One of our favorite people, Tony's nephew (and mine by default!) Clinton, is leaving Friday for a new job in New Mexico. He'll be working at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch (check it out at http://www.geronimoranch.com/), singing and entertaining and getting folks lost on the trail (just kidding!) while doing repairs around the ranch, too. We had Clinton and his family (more of our favorite people), parents Mark and Beth along with siblings Tessa and Steven over for supper. I LOVE when people come for supper....it's a chance to try even more new recipes! And I found some more winners!
I started out yesterday by thawing three pounds of our own hormone-free ground beef, yum! Tony wanted to try some burgers with the meat...after it thawed, I mixed in some Watkins meatloaf seasoning, Watkins omlet and souffle seasoning (yeah, I know, but the stuff is GOOD!), some Watkins garlic and onion pepper, and some Watkins season salt (soooo much better than Lawry's!) and squished it all together. I also had a whole burger-bar set up with sauteed onions, raw onions, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, mayo, ketchup, plain mustard, and horseradish mustard. Yum!
But before seasoning the beef, I used my handy-dandy Kitchen-Aid to make up some dough for home made hamburger buns (didn't have any around and didn't want to run into town). This is a relatively new recipe, but I've made it before and really like it. I found this yummy recipe on Cafe Johnsonia...you can find it here: http://cafejohnsonia.blogspot.com/2008/03/homemade-buns-or-rolls.html
Tony also wanted to try some of the asparagus he (yes, he) froze early last summer and, knowing how mushy asparagus is if it isn't fresh-picked, I decided to go with a casserole. I did an internet search and found a really yummy one here: http://southernfood.about.com/od/sidedishcasseroles/r/bl81114a.htm The grandma of one of my friends from CA always made a wonderful asparagus casserole for family get-togethers (yeah, I was usually invited to Easter and Christmas and Thanksgiving and other celebrations....and always looked forward to GG's asparagus casserole) but she wouldn't give up the recipe. Now THAT was a wonderful casserole, and while this one was great, it didn't measure up quite the same. I'd make it again, though!
I gave Beth the choice of smashed potatoes, french fries, or Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese for a side dish. She was quite eager to try the mac-a-chee, as was I...and it exceeded my expectations! I found the recipe at Domestication in Progress...you can find it at this link: http://domesticationinprogress.blogspot.com/2009/01/martha-stewarts-macaroni-cheese.html And yeah, I used the expensive cheese....but it sure was delicious! The white cheddar also added a great touch!
Topping off the meal was a combo recipe for apple pie. I'd found an apple pie recipe in a book years ago that I'd made a few times and it was fantastic! There was also another recipe in the same book that I just incorporated into this one, with great results...I also tweaked it a bit. Since I don't have a link for it, here it is!
Marvelous, Decadent, Awesome Caramel Apple Pie (combine the recipe titles, too!)
1.5 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbs milk
Combine dry ingredients, stir in wet ingredients, pat into deep dish pie pan
6 cups sliced and peeled apples (I used Haralson, by far the best pie apple around!)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs tapioca (Watkins also has a bit of pudding in theirs...VERY yummy!)
2/3 tsp cinnamon
2/3 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Toss apple slices and lemon juice; mix remaining ingredients and toss with apples. I also added about 1/2 bag of these really cool caramel bits I found in the baking aisle during Christmas. I actually sprinkled these on top of the apples, so as it baked, the caramel would drizzle thru the apples and not just settle on the bottom.
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle on apples. Bake on 425 for 40-45 minutes. Cover with foil the last 10 minutes if getting too brown.
Now, here's where the decadent and caramel and awesome parts come in. After removing from the oven, poke some holes on the top of the pie. Drizzle 1/2 jar of caramel on top of the pie (I used 1/4 bag of the caramel chips and 1/4 jar of caramel), sprinkle with 1 cup chopped pecans (Luke beat these with a mallet...hey, he LOVED "cooking" with Daddy's tools!). Pop back in the still-warm oven (with heat turned off) during supper and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. I topped the pie with whipped cream and did a drizzle of caramel on top of that. I honestly never saw Luke shovel so much into his mouth so fast...and that kid can EAT!
I don't think any of us will be eating much for the next few days! Well, maybe some of that left over macaroni and cheese! And Tony did dip back into the pie before bed time.....
And while I was busy all day (literally) getting supper ready for Clinton's goodbye meal at our house (we're having another party at their house Thursday night), Tony was quite busy with a project of his own. More on that tomorrow....but I will tease you with the clue that I LOVE THIS MAN!!!