Recipes for Young Adults
They're Moving into Their 1st Apartment - and they want to take their favorite recipes with them!
Hooray! And, then again . . . oh my gosh!
Do you have children who are about to leave college or leave home and embark onto the path of making their own home? You've taught them well, they've already learned from some mistakes, and now they're really going to live on their own.
Well, one of the biggest requests that we've heard in our home lately - especially during the holidays - is, "You've gotta get me the recipe for this favorite must-have dish and that favorite must-have dish." [We have a 24 year old soon to be graduating with her Masters, and of course, there's the neighbor friend that we've sort-of adopted, who'll also be graduating with her Masters soon, too!]
Let's face it, as much as we'll always be the come-to person, we do have to give them a chance to shine in their own world. And that's what they're asking for - the recipes, and cooking tips, so that they can shine in their new home, with their friends.
This lens is all about how to help your young adult child (or grandchild) start his/her home with your special touch - recipes, cooking tips, and more.
[By the way, this photo of the classic Campbell's Green Bean Casserole is found, with its recipe, at Foodtv.com Campbell's Green Bean Casserole.
Online recipes are great. In fact, tell your young adult that you need a recipe for stuffed mushrooms and the LAST thing that he/she will do is go to the cookbooks or call a friend.
Instead, they'll do a search for "stuffed mushroom recipes" and say, "Here ya go!"
As if I would make any old recipe that I found laying around like that!
On the other hand, I love online recipes in forums where I can see feedback that other people have given on the recipe. They might say, "Use less salt," or "Add more butter," or "Family devoured it," or "Never again!"
And THAT'S the kind of feedback that our young adults need. They don't need just any old canned recipe for chick pot pie. Sure you could start there, but then they want your little tricks, your special touch, your tricks so that they'll know it'll taste just as good for their friends when they make it as it would have if you had make it for their friends.
Ahhhh, THAT'S the essence of this transition - helping them step into your shoes, while they still don't have the 20 years of mistakes, (ahem) I mean "experience" yet.
Help them look good, eat well, and enjoy the fun of cooking for friends and family.
Are Your Kids About to Fly the Coop?
Are your kids (aka "young adults") about to leave for college?
Leave college and move into their own place?
Leave your home and move into their own place?
Are your young adults moving into their own place soon?
This Generation - It's Gotta be Pretty
Let's face it:
- This Generation (i.e. the Millenials) isn't going to make a black and white photocopy at your office and put all of their 20 favorite recipes into a 35 cent folder from Staples and tuck it away in the kitchen cupboard. Nope, just not gonna happen.
- This Generation is the one that brought the Mac computer back to life when it came out with laptops in Pretty Colors.
- This Generation thinks the iPod in Color Colors is old fashioned and MUST HAVE the new iPhone (in, what else, Cool, Pretty Colors).
- Why must they have the new iPhone? So they have have really really cute background photos. Go figure. I thought technology was about ingenuity and speed. No, evidently it's about how easily you can share really cute pictures.
So, bottom line:
Your collection of heart-felt homemade recipes has gotta be - COOL & PRETTY.
There's no getting around it.
I was going to do something on a print-on-demand or Zazzle type website to assemble my collection of best-from-the-home recipes, and then I found TasteBook. TasteBook lets me put a lot of recipes - of all sorts - my own, online, pre-fab - into a book all at one, or some at a time - and includes TONS OF PICTURES - AND REALLY PRETTY COVERS OF MY CHOOSING - all for a very very reasonable price that can't be beat.
Now, being a low maintenance person with 2 high maintenance young adults to assemble recipes for, I can sure use all the help I can get to make things look PRETTY!
Appetizer - Crab Meat Dip
This recipe has become one of the must-have appetizers at all parties and family functions. You can make it as "cheaply" or as "expensively" as you like. I usually opt for the "moderately" priced version - which means using the best tasting cream (which for me is the original Philadelphia), and the "Fancy" crab meat from "From the Dock" in the seafood section of your supermarket (it's kept on ice). Usually it comes in a one pound (16 ounce) can - you can get the "Lump" or "Fancy" kind. The "Lump Crab" needs to be shredded for this recipe, and since it's usually about $15.00 and the "Fancy" or "Special" is already shredded and only about $10.00, I usually get the latter.
