Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jar Lid Hand Pies

Straight up, this is a public service announcement!  I saw this SOMEwhere, and instantly I knew I HAD to do it.  These were just too precious, and too easy not to share.  After I made them and posted a couple of photos on my personal page, there were so many people who shared memories of doing this as a kid.  Like "I used to make 'baby pies' out of pie dough scraps in mayonnaise lids," etc.  It turned out to be a fun walk down memory lane.  Who knew?!  Funny thing about stuff like that - the old, simple ways sometimes got forgotten by fast moving, high tech stuff... but revisiting the old stuff can be SO MUCH FUN! 

I could totally see these being perfect for anything from a dinner party to a bridal luncheon to a picnic.  And on the other end of the spectrum, these would also make great savory pies.  Just imagine the possibilities - meat pies, taco pies, chicken pot pies, you name it! 

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients: 
  • Pie dough
    • I used Pillsbury rollout pie dough
    • 2 boxes (will have 1 pie dough left over)
  • Pie filling of your choice
    • I used caramel apple, cherry, blackberry
  • Water to seal the crust
  • 1 egg yolk for the egg wash
  • Natural sugar crystals (optional)

Step-by-Step:
Prepare pie fillings of your choice, whether they are sweet or savory.
Set out mason jar lids and rings on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  I placed them on parchment paper for easy cleanup.  You can purchase a box of lids/rings (without jars) in a quantity of 12.  These are the "wide mouth" lids, not the "standard" ones. 
Roll out your pie dough, sprinkled with a bit of flour of course.
So I went super low tech for all of this.  Instead of using any type of fancy cutters, I looked around and found a bowl that was about 1/2" larger than the lids.
I used the bowl to cut what would be the bottom dough. 

Fit the dough into the lids.  So far, easy peesy.  :)  And yes, we want the dough to be hanging over the top like this. 
Fill each little pie with about 3 Tbsp of filling.  Nope, I didn't measure anything.  I just filled until they looked right.  HaHa
For the top dough, I found a bowl that was a bit smaller than the first one.  (But still a tad bit larger than the lid.)
Remember, you can always roll the dough out if you need to stretch it a little bit larger to cover your filling.
Wet the edges of the bottom dough with water.
Cut slits in your top dough to allow the steam to escape.
Cover the pie with your top dough.
Crimp the top and bottom doughs together with a fork.
You don't have to do this, but I trimmed the excess dough a bit with a paring knife.
I made a quick and simple egg wash with 1 egg yolk and about a tablespoon of water whisked together.  I didn't even measure it.  Brush the egg wash over the crusts to help them brown nicely.  
(Optional)  Sprinkle the top with natural (raw) sugar crystals.
Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown and until you no longer have any translucent areas on your crust.  Can you see now why I put the parchment paper under them?  
Allow to cool.  The ring/lid combination acts like a miniature tart pan that will allow you to pop the tiny little pies out when you are ready to serve them.  There's no struggling to get that first "ugly" piece out.  
Each person can get their own, perfect little pie!  Well... maybe a scoop of ice cream would make it even more perfect!  

Here are some bonus recipes for you:

Written Method:

  • Prepare pie fillings of your choice, whether they are sweet or savory.
  • Set out mason jar lids and rings on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  I placed them on parchment paper for easy cleanup.  You can purchase a box of lids/rings (without jars) in a quantity of 12.  These are the "wide mouth" lids, not the "standard" ones. 
  • Roll out your pie dough, sprinkled with a bit of flour of course.
  • Instead of using any type of fancy cutters, I looked around and found a bowl that was about 1/2" larger than the lids.  I used the bowl to cut what would be the bottom dough. 
  • Fit the dough into the lids.  And yes, we want the dough to be hanging over the top. 
  • Fill each little pie with about 3 Tbsp of filling.  No need to really measure anything.  Just fill until they look right.  
  • For the top dough, find a bowl that is a bit smaller than the first one.  (But still a tad bit larger than the lid.)
  • Remember, you can always roll the dough out if you need to stretch it a little bit larger to cover your filling.
  • Wet the edges of the bottom dough with water.
  • Cut slits in your top dough to allow the steam to escape.
  • Cover the pie with your top dough and crimp the top and bottom doughs together with a fork.
  • You don't have to do this, but I trimmed the excess dough a bit with a paring knife.
  • I made a quick and simple egg wash with 1 egg yolk and about a tablespoon of water whisked together.  I didn't even measure it.  Brush the egg wash over the crusts to help them brown nicely.  
  • (Optional)  Sprinkle the top with natural (raw) sugar crystals.
  • Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown and until you no longer have any translucent areas on your crust.    
  • Allow to cool.  The ring/lid combination acts like a miniature tart pan that will allow you to pop the tiny little pies out when you are ready to serve them.  There's no struggling to get that first "ugly" piece out.  
  • Each person can get their own, perfect little pie!  Well... maybe a scoop of ice cream would make it even more perfect!  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spring Chicken Salad

Well yes, even though it's still technically spring, it's hit over the 100 degree mark in many of our states by now, so that means most of you are hitting the beaches, lakes, parks, and trails with your kids, grandkids, dogs, and best friends on summer vacation activities.  And even those of us with more than a few decades behind us still want (and need) to keep up with those little ones.  Basically, we all want to feel like... let's say it together... a Spring Chicken! 

We have the DESIRE to eat healthy, but it must fit certain criteria, dangit!  We want our meal to taste great, to fill us up, to be visually appealing, to be balanced with textures and flavors - creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet, savory, smooth... you name it - we WANT it!  And oh yes, can it please be healthy?  And for some of us, can it please be gluten free?  Can I make up the components ahead of time and throw it together in the morning?  For the guys - Will it have enough protein to keep my blood sugar level and not feel like something "a girl" would eat?  Can I have my dressing on the side?  Can the dressing multitask and be used for something my kidlets like?   YES!  YES!  YES!  Let's do healthy together.  You're going to love it!  


