Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Apple Tart

Perfect Pairing:  Ice Cream


I have been a married woman for 6 whole months!  Time is just flying by, and we are having such a great time.   A few random thoughts after 6 months…..

  • We love Monday nights.  I teach Zumba on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Thursday is our regular pre-weekend date night, so Monday nights tend to be a home cooked meal and some quality couch/DVR/football time.  I never thought I would love Mondays so much.
  • It is super weird having someone pay all of your bills after being on your own for a decade.
  • We need more closet space.
  • Chris loves my cat, Molly.  This might not seem like a big deal, but it is a really big deal.  On National Cat Day (there is a day for everything) Chris posted this on Facebook.  She is officially no longer MY cat, and is OUR cat.
  • We need more closet space.


Thanksgiving!! Every food blogger’s favorite holiday.  


Of course you have to have pumpkin pie (and pecan pie) on your dessert table, but there is always room for something apple related, right?  


My family loves our shared apple pie recipe, but this apple tart is a fun change.  It is super simple but still really delicious and, dare I say, lighter?  It is like the thin crust version of deep dish pizza, but… pie. 


I used my favorite press, no-mess, pie crust recipe for the base.  It is so simple and honestly better than any roll-out crust I have tried.  


The crust is topped simply with Granny Smith apple slices, sugar, and butter. 


After it is baked the entire dessert is brushed with apricot jam and sprinkled with cinnamon.  The jam is thinned a bit with brandy, or rum, or water if you don’t have those. 


I would most definitely pair this with ice cream.  Fantastic. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Pesto Pizza

Perfect Pairing:  Leftover ingredients


Meet my new favorite pizza. 


So many good things on one crust!!  Admittedly, there is some prep work that goes into this because you are roasting squash and caramelizing onions.  I recommend doing big batches of each, and use them in other dishes.  Allow me to provide some ideas.

Roasted Butternut Squash


Caramelized Onions


All Purpose Breakfast Casserole (squash would be delish in this too)


I actually made this pizza because I had already planned on making Butternut Squash risotto, so I just roasted extra squash. 


You top premade crust with pesto.  Store-bought is just fine!  I had lots of homemade pesto for this recipe because my mom and I had just made 10+ batches for the freezer.  Her basil plant was legit out of control.  I buy 10 leaves of basil at the grocery store for $2 and she has a forest of the stuff.  I have zero sunshine and the opposite of a green thumb, so no chance of me growing any myself.


A generous layer of caramelized onions.


An adorable photobomber.


A layer of roasted squash.


Top with some cheese...


And bake!


So stinking good, my friends. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pumpkin Biscuits with Spicy Honey Butter

Perfect Pairing: Soup


Are you tired of pumpkin recipes yet?  Nah, of course not!!  That is a silly question.  If you like pumpkin recipes you really can’t get enough of them in the fall.

These biscuits are tasty on their own, but they are next level good when combined with spicy honey butter.  The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering, just a nice subtle background flavor.  It also makes them a lovely color!


When I was in college I was lucky enough to go on an incentive trip with my parents to Maui.  My mom extended in Honolulu for some meetings with her team, so I was on my own with my dad and brother.  One of the nights we went to a generic BBQ restaurant in our hotel.  I don’t remember anything other than the cornbread and spicy honey butter.  It was so good.  


That was many years ago and I still remember it fondly.  I recreated it and have used this simple butter recipe many times and it is great with cornbread, biscuits, toast, etc. 


While spilling flour (purposefully) all over your counter and rolling out dough may seem annoying and not worth the work, it is actually pretty cathartic and enjoyable!  This 7-Up biscuit recipe requires flour on your counter, but no rolling pin.  Equally delish!


These biscuits are perfect alongside a bowl of yummy soup on a cool fall day.  We had it with our favorite, Cheeseburger Soup


Friday, October 23, 2015

Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Perfect Pairing:  Candy corn topping


Growing up we didn’t have store bought treats in the house.  When my brothers or I were offered a Little Debbie at a friend’s house, we were all over it.  


What we did have at home were amazing homemade desserts every so often, and those most definitely trumped any Little Debbie treat.  One of my all-time favorites were Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes. 


Oh gracious, are these fantastic.  My mom got the recipe from a cookbook created by a Sunday school class at our church, called the Circuit Rider’s Cookbook.  


As a little background, a Circuit Rider was a Methodist minister that would ride on horseback from rural church to rural church to preach the good news. 


Well if you know anything about church ladies, you know they can cook, so this little well-loved cookbook has some real gems in it.  You know you have a jackpot recipe when there are stains all over it!


So what we have here are scrumptious from scratch chocolate cupcakes that are piped full of creamy deliciousness and then iced with chocolate fudge icing.  Little Debbie would be ashamed to stand next to them. 


We always seem to make them in the fall and top them off with a candy corn. 


They are a surefire family favorite!  

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Sloppy Joe Dip

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roasted Vegetable Dip and Chicken Pizza

Perfect Pairing:  Golden Home Pizza Crust


One of my all-time favorite recipes on my blog is this Roasted Vegetable Dip.  I have made it countless times. 


A healthy mix of red peppers, red onion, eggplant, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings are roasted then processed with tomato paste and red pepper flakes.  It is ridiculously delicious and guilt-free. I have used it as a dip for crackers, vegetables, or as a spread on crostini or on a grilled cheese sandwich.  It is so versatile.


My new favorite use is using it as a pizza sauce.  Start with a pre-baked pizza crust, top it with a generous spread of the Roasted Vegetable Dip, cooked chicken, red onion or shallot, cheese, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  It is great as a main course or cut into smaller pieces for an appetizer.


I just discovered these Golden Home Pizza Crusts.  They are super thin and crispy.  If you have a pizza stone, use it with these crusts.  The nutritional stats are pretty great too, especially when you compare it to Chicago deep dish pizza.  Egads.  I am not being sponsored in any way by this company, in fact, I have not been able to find them in my local store so I have to ask my mom to stock up for me at her grocery.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Simple Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Perfect Pairing: Seeded cucumbers (spoon method)


If you are lucky enough to have a garden, or perhaps are just lucky to know someone with a garden who likes to share, you probably have a lot of cucumbers.  In honor of the last day of summer (waaaa!), here is a super simple cucumber salad.


I made this all summer long to serve with anything off the grill, or alongside of my favorite Tomato Pie.  I always use fresh dill, but will throw in fresh basil and mint if I have access to it.


Garden cucumbers often have a thick, sometimes bitter, skin and lots of seeds.  I like to peel the cucumber, slice it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon.  If you are feeling motivated and have the time you can salt the cucumbers in a strainer for 30-45 minutes to drain off excess water before making the salad, but this is not necessary.


Soak up the last day of summer!

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