I’ve never cooked a turkey before. It’s one of those dishes I like only around the holidays and then I’m done with it. I also hate carving birds and pulling out their insides. Thankfully, I’ve found an easy way to avoid being grossed out by the big bird- buying a turkey breast. My local grocer had some frozen bone-in whole turkey breast cuts on sale a few weeks ago. No giblets or organs inside this bird.
I didn’t want my oven to be roasting all day so I decided to try putting my bird inside the crockpot. After thawing my bird in the fridge for a few days, I coated the breast in olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I stuffed the inside of it with a stick of butter, an onion and an apple. Not all of it fit in the bird so I just layered it around the turkey. A word of caution- I had a 5.5 pound turkey and it just barely fit in my crockpot so do some planning if you don’t have an extra large slow cooker. After placing the bird breast side up, I poured in 2 cups of pinot grigio around the turkey and cooked it on low for 6 hours. Make sure the breast reaches 170 degrees before removing it from your crockpot for safety reasons.
If you want that golden color a roasted turkey has, you can plop your bird into a roasting pan and broil it for about 6 minutes. Let it rest and then carve it. The key to this recipe is to drizzle some of the stock that forms all over your carved pieces for maximum flavor.
- 5.5 lb turkey breast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 stick butter
- 1 large onion
- 1 apple
- 2 cups pinot grigio
- Rinse out the cavity of the turkey breast dry it with paper towels. Coat the turkey breast in olive oil and sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cut the onion and apple into eighths and the stick of butter into quarters. Stuff the pieces into the turkey's cavity, saving any additional pieces. Turn the bird breast up and layer the extra pieces around the turkey.
- Pour 2 cups of wine around the turkey and cook on low for 6 hours or until the thickest part of the turkey reaches 170 degrees.
- Optional: Broil the turkey in a roasting pan for 8 minutes until it reaches a golden brown color.
- Let the turkey rest 10-20 minutes and carve, pouring drippings over the bird.
I’ll admit that sometimes in life, I can go a little overboard. I mentioned before that I had some eggs to use up before I left town for my vacation and the apple bread just didn’t cut it. I decided this would be the perfect time for me to get ready for Christmas. That’s right, back on September 12 I decided to bake 11 dozen cookies for Christmas. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip ones (recipe coming soon!) and 5 dozen of today’s recipe, M&M cookies.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I did in fact bake 11 dozen cookies and packed them away in 3 separate containers. One container was eaten in the week before my trip. It held 2 dozen cookies. The other 9 dozen were split between 2 more containers and one is still safely tucked away for Christmas. The other has been eaten in the month since I returned. This is how I roll. I bake a bunch of cookies, eat most of them and save a couple dozen for Christmas. Over the next few months I’ll stock it with some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread and sugar cookies (undecorated), and some double chocolate chip ones. The ones I don’t eat by Christmas become a January snack, though to be honest I’m usually cookied-out by then.
I store my cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight stackable container already cooked. I just pull them out about 90 minutes before I eat them and they’re perfect.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tablespoons vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons water
- 5 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
- 10 oz mini M&Ms
- Cream together the sugars and the shortening. Blend in the eggs, vanilla, and water.
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and gradually add them to your wet ingredients.
- Gently stir in your mini M&Ms (regular will work as well) and bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.
Remember my centerpiece from September with all those apples? The centerpiece sat on my table for most of the month but I headed out of town on the 19th so I hated to let the apples go to waste. On top of that, I had some eggs that would go bad while I was out of town so I figured doing some baking with the apples was a good way to use some up. I wanted a recipe that I could stick in the freezer and eat when I came back home too. Luckily, apple bread was the perfect solution.
This recipe makes two disposable loaf pans of apple bread. To freeze it, bake the apple bread and let it cool completely. Let it cool another hour more, just to be safe. Place the entire loaf pan into a gallon sized freezer bag and remove all the air you can. Place the bags into the freezer flat and store for up to a month. If you want to store these longer, remove them from the loaf pans and wrap in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer bag.
