We love burgers around here, and making them is usually a Dude Time endeavor- which means I get a few minutes to relax while I wait for them to finish. Yay! One way to speed things up and get hungry people fed quicker is to pre-make the burgers and freeze them for a quick dinner later. This recipe will make several lunches or two hearty dinners for four.
The addition of two of my dudes’ favorite ingredients (apple sauce and oatmeal) meant they were excited to try them, and also made for a somewhat more rounded nutritional profile on the meal. We like to eat these on whole wheat toast or whole wheat buns, with a side of apple slices and carrot sticks.
In spite of the name, there isn’t actually any chutney in this recipe. Although a true chutney would have vinegar in it, this tastes pretty darn close to me. This recipe uses staple ingredients that store well, so it’s easy to throw it in the crock pot on a day when you weren’t expecting to need a plan for dinner. If you are out of cinnamon or nutmeg, throw in a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice along with the chili pepper and you should be pleased with the results. You can also make this recipe your own with a hint of coriander or 1/4 cup of dried fruit.
The super quick prep on this recipe along with the “can’t ruin it” flavors also make this a great choice for cooking with kids. My big guy loves to chop apples with his Pampered Chef “kids knife” (I believe there are other types of knives on the market that will cut fruit and aren’t dangerously sharp. One friend says her kid cuts apples with a nylon knife. I don’t have one so I can’t tell you more than that.) And there are only a few spices, which means it’s a great opportunity to practice measuring. (And no one will care if there’s a pinch more nutmeg in there!)
Ah, dessert. The final touch on any special meal, and one most kids look forward to the most. The only thing my kid likes better than eating dessert is eating a dessert he made himself. This recipe is definitely easy enough for any kid to do with just a little help. There are no raw eggs to make little bakers sick if they sneak a lick off the spoon, and the finished cake is quite tasty enough for any party.
This would also be a great recipe for a cupcake making party. Make one batch ahead of time and let the kiddos make a batch together. While they are waiting for the batch they made to come out of the oven, let them decorate the ones you made in advance. The recipe comes together quickly so that they can have the fun of cooking with their friends without losing interest. Only two ingredients means less dishes and cleanup afterwards and more enjoying the party.
If you want to make this in advance of when you’ll be serving it, it’s perfectly ok to freeze the cake frosted or unfrosted. Just be sure to save any decorations like piped colored frosting, sprinkles, or other embellishments until the cake is fully defrosted. My cake decorating friends tell me that condensation during the defrost process or refrigeration can make colors run.