Thursday, November 25, 2010

Deep Dish Apple Pie

When I saw Grandma Ople's apple pie on Allrecipes had over 4,000 ratings, I knew it was a keeper. Here is the recipe with modifications. You can't go wrong with this one!

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6-8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced (I also like macintosh)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Place the bottom crust in your pan. Mix apples with 2/3 of cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour apples into pie crust, piled high.
Cover with a lattice work of crust. I roll mine out into a rectangle and cut with a pizza roller, pretty simple! Gently pour the remaining sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft

*I pre-bake my crust at 425 for 8 minutes before I add my apples so that it doesn't get soggy, you could brush it with egg whites instead.
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Best Ever Whole Wheat Rolls!

Rolls are my favorite thing to make (and eat!) I have been making bread & rolls since I was a kid and I can pretty much guarantee you'll never find a better recipe. Below is whole wheat roll recipe.

My favorite white roll recipe is here and it is to die for. Potato flakes are optional on the white roll recipe but mandatory on the whole wheat- it really does make a difference.

Whole Wheat Rolls

4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or melted butter)
2/3 cup potato water (water used to boil potatoes) *optional
2 tablespoons dough enhancer (optional but it does make them lighter)
5 1/2 to 6 cups freshly ground white whole wheat

Combine yeast, water and honey, cover until foamy. Mix potato flakes with water and stir until dissolved (it should be watery). Add olive oil (or butter), salt and one cup of flour, mix. Add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and soft dough forms. Knead 10 minutes. Cover and let rise 1 hour until double in size. Form into balls, cover and let rise until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Print Friendly and PDF

Pumpkin Pie with crumb topping

Read my post here on how to cook a pumpkin- seriously it only takes 10 minutes in the microwave and I promise fresh tastes SO much better than canned! I have never liked pumpkin pie until a few years ago when I learned how to make it with fresh pumpkin. It makes all the difference.

I won't say this is the best recipe because I have not liked pumpkin pie long enough to try many recipes, but I will say I like it, and that's saying a lot.

1 small pumpkin (2-3 cups once it's cooked and mashed)
1 can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 9" unbaked pie shell see here for recipe

Crumb Topping
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook pumpkin in microwave for 10 minutes. Scoop out flesh and all pie ingredients into a blender. Mix until smooth. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts.  Sprinkle topping over pie. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until set.  
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Lemon Meringue Pie

It's just not Thanksgiving without a piece of lemon meringe pie! 

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 lemons, juiced & zested (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten

1 9" pie crust baked

4 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350. To make lemon filling, mix sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter.

Mix about 1/2 cup of hot mixture into the egg yolks, beat and stir back into saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until thick (about a minute). Be sure to continue to stir or the sugar will burn on the bottom of the pan.  Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

In large glass or copper bowl whip egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over warm pie, sealing the edges at the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool completely.
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Pecan Pie- no corn syrup!

I have always loved pecan pie but the sweetness almost made me sick. I've since discovered pecan pie without corn syrup is so much better and is still sweet but not over the top. Allrecipes has the best pie recipes and this one is pretty good and about the easiest pie you could make.

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400. In medium bowl beat eggs, sugar, butter and flour until well mixed. Stir in milk, vanilla and nuts. Pour into unbaked 9" pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes or just until top starts to crack. Cool and serve! Print Friendly and PDF

All Butter Pie Crust

Pies are one thing I will not eat from the store. They just can't even compare to homemade, especially the crust. Homemade pie crust is so simple to make and tastes so much better. This recipe is for a 2-crust pie, if you're only making one you can half it, or if you're making more double it- I doubled mine and made 4 pies plus a lattice top and still had enough left over for mini pies or another lattice top.

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 cubes)
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Mix flour and salt. Work in crisco with a pastry blender (or mix in a food processor) until resembles fine crumbs. Slowly add water in, mixing until mixture starts to stick together. Then you need to mix with your hands. It's just like making tortillas, you can feel when it's done- you do not want it to be too wet- it should be soft, not sticky. Just keep kneading and adding water until the dough is soft, do not over-knead.

