Brunch with B-Crox: Apple Cheddar Scones

Brunch with B-Crox

The last week has been draining in the strangest way. I’m not sure if it was from my post earlier this week, but I was constantly wanting to be alone. But I was acutely aware of my loneliness in those those moments, so I never really was. I kept thinking that if I could just get a good night’s sleep, I would feel better. The days started out the same – waking up, wishing for another hour of delicious sleep, getting ready, and then feeling achingly optimistic on the drive to work (the sun is always brightest before you’re going to spend 8 hours in a cubicle). Then I’d think to myself, “Today is going to be a fantastic day.” As each day wore on, a dull headache developed, I began to feel nauseated, and my pity party became more elaborate.  I just wanted to go home and read all my books. Just one right after the other. I didn’t want to be interrupted by necessities like sleep or nutrition. My evenings were spent with great people, and I really enjoyed myself, but I really just needed a night or two to myself.

I had dinner plans last night, but I ended up cancelling them and ended up spending time with my family instead. I had planned on just going home and reading all night and falling asleep by 8, but this proved to be a much better way to pass the time while my four excedrin (true story) knocked out my headache. I came home around 9 and ended up sleeping by 10. 

It was fantastic. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day. This morning held such potential – did I want to run? Read? Write? Bake? The day is completely mine – I have absolutely no obligations. I love it. 

I opted for a little reading and then baking. I’ve really been into baking scones for the last few months, so I found a recipe for Apple Cheddar Scones at Mary Quite Contrary Bakes. Because I’m broke and had no intention of leaving my apartment, I had to modify the recipe a bit, but it turned out FANTASTIC. 

Apple Cheddar Scones

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large tart apples (I used one granny smith & one pink lady)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter-flavored Crisco 
  • 2.5oz marbled mild and white cheddar, freshly shredded 
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Peel, core, and chop apples so they are in small cube-ish pieces. Place apples in an even layer on your ancient baking sheet lined with tinfoil, or parchment paper if you’re fancy. (Learn from my slight mistake: if you’re using tinfoil, add just a bit of spray to prevent apples from sticking.) Bake for 15 minutes, then put in freezer until cool to touch. 
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. On low speed, blend apples, crisco, cheese, greek yogurt, and one egg in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until ingredients until dough has formed. 
  4. Plop the dough on a well-floured counter. With floured hands, work into a disk, and cut dough into six triangles. 
  5. Since you don’t buy parchment paper (apparently people use it for baking a lot – maybe you should invest in some, genius) and you’ve had to chisel away the remains from previous baking endeavors, lightly grease your good baking pan. Place scones on pan with room to expand. 
  6. Whisk second egg with a pinch of salt. Generously brush egg wash on each scone and sprinkle with sugar. 
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. 
  8. Eat immediately. You’ll want a second one immediately, but tell  yourself to have some self respect and wait an hour. 
The owls know what's up.

The owls know what’s up.

Some part of me wishes I could say I invited a friend over for a cup of coffee and one of these amazing scones, but I fully intend on eating them all on my own. Next time I make them I’ll share, but these are just too damn good. They’re sweet and salty and warm with the slightest crunch on the outside, revealing a heavenly buttery goodness. 

I’ve got to have a second. 

NO SHAME

NO SHAME

Brunch with B-Crox: White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna

About a year ago, two of my friends and I started a monthly get-together for a nice dinner. I think the idea was to pass it around and change the location each time, but it always ended up being at my place. I was happy about this – I didn’t really want to share the burden. Around then, I started realizing that I enjoyed cooking almost as much as I enjoyed baking. There’s something incredibly depressing about preparing a really wonderful meal and having no one to share it with.

Over the summer, I was able to share some really nice food with them: maple-glazed pork chops with gnocchi and parmesan cheese; East Indian curry (served on jasmine rice, topped with choices of fruit, peppers, and nuts); Dutch babies for a Christmas-style brunch in the middle of October; slowcooker turkey and cranberry dressing, pizza with carmelized onions, halved grapes & balsamic glaze….all usually paired with wine or beer brought by Nicole or Andrea, and then ending with dessert (french silk pie eaten directly from the pan, frozen yogurt with canteloupe…) we ate while sprawled on the couch, complaining that we felt enormous. Somewhere along the line, they gave me the nickname B-Crocks – an ironic abbreviation of Betty Crocker that made me feel simultaneously adorable and badass. I solidified the badassery by temporarily tagging my kitchen wall.

