Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mini Cherry Pies

Nothing says summer like cherry pie, so here you go!

If your family likes cherries, these sweet little tarts will hit the spot for dessert or a hearty snack.

And if you don't have a cherry pitter, I recommend investing in one. I found a model that pits 6 cherries at a time for under $20. My son Sam gets great satisfaction out of using it; I love having a helper in the kitchen.

This recipe calls for a homemade crust, and I recommend taking the small amount of extra time needed to make it. So yummy.

Mangia! Mangia!
Andrea



Mini Cherry Pies
Inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 1/12 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons chilled vodka
5 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar, divided
2 tablespoons corn starch
5 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Items you will need:

  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Six 4-inch tart pans. 

No tiny tart pans? Use mini foil pie dishes instead.

Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse a few times until mixture looks crumbly. Add 1/4 cup water and vodka. Pulse about 6 times or until the dough comes together.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Divide dough into 12 equal-sized balls.

Roll each ball of dough out into a roughly 4-inch cycle. Arrange on the lined baking sheet. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap and chill for 1 our or until firm.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Move oven rack to middle position.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add cherries and lemon juice, gently mix to combine.

Divide pie filling among the 6 tart or pie pans. Top each with second pie crust, or let your kids cut out fun dough shapes and use those instead.


Brush top crust, if using, with egg white. Sprinkle remaining sugar over crust or dough cut-outs.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place tarts on baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until mini pies are golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.

Take pies out of pans to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature. My boys liked these with ice cream on top.

Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.






Monday, July 17, 2017

Mom's Potato Salad

We had tons of family gatherings when I was growing up. That was a big plus to living where all of our relatives were within an hour's drive.

In the summer, potato salad was usually on the menu. My mom added a little twist to her recipe and I still love it — a chopped apple. The fruit gives the side salad an unexpected sweet crunch.

I remember my mom served it to a college friend's family when they were visiting. When I saw my friend's step dad again more than a decade later, he remembered the potato salad!

My recipe here may differ a bit from my mom's (because I make it for a family of 4 and she was usually serving 30+ people), but you'll get the same effect.

Mangia! Mangia!
Andrea



Mom's Potato Salad

1.5 or 2 pound bag of small yellow potatoes
1 bunch green onions, sliced and chopped
2 hard boiled eggs
1 large apple, peeled and diced (use Granny Smith, Honey Crisp of Fuji)
1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise
1/4 cup dijon or champagne mustard
1 teaspoon dill (fresh or dried)
*1 teaspoon dried spice mix for Green Goddess Dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup diced celery or bell pepper

*If you can't find this, use another 1/2 teaspoon dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon dried onion, 1/2 teaspoon dried celery flakes and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.

Peel the potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Set the pot to boil. Once thee water boils, lower the heat a little and cook until a knife easily inserts into the potatoes.

Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Then rinse with cold water. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, dice them and place in a large bowl.

Add egg, green onions, apple and any other vegetables, if using. Add mayonnaise, mustard, dill and Green Goddess spices.

Mix to combine, until everything is coated in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or chill before serving.

I liked this potato salad with barbecue chicken and grilled squash.


Refrigerate any leftovers.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Arugula, Beet, Quinoa and Orange Salad

Salads that work for lunch and dinner are my best friends this summer. Here's another one I'm loving. So delicious and so easy to make.

My husband and youngest son love beets. When I spotted these sweet little containers of the ready-to-use veggies I snapped up a few.

This colorful dish is great as a side salad or a main entree. It holds up well the next day, too, but the quinoa will start to turn pink.

Mangia! Mangia!
Andrea


Arugula, Beet, Quinoa and Orange Salad
Inspired by a recipe in Diabetes Focus Spring 2017 issue

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 large orange
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 cups cooked quinoa
5 ounce package baby arugula
1 seedless orange, peeled and diced
2 6.5 ounce packages prepared beets, diced

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, salt and pepper.

Add quinoa, arugula, orange and beets. Gently stir to combine. Fold ingredients together until everything is coated with the vinaigrette.

Serve right away or chill until needed. Refrigerate any leftovers in an air tight container.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grilled Pineapple & Watermelon Salad

I do love to grill and to me, there is nothing tastier than grilled fruit.

With pineapples and watermelon in season, I figured why not? 

Watermelon firms up over the flames and gains a mellow flavor. The pineapple becomes caramelized and even juicier.

The result was so tasty I ate nearly half the bowl myself. This smoky sweet side dish is a great partner to some spicy blackened grilled chicken. 

The next time you fire up the grill, give this a try.

Mangia! Mangia!
Andrea



Grilled Pineapple & Watermelon Salad

1/4 cup olive oil 
1 small pineapple, outer skin removed, cored and quartered
5 thick watermelon slices, cut from 1/4 of a large melon
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
1-2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

Heat grill to medium. Brush both sides of each piece of fruit with olive oil. Brush green onions, too.

Place each piece of pineapple and watermelon on grill. Place onions perpendicular to the grill grates.

