The Best Apple Pie

This will also become your best apple pie recipe. Just wait till you taste it!

2 unbaked pie crusts
About 6 med-large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sugar
A pinch (1/8 tsp.) kosher salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch or flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch (1/8 tsp.) nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
1 Tbsp. milk or half-n-half
1 Tbsp. sugar

Place one of the pie crusts in your pie plate and set aside. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – toss to combine and place into the pie crust, dot the 2 Tbsp. butter on top. Place your other crust on top, seal and flute the edges, then make some slits in the top for venting purposes. Brush the milk over the crust top and sprinkle the sugar all over the top.

Place the pie on the a sheet pan for spillage, and bake for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes more, or until golden brown and bubbling through the vents. Cool for about a half an hour before serving.

Corned Beef & Cabbage

cabbage.jpgHappy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you and your loved ones eat well from my version of the Irish classic. Put the Celtic Women CD or perhaps the soundtrack from The Brothers McMullen in your disc player while you prepare this. Remember, if you don’t care for the cabbage, just skip that step. Enjoy!

2 medium onions, peeled
6 whole cloves
3 1/2 lb. piece corned beef
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns

1 medium head green cabbage
5 russet potatoes, peeled & halved
Kosher salt & ground black pepper

Hot mustard on the side – optional, but really, really good!


Stud the onions with the cloves and set aside. Rinse the beef in cold water to remove the brine. Place beef in a large pot and add the onions, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, and enough water to cover. Bring this to a boil over high heat, cover, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 full hours, skimming it occasionally.

Wash cabbage and remove core and any torn leaves, then cut it into about 6 wedges. Add this and the potatoes to the beef and cover and simmer for 25 minutes – until potatoes are tender.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cover with a plate that has been weighted down with heavy cans. (Doing this ensures the meat is much, much easier to slice). Transfer the veggies to a platter. Remove the cloves from the onions. Strain the liquid, toss out the bay leaves and peppercorns. Return the strained liquid to the pot and cook it over high heat for about 30 minutes – it’ll reduce by about 1/3. Season it with kosher salt & pepper.

Return the veggies to the stock and heat through – this takes about 5 minutes or so. Remove the cans & plate from the beef and cut it across the grain, into 1/4″ thick slices. Arrange it on a plate with the veggies surrounding it. Moisten it with the stock. serve with the hot mustard if you’re using it.

Barbecue Smokies

Ah, another easy slow cooker recipe.  Wow.

2 lbs. (or 2 14 oz. pkgs.) mini smoked sausages
28 oz. bottle barbecue sauce
1 1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tsb. steak sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder

Place everthing in your slow cooker, mix well, simmer for 6 hours.  Yes, that’s it.

Savory Bread for Christmas (or Anytime!)

Perfect to serve for any day for brunch, but especially colorful for Yuletide or Christmas morning.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups grated provolone cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk OR you can use half-n-half
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions OR green pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted peppers or pimentos (from the jar is fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or parchment paper line a cookie/baking sheet.

Whisk/mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cheese. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 eggs, but reserve 2 Tbsp. to brush on loaf. Add in the eggs, mix in milk, garlic and the veggies stirring to make this into a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and form into a log shape (about 8-10 inches long) place on the baking sheet. Brush on the reserved egg.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Cool thoroughly on a rack. Serve and enjoy!

**Be creative and sprinkle in other spices if you wish. McCormick’s has great new stuff like basil & garlic, seasoned salt, etc. Experiment and have fun. Use different cheeses. Whatever works for you! Merry Yule!


Smoked Grilling Sauce

This is a tomato-based grilling sauce.

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil – (I use canola)
1 medium onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup canned tomato puree
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. regular yellow ballpark mustard
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. liquid hickory smoke – (optional, but good)

In a medium sized saucepan that is non-reactive, warm the oil; add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat to low. Cook until it gets thicker, about 30 minutes.

Sausage Stuffing Made Easy

This stuffing recipe may become a weeknight ritual. It’s so much better than the pre-packaged stuff and it’s oh so delicious!

1 lb. ground sausage (buy the links and split if you can’t buy it loose)
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil + 1/4 cup
Black pepper & Kosher salt to taste

2 loaves of bread – try to get something like focaccia, etc.
1 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 small-medium diced green pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil – drained & chopped
1 small (4 oz.) can drained, chopped black olives
2 minced garlic cloves – or more to taste
4-5 large leaves torn basil
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter cut into little cubes/chunks

Preheat your oven to 350 and get out a large rimmed cookie sheet (jelly roll pan) then grease the pan and set it aside.

Place the 1 tsp. oil into a skillet and when it’s hot crumble and cook the sausage until it’s no longer pink – this takes about 15 minutes – then set aside. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper then transfer to the baking sheet. Bake it for 10 minutes then place the pan on a wire rack to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, cut the flavored bread you bought into cubes, then place in a really large bowl. Add the sausage, cheese, green pepper, tomatoes, olives, basil and garlic. Break the eggs into a bowl or large Pyrex-type measuring cup, add water and whisk; pour this over the bread mixture and mix/toss it to coat.

Now butter a 13 x 9 baking dish and scrape the contents of the bowl into it. Dot with the butter and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Fudge by Mrs. Claus

If Santa’s wife made homemade fudge, I imagine hers would be like this.

4 cups sugar
13 oz. can evaporated milk -(if need be, you can substitute half-n-half)
1 cup unsalted butter (NO substitutions!)
12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
7 oz. OR 9 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (NOT imitation)

Grease or butter a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan (or those aluminum foil pans from your grocer).

In a heavy duty saucepan that holds at least three quarts, mix well and heat the sugar, evaporated milk and butter until it reaches the soft-ball stage (236 degrees) on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the chips, marshmallow fluff, nuts if using, and vanilla; stir until blended. Pour into the greased pan and cool. Cut into whatever sized chunks you wish!

Please note:  You can sprinkle the chopped nuts on top instead of mixing in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be  plump,
May your potatoes and gravy,
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
And your pies take the prize,
May your Thanksgiving dinner,
Stay off of your thighs!

My Thanksgiving Meal – 2010

Here is our 2010 Thanksgiving Meal.  We don’t watch sports on this day, instead we hang, chat, nibble, watch the Macy’s Parade, and I begin to play holiday music.  Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and blessed be!

Divorce Court Turkey 


Mashed potatoes

All American Bread Stuffing

Corn and broccoli

Spanish Rice & Beans

Cranberry Sauce – (or use the canned)

Creamy Carrot Puree

Chocolate Cream Pie

Apple Pie