Salad Ingredients:
  • Your choice of salad mix
    • shown is a mix of Romaine and organic spring salad mix
  • Seasoned and grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
    • can be made and portioned ahead of time
  • Dried cranberries
  • Apples cut into matchsticks
  • Candied black pepper walnuts
    • see link to make walnuts or substitute purchased glazed nuts
  • Herbed goat cheese, crumbled over salad
  • *Optional grating of Romano cheese over the top
  • Honey Dijon vinaigrette (recipe below)
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette (yield 7 cups)
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 1/4 cup canola oil 

Method:
Begin by making the Honey Dijon Vinaigrette.  This amazing dressing can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and is fabulous on chicken tenders, coconut shrimp, etc.   We make a bunch of it at a time; but you can feel free to cut the recipe in half if you'd like.  

Add the first 6 ingredients to your blender.  Do not add the oil yet.
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup water
1 tsp kosher salt (not table salt)
1 tsp large ground black pepper 
1/4 cup honey
Stop here!  Don't add the canola oil along with the rest of the ingredients.
3 1/4 cup canola oil
(We actually use a mixture of canola/sunflower oil, but that's probably hard to find.)
Okay, with the first six ingredients in your blender, get it started... then slowly pour in the canola oil with the blender going.  We want to emulsify the dressing and make it light, fluffy, and silky.

There is a big color change from a darker yellow to a pale yellow, and the texture is way different now.  It is light and airy and very silky.
Pour your dressing into an airtight container for storage.   Isn't it beautiful?  :)
Now, for the salad, start with you greens, then top with all the pieces and parts in the amounts you would like.  That's all there is to it.  Enjoy!  

You've got protein from the grilled chicken, the goat cheese, and from the walnuts.  You've got tons of antioxidants in the cranberries, walnuts and spinach, and vitamins and minerals from the leafy greens.  You've got juicy sweet apples for sweetness to balance out the tartness of the honey Dijon... let's face it... you've got it all in this one!  

Busy mom/dad tips - 
  • There are cute little 2 oz salad dressing containers available in the stores.  You can pre-portion your dressing and have some ready to go for your brown bag lunch in the morning.  
  • Pre-portion your other ingredients in ziptop backs to have them ready to throw together: grilled  chicken, cranberries, etc.  
  • This also makes a fabulous "big salad" for a family reunion or large function.
  • If you are going to chop up your apples ahead of time, either sprinkle them with Fruit Fresh or give them a quick bath in acidulated water (water containing some lemon or lime juice) to prevent them from oxidizing.  But this is a step you can easily do in the morning.  
  • Do yourself a favor a make up a batch of the walnuts.  Not only are they super healthy (including tons of melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants as well as supporting brain health), but they are so  so so delicious!!!  They also make great gifts!  (Think - Father's Day!) 
And don't forget, June is officially "Men's Health" month!  So in honor of all the men that we love in our lives, check out this cute graphic.  Feel free to click on it for Easy Tips for Leading a Healthier Life from https://nuts.com/nuts/.  
Written Method:
Prepare dressing first.  Add first six ingredients into blender, then slowly pour canola oil into blender while it is processing other ingredients until dressing is light and fluffy.  Store covered in the refrigerator.

Salad - Start with salad greens and top with other ingredients as desired.

I hope you enjoyed this amazingly delicous recipe!

There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and make great gifts all year long!  For more information, here is a link!
Connect with me.    
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Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Creamy Italian Sausage and Tortellini







Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Knife Skills Training for Kids


Hey out there, guys and gals!  
It's summer.. and that means, kiddos needing to be entertained...and cooked for.  Well how about we turn this little thing around and get THEM cooking?!   You are going to LOVE this!!!!  and it's FREE!!!!! 

My friend Katie is pulling a couple videos out of her Kids Cook Real FoodeCourse and offering them for free as a special gift to you!  This whole series is an excellent opportunity to get your kids in the kitchen and learn some great skills this summer.  Katie is a teacher, and she's awesome.  :)

When she did this last January, over 7,000 families signed up to teach kids knife safety and techniques. I’m so excited that it's happening again so you get a chance too!


There's one to watch with your kids that will demonstrate how to safely handle dull and sharp knives (you decide which on depending on their age and maturity), and then there are two more training videos for YOU to help you feel completely comfortable and confident giving your kids sharp knives.

I know some parents might feel like they need 3 or 4 chances to feel comfortable, but I'm confident you'll be ready after the two important videos Katie is putting together for you. ;)

Don't worry if you feel like you have a busy day or week - just sign up so that you have access to all 3 videos as soon as they're each available, and you'll get reminders to make it happen through June 6.


What you'll learn in these short videos:
  • Basic knife skills and techniques for kids age two to teen
  • Mastery of the three safe ways to hold food while cutting
  • How child development impacts your child's readiness to learn new skills
  • The #1 mistake that destroys your chance of enjoying time in the kitchen with your kids
  • A tested 3-step process for teaching kids in the kitchen so young cooks learn basic skills the right way
Here’s a note from a sweet grandma who emailed after signing up last January:

Loved this video. I sent the information off to my daughter-in law who has already started to teach the 5 & 7 year olds to cook. She's a teacher too and will love how you broke the process down. Thanks!

See what all the buzz is about and get those kids in the kitchen!
And seriously... the price is right - it's free!!!  


Julie

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