Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Apple Pie is the BEST pie.
Well...actually...my FAVORITE is Boysenberry Pie. And there was this one time, while visiting my Grandma Ewing in Washington, that I picked BOWLS of wild blackberries and she baked me TWO Blackberry Pies...which will live as one of the best days of my life in my memories FOREVER.
But Apple Pie is pretty much darn near the most perfect pie in existence. And much more easily attained than the two above mentioned variety's of pie...
I love apple pie, and wanted to share my very favorite, best EVER, Apple Pie recipe with you...
Now, you can make your own crust...and sometimes I do...but usually I just use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust. It is easy and comes out great. So, the choice is yours...
One pkg. Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust or enough pie dough to make a double-crust pie
8-10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 1/4-inch or so)
1-2 TBS lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 TBS butter (chopped into chunks)
Additional cinnamon/sugar mix to sprinkle
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray your pie dish with Pam. Roll out half of pie crust and arrange it in pie pan, pressing gently to curves and walls of dish. Allow generous hang-over from edge of dish.
2. Toss apples into a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir until completely coated.
3. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie dish. Fill to HEAPING...apples should be spilling off. Try and get them all to stay put long enough for you to dot with butter and cover with second crust (which you may have to roll a bit thinner and wider to cover and overhang the apples.) If you can't fit all the apples in, that's okay...but make sure you get all the yummy cinnamon juice that has collected at the bottom of the bowl into your pie. If you have to, remove those excess apples and pour juice over what managed to stay put in pie. Pinch crusts together using thumb and fore and middle fingers to create "lace" at edge of pie. Trim excess, but save for later.
4. Cut vents in top of pie. Now...there are two ways you can glaze the crust...either using a WHOLE egg, or just the white. Depends on the look you're going for and the amount of golden-ness you want. So decide your look (I go back and forth...this year I used a whole egg), beat your egg in a cup, and with a pastry brush, GENEROUSLY glaze your top crust in an egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
5. If you desire...you can use extra pie crust to make leafy cut-outs to decorate the edge of your pie. OR...you can use those extras to individually wrap some of the apples that just WOULDN'T STAY PUT in your pie for mini tarts. My mom always had mini pie dishes and made jelly tarts with the extra dough for us to munch on while we waited for the Thanksgiving Feast. OR - just throw it away and say: "Hey...I made an apple pie today...and that was enough!".
6. Rip aluminum foil into strips and spray with Pam, and cover pie edges so they don't burn. Bake about 30 minutes, remove foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until top is golden (mine got a little dark on top because I got distracted with laundry...but it is still gorgeous).
7. Cool on a wire rack and serve with ice cream. YUM!!!
(It is normal for pie to "fall" a bit as it cools...DO NOT FREAK OUT!!)
There are two things that I love MOST OF ALL for Thanksgiving, and they are Stuffing and Apple Pie.
This year, we went to friends for Thanksgiving dinner, and my friend asked me to bring my favorite thing...so I brought....STUFFING AND APPLE PIE.
Seriously...I was that predictable.
So I thought I'd share these amazing recipes with you...and you can try them out and see if they aren't just the best dad gum Stuffing and Apple Pie recipes out there!!!
I ALWAYS make a double batch of this...because I want to eat for 3 solid square meals for AT LEAST two days after Thanksgiving...so double if you're like me or are expecting a lot of holiday guests...
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Cubed and Seasoned Stuffing (in a bag with red title)
a good cup and a half of chopped celery
a good cup and a half of chopped onion
Chicken broth (however many cups it says to have on the back of the bag of stuffing...I think 3)
1 STICK of butter (get the good salted sweet cream stuff)
a cup of whole button mushrooms, drained (about two jars worth)
One pound ground sausage (I usually go for the maple flavored)
3 Granny Smith or Liberty apples, peeled, cored, and diced (optional)
1. You're pretty much preparing the stuffing according to package directions, with a few minor adjustments. You're adding MORE celery and onion than called for, for example...so get that all chopped up...
3. When onion and celery are soft, add mushrooms and heat through.
4. Add sausage and remove from heat, stirring to combine flavors.
5. Heat your chicken broth to boiling, remove from heat and add bag of stuffing AND onion/celery/sausage/mushroom/possibly apple mixture. Stir/Fluff gently until moist.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
On a side note: This is NOT my hubbys favorite dish. He calls it "chick food". So that means more for me...and the kids...
