Apples, Apples, Apples and Beef on Weck | Falling for Fall

This time of the year is one of my favorites. I love the scents, the flavors, and the colors of fall! Every year since I was very young, my family has always gone to the same place to pick our own apples at the beginning of fall…{Rinker Orchard} in Stephen’s City, Virginia. I love the homeyness of this place and after so many years of coming here, we almost feel like we are part of the family. Although there are always a good amount of people there, it never feels like an over-crowded tourist spot. You are truly able to enjoy the crisp fall weather with your family and roam about the orchard to find the best apples you can! There are many apple varieties offered there, however, in our family we only go for the Ida Reds!

Our family’s fall-time tradition doesn’t stop there. My mom brought to our family and to the apple orchard her family favorite from Buffalo, New York…{Beef on Weck}! It is a tasty sandwich piled high with roast beef on a kummelweck bun and drizzled with au jus. Each person in our family has different accompaniments they prefer, including tomatoes, horseradish, and salt/pepper. I can’t handle the heat of horseradish, so I load up my sandwich with tomatoes and au jus and have found that this favorite is also good on pretzel rolls, even if it isn’t the traditional way of building the sandwich…I don’t care when it tastes that good! Below is a photo of a sandwich, done my dad’s way….he was so excited that he dug in before I could take the picture. The sandwich might not be the easiest to put together in the trunk of a car but, along with some potato chips, is perfect to eat while enjoying the beautiful landscape of the apple orchard and is well-deserved after lugging around a bushel of apples. Our family has also brought this with us to several Virginia wineries at which the sandwiches are much easier to put together and just as perfect for enjoying the scenery there.

B on W

Now that we have a bushel of apples, I am looking forward to trying out all the many fall recipes I have pinned and found to highlight them in the next month or two! The list already includes: {caramel apple brownies, apple chips, apple crumble pie} and it doesn’t stop there. So be on the look out in the coming weeks for all these apple recipes to be posted on {A Hint of Ginger}!

Tilapia with Garlic and Butter

If you’ve read my {About Me} section, you know that growing up I was a horribly picky eater. I tried fish once as a kid and hated the fishy taste of it and swore it off for years. I finally started to like salmon, only if my mom cooked it and took extra care to make it taste as little like fish as possible. In my journey to try new things, especially those that I previously disliked, I have embraced making fish to see whether or not I still don’t like it or whether it is simply about the type of fish itself or the manner in which it is cooked. I have found that I LOVE tilapia, it’s mild fish flavor is a winner in my book and it really takes on the flavors of the seasoning you cook it with. Despite wanting to get more creative with my ways of cooking and seasoning it, I am stuck on making a simple tilapia with garlic and butter! Thank goodness my husband likes it too because I just haven’t felt like changing it up since I found such a perfect combination of flavors for it. My husband has suggested I go outside the box a bit with tilapia at some point and experiment with fish tacos, and I have to say after watching an episode of Master Chef a few months ago, I actually want to get creative and try it out! We’ll save that for a later post.

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Here’s the recipe I love, adapted from {About.Com – SouthernFood}:

Ingredients (Yields 2 Servings):

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 gloves of finely minced garlic
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of Italian Seasoning
  • Dash of paprika
  • 4 tilapia fillets

Equipment Needed:

  • Shallow baking dish with rack
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cooking brush

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Line a shallow baking dish with aluminum foil and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter, garlic, pepper, salt, italian seasoning, and paprika and heat until butter has melted and is simmering.
  • Remove mixture from the stove and use a cooking brush to coat the bottom of your baking dish with part of the mixture.
  • Place tilapia fillets on top of the butter coated area and then brush the remaining portion of the mixture on top of the fillets.
  • Bake at 350º for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tilapia flakes easily with a fork.

{A Hint of Ginger | Pairing Ideas}: For tonight’s dinner, I paired the Tilapia with sautéed veggies (peppers and zucchini) and rice pilaf. If you have any other ideas of good pairings with Tilapia, please leave a comment with your suggestions!

Sautéed Shrimp with Tomatoes, Onions, and Spinach Over Pasta

My husband calls this my {Signature Dish}! I first made a version of this recipe a few years ago from some cookbook I had. The dish was delicious but seemed a little complicated and every time I made it I’d take the directions loosely and began to craft my own version. What I love about this dish {other than how delicious it is} is that it can be altered in so many ways that you can make this once a week and change it up each time so you don’t feel like you are always eating the same thing. For instance, for those of you who believe that {bacon makes everything better}, if you add a few slices of chopped up bacon and sauté until almost done before you add the garlic, it is even better! If you want a spicier flavor, which my husband always does, you can use hot italian sausage instead of shrimp and man is it good! I can even handle the heat! Also, the mixture can be put on top of orzo like I did in this post. Angel hair pasta or cannelini beans are also tasty with this recipe.  Please try different options out and let us all know what other versions there are out there for this…{make your own signature dish version}!

Saute Saute - Ingredients Saute - Onions Saute - Onions, broth Saute - Tomatoes Saute - Spinach Saute - Shrimp Saute - All Saute - Finished

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves of garlic (Separated to put in both skillet pans)
  • Approximately 3 tablespoons of olive oil (2 tablespoons in the large skillet pan and 1 in the other, or more if need be to lightly coat bottom of pan)
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth (you may not use all of this but have a 1/2 cup on hand)
  • 14.5 ounce can of Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano (add another can if you’d like extra tomatoes and servings)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 pound of shrimp, pealed and deveined
  • 1 cup of uncooked orzo
  • Bag of spinach
  • Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, to top dish with

Equipment Needed:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Measuring cup
  • 2 skillet pans (one large, one medium)
  • Medium saucepan

Instructions:

  • Fill medium saucepan with water and heat over high heat until boiling. Once boiling, put uncooked orzo in and cook according to box instructions.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant but not yet golden in color. Add onions and sauté until softened then add chicken broth, using only about 1/4 of a cup or so at first. Reduce broth down for a few minutes. Add can of diced tomatoes as well as salt and pepper to taste then stir together. Continue to heat mixture over medium to medium-low heat until just before your pasta is done. Add spinach and stir to wilt and mix together.
  • While heating the sauce mixture, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan and heat over medium heat until butter has melted and is bubbling. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Flip shrimp to ensure it gets cooked all the way through until shrimp turns pink all over. Add shrimp to sauce mixture after you have added spinach.
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain, put in bowl, and top with sauce mixture and cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Caramel Snickers Apple Salad | Dessert

This is by far my favorite salad!!! But of course it is not at all as healthy as a salad filled with vegetables. This delicious dessert has been a huge hit at potlucks, birthday parties, and barbecues and what’s even better is that it is so simple. After bringing this to a holiday party at work, I had one of my colleagues come up and ask me how hard it was to make and if he could have the recipe. Turns out he was going to be spending Thanksgiving with his girlfriend’s family and wanted to impress them by bringing something that he made himself and that tasted phenomenal! So, take his lead and make this if you want to impress your coworkers, friends, or family and know that it took little effort to throw it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Regular Sized Snickers Candy Bars
  • 4 Medium Apples (I like Granny Smith Apples for their sourness and color in the mixture, however, please try whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 (5.1 oz) package of Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 (16 oz.) Tub of Cool Whip (Thawed to Room Temperature)
  • 1/2 of Hershey’s Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Caramel Snickers - Snickers

Equipment Needed:

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cup
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • 2.1 Quart Corningware dish or other large serving bowl/dish

Instructions:

  • Whisk together in a large mixing bowl the vanilla pudding packet, 1/2 cup of milk, and cool whip until well combined.
  • Chop up apples and Snickers into bite-sized pieces and mix into pudding mixture. Keep a handful or so of the chopped up Snickers to add to the top of the dish for garnish.
  • Transfer mixture into a corningware dish or other large serving dish. Scatter the handful of Snickers on top of the mixture and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Recipe from {Chef in Training}.

Caramel Snickers - Finished

Perfectly Cooked Chicken | Every Time

In the past, I explored multiple ways to cook chicken on the stove often finding that it got overcooked and dried out or that it took FOREVER to cook through. A friend of my husband’s, who has taught me several things over the last few years, gave us the {perfect way to cook chicken} and you know what….it works every single time. I now know exactly how long it will take to cook so I can properly time everything else for our meal and ensure that nothing gets cold waiting on the chicken.

So, here’s the secret: In a non-stick skillet over high heat, heat up butter or olive oil (or a combination of the two). Season your chicken breasts however you choose and sear each side of the chicken breast on high heat for 1 minute. Then, reduce heat to medium and cook covered for 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through. Finally, remove the pan from the burner and let it sit for another 8 minutes, still covered. When you are done, you will have the juiciest, most perfectly cooked chicken.

{A Hint of Ginger | Variations}: For seasonings, if you are looking to make the chicken to stuff inside fajitas, I recommend adding a spicy seasoning mixture like chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, onion powder, and dried oregano. One of my favorite seasoning mixes is salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried rosemary – tastes and smells so good! Also, if you want to add extra crunch to the outside, you can season the chicken breasts however you’d like and then dredge in flour before putting in the pan.