Blueberry Crumble Pie with Shortbread Crust

I love blueberries….any way you fix them.

Growing up, my Grammy made a lot of blueberry muffins, blueberry cobblers, and, occasionally, a blueberry pie. For quite a few summers in a row, one of my Uncle Mo’s good friends provided a steady supply of fresh blueberries.  Grammy always froze them and we had (almost) fresh blueberry baked goods all year round.  I can still easily bring to mind the smell of freshly baked blueberry goodies, no matter how they were baked.

I like to take advantage of getting them fresh, while they’re in season during the summer.  Garen brought home a few boxes of blueberries from our new Kroger (which I’m currently loving) on Friday.  I had initially bought them to make muffins but didn’t get to it Saturday morning so I decided to bake a pie for us instead.

As a side note, I use a lot of frozen blueberries throughout the year for baked goods and they work well too but fresh blueberries are easier than thawing out frozen ones.  I’m letting my lazy-mama features shine brightly, right?!?

This Blueberry Crumble Pie with Shortbread Crust is an modified version of a recipe from Williams-Sonoma and you can find that recipe here.  Below is my adapted version, which includes a fantastic shortbread crust.  I honestly can’t remember exactly where the crust comes from- I think a combination of Pinterest and blog posts, plus a little bit of trial and error.  Wherever it came from, it’s the one I like to use- I’m too much of a perfectionist to even attempt making a regular homemade pie crust since they always turn out looking terrible for me and it drives me bananas! If you don’t like thick crusts, this one is not for you.

This pie crust is perfectly sized for my favorite pie dish. (I’ll have to share the recipe on another post- again, lazy-mom) One of these days I’m going to splurge and get the red pie dish. I started with the white version since I’m such a matchy-matchy person and white is easier to match with other dishes if you’re taking a pie somewhere.  I digress….

Here’s my version of a Blueberry Crumble Pie with Shortbread Crust with a few pictures:

Ingredients

  • Shortbread Crust
  • 1-1/2 C plus 4 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
  • 1 C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cplus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 cups blueberries

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Make the shortbread crust and transfer to a 9-inch or 10-inch deep pie dish. Press into the pan.  If you have another recipe for a pie crust or a store-bought one, you can use it if its big enough as well.
  • In a large bowl, mix the 1-1/2 cup flour, 2/3 cup of the brown sugar, the 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tsp. of the cinnamon. Put the butter pieces on top and toss with a fork or your fingers to coat with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips (or, if you’re fancy, a pastry blender), work the ingredients together until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Set the topping aside.
  • In another large bowl, combine the 5 cups of blueberries, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 4 Tbsp of the flour. Gently stir to evenly coat the blueberries.
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp granulated sugar over the bottom of the shortbread crust. Pour the filling onto the crust, spreading it evenly.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberry filling.  (You may have extra left, depending on whether you use a 9-inch or 10-inch pie dish.  This makes great topping for muffins as well and can be refrigerated for a few days.)
  • Bake the pie until the crust and topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling just begins to bubble, 45 to 55 minutes.
  • Serve at room temperature, warm, or cold. Garen and I both like it cold better.
  • It goes perfectly with ice cream, whipped cream, or cool whip.

Speaking of cool whip…

To add a little more sweetness to our night and go along with the pie theme, we played the Pie Face Showdown. I had forgotten how much fun this is for the kids.

The mess was worth the fun….plus, we did this right before bathtub. Easy as pie! (Pun intended).

I hope everyone’s Saturday (and Sunday) were as sweet as ours!

Disclaimer- I’m not being compensated for any of this content and I’ve not been given these products that I’ve linked too.

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Brunswick Stew- Instant Pot Style

This recipe was Garen’s request for me to make in the Instant Pot so it was the first recipe that required more than 3 ingredients. I was a little leery since I’d never had Brunswick Stew and didn’t even know what to expect. As I always do when cooking something I don’t have a go-to recipe for, I went to Pinterest. I didn’t find an Instant Pot version I liked but I did find this slow cooker version from Rosie at i heart Recipes. I used this for an “outline” and tweeked it to work for what I had and to cook in the Instant Pot.