On a sider note: This can be a side dish OR an entree...it depends on how you serve it. Tonight it was our entree, served with a spinach salad and a hearty shepherds bread. But I've served it both ways...
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Aren't they pretty? They're yummy, too...and an original way to serve pumpkin...enjoy!!!
courtesy Shannan Johnson
Monday, November 2, 2009
We serve this with freezer garlic bread, and a nice romaine salad with red, orange, and yellow peppers. Go ahead and double if you're feeding more than 4...
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yummy, yummy, yummy...warm food in my tummy...
I made ratatouille tonight...but a simpler version than the Thomas Keller recipe I posted earlier. I thought perhaps that some people might be a little...intimidated...by copying a famous chef's recipe (although it is PAINFULLY simple)...so I am making a simpler version with a happy autumn name.
Don't bother doubling...just serve with French bread. It is VERY hearty. Enjoy!!
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TBS oil
1 medium unpeeled eggplant, cubed
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1/2 of a medium red pepper, chopped
1/2 of a medium yellow pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (I always add more)
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, drained, cut up
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomato salad dressing
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook onion in hot oil in a large skillet on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add eggplant, cook and stir 5 minutes. Add zucchini, peppers, and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, dressing, thyme, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
courtesy Kraft foods
It's because I am just as busy as a slightly unbalanced bumble bee. See...on Tuesday, I had a Girl Scout Halloween Party at my house, and I spent all day cleaning and running errands. And then at the party...we made caramel apples, and there was caramel EVERYWHERE!! Then we played games like the one where you eat the donut off the string without your hands. And all those crumbs, combined with more crumbs and sugar from various other cupcakes, cookies, and candies all stuck to the caramel...and...well, you get the picture. Walking across my floor was like crossing a sticky mine field.
So I had to get up super early to clean AGAIN, and then bake because I had a recipe group to attend. The theme was "Autumn", and I wanted to make my Pumpkin Tea Bread and Apple Cider Punch, since I'm not using either recipe for November's Iron Chef competition.
Anyway - of COURSE I ran out of time, and had to be all crazy...and that is why, my friends, I know hold the title for taking the crappiest food blogging photo ever...which is really saying something if you look through this blog and see how crappy most of my other pictures are...
You need to forgive the yellow tint to most of the photos...it was around 5:30am, and the fluorescent lights in my kitchen are not attractive lighting.
Pumpkin Tea Bread
this is a recipe from the Fraley Family archives
2/3 cup shortening
2-2/3 cup sugar
1 pound can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3-1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour bundt pan.
2. Mix shortening and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add all liquid ingredients - mix until blended. Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Have you noticed how expensive bell peppers are lately? Am I the only one to notice? Did they just suddenly leap in price, or was it a gradual ascent that I didn't notice until it was so high I had to say: "DAMN!! Those there are some expensive peppers!"
I don't know the answer, but I do know that when my local grocery store had peppers on sale for .99 a pound, I had to buy 'em (we'll discuss the fact that .99 a pound is a sale price at a latter date...when my heart stops palpitating at the sight of an empty bank account).
One of my FAVORITE autumn/winter recipes is Skillet Stuffed Peppers. I don't really know why...they are not especially autumn or fall dishes...that's just when I like to cook them.
This recipe is really easy...it uses copious amounts of A-1 sauce, which my children love. I always double the filling, because my kids are less for the peppers and more for the meat/rice mixture. I also only cook 4 peppers, instead of the recommended 6, because my kids can't eat a whole pepper (although they eat TWICE the suggested meat/rice filling)...so I cut the peppers in half and give them extra insides. And you steam buttered carrots right along with the peppers, which are a huge hit for veggie choices at my house...so this is an all-around family friendly recipe.
We served it with those pop-from-a-can Pillsbury biscuts...so very gourmet!!
Skillet Stuffed Peppers
1/2 cup cooked rice
3/4 lb ground beef
1/4 minced fresh onion
3 TBS A-1 sauce (I use more...but it's a personal preference thing)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
6 large green peppers
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (or you can use the pre-peeled, ready-to-eat baby carrots like I do)
3 TBS butter
1/2 cup water
1. While rice is cooking, in medium skillet brown beef until crumbly (I add extra several dashes of A-1 to cook into the meat...we like it a bit spicy). Add onion. Cook until onion is soft. Remove from heat. Mix in A-1, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, corn, and rice.
