Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Apple Pie

Nothing says 'Fall' quite like a freshly baked apple pie.

Admittedly my childhood has turned me into an apple pie snob.  My mom's go-to recipe was from the Joy of Cooking and once you've tried this, no other pie comes close. I attribute this to slicing the apples thin, this doesn't use large chunky apple pieces. By slicing them thin, each forkful is a dense bite of layered apples perfectly covered in sweet and cinnamony goodness. The finishing touch on this is a family trick from a great-great-aunt, brush the top crust with milk for that mouth-watering golden brown finish.


-1 package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
-6 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2/3 cup dark brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 tablespoon butter, cubed
-1/2 tablespoon milk
-cinnamon and sugar for topping

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line the bottom pie dish with the first pie crust. Trim the edges slightly for an even edge.

2. In a bowl, mix the apple slices, white sugar, and brown sugar. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg then pour into apples and stir to combine. Dump into pie shell. Sprinkle the cubed butter over top the apples.

3. Top the pie with the top crust, seal and flute the edges, trim any that is too much excess. Lightly brush the top crust with the milk (as much as you need, you might not use the whole 1/2 tablespoon). Then take additional white sugar and cinnamon and generously sprinkle over the crust. Lastly, cut several vent holes.

4. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake 40 minutes.

Source: Joy of Cooking

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Oatmeal Bites

"Wewease the secwet weapon!"

Unless you've the movie an An American Tail, you have no idea what I'm talking about. Long story short it's a cartoon mouse that pronounces "r's" as "w's".

But as we have entered October, I can't help of think of that phrase as we release the secret weapon of Fall: pumpkin!

As I strolled up the "not big enough for 2 shopping carts" aisle of my local Shop Rite I grabbed several cans of pumpkin in preparation for this Fall season, and now that it is universally acceptable to burn apple spice candles and cook with pumpkin, I present to you Pumpkin Chocolate Oatmeal Bites.

These are best as a snack with coffee or a little bite for breakfast. These aren't a rich, decadent dessert more of a light coffee treat. I added the cinnamon sugar mixture over top, you can leave it off but I felt without that they were tasting a little low on the sweet meter.

-2 cups old fashioned oats
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 egg white
-1 egg
-3/4 cup milk
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Heat the oven to 350 and grease a mini muffin tin.

2. Combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg white, egg, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Spoon into mini muffin tins, filling them to the top. Bake for 15 minutes.

Source: Emily Bites

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Oven Baked Tortilla Chips

My name is Catherine, and I'm a snackaholic.

I'm all about the snacks. You name it...tapas, appetizers, dips, hors d'oeuvres, they are all my weakness. I much prefer to have an assortment of light bites rather than a full dinner, but in a house with two men ages 41 and 17 that doesn't necessarily always cut it at dinner time. But on the weekends or during Sunday game time I can indulge my affinity for assorted snacks.

So I love a good dip. And since I love a good dip, I'm pretty picky about the chip that gets paired with said dip. I have a few brands I'm particularly fond of, but occasionally I'll opt to make my own oven baked tortilla chips. I love these because I don't just make a plain chip, these get seasoned and are super flavorful and pair really nice with a cool dip. You can leave the seasonings off and just salt them if you're looking for a basic chip. The amount of seasoning really varies to what your taste is, I recommend making one batch first, trying them, and seeing if you've nailed it the first time or if you need to increase of decrease the quantities.


Each flour tortilla will yield 8 chips
-8 flour tortillas (do not use corn, I find they become chewy not crunchy!)
-vegetable oil
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-sea salt (you can use regular table salt, but I find the ground sea salt texture is best)
-cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Turn your oven to broil on high.

2. Poke each tortilla several times with a fork. Brush each tortilla with about 1/2 teaspoon of oil enough to moisten the the whole tortilla but you don't want to have pools of oil on top. Sprinkle each tortilla with your desired amount of seasonings. I typically do 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder and salt, then a dash of the onion powder and paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Certainly at more cayenne if you want a spicy chip. With a pizza cutter, cut into 8 triangles.

3.  These are rapid cook chips since it's on broil, it helps to make a big batch in a matter of minutes, but it means you REALLY gotta watch these and time them as they are broiling. The difference between deliciously crispy chips and incinerated pieces of black triangles is about 2 seconds. So, broil each batch for 1 minute and 30 seconds. That's it, if your broiler isn't as strong as the one in my oven you can go a few more seconds until they are golden browned and crispy. If you prefer a slower cook, you can bake at 350 for 7 minutes, flip and cook another 7-8 minutes.

A Seasoned Greeting Original 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blueberry Muffins

3 months. 2 weddings. 1 busy summer!

This past weekend marked the sweet finish to a busy, yet amazing summer! For those of you that don't know, I married my husband on June 18. As this was the second marriage for both of us, we opted for a very small and intimate wedding. I quickly found out that even a wedding dubbed "small and intimate" carries the same nerves and stress as a 100+ person event! But even with all the jitters, last minute stresses, and hours and hours of projects I would want to live this day over and over again.

