June 9, 2012

Spiced Peach Crisp

For starters, I am a huge fan of peaches. I love everything about them except the skin honestly. So when it comes to just eating a piece of fruit, I do opt for a nectarine, but that is no substitute for a peach in cooked or baked creations for me.

Back in December, while browsing around online I found some information on canning spiced peaches and just absolutely loved the idea and still very interested in doing so (though it seems like that is a dream for next summer seeing as I have none of the equipment yet). Still, the idea of spiced peaches has been lingering in the forefront of my mind.

Well, with all the cooking I did for family visiting at the beginning of May, I was feeling a little burned out and decided to pick up an 'easy-make boxed peach cobbler' from the store as a short cut for dessert. As with most things that come from a box, it was good (they usually do something right or they wouldn't keep selling them), but it wasn't home-made good. It felt like it was missing something for me.

I decided that it was missing spiced peaches. Now, quick make spiced peaches can in no way replace spiced peaches that have had the opportunity to mature for several months (this is the first thing I'm doing with my first jar of spiced peaches by the way), but they made the house smell amazing and added a little something extra.

This last week I made my second spiced peach crisp and it came out just as good as the first, even though I altered the recipe a little bit. In the first try, I only had peaches and cream oatmeal packages in the house, so I used those instead of regular oats and found that it made for a much prettier topping with the little chunks of peaches, but did nothing else for me on flavor.

 Spiced Peach Crisp
(Traditional Topping)

Spiced Peach Crisp - Take 1
 (Topped with peaches and cream oatmeal topping)

Spice the peaches in a pan of apple cider vinegar, brown
sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all-spice.

Pre-baked crisp topped with traditional oats.


Spiced Peach Crisp

     - 2lbs peaches (fresh, frozen, or drained canned)
     - 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
     - 1/2 cup brown sugar
     - 4 tablespoons cinnamon
     - 3 tablespoons nutmeg
     - 2 tablespoons cloves
     - 2 tablespoons ginger
     - 2 tablespoons all-spice
            *Adjust to personal preference

     - 1/2 cup brown sugar
     - 1/8 cup sugar
     - 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
     - 3/4 cup oats (for prettier topping us peaches and cream instant oatmeal)
     - 1 teaspoon nutmeg
     - 2 tablespoons cinnamon
     - 1 stick unsalted, softened butter (cut into several pieces)

     - Mix apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all-spice in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.

     - Add peaches into the sauce pan, cover, and cook on low heat (stiring occasionally) for 15-20 minutes. For frozen peaches, toss into the pan mostly thawed and let simmer for 30-35 minutes.

     - While the peaches cook, in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the brown sugar, sugar, flour, oats, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Toss in the chunks of butter and mix with hand until crumbly.

     - With a slotted spoon, remove peaches from juice and place in a greased 8x8 baking pan. Drizzle as much of the spice sauce over the peaches as desired.

     - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the peaches cool while the oven heats.

     - Once the oven is preheated, evenly top the peaches with the oat mixture.

     - Place in oven and let cook for 30-35 minutes (or until golden brown on top). Let cool a little before serving and enjoy.

Corned Beef Cheese-steak

June 6th was my boyfriends birthday, so for him, I defrosted one of the several corned beefs that he picked up on sale after St. Patrick's day and decided to do something a little different with it for him. Thus, the corned beef cheese-steak experiment began.

I unfortunately don't have too much to say about that except that I actually forgot to start the meat in the morning before I had a full day of running around and was lucky my boyfriend started it for me. Beyond that, it was pretty simple and just thrown together before I crashed when I got home.

Hope you enjoy this variation as much as we did. 


Corned Beef Cheese-steak

     - 1 1/2lbs corned beef
     - 1 package steak rolls
     - 1 green pepper
     - 1 onion
     - 1 package american white cheese or provolone

     - Cook corned beef in slow cooker with seasoning as directed on package.

     - Slice green pepper and onion thinly and cook in skillet until tender. Then remove corned beef from crock pot and shred with forks. Throw in with the vegetables and cook lightly.

     - Place slices of cheese on top and cook until melted (or tear and melt into the meat and vegetables). 

     - Remove from skillet and place on steak roll. Enjoy.

June 3, 2012

The Secret Tortellini (An Aaron Thomas Original)

 The Secret Tortellini

While I absolutely love to cook, there are days that I sit back and think, "Man it would be nice to have a home cooked meal that I didn't have too cook.". It is very nice to have a guy that also enjoys cooking and is pretty good at it for times like that.

His favorite things to make, and a favorite thing of mine to eat, is a tortellini dish that he is very proud of. It is a nice, simple, easy, and delicious dish for those nights you just don't feel like dirtying every dish in the house! So with his permission, I now share with you, "The Secret Tortellini":

Start off by tossing the Italian sausage into the pan and get that cooking on a medium heat.

Because I like the vegetable chopped up into rather small pieces, I always end up doing this part of the dish. Go ahead and slice the peppers and onion up to a size you like best. We usually use a red and a green bell pepper, but when the green is 3x as much and they aren't very pretty, a yellow will do just fine.

One day I might get ambitious and try to make my own tortellini, until then, meet our tortellini. :)
 Add the vegetables to the meat and cook until the sausage it browned thoroughly.
Serve over cooked tortellini and enjoy!

Don't you just love a guy that can cook and looks great doing it?


The Secret Tortellini

An Aaron Thomas Original

     - 1lb Italian sausage
     - 2 bell peppers (2 different colors - red / green recommended, but yellow works)
     - 1 medium onion
     - 1 bag of cheese tortellini

     - Brown Italian sausage in a large pan on medium heat. Dice the bell peppers and onion to desired size and then toss in the pan with the Italian sausage and turn up to medium-high heat.

     - Follow the directions on the bag or tortellini and boil until done.

     - When Italian sausage is completely browned, turn off heat, and serve over tortellini. Top with a little parmesan cheese if you like and enjoy.