Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What would Thanksgiving be without pie? I mean, come on, you have to have at least one pie!

When I was in Jr. High, my mom started a tradition...a tradition that was a blessing and a curse. The tradition that she started was to make a pie for each of us. So, after Thanksgiving dinner each year, we would watch "A Christmas Story" and eat pie. I'm the kind of person who can't resist options. So, if there are six kinds of pie, I don't want to have just one kind! So, every year, I would try a sliver or small slice of each kind of pie...which basically resulted in a full plate of different kinds of pie!

As our family has grown, so have the number of pies! We definitely "scaled down" this year (back to only 5 kinds of pie...but a total of 7 pies), but if I remember correctly, one year we made 18 pies! Yikes!

I'm going to share some of our favorite pie discoveries tonight (get ready for a LOT of recipes and one really long blog).

I hope you like them!

Above: Raspberry Pie using the Enrichment Night Pie Dough recipe. We simply used the pie dough recipe and two cans of raspberry pie filling per pie for the raspberry pies. We then brushed the pie crusts with an egg wash and sprinkled it with granulated sugar. We then followed the bake time for the pie crust recipe.

Enrichment Night Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients (amounts refer to two-crust pies):

Two Pies:

2 cups flour, rounded
1 cup shortening, level
1 tsp. salt
½ cup cold water

Four Pies:

4 cups flour, rounded
2 cups shortening, level
2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water

Six Pies:

6 cups flour, rounded
3 cups shortening, level
3 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups cold water


Always use Crisco brand butter-flavored shortening.

Mix together: flour, shortening and salt with fingers until well blended. Slowly add water. If slightly sticky, press palm in plate of flour and pat dough ball. Form small ball of dough in pan (baseball size approximately). Roll on slightly floured surface. Place bottom crust in pan. Trim edges with back side of a table knife. Fill pie. Top with vented top crust after you moisten edge with finger to seal both crusts.

Bake at 400 degrees (375 degrees if your oven cooks too hot) for 50-60 minutes or until the pie shakes loose.

Refrigerate leftover dough. Bring to room temperature before using.

Here are some other pie recipes that were given to us along with the pie crust recipe at the Relief Society Enrichment activity years ago.

Apple Pie


1 gallon of apples (canned in water)
6 ½ cup sugar
1 cup instant clear gel
½ square margarine
1 ½ cup diluted apple juice
2 tsps. Apple pie spice


Examine gallon of canned apples and remove tough cores and skins, if any.

Bring apples, juice and margarine to a boil (medium high heat). Sprinkle with apple pie spice.

Mix sugar and instant clear gel with a fork. After apples boil, add sugar and clear gel mixture. Lower heat. Boil until thickened and clear. Cool. Refrigerate.

After putting in crust, sprinkle with apple pie spice before putting on top crust.

Razzleberry Pie


5 cups water
3 ½ cups sugar
1 pkg. raspberries
1 pkg. boysenberries
1 pkg. blackberries
1 round cup pie tone (mixed with water until dissolved)

Note: Pie tone supplied at: Steffs, 3555 S. 700 W., SLC, UT or Kitchen Needs, Riverdale Road, Ogden, UT

Directions: Bring water and sugar to a boil. Add package of blackberries. Bring to a boil. Add pie tone mixture and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and pour into ice cream pale. Then gently fold in raspberries and boysenberries. Let cool, then refrigerate.

Blueberry Pie

Same as above, except use 3 packages of frozen blueberries.

Boysenberry pie

Same as above, except use 3 packages of frozen boysenberries.

Cherry Pie


1 gallon cherries
6 cups sugar
4 tsp. almond extract
1 round cup pie tone (mixed with water until dissolved)


Mix cherries, sugar and almond extract. Mix rounded cup of pie tone with enough water to dissolve (not quite 1 cup).

Bring cherries to a boil. Lower heat and add pie tone. Cook until thickened.

If filling appears to be too thin, stir in some tapioca. Tapioca can also be added later after cooling if too thin.

Basic Cream Pie Filling

(Makes enough for 2 pies)


5 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of jello brand pudding (not instant pudding)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. lemon juice (if making any kind except chocolate)
½ cup corn starch
1-2 cups Cool Whip
1 pint whipping cream


Mix all of your ingredients together in your pan. Cook on high until it is almost to a boil. Reduce your heat to medium and take off when it has started to boil again.

Mix 1-2 cups Cool Whip with 1 pint whipping cream after whipping.

Savory Pies using the Enrichment Pie Crust

Chicken Filling


5-6 chicken breasts (5 cups chicken)
4 cups carrots (cooked about 10 minutes)
3 cups potatoes (cooked about 7 minutes)
1 cup celery (cooked about 10 minutes)
½ package frozen peas.
1 ½ cup flour


Place chicken breasts in water. The water should be about 2 inches above the chicken. Boil until done.

Remove chicken and add 2 Tbsp. chicken base. Bring to a boil and thicken with flour and water (it should take about 1 ½ cup flour). After the gravy has cooked add chicken carrots, potatoes, celery and frozen peas.