So I mentioned 2 weddings this summer. My older brother just tied the knot this past weekend! The weather decided to be quite mischievous. All week the forecast showed the wedding day as being the only day of the week it would rain. Now don't start with the "It's good luck if it rains on your wedding!". No bride wants a rainy day. None! Anyway, as the hours passed and we got closer and closer to 'go time', the rain completely disappeared from the forecast and the sun made a spectacular appearance setting just behind the ceremony site. Many hors d'oeuvres and cocktails later the evening was deemed a huge success.

Now onto the yummy part.

These blueberry muffins are epic. The unique finish to these is that they aren't topped with your plain ole cinnamon + sugar, Oh no. These get topped with nutmeg + sugar. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.

-2 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 cup milk
-2 cups fresh blueberries

-1 tablespoon sugar
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 375. Prepare your muffin tins by greasing and sprinkling with flour, do not use liners!

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, then beat in the sugar, then the eggs, then the vanilla. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk.  Lastly, stir in the blueberries.

3. Fill each muffin tin to the top. Mix together the sugar and nutmeg and sprinkle over each muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the muffin tins for 30 minutes before removing.

Source: Jordan Marsh

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Twenty seconds.

Twenty seconds is about how long it takes to sing Happy Birthday.

From the singer's perspective, the most you have to worry about is hitting those final high notes without your voice cracking or hitting a key you didn't even know existed. The singee on the other hand, well they need to ensure the most awkward twenty seconds of their year.

Honestly, what are we to do when a group of people are signing to us? We can't join in and sing to ourselves that's just plain weird. Record it on video? Hmmm, no I barely have enough room of storage on my phone for my selfies let alone a video I'll delete tomorrow. I guess that leaves sitting in silence and trying not to make direct eye contact with anyone. Hopefully, you're lucky enough to have a deliciously looking chocolate cake like below to stare at. I made this dark chocolate frosted cake for my husband's 41st birthday. The cake itself was a light white cake that paired nicely with the richness of the frosting. Topped with dark chocolate shavings this didn't last very long in our house of chocoholics.

-2 sticks butter, softened
-3 cups powdered sugar
-1 bar Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa (4oz bar)
-5 tablespoons light cream
-2 tablespoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla

1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate bar with the light cream, adding more light cream by the tablespoon if the mixture is too stiff. Reserve one square from the bar to grate over the cake.

2. Whip the butter until fluffy, slowly beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, then the dark chocolate ganache, lastly the cocoa powder. Beat until fluffy and spreadable.

3. Smooth over cake and grate dark chocolate over top.

A Seasoned Greeting Original

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fajita Pasta

Remember in my last post how I talked about how I like quick and easy dinners that don't require hours of dicing, 10 different kitchen gadgets, and a lost appetite before the meal is even served?

Good. You'll want to try Fajita pasta.

There is so much warm flavor in this and it's so versatile, easily make this vegetarian by removing the chicken, or you can really go for it and add shrimp as the original recipe called for. I opted to omit the shrimp for several reasons:
          a. No one else eats shrimp in the house.
          b. I wanted to keep this cheap and when it comes down to buying more k-cups or shrimp I made the rational adult decision and chose caffeine.
          c. The deveining process can be a bit of an appetite-killer.

-1/2 box penne pasta
-2-3 chicken breasts, butterflied or use thin cut
-seasoning for chicken: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
-1 red pepper, diced
-3-4 tablespoons dice red onion (reserve some for garnishing)
-1 can corn, drained (15.25oz can)
-1 can black beans, drained (10.5oz can)
-2 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (I like Ortega)
-2 cans enchilada sauce (10oz each)
-2oz cream cheese
-1 tablespoon EVOO

1. Cook the pasta. I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but you never know.

2. Heat the oven to 350, season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cook chicken for 26-27 minutes. Remove from oven and shred or dice.

3. In a pan over medium heat, heat the EVOO and add the red pepper, corn, a few tablespoons of red onion (however much you desire, just reserve some for garnishing), and the fajita seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If it's sticking, add a little water to the pan and stir.

4. Add the cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt, pour in all enchilada sauce and stir til everything is incorporated. With the drained pasta in a large pot, pour in your sauce, plus the drained black beans and the chicken. Stir and service immediately, garnishing with diced red onions.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Honey Lime Chicken

I'm always searching for dinners that are quick and easy but aren't lacking in the flavor department. Don't let having a food blog fool you, I'm not embarking on hours long prep work every night and getting my Martha Stewart tablescapes on. Most of the time, I want dinner on the table as fast as possible requiring minimal time spent slicing and dicing.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it's become a family favorite. It's quick, it's easy, it's flavorful. And as a bonus, cleanup is a breeze.

-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
-3 tablespoons honey
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-bone-in chicken thighs (maximum of 4, more than that double the sauce recipe)
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-chopped scallions
-1 lime for garnishing

1. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, and all of the soy sauce.

2. Remove skin from the chicken thighs then salt the chicken. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat then add the chicken top side down (basically the side that used to have the skin on it). Cook for about 5 minutes, you want it to get nice and brown.

3. Flip the chicken over and pour in the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover it and cook for 16-18 minutes until fully cooked. During this cooking process, drizzle the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of lime juice and honey. For the last 2 minutes of the cook time raise the heat to medium-high again to thicken the glaze.

4. To serve, drizzle chicken with glaze from the pan, chopped scallions, and a lime wedge.

Source: Julia's Album