To Die for Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

photo 3 copy

Happy Easter!

It was a beautiful – sunny but chilly – holiday here in southern CT. Today’s celebration was a pretty low-key affair this year for my husband and me which was actually quite nice. We spent much of the day in quiet relaxation (a leisurely breakfast, yoga, reading) until heading over to my mom’s house for dinner.

After a delicious dinner of maple-glazed ham, parsnip potatoes, garlicky green beans with slivered almonds, basic tossed salad, warmed biscuits, and red wine, we topped it off with our beloved homemade strawberry shortcake.

My family has enjoyed this fast and simple recipe for decades, and I thought it was time to share the love! Light, fruity, and refreshing – it’s the perfect bookend to your holiday meal.

I hope you’ll try it…I know you won’t be disappointed!

Strawberry Shortcake

Biscuits (makes 1 dozen)

  • 1/3 cup of shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then cut in shortening, and add baking powder and salt. Mix with blender (or using hands) until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk and work dough into a ball.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly about 10 times. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter (or using the mouth of a drinking glass).

Place the cutouts onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.

Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove immediately from cookie sheet.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Beat heavy cream on low to medium speed with a hand mixer, adding a dash of sugar here and a sprinkle of vanilla there every so often. Continue to beat the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.

Assembling the Strawberry Shortcake

Layer 2.5 pounds of hulled and quartered strawberries over warm biscuits, then top with a  few dollops of fresh whipped cream.

Bon Appetit!

 

World’s Best Apple Crisp Recipe – I Kid You Not

worlds-best-apple-crisp

Hi All!

I know I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks, and believe me I feel terrible! The wedding is less than a month away now, and it seems like every spare minute that I’m not at work is spent planning the wedding. I’ll be back to normal after November 8, I promise. J

For now, I thought I would share my absolute favorite recipe on earth—my mom’s apple crisp. I swear to you this is the best one you’ll ever have. Try it and see!

We went apple picking this past weekend, then made the crisp right after….so delicious!

Mom’s Apple Crisp

Filling

  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. corn starch
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 lbs. (about 8 cups) tart apples, peeled & sliced – this year we used a combination of Stayman, Macoun, Empire, Gala, Fuji, and Jonagold

Topping

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, melted

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • For filling
    • Combine brown sugar, corn starch, and cinnamon
    • Add apples and toss to coat
    • Spoon mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish
    • For the topping:
      • In the same bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Stir in butter until coarse crumbs form
      • Spoon over apple mixture
      • Bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until apples are tender and the juices bubbling in the center are shiny and clear. Cool on a wire rack.
      • Serve with ice cream.

Easy Homemade Baked Beans – Try it out for Your Next Get-Together!

Who doesn’t love baked beans?? Okay, I suppose some of you don’t, but I for one love them! When I think of summertime and outdoor parties, I think hot dogs, burgers, corn, and…baked beans!

My mom and I make it a point of trying to get together at her house or mine once a week to cook a recipe together…this week we tried to recreate her mother’s baked beans recipe. I’d say it went pretty well!

baked-beans

Although it’s a lengthy process, making this recipe is quite easy. Give these a try at your next summer gathering–you won’t be disappointed!

baked beans

Note: do not eat the salt pork–it’s only added for flavoring.

Like the recipe card? I used the Bon Appetit Editable Recipe Card template which can be found here.

R

Summer is in the Air – Creamy Mango Pops

Here in coastal Connecticut on this beautiful Tuesday, it’s sunny and in the upper 70’s. Today is the first day I can really feel summer’s approach. So I thought today would be the perfect day to make a tasty cold snack to enjoy! This recipe comes from the 21-day detox cleanse from Whole Living Magazine, which I mentioned I did with my best friend and fiancé back in late February.

Whole Living Magazine Jan/Feb 2013
Whole Living Magazine Jan/Feb 2013

Creamy Mango Pops

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

 Ingredients

  • 6 c. of slightly thawed frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 c. of light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice (I used Tropicana no pulp)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

The recipe is super easy…just throw all the ingredients in the blender, add them to popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy!

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Let pops chill in the freezer for several hours, then savor your frozen snack!   creamy-mango-pop-whole-living-magazine I’m off to enjoy mine… R

MANAGEABLE MONDAY MEAL: Quick & Easy Veggie Fajitas

I don’t know about you but I find Mondays to be the most draining day of the week.  I know I’ve had the past two days off and should be relaxed, but there’s something so exhausting about that first day back to work. When I get home, all I want to do is be lazy in front of the tv or behind a book.

That’s why I like to plan quick and easy meals for Monday nights, so that the time between setting down my car keys and putting my fork to my mouth is as short as possible.

Last night’s meal was veggie fajitas from the cookbook of one of my favorite restaurants, Claire’s Corner Copia. Claire’s is a downtown New Haven establishment that has been attracting Yalies and local residents for decades. Claire’s Corner Copia Cookbook: 225 Vegetarian Homestyle Recipes from Claire’s Family to Yours was written by restaurant owner Claire Criscuolo in 1994 and is full of tons of healthy, delicious recipes. The below recipe can be found on page 178 of the cookbook.

   Recipe: Vegetable Fajitas

 

Serves 6

    Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small red onion (halved, then sliced thickly)
  • 1 small yellow onion (halved, then sliced thickly)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 5 large bell peppers (combination of yellow, red & green, cut in half, seeded, and sliced into ½ inch ribs)
  • 3 large tomatoes (halved, then each half sliced into 5 wedges)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas

     Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Prep the onions and garlic
Prep the onions and garlic

Prep onion and garlic– if you love onion as much as me, go ahead and use a large onion! Add them to the oil and sauté. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Slice the bell peppers
Slice the bell peppers

Meanwhile, prep the peppers and tomatoes. I didn’t have any green bell peppers, so I used a mixture of red, yellow, and orange instead.

Add the peppers, tomatoes, chili powder, and red pepper flakes to the skillet with the garlic and onions. If you like a bit of kick to your fajitas, increase the amount of chili powder and red pepper flakes. The cookbook’s instructed measurements are on the subtle side.

Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the peppers are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, lay your tortillas out on a baking sheet and prepare your accompaniments, if you choose to add any. I used whole wheat tortillas instead of flour, which were absolutely delicious and decided to heat up some refried beans. Claire’s Corner Copia cookbook has its own recipe for refried beans, but in the interest of saving time, I heated up a can of Old El Paso refried beans, which were quick and yummy.

Veggie mixture
Veggie mixture

 

Raise the heat to high, remove the skillet cover, and add the lemon and lime juice, salt, and pepper. The juice from the lemon and lime add some great flavor, but if you are sensitive to citrus, I would recommend cutting the amount down to half a lemon and half a lime.

Lemon, lime, spices
Lemon, lime, spices

Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until the peppers are tender and lightly browned. Keep the filling warm while you warm the tortillas for 3 minutes in the oven.

Veggie filling and refried beans
Veggie filling and refried beans

veggie fajitas

Remove the tortillas from the onion, and place one on each plate. Top with a generous portion of refried beans and layer the veggie filling on top. Add any other desired accompaniments, fold, and serve.

Bon Appetit!
Bon Appetit!

Alternately, you can serve the veggie filling over brown rice instead of a tortilla. As the tomatoes cook down they liquefy, and the rice will soak up the juices from the filling very nicely.

    Accompaniments

  • Refried beans
  • Guacamole
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

And there you have it—a simple, quick, flavor-packed meal that you can add to your rotation of weeknight go-to dinners! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

R