Pies, Tarts, and Crostatas – usually, when I think of pies and tarts they’re filled with something sweet and fruity, chocolate, or other lusciously sweet concoction. That’s part of why I was so excited to be a judge at the American Pie Council National Championships this year. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sit and eat pie for two days? I learned very quickly that you should NOT pick your favorite kind of pie to judge. Why? Because after more than 30 cherry pies (including gluten-free and no sugar added) I think it’s going to be a very long time before I’ll want another cherry pie again. It was really inspirational to see all of those beautiful pies – some were works of art. I don’t usually make pies so I was searching pies and tarts when I came across this pin for Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart by Michelle of The Brooklyn Cook. Ooh, a SAVORY option!
For National Fried Chicken Day I made Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders and chicken tenders aren’t complete without a dipping sauce. My favorite dipping sauce for chicken is Chick-Fil-A sauce. I use it for the chicken tenders and the waffle fries and joke that I could drink it with a straw – it’s just that good. I pinned this Pinterest pin for a Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce recipe by Serene Herrera of House of Yumm a couple of years ago and this was the perfect time to make it.
This is one of two recipes that I tested for National Fried Chicken Day. If you need a recipe for chicken tenders to dip in your sauce, I used this Pin for Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders by Mandy of South Your Mouth.
The ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now. No, that lemon isn’t floating in the air. I had forgotten to get it in the picture so I added a clip-art lemon.
Simply mix everything together per the recipe’s instructions.
Now serve it with whatever you like to dip.
That’s it. The end. This makes enough sauce for a family of heavy dippers to enjoy without skimping.
The Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce was great with the chicken tenders. The next day I shared the leftovers at lunch and everyone thought it was really the restaurant branded sauce. After doing a side-by-side taste comparison, I have to say that this is a very close Copycat that’s easy to whip for your family’s dipping pleasure.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 5 Pins
Accuracy: This Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce recipe is a convenient and easy way to get the fabulous flavor of my favorite dipping sauce at home. 5 Pins
Difficulty: Measure, Mix, Done. This is about as easy as you can get. No chopping, prepping, cooking, chilling, or waiting. 5 Pins
Time: This took 5 minutes to whip together. 5 Pins
Cost: I had all of the ingredients that are common to most kitchens. Even if you had to purchase one, two, or all of them, the quantity needed would still make this home-made version less expensive than running down to your closest Chick-Fil-A and buying a combo. 5 Pins
Practicality: I will be making this Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce to keep on hand in my house. It’s easy to double or triple as needed. 5 Pins
Chicken tenders, no matter how good, need a dipping sauce. Since Mandy recommended a mixture that tastes like Chick-Fil-A sauce, I am doing a second Pintesting on this pin for a Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce recipe by Serene Herrera of House of Yumm.
The ingredients include chicken tenders, seasoning mixture, milk mixture, and a flour mixture. My grocery didn’t have chicken tenders so I got chicken breasts and sliced them into tenders. This seemed a lot easier than running from store to store in search of the same thing.
Start by making a seasoning blend that Mandy calls “Chicken Scratch” and says is good for seasoning “anything with feathers.”
Season the chicken tenders with part of the Chicken Scratch.
Then blend the milk mixture. It calls for a fair amount of hot sauce. The recommended amount will give a bit of heat; adjust this to your own taste preference.
Mix the coating with flour, seasonings, and more Chicken Scratch.
Dip the seasoned chicken tenders in the milk mixture.
Then coat it in the flour mixture.
Pan fry them in about an inch of hot oil.
Turn the chicken to cook evenly; about 5-6 minutes total.
Drain the cooked tenders on paper towels or on a cooling rack. I put a cooling rack over paper towels – just to be safe.
These fried up to a nice golden brown without losing their coating. As I said, they do have a kick of heat to them – a bit more than is my personal preference but not more than what I would call medium hot. The chicken was fully cooked without drying out. These Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders were a great way to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day.
