Popcorn Balls

My grandma would come and stay with us for 6 weeks in the winter. She wasn’t much of a cook but one thing she loved to make was popcorn balls. Her recipe involves boiling sugar syrup and blistering fingers. This recipe is much easier to make.

You can make them plain white, or add a few drops of your favorite food color to make bright colored popcorn balls. 

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

When a rice krispy treat meets popcorn you get these chewy and crispy popcorn balls. Add your favorite food color to make them an extra-fun treat.

Ingredients

  • 12 Cups Unsalted Popped Popcorn
  • 1 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 10 ounce Bag Mini Marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3-4 drops gel food color (optional)
  • Small bowl of water for dipping hands. (see video)

Instructions

  1. Gently sift popped popcorn to remove any unpopped kernels. (see video0
  2. In a large pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the salt, marshmallows, and optional food color.
  4. Stir to melt the marshmallows and distribute color.
  5. When marshmallows are melted, (about 1-2 minutes) remove from heat and add popcorn.
  6. Stir well to combine.
  7. Working quickly, gently dip hands in water. This will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. The mixture is hot, so use caution.
  8. Form the mixture into 10 balls with your hands. You want to gently press the mixture into a ball shape, but you do not need to press it tightly together.
  9. Let the popcorn balls cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.
  10. The popcorn balls will keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • The food color is optional but makes them fun!
  • Be careful not to use too much water when forming the popcorn balls.
  • Be careful as the mixture is hot. This is not a project for young children.
  • To clean the pan. I find it is easier to wash if you soak the pan in hot water for 10 minutes. The remaining mixture will melt and easily wash away.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples

Two years ago I made one of my favorite recipes of all time on KAKE. Cinnamon baked apples are a perfect fall treat. They are simple to make and absolutely delicious. 

While I intend to make them as a dessert, I often find myself having them for breakfast with a hearty dollop of Greek yogurt. Whether you eat them for dessert, breakfast, or a special snack, these apples will be a hit in your home. 

This recipe is easily doubled if you are feeding a crowd. I have the full instructions in the original post

Cinnamon Baked Apples

Cinnamon Baked Apples

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes

These baked apples are a perfect fall treat. They are sweet and satisfying. The cinnamon filling bakes up crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside and makes the perfect contrast to the tender baked apple.

Ingredients

  • 2 Small to Medium Apples Any Variety
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour (I like white whole wheat flour.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Pecans work well too, or omit if you do not prefer nuts)
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the apples and cut them in half from the stem to the bottom. Using a sharp paring knife or a melon ball scoop, scoop out the stem, seeds and bottom part of the core. You want to have a small indent in the middle to hold the filling. Place the apples in a baking dish with the cut side up. 8 x 8 works well for 4 apples.
  3. Mix the brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and salt. I like to use a fork like I am making a struesel, but eventually will just use my hands to mix it well. Add the chopped nuts. Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts. (8 parts for 4 apples, or 4 parts for 2 apples.) Roll the mixture into balls and place in the center of each apple.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until the apples are tender. The filling will flatten slightly and then form a crisp top. The apples will release some juices. Pour the juices over the apples when you serve them. They are best when served warm from the oven.

Notes

  • This recipe is easily doubled. I like to use a really high quality ceylon cinnamon for maximum flavor.
  • My favorite apple to use is honeycrisp but any variety will work.
  • I like walnuts in the filling, but pecans work well. If you do not prefer nuts, you can just leave them out. The recipe will work fine without them.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. Check out her YouTube Channel or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Cinnamon Apples

These are my dad’s specialty! Cinnamon Apples are the perfect fall side dish for a wide variety of meals. My dad will serve them with everything from pork chops and grilled chicken to puffy pancakes and waffles.

What kind of apples work best for cinnamon apples?

I have made this with about every variety of apple. They are delicious with any kind of apple, but the results will be a little different depending upon the variety. Tart apples (like granny smith) may need a little more brown sugar. Soft apples (like Johnathan) will make a more “jam-like” sauce.

This is a great recipe to use up apples that have gotten a little soft or slightly mealy. You will end up with a more cohesive jam-like sauce that is delicious.

What is the best liquid for making cinnamon apples?

While a little water works great in the recipe, I prefer to use a liquid that has a little flavor. I have used lots of different liquids for cinnamon apples. White wine, leftover champagne (even if it has gone a little flat), apple juice, and apple cider all work really well. 

Cinnamon Apples

Cinnamon Apples

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Sliced apples are cooked in butter with cinnamon, brown sugar so make a great side dish for everything from pork chops and grilled chicken to pancakes and waffles.

Ingredients

  • Two medium apples sliced (any variety)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Apple Juice (or water, see note below on liquid options.)
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (See note below)

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, heat butter over high heat until melted.
  2. Add the sliced apples and let cook until slightly browned.
  3. Add the apple juice (see note for other liquid options) and stir the apples.
  4. Reduce heat to medium.
  5. Add the cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.
  6. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce and the apples have softened slightly.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.

