Fried Apple Hand Pies

I made an apple and pumpkin spice strudel the other day and I had some apple mixture left over. So I decided to make some fried apple hand pies.

I started with some canned biscuits and the leftover apple mixture. I also used a little bit of oil to fry the pies.

I just rolled the biscuits out until they were large enough to put the mixture in and fold over. I did kind of an oval shape.

I then put a little bit of the apple mixture in the middle (don’t overfill it, or the edges won’t stay closed – I know this from experience – you can tell from the pictures). I, then, crimped the edges with a fork.

In a small amount of oil, I fried the pies in a skillet on the stove.

After letting the oil drain a little, I enjoyed my little (imperfect) hand pie!

Corn Chowder

I think that I’ve made it very clear that I love a soup, stew or chowder (well, I’ve never said, on the blog, I love a chowder – but, suffice it to say, I do – now you know!). When I decided to make corn chowder, I got to wondering what makes a chowder a chowder – why isn’t it a stew, for example. In my research, I found that a chowder uses a roux to thicken – perfect, I was planning on using a roux for this dish! I was making a chowder! Go me!

For my corn chowder, I used chicken stock and some bacon – but, you could easily make this a vegetarian dish by foregoing the bacon and using vegetable stock.

Since I wasn’t planning this to be a vegetarian dish I knew I was going to put bacon in it. So, I started by frying a few slices of bacon.

I prepped the potatoes, onion and carrots.

Then I made my roux. For the roux, I used 2 tbsp butt we er (and the bacon grease that was left over) and 3-4 tbsp flour. For a roux, it should be equal parts fat and flour, I just guesstimated on the amount of bacon fat that was left in the dutch oven. I then added in a bit of the chicken stock, brought up to a boil and whisked well, picking up any stuck on bacon pieces from the bottom of the pan.

I added in the remaining chicken broth and 3 cups of skim milk. I added in the vegetables and dry seasonings and brought the broth up to a boil.

I added in the heavy cream last and then stirred everything through. I added in 1/2 of the bacon, crumbled, to the dutch oven.

I reduced the heat, added in a bay leaf, covered and cooked the chowder for about 45 minutes.

Serve topped with crisp bacon.

Corn Chowder

1 large bag frozen corn (32 oz)
4 carrots, chopped
4 russet potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk (I used 3 cups skim and 1 cup heavy cream)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Umami seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp flour

  • Prep vegetables
  • Fry bacon and remove from dutch oven
  • Make roux, using remaining bacon fat, butter and flour
  • Once roux is done, add in chicken broth and then milk
  • Add in vegetables and seasonings, bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes
  • Serve with crisp bacon, if desired (I also added a few pieces of cooked, chopped bacon in prior to simmering)

** If you want to make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock and don’t add bacon

Pumpkin Spice Crescent Rolls

I would feel silly acting as though this is a recipe – it’s not difficult enough to be a recipe – so, let’s just call it ‘the sharing of an idea’, shall we?

As I mentioned before, in this post for my Apple and Pumpkin Spice Strudel, I found some Alouette Pumpkin Spice spreadable cheese at my local Aldi. I decided to use it with some refrigerated crescent rolls and a simple glaze.

All that I did was to unroll the pastries, add in the pumpkin spice spread, rolled up the rolls – and baked per the instructions on the can of crescent rolls.

While the rolls were baking, I made a simple powdered sugar glaze (no measurements – I just added heavy cream to a small amount of powdered sugar, until it was the correct consistency.

When the rolls came out of the oven, I immediately put the glaze over them, so it was melty (is that a word? it should be!) and delicious!

This was super simple, but very much enjoyed!

Sweet and Tangy Baked Apples

As this blog has clearly illustrated, I love baking with apples – today, I decided to bake some apples!

I do like sweets, but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so I often like to mix sweet and tangy. For this recipe, I decided to use some apple cider vinegar (if you want more sweet, and no tang – just substitute the apple cider vinegar with apple juice or apple cider).

