Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

This recipe is my grandmother's, making me the third generation use it.  It was among a few favorite family recipes that my grandmother gave me as a gift along with my first recipe box.  It is also my father's favorite pie.  The sweet fluffy topping contrasts deliciously with the sour richness of the lemon curd.  This pie can be made fresh any time of the year but it always makes me think of spring.  I hope your family enjoys this as much as I do.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Total Time: 1.5 hours     Serves: 6-8

  • 1 cup all purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Water

Lemon Curd:

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Hot Water
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter


  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 6 Tablespoons Sugar

For Crust:

Combine flour and crisco in food prosessor, pulse until coarse crumbs form.

Add baking soda and salt to food processor, and with food processor running add water.

Mix dough just until combined.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface, roll out and place into 9 inch pie plate.

Prick pie crust with fork, cover with foil and add pie weights.

Bake at 425 for 10 min.

For Lemon Curd:

Separate eggs.

Whisk egg yolks until slightly foamy and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and water.

Cook over Medium-High heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear.

Remove from heat.

Add 1/4 cup of hot mixture to egg yolks stir to combine and then add back into hot mixture.

Cook on Low for 6 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter.

For Meringue:

In a bowl combine egg whites and lemon juice; beat until foamy.

Add sugar to foamy egg whites one tablespoon at a time.

Beat until smooth glossy peaks form.

Add lemon curd to par-baked crust, top with meringue making sure that meringue touches the crust all the way around.

Bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes until peaks of meringue are browned.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Teriyaki Beef Bowls

The beef in these teriyaki bowls is so moist and tender, and so easy to make.  I like to put a little butter on my rice and veggies to make the meal a little more rich tasting.  The beef can be made in a large batch and kept in the refrigerator or freezer for a meal later.  This makes a great lunch or an easy meal to take to a family after a baby is born.

Teriyaki Beef Bowls
Prep Time: 30 min     Serves: 2
Cook Time: 1 hour

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb. Beef Stew Meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 cups Rice, cooked
  • 2 Carrots, sliced and steamed
  • 1 head of Broccoli, cut up and steamed

Sear beef in hot pan with vegetable oil.

Once beef is browned on all sides, add teriyaki sauce and water.

Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer meat until very tender, about 1 hour.

Serve rice, carrots, broccoli and beef in a bowl, spoon sauce over top.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Olive Garden" Sausage Potato Soup

When we were dating, my husband and I enjoyed going to Olive Garden for the never-ending pasta bowl special in the fall.  I really like the Zuppa Toscana, though I prefer it with less sausage.  This recipe is my best shot at recreating that soup.  For a lower-fat version, replace some of the cream with milk but, really, this soup is well-balanced, quick, and delicious.  If you like spicy foods, try using spicy italian sausage.

I make this soup in the fall and winter when we make more of our family meals together.  It is fun to start the meal with a delicious soup course.  I also like to serve this soup as a main course for a simpler meal.  If you want a soup that really warms the body and sticks to the ribs, this is a great choice.

"Olive Garden" Sausage and Potato Soup
Total Time: 40 min     Serves: 3-4 as the main course or 6-8 as a soup course

  • 1/2 pound Italian Sasuage, bulk or links with casings removed
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 strip of Bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 large clove of Garlic
  • 4 medium Potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 14 oz cans Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups Kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Cream
  • Pepper, to taste

Brown sausage and bacon on medium high heat.

Add onion to bacon and sausage, and cook until translucent.

Add garlic, potatoes and chicken stock and turn heat to high.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add kale, cream and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes or until kale is tender.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

According to my husband, this is the perfect chocolate cream pie.  You start with a premade Oreo pie crust, and add a box of chocolate pie filling.  What makes it special is the homemade whipped chocolate ganache.  It is so good.  The secret is to serve it cold.  If the ganache sits out too long the topping gets soft and the texture is not as nice.

Chocolate Cream Pie is super easy to make, and it will not heat up your kitchen in the summer.  Who can say no to a first rate dessert that only takes a few minutes to prepare?   Enjoy.

Chocolate Cream Pie
Total Time: 10-20 min     Serves: 6-8

  • 1 Oreo Pie Crust
  • 1 Large box of instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 1/2 cups of Milk (or amount called for in the directions on the box of pudding for pie filling)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Chill mixing bowl with cream in freezer for several minutes (do not allow cream to freeze)

Make chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the box for pie filling and pour into crust

Melt chocolate chips in microwave.  Microwave in 20 second increments until chocolate is completely melted.  Let stand for 1 minute to cool.

Add chocolate to cream in mixing bowl and beat with hand (or stand) mixer until fluffy.

Top pie with ganache.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spinach and White Bean Salad

This salad is light and fresh and perfect for a summer dinner party.  The dressing, beans and croutons can all be made in advance and tossed together just before serving.  A simply good salad that anyone can make; and a hit anytime you make it.

My husband likes to take any leftovers (minus the croutons) and cook them.  They are great as a side, or mixed with pasta for a complete lunch.

Spinach and White Bean Salad
Prep Time: 20 min     Cooking and Cooling Time: 40 min     Serves: 8


  • 10 oz. spinach
  • 1 can (15 oz) white beans

Tomato Basil Dressing:

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2-6 Tablespoons of lemon juice, depending on taste
  • 2 green onions
  • pepper
  • 4-6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 Large basil leaves


  • 1/2 baguette of french bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 350

Lightly steam canned beans in small pot with steamer basket.  Set aside to cool.

Toss bread cubes with olive oil, cheese and pepper.

Bake croutons at 350 for 25 min.

Remove croutons from oven and set aside to cool.

In blender add tomato, olive oil, lemon juice, green onion, basil and pepper blend pureed.

In large bowel toss spinach and beans with dressing. 

Sprinkle on croutons.