Archive for September, 2013

Old Fashioned Pecan Pie with Homemade Pie Crust

We love southern cooking and Pecan Pie is a southern staple dessert. My husband loves it and I know several members in his family and my family love it. However, it is not something that I will pick out to eat in a table full of dessert selections. In fact, I have never been a fan of pecan pie. So, you may ask, why write a post about or even cook something you don’t like? Just keep reading. I’m getting there.

My parents gave me a gallon bag of pecans sometime back in March or April. I cook with pecans in some recipes, but I had never actually baked a pecan pie. Well, I didn’t want the pecans to get old because I am the type of person to put food up and remember where it’s at when it’s too late. So, I went searching my cookbooks for a recipe.

I ended up finding a pecan pie recipe in a cookbook called At Home Cafe by Helen DeFrance and Leslie Carpenter. You can find information about the book here. I bought this book from one of the authors of the book, Helen DeFrance, when she had a booth at a local flea market a few years ago. And, honestly, I had never cooked any recipe out of it before this pie, but I had all the ingredients and the time to make it, so I decided to try it out.

First, you need to make the crust or you can buy dough crust at the grocery store. I still think that I haven’t figured the crust part out completely because I ended up piecing together the dough to fit in the pie plate. I am sure with practice it will get better.

Homemade Pie Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water
2/3 cup chilled shortening (for buttery flavor crust use butter-flavored shortening)

Add salt to flour. In large bowl, mix flour and shortening with pastry blender or work lightly with tips of fingers. Do this until crumbly. Add cold water slowly to the bowl of dough and mix well.

Gather dough into large ball. Handle lightly to incorporate as much air as possible. This will make a flaky crust. Lightly flour a work surface and roll dough into a 14-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. (If using a pastry cloth, less flour is needed on work surface.) Dust rolling pin and dough with flour as needed. (If dough has been refrigerated, bring to room temperature.) Roll from the center out. Roll continuously in the same direction, lifting your rolling pin and moving back to the center to roll again.

Fold into quarters, then unfold into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Press lightly against bottom and sides of dish. Trim all but 1 inch of overhang with scissors, fold edge under, and crimp. If your crust tears, patch together gently with your fingers using excess dough from another part of the crust. Do NOT reroll. Yields 1 pie crust.

Now, for the pie filling.

Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

1 Homemade Pie Crust (recipe above)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbps flour
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat over to 300 degrees. Using a 9-inch pie plate, prepare Homemade Pie Crust.

Mix together brown sugar, sugar, and flour, use the bottom of your measuring cup like a mortar and pestle to blend the ingredients in bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Add in corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt, but do not mix. Add in eggs and stir slightly one at a time. (The more it is stirred the more likely it is to be spoiled.) Fold in melted butter. Pour mixture into unbaked pie pastry shell. Lay pecan halves on top of filling in circles, beginning at the outside and going in to the middle. Bake at 300 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until the filling doesn’t shake.

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It wasn’t too long after this picture that we cut the pie and ate a slice or two. The first bite of the sweet and warm syrup center with the crunchy, nutty top crust and the flaky, buttery bottom crust quickly melted in my mouth. I was sold on this recipe at that moment. A freshly made pecan pie straight out of the oven is so much better than any other type of pecan pie that I have ever eaten. I’m still not a major fan of pecan pie, especially given the choice between it and cheesecake, but next chance I have a bag of pecans, I will definitely make this again.

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Mini Boston Cream Pies

Tomorrow is my cousin’s birthday. This post is dedicated to him. It’s hard to believe that Hall will be 18 and that he’s been in my life for 18 years. I am blessed to have him and his sister in my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Here is a picture of Hall and I from a few Christmases ago.

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Hall is one of those kids who only wants money or gift cards as a present. Well, I wanted to do give him something that I know he would enjoy. And, he definitely enjoys food. So, I decided to make him miniature Boston Cream Pies. I made these a while back for a Christmas party and I remembered how much Hall loved eating them. They are very easy to make, but it just takes several steps to get to the final product. For the recipe, click here.

The only thing I did different was I used white chocolate pudding mix instead of vanilla because we didn’t have any vanilla in the kitchen. I placed the mini pies into a plastic container as I spread on the creamy center and chocolate top. It made it so much easier because the pudding mixture oozes out of the sides and it takes several minutes for the chocolate to harden.
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I want to say a special thank you to my neighbor, Karla, who let me borrow her cupcake pan so I would not have to cook and clean my pan twice. It definitely helped to cut my time in half. I need to put an extra cupcake pan on my wish list.