I’m home, mostly (I think a teenager holed up, upstairs, doesn’t really count as being home when me. I barely see her!), alone, so I decided to just bake 2 apples. If you choose to do more, just double, triple, whatever the ‘stuffing’ ingredients.

I started by coring two apples (by the way, I just got this apple corer and I LOVE it!).

Then I worked on the ‘filling’ or ‘stuffing’. I kept it pretty simple – I just used butter, nuts (I only had walnuts, but would like to try pecans!), raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup.

I mixed everything, except the maple syrup, to get it all incorporated, first. Then I mixed in the syrup.

I put the cored apples in a small baking dish, with some apple cider vinegar in the bottom.

I filled the centers of the apples with the filling.

I, then, cooked the apples in a 400 degree oven for one hour.

The filling mixes in with the apple cider and makes a wonderful ‘sauce’ of sorts. When serving, feel free to spoon it over the apples.

Sweet and Tangy Baked Apples

2 Honey Crisp Apples

2 tbsp chopped nuts

2 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • Core apples
  • Place apples in baking dish, pour apple cider vinegar in bottom of dish
  • Mix all filling, with exception of maple syrup, until combined
  • Once other ingredients are well combined, mix in maple syrup
  • Put filling in cored apples
  • Bake for 1 hour, in a 400 degree oven
  • Serve warm, spoon sauce that is bottom of baking dish over apples if desired – would be delicious with vanilla ice cream!

Bonus Blog Post: Sometimes the best recipe isn’t a recipe at all! Easy breakfast!

Saturday morning, we were trying to decide what to have for breakfast. Usually, that would mean ‘what kind of recipe am I going to try to come up with today?’ Instead, we decided we just wanted some of the things we love – easy peasy – bacon, eggs and biscuits! And, let’s keep it simple – canned biscuits!

I just fried the bacon in a skillet. Side note: this Smithfield thick cut bacon may be some of the best bacon I’ve ever had (and I’m a girl who has sampled some bacon!). So good!!

For my scrambled eggs, I always just add some salt, pepper and a splash of heavy cream. I cooked it in the same pan the bacon was in (I did have to pour off some of the bacon grease though – never fear, I’m saving it for a recipe later!).

Since we were having biscuits, we needed some jams and jellies – this was a nice selection. Spoiler alert, however – only the peach got used. This stuff is so delicious!! It’s made an appearance on several blog posts already

Biscuits hot out of the oven, a little butter added to each – and we were ready to eat! No recipe needed!

A perfect, delicious, simple Saturday morning breakfast!

Sausage, Broccoli and Red Pepper Pasta

A rope of smoked sausage is something good to keep on hand – then you know you can always come up with a good meal! I didn’t have any other protein thawed out, today, so something with sausage was on the menu. Pasta seemed like as good a meal as anything – you know I love some pasta!

I had some fresh broccoli that I had vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer several weeks back, so I decided to use that. I also had some roasted red peppers and thought that would work as well. And, I’ll never argue against a creamy sauce.

I started by dicing the onions and slicing the sausage (I also chipped the red peppers but I have no photographic proof of that).

A couple days ago, I fried some bacon and had some bacon grease that I held onto and decided to use it in this dish. I used about a tablespoon of the bacon fat to sauté the onions and garlic. I added salt and red pepper flakes to the sautéing onions and garlic.

Then I added in the sausage and allowed it to brown, stirring occasionally (don’t cover or you’ll have trouble getting a sear on the sausage).

Once the sausage was browned, I added in the liquids to create the cream sauce. I used beef stock, since that is what I had in the refrigerator – but, any stock would do. I brought the mixture up to a boil, to allow it to thicken (if you want it a little thicker, you could make a simple slurry to thicken it).

I added in the steamed broccoli and red peppers and mixed the veggies in with the sauce.

