Crockpot Applesauce has become almost a weekly staple in our house. We start it early Sunday morning, it’s finished by mid afternoon and we have snack for the week. I can’t even take full credit for this recipe as my husband is the applesauce maker and the recipe is his. Papa Bear Feeds Family edition.
If you want to make this recipe, I would recommend having an apple peeler/corer/slicer. It’ll save you a ton of time. Here’s an example of the one we have. You can peel with a standard peeler then core but it will take more time.
That’s the first step of the recipe, peel, core and slice 10-14 apples (6-9 lbs). If you have a peeler/corer/slicer, you should be able to set it to do all three at once. If not, using a vegetable peeler (carefully) peel each apple. To core either use an apple corer or cut off the four quarters as close to the core as possible without getting into the seeds. Each apple can go right into the crockpot as you core it.
We like to add 3-5 pear into our applesauce. If you don’t have pears you can skip this step, but we find that it makes the applesauce a little more creamy. The pears do have to be hand peeled and cored (by cutting off quarters).
From here, it’s simple. Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice. If you have fresh lemons, squeeze the juice from one lemon over a mesh strainer into the crockpot. Add 1 tsp of cinnamon and stir. Turn the crockpot on to low for 6-8 hours, stir every couple hours, and the crockpot does the rest of the work.
At 6 hours the applesauce will likely turn out a bit thicker, verses at 8 hours it will be a little more watery. Adding the pears also thickens it up a bit. If you are in a time crunch, 4-6 hours on high will also do the trick.
Once the apples have softened completely, use an immersion blender to create your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, get one, they are wonderful. Just kidding. You can use a potato masher, but your applesauce will likely have more apple lumps, not necessarily a bad thing. Keeps in the fridge for about a week and could definitely be frozen. Easy applesauce with no added sugar and no preservatives from your own kitchen.
10-14 apples (about 6-9 lbs)
1 tbsp lemon juice (or juice from 1 fresh lemon)
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Using a peeler/corer/slicer, peel, core, and slice 10-14 apples. Place the apples in the crockpot as you go. If you don’t have a peeler/corer/slicer, you can peel with a regular vegetable peeler and core by cutting the quarters off the apple as close to the core as possible without hitting the seeds.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 3-5 pears. Core the pears by cutting the quarters off as close to the core as possible without hitting the seeds. Place the pears in the crockpot with the apples.
3. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice from one fresh lemon) and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir to coat as best as possible.
4. Turn the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or 4-6 on high. After the apples have cooked down, use an immersion blender to create your desired consistency.
Considering my website is new, and I already have the Berry Puff Pastry recipe and now I have another for lentils, you can generally assume I like puff pastry. You aren’t wrong. It’s such a simple ingredient that can be used for sweet or savory. I love that my son will try anything if its inside a puff pastry. However, I don’t enjoy the process, rolling it out, waiting on defrost, filling, waiting on the refrigerating, etc. All that to explain that these beauties did NOT start out well and I envisioned the end result to be terrible.
It was an overly warm Sunday and I was working through my weekly meal prep. Creating the filling was fine. That went great, tasted great, had the texture I was hoping for. Went through the bother of defrost, rolling out the dough, cutting, filling, sealing, refrigerating, egg wash…allllllll the steps. Cool. This batch didn’t even overfill and fall out the sides. It was a miracle.
Then I put it in the preheated oven. I must of dropped something in the oven and not realized. About half way through cooking, it started to smell like something was burning. I’ve made puff pastry dozens of times so I couldn’t imagine that I had burned them that quickly. So I open the oven and this big waft of black smoke comes out.
Well, shit. So I turn the oven off and call my husband in. He opens the oven and more smoke. Smoke detectors blaring, children yelling and crying, dog freaking the hell out. Awesome. We decide to just leave it closed and I’m out 12/18 puff pastries. At least I assumed.
I waited about 20 minutes and checked on them and they were cooked to perfection! Perfectly golden brown. I assumed they’d have a nasty taste from sitting in the smoke, but nope, they were perfect. There was some massively burned (berry, maybe??) something on the bottom of the oven that seemed like an overkill amount of smoke, but it all ended well! Cleaned the oven, made the last tray and here we are.
Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and the box. It takes longer if you leave the sheets in the box. Once removed let the sheets defrost for about 30-40 minutes.
While waiting, begin working on the lentil broccoli filling. I recommend red lentils for this because they break down more. Green or brown will work but need 18 minutes (vs 15) and will maintain their texture more, which wasn’t what I was going for with these.
Boil 2 cups of water with 2/3 cups of (rinsed) red lentils. Also boil about 1/2 a bag of frozen broccoli florets. You want the broccoli to really fall apart, so they can both be on heat for 15 minutes. Lentils should be brought down to simmering, broccoli at a low boil.
