Cali in the Kitchen

Crock Pot Apple Oatmeal
found via facebook

throw 2 sliced apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour 2 cups of oatmeal and 4 cups of water on top. Do NOT stir. Cook overnight for 8 – 9 hours on low.


Comments:

It was a little thinner than I like the first time around, but the leftovers thickened up nicely.

I think I ended up cooking it for 9 hours, and I think it would’ve been fine with less. The apples fell apart, but that’s not really a surprise.

A fair bit of the oatmeal ended up stuck to the sides of my crock. I’m not sure using nonstick spray at the beginning would help. If you’ve got those crock pot liners, that might be a good way to go.

Peppermint Pattie Brownies
(also found on the back of the York Patties bag)

    1 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    5 eggs
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 cups sugar
    24 YORK Peppermint Patties
    1-1/2 cups butter or margarine

1. Heat oven to 350°F.(325°F. for glass baking dish). Remove wrappers from peppermint patties. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Reserve 2 cups batter. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties about 1/2 inch apart in single layer over batter. Spread reserved 2 cups batter over patties.

3. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut into squares. Makes 24 to 36 brownies.


Comments:

The bag of York patties I had was three short of 24, so I had to substitute a couple generic patties that weren’t quite identical—in the end result, I’m not sure you could tell which ones were which.

I undercooked them at first and had to put them back in the oven for a little while to firm up the dough; I took it out because it smelled like it was getting overdone, but I guess not. :)

Cutting it into 24 makes rather large brownies, considering the depth and the fact that there’s a patty inside. I’d definitely cut them a tad smaller next time.

All Day Simple Chicken        8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves    4 potatoes, cubed    1 package of green beans, fresh or frozen    1 can (10.75-ounces) condensed cream of chicken or mushroom    1 can (10.75-ounces) milk    1 tablespoon cornstarch    1 ounce package of dry onion soup mix
Put the chicken pieces, potatoes and green beans into a slow cooker. Combine the soup, milk, cornstarch and dry soup mix and pour over the chicken and potatoes.     Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Serve.
Comments:
I did this for 10 hours the first time and the chicken was a bit overcooked. Otherwise, it was quite tasty and I’ve already made it a couple of times. :)

All Day Simple Chicken   
    8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    4 potatoes, cubed
    1 package of green beans, fresh or frozen
    1 can (10.75-ounces) condensed cream of chicken or mushroom
    1 can (10.75-ounces) milk
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 ounce package of dry onion soup mix

Put the chicken pieces, potatoes and green beans into a slow cooker. Combine the soup, milk, cornstarch and dry soup mix and pour over the chicken and potatoes.
    
Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Serve.


Comments:

I did this for 10 hours the first time and the chicken was a bit overcooked. Otherwise, it was quite tasty and I’ve already made it a couple of times. :)

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Peanut butter cookie mix and its necessary ingredientsunwrapped Hershey’s kisses (48 or so, I think)
I followed the directions to make the cookies, then stuck the kisses on the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven.
Comments:
I didn’t follow any specific recipe, just checked online about when to put the chocolate on the cookies. I think I cooked the cookies a tad too long; some of them were a bit dry and cracked.
I used dark chocolate kisses or this, and that was delicious. :)
For a first go at these, it worked pretty well.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter cookie mix and its necessary ingredients
unwrapped Hershey’s kisses (48 or so, I think)

I followed the directions to make the cookies, then stuck the kisses on the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven.


Comments:

I didn’t follow any specific recipe, just checked online about when to put the chocolate on the cookies. I think I cooked the cookies a tad too long; some of them were a bit dry and cracked.

I used dark chocolate kisses or this, and that was delicious. :)

For a first go at these, it worked pretty well.

For the Christmas season: Fudge cutting tip

Spray the knife with nonstick spray before you start cutting your pan of fudge. This will prevent the majority of the normal fudge buildup on the knife—it’s like magic. :)

Pork Chops with Apple Pie Filling and Stuffing

I’m afraid I have misplaced the recipe I was working from when I made this. There are plenty of variations available online, but the version I was using only called for an 8x8 pan and 3 thick pork chops (though as you can see, I used four because that’s how many were in the package :) ). So the recipe as I remember it is as follows:

3 (or 4) pork chops
1 can apple pie filling
1 box stuffing (I used the pork-flavored kind)

Sear the pork chops on both sides. (I think they’re supposed to be a little browner than mine are—I hadn’t cooked pork before so I didn’t want to burn them.)
Make the stuffing according to the directions on the box.
In a greased 8x8” pan, layer the apple pie filling, the pork chops, and the prepared stuffing. Cover with foil (I think?).
Bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 (?) minutes. Remove the foil and bake for additional time until the meat is 160F in the middle.


I did manage to overcook the pork a bit in zealously trying to make sure it got to 160F (again, this was my first time ever cooking pork, and my chops were on the thin side to start with). But having the stuffing and apples with it covered that flaw quite nicely. :)

Beggar’s American Goulash
from Recipe Lion
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (7-ounces) package of macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon chili powder
1. Brown ground beef in large heavy pan. Add onion, cook until transparent.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
3. Add to ground beef mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, until cheese is melted.
Comments:
I used dried onion rather than messing with a fresh one, and I’m sure I ended up with more than 7 oz. of noodles (I used about half of a 16 oz. box).
This came out looking a lot like Hamburger Helper, lol. Definitely not quite the same as the goulash my grandma made, but certainly edible.

