Homemade Apple Pie

Homemade Apple Pie

We went apple picking this weekend and our youngest decided we didn’t have enough apples in our already full basket. My first thought was applesauce, but neither of the kids LOOOVE applesauce that much. Then I thought apple crisp. Then I thought apple pie. So, apple pie it was!

I’ve made pumpkin pie from scratch and I remember it being, well, an experience. It was a Monday holiday and I only had our youngest home with me that day, so I figured, why not? I have a whole day, right? For some reason I could only find good recipes for the filling OR the crust, but not both combined, so I took what I liked from two I found and compiled them for you here. The crust recipe came from New York Times cooking and the filling recipe comes from Allrecipes.

Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 -4 Tbsp ice water, as needed

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms small pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. The dough should be moist, but not wet.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Filling

Ingredients

  • 8 Granny Smith apples (or other tart, firm variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste.
  3. Add water, white sugar, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Preparing Crust, Filling, and Baking

  1. Once the crust has refrigerated for at least an hour, remove it from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out with a flour coated rolling pin to approximately 1/8″ thickness. Roll the dough onto the floured rolling pin, then gently unroll over the pie crust. Cut excess dough approximately 1″ away from the rim of the pie pan. Fold the excess dough under and pinch the crust using an index finger and thumb all around the pan. Combine excess dough together and roll out with the floured rolling pin to 1/8″ thickness. If the dough becomes too warm to work with, refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm enough to work with. Slice the dough into strips to later create a lattice crust or cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.
  2. Place apples into the center of the pie crust. Allow the apples to slightly mound in the pie crust. Add lattice crust or crust shapes over apples.
  3. Slowly pour filling mixture over the crust and apples making sure it doesn’t overflow, but is covered evenly.
  4. Bake in the oven 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for 35-45 minutes or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown.
Easy Naan Pizzas

Easy Naan Pizzas

This is definitely one of my weeknight go-tos when I don’t have anything thawed or planned. I buy naan when it’s on sale and keep them in the freezer. They go from freezer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. YES… 5 minutes from frozen! You can customize them any way you like-my favorites are traditional and Mediterranean or Greek. You can find mini naan or regular sized naan in most grocery stores in the bread/deli section. The best part about naan pizzas is you can use anything you already have on hand!

Ingredients

  • Naan (frozen or fresh)
  • tomato sauce (I use Basil Garlic pasta sauce because I usually have it on hand, but pizza sauce will work, too)

Toppings

You can use any toppings you typically like on your pizza. Here are some combinations we’ve tried that have become our favorites!

Traditional

  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Pepperoni (we prefer turkey-it’s less greasy than traditional)
  • Black olives
  • Mushrooms

Mediterranean/Greek

  • Fresh sliced mozzarella
  • Fresh basil
  • Kalamata olives
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Feta cheese
  • Dried oregano

Directions

  1. Preheat oven according to naan package instructions.
  2. Place all pieces of naan on a baking sheet (fresh or frozen).
  3. Add sauce to each piece of naan. Top each piece of naan with desired toppings.
  4. Bake naan pizzas in oven according to package heating instructions or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  5. Enjoy!
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Fall Vegetables

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Fall Vegetables

I have no idea why, but I always forget about sheet pan meals. They’re delicious, healthy, and you can use whatever vegetables and seasonings you happen to have on hand. Today is the first day of fall, sooooo time for fall foods! This recipe is great because you can customize it however you like with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Some great vegetables to use are squashes, brussel sprouts, or even cauliflower or broccoli. You could even use chicken breast or legs instead of thighs. I prefer the chicken thighs because they seem to come out crispy on the outside, but not too dry on the inside. I adapted this recipe from one I found from Flavour and Savour.

Ingredients

  • 8 skin on, bone in chicken thighs (any number will do!)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
  • small golden potatoes (any amount is fine, whatever you prefer)
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 1 honeycrisp, gala, or other sweet apple, sliced with peel on
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Add chicken thighs to a plastic Ziploc bag. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour the marinade into the Ziploc bag with the chicken thighs. Seal the bag and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator while preparing the vegetables.
  3. Cut all of the vegetables and fruit into uniform size pieces.
  4. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add all vegetables and fruit to the sheet pan.
  5. Place marinated chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and fruit and pour any extra marinade over the chicken.
  6. Bake in the oven 35-45 minutes or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F. If you prefer even crispier chicken, place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes after the chicken thighs have fully cooked.

