Caramel Apple Pie

Dessert, Happiness is homemade, Holidays, Recipes

This is not your classic American pie —- a caramel apple pie with holiday cheer, rum! I couldn’t help but smile while simmering the apple ingredients together. Every room filled with this wonderful aroma. I was eager to try Williams-Sonoma’s salted caramel apple pie recipe.  Let me state the recipe does not call for rum but it should, Lol. The flavors are on point and scrump-a-licious! The salted caramel sauce was purchased on sale and it’s amazing! I’m not just saying that. For those non-sweet n’ salty people, do not let the salted caramel sauce fool you. It is delightfully sweet. 

I use Allrecipes buttery pie crust and replace regular butter with Irish butter. My apologies about the yellow tone photo as I forgot to photograph prior to egg wash. 

Happy Holidays! #baketheworldabetterplace #applelicious 

For the Filling: 4 lbs Granny smith (I combined granny smith & fuji apples) peeled and sliced – 1/2 cup light brown sugar – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg – 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice – 3 Tbs. cornstarch – 1/2 tsp. sea salt Note: I added 3 tablespoons of Captain Morgan rum – 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar 

Salted Caramel recipe: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – 1/4 cup  water- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice – 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt OR purchase Williams Sonoma’s salted caramel sauce on line or in stores

 

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Autumn, Dessert, Happiness is homemade, Recipes

Baking season is here! I love carrot cake ….who am I kidding I LOVE cake. Period. 

Did you know Fall is peak carrot season? I never cared for this dessert until my 30’s. The first recipe I made the icing was way too sweet. After an Oprah episode airing Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Macaroni n’ Cheese, I purchased her recipe book. Her Heavenly Carrot Cake is just that …heavenly. 

The little decorative carrot chocolate melts are perfect on top. I googled these adorable carrots — practice and practice some more. I modified the icing with less confectioners sugar.

A cupcake is happiness with icing on top 🥕😋#bakemyday

Cake Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour – 2 teaspoons baking soda – 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon – 1/8 tsp ground allspice – 1/2 tsp salt – 2 cups sugar – 1 cup vegetable oil – 2 large eggs – 2 tsp vanilla extract – four 4 oz jars carrot baby food – 8 oz can shredded pineapple, well drained – 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting Ingredients: 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature – 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature – 1 tablespoon half n’ half or milk – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (I modified to 3 cups)

Sicilian Chicken Soup

Autumn, Food for the Soul, Happiness is homemade, Home Cooking, Uncategorized

Fall is my favorite season! Gorgeous colored leaves, apple cider, football, hockey, boots…a long list of seasonal favorites that includes soup for the soul. 

Inspired by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Spicy Sicilian Chicken Soup.  A warm bowl of deliciousness! I printed a copy cat recipe, doubt it will be “exactly” like theirs. Similar ingredients along with some cooking confidence, it tastes amazing.

Whether you’re a chicken noodle kind of lover, creamy or vegetable soup lover…there’s just something about soup that’s good for your soul.

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts – 6 to 8 cups of water – one 14.5 oz can chicken broth – 1 yellow onion finely chopped – 3 celery ribs diced – 3 carrots diced – 1 green bell pepper – 2 medium russet potatoes peeled & diced – one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup fresh parsley – 3 garlic cloves pressed or diced – kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste – half box ditalini pasta cooked & set aside

Directions: 

  • In a slow cooker add chicken breast, water, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots and diced tomatoes (whole can with juice), garlic, parsley and 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
  • Cook on low for 6 hours, remove chicken breasts and shred, place back in the soup. Add potatoes and pasta, allow to cook/simmer additional hour. Note: I peeled & boiled potatoes, cooled down and slightly mashed for pieces.
  • Modified ingredients
  • Tastes better the 2nd day : )

#comfortfood #emmmsoup  

This is my Grandmom’s recipe — I can hear her southern accent calling it “slaw”. Her laugh was contagious, stories were funny and her slaw was a tradition passed down.

I love a side of good coleslaw with seafood, ham, burgers, ribs (anything barbecue) and Thanksgiving dinner. For our family, Grandmom’s slaw became a holiday tradition!  I sat with my Mom and Grandmom shredding an enormous amount of cabbage & carrots the day before Thanksgiving….for years. 

Grandmom always added raisins. My older sister disliked having raisins combined so we made a separate bowl without too. It wasn’t until years later, I realized everyone’s idea of dressing does not include mayonnaise.

