Homemade Condiments Cookbook, Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells, and Caramel Mock Apple Bites

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month I made 2 secret recipes: Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells and Caramel Mock Apple Bites.

 Caramel Mock Apple Bites

This month I was assigned Blueberries and Blessings which is authored by Pam. So what have I taken away from Pam’s blog after visiting an uncountable amount of pages? Don’t take life to seriously and enjoy every minute. Learn what matters and forget the rest, like the dishes lol. Pam’s life is crazy busy with a happy happy home which includes her hubby, her son and a menagerie of animals. Oh and she LOVES NASCAR.

I have also taken away from her blog a long list of to-do recipes. And I think it is a first that I prepared 2 recipes, not just one, from an SRC assignement. I made the Caramel Mock Apple Bites and the Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells. Besides the fact that these recipes are delicious yet simple to make, they both contained in the list of ingredients two condiments I made from scratch from the Homemade Condiments book : gorgeous Caramel Sauce and a creamy Mayonnaise.

I really liked the idea of the Caramel Mock Apple Bites. I do like the occasional caramel apple but it is often too much for me to finish in one setting. This smaller version with grapes was to adorable and a lot less guilt free. All I did was cook a bit of my caramel a tad longer so it would have candy consistency.

Caramel Mock Apple Bites
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  • lb grapes, washed and patted dry, and at room temperature
  • homemade caramel
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts
  • toothpicks


  1. Place a toothpick at the top of each grape.
  2. Place caramel in a pan and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
  3. Dip each grape into the caramel once, let cool a bit. Dip again into the caramel then roll in the chopped nuts. Place upright on wax paper or parchment paper and refrigerate till caramel has hardened.

I am not sure if I have ever prepared a dish with pasta shelles myself. They are a childhood memory treat. But I could not pas supt the chance of trying the Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells which are oven backed in a delicious sauce with Cajun seasonings…from the can I just bough on my recent trip to Louisiana. And of course the chicken is mixed with a luscious homemade mayonnaise.

mayonnaise 3

Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells
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  • 1 box large pasta shells
  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/2 of a small onion, minced
  • 4 tbsp homemade mayonnaise
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese


  1. In a bowl combine chicken, onions and homemade mayonnaise together and set aside.
  2. Cook shells in boiling water, according to package directions, and drain well.
  3. Stuff each shell with chicken and place in one layer in a oven dish.
  4. In a saucepan mix broth, corn starch and seasoning. Bring to a boil until thickened.
  5. Pour sauce over shells and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F or until cheese is browned.

Now let me introduce you to the Homemade Condiments: Artisan Recipes Using Fresh, Natural Ingredients cookbook by Jessica Harlan. Discover the benefits of making your own fresh, healthy, all-natural condiments, sauces and dressings, free of the preservatives and artificial colors and flavorings found in the store-bought versions. For the tastiest, home-cooked meals, you need amazing condiments.

Homemade Condiments shows offers classic and gourmet twists on your favorites, including: Smoked Tomato Ketchup, Whiskey-Spiked Barbecue Sauce, Grainy Porter Mustard, Roasted Red Pepper Aioli, Sweet Pickle Relish, Rooster-Style Sauce, Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, Blue Cheese Dressing, Sweet Chili Sauce, and Hot Fudge Sauce. *** Recipes reprinted with permission from publisher.


Don’t be afraid of making real, honest-to-goodness Caramel Sauce. The process of caramelizing sugar can be daunting, but the result is well worth the effort! An uncoated stainless steel saucepan is preferable, as the dark finish of a nonstick pan makes it difficult to watch the color of the sugar as it caramelizes. Best of all is a saucier pan — the sloped sides allow for even cooking and stirring. Caramel can go quickly from perfect to burnt, so keep a close eye on the pan.

caramel 3

Serves Makes about 14 ounces

Caramel Sauce
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  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-low heat. Heat the mixture until the sugar melts. Reduce the heat to low so that it’s just barely simmering and watch closely, but don’t stir. The mixture will take about 15 to 20 minutes to turn amber brown.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat or in the microwave. When the sugar mixture is amber brown, remove it from the heat and add the cream and butter, stirring constantly until the mixture is syrupy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract and season to taste with the salt. The caramel sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Mayonnaise is easy to make from scratch, and it has a creamier, more complex flavor than the store-bought version. The disadvantage is that it does not keep as long as commercially prepared mayonnaise. A batch of homemade mayo should be used within a few days. If you don’t think you can use up the entire amount within a few days, the recipe is easy to cut in half.

mayonnaise 1

Yields Makes 8 to 10 ounces

Basic Mayonnaise: Food Processor Method
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  • 2 pasteurized egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 cup vegetable or corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the egg yolks, vinegar, water, and mustard. Turn the food processor on and pulse to combine.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil, a few drops at a time, through the feed tube. Eventually the mixture will begin to thicken. Continue to slowly drizzle in the oil until you’ve achieved a thick, creamy consistency (you may not need all of the oil).
  3. Add the salt and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Stir in more salt and lemon juice to taste, if desired.

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Did you make one of my recipes? I would love to see it. Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @cultureatz.

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