Baked Apple Oatmeal

Great to make ahead for a crowd—or make half the recipe, as this serves 8-10 people. I like to leave out the sugar, and let folks spoon up as much as they want from the pan before adding the sweetener of their choice: honey, maple syrup, sugar, or artificial sweeteners work well. Have extra milk on the table.

2- 2/3 C. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C. raisins
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
4 C. milk
2 medium apples, chopped (2 C.)
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a 2-quart casserole or a 9×13” pan and mix all ingredients in the pan. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Kitchen Hint: Serve immediately—or, cool and keep covered in the fridge. Keeps for 3 or 4 days, and can be reheated in the oven, covered, or microwaved one bowl at a time.

Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut lovers, here’s your treat! Moist and sweet, this is one of those cakes that adds a special touch to any occasion and deserves a high-quality brand of coconut (I use Bakers). As with all cakes that have cream cheese frosting, store this one in the fridge. You can freeze the leftovers, too.

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. shortening
2 C. sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flaked coconut
1/2 C. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (use full fat)
4 C. to one pound of powdered sugar
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Extra coconut for garnish
Walnut or pecan halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Cut wax paper to cover the bottom of two round cake pans, then grease/spray the sides. Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour and soda alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in the coconut and chopped nuts. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the batter. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake about 40 minutes (center should spring back when you touch it). Cool in pans 10 minutes and remove from pans to a rack to cool completely. Peel off wax paper.

For frosting, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Frost the top of one layer and place the top of the other layer on it, then spread the frosting over the top and sides. Garnish by pressing extra coconut onto the sides and spacing nut halves along the edge of the top.

Kitchen Hint: No buttermilk? Stir 1 T. white vinegar into a cup of milk and let it sit for about five minutes.

In the story, Miriam baked this as a three-layer cake for Hiram’s birthday and for Rachel’s wedding. To do that, simply make half again as much batter and frosting: for instance, you would use ¾ C. butter, ¾ C. shortening, 3 C. sugar and 7 eggs, etc. Instead of garnishing the cake with nut halves, you could pipe some of the frosting around the edges with a pastry tube and decorative tip.

Apple Walnut Coffee Cake

Wow, is this just the yummiest use of apples there is! Call it coffee cake or call it dessert, but call folks to the table and watch it disappear.

2 C. sugar
1 C. plus 2 T. vegetable or canola oil
1/4 C. apple cider
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda
3 C. all-purpose flour
2 large, firm apples (Granny Smith or Jonathan work well), peeled cored and sliced (3 ½ C.)
1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with a removable insert. Stir sugar, oil, apple cider, eggs, vanilla, seasonings and soda in a large bowl until blended. Stir in the flour until smooth, and then stir in the apples and walnuts. Pour into the pan, and bake an hour and ten- to twenty minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cool on a wire rack for an hour before removing the sides of the pan. Cool completely before lifting the cake from the pan’s bottom.

Fudge Ripple Cake

Call it an indulgent coffeecake or call it dessert, but call it scrumptious!

1 white or chocolate cake mix
1 box chocolate instant pudding
1 C. sour cream
1 C. oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Ripple Mix
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C. cocoa powder
2 C. chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a tube pan and set aside. Mix the cinnamon, sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl for the “ripple” and set aside, along with the chocolate chips. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the cake ingredients until blended, and then spoon half the batter into the tube pan, spreading it to cover the bottom. Sprinkle most of the “ripple” mixture over this, and 1 C. of the chocolate chips. Top with the rest of the cake batter, and then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top. Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and spread over the top with a spatula when they’ve melted. Cool in the pan about 15 minutes and then remove to a serving plate.

Kitchen Hint: If you like walnuts or pecans, chop about a cup of them and divide those between the “ripple” layer and the top of the cake, after you’ve spread the melted chips.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

A sure-fire potluck pleaser! You just can’t beat the combination of sauced meat and cheese. Here’s an example of an Amish recipe that uses convenience foods but still tastes down-home good and will fill up the hungriest fellows at your table.

1 28-oz. bag Tater Tots
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 2.5-oz. pkg. bacon bits
1 C. chopped onion
1 18-oz. container barbecue pulled pork or pulled beef
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9×13” pan and cover the bottom with a layer of Tater Tots. Drizzle the melted butter over the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread the onions evenly over top. Cover with half the bacon bits and half the shredded cheese, and then spread the pulled pork or pulled beef over this. Cover with foil and bake about 45 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bacon bits and bake until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Dig in!

