Mini Pies!

mini pies unbakedI enjoy having family over and cooking. My sister is here from Hawaii for a month. Usually when she’s home we have a dinner with her son and his wife and children. This dinner was extra special because it was a birthday celebration also. The menu always starts out simple, but for some reason it grows bigger and more complicated before long. Which, by the way, I thrive on. I’m not going to highlight dinner, just dessert. With the holidays on the horizon, it’s always nice to have an easy and impressive dessert to serve.

mini pies unbaked 2 mini pies unbaked 3

This is going to seem like it was a-lot of work, but it wasn’t. Use whatever mini pans you have, I used a whoopie pie pan and a pan with mini 2 “squares. Using already Pie crust 2-3 boxes or homemade, cut out the size pie crust circle you need to fit the opening. Press them into the pan.

Prepare a bunch of fillings. I made half batches of Pumpkin pie filling and pecan pie filling. I also made blueberry pie filling and raspberry filling in the microwave. (1 cup frozen  Blueberries or raspberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, microwave until thickened, about 2 minutes) Or just open a can of filling.  I also prepared an apple filling, (3 apples peeled and chopped, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, microwave until thickened and partially cooked about 3-4 minutes).

mini pies baked

Spoon the fillings into the prepared crusts and fill only 2/3 full. Top with pretty pie crust leaves.

mini pies baked 2

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees until and bake until golden approx 20 minutes. Serve warm with Ice cream and whipped cream.

 

 

My season of Joy!

autumnAutumn is the perfect time of year in my opinion. I always feel like I’m in the middle of a Thomas Kincaid picture. The leaves are just gorgeous, even the ones that collect on the ground make me happy. Summer has come to a close and I just cut down all of my herbs and cleaned and chopped them, and now they are drying in pans all over the heavenly smelling house. Except for the rosemary which is chopped and submerged in olive oil in my fridge. The feeling I get and I’m sure many others get, in the fall is just pure contentment. I love the colors, the cool crisp air and comfortable nights, the sight of pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks everywhere. It’s purely understandable that this is a prelude to Thanksgiving, which seems to me, the perfect name for this holiday. I am indeed, thankful for this time of year. People seem nicer and happier, maybe they are just on their best behavior because Christmas is coming and they want really good presents or because its football season. But seriously, people really do seem more friendly and cheerful.

I love the thought of all kinds of pumpkin desserts, apple crisp and apple pies. Making a huge Turkey with mashed potatoes and flavorful gravy, stuffing, homemade bread, roasted veggies, butternut squash drizzled with a buttery brown sugar sauce. Sitting by a crackling fire to get warm with a cup of cocoa and always having a warm blanket draped over. Big pots of deliciously hearty soups and crusty bread. I love all the gatherings with friends and family that only happens this time of the year. And mostly, the arrival of family that live away and come home for visits. I’m a happy girl right now, enjoy the season everyone.

Braised Caramelized Cabbage

briased caramelized cabbageThere are side dishes and then there are side dishes. I just love cabbage as a side. I usually braise red cabbage but you can use whichever you have on hand. There are two ways I like to braise it, one with just butter, olive oil and garlic and secondly with the addition of cream. Typically, I serve cabbage with Pork, but it really doesn’t matter. This cabbage was leftover from a batch of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. I only had enough filling for about 3/4 of my cabbage, I had the center of the cabbage left so I used it up. I’m always so proud of myself when I do not waste something. This time I did not add onions to the cabbage, but I do think it would be good. I also always enjoy adding spinach to the mix at the end. Very healthy side dish too.

Braised Cabbage

1 small cabbage sliced into 1/4″ strips
1/2 stick butter
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
1 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley
opt: crushed red pepper flakes

Heat a skillet to med high heat.
add: butter and oil
add: Cabbage
stir fry for approx 5 minutes
to caramelize, let the cabbage sit in the pan, without moving it around. when it begins to brown up turn over and brown up more. When you are happy with the color, lower to medium heat. Stir in garlic and begin adding the chicken stock about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cover and let steam for 2-3 minutes. Continue adding the stock and covering until the cabbage is tender and fully cooked. Now taste it and add salt and pepper and crushed red pepper. Toss in parsley. Serve.