November 28, 2008
I’m back and just in time for a Thanksgiving post. This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and let me tell you, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to host turkey day at our house, but we normally go to my in-law’s. But this year, they were out of town and we weren’t able to go to my parents’ so they decided to come here. So my first Thanksgiving was a small one; just me, my husband, and my parents.
My family likes pretty traditional foods for Thanksgiving so I decided I’d play it safe and just make everyone’s favorite foods so there would be no misses. After browsing through lots of recipes I finally settled on the ones I would use. After a lengthy (and expensive) trip to the grocery store I was finally ready to get started. Thankfully, I got off work early on Wednesday so I could get a head start on the prep work. My parents came in Wednesday night so my mom helped me a lot on the actual day. And the verdict? Everything turned out great! But if I learned one thing from hosting my first Thanksgiving it would be that it’s a lot of work! I am so much more appreciative of my great-grandmothers, grandmother, my mom and mother-in-law who have planned and hosted Thanksgiving for many more people than I did for many years now. I would love to host again, but I think I might have to go into training beforehand next time. ; )
On the menu this year:
Garlic and Citrus Brined Turkey
For the brine
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 gallon water
For the turkey
1 8-10 lb turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Place the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag. Pour the brining solution over the turkey. Add the sliced oranges, lemons, garlic and bay leaves to the brine solution. Refrigerate over night or place in a cooler with ice. Before cooking the turkey, rinse it well inside and out and pat dry with papertowels. Rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook as desired.
And yes, that is canned cranberry sauce…the only kind my family and I like!
2 cups prepared cornbread, crumbled
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
8-10 crumbled crackers (saltine or club will work)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
chicken broth (about 3-4 cups, enough to make the bread mixture moist)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin my sauteing the onions and celery in a little olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cornbread, stuffing mix, celery, onion, butter, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. It will be just slightly soupy but the bread will absorb the liquid. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake 35-40 min.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law’s recipe)
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked until tender (should be easy to mash) about 4 med potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.
For the topping:
1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup flour
Mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over casserole. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. The top should be bubbly and have a golden crust.
Jiffy Apple Pie
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place chopped apples in an 8×8 baking dish. In a bowl, mix dry cake mix, cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Slice the stick of butter into thin slices and place all over the top of the cake mixture. Bake for 35 min or until the top is golden and bubbly.
This apple pie is obviously not a traditional apple pie. It’s best served warm as a dessert topping for vanilla ice cream. Yum!
- 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
- Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
- **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
- RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
- NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.
- High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
My only complaint from the whole Thanksgiving dinner was that my pecan pie didn’t set. It’s the first one I’ve ever made and I followed the directions exactly, and it just didn’t set in the middle. I’m not sure why, but I’ll definitely be making another one in the future and hopefully will have better luck with that one.
Along with this we also had green beans and rolls.
September 28, 2008
Does anything say Fall better than apple pie? I don’t think so. That’s why I decided to make one to take to my in-law’s last night for dessert. My sister-in-law, her husband, and their kids came up for the Auburn/Tennessee game (Go Auburn!) this weekend and we were invited for dinner yesterday after the game. Knowing that our nieces would be there I wanted to take something that everyone could eat for dessert. I figured no one could say no to apple pie and vanilla ice cream. But just in case I took these blondies, too.
I had never made a from scratch apple pie before. Normally I cheat and use a refrigerated pie crust but I thought it would be more special if I put in the extra effort and made the dough myself. When searching for a recipe I came across this one on Annie’s blog. After talking to her and finding out it is her “go to” apple pie recipe, I figured it had to be awesome! It really wasn’t that difficult to make the dough. In fact I made this pie and the blondies after work on Friday and it only took a couple hours start to finish for both. I didn’t have the patience that night to make a lattice top but maybe I’ll try that next time. Everyone loved the pie and blondies. No one could choose just one and had to sample both!
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and diced
5-6 Tbs. cold water
For the filling:
2 lbs. peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
¾ tsp. apple pie spice
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb-like. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With a fork, toss gently to mix and moisten it. Press the dough into a ball. If it is too dry to form a dough, add the remaining water. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling, add the apple slices to a mixing bowl. Add flour, sugar and apple pie spice and toss to coat evenly.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit if necessary. Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to keep the dough as round as possible. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out the pastry for the top crust and cut it into strips about 1/2 inch wide; set aside. Put in the filling and smooth so the top is level.
To create the woven lattice top, use the longer pastry strips near the center of the pie and the shorter ones near the edges. Cross the two longest strips over the center of the filled pie. Place a second long strip over the top cross strip. Fold back every other strip onto itself and lay a cross strip in place, then return folded-back strips to their original position. Continue weaving in this fashion, working from the center of the pie toward the edges. Trim and flute the edges decoratively with your thumb. Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender. Cool on a rack. Serves 8.