I made the Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce recipe to serve on the side and paired it with a salad.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.45 Pins
Accuracy: The Pan-Fried Chicken Tenders turned out just like the recipe and post said except for one thing – the heat. I understand that heat levels can be subjective and what one person considers flavor might be fire to another. In this case, however, it wasn’t the opinion of just my HH and me. I had a few people at work try them and they all mentioned that they “have a kick” or “have some heat on the back end.” Other than that, the chicken tenders were moist, crispy, and had all the yum of fried chicken. 4 Pins
Difficulty: There is a level of danger that accompanies frying in oil. Anyone who’s been splattered can attest to the pain. All the prep work of mixing the dry rub, milk wash, etc. is easy. I went back and forth between giving this a 3 or a 4, but since this is pan-frying instead of deep-frying I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Time: The whole recipe took less than 30 minutes from start to finish; even with the dipping, coating, resting, and frying. This is a great recipe for busy weeknights. 5 Pins
Cost: All of the ingredients are normally in my kitchen. The chicken was $3.99/lb and my package was $4.45. The Chicken Scratch rub makes a lot and can be used for “anthing that has feathers.” I estimate the total cost at $5.75. Since this served supper and leftovers for lunch that’s less than $2/serving. 5 Pins
Practicality: You just can’t go wrong with homemade chicken tenders. They beat frozen every time – plus you know what’s in these. I prefer no mystery ingredients in my food. I like that you can adjust the level of heat to your preference by adjusting the amount of hot sauce in the milk mixture AND if you prefer a “Southwest vibe” you can adjust the Chicken Scratch per her instructions. My lunch leftovers heated well in the work toaster oven so I’m guessing that you could make these ahead and bake in the oven, but since they take less than 30 minutes it’s just as easy to make them fresh. 5 Pins
The ingredients include grilled corn, spices, mayonnaise, and cheese.
Mayonnaise? Yes, mayo. If you’ve never tried this just trust me on this. It’s how this is done.
Slather a good coat of mayonnaise on the corn like butter.
The 2nd Pintesting:
I made this again within a week, except this time I used the more traditional Cotija cheese. It’s a Mexican hard crumbly cow’s milk cheese described as similar to both parmesan and feta. It crumbled easily onto the corn and I can see why it’s perfect for Elote.
Notice the little shaker of the spice blend above the cotija? We liked the first Pintesting results so much that we mixed the blend ahead to use whenever we want to grill some Mexican Street Corn.
This time I only got a picture of one because they disappeared as soon as I could make them. Something about hungry people wanting delicious food. My HH likes the Cotija cheese better – he says it’s creamier than the parmesan and he is not wrong.
- DON’T mix everything and then spread it on the corn. Read the recipe directions thoroughly and follow the steps or you’ll have an unpleasant mess.
- DO let a grill master grill the corn for you while you assemble the remaining ingredients if you have someone else doing the grilling.
- DO be as subtle or generous with the spice mixture and cheese as you’d like. I was moderate with the seasoning and heavier with the cheese.
- DO use either the Parmesan or Cotija cheese – or even a mixture if you’d like. They’re both delicious. My HH likes the Cotija better – he says it’s creamier.
- DO have a napkin ready but feel free to lick your fingers.
The Pintesting Results
Accuracy: This recipe turned out just like the Veronica said that it would and it tasted just like the Mexican Grilled Street Corn that I remember from the street vendors. 5 Pins
Salads in summer is a classic combination, and one of the favorite salads in our home is the classic Waldorf Salad. Even though this salad has been around since the late 19th century it still ranks in the Top 10 of America’s favorite salads – and with good reason. The combination of flavors and textures is fabulous, it’s healthy without trying too hard, and it’s so easy to make! My HH likes this as a quick guilt-free snack and requested it the other day so I did a quick Pinterest search and found this Pin for the Best Ever Waldorf Salad Recipe by Daniela of My Gorgeous Recipes. I had to know the difference between my version and the “Best Ever” recipe so let’s get to the Pintesting.