Notes

  • You can use lots of different kinds of liquids. Water, apple juice, apple cider, and white wine all work really well.
  • The variety of apple used will change the amount of sugar you need. Tart apples like granny smith will need closer to 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar. Sweeter varieties like honey crisp or gala should be fine with just 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 138mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 22gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Mixed Berry Crisp

Shows the bright juicy berries and oatmeal crumble

I love a simple dessert. This Mixed Berry Crisp is simple to make and uses frozen berries as a shortcut. The frozen berries are already cleaned and you do not need to thaw them before baking.

This recipe uses cardamom. Cardamom is a warm spice that is more subtle than cinnamon. If you do not have cardamom, you can substitute cinnamon or leave out the cardamom. But, I encourage you to try the cardamom. It adds a nice warmth and depth of flavor to the mixed berry crisp. 

Shows the bright and juicy berries under an oatmeal crumble.

Mixed Berry Crisp

Yield: 9
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

This mixed berry crisp uses frozen berries and cardamom. It is a simple fruit dessert that is delicious.

Ingredients

Berry Mixture

  • 2 Pounds Frozen Mixed Berries
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour (White whole wheat works too.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt

The Crumble

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats (Oatmeal)
  • 1/2 Cup Flour (I use all purpose, but white whole wheat works well too.)
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1/2 Cup  Sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


For the Berry Mixture-


In a large bowl, mix berries (you do not need to thaw them) sugar, almond extract, flour, and salt.

Add the berry mixture to an 8 x 8 baking dish.

For the Crumble-


In a large bowl, combine the butter, oats, flour, cardamom, salt, and sugar. I like to use my hands to mix it well. Once the mixture starts to clump together, scoop it over the berries in the baking dish. The baking dish will be very full. This is okay because the berries will cook down as it bakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 70 minutes until the crumble is starting to brown on top.


Remove from oven and serve.

Notes

You can use fresh berries, but I find the frozen ones are just as delicious and less expensive.

If you do not prefer cardamom, you can substitute cinnamon, but the cardamom gives a more subtle flavor that I greatly prefer.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

Sautéed Mushrooms

Shows browned and crisp edges on mushrooms

It is grilling season and I’m always wanting something to go with burgers and grilled meat. Sautéed Mushrooms are the perfect side dish or topping, but they can be a little problematic.

The big thing is they can get really greasy, soggy,  or slimy. Mushrooms act like sponges and soak up liquids including oils or fats. The key is to get them to release their water and then add the fat.

 

This recipe uses a technique I learned from Cooks Illustrated many years ago. It seems counterintuitive, but trust me, it works.

Step 1-

Cook the mushrooms with water and salt. You want to do this before you add any fat. The salt and water will get the mushrooms to release all their moisture. Once they have released their moisture, they will be able to cook in the fat and brown rather than soak up the fat and get slimy. 

Step 2-

Let the liquid evaporate.

Step 3- 

Add the butter, stir, and let brown. It is really important to mix once and leave them alone. Give the heat a chance to do the work. To get brown and slightly crispy mushrooms LEAVE THEM ALONE in the pan.  You can stir every 2-3 minutes when they are on medium heat. Browning takes time. Give the mushrooms their time. 

Substitutions-

You can use any kind of mushroom you prefer. I like Cremini or White Button because they are easy to find in the grocery store. 

To make these dairy free, use your favorite oil. Avocado or olive oil will both work well. 

I have made these with ghee and they are delicious.

If you are using a fine grain salt, like table salt, instead of Celtic Sea Salt, use 1/2 teaspoon, otherwise they will be too salty. 

Shows the well-browned mushrooms.

Sautéed Mushrooms

Yield: 1 1/2 Cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Browned mushrooms with slightly crispy edges that are not slimy. They are perfect for topping burgers or your favorite grilled meats.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (For vegan and dairy free use avocado or olive oil,)

Instructions

    In a 10-12 inch skillet, add sliced mushrooms, water, and salt. Cover and cook over high heat for seven minutes. The mushrooms will release moisture and there will be lots of liquid.
    Remove the lid and continue cooking on high until the liquid is almost all evaporated.
    Add the butter and stir to coat the mushrooms in the butter as it melts.
    Reduce heat to medium and let the mushrooms cook without stirring for two to three minutes.
    Stir the mushrooms and let cook again for two to three minutes without stirring.
    Repeat the cooking and stirring one to two more times until the mushrooms are well browned and some of the edges are crispy.
    Remove from heat and serve.

Notes

You can use any mushroom you prefer. I usually use cremini or button mushrooms.

If you want dairy free and vegan mushrooms, substitute olive oil or avocado oil for the butter.