* I brushed an egg wash on top of the crust and sprinkled with a little extra sugar before baking
August 13, 2008
I have been in such a slump this past week. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or what but food just hasn’t been that appealing to me. Luckily, my husband is perfectly ok with eating cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. But I on the other hand, can only handle that for so long. So I started checking my google reader and the wheels started turning with ideas. And after not cooking dinner all week, what did I decide to make last night? Well, pie. Don’t worry, I did get dinner ideas for next week. ; )
I have had such a craving for blueberry pie ever since Summer began, but I still hadn’t gotten around to making it. This is another thing my weirdo husband won’t eat. It’s a texture thing he says. So I was really putting off making a whole pie just for me, but then I got the idea to make little individual pies. Now believe it or not I have never, ever made pie dough. So I set out looking for an easy recipe. I found this dough recipe on Annie’s blog and let me tell you, it’s great! It came together so easy and like most things I’ve never made before, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I decided to use both cherries and blueberries for my pies because I only had a little bit of each in the fridge. And not only did I learn to make pie dough last night, but I learned that I must acquire a cherry pitter. Oy! My fingers looked like evidence for a crime scene once I was done pitting those darn cherries! But in the end, it was all worth it. Both the cherry and blueberry pies were terrific!
Berry or Cherry Pies
Makes 6 individual pies
3 cups berries or cherries (I used 1 1/2 cups bing cherries (pitted) and 1 1/2 cups blueberries)
1/2 cup sugar (divided if doing two kinds of pie)
3 tsp flour (divided if doing two kinds of pie)
pie dough (recipe follows)
Place berries (or cherries) into a bowl. Add the sugar and flour and toss to coat the berries.
*The flour will help the berry juices to thicken as the pie cooks
For the dough:
*I doubled this recipe and had a little leftover. I froze it to use later.
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. very cold water
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie.
To make a lattice top: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat one half into a round, flat disk. Roll out the disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into thin strips to weave a lattice top.
*Tip: Be sure your work surface is well floured when rolling out the dough. If you have trouble rolling the dough out for a second time, put it in the fridge for about 15 min to chill and try again.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the dough is rolled out, use a glass, ramekin, or biscuit cutter to cut 6 circles. Place the circles of dough in the bottom of the ramekins and press up the sides just a little. It does not matter if it reaches all the way up the side of the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Form the remaining dough back into a ball and roll it out again. Again, cut 6 circles. Place 1/2 cup of the berries (or cherries) into each ramekin and then place the circles of dough over the top of them. Make two or three slits in the dough. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the berry juices are bubbling and the dough is golden brown. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes before serving.
Source for Basic Pie Dough recipe: Williams-Sonoma
April 11, 2008
This has got to be one of the easiest desserts ever. I got it from a co-worker at least 5-6 years ago and always make it when I’m in need of a quick but tasty dessert. I’m not the biggest fan of really tart lemon pie so this one is perfect for me. Everyone always loves it and asks for the recipe. They are always surprised to hear how simple it is. I made this Wednesday night to have for dessert last night while my in-laws were over.
The Easiest Lemon Pie Ever (that’s my name for it) : )
1 graham cracker pie shell
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
16 oz whipped topping, divided
Combine 8 oz whipped topping, condensed milk, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then top with remaining whipped topping(I skipped this part since I only have 8 oz whipped topping). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
January 2, 2008
Happy 2008 to everyone! What better way to start off blogging in the new year than with a really decadent and high calorie dessert. This might be my last truly fattening dessert for a while because like so many others, I’m “trying” to be healthier in the new year. We’ll see how that goes but for now that’s the intention. So anyway, I made this really delicious pie for dessert on New Year’s Eve. My great aunt made it for Christmas dinner and it was so good I just had to get the recipe from her. It’s really yummy to be so simple.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 8 oz container whipped topping
1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 graham cracker pie shell
Begin by removing the paper wrapper from the can of condensed milk. Place the unopened can on its side in a large pot of water, making sure the can is completely covered with water. Boil for 4 hours, rolling the can around every so often in the pot. (Be sure the can stays covered with water the entire time. You may need to add more water to the pot as some evaporates from boiling.) Remove the can from the pot and set on the counter to cool for several hours or over night. DO NOT refrigerate. When you open the can, the milk should be thick and the color of caramel. In a mixing bowl, combine the “caramel” with room temperature cream cheese and 1/4 cup of pecans. Pour into the pie shell. Top with whipped topping and remaining chopped nuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*This would be great with a layer of chocolate in the bottom of the pie crust or with mini chocolate chips added into the filling.
Source: My aunt Gail
July 16, 2007
Here’s another recipe I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time now. I found it a while back online and thought it would be a perfect summer dessert. It requires almost no baking, which is great on these hot summer days in Alabama. Actually in my case, it did require no baking since I used a store bought pie crust. I highly recommend this recipe for an easy and cool summertime dessert.
Frozen Key Lime Pie
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
(I used store bought pie crust)
For the filling:
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
For the decoration:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Thin lime wedges
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.