Some interesting history on the Waldorf Salad: It came from the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1896 and was created by Oscar Tschirky who was not a chef but the dining room manager or “the maître d’hôtel.” It was a huge hit and has stayed on the menu ever since with a minor tweak. History can be delicious.
The ingredients include those of a traditional Waldorf Salad and added Greek yogurt to the dressing.
The salad ingredients are apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts. I was so happy to find the walnut pieces which I think are easier to mix into a salad.
Next add the dressing ingredients; lemon juice, mayo (I recommend using real mayonnaise instead of “salad dressing” for this), and Greek yogurt.
The variation that I had been making just used vanilla Greek yogurt which made it a little sweeter. The mayo and lemon juice gave a nice tanginess.
Now comes the hard part; toss everything together until it’s mixed well.
That’s it! You can chill it or serve it immediately (which is what we did).
Normally Waldorf Salad is served on a bed of lettuce; this recipe uses spinach. However, we were going more for the snack version so we skipped this and just dug in. One of the things that I liked about this recipe is that it makes two very generous servings rather than a huge amount. You can easily be double or triple the recipe, but since it’s just the two of us we had four snack or side-salad servings.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.85 Pins
Accuracy: Daniela’s recipe is the classic with a fresh update. The Greek Yogurt and lemon juice give a nice tang and lighten the heaviness of straight mayonnaise without compromising the original version. 5 Pins
Difficulty: There is nothing hard about this recipe but it does require a bit of chopping. 4 Pins
Time: This recipe is very quick to put together. You can make it ahead of time but it’s not necessary to chill it to develop the flavor. That’s perfect for when you need something quick. 5 Pins
Cost: Although its origins are from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, a 5-star luxury historic hotel, this classic is inexpensive to make. The total cost was less than $2 for 4 snack/side-salad servings. 5 Pins
Practicality: Whether for a snack, side dish, or light meal, the Best Ever Waldorf Salad Recipe is perfect for any salad occasion. 5 Pins
The other day I was looking at summer travel ideas and came across. . . crock pot cooking. What??? Apparently, it’s a thing for those who travel in RV’s and I think it’s quite brilliant. After a day of camping, sightseeing or generally vacationing, you come back to your home-away-from-home and dinner is ready and waiting for you. See – BRILLIANT! Slow cookers are also perfect for home cooking all summer because they don’t heat up the house like your oven does. It’s already in the 90’s every day here so let’s test the last crock pot recipe that I saw on Pinterest; Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef by Kevin of Closet Cooking.
Since it had only been a few months since my first roast (remember the Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon post?) and we were so happy with the end result, I wanted to stay with similar flavors so Kevin’s recipe sounded like just the thing.
The main ingredients are pretty similar to those in the Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon recipe with a few exceptions.
First, sear the roast. . .
. . .on both sides.
Remove the roast (I put it right in the slow cooker), then saute the onions and garlic.
Add the onions, sauce ingredients, and beef broth to the crock pot.
Then add the potatoes and carrots. Cook for 8 hours on low.
On the Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon, I added the peas as a side dish. Even though they were not in the recipe, this time I added the peas to cook with the rest during the last 1/2 hour of cooking time.
Remove the meat and veggies then make the gravy.
Strain the liquid into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Make a slurry with cornstarch and water (I used some of the beef broth) and add it to the simmering liquid.
Voilà, dinner is done!
