Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homemade Granola

MMMmmm golden baked homemade granola. Simply delicious!

Here is something delicious and HEALTHY that the kids and I made today. This is the best kind of recipe to do with kids! Just melt, mix, pour, mix and bake! (Well, there's a little more to it than that but it's very simple!) The original granola recipe is from my friend Marett, I've adjusted some of it to what I had here. It's one of those recipes that I've had for years but forgot about. Forget no longer... this stuff is awesome! Just don't forget the vanilla, it adds such a cozy flavor! ha ha

Homemade Granola

Combine and melt in a saucepan:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup butter
3 T molasses
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt (a MUST! It goes well with the sweet!!)

Take off of heat and add vanilla.

(NOTE: I did not have enough honey so I used part pure maple syrup. Also, I used sweetened coconut so I left out the sugar. It's plenty sweet without it if you make it that way!)

Mix together in a large pot or bowl:
6 cups oats
4 cups coconut
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
...or whichever nuts...

(Another NOTE of course: I used oats, coconut, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), whole almonds, a few cups of puffed brown rice cereal and sunflower seeds.) I plan to try different nuts/seeds.

Pour melted mixture onto oat mixture. (By adding less dry ingredients, it will be a stickier, thicker granola- otherwise it's pretty fine crumbles). Make sure the mixture is all "wet".

Bake at 350' for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or until browned. Be careful not to burn it!

Add raisins or dried cranberries while it's still warm.
This recipe makes MANY cups! I should have measured but I'm guessing that it makes like 20 cups?? A LOT anyway! Store in airtight containers or use a vacuum pack sealer.

It's great for trips, easy breakfast or snacks!

The granola on the left is with Craisins, the one on the right is without. (Our oldest doesn't prefer the fruit in it..silly kid!)
 Serve warm, cooled or in milk! Mmmm The kids couldn't get enough of it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

World's Best Lemon Meringue Pie

Another delicious pie recipe! We love the tartness of a true lemon pie!

World's Best Lemon Meringue Pie

(Taste Of Home recipe)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups water
3 eggs yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 baked pastry shell, (9 inches)

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gradually stir 1 cup hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan. Bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Butter, lemon juice and peel until butter is melted. Pour hot filling into pastry shell.

Make meringue (recipe below). Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Yield: 6-8 servings.

NOTE: When I made this pie, it wasn't tart enough, like Grandma's so I added more lemon zest/ exchange a little water for more lemon juice.

Meringue: Beat 3 eggs whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form and all sugar is dissolved. Spread atop pie, sealing to pastry. Bake at 350' about 12-15 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Coconut Banana Cream Pie
The best of both worlds!

The coconut crust is a wonderful complement to this banana cream pie. You will need to watch the crust as it bakes make sure it doesn't brown too quickly. MY FAVORITE!! This pie would also be wonderful with a regular pie crust. Sorry I don't yet have a picture of this. But please, make one and share the photo! :)


7 T butter

3 cups flaked coconut, sweetened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup All purpose flour

3 T cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups half & half Cream

4 eggs yolks, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large firm bananas

Whipped Cream and sliced bananas for topping, optional

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute coconut until golden. Set aside 2 tablespoons for topping.Press remaining coconut onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9" pie pan. Bake at 350' for 7 minutes. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add cream and bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. remove from heat. Stir a small amount into egg yolks. Return to the pan, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; add vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Place bananas in the crust. Cover with cream mixture. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with reserved coconut. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and bananas. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Yield: 6-8 servings.

NOTES: Making homemade pudding takes a lot of constant stirring. Be prepared that it will take a few minutes to thicken- but don't worry- it eventually will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Favorite Pie Crust

Perfect Pie Crust can be made!
 The crust recipe was originally from my friend, Carol Reeves but I exchanged some shortening for butter and I think lard would also work well. Don't get worried about all of the instructions but please read through it if you haven't made pie crust before. There are helpful tips for a first-time pie maker! I will also be adding variations of pies, so watch for them on my blog!Your family will love these pies- I promise!!

Flaky, tender crust with a great flavor!!
So here goes:

Carol's Perfect Pie Crust
8 cups unsifted flour, lightly spooned into cup
2 T sugar
4 tsp salt
2 -2/3 c butter flavor shortening * (I replaced 1/2 of it with real butter cut into small squares)
1 large egg or 2 med eggs
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
This recipe makes 4 double crusts or 6-7 single crust pies. You can freeze it by leaving in the round circle or by rolling it out and puting it in the pan or rolled up into waxed paper.
*Use a Pampered Chef measure all cup- the one the pushed the stuff out. It works great for shortening
** It really help to place another pie tin of the same size in a single crust before it bakes. Because the crust is so pliable it tends to want to sink down into the pan as it bakes, and you could wind up with a large tart crust!