You can also use the no-name cream cheese and the small 6 ounce canned crab meat that's near the canned tuna in the regular aisles, it just has a different texture and flavor. But, hey, when things are tight, it can still give you a nice appetizer and feel fancy.
This recipe is SUPER SIMPLE - just perfect for a young adult in her new apartment, ready to entertain friends.
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
2 TB Milk
Morton's All Seasons
16 oz (1 lb.) crab meat, shredded
Crackers for serving
- Take cream cheese out of fridge about 30 minutes prior to making so that it softens.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix the cream cheese with the next four ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, milk, All Seasons, onion powder).
- Fold in the crab meat.
- Coat a Pyrex-type dish (I use a glass pie plate shape) with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Be very liberal with the coating.
- Press the mixture into the dish. (Mine comes out about 1 inch deep in an 8" pie plate.)
- Top by pressing the sliced almonds on top to fully cover all of the crab dip - but don't make the almonds too deep - put them on just as a covering.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Serve with crackers and a few small butter knives.
Your young adult's friends will love this! And, your young adult will enjoy being able to make something so easy, simple, and fast that her friends really like!
[BTW, this photo isn't of my crab meat dip - it's Sandra Lee's "Hot Crab Ragoon Dip" from Foodnetwork.com. This picture is a live link to the recipe there. That recipe is similar, but I think it's healthier too - ughh!]
Appetizer - Baked Brie with Nuts
Truth be told, my recipe below (one of those "I gotta have this recipe Tree!") originated from Foodnetwork.com's Paula Deen recipe Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie (which is also linked to this picture of Paula Deen's recipe).
But, we changed it. [Isn't that the nature of cooking?]
First, we changed it by removing the alcohol (brandy). We use a little water, or apple juice or orange juice even. It doesn't really matter - you just need the brown sugar and the nuts to get some moistness. That also means that you don't need to let the sugar and nuts sit for 1 to 7 days. A few minutes ahead of time is just fine.
Second, as lots of good things happen, we did it wrong - several times - and then found that it tasted better THAT way than the "right" way. So, now we choose to do it "our way." The original Paula Deen recipe calls for heating the brie first, then adding the topping. Well, we find that the flavors don't really meld together as well that way. Soooo, we top the brie with the topping and put the whole "shabang!" into the oven all at once.
Also, we don't limit ourselves to pecans. I'm from New England. New Englanders have turned "making do" into an art form. So, if we have walnuts, we use those, etc. etc.
Similarly, we don't use anything near as healthy as apple wedges to serve the Brie. Let's keep something in mind here. It's gone in 15 minutes. Usually crackers are involved. On the rare occasion when I've made it just for the immediate family and there's left-overs the next day, then it's been known to be reheated in the microwave and eaten straight out of the plate with a fork, no crackers necessary.
Last, my smoke detector doesn't like me to keep my oven on at 500 degrees. So, sometimes we need to turn the oven down to 450 degrees. It still works out just fine.
Well, once we made these modifications, we had a simple, easy to make, 20-something-party-going AWESOME thing going on. Yet one more, "Tree, when are you making the baked brie?" And, "Are you coming for dinner?" "I don't know - is Tree making Baked Brie and Crab Dip? Then, I'll be right over." That sort of must-have thing.
1 round wheel of brie - small 8 oz or larger 14 oz size, whatever
1 handful or so of brown sugar
1 handful or so of nuts (chopped/sliced pecans, chopped/broken walnuts)
Splash or 2 of orange juice, apple juice, or water (whichever is handy)
- If possible, take the Brie out of the fridge and let is come to room temperature a little bit.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Mix the sugar, nuts and juice/water into a bowl, so that the sugar and nuts are thoroughly moistened but not swimming.
- Let me put it this way: Paul Deen's recipe calls for these ratios: 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of nuts and 1 Tablespoon of brandy. Now, I just don't have enough self-restraint to use 1/4 cup of sugar in ANYTHING. So, I use a handful (which these days is coming out to more like 1/2 cup). And, of course, if I'm using a 1/2 cup of brown sugar, I need to use 1/2 cup of nuts. So the 1 tablespoon bit becomes more like a splash or two.
- If possible, let the sugar, nuts and juice mixture sit for a little bit.
