Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guest Blogger Lightened Squash Casserole

Messy Aprons thought it would be fun to feature some of our friends as Guest Bloggers! We have some fabulous recipes to share with you over the next few weeks! If you are interested in posting a recipe, just leave a comment and we’ll be in touch.
Welcome Catherine! She's sharing a recipe for Lightened Squash Casserole.
"Squash casserole is one of my favorite summer side dishes, as there is never a shortage of fresh, home-grown yellow squash around these parts! This is a lightened version, but I’ve also made the same recipe with regular cream of chicken soup and sour cream. There really isn’t much of a difference in taste to me, so I say cut back here so you can enjoy dessert later!"

•3 pounds yellow squash
•1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
•1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
•1 cup grated carrots
•1 (10 3/4-oz.) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
•1 (8-oz.) container light sour cream
•1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
•1/2 cup crushed cornflakes cereal
•1/2 cup crushed French fried onions
•2 tablespoons melted butter
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
•Optional: 1 can water chestnuts, chopped; gives it a little crunch!

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place in a Dutch oven. Add onion, 1 tsp. salt, and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook 5 minutes; drain well, and pat squash dry with paper towels.

2. Stir together grated carrots, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl; fold in squash mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 2-qt. oval baking dish.

3. Stir together cornflakes and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over squash mixture.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown, shielding with aluminum foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
About Catherine

I learned to cook from watching and helping my mother while growing up in small-town Minden, where it’s not always easy to just “pick something up”. I am a firm believer in the theory that if one can read, one can cook, and my favorite recipe sources include Southern Living, Real Simple, The Pioneer Woman, and of course, Messy Aprons! By day, I am a Petroleum Landman. I am the proud owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Riley, and an orange tabby cat named Finn. Most of my free time is spent playing tennis, cooking, and enjoying dinner or drinks with friends.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beef Wellington

I found this recipe here and it is a must. I probably say that all the time, but this was really grand. Even Ben liked the Beef Wellington despite being a meat and potatoes only kinda guy.

I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, but it still turned out wonderful! Here are my notes:

-Didn’t have a shallot
-Used a lower grade beef
-Had to improvise Dijon mustard; recipe found here
-Used full sheet of pastry puff

6 oz. button mushrooms
1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small sprig thyme (leaves only)
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for searing steaks
1/2 sheet of puff pastry (1/4 of the box), thawed
2 filet mignon steaks, about 6 oz. each
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
coarse sea salt, for topping

Preheat the oven to 425.

Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Add butter and olive oil to a sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness, or until it’s big enough to wrap around the two filet.  Cut into 2 squares.  Poke the puff pastry here and there with a fork.

Rub the filet with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over medium-high until very hot. Then, place the filets in the pan and cook for 1 minute, flip, and cook for another minute.

Spread 1 tsp. of the dijon onto a square of puff pastry.  Top with 1/2 the mushroom mixture, and then with 1 seared steak.  Brush the outer edge of the puff pastry with the egg and then fold the pastry over the filet (sort of like wrapping a gift). Seal and place seam-side down. Brush the top with the egg, and then sprinkle with sea salt.  Repeat the process for the second filet.

Bake until pastry is golden and steak is done to your liking, 15-20 minutes.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yummy Citrus Punch

Emily Aclin and her mom made this punch for a baby shower for Bennett.  It was so good and I have not forgotten about it.  I made it for the Father's Day Feast and dyed it lime green to match our tablescape.  Neil's grandmother even took some home with her!

You can see a picture of it off to the right in this picture.  I took off the lid and served it with a ladle, because it is so good slushy!