Beggar’s American Goulash
from Recipe Lion

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (7-ounces) package of macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon chili powder

1. Brown ground beef in large heavy pan. Add onion, cook until transparent.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
3. Add to ground beef mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, until cheese is melted.

Comments:

I used dried onion rather than messing with a fresh one, and I’m sure I ended up with more than 7 oz. of noodles (I used about half of a 16 oz. box).

This came out looking a lot like Hamburger Helper, lol. Definitely not quite the same as the goulash my grandma made, but certainly edible.

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole [Slow Cooker]from Country Cook blog
1 (32 oz.) bag frozen tater tots1 (3 oz.) bag bacon pieces1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced2 cups shredded cheddar cheese3/4 cup milksalt & pepper, to taste
Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.Layer half of the frozen tater tots on the bottom of the slow cooker.Sprinkle with 1/3 of the bacon pieces.Now top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.Add diced chicken on top.  Season with salt & pepper.Now add 1/3 of the bacon pieces and another 1/3 of shredded cheese.Put the rest of the frozen tater tots on top.Finish with the remaining 1/3 cheddar cheese and remaining 1/3 of bacon pieces.Pour 3/4 cup milk all over the top.Cover and cook on low about 4-6 hours.
Please note: Some slow cookers run at different temperatures. If you are using an older slow cooker (older than about 6 years old), your cooking time may take longer. Newer models run a bit hotter so keep an eye on this around the 4 hour mark.  You want to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly (to 165F degrees).
Comments:
I used extra bacon because I like bacon (I cooked up a bunch and crumbled it rather than buying the pieces), and also extra cheese.
This came out very nicely and was very yummy. It’s definitely something I’d make again. Not much else I can say, really. :)

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole [Slow Cooker]
from Country Cook blog

1 (32 oz.) bag frozen tater tots
1 (3 oz.) bag bacon pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
salt & pepper, to taste

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer half of the frozen tater tots on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sprinkle with 1/3 of the bacon pieces.
Now top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
Add diced chicken on top.  Season with salt & pepper.
Now add 1/3 of the bacon pieces and another 1/3 of shredded cheese.
Put the rest of the frozen tater tots on top.
Finish with the remaining 1/3 cheddar cheese and remaining 1/3 of bacon pieces.
Pour 3/4 cup milk all over the top.
Cover and cook on low about 4-6 hours.

Please note: Some slow cookers run at different temperatures. If you are using an older slow cooker (older than about 6 years old), your cooking time may take longer. Newer models run a bit hotter so keep an eye on this around the 4 hour mark.  You want to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly (to 165F degrees).


Comments:

I used extra bacon because I like bacon (I cooked up a bunch and crumbled it rather than buying the pieces), and also extra cheese.

This came out very nicely and was very yummy. It’s definitely something I’d make again. Not much else I can say, really. :)

Easy Cake-Mix Cookiesp. 217 of Fix-It and Enjoy-It 5-Ingredient Recipes18 1/4-oz. box cake mix of your choice2 eggs2 Tbsp. butter, softened2 Tbsp. water1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together.2. If you wish, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup broken nuts, or M&Ms, or shredded coconut. Or add nothing extra!3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Allow about one inch around each cookie so they don’t spread into each other.4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.I used FUnfetti cake mix this time around, and that seemed to work well. Like with the other cake mix cookies, they were yummy but something about them seemed a little off (maybe because they’re quite soft and I’m used to crispier cookies? I still haven’t been able to put my finger on what’s off about these).And while the butter and water is fairly easy, using oil as in the other recipe is even easier. So I would probably stick with the oil method to make this kind of cookie in the future.

Easy Cake-Mix Cookies
p. 217 of Fix-It and Enjoy-It 5-Ingredient Recipes

18 1/4-oz. box cake mix of your choice
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. water

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together.
2. If you wish, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup broken nuts, or M&Ms, or shredded coconut. Or add nothing extra!
3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Allow about one inch around each cookie so they don’t spread into each other.
4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

I used FUnfetti cake mix this time around, and that seemed to work well. Like with the other cake mix cookies, they were yummy but something about them seemed a little off (maybe because they’re quite soft and I’m used to crispier cookies? I still haven’t been able to put my finger on what’s off about these).

And while the butter and water is fairly easy, using oil as in the other recipe is even easier. So I would probably stick with the oil method to make this kind of cookie in the future.

Hawaiian Delite Cake
from Facebook

One box Angel Food cake mix and 1 can approx 20 oz crushed pineapple, do not drain…add juice and all. Mix by hand in a large bowl, it foams up a lot. Heat oven to 350*, lightly spray a 9x13 cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes. That’s it!


Comments:

Mine didn’t foam up all that much, so I don’t know… my angel food mix included the egg and everything, but I’m not sure if that’s normal (I keep forgetting to look at other mixes).

The end texture was a little weird—the top was spongy and a kind of sticky, probably because all the pineapple rose to the top while it baked. Questions of consistency aside, it was fairly tasty though I think I’d personally prefer plain angel food cake.