I think if you’re on vacation and eating like this the right term is “Glamping” not camping. Brilliant.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.4 Pins
Accuracy: This Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef recipe delivered. The roast was flavorful and so tender it was falling apart. The veggies were perfect. The gravy was an extra step but a delicious bonus. 5 Pins
Difficulty: There wasn’t anything hard about the recipe as far as cooking techniques, but since the juices were poured from the crock pot and strained into a sauce pan I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Time: The preparation time for this was fairly quick but there are 8 1/2 hours of cook time. 3 Pins
Cost: The roast was the most expensive ingredient at about $15. On the other hand, the potatoes were buy-one-get-one-free and the organic carrots were on sale. We had Sunday dinner and 2 meals of leftovers for a total of 6 servings. Since most of the ingredients were kitchen staples, the cost per serving was less than $5. 4 Pins
Practicality: Whether you’re camping or cooking at home, on vacation, busy weeknight, or for a weekend dinner, this recipe won’t disappoint. I’ll be making this again! 5 Pins
There have been a LOT of pins for one pan or sheet pan dinners on Pinterest lately and I absolutely get why they’re so popular. Life is busy (just in case you didn’t get that memo). After a day of work, family, and other activities I don’t always get excited about fussing over supper, nor do I plan well enough for slow cooker meals. I know that I’m not alone on this. That’s why these meals are awesome. One pan + one cutting board + 1 knife = supper done with minimal fuss and even fewer dishes. I knew I wanted to try this pin for Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner by Chrissie of The Busy Baker as soon as I saw it.
You might remember the Honey Balsamic Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner post that I did not too long ago; this is very similar but with a different flavor profile.
One of the things that I thought was interesting about this recipe was that the veggies included beets. I’ve recently been using beets in my juicing and I’ve had pickled beets so I was excited to try them in a new way.
Start by cutting your veggies and putting them on the sheet pan. Do you see that big one in the center with a bit of green? That’s one clove of elephant garlic. It was HUGE; almost the size of a potato! I threw him in just for fun.
Season the veggies, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss them.
Add chicken, season it, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and rub it in.
Then put it in the oven to roast. In half an hour your house smells amazing and dinner is done!
The chicken was juicy and flavorful even when the leftovers were reheated for lunch. The combination of vegetables was delicious and so pretty. HH gave his 100% approval so this is definitely going to be put in the regular dinner rotation.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.7 Pins
Accuracy: This was an easy and delicious supper made on one sheet pan and it turned out exactly like the original post said it would. The smokey paprika gave warmth and lots of flavor without being too spicy and the roasted veggies were tender on the inside and just a bit crispy on the outside. 5 Pins
Difficulty: There is a bit of prep work to getting all of the vegetables peeled and chopped, but that’s the hardest part. Due to the number of veggies that needed peeling prior to chopping (potatoes, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes) I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Time: The prep work took about 10 minutes; twice as long as the 5 minutes that Chrissie had in her recipe. In all fairness, I could have chopped baby carrots and used the smaller potatoes and left the skins on to cut the time. The cook time was 30 minutes, so 35-40 minutes is not a long time to wait for supper. 4 Pins
Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples and all are easy to find at most grocers. The chicken thighs were the most expensive ingredients but at $4.85 for four that puts the total cost per serving at less than $5.00. 5 Pins
Practicality: These sheet pan recipes are so easy, quick, and delicious. And let me say again, 1 pan + one cutting board + 1 knife. Just three kitchen tools to wash! 5 Pins
The American Pie Council National Championships are about a month away and this year I get to be a judge! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this honor. So I’m going to be doing some pie-related Pintestings this month leading up to the big event. My Pinterest page, Desserts – Pies/Tarts/Crostatas are all about pie related recipes. Go check it out for some inspiration. The first recipe I’m doing is this pin for Pecan Pie Muffins by Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything.
Even though the recipe has the word muffin, don’t be fooled. These are just like little pecan pies but a whole lot easier. Personally, I like that they don’t have the corn syrup that pecan pies traditionally have. And instead of thinking of them as muffins, you can think of them as self-crusting. Let’s get baking.
There are just 5 ingredients and most of them are kitchen staples.
First mix the dry ingredients.
Toss them together until they’re evenly coated.
Next, mix the softened butter and the eggs.
It won’t look pretty – mine looked kind of like curdled milk. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look this way and will smooth out once everything is mixed together.
Now stir in the dry ingredients JUST until mixed. See the bits of butter in the mixture? It’s okay to leave it like that.
