Apple Cream Pie

For years now, every Sunday I look forward to checking out http://www.postsecret.com to view secrets people mailed in. I don’t recall how I first learned about it, but without fail, there are always secrets that are relatable, intriguing, interesting, & heartbreaking. It was about a year ago I took a screenshot of the secret posted below. To honor this person’s grandma & for the love of sharing good food & recipes, enjoy!

Notes: I used apples recently picked from a local orchard. In the future, I might simply slice the apples instead of grating them. I will also likely reduce the sugar to 1 cup because served a la mode, it was a bit sweet.

Posted in Desserts, Pie | Leave a comment

Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette

I knew as soon as I saw this recipe I would like it. My intuition was not wrong as I’ve enjoyed this salad repeatedly over the last week.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

Pears, ripe, but firm

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Lettuce (I used Spring Mix)

Walnuts

Crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese (I used blue)

For the vinaigrette:

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp walnuts

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup walnut oil

S & P to taste

1 1-2 tbsp sugar

Instructions:

To make the dressing put the mustard, walnuts, white wine vinegar, & sugar into a food processor & process for a minute. Add in the oil & process until you’ve reached a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with S&P to taste.

Slice the pears, about a 1/4 inch & sprinkle with lemon juice on both sides to prevent browning.

To plates add lettuce, sprinkle with walnuts, cheese of your choice, slices of pears & drizzle with vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pear-salad-with-creamy-walnut-vinaigrette/

Notes: the original recipe does not list sugar for the dressing. When I first made the salad, I made it as instructed, but both my husband & I both thought it needed just a bit of sugar so I adjusted as listed.

Also, if you slice the pears just prior to serving & eating, you can safely omit the lemon juice to prevent the pears from browning.

Posted in Salads | 1 Comment

Starbucks Copycat Banana Bread

Once upon a time, maybe 10 years or more, while at Starbucks not only did I get my drink, but they also had a recipe for their banana bread. I have no idea what happened to that recipe, so when I saw this, I tucked it away for safe keeping.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 1/8 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp buttermilk (or milk, sour cream, or Greek yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 very ripened bananas, mashed

1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using either nonstick spray, parchment paper, and/ or both, prepare 8×5 loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon until combined.

In another bowl whisk together oil, egg, sugar, & vanilla extract until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & mix well. Mixture will be thick. Add in the mashed bananas & buttermilk & mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in half of the walnuts into batter.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining walnuts evenly on top of batter. Place on center rack & back for 60-75 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Notes: I like walnuts studded throughout the bread, not only on top. If you prefer only on top, simply use a 1/2 cup. And, of course, if you’re not a fan of nuts, feel free to omit them altogether.

Adapted slightly from: https://butteryourbiscuit.com/starbucks-copycat-banana-bread/

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Pasta with Italian Sausage & Broccoli

Sometimes it’s a gamble trying out a new recipe & sometimes it’s a success. Happy to report, the above was a success & what I tried most recently was not; therefore, will be omitted from this site. 😃

Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli trimmed & cut into florets

16 oz pasta (I used shells)

4 tbsp, olive oil, divided, more as needed

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 lb Italian sausage (I used 1 lb hot & 1 lb mild)

3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, more for topping

1 1/2 cups pasta water reserved, divided

Salt & freshly cracked pepper

Red pepper flakes, as desired

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add 2 tbsp of salt. Add broccoli florets to water & boil for 4 minutes. Without removing pot of water from heat, transfer broccoli to a colander, while leaving water in pot. Run cold water over broccoli to stop cooking. Drain well & cut into smaller pieces.

Add pasta to boiling water in pot & cook 1 minute shy of al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water before draining.

While pasta is boiling, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil & crumble Italian sausage until cooked completely. Add garlic in the last few minutes of browning the sausage.

Once sausage is cooked thoroughly, pour 1 cup of pasta water into the sausage & simmer for a minute & water has reduced. Incorporate al dente pasta in with the sausage & cook for 2 more minutes.

Drizzle in remaining 2 tbsps olive oil, sprinkle in crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Toss in broccoli, stirring lightly. Season with salt & freshly cracked pepper, per taste. Add in remaining 1/2 cup of pasta water, if needed. Drizzle more olive oil, if desired. Top servings with more grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: https://www.cookingclassy.com/orecchiette-with-sausage-broccoli-recipe/

Posted in Italian, Pasta | Leave a comment

Ice Cream Sandwiches

I was excited when I first came upon this recipe & knew in an instant I would try my hand at it. Ice cream sandwiches are synonymous with summer. I loved them as a kid & I love them as an adult. My family, skeptics as they are, were like, “It’s ice cream sandwiches, you can just buy those.”