Coming back from vacation I had virtually no food I could cook left in my house. I had been up for about 20 hours before crashing at night and the next morning I didn’t want to be eating cereal without milk so the apple bread was a welcome treat. To thaw, just leave out on the counter overnight and it will be perfect in the morning.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 2 cups skinless diced apples (about 2 apples)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, and almond extract.
- Slowly add in your dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed.
- Add in your diced apples and chopped walnuts.
- Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 1 hour for 350 degrees.
My big vacation last month involved 2 days in Barcelona before heading off on a Mediterranean cruise. I don’t know how much you know about Barcelona but I’ve found it full of giant amazingly designed buildings, surrounded by mountains and the sea, and full of delicious foods. The evenings in Barcelona can go all night long. Restaurants often don’t even open their doors until 8PM and several concerts in the city started at midnight while we were there.
If there’s one way to keep the party going in the city, it’s with sangria. Full, rich, and smooth is the best way to describe the sangria and the city life. Here’s a homemade recipe to get you in the Barcelona spirit.
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 orange
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups rum
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 L lemon-lime soda (optional)
- Slice the lemon, lime, and orange and place them in a glass pitcher. Pour the sugar on top and then the rum. Chill for 2 hours.
- Remove the pitcher from the fridge and lightly press the fruits against the edge of the pitcher to release the juices. Stir in the wine and orange juice.
- For those wanting a fizzier drink, fill a glass 2/3 of the way full of sangria and top off with soda.
If you’re still looking for the perfect potluck dessert for a Labor Day weekend barbeque, look no further than the cookie delight. It’s tasty, doesn’t require a lot of prep and it’s very kid-friendly. The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home Magazine and I’m always finding my new favorites from them. This recipe is perfect right out of the box with one little exception.
Start by baking a tube of cookie dough (or about 16 oz of your favorite homemade recipe) in a baking pan for about 15 minutes. Let this layer cool for about 45 minutes-1 hour before continuing.
You’ll need two separate bowls for the next step. Bowl one will be your creamy layer, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a portion of Cool Whip for this layer. Bowl two will be your chocolate layer, mix together your puddings and milk for this layer. You’ll layer these onto your cookie base, first the creamy layer, then your chocolate layer.
Now add your remaining Cool Whip and here’s that important little change– sprinkle the top of the dish with mini chocolate chips. This is key to the whole dish being a success. There’s nothing more fun than eating mini chocolate chips as a kid so just sprinkle away.
You’ll want to chill this dish about 8 hours at this point so this is a great dish to prepare the night before or the morning of a barbeque.
- 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 carton (12 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
- 3 cups milk
- 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Press cookie dough into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1-3/4 cups whipped topping. Spread over cookie crust.
- In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
- Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until firm.
Is anyone as obsessed with the Olympics as I am? Back in 1996 I watched the Atlanta games obsessively. I still have a tote bag my mom bought me with the logo on it. I wrote a report on the US Women’s Olympic gymnastics team, nicknamedThe Magnificent Seven. I wrote to all the women on the team and just this week I broke out the 5 responses I received (I’m still waiting on you Shannon Miller and Dominique Moceanu). My husband wasn’t sure whether to be amazed at the stuff I hold onto or disturbed about my fandom until I broke out my books published back then. I didn’t even show him the poster I had!
In an effort to show off my super nerdy side, I made a dessert perfect for your Opening Ceremony party. What’s that you say, you aren’t having an Opening Ceremony party? IT IS NOT TOO LATE! You are so lucky I’m here. Do it for America, do it for me, do it for your love of all things miniature, or do it because cherries are on sale this week. You need these mini cherry pies and any reason will do.
These mini cherry pies use a store-bought pie crust for convenience but you can easily use your own favorite recipe. You might just need to adjust your filling levels to fit. The filling I use here comes from Recipe Girl and it’s a great tart base. You could go with a premade cherry pie filling but you’ll have a sweeter final result and fresh cherries are so worth it.
I used a small star cookie cutter to cut out some star designs and I rolled some dough out and cut it with a pizza cutter to form stripes. Have fun with these designs and sprinkle them with plenty of sugar before baking.
