Raspberry Cream Pie

Rasberry Pie

My parents are originally from Michigan.  I, the youngest of five children, was born in Texas and am now in my forties… but even though we have all lived here for more than four decades, my family is still referred to as ‘those Yankees from Michigan.’  And away from our hearing I’m sure we are referred to in other ways… 🙂  I love being a Texan and love everything about Texas but one thing we don’t have in abundance here is raspberries.   I love raspberries and every recipe that includes them.  I concocted this recipe so that I could eat even more of them.

 

Ingredients needed:

raspberry pie, one pie ingredients

For Pie Filling:

One (already baked) pie shell  (Of course I don’t make them from scratch.  Did I mention I have 5 kids?)  I also think this recipe does better in one large pie shell, but for parties, sometimes I do it in the mini’s.  It’s just that the mini pie crust is sometimes too thick.  See my recipe list for pictures of the mini raspberry cream pies if you’d rather make those.  Just remember to poke the bottom and sides with a fork anytime you bake an empty pie shell.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 cups milk

4 eggs

1 Tablespoon margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Gradually stir in milk and cook on medium heat until mixture becomes thickened and bubbly.  (Stir continually and make sure that the mixture does not scorch or burn.  Sometimes this happens and I notice darkened pieces that are scraped from the bottom while I stir.   As long as this is not too bad you can strain them out when you pour it in the pie shell.  You just don’t want it to taste scorched.)  Once the mixture is thickened and occasionally bubbles, reduce heat and stir for 2 more minutes.   Then, remove from heat.

filling

Separate egg yolks from whites.  (Discard the whites.)  Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the yolks.  Return all to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Cook and stir for about 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and then stir in margarine and vanilla.  Pour through strainer into baked pie shell.

raspberry pie, payton and Lexi pouring cream

 

This helps remove any small burnt parts or cooked egg.  It removes the little imperfections.  If only I could pour myself through the strainer….  Place pies in the refrigerator to firm and cool for 5-6 hours or overnight before adding topping.  You can make the topping now and place bowl into the refrigerator to cool before adding to pies later.

For Topping:

1 bag of frozen raspberries, about 3 cups (or if you are lucky enough, use fresh, amazing, picked from the bush, luscious raspberries)

1 cup+ sugar

1 cup reserved rasp. juice (Strained from the bag of thawed raspberries.  I usually only get about 1/2 cup of juice from each bag so just add water to whatever you have to equal 1 cup.  If you are using real raspberries, just crush enough to make 1 cup of juice.)

1/4 cup cornstarch

In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch and mix well.  Stir in the cup of raspberry liquid.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook for about 2 minutes more.  Once it becomes a little transparent and is thickened… remove from heat.

pie filling

You’ll learn the right consistency with practice… sorry.   After removing from heat, add the remaining sugar and stir until melted.  Add the 3 cups of raspberries and stir until mixed.  With frozen raspberries from the bag, the berries sometimes fall apart but the topping still taste wonderful. Taste the completed mixture.  Depending on your taste and the bitterness of your berries… you may want to add more sugar.  My mom always does… but then, she’s a Type 2 diabetic.

Place into the refrigerator to cool.  Once cooled, spoon enough filling to completely cover pie.

raspberry pie, payton pouring rasp         raspberry pie, whole pie

raspberry pie, piece

Eat and enjoy.  Give some to your husband so he’ll buy you chocolate.

 

Rasberry Picture     raspberry pie, stone

 

raspberry pie, cade

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Easiest Best Ever Blueberry Muffins

 

blueberry muffin

 

 

 

My family tells me these are the best ever, or the ‘bestest’ Blueberry Muffins they’ve ever eaten.  “And you know why?”  I say.  “Because I made them.”  🙂  

And of course I cheat…

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Blueberry muffin, ingredients

1 Box Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix (the one with the can of blueberries in it.)

2 eggs

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Whipped Topping:

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

1 cup plus sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Mix the blueberry muffins per directions on the box of the blueberry muffin mix.  After adding the can of blueberries, add the extra cup to cup and a half of fresh blueberries, stir sparingly to mix.

