Friday, April 27, 2012

Oh My! My Perfect Apple Pie!

The most flattering compliments I get are the ones where people come to me and specially request that I make them one of my recipes.  A friend of mine is in the military, so he doesn't get to have home cooked food too often.  Back when he was my neighbor, I made him an apple pie, and he ate it all in one day.  How big of a compliment is that?! :)  So I decided that a really nice thing for me to do would be to bake him my apple pie and send it to him.  Now, during the holidays, I tend to buy the refrigerated pie dough, but when I make my apple pies it's all from scratch. 
My secret is after I add the spices and whatnot to the apples, I actually let the mixture sit a while until you get that liquid at the bottom that's made up of juices from the apples, cinnamon, and sugar.  I repeadly stir up the mixture quite a few times, so that everything is really incorporated.  Plus it really let's the flavors infuse into the apples.  And no, it will not make the crust soggy on the bottom.  Having a stand mixer makes the whole dough making process so much easier.  I couldn't wait for my finished product. 

 I also brushed egg white over the dough, and sprinkled it with a little bit of sugar.  I baked it until the top crust was golden brown to my liking.  Before I took it out of the oven to cool, I carefully lifted the pie plate to see the underside of it and make sure the bottom crust was all the way cooked as well.  Once it was, I took it out and set it on the counter to cool.  Those lines cut in the crust must be there in order to let the steam escape, but you can get as creative as you want as far as how they look. 
I now have more people asking me to make them my apple pie and mail it to them, which i am always happy to do.  I'm pretty sure that this is one recipe that will be added to the Rose to the Occasion menu very quickly. 

My Super Easy Chicken Dinner

Making a whole chicken for dinner can be pretty intimidating, even if it's already cut up into the different parts.  When I noticed that it went on sale at the grocery store, I figured that it couldn't possibly be too hard.  Now, I have made a whole chicken for dinner before, but not when it was already cut up.  I wondered if I would end up burning the smaller pieces such as the drumsticks and wings, but I assumed that if I kept a close eye on things, they wouldn't burn.  When baking chicken like this, the seasoning possibilities are endless. But I chose the simple way my mom taught me: rub a little oil on it, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  In this case, I used seasoned salt to give it a little something extra.
My mom may be the casserole queen, but she makes the most fantastic poultry dinners with an unbeatable giblet gravy!  I ask her every Thanksgiving if she will show me how to make the turkey, stuffing, and gravy, but every year I end up goofing around with my brother and don't pay attention.  God love her, she still tries to show me every year anyway! :)
This was from last Thanksgiving, that's my darling "Auntie Em", and my daughter.  It was her first Thanksgiving.  But I digress.....
I put my chicken in the oven at 350 for a little over an hour. I didn't mess with it, and that made the crispy skin on it that I love so much.  I definately made my mom proud with this one!

This just goes to show you, don't let the chicken intimidate you, you must intimidate the chicken!! :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shepherd's Pie...Minus the Veggies

I love shepherd's pie, but I don't care for the typical veggies that are in it.  So, I decided to make a newer and better version where I didn't have to pick out the veggies.  I love mushrooms and onions, so I decided it would be the perfect addition...not to mention that bacon makes everything better.  So, I gathered my ingredients, which included almost an entire package of bacon, and went to work.  The kitchen smelled so good that even my son Caleb came in and said, "mommy, why do I smell bacon??" He wanted a sample....
In this picture you can see the potatoes for the topping, the Worcestershire gravy, and the mixture of ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and bacon pieces.  I really wish you could smell the food in this picture, because it was mouth-watering!  Even though it was a warm day, it was still worth it to run the oven.  While making the potato topping, it's essential to add an egg, so that the top browns nicely.  Unfortunately, my oven is unreliable at times, so mine didn't brown as I would have liked it to. 

Rose was, as always, my little kitchen helper.  I love that both of my children are so happy to accompany their mommy in the kitchen.  I truly hope that they will one day follow in their mother's footsteps and decide to be culinary geniuses.
See?  Happy as a clam.  Caleb was more interested in his catroons at the time I was making dinner.  But usually he is parked in front of the TV in the kitchen in his bean bag chair.  And even though he hates mushrooms, Caleb inhaled this dinner. 
"This dinner is really yummy, Mommy!" He said he can't wait for me to make it again.  And this dinner is also included on my menu for Rose to the Occasion.  I look forward to taking any and all orders from my supporters!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cheesecake in a Jar...YUM

While browsing on Pinterest one day, I stumbled across a recipe for cheesecake in a jar.  Sounds complex, doesn't it?  I thought so too, whici is why I decided to try it.  By the way, if you don't know about Pinterest, I highly suggest you check it out.  It's a great site that's very addicting.  Anyhoo, I printed up the recipe and off to the kitchen I went.  I gathered up all the ingredients and got my canning jars washed and ready to go. 
I put the ingredients together, and realized that making a bunch of little cheesecakes is actually easier than putting together 1 big one.  It's almost impossible to mess up such a small crust like that.  As long as you distribute evenly, you're fine.  So once the cheesecakes were assembled, they were ready for the oven. 