Once the broccoli and lentils are done, dice up the broccoli very fine. I only used the florets and cut off the bottoms because I don’t like the bottoms. As long as you dice them up, you can use them if you prefer.
Put the broccoli in with the cooked lentils. Add 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir well until all combined.
If you are still waiting on the puff pastry, let the lentil mixture just sit and cool a bit. It’ll thicken up which helps with filling. Once the puff pastry is defrosted, MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS TOTALLY CLEAN. Haha. Kay, now preheat your oven to 400.
Meanwhile, you can roll out your dough. Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface. It doesn’t need to be overly thin, just spread out the thick spots from the sheets. These will likely be in the center of the 3 sections as the outside edges each section defrost first.
Cut your first sheet into 9 semi-square pieces (3×3). Move the 9 squares to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. You should be able to fit 6 per tray if using a standard sized cookie sheet. Repeat with your second sheet.
Now you can begin filling your puff pastry. Take a small spoonful of the filling and place it in the middle for all 18 pieces. Get a small bowl of water and, using a finger tip, line the corner edges with water. Seal the puff pastry but folding one edge to the other and pressing with your finger tips or you can use a fork. I know puff pastry is often triangular but I find it so much easier (and less messy) to make rectangles. Frankly, they taste just fine as rectangles too so why make more mess?
Place the baking sheets into the refrigerator for 10 minutes. As I mentioned in the Berry Puff Pastry recipe, this doesn’t have to be done if you are in a time crunch or don’t have that sort of fridge space. It just gives more “puff” to the puff pastry.
While waiting on the refrigeration, crack an egg into a small bowl and lightly beat the egg. Remove the baking sheets after 10 minutes and give each pastry an egg wash using a basting brush.
Now they are ready to go in the oven for 17 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let them sit for 10 minutes before serving as the center is very hot. They are best fresh but still good reheated! I microwave a couple for 30-40 second and again just be careful as the center will be hotter than the outside. They make a wonderful appetizer or light lunch!
After all this you may have some left over lentil filling. You can either make a half batch or use the filling for other things. It makes a wonderful sauce over pasta or eaten by itself.
Cheesy Lentil and Broccoli Puff Pastry
Makes 18 puff pastry
1 box (2 sheets) of frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry)
2 cups water
2/3 cups red lentils (rinsed)
6 oz (about 12) frozen broccoli florets
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1. Remove frozen puff pastry from the box to defrost for 30-40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water with 2/3 cups of rinsed red lentils. Once boiling, drop the temperature to low. In a separate pot, boil about 12 broccoli florets. Once boiling, drop the temperature to medium. Both can cook for about 15 minutes.
3. Once the broccoli and lentils are done cooking, finely dice up the broccoli florets. They should be pretty mushy, so everything should break down easily. Place diced broccoli in the lentil pot.
4. Add 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir together until combined. The lentil filling can then sit and cool until the pastry is defrosted.
5. Once the pastry is defrosted, sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and begin rolling out the first sheet. It doesn’t need much rolling, just enough to make the sheets flexible throughout.
6. Cut the first sheet into 9 pieces (3×3). Move the 9 squares to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. You should be able to fit 6 per sheet. Repeat step 5 & 6 with your second sheet.
7. Place a small spoonful of lentil filling on each of the 18 squares. Grab a small bowl of water and, using your finger tip, line the corner edge of the puff pastry with a bit of water to help seal.
8. Fold one edge over to the other creating a rectangle. Seal the edges using your finger tips or a fork. Place your baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 400.
9. After 10 minutes, crack an egg into a small bowl and lightly beat it. Using a basting brush, brush the egg wash on top of each puff pastry rectangle. Place your baking sheets in the oven for 17 minutes until golden brown. Wait about 10 minutes before serving as the centers will be very hot.
Note: If you have three baking sheets, cook two in the first round and leave the third in the fridge. Once the first two are almost done, do an egg wash on the third then put it in the oven for 17 minutes.
When I was 15 I started working at a local ice cream shop. It was seriously the best first job a young teen could ask for. Great hours, tips, working with mainly with other kids my age, free samples, and you always left smelling like fresh baked goods.
The owner was a wonderful baker and made everything from scratch. German chocolate cake, cheese cake, apple pie, carrot cake, the whole lot. So you are probably wondering how this related with Chickpea Salad. Steve is the one who introduced me to grapes in chicken salad. Now as an adult, I know this isn’t that novel. However, to 15 year old me, I was like “what a great idea!”
Anyways, flash forward another 15 years and my kid won’t touch onion, celery or my Jackfruit Salad. When I remembered Steve adding in grapes to his salad, I knew Mr. 3 would go for that. Just replaced the celery with cucumber and he was sold. The only problem is I don’t like cucumber so we always have to make two different types but at lunch time we’re both happy and that’s what matters.
