Monday, July 20, 2009

Super Easy and Impressive Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One of my top 3 favorite desserts is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and it is my absolute favorite pie. Yet again, I found myself thinking, why haven't I ever made it before? We were going to Carl's parent's house on Sunday, and we offered to bring dessert. So I decided to try my hand at it, and to top it off, I decided to do a lattice top for the first time.

Wowsa- ok, 1. This pie is phenomenal. I'm not kidding. If you are a fan of the berry and the barb, MAKE THIS! I am already getting ready to make it again on Wednesday. I'm completely serious. 2. It is REALLY easy, even the lattice top. If you've never tried one do it. Youtube a tutorial on it, it was even easier than they made it look. And it's so impressive! AAAAAaaaand now I'm contemplating just making one for myself tomorrow. Hehe.

Now, I cheated. I used refrigerated dough, Pillsbury to be exact. I really find it to be tasty and, well easy. But feel free to try the recipe included below, I found it here.

For crust
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 10 tablespoons (about) ice water

For filling
  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)


Make crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

Make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

* I actually warmed the oven to 400, then before the put the pie in, turned it down to 375. Then after 20 minutes turned it down to 350. It turned out perfectly for me

My First Wilton Cake Sans Training

I've made my nephew's birthday cakes each year, he turned 5 last week, and his party was on Saturday. The theme was pirates, so when I saw the Wilton mold of a pirate ship, I knew that would have to be it. I've used Wilton molds in the past, but I've never actually used the tips. This year, I decided to up the ante and go all out. Granted, I've never taken a Wilton course (although...I might now). I used a cake mix, but I made my own frosting, so I'll include that below along with my own tips.

Wilton Buttercream Frosting:
1 tsp vanilla
1/4c evaporated milk
1/2 shortening
1/2 butter (unsalted)
1 lb powdered sugar (4 cups)

Mix in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

My own tips:
  • Regardless of what your cake says, just double the frosting. It's easier to just double it and have extra rather than have to stop mid-frosting and make a new batch if you run out. I know this by experience...
  • Buy extra couplers- the white plastic part that attaches the tip to the frosting bag. This way you don't have to wash them between colors. Again....experience only here. :(
  • Give yourself plenty of time! Luckily I didn't have anything else planned that day, so I could just work on it until I felt it was done.
  • Make your cake the day before if possible. This way you don't have to wait for it to cool and get burnt out by spending that much more time working on it!
  • Practice with the tips a little on the back of a cookie sheet to get the hang of it.
Really, I think the classes would be nice, but for simple enough designs, you can totally do it without them!

So, I won't make you wait any longer! Here it is, I'm pretty happy with it. Although, I'm looking forward to perfecting my skills in the future!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baked Egg Rolls

For a girl that loves fried food, these baked egg rolls, that I found here, were pretty darn good! Next time I will definitely add more things to the filling such as veggies and maybe mini shrimp to give them more flavor. Otherwise they were great and crisped up well!

You’ll need:

* egg roll wrappers
* a bag of cole slaw mix
* a can of mushrooms
* 1 tsp garlic, minced
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* a splash of soy sauce
* salt and pepper
* cooking spray or olive oil in a mister (I use olive oil in a mister)


* mung bean sprouts
* can of tiny cooked shrimp
* anything else you think would be good inside of the egg rolls
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your cole slaw in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave 3-6 minutes.
2. Chop your mushrooms and put them in a mixing bowl. This is also when you’d put in the bean sprouts, shrimp, or other fillings.
3. Add the soy sauce, garlic and ginger.
4. By now your cole slaw mix should be cooked. Drain it to get out any excess liquid as no one likes a soggy egg roll. Combine it with the rest of the filling.
5. Place a bit of filling in the center of each wrapper. (See that little bowl? That has water in it, which you’ll need for sealing the edges.)
6.Fold in two of the corners.
7. Put a bit of water on the top edges with your finger. Fold up the bottom, and roll as tightly as you can to the edge. It helps if you tuck while you roll.
8. Repeat for the rest of the wrappers, and place the egg rolls on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil (mmm… olive oil). Spray the tops of the egg rolls with the oil, too.
9. Bake 15 minutes, then flip the egg rolls over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving (this will let the wrappers get a little more crisp too).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

I had orange shrimp at PF Changs not too long ago, and so I thought I'd try my hand at orange chicken at home. I was a little nervous as Asian fare usually seems complicated, but I found this very easy to follow. I personally would have liked it a little more savory than sweet, so I would add more soy next time. Otherwise it was really good!


* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes (I only used one very large chicken breast)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
* 1 (6 ounce) package crispy chow mein noodles
*I also used about 2 cups of frozen veggies- I added them in with the chicken


1. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, salt, garlic and brown sugar. Mix well.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. When oil begins to bubble, add chicken. Saute until cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Add orange sauce mixture to chicken and cook until sauce begins to bubble. Add flour, a little bit at a time, until sauce has thickened to your liking. Add bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute; serve hot over chow mein noodles.

My Notes: I definitely had enough sauce, but if you are going to make it with 4 pieces of chicken, I would increase the amount, but I like things saucy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5 Star Rouladen

This recipe comes all the way from Germany, literally. It came from Carl's great-grandma, who taught it to her daughter-in-law, Carl's grandma. She then passed the recipe to her daughter-in-law, Carl's mom. So naturally, my mother-in-law followed tradition and honored me with this recipe. And now (with a touch of hesitation as I feel as though this is sacred ground I am treading here), I'm sharing it with you!

The first time I had this meal was just a few short weeks into my relationship with Carl. I'll be honest, it didn't look all that appetizing, but my hesitations quickly fled after my first bite. This dish is so tender, so juicy, basically a festival of flavors in your mouth! So, if you have ALL day to cook, and I'm not exaggerating, and you want a guaranteed to please feast, include this one on your menu. It won't fail you!

Start with this cast of characters:

  • 3 lbs sirloin tip- cut as thin as humanly (or bladely...) possible. Call ahead to your butcher. Tell them you need it REALLY thin and mention that freezing it for awhile helps. Trust me on this.
  • 6 white onions, diced
  • 1 lb bacon, chopped very finely, but not cooked
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mustard
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Small metal skewers- most commonly used for turkey

Make an assembly line of sorts with 3 pieces of meat laid out flat. If there are holes in it, just adjust the meat so they overlap. Give the meat a nice coating of mustard, a sprinkle of onion and bacon and season with salt and pepper.

Starting on the end closest to you start rolling it up and then pull the sides in- secure with a metal skewer. Hard to explain, but the visual should help. Repeat until the sight of meat, mustard and onion make you want to punch someone. Or until you run out of meat...that works too.

Heat up your skillet and melt the butter in it. If you do a full batch, you will most likely need two skillets, electric skillets work the best! Once the butter has melted, lay each of the meat rolls into the pan and cook them on medium until browned, turning once. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes.

Crank the heat down until the liquid is BARELY bubbling. Let it cook for approximately 4 hours. This could vary though, but when the meat is almost falling apart, it's Rouladen!

With the leftover drippings, make a gravy with water and cornstarch. It is a requirement to serve this with mashed potatoes. Trust me. (I've made you trust me a lot with this haven't I? Don't worry....I'm trustworthy)

We are looking at meat, more meat, mustard and onion. How much more German can you get? I plan to make this dish for many years and hope to pass the tradition on some day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Smothered BBQ Ranch Chicken

This recipe has apparently been floating around, but I finally saw someone mention it today on this blog. It was REALLY good. I can't wait to make it when Carl is home!

4 chicken breasts (I used 2 large breasts)
3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used 2/3 c)
3/4 cup fat free ranch dressing (again, 2/3 c)

Mix ranch and bbq sauce together- pour over chicken in frying pan.

Let simmer for 30-35 minutes until cooked. Top it with shredded cheese (I used cheddar), a sprinkle of chopped bacon (I omitted), and a handful of chopped scallions (load it up!).

*Mine only needed about 20-25 minutes and after about 10 minutes I poured in about a 1/4 cup of water to keep it from drying out.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Shhh, I'm a little behind on posts. For Carl's birthday, I wanted to attempt his favorite dessert, flourless chocolate cake. Almost every time we go to a new restaurant, he will ask if they have it. But, since I was making him a restaurant style dinner for his birthday, I figured this only seemed appropriate, so I tried a recipe on He now says this is what he wants for his birthday cake every year, haha.
*Please note, this is more like a fudge than anything. Very rich! I served it with raspberries and whip cream, which in my opinion, made it perfect!


* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
* 1 cup unsalted butter
* 6 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.
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