Beef Filling


2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
Schillings brown beef gravy
Schillings beef stew mix (plus)
8 cups water
Cook until thickened
4 cups carrots (cooked about 10 minutes)
3 cups potatoes (cooked about 7 minutes)
1 cup celery (cooked about 10 minutes)
½ package frozen peas


Brown ground beef and medium onion. Mix Schillings brown beef gravy, Schillings beef stew mix and 8 cups water in a saucepan until thickened.

Add carrots, potatoes, celery and frozen peas.

Above: Caramel Pie, Dear Abby's Pecan Pie, Eggnog Pie, and Banana Cream Pie
Banana Cream Pie


9 inch baked pie shell
3 T. cornstarch
1 1/3 c. water
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 T. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 bananas, sliced and dipped in lemon juice from concentrate and drained
Whipping cream, whipped


In heavy saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in water; stir in condensed milk and egg yolks. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Cool slightly. Arrange 2 sliced bananas on bottom of prepared pie shell. Pour filling over bananas; cover. Chill 4 hours or until set. Spread top with whipped cream; garnish with remaining banana slices. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Mom will have to provide that!

Above: Caramel Pie without topping. It can be served without any topping, or you can top it with meringue or whipped cream.

Above: Caramel Pie topped with whipped cream. If you prefer, you can simply place a dollop of whipped cream on each slice. It is a pretty rich pie and putting a ton of whipped cream on top (as pictured above) is really decadent. Though it is the prettiest way to serve it!

Caramel Pie

This pie is time consuming and takes some patience, but it is worth it!


4 T. cornstarch
1 ½ c. water, divided
2 eggs separated
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 baked 9 inc. pie shell
1 T. sugar

In a bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with ¾ c. water. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with high sides, cook ¾ c. sugar over low to medium heat until it is completely melted and a golden brown color (increase the heat if the sugar takes a long time to melt. Don’t stir the sugar until the majority has melted on its own. Stirring too early will cool the sugar and make it take longer to melt).

Once the sugar is completely melted, add the remaining ¾ c. sugar, the butter, and the remaining ¾ c. water. This may create a cloud of steam, so stand back while you are adding the water!.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

(Usually, once the second batch of sugar is added with the water, the first batch of melted sugar hardens and becomes a ball of caramel candy. Try to break this up as best as you can. Stir this mixture—including the hardened caramel—until everything has dissolved. You may have to remove the ball of hardened caramel if it does not completely melt. But give it some time, because it usually does melt—or at least it shrinks considerably.)

Stir the cornstarch/egg mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring it constantly. Continue to boil slowly until the mixture thickens about 2 minutes.

Take the mixture off the heat, stir it until smooth, and let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

To make a meringue topping for the pie, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1 T sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue on top of the pie filling, spreading it right up to the edge of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the top of the meringue is delicately browned. Chill the pie before serving. Can be topped with whipped cream instead, if desired.

Source: The Anne of Green Gables Treasury, ISBN 0-14-017231-9, published 1991.

Notes: It takes awhile for the sugar to melt and caramelize, but this is such a yummy and unique pie. Feel free to use a little more corn starch if the mixture isn't setting up. But don't use too much because it will diffuse the caramel flavor of the filling. I stink at making meringue, so I almost always top this with whipped cream and it is fantastic!

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie


1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 c. creamy peanut butter
½ c. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 ½ c. coolwhip, divided
1 jar 11.75 oz. hot fudge topping, divided

2 T. hot fudge topping
2 T. creamy peanut butter


Combine in a medium bowl, the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipping topping. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Using a spatula smooth mixture to edges of pie. Reserve 2 T of hot fudge topping and place remaining hot fudge topping into microwave bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge topping over pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping (1 ½ c.) over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers. Place the 2 T. hot fudge topping in a small plastic bag and knead for a few seconds. But a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 T. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge toppings.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Eggnog Pie


1 T. unflavored gelatin
¼ c. cold water
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups commercially prepared eggnog
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. rum extract
1 c. whipping cream, whipped
1 baked 9” pastry shell


In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand 1 minute. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in eggnog until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in extracts; fold in whipped cream. Pour into pastry shell. Refrigerate until firm.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

French Apple Pie


Pastry for 9 in. pie
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 c. thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 T. margarine or butter


Heat over 425. Prepare pastry. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in apples. Turn on to pastry lined pie plate; dot with margarine. Top with crumb topping.

