Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall favorites!

School starting, homecoming week, football games, fields turning brown, and by way of the calendar, we are officially diving head first into fall!

I think fall always kick starts people to get back in the kitchen after a summer hiatus of grilling and picnicking. The cooler weather always arouses a want for those warm comfort foods - meatloaf, mashed potatoes, casseroles, etc. It does for me anyway so I thought I might share 2 recipes that as long as I'm able, will most likely be on the to-make list for fall foods.

First is a recipe that I'm really interested to hear if anyone has had or heard of before. As far as I know, it's original to - the great cooks we all have had in our families by the name of grandma - my grandma. :) I love this recipe and typically only make it in the fall. I remember every year my mom making large batches of this to feed the harvest crew. It is easy, makes a big amount and is even better the next day as leftovers. Seeing as how I have never come across this before, it really doesn't have an official name. We just call it ham casserole in our family....and everyone knows what it is by that name alone. I must forewarn....a lot of my recipes are not exact measurements. I approximate, so it's easy to adjust to suit your tastes and preferences as well.

Ham casserole

Ham Casserole

  • 8-12 oz egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk - the 12 oz size
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped or grated
  • Velveeta cheese
  • ham, cubed
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 c corn flakes
While noodles are cooking, combine in a large pot the cream of chicken, cream of celery, evaporated milk, onion and as much cubed Velveeta as you like. (I usually melt in about 1/2 a block or so.) *I said finely chopped or grated onion - this doesn't cook or bake a long time, so if you have bigger pieces of onion, they could still be crunchy if you don't chop them fine enough. Heat and stir this mixture until heated through and the Velvet is melted. You can season with pepper if you want - I would watch adding salt. With the soups and Velveeta and ham, it's already pretty salty. I also cube up extra Velveeta to stir in later - about another 1/4 of the block - and cube up the ham to your desired size. I have 3 little ones so I make my chunks smaller, but do whatever size you like.
This is a 12 oz bag of medium egg noodles and it was just right, so I would go closer to 12 oz than the 8 oz.

Cheese/soup mixture
Once the noodles are cooked and drained, you can add them to the mixture in the large pot, then stir in the ham and extra Velveeta. (You can omit the extra cheese if you like also. I like it cheesy though!) Spray your dish and scoop the mixture in. This recipe makes a lot, so I usually split it into 2 smaller dishes and freeze one (without corn flakes) for another time. If you plan to bake the whole recipe, put in a 9x13 or larger dish.
All that deliciousness mixed together
When ready to bake, melt 2 Tbs butter and mix with approximately 1 1/2 cups corn flakes and spread over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until it is heated through and brown and bubbly. Time will depend on what size dish you make - for smaller ones probably 20-25 minutes, and for the whole recipe probably closer to 45-50 minutes. Everything is already cooked, so it just a matter of heating it all the way through well.

This really comes together pretty quickly is a great dish to take out to the field if you make hot meals! Or its just a great dish any time!

Apple crisp

The second recipe is our family's apple crisp. Probably my favorite thing ever! I love this recipe because it's fast and so easy I never have to look it up to remember how much of anything! In my mind, I call it the half recipe. :)

  • In an 8x8 dish, slice approximately 4-5 peeled apples. 
  • In a small bowl, mix 1/2-3/4 c. sugar (however much you want) with about 2 Tbs of flour, and I add a few dashes of cinnamon. (I like cinnamon so I add it here and in the topping, but if you aren't a fan, just leave it out.) Once that is stirred together, sprinkle over the apples.

Once that is ready, the topping is super easy:

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • a few more dashes of cinnamon if desired.

Melt the butter and add the other ingredients. Stir together and spoon out and spread over the apple mixture. Bake in 350 over for about an hour, or until the topping is browned to your liking.

Nothing tastes more like fall than this does! Yummy!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and SAFE harvest - we have not started here in SW Minnesota YET. But we have had an absolutely beautiful growing year and are looking forward to a great harvest as well!

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