Recipes

Sweet n Spicy Butternut Squash

Sweet n Spicy Butternut Squash

I love butternut squash, but sometimes plain butternut squash gets a little boring. Let’s jazz it up with this sweet n spicy butternut squash! It’s gorgeous and crispy, with a little kick of heat and a sweet finish. If you like sweet potato fries, you’ll […]

Fragrant Rose Cake

Fragrant Rose Cake

Have you ever wondered what a rose tastes like? I have. Roses are one of my favorite smells, no matter how old-ladyish my husband thinks they smell. As for the taste, it is exquisite. And this fragrant rose cake is the perfect introduction. Rose doesn’t […]

Holiday Morning Casserole

Holiday Morning Casserole

For as long as I can remember, my mom has made this breakfast casserole every Christmas morning. It’s perfect because you can make it the night before, pop it in the oven right before the kids come downstairs, and then it will be ready by the time everyone’s ripped through their stockings. Or, you can make this as breakfast for dinner whenever you’d like. It’s kind of magical that way. Something about how the bread soaks up the cheesy, eggy goodness makes this a perfectly comforting breakfast.

Another fun thing about this holiday morning casserole is how many possible variations there could be. You can use either sweet or savory sausage, or perhaps ham instead. Spinach, bell peppers, or even baked butternut squash could be added to make this healthier. You could even add some hot sauce or maple syrup, if that’s your jam. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy, and merry Christmas!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 pound colby jack or Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Brown and drain your sausage. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with butter. Cut crusts off the bread and flatten each slice with a rolling pin. Cover the bottom of your dish with 6 slices of bread. Layer with meat and cheese.

Mix eggs, half and half, paprika, salt, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over all. You may cover and leave to refrigerate overnight, but you don’t have to. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately! I adore the holidays, but they are a terribly busy time. So busy, in fact, that you might desperately need this recipe for chocolate peanut butter pie. You can whip it up in about an hour for […]

Butternut Latkes

Butternut Latkes

Happy Hanukkah! I personally don’t celebrate Hanukkah, but I will take any excuse I can get to eat latkes. Especially these crisp, golden butternut latkes. Latkes are pancakes traditionally made from potatoes, but you can make them from zucchini, squash, and pretty much any hard […]

Asian Meatball Soup

Asian Meatball Soup

I am not great at making Chinese or Japanese food, but I would like to be. (Mainly because Chinese food is a favorite of my husband and my sister.) This Asian meatball soup is one of those recipes that makes me feel like I am perhaps a bit closer (even as Americanized as this soup is).

This Asian meatball soup is one of those lovely things for which you probably have all of the ingredients. It’s very filling, but still quite healthy and oh so fragrant. Do you need a cozy weeknight dinner? This should do the trick. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 package frozen stir-fry mix (or fresh diced carrots and broccoli, with a can of water chestnuts)
  • 8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas (optional)
  • 2 packages Oriental ramen
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 bouquet green onions (optional)
  • 1 soft-boiled egg (optional)

Instructions

Begin by mixing the beef, bread crumbs, egg, ginger, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce together by hand in a large mixing bowl until combined. Form this mixture into bite-size meatballs, and set aside.

Bring 5 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in the stir-fry mixture (and peas, if using) and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs, ramen flavor packets, sesame oil, and the rest of the soy sauce. Break the ramen noodles into quarters, and add them as well. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked and everything is heated through. Garnish with green onions and a soft-boiled egg cut in half, and eat warm. Enjoy!

Full-Meal Macaroni and Cheese

Full-Meal Macaroni and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese. I would eat the normal Kraft macaroni and cheese as a meal regularly, but I feel that’s frowned upon. So with that, I bring you my mom’s full-meal macaroni and cheese. With this dish comes the concept of making a […]

Classic Apple Pie

Classic Apple Pie

After making pie dough, you need something to put in it! Continuing with our pre-Thanksgiving pie theme, let’s talk about this classic apple pie. Not every apple pie is created equal. This classic apple pie is simple, but lovely in its simplicity. The crust is […]

Perfect Pie Dough

Perfect Pie Dough

Whenever it starts getting cold and gross outside, I always want to stay in and bake. Unfortunately, watching the Great British Bake-off only fuels this obsession.

I could do that, right? (Courtesy of the BBC website.)

Luckily, pie is the perfect thing to bake for max coziness. Need to whip something up for a party? Make a simple pie. Buy too much fruit? Encase it in a gloriously buttery galette. Don’t know what to make for dinner? You probably have most of the ingredients for chicken pot pie right now.

Let’s talk pie dough. Pretty much every pie dough is some flour (with perhaps some sugar or salt added), a solid fat (butter, shortening, lard, etc.), and a liquid (usually water, but there’s also vodka, milk, etc.). I think that this is the perfect pie dough, but it is hard to go totally wrong with pie dough. (Especially since such delicious things go in the pie.)

Because it’s so hard to go wrong, I’m going to say right here that it’s okay to substitute an equal volume of water for the vodka below. Vodka is odorless and flavorless. It will not affect the taste of the pie, but going to the liquor store is not a necessary step for making this pie dough. It will be just lovely without the vodka as well. I like using it because it gives you the liquid you need to mix up the pie dough, but then the alcohol evaporates in the oven, giving you a crisp and flaky crust. If you’re on the fence, try it both ways.

There are a lot of tips and tricks that can help you make the perfect pie dough, but there are only two rules that you need to know. First, everything should be ice cold (so that the fat in your pie dough doesn’t melt). If you have the foresight to do so, go ahead and place your mixing bowl in the fridge. If anything gets too warm while you’re working, go pop it in the fridge again and have a break. (I learned this the hard way, when my lattice started melting. Oops.)

Second, don’t overwork your dough. You want it to be well-incorporated, but, as I read on Smitten Kitchen, “visible butter equals visible flakiness.” As long as your dough is mixed enough to work with, you’re good to go.

I realize this looks like a lot of instructions, but this is not a hard thing. Learning to make the perfect pie dough is just something that will enhance your baking, and I want you to have all the help you need. But you will be just fine. Enjoy your perfect pie dough!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into small slices
  • 1/4 cup cold shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Instructions

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add your butter and shortening.

perfect pie dough

Gently rub all ingredients together by hand until each piece of fat is covered in flour.

perfect pie dough
You can see that there are still rather large chunks of butter, but that’s okay.

Add the water and vodka, mixing dough until just combined. Divine your dough in two, roll each hunk of dough into a ball, and flatten. Cover each disc of dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.

perfect pie dough

When your dough is done chilling, place it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch circle, and place gently in your 9-inch pie pan. (I find that placing it over the rolling pin makes this easiest.)

perfect pie dough

Press your dough into the pie pan, and vent the bottom with a fork. Fold the excess dough under. If you’re making a single crust pie, you can crimp or roll the edges and stop here.

If you’re making a double crust pie, put your filling in, and then roll out the top crust to a 12-inch circle as well. Place it gently on top of your filled pie, and then crimp or roll your two pie edges together. Don’t forget to vent the pie, usually with four slits in the middle.

perfect pie dough
I did eight vents; I was feeling fancy.

Brush with milk. Bake your gorgeous homemade pie at 450 F for 18-20 minutes, and then at 350 F until brown (usually not longer than the 20 minutes). Enjoy!

perfect pie dough