Jackatessa's Blog

This is a collection of recipes, canning projects, crochet, crafts, cakes, and anything else I find interesting!

Blackberry Pie

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Oh man, this pie.  It was something else.  This pie was fricken delicious.

I made this pie for Father’s Day, for my dad.  He LOVEESSSSS blackberries, and especially blackberry pie.  Now, I’ve tried to make blackberry pie for him before, but I used frozen berries.  I (apparently) didn’t thaw the berries all of the way, so the bottom of the pie was, let’s just go with….soggy.  Don’t get me wrong, he still ate it, but bless him, it was NOT my finest moment.  I went at this pie looking for redemption for that other sorry excuse for a pie.  THIS one would be good, dang it!

It just so happened that I came into quite a bit of blackberries right before our father’s day dinner, by way of a kind, little offbeat guy, that sold them to me for $5 for a butter tub full.  Now, that’s a lot of berries!  And for $5?!  You bet!  I bought $20 worth and stuck some in my freezer for jelly (which I hope to share next), and then kept two tubs out to make some pie.

When searching for the right recipe, I went to Pinterest (obvs).  I searched for Blackberry Pie- blog.  Because I always want to be able to read more about it, if it has quirks, how it turned out, etc.  I read a few different ones, but when I came upon one that basically said she was a grandma that had been making this pie forever, I knew that I had found a winner!  And with just 4 ingredients, it was getting even more promising.  Yep, I’d found my recipe!

Now, since our family dinners consist of at least 15 people, but more like 20 if everyone comes, I knew that I could not just make one little 8″ pie.  I needed a big ‘un.  So I figured that I could just double the recipe and fill a 9″x13″ pan.  And it worked!  This would actually be a perfect dessert to a potluck, too.  It will serve quite a few.

I decided to go the pre made route and buy my crust– I used this entire package.  I let it thaw a bit, threw some flour on my counter and rolled the crust to around the size of the pan, but with just a little bit extra.  I sprayed my pan and put the bottom crust in, and pushed it up the sides.  I wanted to give it more stability when it was cut, but I wasn’t too worried about it being completely covered on the sides.

Pretty, huh?  NOT.  Then I just took a few minutes to put the filling together.  I don’t think it could have been any easier, seriously.  Like I said, I doubled the filling- so I used both tubs of blackberries, thawed, and added the flour and sugar.  I did heaping measurements of the sugar, since my berries were kind of tart.

    YUM.

Then it was just as simple as dumping it all into the pan and rolling out the other crust.    

I’m not even gonna lie, I totally ate a few of those flour/sugar covered berries.  Still delicious.

 

I rolled it out just a little larger again, and then rolled and pinched it to form a nice crust.   I knew I wanted to add sugar to the top, because I LOVE pie with sugar on the crust!  It’s how the church ladies make their blackberry pie at the fair, which is totally my favorite pie, and by golly I was going to have it on mine, too. So I took a stick of butter and rubbed it all over the top crust, to give the sugar something to stick to.  

Then sprinkled that puppy with a liberal coating of sugar!  The whole time I was doing it, I was thinking – Diabetes!  Diabetes for everyone!

After it came out of the oven, I thought it was the prettiest, most delicious looking pie I’d ever seen.

I let it cool on the counter for a bit, then put it in the fridge to really set up.  She recommends at least 3 hours, and I was doing this the day of the party, so I wanted to speed it up a bit.  Worked like a charm!

 

I 100% recommend  Syrup and Biscuits recipe.  Super simple and delicious!  Win win in my book!!

(Oh, and my dad LOVED the pie and took all of the leftovers home.)

RECIPE HERE!

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Semi Homemade Chicken and Noodles/Dumplings

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I wanted to share this easy recipe/method to make ‘homemade’ chicken and noodles/dumplings.  It’s not actually homemade, but it tastes like it is!  Personally, I don’t know how to make homemade noodles or dumplings, and right now I don’t want to take the time to learn.  This is what works really well for me- being able to grab a package of frozen noodles at the store and no one can tell the difference?  Yes please!  This is what the noodles look like–

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And the dumplings-

DSC_0013We use both.  The photos today are the dumplings.  They run about $3.50 a bag at our small town grocery store, I’m not sure what they are at Walmart.  We like a TON of noodles, so we usually get 2 packages.