I find myself shredding a small portion throughout the year for home made happiness on the side. Serves 4-6 people, depending on portion. This recipe is definitely creamy with a slight crunch. 

#southernslaw #tradition #sidesalad 🥕

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium cabbage head, shredded
  • 1 1/2 to 2 fresh carrots, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounce small box of raisins, optional

Directions: 

Remove outer layers of cabbage. Cut into 4 pieces. Shred cabbage (watch your fingers), place into medium/large mixing bowl. Rinse and peel carrots, shred and combine with cabbage. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise & vinegar stir and then add sugar. Mix well. Pour dressing over the cabbage and carrots, stir together. Allow to refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Optional: for extra creamy coleslaw, allow to marinate overnight.

Food for the Soul, Happiness is homemade, Home Cooking, Recipes

Smokey Gouda Mac n’ Cheese

Food for the Soul, Home Cooking, Recipes

Cheese…yes please! Smoked gouda might just be my new favorite. A creamy texture and hickory flavor that melts beautifully.

I’ve made the same 5 cheese macaroni n’ cheese recipe for years…thanks to Patti LaBelle. It is delicious however, it’s time to switch it up.

A tad reluctant while whisking the flour & butter. It crossed my mind, what if we don’t like it? My motto is, try it! If you don’t like it, spit it out into a napkin but at least you can say you tried it. Something I taught my son while growing up.

The View from Great Island originated the recipe however, I modified this macaroni & cheese recipe to my taste.

I will definitely make this again! The smoked gouda gave a hint of flavor different to cheddar and it was amazing. We all went back for seconds… it’s all Gouda 😀😋

#sundaydinner #itsallgouda #cheeseplease

Ingredients:

  • – 3 cups cooked macaroni, follow instructions on box
  • – 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • – 1 TSP salt and pepper
  • – 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • – 2 cups smoked Gouda, shredded
  • – 2 to 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • – 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350. Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour, whisk together; stir constantly. Add the milk and whisk to combine over heat and simmer. Over low heat or remove saucepan from stove top, begin adding the shredded Gouda. Handful or so at a time, stir until melted and repeat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook pasta, al dente. Drain. Whisk or beat egg, pour into bowl with cooked pasta, stir until combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta with melted cheese mixture. Stir. Pour into a baking dish or individual dishes. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • * Optional – After cooking macaroni, I add extra butter. Stir until melted and then add egg. Sprinkle shredded cheese to top and broil until golden brown*

Goose Island Brewhouse – Philly

Restaurant Foodie

Happy Father’s Day!

One of my favorite beers is Goose Island Cooper Project. Goose Island originates from Chicago, a handful of locations including their most recent opening located in Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing neighborhood.

f242c0c5-4f4c-4ca4-81c7-1e20f0cab09aWalked inside to a friendly welcome from staff and of course barrels n’ barrels of brew. Nice size bar including an outdoor seating area. I immediately noticed the goose tap handles (made me smile) and ordered a 10 oz glass of Cooper Project #1, Scotch ale. This is a rotating series of bourbon barrel aged beers. It’s smooth with an appealing flavor…perhaps it’s the bourbon.  

I ordered the House made pretzel that is gigantic but so delicious. Buttery, slight crunch on the outside & chewy inside with a side of beer cheese and beer mustard. Goose Island’s beer cheese is fantastic! Kudos to the inventor of beer cheese because I love it.

Craft beer enthusiasts will appreciate what this Goose has to offer! Pour me, drink me, repeat 🍻😃

Photos by AimsHerWay

Mini Bunny Cakes

Dessert, Uncategorized

Instead of dying eggs….I dyed cake.

My heart was set on baking carrot cake until I stumbled upon this dessert on Pinterest. It was so much fun to make and absolutely love the Spring colors!!