My sequential thoughts unfolded like so: Pssh. Naysayers. Have I taught them nothing? Shouldn’t they know better by now? I’ll show them. Homemade is always better. (With the exception of brownies – Ghirardelli boxed brownies is where it’s at! I’ve yet to try a homemade brownie recipe that has swayed me. I’ve tried. Many times.)

Now after having made these twice this summer, my husband straight up told me, “These are so good. You should quit your job & make these all day.” I’ll take that as a victory. And, no, I’m still gainfully employed.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsps milk

1 egg white

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder (* see notes)

2 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream (or more if you like a thicker sandwich)

Preparation:

Make the cookie:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F & line a 9 x13 pan with parchment paper that extends up the two short sides of the pan. Coat the exposed sides with butter or nonstick spray.

If butter is not at room temperature, melt halfway & whisk until fully melted. Whisk in the sugar, salt, & milk. Whisk in the egg white & vanilla, ensuring the egg white is fully mixed in. Stir in the cocoa powder & baking powder; thoroughly mix. Lastly, add flour & stir until no white streaks are present.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan & spread into an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Dock all over with a skewer. Let cool completely or place in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove ice cream at the same time & allow to soften for these 15 minutes.

Assemble the sandwiches:

Once cold to the touch, run a knife around the pan & use the parchment paper to slide it out of the pan. Cut in half width wise. Return the parchment paper to the pan to help shape the sandwiches. Return the first cookie half back to the pan, placing upside down over the parchment paper, & press up against the edge. Scoop the ice cream & spread it evenly over. Press the second cookie half, right side up, onto the ice cream. Use the sides of the pan& parchment paper to help the ice cream keep its shape in the cookie & place the pan in the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of 5 hours, but preferably overnight.

Once ice cream is fully solid again, transfer to a cutting board, remove parchment paper, & cut into rectangles. Eat immediately or store in airtight container in freezer.

Notes:

Use 2 tbsps regular cocoa powder & 2 tbsps black cocoa powder, if you have it.

This recipe is easily doubled.

I’ve found it’s almost easier to spread the cookie mixture onto the parchment paper outside of the pan so I get more of a visual that it’s even. In the picture above, I doubled the recipe & spread the top layer in the pan & when I made the bottom layer, I spread it outside of the pan & then inserted it into the pan. The bottom layer was more even.

Source: https://smittenkitchen.com/2021/06/chocolate-ice-cream-sandwiches/

Posted in Desserts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped off at the store to buy some rolls for the French Dip sandwiches we were having for dinner that night. I was unsuccessful in finding what I wanted: not a hoagie, but something sturdier, with a good chewy crust to it; something that wouldn’t disintegrate once immersed into the au jus, but also not hard & laborious to eat. That’s when I came across the Ciabatta Rolls. They worked perfectly!

We had a few leftover which worked just as well for a quick, flavorful breakfast sandwich.

Ingredients:

Ciabatta rolls

Eggs

Oil

Butter

Fresh cracked S & P

Cooked bacon

Cheese slices

Preparation:

Over medium high heat, add just a bit, (2-3 tsps) of oil (I used avocado oil) to a small skillet, add egg(s), season with S & P and cook until desired doneness: cook less if you want your eggs to be more runny, or cook longer for a firmer, but still soft yolk.

Heat another pan also over medium high heat. While the eggs are cooking, pull apart the rolls & spread butter evenly on both sides, & grill until nice golden brown.

Heat up slices of already cooked bacon in the microwave for 45 – 60 seconds on defrost. Using defrost heats it without cooking it more & making it rubbery. If you don’t have cooked bacon at the ready, prepare your bacon first, allowing enough time for it to cook before cooking the eggs & grilling the bread. Or skip the bacon altogether, it’s good without it, but for the full effect, go for the bacon.

Assemble your sandwich. Top the bottom of each grilled roll with egg, bacon, & slice of cheese, per preference (I used Swiss), & top with upper grilled part of the roll. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast | 1 Comment

Georgia Peach Pound Cake

The best & truest time to use a fruit is when it’s in its seasonal prime. Depending on your region, now is the sweetest & ripest moment of the year to enjoy peaches alone, in baked goods, or both.

Behold peach pound cake. This proved to be a soft, not overly sweet, moist cake. Fresh peaches are one of my favorite fruits, but even those who aren’t crazy about peaches were surprised how much they enjoyed this cake.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 reserved

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (7 – 8 peaches), pitted, skins removed, & chopped

Preparation:

Peel, pit, & chop the peaches placing chopped peaches in a bowl. Sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of flour; stir & set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10” Bundt pan & sprinkle with granulated sugar.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

Sprinkle the baking powder & salt evenly over the batter. Stir to incorporate. Add 2 & 3/4 cups of flour & stir until no streaks of flour show. Fold the peaches into batter. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes before removing. Transfer cake to cooling rack to cool completely.