Sprinkle some flour and roll dough out. I love my marble rolling pin for starting the crust, but the pizza roller works best for forming into a perfect circle. Make the crust 3 or more inches larger than your pie plate. I roll on a pastry sheet and then simply invert over the pie pan. Trim the crust 1/4 inch if you're doing a pinched crust or trim along the pan line if you're doing a simple pressed fork crust. This website has some great tips: 

Pie crust is really so simple, if you tear it or are short on one end, simply roll another small piece and push it on top and smooth it in, you really can't mess this up! If you need to bake crust without filling, prick with fork all around crust then bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

New World Chili

To go along with my post on pumpkins- here's a yummy fall recipe to try. I've made it several times before but forgot how easy it really was to make. I whipped it up in less than 30 minutes and that includes the cooking of the pumpkin. Like all soups/chili's you can mix up the beans and veggies any way you like and it's so easy to shrink or expand the batch. If you follow my version of this recipe it makes a big batch enough for 2 meals (unless you have a really big family!) I like to freeze half and save for another day when I'm too busy to make dinner.

3 cans diced tomatoes (14.5oz)
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 8oz can tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, cooked, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 onion chopped
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup dried cranberries
1 can green chilies (I didn't have any and it still tasted great)
1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin (or to taste)
2 cloves garlic
4oz monterey jack cheese, shredded

Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds and place cut side down on microwave safe dish. Cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in large stockpot add all remaining ingredients except cheese, and cook until heated through, 15-20 minutes. Peel skin off pumpkin and chop into cubes. Stir into chili mixture. Top each serving with cheese.

*original recipe stirred in 2 cups shredded fresh spinach, I have not tried this but bet it would be yummy
*original recipe includes chicken breast, I went meatless, but think shredded chicken or turkey would be a great addition Print Friendly and PDF

How to cook pumpkin or butternut squash

I'm posting this information because I used to be intimidated by real pumpkins but have learned how easy it really is. And since it's the time of year, I'll be posting several recipes with pumpkin. I highly recommend using fresh, it tastes sooo much better. Also, butternut squash is an excellent substitute for pumpkin, in fact I think it makes better pumpkin pie than pumpkin. So you can exchange butternut squash for pumpkin and vice versa.

To cook either of these, simply cut off the stem, cut in half, remove all the seeds, place cut side down on a microwave safe pan (the pampered chef small bar pan works perfect for this) and microwave on high for 10 minutes (if you're using a large pumpkin you'll need to increase the time- you can usually tell because the top will start to cave in and the flesh will be soft). That's it! Let cool a bit then scrape out the flesh, mash or puree and use in your favorite recipe. I prefer a bit of texture in mine just because it feels homemade. You can also scoop into freezer bags and freeze, makes it easy to pull out and make yummy recipes like these pumpkin muffins.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

This is one of my all time favorites. It's super easy to make and so yum. This recipe fills two store-bought graham cracker crusts so is also a perfect no-bake pie to give away. It also freezes really well.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crusts
Semi-sweet chocolate for topping

Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into two 9 inch graham cracker pie crusts.

Melt chocolate chips in microwavable bowl just until melted, stirring occasionally. With a spatula or spoon drizzle chocolate over the top of pie.

Cover and refrigerate (you can also freeze if you don't want to wait as long) until firm. Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Have I mentioned that I love black beans??? This soup is yum. Doesn't look too appetizing, but it really is good. And can't get much easier.

1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oil
2 cans black beans
1 tablespoon cumin (to taste)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oil in large pan, cook onions and garlic until golden. Add black beans and mash with potato masher or food chopper (I mash mine right in the pan). If you prefer a smoother soup, use a blender, I just prefer chunky soup. Stir in cumin, chicken broth and salsa and cook until heated through. Stir in sour cream. Garnish with sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, and cilantro.
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