I couldn't wait to taste them! They only took 30 minutes in the oven.  Then I took the jars out and placed them on a towel to cool.  Once they were cooled I couldn't wait any longer to try them! Another plus about these little cheesecakes is that you can put any topping you want on them. I happened to have some fresh strawberries in my fridge, so that's what went on top of mine. 
I was in heaven! Needless to say, I did not stop at just one cheesecake, I had 2.  Then I told myself to save some for tomorrow :).  I can honestly say that I will definately be making these again and again.  Also, they are going right onto my menu for Rose to the Occasion.  They're going to be such a hit!! This is a recipe that I can get really creative with.  Now, I'm going to go eat a couple more! Talk about a perfect breakfast....:)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A New Easter Treat

This year was my daughter's first Easter.  That fact made me want to put a new spin on the old favorites, somehow.  Caleb, however, still wanted to to the traditional coloring of the eggs.  So first we decorated Easter cookies.......
If you look at the cookies, you can tell which ones Caleb decorated, and which ones I decorated.  Let's just say that Caleb was very generous with the frosting.  Then came the much anticipated egg coloring.  I had to explain to Caleb that egg dye does in fact stain everything, so he couldn't come at the table like a wind mill. The egg coloring seemed like so much fun, even the cats got involved!

Gotta love how cats always think they're being helpful.  She was deciding which one she wanted, I think.  My mom found this recipe on-line that tells you how to dye your deviled eggs like you would your easter eggs.  And since I never know what to do with all the colored eggs every year, I was excited to try it.  It was so easy, and they looked  pretty in the end. 
All I did was place the halved hard-boiled eggs in a cup of egg dye, just like you would do with a whole egg.  I was afraid it would taste like vinegar, but it didn't at all.  I let them sit there until they were the color I wanted, and then I filled them with the deviled egg filling as usual.  They tasted great and looked great too! I wil definately be doing them next year.  And why stop there? You could do them for events like Fourth of July or St. Pattys Day and color them to fit the theme.  Let's just say that I can't wait until July.  Happy Easter, everyone!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A New Recipe

Since it was almost grocery day in our home, I decided that it was time to find some of the randomness in my kitchen and use it up.  In my freezer I found a packet of spicy orange sauce that originally came in a box of coconut shrimp.  I decided that it was perfect to go in a stir fry.  So, I grabbed some beef strips, an onion, a yellow and an orange bell pepper, some instant brown rice, minced garlic, and I set off to work.  I had remembered that the orange sauce was a little too spicy for my tastes the last time I used it, so as the beef onion pepper mixture was softening in the pan, I added some Worchestire sauce.

  I cooked the brown rice, and added some other seasonings to the mixture such as roasted garlic powder and salt and pepper.  Stirfry's are so easy because you can add just about anything to them, and they don't take very long to cook!  Once the dinner was done, I couldn't wait to eat it. 
The dinner came out great, and i could not have done it without my beautiful little kitchen helper, Rosebud!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Menu?

After asking friends and family for their opinions and looking through my own personal cookbook, I have come up with a rough draft for my menu.  I'm sure that there will be a number of alterations to this menu as I go along, but hey I have to start somewhere right?  Anyone that reads this should feel free to comment as well.  If you have tried any of these dishes or tried others I have not mentioned but you would like to see it on this list, please let me know.  The best way to please the customer is to give them what they want!

Main Dishes
eggplant casserole
chicken pot pie
chicken black bean fajitas
steak fajitas
surf & turf with white wine sauce
seafood manicotti
mac and cheese
fish tacos
chicken & dumplings
beefy shepherd's pie
french vidalia burgers with red onion relish
mushroom spinach stuffed chicken breasts in wine
pasta alfredo (broccoil optional)

mashed potatoes (cheesy or not)
green beans with slivered almonds
old fashioned buttermilk biscuits with seasoned shallot butter
garden veggie mac salad
potato and bacon salad
glazed carrots

brown sugar orange sour cream cheesecake
coconut cream pie with sweet cream whip
chocolate truffles
rainbow cupcakes
frosted brownies
molasses cookies

chicken noodle
seafood gumbo
black bean
sirloin french onion mushroom 
(all soups come with home made croutons)

~*~Thoughts and comments are appreciated!~*~
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