Mix 1 c. all purpose flour, ½ c. firm margarine or butter, and ½ c. brown sugar until crumbly. Bake 50 minutes. Cover topping with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of baking. Best served warm.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Heavenly Lemon Pie


1 c. sugar
4 heaving T. cornstarch
¼ c. butter
1 T. grated lemon peel
¼ c. lemon juice
3 unbeaten egg yolks
1 1/3 c. milk
1 c. 8 oz. dairy sour cream
1 baked 9 inch pastry shell
Whipped cream


Mix sugar and cornstarch; set aside. In saucepan melt butter, add lemon peel, juice, egg yolks and milk; blend. Gradually add sugar and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thick. Mixture will be lumpy. Cool. Stir in sour cream; pour into pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Pineapple Pie


1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
3 cup liquid (drained pineapple juice and water)
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, beaten


Boil juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Add pineapple. Remove thickened mixture from the stove and add 2 beaten eggs. Return to the stove and cook on low for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and butter. Stir until well combined. Chill. Pour chilled mixture into a pre-cooked pie crust (can be homemade or store-bought frozen). Top with whipping cream and keep refrigerated.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Pumpkin Pie (Karo)


½ c. sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
2 eggs
½ c. Karo light or dark syrup
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk
9 inch Deep dish pie, unbaked


Mix sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Add eggs and beat slightly. Add remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour pumpkin filling into pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in pie center comes out clean. Cool a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Source: This is a Karo Syrup recipe.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie (Eagle Brand)


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND®
Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Source: This is an Eagle sweetened condensed milk recipe.

Famous Pumpkin Pie (Libby’s)


3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)


Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.


1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin spice may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves; however, the taste will be slightly different. Do not freeze, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

FOR 2 SHALLOW PIES: substitute two 9-inch (2-cup volume) pie shells. Bake in preheated 425° F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pies test done.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (3,500 to 6,000 ft.):Deep-dish pie- extend second bake time to 55 to 60 minutes. Shallow pies- no change.

Source: This is a Libby's recipe.

Lite 'n Easy Crustless Pumpkin Pie


Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons water
2 envelopes (7 grams each) unflavored gelatin
2 1/4 cups NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk, divided
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar or low calorie sweetener equivalent
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Light whipped topping (optional)
Fresh raspberries (optional)


Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

Place water in medium bowl; sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened. Mixture may be firm. Bring 1 cup evaporated milk just to a boil in small saucepan. Slowly stir hot evaporated milk into gelatin. Stir in remainingevaporated milk, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into prepared pie plate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping and raspberries, if desired.

Source: This is a Libby's recipe.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can 14 oz. sweetened, condensed milk
¼ c. lemon juice divided
1 egg
1 Keebler chocolate or graham cracker pie crust
½ c. seedless raspberry preserves


In small mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add egg, beating until just combined. Pour half of cream cheese mixture into crust. In small bowl combine preserves and remaining lemon juice. Spoon half of preserves mixture over cream cheese mixture in crust. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining preserves mixture. Use knife or narrow spatula to swirl preserves into cream cheese mixture. Bake at 300 for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Source: Mom will have to provide it. I don't know!

Classic Pecan Pie

To pack lots of pecans in the filling, we kept the fat in this easy piecrust to a minimum, resulting in a biscuit-like crust.


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted
Cooking spray


1 large egg
4 large egg whites
1 cup light or dark-colored corn syrup
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add milk and butter; toss with a fork until moist.

Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to an 11-inch circle. Freeze 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under; flute.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the filling, beat the egg and the next 4 ingredients (egg through 1/4 teaspoon salt) at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Stir in the pecan halves and the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake the pie at 350° for 20 minutes, then cover with foil. Bake the pie an additional 20 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutrition Information: CALORIES 288 (29% from fat); FAT 9.2g (sat 1.5g,mono 5.1g,poly 2g); IRON 1.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 25mg; CALCIUM 52mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.1g; SODIUM 253mg; PROTEIN 4.3g; FIBER 1g

Source: Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1999

Notes: You can also use a frozen pumpkin pie crust or the Enrichment night pie crust recipe found above.

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie


1 ½ cups pecan halves
1 store-bought or homemade pie crust in a deep dish 9-inch pie plate
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for coating chocolate chips
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pecans in crust. In a small bowl, toss chocolate chips in a little flour to coat, then scatter evenly over pecans. In a medium bowl, stir together vanilla, butter, and flour until well combined. Pour filling over pecans and chocolate chips.

Bake until filling is set and crust is browned, about 70 minutes. (If pie browns too quickly, loosely tend with foil.) Let cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information: 8 servings. 586 calories, 32 g fat, 5.7 g protein, 76.7 g carbs, 3 g fiber.

Source: Everyday Food Magazine published by Martha Stewart. Recipe by Emeril Lagasse.

Caramel-Pecan Pie

Create this rich gooey caramel pecan piefor your family and friends. It is a perfect special occasion pie.

Prep: 20 min., Bake: 38 min., Cook: 7 min.

Yield: Makes 8 servings


1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
28 caramels
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Chocolate-Dipped Pecans (optional, see below)


Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork.

Bake piecrust at 400° for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on wire rack.

Combine caramels, butter, and 1/4 cup water in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until caramels and butter are melted; remove from heat.

Stir together sugar and next 3 ingredients. Stir into caramel mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in pecans. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake pie at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake 20 more minutes, shielding edges of crust with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove pie to a wire rack to cool. Top with Chocolate-Dipped Pecans, if desired.

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2005

Chocolate-Dipped Pecans

Prep: 20 min.
This recipe goes with Caramel-Pecan Pie
Yield: Makes 20 pecans

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
20 pecan halves, toasted

Microwave chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring at 30-second intervals.