Chickpea Salad couldn’t be easier. Start by draining and rinsing a 15oz can of chickpeas. Put the rinsed chickpeas into a medium bowl (I obviously used too small of a bowl). Dice 1/2 a medium cucumber and cut about 10-15 grapes in half. Add those to the chickpea bowl. Add 2 tbsp of mayo and stir until everything is coated.
At this point do a taste test to determine if more mayo is needed. If is so, add a little more & test again. Once mayo is right, add some salt and pepper and you are ready for lunch. If you prefer your chickpeas not to be whole, you can crush them using the back of a serving spoon or a potato masher, if you have one.
One of the great parts of Chickpea Salad is that it’s easy to change out for what you have. No kaiser roll, just use regular bread or eat it without bread. No cucumbers, use celery. There’s no rules, you do you.
Chickpea Salad with Cucumbers and Grapes
15 oz can of chickpeas
1/2 a medium cucumber
2-3 tbsp mayo
4 kaiser rolls (or bread of choice)
1. Start by draining and rinsing a 15 oz can of chickpeas. Move the rinsed chickpeas to a medium bowl.
2. Dice 1/2 a medium cucumber, then cut about 10-15 grapes in half. Add both the cucumber and grapes to the bowl with chickpeas.
3. Add 2-3 tbsp of mayo to the chickpeas and stir until all combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve!
Air fryers are the next big thing in kitchen appliance and I totally understand why. They are a fast and easy way to make some of your favorite foods in tasty ways without resorting to having to actually fry foods, which is great for both calories and time.
My favorite food to use the air fryer for is tofu. Tofu took me a little while to get into after becoming a vegetarian but after finding a reliable way to make it that tastes good, in both the oven and air fryer, I totally see the appeal. Tofu can take on the taste of anything and has such a wide variety of uses. I like to put tofu on top of my salads or just use it as a snack with my kids.
This recipe is for turmeric and paprika tofu. Start by pressing your tofu for about 10 minutes. There are many ways to do this or even just buying a tofu press. We eat tofu probably at least once a week and I’ve yet to find the need to buy a tofu press. Granted, I’ve never used one, so maybe I’m missing out.
Anyways, the way I press tofu is by cutting it into 4 even slices. I lay a dish towel across a baking sheet and lay the 4 slices horizontally on the dish towel. Place another dish towel on top of the tofu. Put a baking pan filled half way with water on top of the tofu. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. If you prefer thicker slices of tofu, you can just cut 3 even slices instead of 4.
After the tofu has been pressed cut it into cubes and place in a medium sized bowl. Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic and stir, making sure everything is coated. Let the tofu marinade for 15 minutes.
Now that it’s marinated, place about half of the tofu into the air fryer basket. They can touch but shouldn’t overlap. Set the temperature to 375 and time to 16 minutes. Once the first round is complete, put the first half in a container to cool while waiting for the second half.
Place the second half in the air fryer, making sure the pieces don’t overlap. Since the air fryer is already heated the second half won’t need as much time. Leave the temperature set to 375 but only cook for about 10 minutes. It’s ready to serve!
If you don’t have an air fryer, follow the same steps for preparation. Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Lay out the tofu on the baking sheet. Place it in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping each piece about half way through.
16 oz package of tofu
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic
Begin by pressing your tofu. There are many ways this can be done. You can use a tofu press if you have one. If not, cut the tofu into 4 even slices. Place a folded dish towel on a baking sheet. Lay the tofu horizontally across the baking sheet. Place another dish towel across the top of the tofu. Fill a baking pan or a 9×13 about half way with water and place it on top of the tofu. Let this sit for about 10-15 minutes.
Once tofu has been pressed, cut each layer of tofu into cubes and put it in a large bowl. Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp garlic then stir well until all of the tofu is coated. Let to tofu marinade for about 15 minutes.
Place half the tofu into the air fryer basket. The tofu can be touching but shouldn’t overlap. Set the temperature to 375 and the time to 16 minutes.
Once the first batch is complete, empty the basket and put in the second round of tofu. Since the air fryer is already heated, the second batch doesn’t need as much time. Set the temperature back to 375 and the time to 10 minutes.
For years, I’ve wanted to start a food blog. Something that didn’t occur to me until posting on Instagram was that you have to toot your own horn. You have to be willing to say, “I made this and they are great. You will want these.” That’s not something that comes easy to me. However, I made these, these are great. You will want these. Haha.
Seriously, the Lentil Zucchini Burgers are the exact type of veggie burger I have been looking for. Moist and dense, in a good way. Super flavorful, with ingredients you likely have on hand at all times. They don’t crumble and have a texture similar to a meat burger. Truly wonderful. *Toot, toot*
If you don’t want to take my word for it, my mom, love her to pieces, but she scoffs at almost all my vegetarian adaptations and even she said “Mmm, these are really good”. If she says that it has to be true.
