Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Caramel-Apple Bread

My favorite desserts usually involved apples.  For my birthday each year I'm usually untraditional and go for an apple cake.  My mom-in-law, Eloise, is a wonderful baker and is my "cake lady".  Apples...warm...cinnamon...mmm!  Anyway...back to the coffee cake...

We had an Afternoon Tea at church for our widows a few weeks ago.  Even though I couldn't attend I knew I wanted something very special to make for these sweet ladies at our church.  My friend, Sandra, told me about making this recipe from Southern Living so I knew it would be delicious.  I hope you enjoy!

4 big apples (enough to get 3 cups chopped apples)
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinammon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Peel and finely chop enough remaining apples to equal 3 cups. Set aside. 
Stir together sugar and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, stirring just until blended. (Batter will be stiff.) Fold in finely chopped apples and pecans.  Divide batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 (9-inch) loaves. Prep: 20 min., Bake: 1 hr.

For a variation of this recipe make a coffee cake.  Prepare recipe without pecans.  Everything else will be the same except make a wonderful Caramel Frosting to be drizzled on the cakes.

Quick Caramel Frosting

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat.  Stir in pecans and drizzle over cakes.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Shrimp & Grits

I'm always looking for new recipes.  My friend, Sandra, and I share recipes back and forth and are constantly talking about what is on our menu for the week.  When Sandra gives me a recipe I know it is GOOD and this recipe did not let me down.  I was a little nervous about working with the grits and shrimp because I don't usually cook them but it was SO easy.  Two big pots and a baking dish is all you need.  The best thing about this dish is you can make it the day before and then just pop it in the oven when it's time to cook. I served this for breakfast but it could also be served at dinner with a nice salad. 

1 cup Quick Grits (not instant)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small can cream corn
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped small-ish
6 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Prepare grits in broth and cream and salt.  Stir in cream corn and 3/4 cup of each kind of cheese.
Melt butter and saute green pepper, green onions, tomatoes and garlic.  Add dash of salt and pepper if desired.  Add shrimp, cooking until they turn pink.  Stir shrimp and veggies into grits.
Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Add and additional 20 minutes if it was prepared ahead and is coming from the refrigerator.