Category Archives: Food

Homemade Baked Apple Chips

A couple of months ago, I realized that Andrew and I were throwing out about half a bag of apples every other week. It’s cheaper to buy them in a bag than individually where I buy my groceries (roughly $3  a bag as opposed to $1 an apple), but I hate being wasteful. There were just too many apples for Andrew and I to eat before they went bad.

So I started to think of ways that we could use those apples instead of throwing them out. That’s when I remembered my mandolin slicer that my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas, and I started making apple chips!

The whole process takes a bit of time, but it’s so easy that it’s really not a whole lot of work. It took me a couple of tries to get the temperature and the baking time right, but once I got that down it’s almost as easy as pie. ;) All you need is a couple of baking trays, some apples, a mandolin slicer, and some cinnamon and sugar.

You can use pretty much any apple you’d like. I’ve tried making them with Gala, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady apples and they’ve all turned out just fine, they just have different flavors. I usually use Pink Lady apples, as they’re a little more tart and Andrew and I like them to not be quite as sweet.

I highly recommend using a mandolin slicer, as it cuts the apples into thin, even slices. I tried once with just a knife, but my slices were too thick to fully dry and they never got crispy. I use the 1.5 mm piece in my mandolin and found that’s the best size, at least of the sizes I have.

Start by preheating your oven to 225° F and greasing a couple of baking pans with cooking spray.

Next, start slicing your apples. You can decore your apples beforehand to get the stem and seeds out, but I just cut those middle pieces in half and cut out the stem and seeds.

Arrange the apple slices on your baking sheets. You can place them pretty close together since they will shrink as they cook and some overlapping is fine. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top and place in the oven.

Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. I flip the slices about halfway through cooking and sprinkle the other sides with cinnamon sugar.  Then switch the racks that each sheet was on, so that they cook evenly.

I also place an extra sheet on the bottom of the oven so that I can cook more at one time. So that they don’t burn, I switch the sheets every twenty minutes or so to get a more even baking. This isn’t necessary though if you have more racks in the oven or are only cooking two sheets at one time.

The chips should be pretty firm when they are done. They will crisp up more once they are completely cooled. If they are still really flimsy or a little damp, then they aren’t done yet. I always check on them every ten minutes or so the last half hour to make sure they don’t burn. If they’re brown, they are over done!

These are about halfway done, right before I flip them!

Let them cool and then enjoy!

I love to make these apple chips on the weekend. I can pop them in the oven while I’m watching a movie or doing housework and check on them every so often. They’re pretty easy once you figure out how long to cook them as each oven varies.

Plus, the house always smells wonderful as these cook, like apple pie!

Chimi’s

This weekend, Andrew and I visited a local Mexican restaurant called Chimi’s. This was the first time that we’ve been there, even though it opened during our first or second year of college. It was always one of those places that we’ve wanted to try but just never got around to going. My brother and sister eat there all the time and I’ve only ever heard positive things, so when Andrew and I were trying to think of what to do for dinner on Saturday, Chimi’s popped into my head.

There was also a Groupon for Chimi’s for $28 that got you $45 worth of food. Normally, Andrew and I wouldn’t spend more than about $25 because we just order entrees, but we thought it would be fun to order some extra stuff to try and it wouldn’t cost us the full price.

andrew-eating-chips-and-salsa
Andrew with a mouth full of chips and salsa.

They start you off with chips and salsa (as any good Mexican restaurant should!) and when we polished those off while we perused the menu, they brought us more (also as any good Mexican restaurant should).

Andrew picked out the hot wings as our appetizer. I’m usually not a big fan of hot wings because they’re typically too hot for me, but these were actually really good. They weren’t real spicy, but they had so much flavor which was a surprise. Normally hot wings are so hot and spicy you can’t taste anything but the heat, but these were delicious.

Andrew and I also ordered a frozen margarita to share. They had different sizes –small, medium, and large – so we opted for the medium, thinking that would be the optimal size to share without going overboard. When our server brought it out to us, we couldn’t believe how big it was! It was 24oz and served in, what I’m going to call, a goblet.

classic-margarita

The margarita was so strong. It tasted like straight tequila to me, so while others may appreciate that, it was too strong for me to really enjoy. Andrew ended up finishing it, but it was pretty strong, even for him. Next time if I order a drink, I would try something other than the class, like the strawberry margarita, which I think would add more flavor and make it more enjoyable (and taste less like straight alcohol). At least you get your money’s worth!

Our entrees came next. I ordered a special which included two flautas – one beef and one chicken – and a Chalupa Texana. I really liked my flautas; they were served with some kind of cheese sauce and even though there wasn’t anything inside besides meat, they tasted had a lot of flavor. The Chalupa Texana was okay. It looked a bit like a soft tostada as it had a soft tortilla on the bottom and then everything else piled on top. All of the toppings made it impossible to eat, though, so I ended up just eating it with a fork and leaving the soggy tortilla on the bottom. It also came with a side of rice and guacamole.

marias-special

Andrew ordered a beef quesadilla, which he really enjoyed. It was pretty big, and with all the chips and salsa and hot wings that we had eaten beforehand, neither of us could finish our dishes!

We were nearly stuffed, but there is always room for dessert. ;) There used to be a really popular Mexican restaurant that had the best fried ice cream, but that was the only place we ever tried it and they closed. Chimi’s had fried ice cream listed on their dessert menu, so that’s what we ordered, hoping it would be similar to what we had elsewhere.

fried-ice-cream

It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, but we weren’t entirely disappointed either. The fried ice cream was served in a fried dessert tortilla and topped with copious amounts of whipped cream, chocolate fudge and caramel sauce, and a cherry. The fried ice cream itself was what was a bit different. I’m not sure what they rolled the outside of the ice cream with, but it tasted almost like soggy cornflakes that were fried and then frozen. We finished all of it though, so it wasn’t necessarily bad, just kind of odd. I think next time we would order a different dessert.

All in all, we had a great experience at Chimi’s. The service was excellent and the environment was warm and inviting. The food felt really authentic, unlike at a Chevy’s where it’s more Tex-Mex. And on top of all of that, we got an appetizer, two entrees, a huge frozen margarita, and dessert for only $28 (excluding the tip). I love getting a deal.

We will definitely be frequenting Chimi’s more often in the future and I feel like this will be our go-to Mexican restaurant from now on!