Tag Archives: nuts

Skillet Pecan Pie

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It’s time to try out a new dessert on my hubby since my youngest is in college. Hubby has let it be known that he enjoys Pecan Pie. That was news to me because he usually raves about my mom’s apple pie and sometimes carrot cake. I learned through some prodding that hubby was first introduced to pecan pie at a restaurant he worked at as a teenager. It was a buffet style restaurant and pies that were not sold were often given to the employees to take home. Sweet Deal! Pun intended.

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Personally, I was never a big fan of pecan pie until now. I usually go for fruity pies like cherry, blueberry or my mom’s sweet potato pie. The one time I tried pecan pie as a kid I thought it was way too sweet. I blamed it on the pie but maybe it was just what the baker liked. Skillet Pecan Pie is not too sweet. Granted it is sweet but your lips will not pucker and your eyes won’t twitch from taking a bite of the pie.

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My Skillet Pecan Pie is similar to how I made my Skillet Apple Pie. The filling is of course different along with part of the process. After baking the pie, I leave it in the oven for an hour to help it set. I would never have known that part of the process if I had not read several pecan pie recipes to figure out exactly how to pull it all together.

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I was pretty pleased with the end result after a few tweaks here and there. Like any other recipe I share it is up to the chef to prepare the dish based on his or her likes and dislikes. I was just glad hubby gave me a thumbs up. Once he settled down with a slice of pie, his cup of Starbucks coffee and a big smile on his face I knew my Skillet Pecan Pie was blog worthy.

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Skillet Pecan Pie

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury Pie Crust

4 eggs

1 ½ cups chopped pecan halves

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

¼ cup pecan halves

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk eggs until foamy then whisk in brown sugar, butter, flour, milk and vanilla until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans and set aside.

Spray a medium sized cast iron skillet with cooking spray.  Mold pie crust into skillet leaving a little over hang. Sprinkle crust with powdered sugar. Pour filling into pie crust. Top with pecan halves then gently fold the extra crust towards the center of the pie. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Crust will be golden brown. Turn oven off and leave the pie in the oven for 1 hour. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Fruit and Nuts Cookie Bars

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I have been searching for cookie recipes that were easy to make and included mascarpone cheese. I found a couple of recipes but changed my mind and decided to come up with a cookie bar that included nuts and dried fruit. I could try to say the nuts and fruit made the cookies healthier than a regular cookie but who would I be kidding!

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I usually use pecans in my dessert recipes but I decided I wanted to use some thing different so I chose walnuts. Walnuts of course go great in any cookie. To compliment the nuts I used dried chopped plums instead of cranberries just because they looked interesting and they were on sale.

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Since I have been working on improving my baking skills I was pretty confident I could pull off making a tasty cookie bar. The issue would be whether or not my son would like them because they had both nuts and fruit. He is more of a chocolate chip cookie or oatmeal raisin kind of person. Nuts and dried plum? I was not too sure about that. I was pleasantly surprised that he really liked the cookie bars and didn’t even ask what was in them. One step closer to being a real baker!

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Fruit and Nuts Cookie Bar

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries or dried chopped plums
¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter over medium high heat then stir in brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl combine four baking soda and salt. In another bowl mix eggs, vanilla and cooled sugar. Slowly add flour to butter mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in nuts and dried fruit.

Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour cookie mix onto parchment paper and spread it out. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Let cool then cut into 2 inch squares.

Enjoy!

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Fruit Cups

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When you think of fruit cups I am sure you think of fresh (or canned) fruit chopped up and mixed together. Kind of like the fruit cup they would serve you in grade school for lunch. Well this Fruit Cup is nothing like the fruit cup from our childhood memories. My alternate version of a fruit cup is a pastry cup full of fresh (or canned) fruit simmered down with pecans then topped with a glob of vanilla ice cream.

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I came up with the idea of creating pastry fruit cups when I was thinking of what else I could make with the extra large muffin tins I used to bake big muffins. I also was trying to decide what to make with the leftover pastry dough my mom gave me so I could work on a new quiche recipe. Rather than make a big pie I thought I could create individual Fruit Cups that would be like a slice of pie.

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The great thing about Fruit Cups is that you can fill them with any kind of fruit you like and make several different types at once. For this post I tried making peach fruit cups. They tasted like mini peach pies with a hint of pecans. Apples were a good substitute for the peaches when I made this for my hubby because he likes apple pie but blueberry and blackberry also work well with this recipe. I just had to tweak it a little and instead of using brown sugar and cinnamon I used only regular sugar and lemon zest to brighten the flavors.