And yes, this makes a HUGE pot full of food.  We usually eat on this all week when I make it.  You can cut the quantities in half if you want, but I like leftovers.  Leftovers= not cooking= not doing dishes= 🙂  🙂  🙂

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So to start, I always grab a package of chicken (on the bone).  My store has packages of ‘quarters’ that they sell for just a few dollars.  That is more than enough chicken for me, so I usually just grab one package that has 3 quarters in it.  If you want a ton of chicken, you can always add more in.  I fill a pretty good sized pan about 3/4 of the way with water and throw the chicken in.   I also add in a few shakes of garlic salt, and some powdered chicken bouillon that I get at the Dollar Tree (about 2 tablespoons) .  You can throw in a few cubes of bouillon or you don’t have to add anything at all, I just like the extra ‘chicken-y’ flavor.    Bring it to a boil and cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken and put them on a plate or in a dish.  Let them cool a few minutes, then pick all of the meat off of the bones.  You will want to get all of the fat off that you can, any bones, cartilage, etc– you don’t want it in your dish.  While I am doing this, I usually just let my water keep boiling.  After my chicken is picked off, I throw it back into the pot.

Make sure your stock is really boiling and add in your noodles.  Like I said, we usually use two packages, but you can definitely get by with one.  Make sure you stir as you pour them in, to keep them from sticking together.  Turn your heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Check your noodles to make sure they are done (they will still be firm though!).

When your noodles are cooked through, make a little cornstarch slurry.  Basically that means use about 1 cup COLD water and add 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch.  Use a fork and mix it together.  Pour it into your dish and stir to combine.  It will thicken your broth up just a little bit.

I like to serve them over homemade mashed potatoes….delish!

I also want to add that I think this would be really yummy with some diced celery, carrots, and onions added to it.  The bf doesn’t do vegetables though, so we just do them plain.  Comfort food at its best.  YUM.

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Crockpot BBQ Chicken

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This recipe is from my sister, Stacy.  She watches the niece,nephews, and a cute little neighbor boy a few days during the week, so I go over on my lunch hour to give her a bit of a break.  She feeds me, too, which is always a plus :-).  We had this for lunch today and man, was it GOOD!!  So I asked her if she would share the recipe with us. The cherry jello is a weird addition, but I don’t think you can really taste it in the end.  It just thickens up the sauce and adds a little sweetness.   She served it with white rice today and it was just delicious.  It would also be great on a bun or little hawaiian rolls!

This also made an entire crockpot full of chicken, so it will last you a few meals or serve a crowd, either one.  It would be a great potluck addition (I would take it with a package or two of the hawaiian rolls myself) or just to keep in the fridge all week to eat for lunches.

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Stacy’s Crockpot BBQ Chicken

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen

1 1/2 tsp cherry jello powder

2 cans of Pepsi

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 bottle of BBQ sauce, she uses Sweet Baby Ray’s

Combine all of your ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.  When your chicken is done cooking, remove from the liquid and start shredding it.  While you do that, pour the liquid out of the crockpot and into a pot on the stove.  Cook it down over medium heat until it thickens up (to your liking) and then add your chicken back to it.  Serve over white rice, on a sandwich, etc.

 

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Peacock Wedding- THE FOOD!!

Ahhh…the best part of any party.  The food.  This was actually the hardest part of the whole wedding for us.  She didn’t want to have a meal, since there would be about 100 people coming, but we didn’t want to do just cake and punch.  Also, since there was alcohol being served, we knew all the guys would want some yummy munchies later on.  Here is the menu we served:

Veggie trays- a classic, inexpensive favorite.  You just can’t go wrong with this.  We actually bought giant covered trays from Sams that we served them on.  I think we got 4 for $5.  Then we just went and bought the veggies that we liked and chopped them up a few days before, put them in baggies, then dumped them out onto the trays and added a small bowl of ranch in the middle.  Super duper easy.

We also made a tray with black olives, green olives, and small gherkin pickles.  We got all of that at Sams, too.