I had a few left over, so I shared some with Karla and we enjoyed the rest.
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It somewhat reminds me of a chocolate eclair. The center is not as sweet as an eclair, but it is a great partner with the chocolate top.

As soon as the mini pies were finished, I packed them up and carried them to Hall. He didn’t know I was making them, but he was very excited when I showed up with the container. I even got a hug from him. I hope he enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed making them. And, hopefully, he shared with his family since I gave him 15 cupcakes.

McCormick’s Brown Sugar Bourbon Pork Steaks

First of all let me say, Bourbon or any other alcohol was NOT used in the cooking process of these pork steaks. We do not drink or cook with alcohol.

Now that I have that off my chest, let me get to our dinner from Tuesday night. I pulled out a zip-lock bag of pork steaks from the freezer on Monday. When Brandon came home from work on Monday, he grabbed the McCormick Brown Sugar Bourbon marinade out of the cabinet and followed the directions on the packet to make the marinade. The main ingredients that you will need are McCormick Brown Sugar Bourbon marinade, 2 pounds chicken, beef, pork or shrimp, oil, water, and apple cider or white vinegar. He poured the marinade over the pork steaks in a plastic container and placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

Brandon took a picture of the packet for all of you to view.
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Tuesday after work, Brandon turned on the gas grill to about medium to medium high heat. He grabbed his grilling tools and the pork steaks and grilled the steaks until done, about 10-12 minutes. Look how juicy they look.
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As you can see, there are 2 large steaks and a baby piece on the plate. He only marinated the 2 large steaks in the McCormick marinade. The baby piece was quickly marinated in Dale’s sauce. Out of the 2, my personal favorite was the McCormick marinade. The first bite has your tongue tingling with the sweetness of the brown sugar and the bite of the mixture of vinegar and bourbon. The Dale’s has a burst of salty flavor, but it was not as flavorful as the other.

Brandon also grilled onion slices in a foil pack with butter and lemon pepper seasoning, which is something he normally cooks when he uses the grill. However, Brandon did not cook the whole meal. I did contribute to dinner by cooking a potato in the microwave. Since grilling doesn’t take a lot of time, I did not have time to bake the potato in the oven. I was plenty full and satisfied from everything on the plate.
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This has been another awesome meal from the Griffin Kitchen.

Brownie Pie

Have you ever sat down to watch tv and started craving something sweet? That is exactly what happened last night after dinner. So, Brandon asked me was there anything sweet in the kitchen. I replied, “Maybe, if you count a can of peaches as something sweet.” That was not the answer nor the solution he was wanting to hear.

Within a few minutes, he was gone to the kitchen in search for a recipe. He grabbed a local church’s cookbook that was given to me by his mother a few Christmases ago and flipped to the dessert section. He pulled out a recipe from his past that he cooked when he lived at home. That recipe was called Brownie Pie. And, I will say that it was everything brownie and everything pie. It was very delicious, chocolatey, and fluffy.

Since I already have your mouth watering (if I haven’t, then scroll down to the picture and you will get the same effect), here is the recipe:

Brownie Pie

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Place eggs, sugar, butter flour, cocoa, vanilla, and salt in small mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixers or 4 minutes. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased pie plate. Bake for 30 minutes or until center poked with toothpick comes out clean. The pie will settle as it cooks. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Brandon added some chocolate chips because we had about 2 Tablespoons of cocoa and he didn’t want to miss out on that good chocolate flavor. He also omitted the nuts because we were out of stock. Here are the ending results:
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Yes for whipped cream! The best part is that you can eat this pie any time of day. I had a piece for breakfast this morning with whipped cream and almond milk. It just made my morning that much brighter.

Simple Homecoming Sides

One reason I am grateful for living in the South is for our strong Christian faith. Yes, we live in the Bible Belt and I enjoy being able to worship in my church freely. We believe in the KJV Bible and we believe in prayer. We attend a fairly large church. I am not sure of the actual number, but most of the time when our church has service, it is full and when we have special services, we are extra full.  You can check out our church here

We are Baptists.  Brandon and I have grown up in Baptist churches.  And, there is one thing that we know to be true…Baptists LOVE to eat and fellowship and fellowship and eat, especially at our church.  Also, Southern Baptist ladies know how to cook! For most special occasions, we have a meal that follows a service. Today was an example of a special service because we celebrated our church’s Homecoming.  We had The Phillips Family to lead the worship with southern gospel singing and their father, Bro. Clifford Phillips, brought our sermon.  We were blessed to have them with us.  After the service, we all were dismissed to the new fellowship hall for lunch.  We had so much food that the men had to bring out extra tables for the main food and all the desserts covered the bar.