3 small packages lemon Jello
4 cups sugar
4 cups boiling water
2 large cans pineapple juice
16 oz. lemon juice
9 cups cold water
1 oz. almond extract
1 oz. food coloring of choice
2 quarts ginger ale

Combine Jello, sugar, and boiling water, stir until well blended.  Add pineapple juice, lemon juice, cold water, almond extract, and food coloring.  Freeze.  About 4 hours before serving, bring to room temperature to defrost.  30 minutes before serving chip.  Just before serving add ginger ale.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Blogger Spicy Dr. Pepper Pork

Messy Aprons thought it would be fun to feature some of our friends as Guest Bloggers! We have some fabulous recipes to share with you over the next few weeks! If you are interested in posting a recipe, just leave a comment and we’ll be in touch.

Welcome Elizabeth from the Jolliff Family Blog! She's sharing a recipe for Spicy Dr. Pepper Pork!

From Elizabeth, "It isn't that spicy, my 3 year old Sam even liked it:)"

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pork:

1 large onion, 1 whole Pork Shoulder (Butt)- 5-7pounds
salt and pepper
1 can (11oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Place them in the bottom of a large crock pot.
2. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions.
3. Pour the can of chipotle peppers (including sauce) over the pork.
4. Pour both cans of Dr. Pepper over the pork.
5. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
6. Set on low and cook for approximately 7-8 hours. Meat will be done when it easily shreds.
7. After cooking is complete, shred and place back in juice to keep warm until ready to serve. Serve on warm tortillas topped with your favorite toppings

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is the wife of a children's pastor (Hap) & mommy to Sam, Andrew, and baby #3 due in August. When she's not blogging over at the Jolliff Family blog, she's taking care of patients at the hospital, volunteering at church, or doing something crafty like sewing. The Jolliff's are currently preparing to move overseas and fulfill their calling as missionaries!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Cupcakes

We picked a lot of blueberries on Monday so I needed a recipe so they didn't go to waste.  I found this recipe on  They have some great stuff.


1          box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® lemon cake mix
1 1/2    cups fresh blueberries
3/4       cup water
1/3       cup vegetable oil
1          tablespoon grated lemon peel
2          eggs
1          package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened

Frosting and Garnish
2 1/2    cups powdered sugar
3/4       cup unsalted butter, softened
1          teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2       teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1 1/4    teaspoons vanilla
1          tablespoon milk
1          cup fresh blueberries
I added some lemon extract to make the frosting more lemony...I think it needed it!
Lemon peel, if desired
Fresh mint leaves, if desired

  • Heat oven to 375°F for shiny metal pans (or 350°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.

  • In small bowl, gently toss 2 tablespoons of the dry cake mix with 1 1/2 cups blueberries to coat; set aside.

  • In large bowl, beat remaining cake mix, water, oil, lemon peel, eggs and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Fold blueberry mixture into batter. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

  • Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until tops are light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

  • In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, the salt, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk on high speed about 4 minutes or until smooth and well blended, adding more milk by teaspoonfuls if needed. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Garnish with 1 cup blueberries the lemon peel and mint leaves. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Blogger Ma's Crispy Crust Cookies

Messy Aprons thought it would be fun to feature some of our friends as Guest Bloggers! We have some fabulous recipes to share with you over the next few weeks! If you are interested in posting a recipe, just leave a comment and we’ll be in touch.

Welcome Bambi! Bambi says, “These cookies are a hit every time I make them!”

Ma’s Crispy Crust Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup veg. oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs

1. Cream butter, oil, sugar, powdered sugar together. Add eggs.

2. Sift together:
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
3. Add flour mix to creamed mix. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Chill for several hours.

4. Drop spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar. Bake at 325 -350 for about 8 – 10 minutes. Check closely as they tend to brown fast.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Garlicky Baked Fries

I love the blog Purple Foodie! She has some amazing recipes and her pictures are simply beautiful. I decided to try the recipe for Garlicky Baked Fries.

The fries were really easy to make and had a wonderful flavor. The taste was a little spicy for Ben, so I might leave out the cayenne pepper next time.

Garlicky Baked Fries

8 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 225°C/440° F.
2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking dish, coating it well.
4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.
5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.
6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream.