Marilyn Block: Comfort foods warm the house

2012-09-30T00:05:00Z Marilyn Block: Comfort foods warm the houseBy MARILYN BLOCK | What's Cookin' Winona Daily News
September 30, 2012 12:05 am  • 

There are many reasons to celebrate the beginning of fall, from the beautiful foliage to the bumper crops of pumpkins, squash, gourds and apples.

Farmers are reaping loads of golden corn, and many of us are gathering the stalks to create fall decorations for our homes. Now that fall is officially here, we can prepare those special dishes that call for produce ready to harvest from gardens or orchards. Not only are these dishes delicious, but the wonderful aromas that fill the house make a person feel warm and relaxed.

These easy recipes are just the thing for these cool fall evenings. Also included this week are a couple of slow cooker recipes. As schedules get crazy with school activities and work, knowing dinner will be ready and waiting when everyone gets home is definitely fulfilling.

Apple Orange Nut Bread

4 cups flour, divided use

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

11/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup soft butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

2/3 cup orange juice

21/2 cup chopped apples, peeled or unpeeled

11/2 cups golden raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Measure out 1 cup flour, set aside. Sift together into large bowl the remaining flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, orange peel and juice until light and creamy. Fold apples, raisins and walnuts into the 1 cup reserved flour and mix until all is well coated. Fold into batter until well blended. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Bake at

350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Apple Carrot Casserole

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch


3/4 cup orange juice

6 baking apples, peeled, sliced thin

2 cups peeled, thinly sliced carrots

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and orange juice. Lay half of the apple slices into

2-quart flat-type casserole. Top with half of the sliced carrots. Repeat layers. Drizzle orange juice mixture over all. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for

45 minutes or until tests done. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Baked Pumpkin Casserole

3 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin or 1 (13-ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

2 beaten eggs

1 cup chopped pecans, divided use

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup maple or dark syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Butter a quart casserole dish and set aside. Whisk together pumpkin, granulated sugar, butter, spices, eggs and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Bring brown sugar and syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Scatter remaining 1/2 cup of pecans over pumpkin mixture and drizzle warm syrup over all. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 8 servings.

Cheesy, Crunchy Squash Casserole

1/2 cup milk

1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup

2-inch chunk of Velveeta cheese, cut into

small pieces

4 squash, peeled and diced into small chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 (12-ounce) bag Doritos chips, broken up

1 (12-ounce) package finely shredded cheddar cheese

In a saucepan, heat milk and soup; add Velveeta and stir until cheese is melted. Fold in squash and onion until well coated, season to taste. Spray a flat baking dish with cooking spray. Cover bottom of dish with broken Doritos. Spoon squash mixture over Doritos to cover. Sprinkle shredded cheese just to cover all. Top with additional chip crumbs, and sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over all. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until squash tests soft. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Crockpot Pot Roast Dinner

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, finely crushed

2-pound boneless beef top round, cut into 6 or 8 chunks

Cooking oil

4 potatoes, cut into chunks

1 (16-ounce) package baby carrots

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

14 ounces beef broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup water

Combine flour, salt, pepper and crushed thyme; mix well. Coat pieces of beef well with flour mixture and brown in small amount of oil on all sides. Toss together potatoes, carrots and onion; put into slow cooker. Lay meat on top of vegetables. Stir Worcestershire sauce and broth together and drizzle over all. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove meat and vegetables from slow cooker. Pour broth from slow cooker into a saucepan; add water and cornstarch; heat until mixture thickens and serve over meat and vegetables. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounces chicken broth

1 1/3 cups water

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 small bag baby carrots

1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice

2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small bite-size pieces

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

Fry and crumble bacon; set aside. Place a very small amount of cooking oil in a skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add broth, water and soup; cook to a slight boil. Toss carrots and rice together and pour into slow cooker. Lay chicken over rice mixture. Pour soup mix over all and sprinkle marjoram on top. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour; stir mixture well. Make sure rice is submerged in liquid. Lower heat to low and cook, covered for 8 hours. Sprinkle bacon over all during the last 20 minutes of baking time. Makes 6 servings.

Orange Pumpkin Bars

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin or canned (not pie mix)

2 eggs

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Spread into greased and floured jellyroll (10-by-15-inch) baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until tests done. Cool and frost, if desired.

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons apple pie spice

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 cup finely chopped unpeeled apple

1 cup chopped golden raisins

1/4 cup milk

Sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until creamy. Sift half of flour mixture into creamed mixture and beat until well mixed. Fold walnuts, apple and raisins into remaining flour mixture and toss until all is well coated. Fold into batter alternately with milk. Drop by spoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Frost with a thin powdered sugar icing while warm. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Apple Pudding

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped peeled baking apples

1 cup chopped walnuts

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Fold in apples and walnuts. Pour into well-buttered deep dish pie plate. Sprinkle additional finely chopped walnuts on top, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 50 minutes or until tests done. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Apple Bars

1/2 cup soft butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 packed brown sugar

1/2 cup apple jam or jelly

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped peeled apple

1 cup cinnamon flavored baking chips, finely chopped

Combine butter, sugars, jam, eggs and vanilla; beat until creamy. Sift together flour, soda and salt; fold in apple and chips until well coated. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Spread into greased and floured 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done. Cool slightly and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.

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