Monday, October 12, 2009
The winning submission into our Iron Chef challenge was Tina Fabiano's Capellini Caprese. My favorite part about this dish was the addition of capers. It REALLY made a difference...
or, as Tina calls it..."Fresh Tomato Sauce"
2 Ibs Roma tomatoes dice
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic not heads chopped
Basil as many as you like chopped
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 to 2 Tbsp Capers
1. Heat oil in pan, add garlic and stir until lightly brown. Add tomatoes and let it simmer.
2. Add basil, salt, pepper and capers and let it simmer again for 5 minutes.
3. Serve over pasta. I prefer Angel Hair pasta. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.
You can also serve over chicken, meatballs or fish.
So easy and simple...but what a culinary delight!! Yummy, Yummy, Yum. Congratulations, Tina!!
courtesy Tina Fabiano
Crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
1-1/2 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded (or two cans canned chicken)
15 oz. whole tomatoes
10 oz. enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz. chopped green chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
14-1/2 oz. fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 whole bay leaf
6 whole corn tortillas
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS chopped cilantro
optional: 1 can of whole kernel corn, 1-1/2 cups of cooked white rice
optional additional garnish: shredded pepper-jack cheese, torn fresh cilantro
1. In a Crock pot, combine chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies, and garlic. Add water, broth, and seasonings. Add can of corn, if using. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil; cut into 2-1/2 by 1/2-inch strips. Place on baking sheet and bake 5-10 minutes until crisp, turning occasionally.
3. Prepare rice separately and add to soup just before serving...heat through.
4. Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with tortilla strips, cilantro, and cheese.
courtesy Melodee Cooper
So, a couple weeks ago, three of my girlfriends and myself were lounging around a pool...
...isn't that a GREAT way to start a story?
Don't you wish you were lounging around a pool?
I suppose I shouldn't admit that that was our occupation for the day..."pool loungers".
After all...I work very hard to dispel the "housewife" myth of lazy ladies who hang out in yoga pants all day and play on Facebook and have housekeepers and nanny's that do any actual "housewife" stuff. That's why I prefer terms like "homemaker"...or better yet..."domestic goddess"...
...of course, there isn't another activity that is more "goddess-like" than lounging around a pool with your girlfriends, sipping lemonade and eating fresh-cut fruit...
ANYWAY...we were lounging and chatting and LAUGHING (which is my favorite part)...and talking about how we needed more stuff to do (yah right)...and we came up with this GREAT idea to host our own Iron Chef competition...
...we'd invite a few other choice ladies and have a monthly mini cook-off on the second Monday of every month, and choose a secret ingredient to "star" ...something easy and accessible to make great...
So today was our FIRST EVER Iron Chef Miami competition...and the secret ingredient was "tomatoes". We had GREAT entries...and after tasting some delicious entries, we voted, and crowned Tina Fabiano as our Iron Chef for October!! She won with her Capellini Caprese!! It was AWESOME!!
This is Crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup by Melodee Cooper. We topped it with tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, and pepper jack cheese. Best of all...it was a Weight Watchers recipe!!
This is Tina Fabiano's WINNING entry, Capellini Caprese. She puts capers in it...which makes it amazing.
Heidi Tyler made Fresh Herb-Tomato Crostini. So good...I ate four...
This is my entry...Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons...which I got from a recipe I found in Family Fun magazine a few months ago. It is WAY delish!!
We had a GREAT time...we tried everyone's dish and graded on presentation, originality, and taste. Then we tallied the points and named an Iron Chef!!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Fresh Watermelon Spring Salsa
1-1/2 ups chopped watermelon
1 cup chopped PEELED cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 TBS chopped cilantro (I LOVE smelling cilantro...)
2 TBS Zesty Italian dressing
2 tsp minced serrano chile (I used jalapenos...cause I'm a big fan of using what you got instead of making special trips to the store...but no matter what chile...USE GLOVES or WASH YOUR HANDS...or suffer the consequences)
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Mix all ingredients until well-blended.
2. Serve spooned over cooked fish.
Please forgive the paper plates...I'm still in the process of moving...
courtesy Kraft foods