Cook for 2 minutes or until nice char marks appear. Remove green onions and set aside to cool. Lower heat if fruit starts to burn. 



Turn over fruit and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. 

Remove fruit and let cool until you can handle it. Cut off watermelon rind. Dice watermelon, pineapple and green onions into bite-sized pieces. 

Toss fruit and onions in medium bowl. Sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve warm or cold.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Simple Cucumber Dill Salad

We've been eating lots of salads lately for a few reasons:
  • My kitchen is a work in progress. 
  • We have baseball practice or games almost every night. 
  • Our days are jam packed, too.
I know you fellow moms can relate. Here's my morning yesterday:

8 a.m. – Take dog for grooming appointment.
8:30 a.m. – Take Sam to baseball clinic, go to bank.
10 a.m. – Pick up Sam and drop off Max at baseball clinic. Go to post office and dry cleaners.
11 a.m. – Take Sam to saxophone lesson.
12 p.m. – Pick up Max from baseball clinic.
12:15 p.m. – Pick up dog from groomer.

Summer salads are easy, refreshing and can often be made ahead. One of my faves is Chick Pea Salad. If you make that and have some leftover dill, you can use it in this cucumber recipe.

Do you have a favorite summer salad? Let us know what it is!

Mangia! Mangia!
Andrea


Simple Cucumber Dill Salad

2 English cucumbers, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, (about 5 or 6) sliced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and gently stir to combine. Let refrigerate for at least 1 hour to help the flavors blend.

Salt individual servings to taste.

Refrigerate any leftovers.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork

When I wrote my last post at the end of March, I apologized for falling off the face of the earth because of our business move. Well I fell back off. As soon as we got settled in our new office, life got a little crazier. I was feeling relatively terrible because apparently morning sickness and exhaustion are twice as bad when you're pregnant with twins.

Yep, you heard that right. The husband and I are having identical twin boys! They'll arrive sometime in October, and we couldn't be happier. Especially now that I'm in my second trimester and eating more than crackers and cheese.

While the nausea reigned supreme, my family was subsisting on mac and cheese from a box while I laid on the couch like a cranky beached whale. But I'm back in the kitchen! And I was craving pork like you wouldn't believe.

I found this recipe on my Pinterest board, and immediately headed to the grocery store. When we sat down to dinner, I wasn't disappointed. The entire family demolished this meal; it is absolutely delicious. And you can prep everything ahead of time! The Pineapple Coleslaw might seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it's worth it. I ate my weight in slaw. The kids even helped me stir together the dressing.

If you're looking for an easy, delicious, filling, make-ahead meal, give Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork a whirl. You're whole family will love it. Guaranteed.

Let's get cooking!
Erin


Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Pork 
1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
3 pounds pork shoulder roast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons water
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Coconut Rice (recipe below), for serving
Pineapple Slaw (recipe below), for serving

Mix together pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, sriracha, and ginger. Set sauce aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add pork and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add pork to slow cooker. Pour sauce over pork. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until pork falls apart when you poke it with a fork. (My slow cooker tends to run hot, and my pork was finished cooking in 6 hours.) Remove pork to a plate and shred into bite-sized pieces.

Whisk together cornstarch and water. Whisk into cooking liquid in slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to high and take off the lid. Allow the sauce to simmer until it's thickened, about 15-30 minutes. Stir shredded pork back into liquid and allow it to warm through again. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with Coconut Rice and Pineapple Slaw.


Pineapple Slaw
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Stir together mayo, pineapple juice, yogurt, vinegar, brown sugar, zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cabbage, pineapple, and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Coconut Rice
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch salt
1 cup rice

Bring water, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until rice is firm but tender. (If you have one, you can certainly use a rice cooker in place of cooking rice on the stove.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Old-Fashioned Cream Pie

I rip recipes from magazines (that I own, not say in waiting rooms) all the time. If I never tore another recipe from People, Real Simple and more, I'd easily spend the next couple years cooking my way through my "to make" recipe pile.

Anyhow, this year for Easter the kids and I decided a cream pie sounded tasty. I used a recipe from the June 2013(!) issue of Ladies' Home Journal. It was worth the wait, so give it a try sooner rather than later.

XOXO,
Amy


PS: What drew me to the LHJ recipe was the headline on the article — "The Pie That Made My Dad Propose." Here's a version of that story, originally published in LHJ. And below is a piece of art that ran with the story.



Old-Fashioned Cream Pie

Crust:
12 graham crackers, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Or...
1 store-bought graham cracker pie crust (For less than $2 and a lot less hassle, this is my preferred option.)

Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
 2 1/2 cups cold milk
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Fresh berries for serving

For crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend graham cracker pieces and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and pulse until combined. Set aside 1/4 cup of graham cracker mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into bottom and side of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until lightly browned, about seven minutes. Cool while you prepare the filling.

For filling: In a 3-quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, salt and cornstarch. Add milk and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Heat mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble and then cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nutmeg and butter. Place over and ice bath to cool slightly before pouring into prepared crust. Cover pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm — about 5 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with reserved graham cracker crumbs and serve with cold berries.