This recipe is fantastic. Really. I can’t make it up. Garen thought it was the best recipe I’ve ever made. The littles even liked it, making it even better in my book!!!

I used the Easiest Pulled Pork Ever recipe and shredded chicken that I made earlier in the day for it. You could easily use another recipe or even store-bought pulled pork.

Here it is- Brunswick Stew, Instant Pot Style

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Pulled Pork
  • 2 Cups shredded chicken
  • 1 Red onion, diced
  • 1 Can Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 6 Cups Chicken broth (I substituted 1 cup for juice from the pulled pork to use what I had)
  • Frozen okra, 12 oz
  • Frozen peas, 6 oz (half bag)
  • Frozen corn, 12 oz
  • Frozen lima beans, 12 oz
  • 3 Small sweet potatoes, pealed and cubed
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Cup BBQ sauce (I used half Rudy’s and half Sweet Baby Ray’s since that all I had)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-1/2 tsp Seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Black pepper

Instructions:

  • Add all of the ingredients into the 8 qt Instant Pot bowl (if your Instant Pot is smaller, you may have to adjust the recipe to not fill it past the max fill)
  • Mix all ingredients very well
  • Put the lid on, close it completely, and close the vent
  • Press Manual setting and set for 15 minutes. It will take a long time to get pressured because it will be almost to the max fill line. It will shift from On to the number of minutes remaining to cook
  • Once time is up, let it natural release for 10 minutes before opening the lid.  This ensures the meat is tender and juicy.
  • Open the lid. Check to make sure the potatoes are cooked completely. The meat was already cooked so the main thing is that you’re letting the veggies cook and that everything soaked up the wonderful flavors.
  • Enjoy.

Like I said, this stuff is wonderful. It’s not your typical soup/stew and I’m soooo glad Garen wanted me to try this recipe out!

Happy Instant Potting!

Sweet Saturday: Salted Carmel Pretzel Brownies

Today I’m gearing up for Nacho Night. More on that in a separate blog. I had some boxes of Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix that have been calling to me. Judge me if you must but if you’ve not tried this mix, found at Sam’s Club, you are missing out. They’re super easy and every time I make them for something I get requests for my recipe. So, you’re in luck. Today I’m sharing my guilty, cheating “secret recipe.”

They’re also great for doing different spins on the traditional brownie. That brings me to today’s “experiment. ” Once again I am working to use what I’ve got on hand and the first thing that jumped out at me was a bag of pretzels that needed to be used. My mind instantly flew to creating salted caramel brownies and I remembered that I had a jar of salted caramel from my cousin Kim’s wedding (which was AWESOME and Kim, if you’re reading this, please send me the recipe.)  Best wedding favor EVER!

Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Wedding Favor

Of course, now I had to break one of my cardinal rules of hosting a dinner party: never try something new on guests. And tonight I broke it twice since I also made Pumpkin Sopapilla Cheesecake.

Ok, ok. Enough back story. On to the my made up, super easy, half-cheating recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Brownie mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 cup pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel

Instructions:

Follow the recipe on the back of the box of brownies (see below) except at 25 minutes into the baking, stop and top the brownies with the broken of pretzels. Then drizzle with the salted caramel and bake the remaining time or until the brownies are finished. Salted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesSalted Caramel Pretzel BrowniesBest Brownie Mix Ever

The back of the box says it makes 40 brownies but in reality with the large pan I used and the size brownies most people eat it’s more like 25-30. Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies

You could do the same with another brand of brownies or even from your own scratch recipe if you’re an overachiever like that. I’m sure it would still work. The key is getting the pretzels and caramel on there at the right time so they sink into the mix a bit but not too much.

I whipped up some real whipping cream and, together, they were pretty delicious (sorry to sound braggy.) Ice cream would’ve been equally delightful with them straight out of the oven or even microwaved. I happen to be thinking about how good they’d be paired with a big, cold glass of milk for breakfast!