Start by making 1 cup of cooked lentils. Lentils are a 3:1 ratio. Place 1 cup of vegetable broth (or water) in a sauce pan. Rinse 1/3 cup of green lentils in a mesh strainer then put the lentils in the sauce pan with the water. Turn the heat on high until the water and lentils begin boiling, then turn the temperature to medium. Boil lentils for 18 minutes.
While waiting on the lentils, grate 1 small zucchini and squeeze to remove any excess water. The best way to do this is to lay a clean hand towel over a bowl. Grate the zucchini over the towel/bowl. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze the zucchini “ball” until most of the moisture is removed.
Once the lentils have finished cooking, preheat oven to 350. Pour the lentils into the food processor. There may be a small amount of liquid left with the lentils, that’s okay. Add grated zucchini, 1 cup of oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning into the food processor. Pulse until well combined.
Create 5 burger shaped patties. Place each patty on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping half way.
Lentil Zucchini Burgers
1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
1/3 cup dry green lentils (rinsed)
1 cup oats
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 medium zucchini
Toppings of your choice
Rinse 1/3 cup of dry green lentils in a mesh strainer. Boil 1 cup vegetable broth (or water) with 1/3 cup of the rinsed lentils. Once at boiling, drop temperature to medium for 18 minutes.
While waiting for lentils, grate a zucchini and preheat oven to 350. To get excess moisture out, place a clean dish towel in a bowl. Grate zucchini over the dish towel/bowl. Gather the dish towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
Once lentils are cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, put all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are combined.
Remove the blade from the bowl of the food processor. Using medium handfuls, form 5 burger patties and place each on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat.
Place baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
You don’t have to do everything from scratch. Nobody wants to make puff pastry! – Ina Garten
I’ve never made puff pastry from scratch. Ina Garten is right. Just like with the Sheet Pan Pancakes, I used box version to make my life easier. I will also admit, these didn’t photograph well…but they are delicious and so very easy to make. The puff pastry has a great flakey crust and the berries have a perfect level of sweetness.
Frozen puff pastry needs to thaw before use. Set out for about 20-30 minutes prior to rolling it out. If it’s still not ready within 20ish minutes, you can wrap it in a paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds on each side.
While you are waiting for the puff pastry to defrost, add 3-4 cups of frozen berries and 2 tbsp of honey to a medium sauce pot. Place it on medium heat. Leave the berries and honey on heat for about 10 minutes until they start to break down and become syrupy. Once the berries begin to break down, combine the juice from 1/2 a lemon with 2 tbsp of cornstarch (add a bit of cold water if needed) and create a slurry. Add this to the berries as they cook.
Once the berries have become syrupy, take it off the heat and set to the side to let it cool for a little. Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and lay out the defrosted puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry. It doesn’t need to be overly thin, just thin enough to be able to fold the squares.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 9 pieces (3×3). If you are working on a counter top, transfer each square to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
Place a spoonful of the berry filling on each of the squares. Get a small bowl of water and wet the edges of each square with a finger tip. Gently fold over each edge, making a rectangle. Press with your finger tips or a fork to seal. Some of the berries may fall out, that’s okay.
Once you put the tray in the fridge, preheat your oven to 400. After 10 minutes, crack an egg and beat it. Do an egg wash on top of each pastry. Then bake for 15 – 17 minutes until the puff pastries are golden on top. Wait 10 minutes before serving. The filling inside will be very hot. They save and reheat well in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Drizzle a bit more honey on top or some powdered sugar for some extra sweetness.
**I consider these “family” friendly, but just a reminder not to serve these to children under the age of 1, due to the honey and the risk of botulism**
Berry Puff Pastries
Serves: 18 (using both sheets of puff pastry)
1 frozen box of puff pastry sheets
3-4 cups of frozen mixed berries
2 tbsp honey
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp corn starch
Remove frozen puff pastry sheets from the freezer and let it defrost for about 20-30 minutes.
While sheets are defrosting, place 3-4 cups of frozen mixed berries in a sauce pot with 2 tbsp of honey. Combine lemon juice and 2 tbsp of corn starch to create a slurry. Add this into berries as they begin to break down. It should take about 10-15 minutes on medium heat for berries to meet the right consistency.
After the sheets have defrosted, sprinkle flour on your work surface and roll the sheets out.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into 9 squares (3×3). Transfer each square on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat.
Do the same with the second sheet of puff pastry dough.
Fill each square with a spoonful of berries. Grab a small bowl of water. Using your finger, line the edges of each square with a bit of water to help seal them.
Fold over the edges forming rectangles. Use your finger tips or a fork to fully seal each edge.
Place the puff pastry in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Remove and egg wash the top of each pastry. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes until tops are golden. Wait 10 minutes before eating.