Kitchen Hint: I have a few Tater Tots left over after covering the bottom of the pan, so I keep them in the freezer for another time. It probably wouldn’t hurt to bunch them up more and use the whole bag—might make a bumpier casserole, but who would care!?

Yams and Apples

This is a recipe I concocted as another way to enjoy sweet potatoes. The cinnamon and butter make it really satisfying and the whole house smells wonderful as it bakes. To make this a whole-meal casserole, add in ham chunks or thin-sliced deli ham.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 large apples (Jonagolds or other firm/tart varieties work well)
Butter, cinnamon, brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350º and spray/butter a 1-quart baking dish. Peel the sweet potatoes and quarter/core the apples. As you slice the sweet potatoes cross-ways, layer them in the baking dish, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Add a layer of apple slices, and top that with dots of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Repeat until you’ve used up your ingredients, and add more if you wish. Cover with foil and bake about an hour. Serves 3 or 4.

Kitchen Hint: This casserole shrinks as it bakes so you can heap the bowl high before covering it—to be sure you’ll have enough for everybody when they taste how yummy it is!

Ham Balls

This has always been a favorite dish at our church dinners and potlucks. Makes the whole house smell wonderful when they’re baking, and goes especially well with sweet potatoes. I buy a lean, boneless ham and ask someone at the meat counter to dice it into chunks (they tell me they won’t grind it for me on equipment that’s processed other meats).

5 pounds of ham, ground in a grinder or food processor
1 large onion, finely chopped in the grinder or food processor
1-1/2 C. crushed saltine crackers
4 eggs
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. cider vinegar
2 T. yellow mustard
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and dillweed to taste
1 packet of apple cider drink mix powder

Preheat oven to 350º. Place all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and blend well. Form into 24-30 balls and place in greased/sprayed casserole pans. Sprinkle the drink mix powder over the tops and bake, covered, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or so to brown them a bit.

Pumpkin Blueberry Muffins

A wonderful, moist muffin poppin’ with blueberries. Amish cooks would use pumpkin puree from their own gardens, but this version works better for most of us.

1-2/3 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
1 C. solid-pack canned pumpkin
1/4 C. evaporated milk
1/3 C. shortening
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 C. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 T. all-purpose flour

Streusel Topping
2 T. flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. butter

Preheat oven to 350º. Cream shortening and sugar, add egg. Mix in the pumpkin and milk, then add the dry ingredients all at once and mix well. Combine the berries and flour, then gently stir into the batter. Divide batter into a sprayed or paper-lined muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients with a fork. Sprinkle over the muffins. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 18 small or 12 large muffins.

Kitchen Hint: I hate to have leftover canned pumpkin, so I use the whole can and double the other ingredients to make 2 dozen muffins at a time.

Fried Apples

A quick, easy way to enjoy autumn’s bounty of apples! Great with pancakes, French toast, pork, or for any meal of the day.

Fresh apples, any variety
1 or 2 T. butter or margarine
Brown sugar, cinnamon

Coat a large skillet with nonstick spray. Wash, quarter, and core the apples, then slice them into the skillet to make it as full as you want. Dot with butter or margarine and sprinkle to taste with brown sugar and cinnamon. Add about 1/2 C. water to the bottom of the skillet and simmer, covered, over medium heat. Stir occasionally to spread the spices and cook evenly. Remove from heat while still firm and cover; let sit until you’re ready to eat them.

Breakfast Sandwich Casserole

Amish folks love their breakfast! And the only thing better than a hearty, mouth-watering hot breakfast is one you can make the night before and pop into the oven when you get up. Talk about a wonderful wake-up call, when your family smells this!

12 slices of bread, any variety
1-1/2 pounds sausage, fried and drained
1 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled, divided
12 slices of sandwich cheese, any variety
1 small onion, chopped
3 C. milk
6 eggs
1 tsp. salt, other seasonings to taste
1 C. crushed corn flakes or similar cereal
2 T. butter or margarine

Grease/spray a 9×13” pan. Put 6 slices of the bread on the bottom, then 6 slices of the cheeses, and cover evenly with the sausage and bacon (save back about ½ C.). Top with the remaining cheese slices and chopped onion, then with the other 6 slices of bread, like you’re making sandwiches. Beat the eggs with the milk, salt and other seasonings (pepper, dill, parsley are good) and pour evenly over the sandwiches. Mix the cereal, butter, and remaining bacon and scatter this over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325º, uncovered, about 50 minutes or until firm. Dig in!

Kitchen Hint: Why only enjoy this for breakfast? If you make it in the morning, it’ll be a wonderful-gut supper! Make a skillet of fried apples while it bakes, and you’ll be set!

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