They do come with a warning: These are really rich but, being the girl that waits all year for Starbucks to start serving their salted caramel mocha again, I loved them. My guests said they were good too but I think when it comes to something like this some people love them and others not-so-much.  If you’re looking for something less chocolately but still really tasty in the “brownie family,” check out these blonde brownies.  They’re always a hit too!

I hope your Saturday was as sweet as ours. More on our nacho night later!

Disclaimer:  I didn’t get paid in any way for this blog post.  The opinions and randomness are completely my own doing.  Feel free to share!

Sweet Sunday: Easy Banana Bread

Today I had a few very ripe bananas and decided to make a little tasty treat for the family. My Grammy mailed this recipe to me when I was in college, along with $5 to buy a pound of butter and a loaf pan. Great memories and pretty great recipe too. It seems like we never end up eating all of our bananas before they get too ripe to eat, so this makes me feel better than wasting food. Waste not, want not, right?!? Plus, it makes for a great easy breakfast or snack for the kiddos. 

I cherish the note on the back. Grammy cracked and shelled thousands of pounds of pecans by hand in her lifetime. Almost every single recipe made with pecans was made with “her” pecans- she’d bag pounds each year to keep in the freezer. 

Enough reminiscing. You want the recipe, right?!? Here it is:

Easy Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium ripe bananas
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 Cup flour
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 Cup pecans (I’ve omitted them in these photos because the kids prefer it without- personally, I think it’s better WITH the pecans)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Prepare loaf pan or mini loaf pan (this is what I usually use- 3 out of 4 loafs) using spray of your choice. I like Bakers Choice (or something like that with flour included)
  • I put my ripe bananas in first and turn on my mixer until they’re well beaten. You could mash if you want. 
  • Add sugar, egg, and melted butter. Mix well. 
  • Add salt and baking soda. Mix. 
  • Slowly add flour. 
  • Mix and scrape bottom of bowl to be sure it’s all mixed in. 
  • Pour into either your loaf pan or 3 mini-loaf pans. 
  • If using a loaf pan, bake 40-45 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. If using mini-loaf pans (like my Wilton one pictured above) bake 30 mins. 
  • Cool slightly before removing. 

Enjoy- maybe with a little butter- because everything is better with butter!Yes, I got to enjoy my coffee for about twenty minutes today. It was AMAZING! And the mug…that’s from a Disney trip and my daddy bought it for me because I will always be his princess! Are you hungry yet? I’m trying not to go eat another slice… I keep telling myself, “It’s for the kids. It’s for the kids.” I’m not sure how long that will last. I will say that this is a very kid-approved recipe. Look at that smirk. She almost looks like she got caught in the cookie jar. Truth is- she ate Will’s slice before he had a chance. 

I hope your Sunday was as sweet as ours!

Repurposing Food: Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle 

This is another repurposing recipe. When I say recipe, I really mean more like guidelines for making something you need to get rid of look good. See another post for another similar trifle

I had some leftover pound cake in the freezer and wanted to fix something with it and incorporate cheesecake….because who doesn’t like cheesecake. I also had some frozen strawberries and cool whip in the freezer. And so this trifle was born. 

Ingredients 

  • Pound cake- about 6 cups cut into cubes*
  • Frozen sliced strawberries- 6 cups**
  • Cream cheese- 2 packages, 16 oz
  • Cool whip- oz package
  • Sugar- 2 cups, divided 

Instructions 

  • Mix strawberries with 1 cup of sugar. Microwave if they’re still frozen. 
  • Cream the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar. 
  • Beat cool whip into cream cheese mixture. 
  • Cut up pound cake. 
  • Layer about half of the pieces of cake into the bottom of the trifle dish. 
  • Spoon about half of the strawberries on top of the cake. 
  • Spoon about half of the cream cheese mixture on top of the strawberries. 
  • Repeat layers. 
  • Optional- sprinkle the top with sprinkles. 