Easy Ranch Ground Turkey Tacos

Easy Ranch Ground Turkey Tacos

Taco Tuesday is a weekly occurrence, so there needs to be some variety, right? Sure… variety is the spice of life (yes, pun intended). With grocery costs skyrocketing lately I grabbed the alternative to ground beef for our Taco night staple-turkey! It’s more cost effective, tastes great, and I’m sure our arteries will thank us later. This recipe isn’t short on flavor, but is lighter on fat! Customize these tacos however you’d like! I’ll make a list of what we usually top ours with, but get creative! There are also links to Copycat Chipotle guacamole and corn salsa, homemade white queso, and Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno dip. I know you could drink that stuff with a straw… we all could…

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (or 1 lb if this recipe is only for a few people or you don’t like leftovers)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own using this recipe!)
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • taco shells or tortillas

Toppings

  • taco sauce
  • shredded cheese of choice
  • cilantro, finely chopped
  • black olives, sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • corn salsa (check out my Copycat Chipotle recipe here!)
  • guacamole (more copycat recipes-check out my Chipotle version here!)
  • queso (here’s a stovetop version)
  • creamy jalapeno dip (of course I had to use a Chuy’s Copycat version!)

Directions

  1. Prepare all toppings. Chop all the things!
  2. Brown the ground turkey on medium high until thoroughly cooked.
  3. Add one packet of taco seasoning and one packet of ranch seasoning if using 2 lbs of ground turkey. If only using 1 lb of ground turkey use 1/2 packet of each type of seasoning.
  4. Pile on the toppings! Enjoy!
Easy Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Easy Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

I’m copying all the things lately and there has been no shortage of Chipotle duplications in this house. Corn salsa is one of those sides that’s a hit with kids and adults in our house. You can keep it sweet or turn up the heat and make it a little spicy. Either way, it pairs great with some copycat Chipotle Guacamole, stovetop queso, or Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno dip, so check out those recipes while you’re at it!

Ingredients

  • 1 can sweet corn, drained well
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeno, finely diced (more or less to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour to help flavors combine.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Easy London Fog Latte

Easy London Fog Latte

I love Earl Grey tea, lavender, and lattes. Put them together and… HEAVEN in a cup. I’ve been desperately searching for a recipe to make one of these bad boys at home for some time and I finally found one. This recipe is pretty flexible (especially if you have a Keurig K-Cafe or another machine that makes lattes and cappuccinos fairly easily). This recipe is also excellent over ice. Froth the milk while it’s cold and serve over ice to enjoy a great summer beverage. This recipe was adapted from a recipe from Oh, How Civilized.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 oz Earl Grey tea, brewed to package instructions (I use Twinings k-cups in my Keurig, but any brewed Earl Grey will work great!)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use 2%, but any non-sweetened variety of milk will work well)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp culinary grade dried lavender, additional for garnish (I buy mine on Amazon)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Brew Earl Grey tea to package instructions over a tea strainer with the desired amount of dried lavender. 8-10 oz seem to work great for this recipe.
  2. Once tea and lavender have steeped at least 5 minutes, remove the tea strainer containing the dried lavender and discard.
  3. Stir brown sugar and vanilla extract into the lavender tea until well blended.
  4. Steam or heat milk. Use a milk frother, french press, or any other chosen method to steam and froth the milk. If you have a K-Cafe like I do, fill the frothing cup to “Cappuccino” and use the cappuccino setting.
  5. Pour steamed milk into the tea mixture and spoon the frothed milk onto the top of the tea. Sprinkle with lavender garnish.
  6. Pip, pip! Cheerio! Lift your pinky, pretend you’re a Brit, and enjoy!
Balsamic, Garlic, and Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Balsamic, Garlic, and Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I love brussels sprouts, but I needed a new way to cook them. I was stuck in a rut of boiling them with butter and salt. The old stand-by is fine, but I needed more flavor and this recipe delivered! It’s a little misleading, since a cast iron skillet is used to first sauté or brown the brussels sprouts, then they’re roasted later, but I promise it’s worth the effort! I have adapted this recipe from one I found from NY Times Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint brussels sprouts (approximately 1 lb)
  • 4-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (this will vary as you sauté the brussels sprouts-enough to coat the bottom of the cast iron skillet should be sufficient)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or desired amount to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Trim the bottom of the brussels sprouts and cut each sprout in half lengthwise and remove any outer pieces that may be old or have fallen off.
  1. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add sprouts in a single layer in the pan cut side down. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. If the oil is absorbed during cooking, add more oil to the pain. Cook until the sprouts become a golden brown on the bottom.
  2. Place the pan in the oven and bake 10-20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid burning. Bake until the sprouts are fork tender and browned to your liking.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and add balsamic vinegar and stir the sprouts well. Sprinkle the desired amount of parmesan cheese on top of the sprouts. Place the pan back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the parmesan is slightly melted.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the sprout and parmesan cheese mixture well. Serve immediately.
The Best (and Easiest!) Chicken Parmesan and Baked Spaghetti

