Apple Pie

Today I had my second Thanksgiving dinner in two days. I love Thanksgiving food. Although to be honest, I’m not the hugest fan of turkey. But I LOVE all the side dishes. Mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, and macaroni and cheese. Those are my favorite.

Yesterday was the dinner for the Intervarsity group I volunteer with. It was a really good night, and I didn’t do any of the cooking (mostly because I had work all day). Tonight was my church’s Thanksgiving dinner. Each family group (weekly Bible study group) was in charge of a set of dishes. My group had a turkey, corn, macaroni and cheese, and pecan pies. I was in charge of macaroni and cheese. I spent basically the entire day cooking 120 servings of mac and cheese. That was 10 pounds of (uncooked) pasta with 45 cups of cheddar cheese.

There was a tray of apple slices leftover from the dinner and I was going to make apple crisp, but then there was an unfortunate accident that caused most of the apple slices to fall on the floor. Luckily not all of them fell out of the tray on to the ground, so I still had enough to make a pie.

Haven’t tasted it yet (bringing it to church tomorrow morning), but hopefully it’s delicious!

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients
2 9-inch pie crusts
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups apple slices (not sure what kind I used)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a pot, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to make a paste. Add water, both sugars and cinnamon. Add apple slices and stir to coat.

Press bottom crust into a 9-inch pie crust. Pour in apple mixture. Cover with a lattice crust

Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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Frozen Chocolate Cream Pie

Happy belated thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in my family is full of tradition. Every year we get together with a family down the street and have a big meal together. We’ve done this as long as I can remember. In recent years a new-ish tradition is that we also invite friends/significant others’ to the festivities. This year four friends from school came making our gathering a whopping 16 people.

Another random tradition of our thanksgiving gathering is playing this ridiculous board game called Masterpiece. The premise is you’re a rich art collector (each player starts the game with $15 million) and you bid for paintings that randomly get assigned values from forgery ($0) to $10 million. Sounds… fun right? I snapped this picture during the game. Wouldn’t it make a good advertisement for the wholesome family fun that the game provides?

As for the food, we always have a glorious combination of Chinese food and traditional American thanksgiving food. I was in charge of making a few things like macaroni and cheese, green beans and corn, but the new recipe this year was frozen chocolate cream pie! It was a good recipe, but I did make a few changes. I nearly doubled the chocolate and milk, and instead of using whipped topping I made homemade whipped cream.

The rest of my time at home was good. Got to see lots of friends and spend some time with family. Thanks to my mom for taking me shopping on Friday! I got a few sweaters and 2 wicked cool pairs of Converse (2 pairs = $15!!). I won’t go into my trip back to Madison. It’ll just make me mad. Haha. But I was welcomed back by great friends here. I’m thankful for them too 🙂

Now, on to the recipe!

Pie recipe from Taste of Home.
Whipped cream recipe from Allrecipes.com

Pie Ingredients
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
7 tbsp milk
3 oz cream cheese

Whipped Cream Ingredients
3 cups heavy cream
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preparation
In a bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the melted butter. Press into a 9″ pie plate and bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a bowl whip heavy cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and continue to beat until well mixed. Refrigerate along with the pie crust.

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons of milk for 1-2 minutes, or until melted.

In another bowl, beat cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth. Stir in melted chocolate mix, and continue to beat. Fold in 3 cups of whipped cream. Save the rest for garnish. Pour chocolate cream mixture into the cooled pie crust and chill in a freezer for at least 4 hours. This is what it looked like before I put it in the freezer.

Before serving, top with the rest of the whipped cream. (If it’s gotten runny beat it for a few minutes and it should become harder). Garnish with chocolate chips if you have leftovers.

In the end it had a consistency like ice cream cake. Especially the next day when the whipped cream on top froze too. But it’s not the same thing as an ice cream cake. (Cool points if you get the reference)

Banana Cream (birthday) Pie

My dad loves banana cream pie. In my family, whenever I’m home, my dad and I go do the weekly grocery shopping. And every time we pass the bakery section, my dad asks if we can get a banana cream pie… but I’m under strict orders from my mom not to let him get one.

However, it was his birthday, so I decided to make a homemade banana cream pie with a graham cracker crust topped with fresh whipped cream. Happy birthday dad!

The recipe for the pie and crust were both from allrecipes.com

Ingredients
For the filling:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 bananas, sliced

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For whipped cream (optional):
1 quart heavy cream
vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar

Preparation
To make the crust:
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Chill for about 1 hour.

To make the filling:
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.

Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.

Slice 2 of the bananas into the pudding and mix well. Pour mixture into the cooled pie crust. Slice remaining bananas on top. Chill for at least an hour.

To make the whipped cream:
Pour heavy cream into a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form (i.e., when you push it with the beaters it doesn’t collapse). Add vanilla extract and sugar to taste. Once pie is sufficiently cooled, top with whipped cream and serve.

Chicken Pot Pie

I love chicken pie. So when I started my summer cooking adventure last summer, I immediately started looking for chicken pot pie recipes. I used Allrecipes.com. Allrecipes is really great when you know what you’re looking for. Advice: look for recipes with high ratings from a lot of people. Like, say, a recipe that’s rated 4.5 stars by 100+ people is probably better than a recipe that’s rated 5 stars by 1 person. Also, it’s really important to look at reviews because tons of people will give a recipe a high rating, but only after changing lots of things.

So this specific recipe got great ratings, but most of the reviewers had their own advice. So I took a lot of that advice, added some things of my own, and here’s what I ended up with:

Ingredients
1/3 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1 can sweet corn kernels
1 small potato, diced
1 egg, beaten
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (220 degrees C.)

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, potato, and celery. Add chicken broth and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, separate vegetables from chicken broth and set both aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick.

Add chicken and vegetable mixture and corn. Stir until combined.

Roll one pie crust into a 9 inch pie tin. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 5-10 minutes. Pour gravy/vegetable/chicken mixture into the bottom of the crust. Cover with top crust and cut slits to allow steam to escape. Brush top with beaten egg.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

June 22, 2011– update:
I tried a different method that worked really well! The cream of chicken soup allows you to skip the simmering with milk and flour and stuff… and marinating then pan frying the chicken instead of boiling it makes it much less dry. Here it is:

Ingredients
1/2 chicken breast, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 box frozen peas
1/2 can corn
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1 medium potato, skinned and cubed
1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced finely
1 egg, beaten
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
garlic powder
vegetable oil
onion powder
salt
pepper
cornstarch

Preparation
Marinate chicken with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cornstarch.

Boil chicken broth with carrots, peas, celery and potato until vegetables are tender (about 30 min).

Meanwhile, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and saute onions on low heat until translucent.

While onions are cooking, roll out one of the pie crusts into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan. Brush with egg and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

When onions are translucent, add chicken in a single layer and cook until the side facing upward starts changing color. Turn over and cook the other side.

Add cream of chicken to the broth/vegetables and stir. If mixture is too runny, add amounts of water and cornstarch until it reaches desired thickness. Add onions and chicken and mix well.

Pour filling into the bottom pie crust. Roll out second pie crust over the pan, cut slits on the top and brush with egg.

Bake at 375F for around 30-35 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.