The BEST Strawberry Pie

The best recipes often come to you as family hand-me-downs and this one is no exception. It’s my mom’s strawberry pie recipe that she’s been making all my life. I don’t know exactly where it came from, but she’s passed it on to me and now I am passing it on to you!

I almost always try to make a home made pie crust with my pies – people comment all the time about how hard that is, but I think they are leaving out one crucial detail when they make theirs. I’ll share my secret in this post so you can make award winning crust that will knock the socks off your friends and family next time you have a get-together.

For the Single Shell Pie Crust you will need:

1 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cold water

How to make your crust:

I HIGHLY recommend making your pie crust the night before and refrigerating it. Typically, the dough will be sticky and chilling overnight helps it roll out wonderfully so it doesn’t stick all over your hands and rolling pin. If you don’t have time, at least try to chill for a couple hours.

Measure out your flour, mix in the salt, then cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender. You will want to get a crumbly mixture and make sure all the shortening is mixed in well.

Add cold water. Honestly, I never measure this. I just run some from the faucet in the flour mixture and start mixing until it seems like it’s enough. If I had to guess, 6 – 7 tablespoons of cold water.

Once a dough has formed, shape it into a ball, put in cling wrap and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Then, when you are ready to bake your pie, roll the dough out on a floured surface and transfer to your pie dish.

Bake the crust on 400 for about 20 minutes. (Another trick to making sure your crust doesn’t get bubbly in the center is to weight it down with dry beans. It will leave a funny design on the bottom but no one will see it because your pie filling will cover it up!)

 


What you need to make your Pie:


3/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup of water
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry Jello
fresh sliced strawberries

Directions:

Line your baked pastry shell with sliced strawberries. You can add as many or as little as you like – I try to get a good layer that covers the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

Combine the Jello, water, sugar and cornstarch in a pan on the stove. Mix until thickened – this can take anywhere between 5 – 10 minutes.


Once mixture is at the right consistency, pour over strawberries in pastry shell.


Refrigerate until set – at least 5 hours. Serve by itself or with whip cream and enjoy this delicious summer favorite!

Easy Restaurant Style Salsa

I do not like salsa from a jar and believe me, I’ve tried several different kinds and pretty much find it inedible. Fresh, restaurant style salsa is where it’s at and it’s taken me several years to perfect my own recipe, which I modeled after my favorite Mexican restaurant Los Bravos.

Making your own is so easy and can easily be adapted to taste.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I like Kroger brand)
1 Can of Whole Tomatoes OR 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
Garlic to taste
Fresh Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt
Onions or hot peppers

Directions:

Combine everything in a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja). I don’t add much salt, so I just recommend a pinch or two to taste. Pulse on a low speed for a minute or two until everything is mixed well.

You can eat immediately! I like to put mine in the fridge for a few hours at least until chilled. Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy.

 

Easy Cheesy Mexican Skillet Rice

I think I could eat Mexican food every night of the week. Tacos, burritos, chimichangas, chips, salsa, queso…need I go on? I also love the Mexican rice that goes along with these dishes in the more traditional Mexican restaurants, so when we have a taco night at home, I usually try to make a version of it myself.

After trying several similar recipes I found on Pinterest, I just wasn’t all that satisfied with the final product, so I started adapting them to my liking. What I ended up with is a staple that’s good enough to eat by itself!

My recipe makes enough for two people plus a little extra for leftovers. If your family is bigger, you’ll need to double up on ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup of white rice
1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 cup of water OR chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth too)
Fresh cilantro
Frozen corn (I like Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn)
Frozen peas and carrots
Chili powder seasoning (I also like Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning)
Salt
Pepper
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

How to make it:

Add your rice and water or chicken broth to a large, deep dish skillet. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes, then add in the tomato sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and cover; cook on medium high heat for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Make sure you stir the mixture from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add in the corn, peas and carrots. Cook 5 – 10 minutes more until the rice and vegetables are cooked through.

Top with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, serve and enjoy!

*You could probably also make this in an Instant Pot. My suggestion for that would be to throw everything in the pot, cook for 8 minutes, then do a natural release for 10. I have not tested this with this recipe, but if you did do the Instant Pot instead, I would up the amount of water or broth that you use so it doesn’t dry it out.

 

Fresh & Easy Pasta Sauce

Fresh & Easy Pasta Sauce

Growing up, my mom used to make this sauce with fresh garden tomatoes and serve it over pasta. It’s so easy, delicious and fresh – you’ll want to drink it right out of the blender.

I used fresh tomatoes that I got from the grocery store and those worked well too. This hasn’t been tested with canned tomatoes, so if you try it that way, let me know if it works for you!

What you’ll need:

4 or 5 large tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
4 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

You could also add fresh basil, garlic or another Italian seasons of your choice. I typically just use store brands of the rest of the ingredients – nothing fancy!

Cut up your tomatoes first, then throw in a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

 

Serve over spaghetti, penne, bowtie or any kind of pasta. I tried it over cheese tortellini for this dish but think I prefer plain pasta – the cheese kind of drowns out the lovely fresh taste of the sauce.

There’s no cooking involved, other than the pasta and it’s SO easy to make. It will keep in the fridge for a few days or you could freeze or can for later.