April 25, 2013

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Chocolate meringue pie..what's not to love about that?  I recently made one for my husband to take to a potluck lunch at his office.  I used a recipe for the pie filling from one of my favorite cookbooks:

 

The recipe in the book is for chocolate cream pie - the only difference being that it uses a homemade whipped cream topping, and I used meringue.  (In case you couldn't tell, my hubby really likes meringue pies!)  Here goes the recipe:
 
 
Ingredients:
 
9-inch pie crust (I used Pioneer Woman's "Perfect Pie Crust")
 
Filling:
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. milk
  • 2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for the meringue!)
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla
Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2/3 c. sugar
 
Directions:
  • Bake pie shell, set aside
  • Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan
  • Stir in milk gradually
  • Stir chocolate
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils
  • Boil and stir 1 minute
  • Stir about half of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks
  • Blend into hot mixture in saucepan
  • Boil and stir 1 minute
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla
  • Pour into pie shell, place plastic wrap on top
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours (I usually do it overnight)
  • To make meringue, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on low speed until foamy
  • Raise speed to high and add sugar in a steady stream
  • Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form
  • Top pie with meringue and put under broiler for about 1 minute until meringue is light brown
 
 
Filling in pie crust
Meringue before going under broiler 

 

April 24, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is, once again, one of those recipes that came about because I asked my husband's opinion.  :)  We were having some family over for Easter Sunday lunch, and I asked him what sounded good for dessert.  He came up with lemon meringue pie, which, of course, I had never made before.  The story of my life!  Haha!  I'm always (well, usually) up for the challenge though!  So I found this recipe while searching on Pinterest.  I followed it exactly for the actual pie filling.  I make my own meringue.  Here's my version:

Ingredients:

9-inch Pie Crust (I used Pioneer Woman's "Perfect Pie Crust" - LOVE)

Filling:
  • 2-3 tsp. grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. butter, in small pieces
Meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2/3 c. sugar

Directions:
  • Place crust in 350 degree oven and bake until lightly browned.
    To make filling:
  • In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water over medium heat. 
    • Stir constantly, heating mixture until very thick (about 2-3 minutes)
    • Remove from heat
  • Separate eggs, putting the egg whites aside for the meringue
    • Whisk lemon juice into egg yolks
    • Temper the egg yolks by adding a little of the hot mixture and whisking together
    • Add egg yolk mixture into the hot filling mixture
  • Return saucepan to medium heat, stirring constantly, cooking until very thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter and lemon zest.  Set aside.
    To make meringue:
  • Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on low speed until foamy
  • Raise the speed to high and add sugar in a steady stream
  • Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form

  • Pour filling into pie crust
  • Top with meringue
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until meringue is light brown
  • Let cool completely before refrigerating.  Enjoy!

April 23, 2013

Homemade White Sandwich Bread

I try to be very frugal, especially when it comes to groceries.  I also have become more and more interested in making things from scratch, and my most recent "adventure" has been making our sandwich bread from scratch.  I started searching Pinterest looking for a recipe to use in my beloved bread machine, and I found this one.  I don't follow her exact instructions, but I do use the exact ingredients.  This bread turns out soft and yummy every time, and saves me a little money at the grocery store.  I haven't bought a loaf of bread since I discovered this recipe!  Another thing I really like is that it uses all-purpose flour instead of bread flour (which a lot of recipes use), so it saves even more money since all-purpose flour is cheaper! Yay for saving money!  Now here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 c. flour
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
    *another money-saving tip: I buy yeast in a small jar as opposed to the individual packets, which are more expensive.  The jar stores in the fridge for quite a while!
Directions:
  • Add ingredients to bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer
  • Set the machine to the "sandwich" or "white" option if you want it to bake in the machine
  • If you're like me and are only using the machine to make the dough, set it to the dough cycle
  • Once dough is finished, place in greased loaf pan, spread melted butter over the top, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise until it is a little above the top of the pan.
Risen dough, ready to go into the oven
  • Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown
  • Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
Finished loaf

Slice of deliciousness

April 22, 2013

Easy Cobbler

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe for easy cobbler, and I've made it many times with all different fillings.  It really is very easy to make, and is a great go-to if you need a quick dessert.  As long as you keep a can of pie filling on hand, you probably have all of the other ingredients in your pantry.  Here goes:

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of butter (I know what you're thinking...off to a great start, right?)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 can pie filling of choice
Directions:
  • Melt butter in bottom of 8x8 baking dish
  • Mix sugar, flour, milk, and baking powder and pour over butter
  • Spoon pie filling onto mixture
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or until cobbler is set and top is golden brown
Before going in the oven
Finished blueberry cobbler


April 20, 2013

Red Punch

This punch recipe has been in my family for who knows how long.  If this tells you anything, it is in a family cookbook that features a family picture in which I am around 5 years old.  :)  Anyway, it's super easy and super yummy.  I recently made it for my daughter's 1st birthday party - it was so pretty with the ladybug party theme.


Ingredients:
1 46oz can pineapple juice
1 46oz can orange juice
1 6oz can frozen limeade
2 packets strawberry Kool-Aid
Ginger ale (optional)



Directions:
  • Mix Kool-Aid according to package directions
  • Mix limeade according to package directions
  • Combine all ingredients
  • At this point, you can serve as-is over ice, refrigerate and serve, or to serve slushy, follow these steps:
  • Pour punch into whatever containers you have on hand - empty milk cartons, pop bottles, etc.  Place in freezer for several hours or overnight.
  • A few hours before you're going to serve the punch, set it out to let it begin to thaw. 
  • Once it thaws enough that it can be stirred, scoop into punch bowl.
  • You can leave it how it is, or you can make it just a little better and pour some ginger ale over the top.  I do this only in the punch bowl, and as close as possible to serving time.  It gives it a nice fizzy, bubbliness (that's a word, right?) that I really like.
 
Final Product!

April 19, 2013

Snickerdoodles

I'm not a huge fan of snickerdoodles myself, but it's the cookie I get the most requests for, especially amongst my family members.  My brother lives about 10 hours away, but any time he comes "home", he requests these.  My husband requests them quite often too, and they are my go-to cookie if I need to whip up something quick to take somewhere.  I always have the ingredients on hand, which is a huge plus.  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Directions:
  • Mix 1 1/2 c. sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs
  • Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt
  • Mix 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon
  • Scoop dough into balls and roll them in the cinnamon sugar
  • Place on ungreased baking sheet
  • Bake approximately 8 minutes