Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Guest Post: Chocolate Caramel Apple Tart

I'm so excited to have one of my close friends, Janssen from Everyday Reading sharing a recipe with y'all today. On her blog, she shares yummy recipes, great book recommendations for kids and & adults, and tidbits from her daily life as a mother of two. Not to mention that is she is cute. And down to earth. 

I never miss a post. 

Definitely hop on over to see her sharing  good reads and her pictures of her two adorable daughters. I'm so lucky to know them all in person! 

Now onto this recipe filled with pastry....rolos...apples... so check it out!

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I'm a big fan of apple desserts, but my husband? Not quite so much. It's not that he doesn't like apples. It's more like any dessert that doesn't involve chocolate is a waste of time.
So this easy little dessert was the perfect combo for the two of us - chocolate AND apples? Sign us up.



Chocolate Caramel Apple Tart
(adapted from Picky Palate)

Serves 6

1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought)

1 T butter
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 T brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1 T cornstarch
8 Rolo candies, unwrapped and quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, and add diced apples, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring to combine.

Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until apples are soft and have released some liquid.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top and stir to coat. Let cook another minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened.

Center your pie crust in the middle of a baking sheet and pour your apple mixture into the center. Spread it out evenly, leaving about 1 1/2 - 2 inches all the way around the edge.

Sprinkle the Rolo pieces evenly on top of the apple mixture. Fold the edges of the pie crust up and over the apple mixture, overlapping every two inches or so.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until pie crust is golden-brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Enjoy!

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Thanks so much for joining us today Janssen!



Friday, February 22, 2013

Hot Corn Dip

I have been on a corn kick lately. I think it started a few months ago when I ordered these yummy corn fritters from Cheesecake Factory. Now I can't seem to get enough corn. Corn fritters, corn salsa and this fantastic corn dip.

I love that is a fun twist on your typical queso dip. The corn adds texture and the fresh topping on top really brings it together.

I served this at our Mardi Gras Party and people loved it. And I stashed away a little container for myself. Best. Idea. Ever. The leftovers of this (if you have any) heat up great!

What are some other awesome corn recipes I need to try?




Hot Corn Dip
The Apron Gal

Ingredients
1 (8oz) block cream cheese softened
1 can corn, drained
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and monterey)
1/2 cup sour cream

For topping:
Diced tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Diced green onions

Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except topping in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbling. Top with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Insta-Yum January!

Here are my January eats!  My husband and I have a goal to eat at least 2 new restaurants in Austin per month and so far we are doing great! Definitely comment with suggestions for us if you have some good ones!

Chicken and broccoli from Pei Wei!
Fish and chips at On The Waterfront in Venice Beach, CA. 
Food there is pretty good but there weren't a lot of other options either.
Awesome chicken satay (it came with it's own little flaming tower) 
from Thai Spoon in Round Rock.
The Terlingua burger from Hopdoddy. There burgers are amazing but this was not my favorite one I have had there. The llano poblano, the goodnight, primetime-all amazing.
Awesome stuffed burger, I had the "Willie Nelson"  from Your Mom's Burger Bar in Austin. 
It's a fun little restaurant with great burgers, I definitely recommend it.
Barbeque chicken pizza from The Cheesecake Factory.
Sushi from Ka-Prow in Austin.
 There sushi is good but I need to get better at ordering, I'm not very good at ordering what I want!
We went to the Lindt chocolate outlet at San Marcos. It was closing and we only bought this many! 
I wish we had bought boxes full!
Japanese pan noodles with parmesan crusted chicken from Noodles & Co. I love all their pastas. Yum!
Vietnamese 5 spice chicken from Sunflower Restaurant in Austin. This was pretty good, but the lemongrass chicken was better but there lunch specials are a really good deal.
Vert's Kebap shop in Austin. Awesome Berlin style doner kebaps with lamb or chicken, awesome cucumber sauce and lots of feta cheese in a pita. Delicious, definitely check it out.
Need I say more?
The famous chicken tenders, fries and the most amazing garlic bread from Raising Cane's. I wasn't a big fan of their signature sauce but I did like the honey mustard.

We had fun at Raising Cane's eating chicken tenders :)

On my 1 year anniversary of working at my current job,
 I picked myself up a little sundae from Sonic to celebrate.
"The best fries in Austin" from Hyde Park Bar and Grill. The fries were good (I wouldn't say the best I've ever had) but I didn't like the thick sauce that came with it. They were much better with ranch.