Dip half of each pecan in melted chocolate; place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool completely. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source: Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2005

Above: Dear Abby's Pecan Pie. The pecans didn't rise to the top like they do in most pecan pies, but it was super easy and it tasted fantastic.

Dear Abby's Pecan Pie

Serves: 8


1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans


Beat the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, in the order given; work in the nuts. Pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie shell. Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Source: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/198/DearAbbysPecanPie65027.shtml

Notes: This recipe by Abigail Van Buren (aka Pauline Phillips) is published from time to time in her "Dear Abby" column. Jeanne Phillips, the original Abby's daughter, and the current "Dear Abby" adds this tip: The original recipe stated that the pie should be baked 45-50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree gas oven. If an electric oven is used, it may be necessary to add 15-20 minutes to the baking time. (Begin testing the pie with a toothpick after 45 minutes.)

Key Lime Pie

Key-lime pie takes its name from the type of lime it is made with, the Key lime, which grows in the Florida Keys. The Key lime has a mild, delicate fragrance, and the flavor is sweeter and more tart than that of the commonly found dark green, seedless Persian lime. Condensed milk and a graham-cracker crust are also common to the Key-lime pie, which has remained essentially unchanged over the years.

Look for brightly colored, smooth-skinned limes that are heavy for their size. Small brown areas on the skin won't affect flavor or succulence, but a hard or shriveled skin will. You'll know the pie is done when the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged. Before serving, chill the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes; this will make slicing easier.


Makes 1 pie.

1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tablespoons sugar
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed key-lime juice
1 tablespoon grated key-lime zest, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine graham-cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl; mix well. Press into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Lower oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key-lime juice, and zest. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

Return pie to oven, and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Shortly before serving, combine cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooled pie; garnish with zest. Serve immediately.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Coconut-Key Lime Pie

A classic Key lime pie gets upgraded for the holidays with coconut milk in the filling. If that wasn't enough, the dessert is gilded with toasted shredded coconut sprinkled on top of a billowy whipped cream topping.


1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
7 large egg yolks
1 Easy Press-In Pie Crust, made with graham crackers
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk, coconut milk, lime juice, and egg yolks until smooth. Pour into crust and bake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. To serve, top pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Easy Press-In Pie Crust

With store-bought cookies, some butter, and a bit of salt and sugar, you can make an irresistible homemade pie crust -- no rolling required. Ideal for icebox pies, press-in crusts are a Thanksgiving shortcut: Bake the crust a day or two ahead, fill it the night before, then add a topping before serving. Whether you use graham crackers or chocolate or vanilla wafers, our simple recipe will turn out a perfect crust every time.


Makes one 9-inch pie crust.
6 ounces cookies (about 12 graham crackers, 46 vanilla wafers, or 30 chocolate wafers, such as Famous)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Add sugar, salt, and butter and pulse until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (If using a springform pan, press crumbs halfway up sides.) Bake until crust is dry and set, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack before filling.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

White Chocolate-Key Lime Pie

Yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie


1 cup whipping cream
1 (11-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/3 cup fresh Key lime or lime juice
1 (9-inch) ready-made graham cracker crust or your favorite prepared recipe
Garnish: lime slices


Combine cream and white chocolate morsels in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook 5 minutes or until morsels melt, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add sour cream, lime rind, and juice; stir well. Pour into crust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Source: Coastal Living, MARCH 2004

Key Lime Pie


2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup Key lime juice (such as Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 (6-ounce) reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat eggs and egg whites at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Gradually add juice, rind, and milk to egg mixture, beating until well-blended. Spoon mixture into crust, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until almost set (the center will not be firm but will set up as it chills). Cool pie on a wire rack. Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutrition Information: CALORIES 288 (18% from fat); FAT 5.9g (sat 3g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.1g); IRON 0.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 141mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.2g; SODIUM 198mg; PROTEIN 7.6g; FIBER 0.8g

Source: Cooking Light, JUNE 1999

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving--Holiday Appetizers

This is the first of more Thanksgiving-themed blogs to come. Thanksgiving is all about the food. Thanksgiving dinner, of course is the main attraction. Then, there are the pies. But don't overlook the appetizers!

One of our family's holiday traditions is to have a lunch consisting of only appetizers. We don't always do this on Thanksgiving. Some years, we do it on Christmas or New Year's. I love this tradition because how often do you have the time to cook a ton of appetizers? Also, how often do you have the appetite to eat as many appetizers as you want?

Over the years, we have amassed a number of appetizer favorites. This year, we found a number of new favorites to add to the rotation.

The holidays aren't over. Maybe you can have an appetizer lunch on either Christmas or New Year's! You should try it!

Above: Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one came from one of my mom's cookbooks. I'll have to get the recipe and add it to the blog.

However, we tried another buffalo chicken dip a few years ago that was also really yummy. Here's the recipe for that dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor Frank's® RedHot® Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 cans (9.75 ounces each) Swanson® Premium White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
Assorted fresh vegetables and crackers


Heat the oven to 350°F.

Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth. Stir in the dressing, hot sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the chicken mixture before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

To make in the microwave:Use a microwavable 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Prepare the dip as directed above in Step 2. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 5 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot, stirring halfway through the cook time.

Serving Tip: This dip can be kept warm in a small crockpot or fondue pot on the buffet table.

To reduce fat: Use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and reduced-fat blue cheese salad dressing.

Serves 4.

Source: Campbell's Kitchen

Notes: Don't forget the celery sticks. It is the perfect vegetable to use for this dip.

Above: Cheddar and Cranberry Cheese Ball

Above: Goat Cheese and Scallions Cheese Ball

Above: Roquefort and Walnut Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball Three Ways


Base Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Cheddar and Cranberry:

8 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons store-bought chutney
3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Water crackers, for serving

Roquefort and Walnut:

6 ounces Roquefort cheese
1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Vegetable chips, for serving

Goat Cheese and Scallions:

8 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/3 cup fresh curly-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, for serving


Put butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.

Stir cheddar cheese and chutney with base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll cheese ball in cranberries to coat before serving. Serve with crackers.

Stir blue cheese and shallot with base mixture in second bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze up to 1 month. Roll in walnuts to coat before serving. Serve with vegetable chips.

Stir goat cheese and scallions with base mixture in remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll in parsley to coat before serving. Serve with cucumber slices.

Source: Martha Stewart website. You can find it here.

Notes: For the cheddar and cranberry cheese ball, we used smoked cheddar cheese as opposed to sharp cheddar because that's what we already had on hand. Also, rather than using the chutney, we used apricot jam (again, we had it on hand). Finally, I chopped the cranberries as finely as I could, but those little babies sure stick to the knife and make it hard to cut! I felt that the smoked cheddar nicely complimented the sweetness of the cranberries.

For the Roquefort and walnut cheese ball, I used regular blue cheese (it wasn't technically Roquefort). Plus, I used 4 ounces instead of 6 ounces. The blue cheese was pretty strong, so actually, it turned out better to use less blue cheese than the recipe called for.

For all of the cheese balls, I used assorted crackers rather than the suggested water crackers, vegetable chips, and cucumber slices.

One of the things I really loved about this recipe is that it made a total of three cheese balls. That either gives you some fun variety, or you can choose one flavor of cheese ball and make three cheese balls and give them as gifts at Christmas!

Above: Grandma Salazar's Crab Dip

Crab Dip


2 cups coconut
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cups sour cream
2 cups crab (cartilage removed)


Mix, chill and serve with crackers.

Source: I think my grandma got this from a newspaper years ago. From what my mom told me, it was supposedly one of President Kennedy's favorites.

Notes: This definitely has a different taste to it, but it is one of my all-time favorite appetizers. I just can't get enough of it! Yum, yum, yummy! Oh, and this picture doesn't do it justice. It is delicious and attractive. We usually serve it in a lovely clear glass bowl, but this time, we were shooting for simplicity...hence the tupperware!

Megan's Salmon Ball

Here's the introduction to Megan's recipe:

"Mia Israelsen--This recipe comes from Mia's grandfather who lives in Alaska. He catches the salmon, cans it, and sends it to Mia's family. This is served as an appetizer every Thanksgiving in their home."


1 (8 oz) can salmon (or 8 oz smoked salmon)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. horseradish
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. onion, grated
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped


Drain and flake salmon. Remove bones. Thoroughly combine salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice, grated onion, horseradish, and salt. Shape into a ball. Chill 1 hour. Roll ball in pecans. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, garnish with parsley.

Yield: 16 servings.

Notes: This was so addicting. Megan said that she usually uses smoked salmon for this recipe.

Kielbasa Made Easy


2 (16 ounce) packages kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 (16 ounce) cans whole cranberry sauce
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce


Brown the kielbasa in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Place the browned kielbasa, cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce in a slow cooker set on low. Allow the mixture to simmer at least 1 hour before serving warm.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by Kimberly

Notes: This one was a crowd pleaser--especially among the men-folk.

Here are some old favorite appetizers:

Cheese Ball


2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz.) jar Roka cheese (see substitute below)
2 (5oz.) jar Olde English cheese
2 T. grated onion
1 tsp. water
½ tsp. accent
Chopped nuts


Mix together. Chill 12 hours. Roll in chopped nuts.

Kraft Roka Blue Spread Substitute

1-1/4 cups or 10 servings, 2 Tbsp. each


1 tub (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup Athenos Crumbled Blue Cheese


Mix ingredients until well blended.

Add up to 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if thinner consistency is desired. For added tang, stir in 1/2 tsp. white vinegar.


Use half of this recipe as the perfect substitute for the discontinued 5-oz. jar of Kraft Roka Blue Spread.

Refrigerate any leftover spread. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Source: This is a Kraft recipe that my mom found years ago. It's one of my favorites. It's so flavorful! It's a great Christmas gift idea too.