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Try making Fruit Cups the next time you have a desire for pie but don’t want the whole thing only a muffin sized slice.

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Fruit Cups

Ingredients:
1 pkg of Pillsbury pie sheets (or your own crust)
2 15 oz cans peaches in heavy syrup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup pecans chopped
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp of water
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 4 large muffin tins with cooking spray.

Add peaches with syrup, butter, sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg to a medium sized pot and simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Cut out four 6 ½ inch circles (I used a cereal bowl to measure) from the pie sheets re-rolling the excess dough if necessary. Place each circle in the muffin tin then with a slotted spoon fill will fruit & nut mixture. Add a little of the juice from fruit to each cup. Fold over top of pie sheet to close the cup. Brush with egg wash and then vent with a knife. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Optional:
Sliced Apples
Blueberries
Blackberries
Strawberries

If using berries, substitute sugar for brown sugar and add a little lemon zest.

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Chocolate Crunch Bars

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Anyone who really knows me knows I love good dark chocolate. It is the one sweet treat that is hard for me to pass up. I was looking through an old magazine recently and saw a recipe for a classic treat made with saltine crackers. I did not remember ever experiencing crunch bars but the picture looked wonderful.

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I was inspired to try making this tasty looking treat because of the dark chocolate and nuts. Of course I put my own spin on the recipe. I like saltines but I don’t like a lot of salt. I am one of those folks that scraps all the salt off of soft pretzels before I eat them. So, to make this treat I substituted graham crackers for the saltines.

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I also mixed up the nuts just because I like both walnuts and pecans. The two of them mixed together along with the dark chocolate gave the treat a nice rich flavor.

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Decedent, nutty and not too sweet. Chocolate Crunch Bars are a light treat that will satisfy any sweet tooth without a ton of calories.

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Chocolate Crunch Bars

Ingredients:
12 whole graham crackers
1 semi – sweet baker’s chocolate bar chopped
½ cup pecans chopped
½ cup walnuts chopped
1 stick of butter
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil and set aside.

Heat butter and brown sugar over low heat until butter is melted and blended with sugar. Bring to a low boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture evenly over graham crackers. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate over hot crackers to melt. Spread chocolate over graham crackers with the back of a spoon then sprinkle with nuts. Let cool completely. To speed up the process, cover with wax paper and let chill in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes. Separate bars and store in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

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BIG SALAD

If you are a sitcom fan, then you know about Elaine’s love of and constant search for the “BIG SALAD”.

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Salads are a healthy quick and easy dish to make when you don’t have a lot of time or you are too tired to fix a big meal. The great thing about salads is that they are very versatile. You can custom design every salad by using whatever is available in your pantry or frig. Every salad you make can become a work of art that is both pleasing to the eye and definitely pleasing to the stomach.

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On nights I do not have to cook for the family I will make a Big Salad and load it up with whatever I can find in the fruit bowl or refrigerator. Apples, dried cranberries, golden raisins, nuts and olives are a household staple so that is the base of most of the salads I make. Because my son only likes iceberg lettuce and my husband and I like mixed greens, I usually keep both on hand. Sometimes I mix various types of lettuce to keep things festive.

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Cheese, cheese, cheese. I love cheese! Whatever you do, do not forget to add cheese to your salad. Feta, Blue Cheese, Shaved Parmesan or just plain cheddar will give your salad that extra boost and provides good protein. To keep things light, I like to use Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade to top it off. This dressing has become a family favorite  and brightens up the salad with a unique taste.

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I never did discover what made Elaine’s Big Salad so delicious but I am sure my Big Salad recipe is sure to make you smack your lips.

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Salad Fact:
Did you know that in ancient times salads were considered an aphrodisiac? The next time you feel a little frisky try fixing that special someone a Big Salad and they will love you for it!

BIG SALAD

Ingredients:
1 bag of mixed salad greens
5-6 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
5-6 calamata pitted black olives
2 slices of crispy cooked bacon chopped
¼ cup sliced avocado
½ green apple sliced thin
1 tbsp feta cheese
1 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp golden raisins
1 tbsp almonds
1 tbsp cashews
1 tbsp walnut
1 tbsp croutons
2 tbsp favorite salad dressing

In a BIG bowl layer the mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, apples,bacon black olives, cranberries, golden raisins, cheeses, nuts, croutons and salad dressing. If you want an even bigger salad, add some chicken or seafood to make this a truly wonderful meal.

Eat up!