Category Archives: Recipes

Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

I’ve invited my parents over for Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow and here’s the menu I’m planning. Much of it is made ahead of time so I will be cooking today and will get to just enjoy tomorrow!

Quiches – I’m thinking one sausage, one veggie, and one cheese

Fruit salad

Roasted asparagus

Scones that I bought from a local bakery

Strawberry rhubarb jam

Tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and basil

My mom is bringing her yummy hash brown casserole, which is similar to this recipe but with crushed corn flakes on top instead of ritz crackers, and she’s also bringing bagels

Strawberry rhubarb pie

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Chicken Flavored Brown Rice in the Instant Pot

My middle son David is a very picky eater but he loves packaged chicken flavored rice. I have been working on coming up with a copy cat brown rice version for a while and I think I finally mastered it! Cooking this in the Instant Pot is my favorite method because I don’t have to watch it like a hawk (I always seem to let rice boil over and/or run out of water!). If you prefer to cook it on the stove top, just adjust the water and cooking time based on your rice package’s directions. The turmeric gives it a great yellow color and the Better Than Bullion gives is a nice chicken flavor, and it’s more flavorful than cooking it in chicken stock.

Chicken Flavored Rice in the Instant Pot

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Chicken Better Than Bullion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Set it to manual high pressure for 28 minutes and close the pressure valve. When done cooking, you can do a quick release or natural release of pressure.

David mentioned that he missed the orange and green pieces, so next time I’ll add some shredded carrot and chopped parsley. You never know what he’ll like!

Variation: stir in some cooked, chopped broccoli at the end to make Chicken Flavored Rice with Broccoli.

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Lemon Cream Pie

I have always loved the lemon part of the lemon meringue pie. My brother and I used to share our pies- he could have to white and I got all the yellow. There’s something about the meringue that I don’t like, even though I do think it’s beautiful to see meringue piled high on top of the bright yellow of the lemon layer. So for this Easter I decided to try making lemon cream pie. I tried a couple recipes with pudding mix but couldn’t get exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to use my mother in law’s key lime pie recipe since I love it so much. This is her recipe, just substituting in lemon juice and zest instead of the key limes. And it came out perfectly!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • Pre-baked pie crust or graham cracker crust, cooled
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Whipped cream or cool whip for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
  3. Pour filling into the prepared pie crust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool for about an hour on the counter and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Top with whipped cream or cool whip and serve cold.
  6. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for a couple days, if they last that long!

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Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This is one of our favorite soups to have on a snowy day.

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bullion
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup of dried egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup flour mixed in 1/2 cup water
  1. In a large soup pot, melt butter and sauté onion and carrots. When onions are translucent, add potatoes and continue to cook a few more minutes.
  2. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, and Better Than Bullion.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chicken, milk, and 2 cups water. Stir in the egg noodles and bring to a boil. Turn it to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in peas and flour / water mixture to thicken. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve hot with fresh bread or crackers.

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Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

  • 5 cups shredded chicken
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 15 Oz. jar of salsa
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low 5-6 hours. Serve with shredded pepper jack cheese and Greek yogurt. And more chips! Using a rotisserie chicken makes it even easier.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I like to make a big pot of soup every weekend. I usually cook it on the stove but sometimes I use the crock pot just so I don’t have to watch it as much. My first secret ingredient in this soup is butternut squash. It starts to break down as it gets soft and that helps to thicken the soup. The second secret ingredient is chicken legs and thighs, because they make the broth tastier than boneless skinless breasts. And the final secret ingredient? Better Than Bullion chicken flavor. It makes for a very flavorful broth. I’ve added mushrooms and celery to this soup in the past and both are yummy but I didn’t have them on hand today.

  • Chicken: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings (or any combo of those parts- this is how we package the chickens my in-laws raise so it’s what I use)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup wild rice mix
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bullion Chicken Flavor
  • Water to cover everything (6-7 cups)

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and set it to high for 4 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it and add it back to the soup. Serve with fresh bread or crackers.

Anna loves bread with her soup. For her, I simply mash up the softened veggies and chicken to make it an easier consistency to eat.

What’s your favorite type of soup? Please share in the comments!

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Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie

After taking a few years off from entering any of my pies in the local fair, I decided it was time to get back to it. I entered the State Two Crusted Apple Pie Contest, because I figured go big or go home! The rules stated that you could have other flavors added in as long as it was predominantly apple, so I decided to mix it up a bit so that my pie would stand out to the judges. I chose to develop a recipe using maple syrup and maple sugar because it’s a little bit different but still a traditional apple pie. I did a few trials, with feedback from my parents, brothers and sister in law (who are all apple connoisseurs) and my mother in law (who used to win all the baking contests and then became a judge at the fair). I also had my husband and picky kids as enthusiastic testers! I loved all the constructive criticism they gave me, because that made the pie so much better. My goals were to have a flaky, buttery crust that was golden brown and cooked well on the bottom, and tender, juicy (but not too juicy) flavorful apples. I pulled out all my tricks and got a delicious pie!

Crust

  • 3 cups flour
  • 12 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup cold shortening
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 Tbsp ice water

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.

2. With the food processor running, pour in the water one tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball.

3. Separate the dough in half, form into disks, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • 6 large apples, Cortland and McIntosh, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (granulated)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Other ingredients for putting it all together

  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened and divided
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water added
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar (granulated)

Make the pie!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

2. Grease a 10″ pie pan with 1 Tbsp of the softened butter. This is one of my tricks to get a nicely browned bottom crust.

3. Combine all the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

4. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pan. Pile in the filling, leaving behind some of the juices that accumulate in the bowl so it’s not too runny. Pile it high! I like a lot of apples.

5. Dot the top of the apples with the remaining 2 Tbsp of softened butter.

6. Roll out the top crust and place it on top. Crimp the edges and cut a hole in the middle for a vent. In my family’s farm market, we carve designs into the tops of the pies so we can tell them apart. The apple design is three sheaves of wheat, and I find it’s impossible for me to make an apple pie without that design on top! That’s how I know it’s apple!

7. Brush on the egg wash and sprinkle on the maple sugar. Place on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment to catch the drips, and place it in the middle of the oven.

8. Bake for an hour, then move the pie to the bottom rack for 10 minutes to finish cooking the bottom crust. Finally, move it to the top rack to nicely brown the top for about 10 minutes. It’s done when the filling bubbles out and the crust is golden brown.

9. Let the pie cool for at least an hour before slicing so it’s not too runny. Or go ahead and eat it if you can’t wait! Serve with a couple slices or sharp cheddar cheese, or vanilla ice cream on top.

So after all that work, I got second place at my local fair. I was busy (I do have a job and three kids) and only baked one instead of doing a back up pie, and I got a huge crack in the crust! I lost points on the appearance, and ended up losing by one point! My pie scored highest for crust, flavor and texture though! Lesson learned, bake two and enter the prettier one. And eat the other! Next year I’m going to try again. The winner at the local fair goes on to compete at the state level.

I also entered my old favorite, Butternut Squash Pie, and won a blue ribbon for it. That pie is always a winner!

We brought the Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie to Thanksgiving this year and my family loved it. If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!

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