*You could use pretty much any kind of cake that you want. I will sometimes use angel food and it works well too for trifles. 

**You can use fresh strawberries if you have them and want to slice them. I was going for speed and what I had on hand. Also, it’s a really sweet dish, so if you don’t want that either eliminate or reduce the sugar for the strawberries. 

Trifles are always a hit with the kids…anything pudding-like is a crowd pleaser at our house. Add sprinkles and your golden. This was part of our Christmas menu, so red and green sprinkles did the trick. 

Again, the thing I like about trifles is that you can pretty much put anything in there that you want (or need to get rid of). Here’s a few idea variations as well. 

Cilantro Ranch Chicken

 This is another one of my thrown-together “using what I’ve got” recipes. I had a Sam’s club size container of sour cream. Usually, I only use sour cream with chicken in casseroles or crockpot dishes, so I was really going out on limb here deciding to grill it. 

I even broke one of my cardinal rules when having friends over: NEVER try new recipes on company. I threw the rule book out the window since I needed to use this stuff and cilantro always sounds good to me.  It’s super easy, using only 5 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken breast (about 4-6, depending on size)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Half a package ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapeños (more or less, depending on preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (more or less, depending on preference)

 

Instructions:
Put the chicken into a ziplock bag. Put all other ingredients into the food processor to mix. You could chop everything finely and mix in a bowl if you don’t have a food processor. Once mixed, pour into ziplock bag and marinade for 1-2 hours.  

Cook on grill around 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat, until cooked through. (This is the part where Garen Grillmaster came in). It was tasty and very tender. 

I served it with a Caesar salad, garlic bread, and oven baked Parmesan crusted zucchini. For dessert, we had an Icebox Oreo Pie. While Garen had the grill going I also had him grill my version of Sriracha Honey Chicken as well. 

  
It was all pretty tasty. I think if I was going to do this again, I would cook this slowly in the oven with bacon and topped with the sour cream mixture. I think it would be just as tender but I think the bacon might add a little somethin-somethin’. Plus, it would look a little better, even if looks aren’t everything.  

What do you think? 

Cooking with Kids: Ham and Cheese Croissants 

Every Saturday that we are home lunch sneaks up on us and I’ve forgotten to plan anything. When this happens, I often think of the options of food we have leftover to be used or eaten. Imagine me standing in front of the fridge looking at my leftovers. 

Yesterday the kids were leaving to go to Jo Daddy’s house for a couple of weeks (they’re lucky enough to have two loving families) and we had almost an entire Sam’s club size package of string cheese that was going to go to waste in their absence. We also had two rolls of croissants and some ham, all of which needed to be used. 

 What did we do? We made Ham and Cheese Croissants! 

The greatest thing about these (besides that they are easy and the kids love them) is that the kids can easily help make them. When they make their own food, they tend to eat better too!

My big helpers sure wanted to eat the ingredients.

  

Roll ’em up!

  

Easy enough for a five year old

 

The whole process only took about 20 minutes, including any rewrapping after my little chefs were finished. We served them with some mixed veggies and everyone was happy. 

Ingredients:

  • Two rolls croissants 
  • 16 slices ham (we made 4 cheese only)
  • 16 string cheese sticks 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan  with cooking spray (or if you are lazy like me and don’t want to wash, line pan with foil and then spray the foil). 

Unroll croissants. Layer the ham and then the cheese sticks. Roll them up. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.   Gobble them up! We had the leftovers for breakfast this morning. They are very versatile.   

  There are so many variations you can make of these:

  • Change meat- pulled pork, sausage, etc. Pretty much whatever you’ve got on hand. 
  • Spice it up- add jalapeños, spicy mustard, green chilies. Use your imagination. 
  • Change the cheese- I’m not even going to start on the ways you can mix this up. 
  • Italianize it- add pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperonis, and whatever else you like on your pizza. 
  • Add some green- cook some broccoli or spinach, combined with your cheese of choice.