Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


Dinner Time!

Baked apples just feel like fall, don't they? Pick out eight beautiful, juicy ones and get cooking!

Grind up some wheat flour.

Cut butter into wheat and white flour until the mixture is crumby.

Then a dash of salt and a few tablespoons of cold water are all you need to complete your bonafide apple dumpling crust!

Divide the crust into eight balls and roll them out to fit your apples. Fill the center of the apple with a tablespoon of nuts, and then fold the crust over your apple. Voila! One down, seven more to go!
Now for dinner...King Ranch Casserole is a family favorite and a Mikaela-Susanna specialty. ;-) Start with corn tortillas--spray them with oil and pop them into the oven for 12 minutes to crisp them up. Then, just to make things interesting, burn one sheet of your tortillas. It's a good scare tactic for all those smelling dinner.

For the sauce, simmer butter, cumin, dried minced onions, minced garlic, and chopped tomatoes until it is reduced. Thicken it with some flour and then add cream and chicken broth. Mmm...looking good!

Now add chicken and let it simmer for awhile. Meanwhile, break up all your tortillas into little pieces and grate some fresh pepper jack cheese (different combos of cheddar, mozarella, and pepper jack work too).

Take the pan off the heat and add cheese, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. You're almost done! Just scatter half of the tortilla pieces in your pan, layer with half the sauce, and repeat. Top with corn chips in the last ten minutes of baking, and you have just finished a yummy fall meal.

Don't forget to pose for the camera--and watch out for those sneaky, lens-loving brothers, too! =)

Baked Apple Dumplings
1 cup plus three tablespoons shortening
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 to 9 tablespoons cold water
Cut shortening into flour and salt until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons water can be added if necessary).
8 baking apples (each about 3 inches in diameter), cored
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water
Assemble apples as instructed above and place in an ungreased baking dish. Set oven to 425 degrees.
Heat brown sugar and water to boiling; carefully pour around dumplings. Bake, spooning syrup over dumplings 2 or 3 times, until crust is golden and apples are tender, 30-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream.
King Ranch Casserole
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 jalapeno chiles, minced (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cans diced tomatoes
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or milk
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons miced fresh cilantro
4 cups cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/4 cups Fritos corn chips, crushed
  1. Adjust oven rakc to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on two baking sheets, lightly coat both sides with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then break into bite-sized pieces. Using potholders, adjust top oven rack to middle position.
  2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, cumin, and garlic until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Off heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 13 by 9-inch baking dish set over rimmed baking sheet. spoon half of filling evenly over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortillas over filling, then top with remaining filling.
  4. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool cassserole 10 minutes. Serve.

Serves 6--I usually 1 -1/2 times it.



  1. Looks absolutely delicious! We just went to Hood River and got a couple of huge boxes of apples so I will have to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Looks good to me! I've been on a soup and mexican kick lately...I might have to try the King Ranch recipe soon!

  3. That is so funny! Our family made an apple-dumpling-like dessert last night, too! We call ours "Apple Yum-Yums" (so dubbed by the littles and upheld by all...). We don't stuff the middle w/nuts (just tons of home-made syrup, which we also bake them in!), but man, are they good! :)

  4. Yum!! Everything looks delicious! I shall have to try making the recipes. Thank you for sharing, dears. :)


  5. What a yummy post! Those dishes look delicious! I love trying new recipes - thanks for the inspiration. : )

  6. I think I smell apple dumplings and King Ranch Casserole baking across the land. Or maybe that's just the leftovers in the kitchen...

  7. Ok, I'm hungry now.....and my butt grew just from reading the post...But that's okay. I do think I need to find some yummy apples now though......


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