Blueberry muffin, girls pouring blueberries


                                              Blueberry muffin , blueberries in bowl   Blueberry muffin Jayden stirriing

Divide batter among muffin cups and fill with about 1/4 cup of batter each.  Bake per directions on package, checking frequently… they make cook faster due to less batter because of the extra berries.  I usually begin checking them after about 8 minutes and then every couple of minutes.

Blueberry muffin in pan

When muffins are cooked through, remove and cool.

While muffins are cooling, mix the pint of heavy whipping cream with the sugar and vanilla.  I usually add around a cup of sugar.  You may prefer a little less.  Start with about a half of cup and you can taste it occasionally as you mix it, adding more as needed.  Beat on high until mixture is thick.

blueberry whipped cream

The whipped topping should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat the muffins.  If you frost them, they should be eaten immediately.  They taste best when the muffin is warm and the topping is cold.  Eat up and enjoy!

Blueberry muffin girls eating

And save some for your husband so he’ll buy you chocolate!

 

 

Creamy, Cheesy, Tortellini Pasta

pasta cheesy 2

I love everything with cream cheese in it and I absolutely love this Pasta.  It’s easy and quick and the kids love it!  I also have a family of 7 and we love leftovers… For smaller families, you might want to cut this recipe in half…

Ingredients:

sausage ingredients

2 pkgs. Eckrich Smoked Sausage (we like ours in the natural casing, made with pork, turkey and beef)

2 pkgs. 8 0z. cream cheese (16 0z. total)

2 Pkg. Cheese Tortellini Pasta (19 oz. each.  These are found in the frozen section in Super Wal-mart)

1 1/2- 2 qts. Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1/2 to 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper  (I like it spicy!)

1-2 Pkgs. Texas Garlic Cheese Toast (Or any garlic bread you prefer)

Directions

In a large kettle, fill with water and cook Tortellini Pasta as directed.

noodles in water

Drain and set aside pasta when cooked.  In a separate kettle, slice sausage into small pieces and cook over medium heat.

sausage

When sausage is cooked through, attempt to spoon out most of grease. Add the 2 sticks of cream cheese to the heated sausage, cut it up with your spoon and stir until melted.

sausage and cheese

melted cheese

Pour the 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of heavy cream cheese into the sausage and cheese mixture.  (I use the whole 2 quarts but for a thicker cheese mixture you may want to only use about 1 1/2 quarts.  Just be sure to cut back slightly on your salt and other spices…)

pour cream

After adding cream, add spices and stir thoroughly.  (I use a whole tsp. of cayenne pepper.  We are from Texas and love spicy foods… you may want to start with 1/2 tsp and go from there…)  Heat and stir until all cheese is melted and mixture is hot and only slightly bubbly.  Mixture should thicken a bit.  If it’s too thin for you, you can always add more cream cheese… When mixture is hot, add cooked Tortellini Pasta and decrease heat and stir until everything is cooked through.

payton noodles

Serve with warmed garlic toast.   (The cheese may really thicken for leftovers the next day so you can always add a bit more cream or whole milk and throw it in the microwave.)

payton eating pasta

Eat up and give some to your husband so he’ll buy you chocolate.  Hope you like it!

Best Ever Pigs in a Blanket

I love Pigs in a Blanket.   I eat them by the dozen.   I guess if you are what you eat, then they are well-named…

Most recipes use canned biscuits to make them, but this one uses Rhodes Rolls.  I like them this way so much better because the bread is softer and just wonderful.  They are so easy to make too, especially since I make my girls do all the rolling.  And of course Jayden usually helps by stealing a few sausages while we’re in the middle of the process.  We usually see his hand sneaking up over the counter before he makes a quick mad-dash escape…

Ingredients:

roll ingredients

1 Pkg. Rhodes Rolls       I think they come with 36 rolls.    (I find these in the frozen section at Super Wal-mart)

1 Pkg. Cheddar Lit’l Smokies  (Any mini smoked-sausages will do.)

(I have seven total in my family, so when I make these for us I use 3 pkgs. of sausages and 2 pkgs. of rolls.)