If you are using fine salt or kosher salt, cut back to 1/2 teaspoon or they will be too salty.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 532mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Easy Croutons

Last week I made crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That means I was left with a pile of bread crusts. I am not a fan of wasting food and my favorite thing to make with bread crusts is croutons.

You can make these with any kind of bread. I find it a great way to use up the heels of the bread. (Why does everyone in my family refuse to eat the heel?) I often keep a bag of bread scraps in the freezer an pull them out when I am ready to make croutons. They work great on soups or salads adding a tasty crunch.

Easy Croutons

Easy Croutons

Yield: 4 Cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

Bread cubes are mixed with butter and seasonings and baked in the oven to make crispy and crunchy croutons that are perfect for topping soups or salads.

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Cubed Bread (1 inch cubes)
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    In a large bowl, mix melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Add the bread cubes and stir well. You want to stir this several times to help distribute the butter and seasonings on all the bread cubes.
    Place the seasoned bread on a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 23-28 minutes.
    Remove from oven and serve on top of soups or salads.

    Notes

    You can use any kind of bread including gluten free bread. I often have a mixture of different breads.

    Watch them carefully at the end as they can burn easily.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

    Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

     

    Episode 14: Fats and Oils

    Fats and Oils

    In this podcast, I talk about the different fats and oils I keep in my home and what I use them for.

    Olive Oil

    Olive oil comes in many grades. The three main grades are Extra Virgin, Virgin, and Olive Oil or Light Olive Oil.

    Extra Virgin is the first press of the ground olives. It does not have heat added. It is usually green in color and grassy and peppery in flavor. It is best to use this oil cold or at room temperature and not to heat it as heat will degrade the flavor of the oil. I like to use it for dipping bread or salad dressings.

    Virgin is usually the second or third press of the olives. It still has not had heat or chemicals added to extract the oil. It has less of the grassy and peppery flavors. I will occasionally use it to cook with but try to avoid super high heat as it oxidizes quickly.

    Olive Oil or Light Olive Oil is extracted with heat and sometimes chemical solvents and then refined. It is neutral in flavor and is best for cooking or baking

    Coconut Oil

    Coconut oil comes in two forms, refined and unrefined. It is a solid until about 75-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Unrefined Coconut Oil tastes like coconut. It has a high smoke point and is good for sautéing. I like to use it for stir-fry and hash browns. It does retain the coconut flavor, so it works really good with Asian flavored dishes.

    Refined Coconut oil is coconut oil that has been refined either with chemicals or heat. It does not taste like coconut and is good for high temperature cooking because it has a high smoke point.

    Butter

    I keep three kinds of butter in my home, Unsalted butter, Salted Irish Butter, and Ghee.

    Unsalted Butter is conventional butter that does not have any added salt. I like to use it for baking. The reason I prefer unsalted is that different brands have different amounts of salt. In baking, it is easier to add salt to the recipe than to guess how much salt is already in the butter.

    Salted Irish Butter has a deep yellow color. I use the KerryGold brand. The cows in Ireland are grass fed and you can see that it changes the color of the butter. I find that it softens faster at room temperature and has a rich butter flavor. I use it to spread on toast or anything that need a pat of butter.

    Ghee is butter that has the milk protein solids and water removed. Butter is and emulsion of milk fat, milk protein solids and water. When you cook the butter gently, the water evaporates, and the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pot and eventually brown. This clarified butter has a high smoke point and works well when you want butter flavor but are worried that the butter will burn at the high temperatures. My simple salmon is best when cooked in ghee. It allows you to get a nice brown crust on the fish which adds flavor and texture. You can find ghee near the other oils in the grocery store. It is shelf-stable but should be refrigerated after opening. I make my own following this recipe bye Foodie With Family.

    Specialty Oils

    Toasted Sesame Oil

    I keep toasted sesame oil in my refrigerator for Asian dishes. A little adds a depth of flavor. You want to keep it in the refrigerator because it oxidizes quickly.

    Peanut Oil

    I use peanut oil for deep frying. In the summer we will deep fry once or twice a month. You can strain and re-use the oil 2-3 times. I like to keep it refrigerated after I have used it. It is important to start with neutral flavored things that won’t give the oil flavor. I like to start with donuts or French fries and fry fish or chicken the last time we use the oil.

    Margarine

    I don’t use this vegetable oil regularly in my home but have some in my refrigerator now because my daughter had to make a Gothic Cathedral out of gingerbread for a school project. She had a tight budget and it was much less expensive than butter. My mother uses margarine in many of her cookie recipes. It is key to getting the right texture in her cookies. My cookie recipes use real butter.

    Canola Oil

    I have a bottle of canola oil in my cabinet because my husband uses it on our document shredder as a lubricant. I don’t like to cook with it as it is highly refined and high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Many quick breads and muffin recipes call for vegetable oil. It gives the muffins a moist texture. Substituting butter in recipes developed with oil and five the baked goods a dry texture.