Category Archives: side dishes

Apple Butter by Aunt Grace

Aunt Grace’s Apple Butter recipe.

I used to have a couple apple trees and they produced kinda’ small apples, but tart and good for cooking.

I pick enough apples to fill a 5 gallon bucket. This will make 2 batches of apple butter and you will need 2 crock pots if you use the entire 5 gallons of apples.

The following recipe is for only ONE batch (1 crockpot full) of apple butter:

2.5 gallons apples (1/2 the 5 gallon bucket)

3 cups sugar (I decreased this to 2 1/2 cups last batch and liked it better)

1 tsp cinnamon (I double this usually, though)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla in the last batch…YUMMY!…and I tripled the amount

Peel, core and slice apples and put the slices into crockpot till full. (I use a SmartPot Crockpot)

Pour the sugar over the apples, then add the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

No need to stir…simply cook overnight (I cook for 9-10 hours in my crockpot) and then get the jars ready to can them in the morning. Either stir the apples (they will be super tender) or mix them with a blender, depending on your preference of smoothness. Leave the lid on the apple butter until you have added it to the canning jars so that it will be hot. (I leave crock pot on warm setting until I spoon it out of the crockpot)

Yields approx 4 pints (a tadbit more if you cooked 9 hours, a tadbit less if you cook over 10 hours…also will be sweeter the longer you cook it, so if you prefer it more tart, go w/9 hours)

I use half pint jars to can the apple butter because I have a small household, but for a larger household, you may want to use pint jars.

Canning instructions for apple butter: wash and rinse 8 half-pint jars and also boil water, then turn heat off and add 8 flaps and lids to the scalding hot water. Place jars on a dishtowel very close together and fill each jar w/the apple butter, then add a flap and tighten the lid. It will be HOT, so use an oven mit, or something to protect hand. Place another dishtowel over the jars and just leave it alone till you hear that WONDERFUL pop that shows it has sealed.

I also recommend this neat little kit that I found at Walmart in the canning section…I threw the box away, but I recall it was blue. It includes a little gadget w/a magnet on the end that picks up the flaps and lids out of the hot water to make it easier to can…plus the ladle and jar funnel (wide, like the jar mouth) are perfect size for these little jars…and a ruler that measures up to an inch at the jar lip so you can fill to a precise measurement based on recipe instructions.

NOW PICTURES: Below is a half-full jar of apple butter along w/the neat canning kit I mentioned above:  (I LOVE gadgets)

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This is another pic of the magnetic gadget actually picking up a flap:

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Here is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets:

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AND FINALLY, this is a close up of one of my apple trees I used to have:

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My Quick Homemade Salsa and My Friend April’s Vegetarian Enchiladas

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For my salsa I combined
3 cans rotel tomatoes with mild green chiles, drained
1 onion, diced
handful fresh cilantro finely chopped
4 TBS pickled diced jalapeños (or fresh)
Couple pinches sea salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir well.

For my friend April’s vegetarian enchiladas, preheat oven 350 degrees
Ingredients are

1 large can Old El Paso enchilada sauce,

1 bag soft flour tortilla shells,

1 bag shredded Mexican blend cheese,

1/2 stick butter,

1 chopped onion,

2 chopped bell peppers,

1 small can green chiles

1 large bowl of your choice of cooked beans (pinto, black or white for example)

handful finely chopped cilantro

In casserole dish pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom of dish, lightly sprinkle with shredded cheese. Set aside.
In skillet of heated butter, sautée onions, bell peppers, green chiles and cilantro until still just slightly crispy but done. Set aside.
Assemble enchiladas by filling each tortilla shell with beans and onion mixture then roll up and place in casserole dish. Fill dish with as many tortillas as will fit. Top heavily with enchilada sauce and then shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 45 min.

serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, tortilla chips, etc.

Mac n Cheese

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WOW! I forgot how GOOD Mac n cheese is with real butter! I usually use Blue Bonnet Light. Do not get me wrong, that tastes good, BUT this recipe will “make you wanna smack your momma”…so maybe you should not make it when your kids or mother are around…

I am one of those cooks that adds a little here, a lot there, so getting this recipe on paper is not an exact science for me. I did not actually measure my milk for example, so I suggest put in a little and increase if needed…

My recipe as follows:
1 – 16 oz box rotini, bow tie, or elbow macaroni (I prefer rotini but today I mixed rotini and bow tie because I did not have a whole box of any of the above) prepared as directed and drained
1 stick butter
1 package shredded sharp cheese (says 2 cups and is 8 oz pkg)
1/2 cup milk (add more if seems too thick)

In separate pan combine butter, cheese and milk on low medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in noodles.

 

TIP: for leftovers such as next day reheating…add a couple TBS butter, 1/8 to 1/4 cup milk and a handful of shredded cheese to the mac n cheese and reheat in microwave for a minute (if there is a lot of macaroni, otherwise, do not add so much and heat in less time)…at this point stir together and keep heating until thoroughly melted and reheated…it will be nice and gooey again, no longer dry.