***Keep a light dusting of flour on your rolling pin. Also keep a small amount (1/2 cup) flour nearby to sprinkle on your table as you rolld, to prevent the dough from sticking. A pastry mat works great as a guide and to easily get the crust off of the counter but you caould also use a piece of clear vinyl, marking a circle around it with the pie crust measuring 1 1/2- 2" larger than your pie pan.
1. In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients with fork. Add shortening (or butter/ lard) and cut in till crumbly with a pastry cutter.(If you don't have one I think you could use 2 knives.)
2. In a small bowl, beat vinegar, water and egg. Combine with flour mixture and stir until moist with a large spoon. You will then, need to use your hands. Kned the crust mix until it all sticks together. (Really squish all of the butter together so it's mixed well or you might think it's too dry. (Experience talking?? LOL) Add extra flour to your hands if necessary. it should stay very soft and elastic. Form it into a big , flattened ball then using a huge knife, cut into 6-8 equal parts (depending on the size of crust you need). Pat those pieces into circles, about 1/2- 3/4" thick and about 5 inches across.
3. Roll out dough onto a well-floured surface starting in the center and roll toward the outside. Dough should be about 1/8" thick.*** Cut off the excess, uneven crust outside the circle, and stack the strips for later use (if you want a lattice topped pie). Fold the circle in 1/2 and lift it across to the center of the pie plate. Unfold the crust and adjust for eveness.
For double crust: Unfold one crust onto the bottom, udjusting for evenness then add the filling and poke holes in the top crust with a fork or use a knife to create a design before you place a folded crust on top. When placeing the top crust crust, unfold, adjust for evenness and pinch the two layers togetherso it stnad above the edge of the pie pan. Crimp of pinch the edges together. Trim excess.

For a single pie crust: Unfold crust into the pan, roll the edges under so it stand above the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers, or the back of a spoon.

There is no comfort food greater than Chicken Pot Pie! (Double Crust)
For a baked single crust pie: Poke holes in the crust before puting it into the pan. Fold it in 1/2, lay it in the pan, then unfold it. ** Bake at 425' for 15-18 minutes or until crust is light brown. If edges start to brown too much, tear 2 inch strips of foil and arrange around edges. (or use a crust edge cover by PC). Watch the pie closely because ovens differ and this may be too hot and too long for your oven.

For ideas to use with your beautiful pie crust, go over to my past blog post . Enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jerk Chicken Nachos, PC recipe

This is one of our favorite quicker -type meals! Full of flavor and quite nice on a dreary day when you're looking forward to summer! I also add a clove of garlic to the peppers for extra goodness!

The Pampered Chef ®Jerk Chicken Nachos Recipe

6 cups tortilla chips
3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
2 tbsp Jamaican Jerk Rub, divided
1 small yellow or red bell pepper or combination
1 lime
2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sour cream and 1 tsp additional Jamaican Jerk Rub (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange tortilla chips in a slightly overlapping layer on Large Round Stone with Handles.

2.In Classic Batter Bowl, combine chicken, cheese and 1 tbsp of the rub; mix gently using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Sprinkle chicken mixture evenly over tortilla chips. Bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted; remove from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack.

3.Meanwhile, dice bell pepper with Santoku Knife. Cut lime in half crosswise. Juice half of the lime using Citrus Press into Small Batter Bowl; add bell pepper and remaining rub and mix well.

4.Snip cilantro in mincing cup of Herb Keeper using Kitchen Shears. Slice remaining lime half using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with v-shaped blade; cut slices in half using Utility Knife.
5.Spoon bell pepper mixture over nachos; sprinkle evenly with cilantro. If desired, combine sour cream and additional rub in resealable plastic bag; trim corner to allow sour cream to flow through. Pipe sour cream mixture over nachos. Garnish with lime slices.

Yield: 12 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 200, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 50 mg, Carbohydrate 10 g, Protein 16 g, Sodium 300 mg, Fiber 1 g

Cook's Tip: Use the Classic Batter Bowl to measure tortilla chips easily. Discard broken chips.
This recipe can also be prepared on the Large Bar Pan, if desired.

© 2009 The Pampered Chef used under license.
My kids really don't care for the pepper mix but they chose that over salad! :)

I had a huge bed of lettuce under mine and added avacado! Exquisite!