Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bring on the COMFORT!

I am so stinking excited to share 2 recipes today! I made both of these last night for dinner, but wanted to make sure they were Franny worthy before posting. Not only are they worthy, but they will rock your dinner table.

I normally do not cook anything more difficult than a frozen pizza on Friday nights, but something got into me and I spent Friday morning cooking dinner. My kids LOVED both of these recipes and what a huge bonus with all the vegetables that got eaten too. Both of these recipes are super easy to put together, so run on out to the store, grab your buggy and fill it with the stuff for your next meal!

Chicken Pot Pie (Courtesy of fellow dance mom, Dawn)

1 refrigerated pie crust
3 boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can Veg-All
1 can peas
1 can diced potatoes
2 can Cream of Celery soup

Unroll one of the pie crusts into a deep dish 9 inch pie plate. Mix together chicken, Veg-All, peas, diced potatoes and both cans of soup. Pour into pie crust. Cover with other crust. make sure you cut slits in the top. Bake at 350-375 for 45 minutes.

Pot Pie notes: Use whatever canned veggies you have in your pantry. When I do this again, I will probably substitute carrots or butter beans for the can of potatoes. You can also use whatever "Cream of..." soup that you have or like.

Now for the best part....dessert! This apple pie recipe was in my November 2009 Southern Living. It was in an article that the magazine did on the Pioneer Woman. She has a great website chock full of amazing sounding recipes. I highly encourage you to check her out. As a bonus, she is funny too.

Scrumptious Apple Pie-Southern Living November 2009

7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup uncooked quick cooking oats
Refrigerated pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 and line a deep dish pie plate with pie crust.

Mix together apples, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend well. Pour mixture into crust.

Cut butter into remaining 1/2 cup flour with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in brown sugar, oats and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Top this mixture on the apples, pressing it in so that it adheres. Shield your crust edges with aluminum foil or those handy pie crust shields.

Place pie on foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, remove foil or crust shields from crust edges and cook an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let pie sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

Pie Notes:

To get 7 cups of sliced apples, I used about 6 whole apples. If cinnamon is not your thing, leave it out. The original recipe did not call for it, but that is how we like ours, so I added it in. If you do not have a pastry blender, GET ONE! It truly makes "cutting in the butter" so much faster. While you are buying the pastry blender also pick up pie crust shields. I do not have these, but believe me after hee-hawing around with strips of foil on the crust edge I will be sprint to the store today to purchase pie crust shields. Lastly, I cooked this pie in the morning and we did not eat it until 10:30 last night. I just warmed it up in a 300 degree oven.

I can't wait to hear what you think of these. They are definitely in the dinner rotation at my house now!

xoxox, mfjm

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Planning

So, it is Friday morning and I am savoring the Today Show with a cup of coffee from my super cool Kuerig machine and oh....a FRESH apple pie in the oven! Good Lord is smells great in my house. I bet you think that I am going to give you that recipe today, but I am not. Quite frankly I find Apple Pies so common. Don't get me wrong they are great, but I strive to be different....yeah big shock!

A couple years ago, I took over the dessert portion of Thanksgiving. Growing up I was never thrilled with what was offered and as I got older I really thought that it would be ok to branch out from the usual pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. Enter in Chocolate Bourbon Pie. Oh yeah, you read that correctly...chocolate and bourbon in the same pie!

This Brian's favorite thing I make all year. This recipe came from one of my most battered and "go to" cook books that I own....The Stuffed Cougar! This will mean nothing to most of you, but my Richmond peeps know, or should know this book very well.

Chocolate Bourbon Pie

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 TBLS bourbon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 9" unbaked pie shell

Beat eggs while gradually adding sugar. Add butter and bourbon, blend in cornstarch. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into shell and bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve slightly warm with fresh whipped cream.

You can make this ahead and freeze it. Many times I will give this for gifts at Christmas and I just make them when I have time and freeze them in gallon size ziploc bags.

A note about the bourbon....just buy the cheap stuff! I use Evan Williams. I also put more like 5 TBLS of bourbon in the pie. Also a comment on the pecans....PULVERIZE them. Chop them in a food processor until they look like small BB's.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2 for 2...I'm on a roll!

Can you believe it? I am already hitting you with a new recipe. I feel so proud.....obviously it doesn't take much.

Not much chatter today, as I am trying to beat the clock. Today is dance day, so I have to be on the ball and get a bunch of crap done before we leave for dance.

The recipe I am giving you today is dedicated to my brother, John. I have never known a person who loved Macaroni and Cheese like he does. Not the creamy kind, but more like a Macaroni pie variety. This recipe was passed along to me by a former co-worker and super friend, Anita.

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

8oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash (or 2) of pepper
3-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Grease crock pot (or use a crock pot liner). Mix all the ingredients except 1/2 the cheese. Pour into prepared crock pot. Top with remaining cheese. Cook on LOW for 3-6 hours. I usually cook for 4.5-5 hours, but have gone longer.

Let me know what you think. This is one of my family's favorites.

xoxox y'all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SSSSSH........I'M BACK!!

Can we get a woo-hoo? I know that many (ha) of you had given up on me that I would ever post again. Well, I am back and ready to roll. Did you notice that I spruced up the blog a bit? Many thanks to Kat-bird for steering me to this great blog creator site.

So what have I been cooking up in the past 6 months or so? Lots of the usual and one special addition.....Baklava! Major OMG about how freaked I was to make this, but it truly was so easy, and if I do say so, it came out beautifully. Most of you are probably thinking why the hell are you making Baklava...go BUY it! The story goes like brother proposed to his girlfriend in Greece on a spur of the moment trip over "spur of the moment", I am talking booked the ticket 2 days before he went and stayed long enough to get a "yes", sleep a few hours and fly back to Virginia.I decided before his plane had even left the tarmac at Dulles that I was going to make Baklava for them. I excitedly bought the ingredients and then they sat and taunted me until I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with the fillo dough. When it baked up and got the honey syrup poured over it, I knew that I had nailed it. WOW! It was amazing.

I am not giving you the Baklava recipe tonight, as I don't want to jump back in with making you deal with fillo dough, so I am giving you a recipe that came to my inbox this morning from Southern Living. Normally I delete these emails, but the words "comforting casseroles" reeled this baby right on in. I changed the topping, from the original, and it was FABULOUS!

Chicken Cobbler

3-4 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
3+ TBLS butter
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 8oz pkg fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped jarred, drained roasted red peppers
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup white wine
1 small pkg Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing
1 stick butter

In a large skillet, melt the 3+ Tablespoons of butter and cook the onions for 10-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or so. Pour in soup, white wine, roasted red peppers and chicken. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes....until just boiling. Pour mixture into a greased 9 inch or so pan (do not use 13x9, it is too big). Melt the remaining stick of butter and mix in with the stuffing. Pour over top and bake, uncovered at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

I served with petite brussel sprouts...yum! My kids even liked it....woo-hoo!!

The only notes I have about this are that I might reduce the amount of wine slightly. It was almost overpowering. I also added lots of additional roasted red pepper, I would not add quite so much.

The only must have kitchen tools that I used for this was my mandolin slicer and a 10 inch "family" skillet. While you may not use a mandolin too often, I think that they are invaluable in achieving thin, even onion slices. The family skillet is something I use almost everyday. Not sure what I did without it. Mine is stainless steel and goes from stove top to oven to dishwasher. It is from the Emeril cookware line. The mandolin is from Pampered Chef......definitely on the short list for replacement very soon.