Directions:

Basically it’s pretty cut and dried.  Thaw out the rolls for about an hour, they may rise slightly.  Sometimes if I’m in a hurry I’ll just defrost them in the microwave for a minute or two.

Flatten the rolls out, with your hand if well thawed or use a rolling-pin.  The girls love rolling them out.  Sometimes I sprinkle a little flour on the table for this but too much will make them dry.  You can also roll them between two sheets of wax or parchment paper.

payton circle

So, flatten out your rolls into a flat circle. Cut in half.  Roll up the sausages in the pieces of dough.

payton rolling sausage

Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and cook in a pre-heated oven at about 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Until lightly browned.

cooked pigs

(There are around 38 sausages in each pkg. so therefore you’d need about 19 rolls, since you’ll be cutting them in half…)

Cool and eat and eat and eat.  Delicious!  Sometimes you can change it up by adding a small strip of cheddar or pepper jack cheese.  Yum!

Payton eating roll

 

 

 

Snow Days

No school today… It’s a snow day.  Snowing in Texas.  Yaaaayyyyy!!!!!  That happens here about once every four years and when it does it’s a community celebration.   They cancel school because they don’t want the kids out driving on the dangerous roads but then once school is canceled the kids are all out driving on the dangerous roads…  They are all mostly traveling to my parents house who live on a big hill which is perfect for sledding.   And since my parents are natives of Michigan and are old pro’s at everything winter, and who also happened to buy 7 sleds while on a trip to Michigan a few years back…. (yep, not too many snow sleds sold in Texas) when a snow storm hits, their house is the happening place to be.

So immediately as soon as my kids woke up they began screaming, “Let’s go to Gramma’s house!  Let’s go to Gramma’s house!”  All except for little Lexi Lu, who quietly announces as she leans against my arm, “I feel horrible.  I think I’m sick, mommy.”   As any professional mother knows, especially a mother of girls…. they are always feeling sick.  If it’s time for school, they’re feeling sick.  If it’s time for church, they are definitely sick.  If it’s time to go to bed, their stomach is hurting, their nose is stuffed and they can’t breath.  My girls like being sick so much I almost bought them each a thermometer to put in their Christmas stocking.  But any wise, experienced mother also knows, when they say this, they are usually anything but sick.  In fact, the only time when I really am sure that they are sick is when their inability to sleep affects my ability to sleep.  Once, late into the night, I could hear little Lexi coughing and coughing and COUGHNG.  I tried to ignore it, but every time I was almost asleep, she’d start up again. Finally about 2 o’clock in the morning, I trudged into the girls room and shook her awake.  Luckily she hadn’t awakened Payton yet who was sleeping soundly in the double bed with her.  “Lexi…Lexi…” I said, as I tiredly shook her awake.   She looked dazedly at me through one half-opened eye as I sat her up in the bed.  “Here, take this,”  I said, as I gave her a tsp. of cough suppressant before covering her up and returning to my own room.  The next morning at breakfast I was bemoaning the fact of how little sleep I had gotten during the night due to Lexi’s coughing.   “I wasn’t coughing,” exclaimed Lexi matter-of-factly.  “That was Payton.  She kept me up all night too.”  Shocked, I looked at Payton.  “Was it you?  I thought it was Lexi.  Lexi, I came in and gave you cough medicine….” “Is that was that was?” she asked, laughing.  “I was wondering.”