Garlic and Brown Sugar Cheese Ball


1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream
cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened1/4 cup brown sugar
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped pecans


Mix the garlic powder into the softened cream. Form into a ball, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook 1 minute on High in the microwave, or until butter and brown sugar are melted. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and pecans. Chill 1 hour in the refrigerator, stirring often so that the butter and sugar do not separate.

Spread butter mixture over the cheese ball, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by KHOLST3

Notes: This one sounds super weird, but I love the mix of flavors.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ c. butter (no substitutes)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
2 t. brown sugar
¾ c. mini chocolate chips
¾ c. finely chopped pecans
Graham crackers


In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars; beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve w/Crackers.

Source: I'm not sure where my mom found this recipe.

Notes: This is a great way to get your sweet-fix appetizer-wise.

Hot Artichoke Dip


1 (14oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4oz) can chopped green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
Chopped tomato (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)


Mix all ingredients except tomato and green onions. Spoon into 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle with tomato and green onions. Serve with crackers. Makes 2 cups – 16 servings.

Source: Again, I'm not sure where my mom found this recipe. I think it was served at a Relief Society party that she attended.

Notes: You know you've found a good recipe when you won't ever make another kind of artichoke dip again. This is the ultimate artichoke dip.

Parmesan Puffs with Marinara


½ c. milk
¼ c. margarine or butter
½ c. Gold Medal all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¾ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. marinara sauce, heated


Heat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheet. Heat milk and margarine to boiling in 11/2 qt. sauce pan. Stir in flour, reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in cheese. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping. About 30 appetizers.

Source: Yet again, I have no idea where my mom found this recipe. We usually double or triple this recipe because these little puffs get gobbled up by my family so quickly.

Salmon Spread


1 (15 ½ oz.) can salmon
2 tsp. each grated onion and prepared horseradish
1 T. lemon juice
¼ tsp. liquid smoke
1/8 tsp. salt
3 drops hot pepper sauce
8 oz. cream cheese, softened


Drain and flake salmon. Combine with remaining ingredients. Chill several hours.

Source: I have no idea. My mom is good at keeping secrets!

Notes: This is similar to Megan's recipe, but we don't usually make it into a ball. We simply serve it in a bowl.

So Good Wings


¾ c. soy sauce
¾ c. white sugar
5 cloves garlic
1 ½ inches of peeled ginger
¾ lbs. chicken wings


Place 1st four ingredients in a blender and blend well. Place wings in a zip-loc bag and pour marinade over them. Marinate for 18-24 hours in refrigerator. Pour all the wings and marinade in a well-greased 9x13 pan. Roast in oven @ 375 for about an hour or so until the chicken is cooked. Let cool slightly before serving.

Source: ? Mom, where did it come from?

Notes: This is one of my brothers' favorites.

Rita’s Sweet Red Pepper Sauce


12 – 14 large red bell peppers
2 T. uniodized salt
3 cups sugar
2 c. white vinegar
8 oz. cream cheese


Chop fine or grind in food processor. Add 2 T. uniodized salt. Let stand 3 hours. Drain well. Add 3 cups sugar and 2 cups vinegar. Simmer about 1 ½ hours, until thick. Yield: Around 1 quart. Store in refrigerator up to 18 months. Pour over block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Source: My mom got this recipe from a lady in her ward.

Notes: This is another addicting appetizer, so watch out. If you don't have the time to make the red pepper sauce, you can serve salsa over the cream cheese and serve it with tortilla chips. It's a completely different taste, but it is yummy too!


Sweet Pumpkin Dip


1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
Sliced fruit, bite-size cinnamon graham crackers, mini bagels, English muffins


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl, until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve as a dip or spread.

Source: I have no idea!

Notes: This is wonderful on graham crackers (cinnamon or honey).

So, tell me, sisters...did I miss any? I know that Shandie's family has a fantastic cheese ball recipe too. Maybe she'll be good enough to share it with us!

What are your favorite appetizers?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tea Sandwiches, Cookies, and Baby Showers!

My sister and I are both pregnant (her first and my second--both boys! Plus, we're due only 5 days apart!). We were so happy to have her come to town so that we could throw her a baby shower. My mom actually made all of these tea sandwiches (I helped by scouting out the recipes). She has been so busy and her computer has been on the fritz, so I thought I would do her a favor and put the recipes onto our blog to save her some time. However, I will leave it up to her to edit this post later and add her explanations, notes, and suggestions.

The shower was beautiful and the tea sandwiches were oh so yummy! They got gobbled up quickly! In addition to the tea sandwiches, my aunt made some awesome cupcakes and my sister-in-law brought her famous sugar cookies (aka cugar shookies because my mom kept mixing up the name the first time she shared them with us).

I am including recipes for the four tea sandwiches pictured here (though we made quite a few more kinds--but these were the best of the best!). I am also including the wonderful sugar cookies recipe.

You will love them. And we are all anxiously awaiting my mother's additions and comments to this post!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches with Mint-Chile Butter

Use this recipe as a template, and customize according to your preferences. Try adding watercress, baby lettuce greens, or thinly sliced poached chicken breast.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 sandwich quarters)


6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
12 (1-ounce) slices white sandwich bread
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Trim crusts from bread; discard crusts. Spread each bread slice with about 1 1/2 teaspoons butter mixture. Place cucumber in a small bowl, and drizzle with lime juice; toss to coat. Arrange cucumber slices in an even layer over buttered sides of 6 bread slices; top with remaining bread slices, buttered side down. Cut sandwiches diagonally into quarters.

Nutrition information: CALORIES 89 (63% from fat); FAT 6.2g (sat 3.6g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.2g); IRON 0.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.9g; SODIUM 163mg; PROTEIN 1.2g; FIBER 0.4g

Source: Cooking Light, JUNE 2007

Goat Cheese-Pecan Finger Sandwiches

Instead of pimiento cheese for your party sandwiches, try this filling of creamy goat cheese and crunchy pecans. These sandwiches are great with wine for a fun night with the girls.


4 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
14 bread slices, divided
1/3 cup red pepper jelly


Stir together goat cheese, cream cheese, pecans, and parsley. Spread on 7 bread slices. Spread 7 more bread slices with red pepper jelly; top with cheese-covered bread slices. Remove crusts; cut into desired shapes.

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2009

Smoky "Pimiento" Cheese Sandwiches

Hands-On Time: 10 min.; Total Time: 15 min. Cut into smaller sandwiches for easy pickup.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Other Time: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes 7 servings


1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 (8.5-oz.) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
14 bread slices (sourdough and dark wheat)


Stir together cream cheese and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Stir in shredded cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes until combined.

Spread cheese mixture on half of bread slices (about 1/3 cup on each); top with remaining bread slices.

Source: Southern Living, OCTOBER 2009

Crisp Vegetable Tea Sandwiches

You can change the flavor of these simple sandwiches by varying the herbs you add to the cream cheese. Any favorites will work well alone or in combination.

Makes 8


4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, basil, tarragon, or mint
8 slices wheat bread
1 piece (4 inches) cucumber, very thinly sliced into rounds
2 radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons softened butter


Place cream cheese and herbs in a bowl; stir with a rubber spatula until combined.

Spread cream cheese mixture on 4 slices of bread; layer with cucumber and radish slices. Spread remaining slices of bread with butter. Place, butter side facing down, on radishes. Trim crusts; cut sandwiches in half.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Sugar Cookies aka Cugar Shookies


1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 c. flour (you will need more flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla


Cream butter, eggs, and sugar. Combine rest of ingredients and mix well. Add extra flour until dough isn't too sticky, and chill for a couple of hours or overnight. Roll out and cut (they will be sticky so add more flour to roll them out). Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes.



Powdered sugar
Vanilla, almond, or coconut flavoring


Mix ingredients together in the proportions you desire to attain the consistency of frosting you prefer.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slow Cooker Sandwiches

Thanksgiving is coming up. It is always a fun time of year to make old holiday favorites and try new ones. But, let's face it, Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. It takes hours and hours to make and it gets gobbled up in 30 minutes or less...and then there are the dishes that need to be done!

So, in order to make Thanksgiving as enjoyable as possible, I think it's important to take it easy cooking-wise just before and just after the big feast. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the slow cooker. I LOVE the slow cooker! Bless the person who invented it (according to a quick google search, it appears that Rival Industries created the first slow cooker called the "Crock Pot" in the 1970's). Wonderful invention! I just wish I had invented it because I would be very wealthy. But I guess since I was only born in 1979, it would have been a lot to ask of an infant to come up with such an invention.

I find slow cooker sandwiches to be the easiest of all slow cooker recipes because you simply slice or shred the meat, place it on a bun and serve it with some easy side dishes. It also makes kitchen clean up so easy. Don't forget to use Reynold's Slow Cooker liners. Because then you don't even have to clean your slow cooker afterward.

Oh, and while some of these recipes call for a specific type of roast, I have found that any cut or type of roast works well. If you use a bone-in roast, just remember to remove the bones when you are cutting or shredding the meat.

I'm sharing a teriyaki pulled pork sandwich (a nice change of pace from the usual BBQ pulled sandwiches), pepperoncini beef sandwiches, and two versions of French Dip sandwiches (the first one is a new find, the second one is an old favorite). Both of the French Dip recipes are delicious, in my opinion. But the second one takes a lot less prep time. They both make a yummy au jus to dip the sandwiches in. To quote Homer Simpson, "Ahhhh. Au jus. Not quite gravy...not quite blood. Mmmmmmm." Hopefully that quote didn't gross you out, but I always get a kick out of it. Plus, it's a good way for me to test to see if you actually read the entire blog post!

One final note: shredded meat is very freezer friendly. If you have extra shredded meat, put it in a freezer zip top bag, label it (what it is and the date you froze it) and pop it in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, simply defrost it in the fridge overnight and reheat it in the microwave. So easy!

I hope you like these recipes and I hope they help to simplify your holidays!

