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It’s a Dinner For One Weekend!!!

One of the special parts of doing the recent poll were the comments that people included about things that they would find useful. One person commented about smaller recipes for one or two people, things that would be easy to make and so on. So, mystery visitor, this weekend is for YOU!!

That’s right, this weekend is ‘Dinner for One (or two) Weekend’ (cue trumpets). And, as is my wont, the first recipe is dessert (in holding with the ‘life’s too short; eat dessert first’ philosophy). I can’t think of any dessert other than dipping into a box of ice cream which is easier than this one but it has a twist: You will end up with something in the fridge which will enable you to make other versions of this several times over into the future basically whenever you feel the urge, as long as you have some fruit someplace (because this works with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit).

One of the tricky parts of the request is that this person does NOT like to use the oven. The appliances in this person’s kitchen consist of a microwave, a toaster oven and a slow cooker. So, whatever recipes I come up with this weekend have to not only fit the size serving, but also fit the appliances (I really wish this person also had an electric fry pan because I think actually you can do a lot more with an electric fry pan than with a toaster oven but … whatever).

So, here is the big part of this project. This will take all of about 10 minutes to do and at the end of it, you will have something in the fridge you can use in the future. And this is:
Crisp Topping
You will need the following:
1, one gallon ziplock™ plastic bag
A pastry blender (if you don’t have one, that is ok; there will be directions for what to do sans pastry blender)
A bowl
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of quick cooking or other type of oatmeal (not Irish, please)
1 cup of brown sugar (medium or light; the dark stuff is very strongly flavored)
½ cup of all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. Of ground cinnamon (and if you want to walk on the wild side, you can add ½ tsp of allspice too, but I don’t usually do that)

Put into the bowl:
The flour, the sugar, the oats, the cinnamon and with a spoon, mix it up.
Take your butter and cut it into little chunks and put into the bowl with the rest.
Take your pastry blender and chop the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s all worked into the dry ingredients.
That’s it. Take your ziplock™ bag and put all the topping mix into the bag, squeeze out the extra air and zip it up. Store in your fridge. This is the topping for any fruit crisp. And you can use any fruit, from chopped up rhubarb and canned peaches with this to make a fast, yummy dessert.

Now, let’s say you don’t have a pastry blender (which is that thing in the picture of the bowl with the black handle) – no problemo. For those people do this: Put all the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix up. Then take the stick of butter and either zap it for a minute or two in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave or melt it in a little pan. When it’s melted, carefully pour it all over the dry ingredients in the bowl and work it in with a spoon. And then YOU are done and can store this in your plastic bag in your fridge too.

Here’s the fast dessert in this example:
Baked Apples a la Microwave (and that is the photo at the top)
You’ll need:
A cereal bowl
A cutting board
A big hard-ish apple, like a Cortland or an Empire. Do not use Macs for this as they turn into mush.
Some crisp topping
A small sharp knife like a paring knife (for those unfamiliar, a paring knife is the little sharp one that came with the knife set, with the 4” handle and the 3” blade).

How to:
Wash your apple well and take the knife and core the apple. To do that, look down at the top and imagine a circle, like a bullseye, about 1” out from the center. Stab (safely – we’re not trying to kill the apple or your kitchen counter here) the knife in at that 1” mark and work your way all the way around until you complete the circle. Then turn the apple over and do the same thing to the bottom side. Then put the knife back in and loosen everything in the center so that you can get the core out so that the apple looks like the empty one in the picture.

Now, put your cored apple into the cereal bowl and with a spoon, fill up the center with crisp topping mix. If some spills out that is ok.

Put into your microwave for 3 minutes. The apple should start to be squishy; if not, set the timer again for a minute but don’t let it stay cooking in there for any longer.

Take out and let sit for a moment and then eat with a spoon. Very yummy. If you want to go totally crazy and have vanilla ice cream in the freezer, then put a spoonful of that on top.

Heaven. In three minutes (ok, so I’m not counting the time to assemble the crisp topping mix but you will end up with a big bag of that in your fridge which you can use for numerous desserts. So you can amortize the amount of time you spent over those desserts – so…let’s call it 5 minutes, total.

Not bad for a dessert.

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