Apple Cinnamon Lasagna Cake

     I wanted cake.  I didn’t feel like a cake with gobs of frosting, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted.  I needed something lighter.  I quickly scanned my fridge and counter.  I had strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and 2 frozen bananas.  Nope.  I wasn’t salivating, so none of them were going to work.  I had one apple.  What to do; what to make. 

     Just like you see in the cartoons, a light bulb went off.  It nearly blinded me, but luckily I’m OK now. 

     I made a loaf cake and layered it with apples, dates, walnuts and a brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Of course you can skip the dates if you want, but I love them!   You could substitute Craisins instead of dates, or Raisins.  I’m sure any of them would be perfect with the apple/cinnamon/walnut flavors.  You don’t have to do any swirling, just layer the ingredients and you’ll end up with an absolutely delicious cake with a moist tender crumb.  No frosting needed.

     Sprinkling a little cinnamon sugar (the same as you’d put on toast) on top turned the exposed walnuts into candied nuts.  Oh my!!!  Ice cream with caramel sauce drizzled when serving?  Or ice cream with chocolate fudge sauce drizzled?  YES, please!

INGREDIENTS

1 rounded tsp cinnamon

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 stick salted butter

2 large eggs

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup milk

¾ cup chopped apple (1 medium apple)

5 or 6 dates, chopped (or chocolate chips, raisins, or craisins)

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Extra cinnamon and granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Caramel sauce and Ice Cream are optional, but highly recommended

PREPARATION:

     In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and brown sugar with a fork, removing any lumps.  Set aside.

     In mixer bowl, beat sugar and butter for about 2 minutes at medium speed.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add Vanilla, salt, and baking powder.  Alternately add flour and milk, mixing until incorporated.

     In a standard 5” x 9” loaf pan, butter the sides and bottom.  Optional:  Sprinkle Cinnamon/Sugar mix on bottom and sides of pan.  Pour in approximately ¾” batter to cover the bottom of pan and sprinkle about 1/3 of the walnuts on top.  Add half of remaining batter, sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, half the apples, and about 1/3 the walnuts on top.  Add remaining batter, remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, remaining apples, and the last of the walnuts.  Press lightly with your fingers or a fork to embed the toppings.  You don’t want them falling off later.

BAKE at 350°F for about 40-42 minutes.  Use toothpick test.  The top will be golden brown and if you used a glass loaf pan, you’ll be able to see that the sides are a nice rich brown.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

The Best Chicken Soup

INGREDIENTS:

5 lbs bone-in chicken breasts

8 cans chicken broth

1 onion, chopped and divided

3 ribs celery, divided

4 carrots, divided

1 TBSP garlic, chopped

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp parsley

½ tsp tarragon

1 whole clove (Flavors the broth tremendously.  Don’t forget to remove it before serving.  It will float)

1 bay leaf  (Remove before serving.  It will float, so will be easy to find.

PREPARATION:

     Rip that fatty skin right off the chicken and discard. (It makes the soup greasy).  In an 8 quart saucepan, simmer chicken for two hours with ½ of a chopped onion, 1 carrot and 1 rib of celery which you’re going to break into three or four pieces.  Cover the pan, but leave cover askew.  You want the broth to cook down.

     Remove chicken from pan.  I always tear the bones off and throw them back in the pot while I’m peeling and chopping vegetables.  Put chicken in the fridge. Before adding carrots, celery, garlic and reserved onion to the pan, strain the broth to remove the bones and vegetables.  

      To strain the broth, use a large pan or bowl to catch the broth.  Line the bottom of a colander with cheesecloth. (In a pinch you can use a new Wet Wipe and/or some paper toweling.  I’m such a fraidy cat about chemicals, so if I have to use a Wet Wipe, I wash it in dish water and rinse it well before I strain my broth).  Slowly pour the broth over the cheesecloth and it will filter out any small pieces of fat, bones, cooked vegetables, etc.  Let it drain well so you don’t lose a drop of that liquid gold.

     Now it’s time to add 2 ribs of celery, and 3 carrots, which you will chop, dice, or roll cut.  I always do a diagonal cut because I think it’s pretty.  Starting at the tapered end of the carrot or celery, make a diagonal cut with a sharp knife.  Turn the carrot a quarter of a turn and cut again, moving up the carrot as you go.  This cut gives you a pretty uniform size.  Simmer for another hour with cover askew.  Add some of the chicken to the pan.  This recipe makes a lot and I use the extra chicken for other meals.  i.e. chicken pot pie, chicken and biscuits, chicken chimichangas, chicken burritos, chicken and dumplings, Buffalo chicken dip, etc. About fifteen minutes before serving, add the seasonings.

     You will note that I have not added any noodles to the recipe ingredients, although there is ditalini in the photo.  Here’s why.  Noodles do NOT hold up after they’ve been cooked and frozen.  Since we normally don’t eat this as a meal, (the main reason I make my soup is for when people are feeling sicky).  I always have containers of it in the freezer and everyone knows it.  This is why they all want the recipe since I’m not in NY any more to give them what I’ve made.  Ha ha.  OK, so you have a few choices.  Add rice and let it simmer in the soup.  Rice freezes great.  Or add your noodles when you’re heating up the soup.  If you add a sturdier pasta such as ditalini or farfalle, and you won’t have the problem.

     At this point you can eat some soup and freeze the rest, or save some of the broth, and leftover chicken to make other meals. (Which I most always do.  It saves a lot of work later and you know how we love our Westover’s Leftovers).

      Feel free to add a can of tomatoes or some fresh tomatoes if you want to.

Why this soup is so good:

     Starting out with chicken broth instead of water gives instant flavor and you’ll end up with a fabulously flavorful soup. 

     Using bone-in chicken enriches the broth even more and is incredibly healthy.

     Adding a little poultry seasoning, 1 whole clove, 1 bay leaf, and tarragon gives the soup another layer of flavor.  Remove the clove and bay leaf before serving.  They’ll be easy to find because they’ll float.

     If you’re making this for sickies, freeze small batches in quart freezer bags.  You know when you’re sick you don’t want a lot of solids, so don’t put too much chicken or vegetables in it.  The broth is the ticket. If you’re freezing containers for future meals, load it up with chicken and vegetables.

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great original recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019