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These pictures shown above are courtesy of Unity Baptist Church.

Here are a few things that we took for the meal.
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The first picture is The Pioneer Woman’s cornbread.  I posted about it a few days ago.  You can find the recipe here.  The link for the post is here.  I decided to cut it up in smaller bites, so more people would be able to enjoy it.

The other top picture is “Betty Crocker Suddenly Pasta Salad: Ranch & Bacon”.  This pasta is just straight from the box.  I did not add anything extra to it.  Sometimes I will mix in bacon bits, but I was running low on my bacon bit stash today.

The bottom picture is a simple Green Bean Casserole.  We got this recipe from the “Martha Goolsby Friends and Family Cookbook”.  I bought this cookbook a year or so ago.  A lady from our town created this cookbook of her and her friends’ recipes and proceeds were given to the local My Choices Pregnancy Center.  The recipe is similar to the one on the back of French’s French Fried Onions box and I’m sure the recipe is on some website, but just so you don’t have to search for it, I am posting it below.  The only things that we did different are we added Cut Green Beans instead of French Style and we cooked the casserole for 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes.

 

 

Green Bean Casserole

2 cans French style green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 can French Fried Onions

Drain beans, heat soup and milk together.  Mix with beans and add 1/2 can of fried onions.  Pour into 8×8 square casserole dish and bake 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  Crumble rest of onions on top of casserole and return to oven for 5 minutes. 

We prepared this the night before.  All you have to do is follow the recipe by mixing the cream of mushroom, milk, and beans.  We mixed in the onions the next morning and continued along the recipe.

 

I want to say how blessed I am and how I love my sweet husband.  He helped me get all this together last night and this morning.  He cooked the pasta salad last night as I prepared the casserole.  Then, this morning he finished the casserole while I got ready and he has always been my flipper for my cornbread.  He does such a great job with that. 🙂  I am so glad God brought us together.  Since the church is not having Sunday night services, we are going to enjoy a night of Sunday Night Football and eat leftovers.

Quick and Easy Meatless Meal

It all started with a boy and a girl who fell in love. Brandon has always loved food, but not the case for me. I didn’t truly begin to love food until I met Brandon. My daily menu consisted of chicken, pizza, burgers and fries. Sometimes I would order the occasional 2 soft tacos from the local Mexican restaurant. However, Brandon introduced me to the creamy sweet potato casserole with the crunchy brown sugar and pecan crust and the ding dong cake that has layers of moist chocolate cake with a white cream filling and topped with a milky sweet chocolate frosting. Doesn’t that make you just want to grab a fork and a big glass of milk?

With this new vision of the food world, I began to indulge in my passion for cooking. I started practicing new recipes on my family, Brandon, and his family on holidays. I learned not everything tastes as good as it looks on a picture and don’t just try any new recipe on a large group without getting previous feedback from other people.

It has been 9 years since that boy and girl met. 9 years of burnt dishes, lots of trial and errors, broken glasses and dishes, and some awesome recipes that we are wanting to share with y’all. The meal we are posting today comes from our love of The Pioneer Woman. When we saw Ree Drummond on The Food Network, we knew she was a fabulous cook. And, she proves it with her cornbread recipe.
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This picture is from Tuesday night. After two helpings, we ended up with one piece leftover that I finished off Wednesday night. The picture doesn’t do the cornbread any justice. It doesn’t let you feel the crusty outer layer resting on top of the buttery and fluffy bread center. For the recipe, click here. From experience, make sure you follow the directions exactly how it is written. Otherwise, you will have burnt or doughy cornbread. Brandon’s advice is to be careful when flipping the cornbread out of the skillet or you might pinch the sides.

One of our favorite pairings with the cornbread are canned veggies. And one of Brandon’s favorites is cornbread and cold milk. I know it’s not very creative or gourmet, but it’s something quick when you are in a hurry. So, Tuesday night I opened a can of green beans and a can of pinto beans, drained them, washed them, and placed them in a microwavable bowl. To the green beans, I added 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. butter, and 1 Tbsp. Italian dressing. To the pintos, I added 1 Tbsp. butter and heated the bowls for 2 minutes each. And, don’t forget a dash of salt and pepper! 1 large slice of cornbread and 1 scoop of each of the beans on our shiny red square plates and we had created a 30 minute meatless meal for Tuesday that is quick and easy. It is nothing fancy, but sometimes southern comfort foods aren’t a masterpiece for the eyes, just the stomach.
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