We also had a meat and cheese tray that we put together ourselves.  We got 1 lb blocks of cheese, the sausages, and then a variety pack of crackers from Sams.  We got some spicy and some mild sausage, and it was super inexpensive, I think $2 for a pack of 2.  For the cheese, I always get some white (like pepper jack or mozzarella), some yellow (cheddar, mild or sharp), and a mix (like Colby Jack).  That way everyone can find one that they like.   The crackers in the pack were Harvest Wheat, Sesame Rounds (which I LOVED!), and butter crisps.  We also got a large box of Ritz at Sams.  We had all of the meat and cheese cut up and bagged the day before, too.

We picked up a few boxes of eggrolls at Sams, too.  They were like $9 for 50 of them…totally worth it!  We set out a few bowls of just bottled sweet and sour sauce to go with them.  Here is the brand:

We also served bacon wrapped water chestnuts, which were a HUGE hit!  At first no one was trying them, and I was like, dude WTF.  They are delicious!  Then all the sudden they were gone lol!!  We wrapped these the night before and just refrigerated them.  Then threw them on baking sheets right before and set them out.  We ran out of them, and people kept asking for more.  Then the next day when we were cleaning and I found half of a container in the back of the fridge…oops!  I’ll share the recipe on these later on.

We just bought a few bags of Chex Mix (traditional flavor) and put them out in a big bowl.  It’s good for snacking on and everybody loves it.

The little cups you see are actually plastic shot glasses we picked up at Dollar Tree, packs of 50 for $1 (obvs) in green and blue, then we just squirted a little cocktail sauce in the bottom and added a shrimp.  We got 3 bags of the shrimp at Walmart for $5 a pound, in the 41-60 count.

Mom made a giant roaster with her yummy meatballs.  She takes these to parties and they are always gone!!  The best part is that she doesn’t really even have to do anything lol.  She bought packages of  the Great Value brand premade, frozen meatballs at Walmart and just dumped them in with some Head Country brand BBQ sauce.  We use Head Country at our house, not only because it’s delicious, but also because my hubby’s cousin on his mom’s side is the founder :-).  We are very proud of them!!  Anyway, we just served that in the roaster.

My mom was also in charge of making the tortilla roll ups.  She made three different varieties, and they were ALL GONE by the end of the night!!  I will get the recipes for those and post them, too!

We were planning on making some shaped and decorated peacock sugar cookies to use as favor, but alas, I did not practice like I had planned to, and just plain ran out of time (not to mention the patience!) to do so.  So instead, I whipped out these cookies using THIS recipe.  I don’t think I will ever use another recipe now!

The counter was clean, I swear!

The cookies were perfectly soft, moist, and they did not spread or brown, like some recipe do.  We iced them with leftover icing from the cupcakes, in coconut, raspberry, and peanut butter.  The coconut was my absolutely favorite.  Yum.  I didn’t get to taste them, but I knew they would be good, so I went out early with a tupperware and put a few back.  Boy am I glad I did!!  They were gone in a hot second!!  I will share the icing recipes on my cupcake post.  Also, we had problems trying to find a peacock shaped cookie cutter, so we planned on using a flower shaped cutter like this:

and we were going to cut the bottom two petals off and decorate it that way.  Oh well!  Maybe next time ;-).

Ok, so I think that’s enough here. I will do a post on just the cake, cupcakes, candy bar, etc soon.  If you have any questions, just comment and let me know!

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Pasta Salad for a Crowd

This is the pasta salad recipe I used for the wedding.  This is what I grew up with my mom making.  One thing to note is that you want the noodles to be cool before adding the dressing.  If they are warm, it seems to suck up more of the dressing, and your salad will be a little dry.  It also tastes better if it’s sits overnight.

 

Pasta Salad for a Crowd

100 servings

8 14-16 oz boxes dried pasta (I used rotini)

3 quarts Miracle whip

1 small jar pickle relish

6 eggs, boiled, peeled and diced or smashed

1/4 cup diced onion

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

 

Cook pasta in large pot until tender.  Drain, running cool water over it at the same time.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine miracle whip, onions, pickle relish, eggs, and mustard.  Mix with cooled pasta.  Refrigerate overnight for best results.  Mix well before serving.

