consultants at www.cheflist.com. I checked. Lo and behold, it is still there! Seems like, back in my day, you could join for free for a limited time, but then you had to pay a small fee. Anyway, that’s not important. I was a very energetic consultant eager to learn new tricks of the trade, so I checked it out. There was so much there! I copied MANY recipes from this site.

One day I decided to go through and chunk the ones I thought I would never use. Well, some were on the same page with ones I might use. So, I got out my highlighter and red pen and marked the ones I wanted to try.

Peanut Butter Cup Dessert was one of the “chosen ones”. I call it Nutter Butter Pie. It just sounds more fun that way. Feel free to rename it for your own needs!

Nutter Butter Pie

14 finely chopped Nutter Butter cookies

3 TBSP butter

10 pkgs. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or 20 miniatures) Keep in freezer until ready to chop

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups cold milk

2 pkgs. instant butterscotch pudding (3.4 oz each)

1 12 oz. container of Cool Whip

chocolate sauce

•Chop cookies using food chopper, combine with butter.

Be sure to notice Katie’s CRAZY face while she chops! It had been a full day. This was later in the day, and folks were getting silly!

•Press crumb mixture onto bottom of a springform pan.

First, put the pan together.

•Chop 6 of the peanut butter cup candies. Cut remaining into quarters and set aside for garnish.

Some of my proportions may have been a bit off when I made this.  You see, for some reason, who knows why, Katie had a whole package of Reese’s cups in her room! Unopened! My kids are really good about not pigging out on candy. They always ask first. Who knows how long the candy had been there! Scary, I know. I stuck them in the kitchen in hopes of getting rid of them. If you will notice in the ingredients picture, I also bought the teeny tiny Reese’s cups. I didn’t realize the recipe called for 10 packages and we only had 6! I was going to use the tiny ones as garnish. I had to use a bunch of them in the pie. I’m not sure if we had 10 packages worth or not. Oh, well. You work with what you have.

By the way, when Katie saw her candy being used she kinda’ freaked! I was able to convince her to share and all was well!

•Measure peanut butter into batter bowl using the Measure All Cup (Pampered Chef reference).

•Gradually mix in milk. Whisk pudding mix in until dissolved and beginning to thicken.

•Fold 1 1/2 cups whipped topping and chopped candies to the peanut butter mixture until well blended. Spread over crust.

•Use the rest of the whipped topping to cover the peanut butter combo.

You can get fancy and pipe it on and carefully place your garnish on top. OR you can do like we did and smear it all over the top and throw the garnish at it.

It really doesn’t matter. It is yummy either way.

We were so excited to taste the fruits of our labor, we totally forgot about the chocolate drizzle on top. Oh, well. We never really missed it.

I must take a moment to vent. We had to go to 3 different stores before we found Nutter Butters. That was not the vent. Here comes…

Do these LOOK like Nutter Butters to you! They are NOT the peanut shape! Hello! Nabisco! What have you done! They have the same yummy flavor. But come on!

Ok, I feel better now.

I did actually find the peanut-shaped Nutter Butters a couple of days later. Sorry for the vent.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: The pie was extremely peanut buttery — which, of course, is a good thing — complemented with just the right amount of Cool Whip®. But the kicker was the little, tiny Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups® on top. Delicious.

Megan:  It’s peanut butter, chocolate, cool whip, and refrigeration. What’s not to love!?

Katie:  As I am a combination maker, the peanut butter pie was a huge hit! I think that everyone would think so.

I was delighted to get to have my friend, Joanna,  from Dowlearns Daily, for lunch yesterday. I was so excited and busy that I forgot to take any pictures of the yummy lunch. So, yes, I went back and staged a lovely plate for you to see. I’m a dork that way. What can I say?

We had a great time visiting. I was so nice outside that we ate out on the porch. Bonus-I cleaned off the table, and we didn’t even mess it up!

This recipe comes from a Pampered Chef cookbook.

Next time you go to a Pampered Chef party and need to buy something, this is a good thing to get. There are several good recipes and pictures to go with each one. The last recipe, however, is a trout recipe. There is a picture of a whole fish laying on a plate. Not being a big fish eater, it looks a little gross to me. I probably won’t be making that one. Maybe that is why it is the LAST recipe. It’s at the end. You can avoid it! Anyway, get the book.

You can click on the recipe picture if you want to see it up close. I’ll type it out, too.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup pitted kalamata or ripe olives, chopped

1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

4 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

3/4 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup fat-free Caesar salad dressing

6 (8-inch) fat-free tortillas

1. Lightly grease your skillet. Firmly press garlic into the chicken. Cook over medium heat 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center, turning once. Remove chicken from pan; cool. Slice into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Place in mixing bowl.

2. Chop onion, olives, and red pepper. Grate the cheese. Slice the lettuce.  Put these in the bowl with the chicken. Add croutons and dressing. Toss to coat evenly.

3. Place about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture on a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. To serve, cut each roll in half diagonally with a bread knife.

Just a couple of notes:

I cut my romaine in a chiffonade. Check out this Alton Brown video showing this technique. It is at about the 2:30 mark.

If you want to assemble the veggies and meat ahead of time that is cool. You can even add the dressing. I wait until the last minute to add the croutons and lettuce. They tend to get a little soggy if the dressing is on there too long.

I used the tortillas I had on hand. Can you believe I had exactly six? Yes, they were store-bought. (hands of shame) They were actually the wrong size. If they had been larger I wouldn’t have had to hold them together with toothpicks, and I would have been able to cut them all fancy like in the book. I should have just made them myself-huh?