I was able to make four (4) mini cakes — purchased small boxes from Michael’s and shared these adorable cakes with a couple of my friends kids. Of course, I kept a mini for myself. It was moist & sweet! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend : )

 

IMG_0377

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • buttercream frosting
  • Wilton food coloring
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • pink sparkling sugar
  • parchment paper
  • round cookie cutter
  • pink jelly jeans
  • decorating tip
  • decorating bag
  1. Prepare batter from two boxes of White Cake mix and split into four equal portions
  2. Tint each portion a different color – pink, yellow, purple and blue
  3. Line a medium sized cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour batter onto cookie sheet. Let it settle on a flat surface for 15 minutes
  4. Bakes the cakes according to instructions on the cake box
  5. Let cool
  6. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the cake layers
  7. Make a batch of your best buttercream frosting
  8. Add a circle of frosting between each layer of cake
  9. Use a Wilton 2D or tip of choice with decorating bag and pipe a full circle onto each cake (as your layer)
  10. Make the bunny ears with marshmallows and sparkling sugar. Slice or cut two diagonal pieces of marshmallow. Lay the sticky part of marshmallow into the pink sugar.
  11. Stick the pink marshmallows into ear position and use a jellybean to make your nose.

Note: I swirled one circle along the edge of each layer and one small dollop in the middle. Decorate top layer.

 

 

 

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Bowl

Food for the Soul, Recipes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A history of leftover meat & potato meal made into this savory dish. My former, very Irish Mother-in-law taught me her recipe when I was 22 years old. Since that was ‘way back’, I’ve tweaked; added my own seasoning and vegetables …including beer.

I zhuzh’ed it up for everything green day! Normally cooked in a plain casserole dish. My son, Tyler always gets a second serving …and enjoyed every bite of this meat and potato bowl.

#blas #slainte ☘️🍺

Ingredients:

– 4 large russet potatoes

-6 tablespoons butter

– 1/2 lb chuck ground beef

– 1 tablespoon sauté onions

– 1 package McCormick’s brown gravy

-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

– 1 cup cooked peas & chopped carrots (small frozen bag or canned vegetable of your liking)

– 1/2 cup milk

– 2 tablespoons sour cream

– 1/4 chopped chives

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Dessert, Recipes, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays! I never cared for pecan pie for a couple reasons… always seemed dry, too sweet or too heavy. So, for years I skipped it at parties & holidays. Baked pies over the years but not this one. A huge fan of Food Network and The Cooking Channel, Dinner at Tiffani’s aired a holiday special. I immediately printed the recipe. OMG….delicious! Finally understand why people like pecan pie. Perfect balance and not dry : )

I always love making homemade whipped cream. Great for dipping fruit too… if you can refrain from eating it by the spoonful! 

IMG_8876

Ingredients

Pecan Pie:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 rolled frozen pie crusts, thawed according to package directions
  • 3 cups whole pecans
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vanilla Whipped Cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Directions:

Special equipment: two 9-inch pie plates

For the pie: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn syrup, sugar, bourbon, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk until mixed and the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Unroll the pie crusts and press into two 9-inch pie plates. Trim the excess around the rims and then crimp the edges. Evenly divide the pecans between the pie crusts. Set the pie plates on a large baking sheet.

Whisk the eggs into the cooled sugar mixture and pour it over the pecans in both pie plates. Bake the pies until they are mostly set but still slightly jiggly in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

For the whipped cream: Put the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla bean paste, and whip until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat, or the cream will become grainy.

Serve slices of pecan pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Chicken Elegant Casserole

Food for the Soul, Recipes

This chicken casserole is a recipe passed down by my Grandmom. Chicken Elegant — it’s not really an “elegant” dish however, it disappears quickly at gatherings and is still one of my son’s favorites.

It’s a simple casserole. I’ve made this several times over 20+ years including for work parties. One particular holiday party, Nurses and other colleagues were saying how delicious it is. A few colleagues skipped the dish thinking it was “just” stuffing…. Wrong! The few jumped up to try a spoonful however, the casserole was gone. Lol! I made it again the following week specifically for the few who missed out : )

Recipe below. Great for any season! #bonappetit 

  • 4 chicken breasts 
  • 1 box Stove Top Stuffing
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can chicken broth

Recipe: 

Place chicken in crock pot or slow cooker; pour chicken broth over chicken and cook for 3-4 hours on low (chicken should fall apart when cooked thoroughly). Shred or chop chicken to your liking, place in 13×9 dish. Mix; stir cream of chicken soup and sour cream together in a bowl; combine with chicken in casserole dish; mix it all up. Pour uncooked stuffing into a separate bowl, melt 1/2 stick of butter in saucepan and pour butter over stuffing; mix together. Spoon stuffing evenly on top of chicken (as a crust). If stuffing appears dry, I melt a little more butter to pour over top. Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. Note: Check stuffing crust top after 15-20 minutes; cover with foil if browning quickly & continue to bake. Allow to cool and serve with side of vegtables or salad. Enjoy!