- When ready to put into the oven, assemble the dish:
> Coat a Pyrex-type baking dish (I use a glass pie plate) with cookie spray - very well.
> Put the wheel of Brie in the center.
> Top with the sugar/nuts/juice mixture.
- Put into the 500 degree oven for about 7 or 8 minutes. The sugar/nuts should look caramelized but not yet burnt (and it can burn rather quickly!) and the Brie should look soft, but not oozing out all over the place.
Dessert - Apple Pie
As our 24 year old "adopted" neighborhood daughter said this Thanksgiving, "Tree, I saw you make it - I helped you make it - but I still don't know how it came out tasting so good. How'd you do that?"
Soon or later, they are going to call and ask you for the Apple Pie Recipe - it might be now, it might be in 20 years, so let's just give them the recipe now, so they know that they have it and they have time to try it themselves a few times - and have time to call us with questions like, "How do you get it so that it doesn't come out so soggy?"
I keep it simple here - perfect for a young adult - using pre-made pie crusts. In the past, I've made my own pie crusts, but y'know what? I found that people don't like it any better with my hard-won homemade crust than the pre-made frozen pie crust. So now, I do myself a favor at the holidays, and use the frozen pie crusts. Go ahead! Give your young adults permission to do the same! Is it still fun to learn how to make a good pie crust from scratch? You bet! But do you have to put yourself through that work every time you want to make a pie? No way!
6 Apples - I like Rome and Granny Smiths - they should be a firm rather than a mushy type
- Remove the 2 deep-dish frozen pie crusts from the freeze and allow to come to room temperature.
- Peel, core and slice the apples. Now, I usually have to remind my 20-somethings how to do this each Thanksgiving. For some reason, they think an ad hoc chopping and chunking of apples is acceptable. Au contraire! Being a type-A perfectionist, I believe that there is only one truly valuable way to prepare apples for an apple pie. Here goes:
> Cut the apple in half (from the top down, through the center stem), then the halves in half again (thus creating quarters).
> Core the quarter.
> Peel the quarter.
> Slice the quarter so that it makes 2 or 3 equally thick wedges. The number of wedges is irrelevant as long as they're all uniform in size, and that they're neither slivers nor big as mountains.
- Put the apple wedges into a very large non-metal mixing bowl. From time to time, squirt some lemon juice on the apple wedges to keep them from browning.
- When you're done preparing the apples, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of apple wedges and gentle fold so that the sugar, etc. is thoroughly distributed.
- Put the mixture into a pre-made deep-dish pie shell. Top with several little pieces of butter. Again, your young adult may not know how to do this: Slice the butter into patties about 1/4" to 1/2" inch thick (about the width of your pinky finger), then, using your fingers, break the butter patties into small pieces, like into quarters. Use about 2 to 4 patties' worth of butter (about 8 to 16 little pieces), as you like.
- Take the other pre-made deep-dish pie shell, still in its aluminum pie plate, and put it onto of the apple pie, upside down, to form the top of the pie. Carefully edge the pie shell out of the pie plate.
- Now, press the 2 pie crust edges together. There's a pinch with 2 hands approach that I don't think can really be explained in words, but a YouTube is always handy for that. If the top crust cracks, you can always press it back together with your hands moistened with water.
- Cut some slits in the top - I prefer the 5 to 6 slit approach from the center area out toward the edges (rather than the all over hen-pecked look).
- I top mine with a little egg wash (or milk, if you'd prefer) (the egg wash is one egg beaten with a little water, say about a tablespoon of water) - I brush it on with a pastry brush (but if you don't have one of these, just use your fingers).
- Then I sprinkle sugar on top (which sticks to the egg wash or milk wash, and comes out sparkly on the baked pie).
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 MINUTES.
- THEN TURN THE OVEN DOWN TO 350 degrees.
- I check on mine. If the edges are starting to burn before the pie is ready, I cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil that I've folded into long double or triple thick strips that I can wrap over and under the edge of the pie and pie plate.
- It's done when a cake tester (or a sharp knife) place through one of the slits indicates that the apples are tender (not still hard and not mushy).
[BTW, this picture is from, and is linked to, a video on Foodnetwork.com of Bobby Flay's FoodNation interviewing someone making an apple pie - very short video.]
How to Make an Apple Pie
Here's a quick video that is within the attention span of any young adult making his/her first apple pie.