NOTE: For the most part, muffins turn out best when they’re not over mixed. It’s better to leave a few lumps in the batter and have a tender crumb than to over mix the batter and have your muffins turn out like bricks.
According to Christy, you want to grease your muffin pan really well or your muffins will stick. I love to use the “Best Ever Pan Release” recipe by I Am Baker (you’ll find the recipe at the end of the recipe in the Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake post found here).
Fill the cups 2/3 full. The mixture made more than the mini muffin tin could hold so I made 6 regular-sized muffins, too.
Bake at 350 degrees until done; see the recipe for baking times.
The muffins easily pop out of the pan and into my mouth.
WARNING! These are incredibly addictive. If you’re not careful it’s easy to pop 4 or 6 of the mini bite-sized pecan pie muffins in your mouth before you realize it. (I have no idea if or how that happened.)
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.7 Pins
Accuracy: These muffins have the taste and texture of pecan pie. In fact, the next time I have the urge to make a pecan pie I’m going to make these instead.They turned out just like Christy said they would. 5 Pins
Difficulty: These are very easy to make. Just five ingredients and, if you buy the pecans already chopped, the only prep work is to make sure your butter is softened. You don’t even need to use a mixer. 5 Pins
Time: According to the recipe, this should make 8 large or 16 mini muffins. When filling my muffin cups 2/3 full, I ended up with 24 mini muffins and 6 regular muffins. Since there were different baking times, I baked the different sized pans one after the other; 12 minutes for the minis and 14 minutes for the regulars. I also let the regular sized muffins rest in the pan for an extra 5 minutes to set after running a knife around the edge; they seemed just a bit soft. Total time was just over half an hour so I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples – all but the pecans. I don’t know if they’re not in season, but they seemed a bit pricey at more than $10.00. 4 Pins
Practicality: Not only are these an easier substitute for home-made pecan pie, but they’re quicker to make, too. They make a lot of the mini muffins, and the bite-sized treats are perfect for lunches or, don’t judge, dessert portion control. I’m guessing that they’ll freeze well, too (although I’ll have to confirm and let you know). 5 Pins
Of the many reasons that I love living in Florida, the authentic quality and diversity of world cuisines is close to the top of my cultural list. You could eat food from every continent and most countries and only travel up to 20-30 minutes from home. Most places give a cultural feel with the music and décor as well. Some of my favorite places to go are Cuban restaurants. The music makes me want to dance, the people are so friendly, and the food is delicioso. A while back I brought in some assorted Cuban Guava Pastries – Pastelitos de Guayaba to share with my coworkers and I was the hero of the day. These are they pastries that I shared.
Pastelitos are puff pastries that are usually filled with guava or cheese or both. They flaky, lightly sweet, and perfect with a cup of good coffee in the morning or afternoon. When I saw this pin from My Big Fat Cuban Family, one of the blogs that I follow, I knew I had to try making these. Who doesn’t want to make something delicious and be the work hero twice?
There are only four ingredients. Some restaurants and pastelerias sprinkle course sugar after the egg wash or brush with a sweeter glaze, but I don’t like my pastries too sweet so this was perfect for me. The guava paste is found in most grocery stores in the ethnic aisle.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a Silpat). Unfold one of the puff pastries onto the parchment.
Slice the guava paste thinly and put two for each pastry. One box of (2) puff pastries will make 9 pastelitos.
Spread some of the softened cream cheese on the guava paste. Some places sweeten the cream cheese with a little sugar before putting it in the pastry. I find the guava paste very sweet and the plain cream cheese balances the overall flavor.
When all of the guava paste has cream cheese, unfold the other puff pastry and put it on top. Try to line it up with the bottom pastry.
Cut all the way through to make 9 little pastries, then make little cuts on each top pastry.
Egg wash the top of the pastries and then bake them until they’re golden brown and beautiful.