 

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Potato Salad for a Crowd

This is another recipe from the wedding that I catered.  I prefer my potato salad to be very creamy, with an almost chunky mashed potato feel.  If you like yours to have a bit more substance, feel free to just cook your potatoes a little less.  Just make sure that you cut all of the potatoes the same size, so that they will cook at the same time. 

This is another one of my mom’s recipes (with the addition of bacon being my spin on it), and it’s a crowd pleaser for sure!

 

Potato Salad for a Crowd

100 servings

25 lbs of potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 quarts Miracle Whip

1 jar sweet pickle relish (I used a smaller jar)

1 lb sliced bacon, chopped into small chunks

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/2 cup diced white onion

Start by adding your prepared potatoes to a large pot and covering them with water.  Set on high heat and cover.

Cook your bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let cool.

In a big bowl, add your miracle whip, mustard, relish, eggs, bacon, and onion.  Stir to combine and set aside.

When your potatoes are fork tender, remove from heat and drain, running cold water over them until they are cooled.

Combine cooled potatoes and sauce mix.  Refrigerate overnight for best results.

 

 

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Coleslaw For A Crowd

I don’t know about you, but coleslaw is a very hard thing for me to get just right.  It’s a ‘by feel’ kind of recipe, where you add this and add that by feel.  My momma makes the absolute BEST coleslaw, and she would say you have got to use Miracle Whip.  No generics.  And believe me, it won’t taste right if you don’t use it!

Coleslaw for a Crowd

Serves 100

9 small bags of precut coleslaw mix

1 1/2 qts miracle whip

Milk

Sugar, 1/2 cup up to 2 cups

In a large bowl, combine miracle whip and sugar.  Start with 1/2 cup and keep adding to taste.  It should be pretty sweet, but not gritty.  Add enough milk to thin it out, but not so much that it’s a liquid.  Toss with coleslaw mix and refrigerate.  The longer it sits, the better it gets!

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches for a Crowd

Another recipe from the wedding.  Pulled pork sandwiches.  I kept the BBQ sauce on the side, so people could add it to their own tastes.  I also had mayo, pickles, and mustard on the side and we served it with coleslaw, which I like on my sandwiches.  We had quite a bit of extra, so this could easily serve 150, but you can cut it down to 20-25 lbs. for 100 people.

 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches for a Crowd

30-35 lbs pork shoulder roasts

1 1/2 cups Memphis style seasoning

1 2 liter Sierra Mist

1 2 liter pineapple juice

Water

In two 18 qt roasters, put your roasts.  Rub memphis seasoning all over meat, on all sides.  Divide Sierra Mist and pineapple juice between the two roasters.  Then add water until it reaches 3/4 of the way up your roasts.  Turn to 300 degrees and cook for 12-14 hours.  Check with a meat thermometer, it should read well over 200 degrees.  Remove the meat from the juice and onto a sheet pan or bowl.  Let cool enough to handle.  Remove any fat or bones from the meat and shred it.  Add back to juice, it should soak most of it up, but there should be a little extra.  That’s good.

Keep roaster on low until ready to serve with hamburger buns and BBQ sauce.

 

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Baked Beans for a Crowd

This was absolutely the best thing at the wedding reception.  Everyone kept coming up to me asking how on earth I made the beans so delicious!!  I actually don’t make baked beans that often, so I didn’t really know what I was doing and just kinda threw them together, so I was pretty surprised they were so well received!  Anyway, it made enough to feed 100 people.

 

Baked Beans for a Crowd

100 servings

3 10# cans of baked beans (I got mine at Walmart- pretty sure they were Bush’s?)

1/2 lb. brown sugar

1 lb of bacon

1 onion, chopped

1 bottle BBQ sauce- I used KC Masterpiece Original

2 large bags of french fried onions (I got mine at Walmart)

Slice bacon into small pieces.  Cook over medium heat until brown and crispy.  Put onto a plate to drain and throw in the chopped onion.  Cook until tender.

In an 18 qt roaster, add the beans, onions, bacon, brown sugar, and BBQ sauce.  Stir to combine.  Cook on medium for 6 hours or until heated through.  Right before serving, add the bags of french fried onions and stir.

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