That will go down as one of my great mother of the year moments…  But since I am older and more experienced…. I do know that if it’s snowing for the only day of the whole year, maybe the next four years… if your little girl is leaning against you saying she’s sick… she’s sick.   I got the flashlight and looked at her tonsils.  They were reddened, swollen and covered with the tell-tale white pustules that usually means Strep.  It’s snowing outside, the roads are icy, my husbands out-of-town again (of course), so that leaves me to take her out to the doctor.  I load up the other children in the car with my oldest son Cade, who after much instruction from me (who am I kidding about knowing how to instruct him on driving on ice.) drives them the two blocks over to Gramma’s for sledding.  And off Lexi and I head to town for the doctor.

cade snow

payton and cade sledding (2)

stone snow (2)

It’s early in the morning, around 9:30.   No ones been out yet and I can barely make out the road.  The snow is flying towards the windshield like the stars whizzing past the spacecraft in a Star Trek movie.  Lexi’s saying, “The snows making me dizzy.”  I’m intently watching the road, the windshield wipers scraping as we trudge along at 15-20 miles  an hour.  We make it into town where here, there are trails in the road where other cars have driven.  I follow in those.   I’m tailing another car and suddenly it starts spinning out in front of us, doing a 360 in the middle of the road.  I brake as I slide towards them.  The car behind me brakes as they begin sliding towards me and the car behind them brakes and to avoid a collision, drives off the road and into the woods.   All these Texas drivers… we should not be out driving on this ice.

I finally manage to get around the stranded car in the middle of the road and head up the hill.  Near the top, my tires start spinning out and we begin sliding backwards.  I’m scared.  Lexi knows I’m scared which makes her scared.  She’s crying now saying she’s not sick anymore and let’s just go home.   Well, we aren’t going home.  We aren’t going anywhere.  My tires are spinning and spinning and we’re staying in place.  As my speedometer revs up to 30 miles an hour a man taps on my window and as I roll it down he asks if I have four-wheel drive.  “I don’t know,” I say as we both silently agree that I am a stupid, idiot, woman who shouldn’t be out on the road. He flags some other men who help push and turn me around, informing me that if I’m going to the doctor, I’ll have to go another way.  We head off in another direction, a flatter road that’s been more traveled and we eventually make it.  We make it to my doctor’s but the lights are out.  Great.  Our pediatrician meets us in the waiting room and leads us to her office where there are large windows so we’ll have light.  The generator kicks on.  She swabs Lexi’s throat and is able to run the test.  Her strep test comes back positive.  It better be positive after us risking life and limb to get here.  She gives her the prescription of which we can get filled in the same building, thank the Lord, and then we head back home.  And we make it, safe and happy to be alive.

Later on, now warm and dry, we sit on the couch together watching a movie.  Lexi is forlorn about missing the day of sledding.  “Why do I have to be sick on the only day it’s going to snow all year.  Why?  Do you think it will snow again soon mom?”  “Maybe,” I say, “in about four years.”  She scowls and smiles her evil smile at me.  And we lean back to watch the rest of our movie.  We’re watching 16 Love. It’s a movie on netflix.  It’s about a girl who is trying to be a tennis pro and her dad, who is also her coach, is really hard on her.  At one point in the movie he tells her how winning a certain tennis trophy was the greatest day of his life and he’s pushing her because he just wants that for his daughter.  But later, in a poignant moment of the movie, he slams the trophy in the trash and apologizes to his daughter about what he had said before and explained how that winning the trophy wasn’t the greatest day of his life.   He explains that he’s had thousands of days greater than that.  The day he met her mother was a greater day than that, the day his daughter was born… those were really the greatest days of his life.  Lexi leans her head against mine and turns to me and whispers softly.  “What was the greatest day of your life mommy?”  “Well,” I say, thinking intently, “I think I’d have to say it was the day your sister, Payton, was born.”

“Moooommmmmy,” she says, with that evil smile of hers, as she leans her forehead firmly against mine, her two eyes becoming one big one.   I squeeze her nose and laugh as we both settle in to watch the rest of the movie.

Snow days are ‘one of the greatest days….’

lexi snowman

(Puny Lexi makes it outside to put the finishing touches on our snowman…)

Yummy, Cheesy, Spinach Chip Dip

 

finished spinach

I’ve been making this spinach dip for years and I absolutely LOVE it!  It’s so easy.  (And I don’t even like vegetables!!!!)