While the pastelitos are baking, do yourself a favor and make some Cuban coffee or café Cubano which is a lot like sweetened espresso. I prefer my coffee with milk (like a café latte), so I get café con leche. (Look how much authentic culture I’m putting into this post.)
That’s it! You can serve these warm or at room temperature. I was pleasantly surprised at how 4 ingredients could make such a tasty treat. And yes, I was the work hero again for bringing these in. These are so easy to whip up that you can be a hero and bring delicious culture to your friends and family, too.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 5 Pins
Accuracy: These not only turned out just like the recipe (and video tutorial) said they would, but they also tasted like the ones that I bought at the Cuban restaurant. Everyone at work raved over them. 5 Pins
Difficulty: With only four ingredients and no mixing, chopping, or serious prep work, this recipe is very kid friendly with adult supervision. I just recommend that an adult does the cutting to separate the pastelitos. 5 Pins
Time: The preparation took about 7 minutes and my baking time was 25 minutes. The total time was about half an hour so I’m giving this 5 Pins.
Cost: The puff pastry was about $3.00 and the guava paste was just over $1.00. The total cost for 9 pastries was less than three pastries from the restaurant. 5 Pins
Practicality: This is one of those recipes that you can keep the ingredients on hand and whip up at a moment’s notice. They’re quick, easy, and oh so delicious. 5 Pins
There are some things that I’ve never or have almost never cooked; one of them is a roast. I know, it’s shocking! I’ve made soufflés, Beef Wellington, risottos, and many other dishes that are supposed to be complicated or “expert level” long before I made my first roast. Why? Because all my life my mother, the in-laws, or my HH have made it. Recently the grocery store had chuck roasts on sale, and I decided it was finally time to make my first roast. A search of my Pinterest pins for roasts brought up lots of recipes, but most of them were slow cooker recipes and I wanted a traditional oven-roasted version. Thankfully I had pinned this pin for Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon by Kristy of The Wicked Noodle. It was just what I was looking for; oven-roasted with carrots, potatoes, and a self-made gravy.
I don’t know why, but I thought that roasts required magical ingredients to make them turn out delicious. I was so wrong. These basic ingredients are all that’s needed. The peas are my own addition, but I’ll get to that later.
First season the roast with salt and pepper.
Next, heat the pan and oil to sear the roast on one side.
Then sear the other side.
Remove the roast and add onions.
Cook the onions until they are soft.
Next, add the balsamic vinegar and cook until it’s reduced and syrupy, then add the Dijon mustard.
Put the meat back in, add the broth and thyme, then roast in the oven.
The meat should be tender and fall apart.
Add the potatoes and carrots and cook longer.
When the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, you’re all done.
Plate your dinner and show off your masterpiece.
Now for the peas. This is one thing that my HH prefers to NOT be cooked with the roast. I’ve always liked them with the roasted veggies. Since one of the keys to a great marriage is knowing when and how to compromise, I cooked the peas separately and served them smothered in the gravy. We both agreed that this was a delicious recipe and as the resident roast maker, he declared my first roast a complete success. High praise, indeed.
The Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.4 Pins
Accuracy: This recipe turned out exactly like Kristy’s pictures. The roast was very tender and juicy. The balsamic and dijon gave a nice twist to the traditional chuck roast. The potatoes and carrots were perfectly tender without being mushy. 5 Pins
Difficulty: There are no difficult techniques to this dish. However, I am giving this 4 Pins because you transfer a hot dutch oven from the stovetop to the oven.
Time: Preparing the roast took very little time; about 15 minutes. Since this takes several hours to cook, however, I’m giving this 3 Pins.
Cost: I happened to get my chuck roast on sale, but even so it was more than $16 just for the meat. The dish made 6 servings and the total cost was about $25 which is $4 per serving. That’s not bad for a full dinner. 4 Pins
Practicality: This is a great dinner and worth the time it takes to make. The next time I try this I’ll make it in the slow cooker since they cook themselves all day on low. The flavor and texture were perfect – just like Sunday Supper. 5 Pins