I left out the olives-not a fan.

I don’t think my dressing was fat-free. Oh, well, all the yummier!

We had two wraps each. That meant two left over for me to plate up for a picture. Hubby sure was happy with his snack of leftovers when he came home from work.

I think Joanna liked them, too!

I hope you try this recipe. It is a great recipe for Springtime get-togethers. Leave me a comment it you try them!

Hooray! I’m a blogger now! So, now I have to take pictures of everything! Little did I know that taking pictures by myself while trying to cook dinner in a hurry in order to head out the door was hard-hmmmm.

This is not a new recipe for me. I know, I know, that was kinda the whole purpose of this whole blog thing. I have made this recipe a gazillion times, and it always turns out yummy.

Just a couple of disclaimers…

  • I used to be a Pampered Chef lady. You will see lots of Pampered Chef items in this blog. There, you have been warned.
  • I am no longer a Pampered Chef lady. I’m not trying to sell you anything. You will see Pampered Chef items in bold. This is how it is in the cookbook.
  • Keep in mind that I was trying to get dinner on the table, people! Pictures may not be the best. Hubby wasn’t home from work yet to help in that department.
  • I had been to the grocery store the day I made this recipe. However, I only went for a few things. You know, the stuff on sale! I had not given supper a thought at all. The ingredients used, or not used, on this particular occasion were what I had on hand, or not. We’ll get to that later.

I guess that is all of the disclaimers I have for now.  Enjoy!

Chicken & Broccoli Braid

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons All-Purpose Dill mix

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 egg white, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Chop chicken and broccoli using Food Chopper, place in Classic 2-Qt. Batter Bowl. Yes, I have these items. Any bowl of your choosing will do, I am sure. I do really like my Batter Bowl. I also have a 1-Qt., which I didn’t think I would use that much. But, I do. The Food Chopper is great, too.

I was using what I had on hand. Typically, I would use fresh broccoli, raw. Well, I didn’t have any fresh broccoli. I did have a HUGE bag of frozen mixed veggies-broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and squash. So, I pirated some of the broccoli from the mixed veggies. I have never made this recipe with frozen broccoli. I was a little concerned. I nuked it for a little while, just long enough to knock the chill off of it. Then I tried to squeeze as much liquid out as I could. I wasn’t too worried about making it look ugly since I was about to chop it to death. Worked just fine.

Chop bell pepper and add it to the Batter Bowl.

Thank goodness I had these. Peppers are expensive. I had these leftover in the freezer. I let them thaw a bit on a paper towel, so I could squeeze some of the moisture off later. Worked just great. Sorry there wasn’t a picture of a beautiful red pepper. Some other time, perhaps.

(yes, that is a small Pampered Chef cutting board)

 

Press garlic over vegetables using Garlic Press.

I realize there a many folks who buy the garlic in a jar that is pre-chopped. Sorry, I don’t know how much would be equivalent to a clove. Maybe a spoonful. I’m guessing if you buy garlic in a jar it is because you like it and use it a lot. If that is the case, your estimate may be a little different from a spoonful.

 

 

I do like kitchen gadgets!

2. Shred cheese using Deluxe Cheese Grater and add to vegetable mixture; mix gently. Add mayonnaise, Dill Mix and salt; mix well using Mix N’ Scraper.

Yet another handy-dandy Pampered Chef item. No, not the mayo. That thing next to the mayonnaise is a “Measure All Cup”. It is really cool. Notice the blue arrow pointing down? There are measurements on the other side in blue and for when you want to measure liquid in the cup part. The red side is for sticky stuff-peanut butter, honey, shortening, mayonnaise. You pull down the cup part to the measurement you need. Fill ‘er up, then plunge it out! Very cool!

This is the dill mix. It is a little sample packet I had. I linked it for you in the ingredients. I don’t know, because I’ve never looked for it, but maybe you could find something similar at your local grocery store.

Oh, I forgot to mention…I skipped the salt in my recipe. It is plenty flavorful without it.

 

 

3. Unroll 1 package of crescent dough, do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across with of  12″x15″ Rectangle Baking Stone. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Roll or pinch dough to seal perforations.

I used these. I was curious and I had a coupon. They worked GREAT! No need to pinch seams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On longest sides of Baking Stone, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, 3 inches deep. (There will be 6 inches in the center for the filling.)

4. Spread filling evenly over middle of dough.

To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends up to seal at end of braid.

It does take a little patience and practice. But it really isn’t that hard.

5. Brush egg white over dough using Pastry Brush. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut and serve using Slice N’ Serve.

I know, I let you down. We didn’t have any slivered almonds. Plus, I was running out of time. Sorry, I didn’t bother to put the egg wash on top. You will have to use your imagination. But wait, here is a picture of a professionally baked braid….

Here is the yummy inside…

Yes, that is dear hubby patiently waiting to eat so we could get out the door!

A delicious recipe. Nice for brunches or other get-togethers. We had it for dinner. Could be an appetizer. Eat it whenever you want!!!

 

Critics’ Corner

Chip: “Yeah, not a big fan of broccoli. But, if you focus on the chicken and try to pretend the broccoli isn’t there… then this dish works. It’s very, very good. I’d give it two thumbs up but “broccoli” is right there in the name, so I’ll always know it’s there.”

Megan: “I love the chicken/broccoli braid (especially b/c I get to eat it w/my fingers!)”

Katie: “The Chicken Broccoli Braid was superb. I enjoyed it with every bite. I think that everyone would think so, too.–Katie, The Critic”