Pastry for Double Crust Pie

This is a must in your recipe box.  Whether you’re making, pie, fruit pastries, or apple’s in a blanket.  This is the best pie crust recipe I have ever come across, it’s sweet without being too sweet, it doesn’t crumble before you can take a bite, and it’s easily moldable.  Thank you Lion House Bakery Cookbook for this Recipe (slight alterations made)!

Pastry for Double Crust Pie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter-flavored shortening

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1/4 cup ice water

  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut the shortening into the flour until pea-sized crumbs form.  Carefully stir in beaten egg and vinegar.  Gently sprinkle in water until dough starts to hold together.  Shape dough into two disks.  Refrigerate for about an hour or up to a day.  Use to make 2 single-crust pies or 1 double-crust pie.  when recipe calls for a baked pie shell, roll out dough, press into pie plate, trim and flute edges, prick bottom of shell with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Pastry perfection!

Peroskis – Stuffed Rolls

 This is my all time favorite go-to recipe when I don’t know what to make and we don’t seem to have anything to eat.  We almost always have the ingredients to make rolls, and we usually have cheese and sausage or ground beef in the freezer.  This does take some time if you are making yeast dough, but it’s so easy and it’s great to double the recipe and freeze the other half for another -don’t want to cook- kind of day.  I probably make this once a month and my little boys LOVE it!  I wouldn’t really qualify it as healthy, but considering my boys refuse to eat anything green this is a big step in the right direction.   My mom made this frequently when I was growing up and it was always a favorite, especially because it was a little different every time. My mom always called them Peroski’s (Pair-O-shkees).  I’m guessing this recipe originally came from the Polish Perougi’s which are traditionally potato, cheeses, and spices wrapped inside a dough boiled to cook.  This is my evolved-Americanized version which should probably be titled stuffed rolls.  I serve them alone for dinner, because I’m not that fancy, but they can also be a side dish or appetizer.  The great thing about Peroskis is that you can fill the dough with anything you want.  Hamburger, olives, and taco seasoning. Beans and cheese. Chicken with alfredo sauce.  I’ve written in my two favorite fillings I’ve created below. Happy Cooking!

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Peroski (Pair-O-shki) –aka stuffed rolls
Step One
: Make the filling ahead of time and store in the fridge.  You can’t use it too warm or it will ruin the dough. Sometimes I make the filling in the morning or the night before just to have it done and out of the way.
Step Two: Make your THIS or THIS and let it rise the first time just like normal.  ***
Step Three: When done rising, roll the dough out onto a floured surface to be about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares.(tip: only use serrated knives when working with yeast dough) You can also cut into rectangles if you want them to be long instead of round.  Place a spoonful of filling into each square. Pinch the dough shut and lay pinched-side down onto greased baking sheet.

Step Four:  Let rise again for about 30-40 minutes (they will not double in size)
Step Five: baste with whisked egg whites if you want them to have a glazed look and then bake according to your roll recipe directions. Done and delicious!

***If you want to make a faster version you can use refrigerated crescent dough, just skip the rising steps.

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Creamy Goodness -Filling 1: (I don’t measure, so this is a good estimate)
1 tube sausage (mild)
4-8 oz. cream cheese
1/2-1 cup brocoli florets
shredded cheddar cheese to sprinkle
Cook the sausage in a frying pan until brown and then turn the heat down and add the cream cheese and brocoli.  Stir and smoosh it up until the cream chease is all liquefied and immersed. Store in the fridge until ready to put on dough. When dough is ready put a spoonful of the mixture in the center of the dough, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Healthy Goodness -Filling 2: (Again, sorry for the lack of measuring)
1 tube sausage (mild)
1/2-1 cup sour cream
1 cup-ish pico de gallo
shredded cheddar cheese to sprinkle
Follow the same instructions as the above recipe.

Chicken Alfredo

This has been a great go-to recipe for dinner, when I can’t think of what else to make; it’s easy, I usually have all the ingredients on hand, and its delicious! Happy Cooking!
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Chicken Alfredo

2 cups milk
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
apx. 1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
fresh parsley

Pull out your saucepan and heat milk, add rest of ingredients (minus parsley) and warm thoroughly. Don’t let sauce come to a full boil.  Once the cream cheese is no longer lumpy turn the heat down and sprinkle in parsley.  Serve over pasta and chicken. (Grill the chicken with Italian Seasoning sprinkled on top.  It’s amazing!)    

Chicken Curry Salad

 

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Chicken Curry Salad

stir together: (ideally you would make this ahead and store it in the fridge so the flavors can meld)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. curry powder

add in:
3 (10oz.) cans of chicken, drained (my first attempt using canned chicken)***1-2 cups craisins
1/2-1 cup cashew pieces
1 apple (chopped up)
3 stalks celery (chopped up)

Stir it all together and serve it over Spinach leaves, in a tortilla, or wrap refrigerated crescent roll dough around it and cook for about 25-30 minutes.  I’ve done it each way and they were great.  My favorite is definitely the crescent style though (Just be sure to cook it long enough).

***(I started using canned chicken because it’s fast and easy, but 3 chicken breasts works great too)

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Best Chicken Enchilada Soup you will ever make. . . no, really.  I’m not teasing you!

Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 lb. chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
3 cups water (divided)
1-2 cups enchilada sauce
16 oz. velveeta
½-1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin

opt.: 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

opt.: 1 can corn (drained)
(if you want it a little thicker just make a cornstarch/water mixture and add)

 

Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, corn tortilla chips, pico de gallo,

 

Put onions and garlic into a pot and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add chicken broth.  Combine corn flour with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Add the corn flour mixture to pot with onions, garlic, and broth. Add remaining 1 cup water, enchilada sauce, cheese, and spices to pot and bring to a boil. (Stir frequently, it scorches easily) Once the Velveeta is almost completely dissolved, add chicken and optional ingredients to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer soup for 30-40 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.  Serve with chips, pico de gallo, and cheese

Indian Chicken Curry

I will forever be grateful to my oldest sister, Holly, who told me that I had to buy turmeric and coriander because it was a MUST.  These might seem like unusual spices, but once you have them you won’t ever part.  I frequently add them to casseroles, meats to grill, and other random things like rice.  So get them and love them! This recipe may take some time (most of which is just checking the simmering pan between a load of laundry or vacuuming the floor), but it is otherwise very simple.

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 Indian Chicken Curry

4 semi-thawed chicken breasts (cut into 1/4s)
1 tsp salt
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 garlic pod pressed (yes, this is a lot of cloves)
2 Tbsp. coriander
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1 can (5.5 oz) tomato juice +  one can water
1 potato – or sweet potato (washed, peeled, and diced into bite size cubes)
cashews
opt. coconut milk

Brown onions in shortening. Add tomato paste, tomato juice, garlic, and spices. Cook 2 minutes. Add chicken and potato then stir about 15 minutes on medium heat. Cover and let simmer 1 -1 1/2 hours.  Add as much or as little coconut milk as you’d like (see notes). In the photo above the curry in focus is my husbands plate without coconut milk and my dish in the back has it included. Before serving add cashews.

My notes:  If it looks like there aren’t enough liquids or like it’s burning to the bottom just add some water or coconut milk.  Just check it occasionally, I notice that if I put the heat up a little too high it tends to stick and dissolve the liquid fairly quickly.  This will be pretty spicy, so if you want to tone it down a notch add about half a can of coconut milk halfway through simmer time and then the rest of it a few minutes before you are ready to serve.  The consistency will be a little runnier, but still delicious!

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Bonus Recipe:
This is the yellow rice you see in the picture.  Minute Rice can look fancy too:)

Coconut Rice

Follow the instructions on your minute rice box for the serving size you want, but this is what I made:

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
2 pinches turmeric
2 cups minute rice

Bring coconut milk, water, and turmeric to a rapid boil.  Add in rice, stir briefly. Cover pot and remove from heat.  Wait 8 minutes and voila!

Jello-Pretzel Salad

This is one of those recipes that you just have to love.  Everybody loves it! Everybody takes seconds, and you never regret making more than you need.  I make this once or twice a
year for a holiday or to impress company.:)

Jello-Pretzel Salad
(Thank you for the recipe Grandma Long)

Step 1-Crust:
1 cup finely crushed pretzels (about 4 cups whole pretzels put into a ziploc bag and beaten/rolled with a rolling pin)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted butter

Stir together and then press crust into a 9×13 pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes. I stab it with a fork all over a little while after taking out of the oven so that the crust doesn’t get too stiff. Cool completely.

Step 2 (while crust is baking) – Jello mixture
1 large (serves 8 ) raspberry jello mix
2 cups boiling water 1 cup cold water
1 pkg. frozen raspberries

Whisk the jello packet into the boiling water until dissolved and then add the cold water and raspberries. Stir and then put in fridge until somewhat jelled (about 30 minutes). If it doesn’t seem to be jelling fast enough for you then put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes for a quick jell.

Step 3 (while jello cools) – Filling
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz. cool whip

Mix and then smooth over the cooled crust. Spread the partially jelled jello on top of the cream cheese filling layer. Chill completely set.

Note: Strawberry Jello and frozen strawberries are also delicious!

Fruit + Green Smoothies

I like smoothies.  No, I LOVE smoothies!  They are like an addiction of healthy goodness. They are my favorite thing to make the moment I come home from a workout.  My boys ask for them regularly, they are my summer-go-to meal when it’s too hot to eat ‘real’ food.  I love that my boys know how to make a smoothie by themselves and love thinking of new ingredients.  Here are a few lucky creations I came up with that I absolutely love.

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Orange Julius Plus
1 -6oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup strawberries
1 -1 1/2 cups frozen spinach pieces
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water (opt. – to make it runnier)

Blend it up and serve!

Strawberry-Banana Blast Plus
1 -6 oz. can of frozen concentrate grape juice
1/2 apple chopped into slices or cubes so its easier to blend
2-3 cups frozen strawberries
1-2 bananas
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach pieces
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk (+ or – will determine how thick)

Blend it up and serve!

Loaded Fruit Smoothie

2 bananas
2-3 handfuls of mixed tropical fruit (I get a bulk bag at Costco)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 handfuls spinach leaves
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water

Blend it up and serve!