Also from Hyde Park Bar & Grill- Slow roasted pork with macaroni and a soft boiled egg and fresh basil. This was very good but different than I was expecting. I was thinking it was more of a macaroni and cheese with pork but it was more pork with macaroni and cheese, if that makes sense?

Any new places I should try in Austin? Where have you eaten that you enjoyed?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cream Cheese Brownies + Giveaway!

Dearest readers,

You know I love having a food blog. And I love cooking. And I love baking. But you know what? I'm busy. Really busy. Yes, I know, everyone is busy! But some days I don't get home until 10pm from work, classes, church, or just plain having fun! But that means that is harder and harder for me to cook and bake as much as I like.

So part of what I have discovered is learning to accept my limitations. I don't know if I will ever be a person that makes cupcakes or brownies from scratch when they taste so darn good from a box. Yes, occasionally, but when it's 8pm and you are having 8 people over for important things, like watching The Bachelor, I mean, I just needed to throw something together! So I found the perfect solution! Take a brownie mix and spice it up. So I added a cream cheese layer and it was perfect. Everyone loved them. I felt like I baked something but didn't have to spend too long figuring it out.

So I hope you still love me, even if I continue to make "semi-homemade" food for you. I promise to have real recipes too!

Sincerely,

The Apron Gal


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But back to the recipe. This recipe spices up a boxed brownie mix with a simple cream cheese mixture. 





I also made these in my new Chinet bakeware! If you haven't seen these, they are one time use disposable cooking/baking pans that come with a lid.  It was perfect for a night when the less dishes I had, the better.  You can even stick them right in the oven. My brownies turned out perfectly in them and with the few leftovers I had, I just stuck the lid right on.



If you don't believe me, enter for a chance to win an assortment of these for yourself! (similar to those below) They are perfect for bringing treats to work or dropping off dinner to friends. Especially so you don't have to track down your real bakeware afterwards!

All you have to do to enter is like The Apron Gal on Facebook but you can get additional entries through Twitter as well!

Disclaimer: Chinet provided me with a set of Chinet Bakeware for me to try and a set for one of my readers to win. All opinions are my own and I would definitely buy these for use at picnics, potlucks, or any time I am feeling just plain lazy :)

Giveaway open to US residents only. Giveaway begins on Wednesday February 13 and ends Wednesday February 20th. Chinet will send the winner their bakeware! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Cream Cheese Brownies
recipe courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Ingredients
1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
Water, egg and oil as called for on package
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make brownies as directed on package and spread into a greased 9 by 13 pan.

Combine remaining ingredients until smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture by tablespoons full onto the brownies. Using a knife, stir the cream cheese mixture into the brownies until you achieve your desired "marbled" look.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cream cheese top is lightly browned.

Enjoy!





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Party!!

Happy Mardi Gras!

We had a little gathering with friends this weekend and it was a blast!
I will share some of the recipes in the coming weeks that you can use 
for next year's Mardi Gras or for anytime!

 
 New Orleans Style Chips!

 Chicharonnes! 
 Olives and Okra with festive toothpicks!

 Pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers



 Bailey & John!
 Kristin and Joel! 
I made a traditional king cake with a cream cheese filling-it was okay, not awesome. 
 My friend Bailey made a giant king cake! 
Hers was delicious-more like a giant cinnamon roll with icing. Yum!

 I gave all my guests real masks that I had bought many years ago in New Orleans-
 it was so fun to see everyone wear them!
 I wanted to have a cute little favor and these were cheap! They were perfect for people to take with them and they were Mardi Gras colors!
 
 These might have been the best appetizer I have ever made. Chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeno, sprinkled with brown sugar and barbeque sauce. Amazing. If I can find the patience to blog all the steps I will share the recipe :)

 Landen and Adam
 Jaymie and Matt
 Jen and Tim
 Me and the hubs!
Allison and James
 Lindsey and Blakeley
Margo & Drew

We had appetizers, jambalaya over rice for dinner and king cake for dessert! Then we played reverse charades and some bead tossing games and couldn't stop laughing. I would say it was a success.

Happy Mardi Gras! 

Do you do fun things with your friends or family? Do you have Mardi Gras traditions?

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