Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Nuts About Cheap and Easy Recipes!

The recipes I'm going to share with you are far from gourmet dishes that call for expensive ingredients that you would have to drive all over creation just to find or mail away for.  Everything I cook is either in your pantry now or at the local grocery store--not a specialty shop.  So if truffles and birds' nest soup are what you crave, then you won't find it here--only basic, old-fashioned recipes made from scratch!

These are some of the recipes that I'm nuts about.  Hopefully you'll try a few out because I do think these are extra special. 

The first recipe that I want to tell you about came to me out of desperation.  It was apple season and we were lucky enough to have a bountiful apple harvest from the tree in our yard.  After hours of peeling and coring tons of apples for pie, I discovered I was out of shortening for my pies. 

The normal person would have jumped in their car to go get some shortening.  However, I was too tired after all that apple detail.  Instead, I went through tons of my cookbooks until I found this odd recipe for pie crust with oil.

Oil?  Now don't cringe at the thought.  You don't have to worry about screwing up the dough like when you use shortening and work it too much.  This oil crust is foolproof even if you never made a flaky pie before.  

This crust is the only one I still make.  It's healthier, tender and flaky consistently, much easier than traditional recipes, can be used for dessert pie, potpie, and a quiche crust.  But the only way you'll know for sure that I'm nuts about this is for you to try my crust yourself. 


Oil Pie Crust


1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt


Mix all the ingredients in your bowl until they form a greasy ball.  Divide the ball into two for the top and bottom crust.  Grease a 9-inch pie pan.  Roll out the first ball on a sheet of wax paper.  You can press it into your pan or save it for your top crust.  I pat the first ball into the pan, pour my filling, then roll the remaining top crust on the wax paper so it has a nicer appearance.  If it sticks to the paper, then sprinkle a little flour to make rolling easier.   Don't worry if your dough ball feels greasy because it is normal.  Once you have the crust in the shell, you can fill it with your favorite filling and bake as usual.

*All moms know how much their kids love to help them in the kitchen.   A great together activity is mom and child working side by side on this pie crust.  Allow your child to pat the bottom crust into your pie pan for you.  You'll be surprised at how efficient those small hands can be from working with their play dough.  Your child will delight in taking part in making something delicious for the family while learning by mom's example!

Next time, I'll give you a delicious way to use your leftovers and turn them into my Super Easy Potpie!

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