I thought about leaving it, but I couldn't find a decent place for the fridge AND display my tag.

I thought about leaving it, but I couldn’t find a decent place for the fridge AND display my tag.

When I had my housewarming party a few weeks ago, Andrea and Nicole presented me with a gift of a hula hoop (which I used once and has been leaning against a wall after it fell around my ankles) and a handmade installment of miniature frames that spell out B-Crox. It looks pretty awesome in my kitchen.

I'm real good at hanging things in straight lines.

I’m real good at hanging things in straight lines.

Nicole was actually the one who gave me the idea for a weekly B-Crox post, and in a picturesque turn of events, Andrea joined me for my first meal of Brunch with B-Crox: White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna.

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest (where else do people get recipes?) and modified for a smaller sized pan (I think a giant pan of lasagna is about as depressing as just eating cookie dough for dinner). If you’re cooking for a large group, a family, have room in the freezer, or want to see fancy pictures and well-written directions, you can use the original recipe. The only real difference between this recipe and the one below is that I used fresh mozzarella that was marinated in olive oil and italian seasoning instead of plain shredded mozzarella – mainly because it was on sale and I really wanted fresh mozzarella.

White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lasagna noodles, cooked (because duh)
  • 1/4 cup butter (that’s half a stick, Einstein)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (avoid cutting off finger tips)
  • a few shakes of salt
  • 1 cup Chicken broth (the cheapest, because ain’t nobody got cash for that, Swanson)
  • 3/4 cup milk (not melk, you mouth-breather)
  • 8oz. fresh mozzerella cheese (Oh, you think you all fancy, don’t you?)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (get the stuff that is cheaper that Kraft and has a more attractive label)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (good luck finding something to do with the leftovers)
  • 2 disturbingly large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh parsley you don’t actually need because it tastes like nothing, so don’t waste your time
Are you ready for this cheesy goodness that is the opposite of heart healthy?

Are you ready for this cheesy goodness that is the opposite of heart healthy?

Directions:

  1. Invite your friend over for dinner via text/call/direct tweet. Inform her you’re making something awesome and she’s going to want to eat it. Turn on some good music (I chose Dead Horses after seeing them a few nights earlier) and cook your noodles. Let your friend in the front door.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the onion and garlic, cooking till tender. Stir it too. You don’t want to scrub that crap. Shake the salt over the mixture a bit, and then add the flour. Simmer till it’s bubbly and looks weird.
  3. Tell your friend to mix in the broth and milk and boil because you just realized you have to cube and cook the chicken. Make sure she stirs it constantly, then throw half of the fresh mozzarella and a bunch of the parmesan in her pan while you cook the chicken in olive oil & oregano.
  4. Season the sauce with basil, oregano and that freshly ground pepper. Grind that pepper, baby!
  5. Using a 9×9 cake pan you might have taken from your mother, layer your lasagna in the following order: 1/3 sauce on bottom, 1/3 of the noodles, ALL of the ricotta & chicken, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/4 of the sauce, the spinach (lookit that green stuff! You so fancy!), the remaining mozzarella cheese (if it’s in the little balls like mine was, cut these into thirds and distribute evenly) and a bunch of parmesan cheese.
  6. Top with the last of the noodles and remaining sauce. If you were stupid and bought parsley, I guess you can sprinkle it now. Otherwise, just put a little more basil, ground pepper, and parmesan cheese over the sauce.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving with pink lemonade and eating on your front porch while groaning and saying “Omigod. This is so good.”
  8. Go back inside because there are too many spiders and weird bugs.
Awesome friend enjoying awesome food

Awesome friend enjoying awesome food

Unlike most lasagnas, I don't recommend storing leftovers on the sidewalk. This keeps best if in tupperware in the fridge.

Unlike most lasagnas, I don’t recommend storing leftovers on the sidewalk. This keeps best if in tupperware in the fridge.

Enjoy your food! There are starving kids in Ethiopia that won’t benefit from your gluttony.