Ingredients:

spinach ingredients

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

2-8 ounce pkgs. cream cheese (softened)

1/3 cup milk

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I usually add a little more after mixed.  I like it spicy.)

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 small onion, chopped

Just a smidge of garlic powder if you want…   (Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, depending if I’m mad at my husband or not…)

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk, salt and cayenne pepper. (And dash of garlic…)  Stir in mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach and onion.

spinach in bowl

Place in microwave safe bowl and microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes.  Stir and reheat in one minute increments until thoroughly melted.

girls chips

 

Serve with warm tortilla chips, pita chips or carrots.  Yummy.  I’m going to make some now.  Hope you like it.  (And watch out for that spinach.  It can cling on to those teeth and make one look a bit goofy.  I always serve my husband a large helping at parties when there are younger women around.)

 

 

Mini Raspberry Cream Pies

Rasberry Pie

My parents are originally from Michigan.  I, the youngest of five children, was born in Texas and am now in my forties… but even though we have all lived here for more than four decades, my family is still referred to as ‘those Yankees from Michigan.’  And away from our hearing I’m sure we are referred to in other ways… 🙂  I love being a Texan and love everything about Texas but one thing we don’t have in abundance here is raspberries.   I love raspberries and every recipe that includes them.  I concocted this recipe so that I could eat even more of them.

Mini Pies

Ingredients needed:

ingredients

For Pie Filling:

12 mini (already baked) pie shells  (Of course I don’t make them from scratch.  Did I mention I have 5 kids of my own?)  I also think this recipe does better in one large pie shell, but for parties, sometimes I do it in the mini’s.  It’s just that the mini pie crust is sometimes too thick.  See my recipe list for pictures of the one larger raspberry cream pie.  Just remember to poke the bottom and sides with a fork anytime you bake an empty pie shell.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 cups milk

4 eggs

1 Tablespoon margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Gradually stir in milk and cook on medium heat until mixture becomes thickened and bubbly.  (Stir continually and make sure that the mixture does not scorch or burn.  Sometimes this happens and I notice darkened pieces that are scraped from the bottom while I stir.   As long as this is not too bad you can strain them out when you pour it in the pie shell.  You just don’t want it to taste scorched.)  Once the mixture is thickened and occasionally bubbles, reduce heat and stir for 2 more minutes.   Then, remove from heat.

filling

Separate egg yolks from whites.  (Discard the whites.)  Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the yolks.  Return all to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Cook and stir for about 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and then stir in margarine and vanilla.  Pour through strainer into baked pie shells.  This helps remove any small burnt parts or cooked egg.  It removes the little imperfections.  If only I could pour myself through the strainer….  Place pies in the refrigerator to firm and cool for 5-6 hours before adding topping.  You can make the topping now and place bowl into the refrigerator to cool before adding to pies later

For Topping:

1 bag of frozen raspberries, about 3 cups (or if you are lucky enough, use fresh, amazing, picked from the bush, luscious raspberries)

1 cup+ sugar

1 cup reserved rasp. juice (Strained from the bag of thawed raspberries.  I usually only get about 1/2 cup of juice from each bag so just add water to whatever you have to equal 1 cup.  If you are using real raspberries, just crush enough to make 1 cup of juice.

1/4 cup cornstarch

In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch and mix well.  Stir in the cup of raspberry liquid.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook for about 2 minutes more.  Once it becomes a little transparent and is thickened… remove from heat.

pie filling

You’ll learn the right consistency with practice… sorry.   After removing from heat, add the remaining sugar and stir until melted.  Add the 3 cups of raspberries and stir until mixed.  With frozen raspberries from the bag, the berries sometimes fall apart but the topping still taste wonderful. Taste the completed mixture.  Depending on your taste and the bitterness of your berries… you may want to add more sugar.  My mom always does… but then, she’s a Type 2 diabetic.

Place into the refrigerator to cool.  Once cooled, spoon enough filling to completely cover each pie.

Pouring filling

Eat and enjoy.  Give some to your husband so he’ll buy you chocolate.

Rasberry Picture