- 1 package of ready-made pie crusts (or make homemade)
- 2 1/2 cups pitted & halved fresh sweet cherries (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
- coarse grain sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 of your cups in a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Roll out the pie crust into a thinner layer. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out 5 inch rings. You'll want to cut out 8 rings. Set your extra crust aside.
- Line your 8 prepared muffin cups with the dough starting from the center and pulling up the sides.
- In a large bowl, stir together cherries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt. Spoon mixture into your pie crusts.
- Use your leftover pie crust to cut out designs. Stars and stripes are perfect!
- Combine your egg yolk and milk/cream to form an egg wash. Brush the wash lightly over your pies and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake 20-25 minutes (watching carefully) until crusts are browned and the filling starts bubbling.
- Cool at least 15 minutes before eating. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Did you know yesterday was National Ice Cream Day? I didn’t until I already had made my latest batch of homemade ice cream. I think it was fate that brought us together. That or David Lebovitz- whose ice cream recipe I’ve adapted for today’s ice cream. This is my final recipe left from my blueberry picking day. Sadly the patch has all been picked so now I’ll have to go to the grocery store if I want any more berry recipes.
I wanted one last recipe that tasted like blueberries and cream so I decided to go the ice cream route. I had some graham crackers leftover from my other desserts so I incorporated them into the sweet cream base of this ice cream. I heated up my berries with some sugar and boiled out some of the excess water (taking a cue from Jeni and her splendid recipes) and incorporated that into the final product.
The result? a creamy graham cracker ice cream base with tart blueberries swirled in. Blueberry pie ice cream is an improvement on the usual blueberries and cream.
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 graham crackers
- 2 cups cream, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a small saucepan heat blueberries and sugar over medium high heat. As you stir, press the blueberries against the side of the pan to help release the juices.
- After 8 minutes, pour into a small bowl and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
- Grind the graham crackers into crumbs using a food processor or with a Ziplock bag and a rolling pin. Completely crush them and set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, heat 1 cup of cream with sugar and salt. Over medium heat, stir the mix together until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Remove pot from heat and stir in the remaining cream, milk, and vanilla. Add the graham cracker crumbs and stir till just combined. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- After the ice cream base is fully chilled, pour it into your ice cream mixer and let it run for about 30 minutes (or the time indicated by your device).
- During the last 5 minutes of your ice cream maker's run, pull the blueberry mix out of your fridge. Lightly cover the base of a metal loaf pan with blueberry mix. When the ice cream finishes mixing, pour 1/3 of the ice cream into your pan. Top with 1/2 of the blueberry mix, then layer another 1/3 of the ice cream.
- Finish by layering the remaining blueberry mix and then the last 1/3 of ice cream into the pan. Run a knife through to gently swirl the mix together and refrigerate overnight before serving.
I mentioned last week that I’d made two blueberry cheesecake dishes and one was a White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake for my husband. The other is today’s recipe, a Blueberry Cheesecake Pie. The recipe comes from Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. This cheesecake doesn’t even require a springform pan or a water bath so it’s a very easy recipe to make.
This dish is a perfect summer dish. Blueberries with cheesecake and lemon are pretty much the best thing ever. It’s a smaller portion than the cheesecake I made and a lot easier if you’re looking for a no-fail cheesecake. This recipe has more of a lemon taste and the blueberry flavor comes from a jam you make for the top of the dish. You bake the crust, then the cheesecake, and then pour warm berries on the warm cheesecake so it sets in one big pie. My dad sure gobbled it up. (That’s him holding his piece below)
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
- 9 large rectangular graham crackers, crushed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter.
- Pat the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes at 325 degrees. Let the crust cool completely.
- After the crust cools, zest your lemon into a medium bowl. Add in the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice and and beat until smooth. Mix in the eggs until just combined.
- Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees.
- While the custard is baking, combine the berries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and cool until the mix is warm but no longer hot.
- After the cheesecake is finished, leave it out until the berries are warm. Spoon the berries over the cheesecake and chill for 1 hour.