I added in the pasta and mixed everything well. You don’t have to, but I added some romano cheese (I didn’t measure it, just grate it on top of the sauce – maybe 2 tbsp or so) and stirred through.

I topped with extra Romano cheese when serving.

Sausage, Broccoli and Red Pepper Pasta

1 pack smoked sausage (14 oz rope), sliced
1 lb box of penne pasta
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 cups fresh broccoli, steamed
6 oz roasted red peppers
1 cup stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp bacon fat
1 tsp salt
Romano cheese (optional)

  • Boil pasta, as per directions (to al dente) and set aside
  • Slice sausage
  • Dice onions and chop red peppers
  • In a large skillet, melt bacon fat
  • Saute onions and garlic
  • Add in the sausage and cook til browned
  • Add in the stock and heavy cream, bring to a boil
  • Add in broccoli and red peppers
  • Add in cooked pasta and stir through
  • Top with Romano cheese, if desired

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew

I love chicken stew. Here in the south, at least chicken stew I’ve had all my life, chicken stew is usually just chicken in a milk based broth with seasonings. And, is eaten with hot sauce and saltine crackers. I started to make that (and I will sometime, and will share it when I do!), but I decided I wanted some vegetables – so I came up with something a little different.

I started with shredded chicken. I realize I sound like a broken record, but I will say it again, for anyone that may have missed it – if you ever need shredded chicken, and you own an instant pot, use your instant pot – and cook your chicken (you can even do it from frozen, if you forgot to thaw it out), with some chicken stock – and then shred it with a hand held mixer. You can get more details here.

While my chicken was cooking, I prepped my vegetables. I used 7 potatoes, 4 carrots and 1 onion. I also added a can of whole kernel corn.

I love my Le Creuset and I use it several times a week. Tonight was no exception. It is, truly, one of my favorite things in my kitchen. I had wanted one for quite a while, but never could justify dropping that much money on one – but, I was given the opportunity to get one as my 20 year anniversary gift from the place I work. I didn’t know I would love it as much as I to – but, I digress… that that to say, I cooked the chicken stew in my Le Creuset. I have 6 3/4 oval Dutch oven, in Cerise.

I added the olive oil, onions and carrots and cooked until they started to soften.

I then added in the seasonings (when I can, I like to add seasonings, like thyme, before adding the liquids – I feel like it opens up the flavor more, if you do). and I just stirred it all through.

I then added in 1 cup of the chicken stock and made sure to pull up any of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once that was done, I added in the potatoes, the corn, the chicken (including the stock from the instant pot), the remaining stock and the milk and brought the stew up to a boil. Then, reduced the heat, covered the pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

A couple tips:

  • Since the chicken is precooked, you can eat the stew as soon as your vegetables are soft, but the longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors will meld.
  • I didn’t have whole milk, but wanted a creamy soup – so I used some skim milk and some heavy cream. Feel free to adjust which milk to your taste. If I would have had whole milk, I would have just used all whole for the 5 cups the recipe calls for.
  • If you prefer a less ‘creamy’ stew (or just want to make it a little healthier), just adjust the broth to milk ratio, to your liking – but, we definitely prefer the chicken stew with more milk, than broth.
  • If you like a thicker stew, you can certainly add a slurry at the end to thicken.
  • Try it with some hot sauce – that’s how we like it! And, some saltine crackers if you have them – unfortunately, we didn’t tonight.

Chicken and Vegetable Stew

3 large chicken breasts, shredded (with stock from cooking)
4 carrots, chopped
6-8 potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
3 cups chicken stock (one cup comes from cooking the chicken breasts – if you cook in instant pot, like I do)
5 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp olive oil

  • Cook chicken and shred
  • Prep vegetables
  • In large pot or dutch oven, add olive oil, onions and carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add in seasonings and stir through
  • Add in chicken stock, pulling up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot
  • Add the potatoes, then the chicken (including stock from cooking)
  • Finally add in milk – and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes (or until vegetables are tender)