The Best (and Easiest!) Chicken Parmesan and Baked Spaghetti

“Chicken Parm, you taste so gooooooood!” Yes, I know you just sang that in your head in Peyton Manning’s voice. I love chicken parmesan and somehow always feel like it has to be this complex, multi-step process to actually make it at home. I have good news… IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE! The most complicated part of this recipe is boiling the spaghetti, so you’ve got this! This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found from The Lazy Dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (1 box) thin spaghetti noodles
  • 2 (24 oz) jars of marinara or pasta sauce (I prefer tomato basil for extra flavor, but any variety will do!)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (shredded will also work)
  • 8 frozen chicken patties
  • seasoning to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9″x13″ baking dish.
  2. Cook and drain spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Mix with 3/4 of the tomato sauce (1 1/2 jars) and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella. Add salt, pepper, or Italian seasoning if desired (optional).
  3. Add the pasta, sauce, and cheese mixture to the casserole dish and top with 8 frozen chicken patties.
  1. Top the chicken with the remaining sauce and spread it evenly to cover all of the contents of the casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle the top with 1 cup (or more) of shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
  1. Bake on the center rack for 30 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown and the chicken is thoroughly heated and cooked.
Easy Overnight Oats

Easy Overnight Oats

I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet breakfast foods. I’m more of a bacon and egg or omelet person, but… here I am. Eating overnight oats ever. dang. morning. For real, though. I love that I can put a bunch in the fridge then customize them every morning however I’d like with nuts, chocolate chips, fruit, anything really (now don’t get crazy… I love cheese as much as the next person, but don’t be putting any in your oatmeal, people…). I think I love overnight oats more than typical oats because they don’t seem to turn to mush like normal oatmeal does. They still have a firmness to them and you can flavor them with sounds good when you roll out of bed in the morning. You can also eat them cold or nuke them for 45 seconds to a minute if you’re not feeling the cold variety.

I adapted this recipe from one I came across from Eating Bird Food. My version isn’t altered much, just makes them a little more simple.

I also found some awesome overnight oat jars that seal and are water tight and dishwasher safe. They’re great to prepare several at a time and keep in the fridge for when they’re needed. Amazon, never fails!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 2%, but any unsweetened milk works great!)
  • 1/4 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional… if you’re feeling chocolatey)

Toppings (Optional)

  • nuts (pecans, walnuts, almond slivers… any kind will do!)
  • peanut/nut butter (almond butter works great!)
  • fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are all great options)
  • chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except toppings well. Store in refrigerator overnight for up to 5 days. The longer the oats sit in the refrigerator, the softer they’ll become.
  2. Add desired toppings when serving.
  3. Enjoy!
Easy Ramekin Pecan Pies

Easy Ramekin Pecan Pies

One Thanksgiving I wanted to find a something different for desert. After searching a while I just wasn’t happy with any of the pie recipes I was finding. I wanted something… different, but not too out there. I came across these little ramekin pecan pies and they were just different enough to be a great Thanksgiving desert. Bonus: you don’t have to make the crust yourself! They didn’t disappoint! The only problem I found with the recipe from Tablespoon.com was that it didn’t yield quite as many as the recipe called for. This could be because my ramekins happen to be a little deeper than most ramekins. This recipe yields approximately 9-12 ramekin pies. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 packages Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust (4 crusts)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons bourbon
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 4 egg whites lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grab 12 ramekins and lightly coat the insides with cooking spray.
  3. Roll out the Pillsbury™ pie crusts. Using a large cookie cutter (or any large round glass/cup) cut out circles and place each crust inside each ramekin. If there is crust leftover, you can add it to the edges for a rustic look. Place the ramekins with crust in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Combine all remaining ingredients, except for pecan halves, in a large bowl. Whisk until nicely combined.
  5. Pour the pie filling into each ramekin.
  6. Top each with 3 pecan halves.
  7. Bake mini pies for 35 minutes, or until the center is set.
  8. Let cool about 15 minutes and enjoy!