Source: A friend had shared this recipe on Facebook & I screenshot the recipe. Check out Everyday Eileen on Facebook or http://www.everydayeileen.com

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Chocolate Chip Mug Cookie

If you like chocolate chip cookies, chances are, in a pinch (aka craving), you’ve tried your hand at a mug cookie & found it utterly lackluster. While nothing beats a true batch of homemade cookies, sometimes I don’t want the temptation of a whole batch calling my name. Say no more to disappointing mug cookies, this one is a keeper.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 -2 pinches of salt

1 tbsp whisked egg

1/8 tsp of baking soda

1/3 cup flour

3 tbsp chocolate chips

Preparation:

Spray the inside of a large mug with nonstick spray. Heat the butter until softened; not fully melted, about 20 seconds. Stir in the sugars. Add the vanilla extract & salt. In a small dish, whisk the egg, measure out 1 tbsp of whisked egg & add to mixture; stir to combine. Sprinkle in baking soda & flour, blend until no more visible flour. Stir in 2 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips & sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.

Cooke for 1 minute in the microwave.

Enjoy!

Posted in Cookies, Desserts | Leave a comment

Chicken Parmesan

This is another one of those dishes where you don’t need precise amounts of seasoning. Instead, lead by your eyes & mostly your nose! You can also easily adjust the amount of ingredients based on how many people are eating and/ or how many leftovers you want.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 egg + 2 tbsp water, whisked

Fine bread crumbs

Italian seasoning

Garlic powder

S & P

Olive oil

Provolone/ Mozzarella cheese slices

Spaghetti

Marinara sauce

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Add S & P to both sides of chicken breasts; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the egg & water; set aside. In another bowl, combine together bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, & garlic powder.

Dip each salted & peppered chicken breast into the egg wash, letting the excess drip off, & then transfer to seasoned bread crumbs & coat well. Transfer to a plate or tray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook desired amount of spaghetti, per package instructions.

In a medium size saucepan, warm the marinara sauce.

Meanwhile, heat an electric skillet to medium – medium/ high heat. Add 1 – 2 tbsps olive oil. Once heated, transfer each prepped chicken breast to the skillet & cook 4-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked thoroughly & no longer pink when cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast.

Once the chicken is cooked, place a slice of provolone or mozzarella on each chicken breast. Drain the spaghetti. Add a serving of spaghetti to a plate, top with marinara, place chicken breast on top, add another spoonful of marinara sauce & top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Note: Once the bread crumb mixture is combined, you can use a bit at a time so that if you have leftover mixture, it’s not all contaminated because you’ve gotten egg mixture & raw chicken juices all over & you can save it for another time safely sealed & stored away in the pantry.

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Homemade Sloppy Joe’s

Do you ever only like something if made from a particular recipe? When it comes to certain food, that’s me, hands down. Sloppy Joe’s are a prime example. I have only ever liked my grandma’s recipe. My grandma was a farmer’s wife & her cooking was top notch. If she made something & it didn’t turn out as expected, she’d call it a flop while the rest of us gobbled it up. I was excited to learn my aunts had this recipe, like so many, they were lost when she passed.

Be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of sauce. A lot! Keep this in mind & adjust accordingly or do as I did, make the whole thing as is, use what you need, & freeze (or can) the rest knowing a huge potluck is in your future.

Ingredients:

14 lbs. of beefsteak tomatoes

1 lb. of celery

4 cups diced onions

3 green peppers

1/4 cup salt

1/2 tbsp ground cloves

2 tbsp ground mustard

2 sticks cinnamon

1 2 lb bag of brown sugar

1 quart apple cider vinegar

Yields: 18 cups

Preparation:

Chop the celery, onions, & green peppers; set aside in a large bowl.

Scald & peel tomatoes. Fill a large stock pot with water & heat until boiling. Make an x on the underside of each tomato, place several tomatoes in boiling water for 45-60 seconds, or until skin of tomatoes start to peel back. Remove from boiling water & transfer to an ice bath for a few minutes. Peel skin & quarter each tomato. When finished with all tomatoes, drain stock pot of water, reduce heat to medium-high & cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain any liquid. Add chopped vegetables & salt to pot, stir, reduce heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the brown sugar & apple cider vinegar. In the center of a cheesecloth or large tea towel, add the ground cloves, ground mustard, & cinnamon sticks. Tie up the cheesecloth/ tea towel & immerse into tomato mixture & simmer another 1 1/2 hours. Remove spices & freeze in 1 or 2 cup packages.

To make sloppy Joe’s, brown 1 or 2 lbs of hamburger meat. Drain grease & add 1 or 2 cups of sauce (1 cup per 1 lb of meat). Add 1-2 tbsp of mustard & ketchup, per liking.

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