Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Potatoes

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Spread bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until brown and crispy, about 12-14 minutes. Let cool before crumbling; set aside.
  • Line a slow cooker with aluminum foil, leaving enough to overhang to wrap the potatoes on top, and coat with nonstick spray. Place a layer of potatoes evenly into the slow cooker. Top with cheese, Ranch Seasoning and bacon, repeating 2 more times and reserving 1/2 cup cheese.
  • Cover potatoes with aluminum foil and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and cook until melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

Caramel Apple Cheese Cake Bars


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (use brick-style, lite okay)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 2 cups small dices apples (from about 2 med apples, peeled and cored; I used 1 Fuji and 1 Gala)
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned-whole rolled oats (not quick-cook or instant)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick), softened
1/2 cup+ (salted) caramel sauce, for drizzling (homemade salted caramel, or storebought; use a thick caramel sauce and not thin, runny ice cream sundae topping)
ice cream, optional for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. Crust - In a large bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present.
  3. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, hard-packing it with your fingertips in an even, smooth, flat layer to form a crust. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or just until set (set a timer). Remove from oven; set aside. While crust bakes, prepare the remaining layers.
  4. Cheesecake - In a large bowl (same one used for crust is okay, just wipe with a paper towel), add all ingredients and beat with a hand mixer (or whisk vigorously by hand) until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes on high power; set aside.
  5. Apples - Peel, core, and dice apples and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toss well to combine; set aside.
  6. Crumble - In a medium bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present. If necessary, add an extra tablespoon or two of flour or oats for preferred consistency if mixture is loose.
  7. After removing pan with the crust layer from the oven, pour cheesecake mixture over the crust, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  8. Lightly and evenly sprinkle the apples.
  9. Evenly sprinkle with the crumble mixture. It looks like a lot, but it sinks some while baking.
  10. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I baked 48 minutes), or until crumble topping is just set and very lightly golden browned. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes.
  11. Caramel - After 30 minutes, evenly drizzle with (salted) caramel sauce. Allow bars to cool, in pan, on wire rack for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cover with foil if cooling overnight. Don't slice bars too early because you'll have a literal hot mess and bars will likely fall apart. Prior to slicing, lift bars out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Optionally serve with ice cream.

Caramel Apple Dip

By Life in the Lofthouse
  1. 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  6. 3 medium green apples
  7. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  8. 2 Tablespoons water
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, caramel topping and vanilla. Beat with an electric hand-mixer until smooth. Add the 1 cup marshmallow fluff and beat on low speed until combined.
  2. Cut apples into slices. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water. Toss apple slices into the lemon juice mixture. (This will prevent apples from turning brown quickly) Drain.
  3. Serve by dipping apple slices into dip. Enjoy!

Sausage and Dried Cranberry Stuffing


·        12 cups toasted and cubed bread
·        1 pound bulk pork sausage
·        ½ stick butter, melted
·        2 onions, chopped
·        5 ribs celery, including celery leaves, chopped
·        1 Tb dried sage
·        1 tsp dried thyme  
·        ½ tsp poultry seasoning
·        1 cup dried cranberries
·        1 tsp turkey flavored “Better Than Bouillon”
·        Salt and pepper to taste
·        2 eggs, beaten
·        3 cups turkey stock 


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Toast the bread until golden, about 15-20 minutes.  Chop into cubes, transfer into a large bowl. 

In a skillet, sauté the sausage until brown.  Drain off grease and add the sausage to bread bowl.  In same skillet, using 1/2 stick of butter, sauté the onion and celery until soft.  Place sautéed vegetables in bowl with sausage and bread. 

Add the seasonings, cranberries, and Better Than Bouillon, stir until combined.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the eggs and slowly add the broth until the mixture is just moistened.  You may not need all of the broth. 

Pour into a greased 9 x 13” baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the center is warm and the top is lightly toasted.


Ham and Cheese Sliders


·         12 Hawaiian rolls, split
·         12 slices of deli ham
·         6 slices of deli provolone cheese, halved
·         4 Tb butter
·         1 Tb brown sugar
·         1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
·         1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
·         ¼ tsp poppy seeds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.  Assemble the sandwiches with a slice of ham and a half slice of cheese on each roll.  Place the assembled sandwiches close together on the baking sheet.
In a small bowl combine the butter, sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Microwave until the butter is just melted, about 30-60 seconds.  Add the poppy seeds and stir until combined.
Drizzle the butter mixture evenly over the sandwiches. Keep in the fridge over night.  Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and the butter mixture starts to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  Serve warm.