Teriyaki Pulled Pork Sandwiches


1 (3 lb) boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed
1 bottle teriyaki sauce or marinade
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple rings, drained and liquid reserved
8 whole wheat hamburger buns


Place roast in a 5 quart slow cooker. Pour teriyaki sauce/marinade and liquid from canned pineapple rings over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Remove roast and shred meat with two forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir.

Toast whole wheat hamburger buns and use a slotted spoon to top the bun with shredded pork and a pineapple ring.

Source: This is a recipe that I found on Allrecipes.com, but it is actually a Taste of Home Test Kitchen recipe.

Notes: I slightly altered the original recipe. The original recipe has a few more steps to it. First, they browned the roast in 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat and then cut the roast in half before placing it in the slow cooker. I simply found this to be an unnecessary step. They also discarded the juice from the pineapple rings and called for a can of unsweetened pineapple juice. Now, why buy another can of pineapple juice when you can use the juice from the pineapple rings and attain the same results? Also, in the original recipe, they thickened the teriyaki sauce in the slow cooker by whisking 3 tablespoons of flour into the teriyaki sauce and covering it and cooking it in the crock pot on high for 30-40 minutes until the sauce was thickened. At that point, they put the meat back into the slow cooker until the meat was heated again. Thickening the sauce isn't necessary, but it does make for a less juicy and messy sandwich. Again, I found this to be an extra step that wasn't absolutely necessary. Oh, and be sure to use whole wheat hamburger buns. They add such a nice flavor to the sandwiches. It adds much more depth to the taste than using just white buns for this recipe. If you keep a frozen pork roast and frozen buns in your freezer, this makes an easy pantry recipe that you can put together at the drop of a hat!

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches


1 (3 lb) beef chuck roast
4 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)
1 (16 ounce) jar sliced pepperoncini peppers
Sliced Pepper Jack or Jalapeno cheese
Buns or rolls


If using garlic, make small cuts in roast and insert garlic slices into the cuts. Place roast in the slow cooker, and pour the entire contents of the jar of pepperoncini, including liquid, over the meat.

Cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat is tender. Shred or slice the beef. Place on toasted buns or hoagie rolls and top with cheese and pepperoncini, if desired. You can also place the sandwiches open-faced onto a foil covered jelly roll pan and broil for 1 minute to toast the bread and melt the cheese prior to serving.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by Joyce.

Above: Picture from an old camera...and served on a wheat bun.

Notes: If I'm in a hurry, I either skip the garlic, or just add it to the slow cooker with the jar of pepperoncini. Broiling the sandwiches is a must, in my opinion. Just make sure to watch the sandwiches closely while they are broiling. They can burn quickly if you aren't paying attention!

French Dip Sandwiches


1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 3/4 cups beef broth
1 boneless beef rump roast (4 lbs.), trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 package (0.7 oz) Italian dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 hoagie buns, split
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
12 slices (1 oz each) provolone cheese, cut in half


Spray slow cooker with cooking spray (or use slow cooker liner). In slow cooker, place onion; add broth. Brush all surfaces of beef roast with vinegar. Place roast on top of onions. Sprinkle with Italian dressing mix, salt, and pepper.

Cover; cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours, or until meat is tender.

Remove beef from slow cooker; place on cutting board. Cut beef across grain into thin slices. Return slices to slow cooker; mix well. (You can also shred the meat, if you prefer)

Spoon beef onto bottom halves of buns and top each with bell pepper, cheese, and top half of bun. Serve sandwiches with juices from slow cooker.

Source: A cookbook of my mother's entitled Slow Cooker Sensations.

Notes: You can simply pour the balsamic vinegar over the roast. You don't really need to brush it on. I added a total of three cans of beef broth to the slow cooker. This allowed my entire roast to be immersed...which helped to make it really tender. Also, we usually saute or broil the bell peppers until they are softened. It takes a little of the bitter taste out of the green peppers. You can also use any kind of bell peppers you like. This sandwich is fantastic with green, yellow, orange, or red bell peppers. Oh, and although I didn't toast or broil my sandwiches this time (as seen in the picture above), I usually do because I like to melt the cheese on the sandwich prior to serving (just as described in the pepperoncini beef sandwich recipe above).

Above: You have a lot of serving options with this French Dip recipe. Serve it topped with cheese and broiled green peppers, or...

Above: Serve it topped with cheese and the onions from the slow cooker, or...

Above: Serve it topped with cheese, broiled green peppers, and onions from the slow cooker (my husband's favorite), or...

Above: Have one of each (one with cheese and onions, one with cheese and green peppers), or...

Above: Have your French Dip sandwich just with cheese. Perhaps I am boring, but this is the way I prefer it.

French Dip Sandwiches


1 beef roast
2 cans beef consomme
1 can French onion soup
Hoagie rolls
Salt and pepper, to taste


Place roast in a slow cooker and pour consomme and onion soup on top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Serve on buttered, salted, and peppered hoagie rolls and use the consomme/onion soup mixture as an au jus to dip the sandwiches in.

Source: I have no idea. This is a recipe that my mom has been making since I was a child. I don't know where she got it from.