It’s almost time for the 4th of July and if you’re anything like me you hardly need the holiday to make a dessert. I love making a jello poke cake for the 4th of July because I always associates poke cakes with summers and being a kid. Food seems to connect us back.
This is a simple enough recipe. You prepare a box of white cake mix (or your favorite recipe) into two round pans, bake, and cool. You can poke holes in the cakes with straws or toothpicks- I like to mix it up. Then you chill the whole thing before assembling with cool whip as your frosting.
- 2 (9-inch) round white cake layers, baked and cooled
- 2 cups boiling water, divided
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Jello
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Berry Blue Jello
- 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
- Prepare your cake if you haven't already. Bake and let cool according to box instructions.
- Pierce the top side of the cake with toothpicks or a straw, about 1/2 inch apart.
- Pour each Jello flavor into its own bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water to each bowl and stir for 2 minutes until the Jello is dissolved.
- Gently spoon the strawberry Jello over one cake and then spoon the berry blue Jello over the other cake. Chill cakes for 3 hours.
- Dip the bottom of the cake pans in warm water and gently remove the cakes from the pans. Place your blue cake on a serving plate and top with cool whip. Add the red cake and finish icing the cakes together with cool whip. Chill 1 additional hour before serving.
After blueberry picking and making some blueberry muffins, I still had a ton of blueberries left. I had plans to make my dad a cheesecake for Father’s Day and my husband sounded a little jealous of my dad getting a cheesecake and I had plenty of berries so I figured why not make 2?
Today’s recipe focuses on the cheesecake I made my husband. He loves cheesecake and every year for Christmas I make him a raspberry cheesecake. Since I had blueberries on hand, I wanted to adapt that recipe to fit with the season. It was a bit of a test but I’m happy to report it worked out splendidly.
To make this cheesecake, you’ll want to prepare a graham cracker crust first and freeze it while you prepare the blueberry sauce. After the sauce is cooked, let it cool while you make the cheesecake filling. Then it’s time to assemble the cheesecake. You’ll pull the crust out of the freezer and sprinkle some white chocolate chips onto the crust. Pour half the cheesecake into the springform pan. Then you’ll pour some blueberry sauce over the cheesecake and swirl it in.
Finish by pouring the rest of the cheesecake in the pan. You can add more blueberry sauce and swirl it in or make a fun design. To make this pattern, I piped circles of sauce onto the cheesecake and swirled from the center to the outside of the cheesecake to form a firecracker pattern.
If you end up with blueberry sauce leftover like I did, save it and make some pancakes for breakfast. The sauce is a perfect pancake syrup and adds a lot of flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups graham crackers (about 9 graham crackers)
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 4-8 oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- Crush 9 large graham crackers by hand or in a blender. Pour into a medium bowl and mix in 1/3 cup melted butter. Mix until well combined.
- Line the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Repeat until about 3 layers protect the pan.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the mixture flat into the pan and up the sides to form a crust. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.
- Over medium heat, combine cold water, blueberries, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Add in sugar and cornstarch and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 30 seconds while whisking. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl to remove the blueberry skins. Set the sauce aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Fill a large roasting pan with 1/2 inch of water and leave it on the lower rack of your oven while the oven preheats.
- Use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream. Mix on low until smooth and creamy. Be careful not to whip the mixture, too much air will cause the cheesecake to collapse or crack.
- Add the vanilla and eggs and blend just until incorporated.
- Pull the crust from your freezer and sprinkle the white chocolate chips into the bottom of the crust. Pour half of the cheesecake filling into the crust.
- Drizzle 1/4 cup of the the blueberry sauce over the surface of the filling. Use a knife to gently swirl the sauce into the cheesecake.
- Pour the other half of the filling into the crust. Add another 1/4 cup of sauce to the top of the cheesecake. You can pipe on a fun design or just swirl it in with a knife again.
- Carefully place the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake another 50 minutes. You want the cheesecake to just barely turn golden brown before removing.
- Cool on a cooling rack for an hour, then chill in the fridge for 8 hours. After cooling, remove the springform pan from the cheesecake. Cut into 12 slices and serve with whipped cream.