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French Apple Custard Pie with Creme Anglaise Sauce

French Apple Custard Pie with Creme Anglaise Sauce

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French Apple Custard Pie with Creme Anglaise Sauce (Heaven on a Plate)

Hi guys!  So are you looking for a wonderful, over-the-top, (easy) way to say “I love you!” for the Holidays?  Well, here it is.  This pie is gorgeous (if I do say so myself), it tastes great – – – and you know what?  It’s.  Really.  Not.  That.  Difficult.

Come with me and I’ll show you how.  There are several secrets to this, and they apply to any pie you’re going to make this holiday season.  Let’s do this!

Secrets to Perfectly Baked Pie Crust

This is a 2-crust pie.  You can make your own crust – or if you’re in a hurry like I was, you can use ready made crust (the kind that comes in packages of 2 rolls).  Looking like this, no one will notice (or even care) that you didn’t make the crust from scratch, unless you tell them.   This pie also uses what’s known as a blind baked bottom crust.

There are two times when blind baking is necessary: 1) when you’re making a custard pie or 2) when you will not be baking the pie filling. Sometimes recipes for Pumpkin Pies (which are a type of custard pie) call for blind baking the crust because the moisture in the pumpkin filling can make the crust soggy before it has time to finish baking.

I know blind baking a pie crust can sound somewhat intimidating, especially if the idea of simply baking a pie is already in your category of ‘big hairy task that I’d rather not deal with’.  If that’s the case – relax.  We can do this together.  Blind baking is nothing more than letting the (bottom) pie crust bake partially on its own before you add the filling. It’s really easy – especially once you know a few baker’s secrets.

#1  Use a glass pie pan.

I know there are some pretty ceramic versions out there, but trust me – a clear glass pie pan cooks better.  Besides you can monitor the done-ness of your crust in the glass pan, whereas you have no visibility with the ceramic or metal pan.

#2  Use chilled pie dough.

If you’re using a ready made pie crust, you’ll want to let it come to room temperature before unrolling it and putting it in your pie pan, otherwise it will tear pretty easily as you’re unrolling it.   But once you’ve shaped it in the pan then it needs to get cold again before you pop it in the oven.  This is to help the dough keep its shape.

#3  Use pie weights with an aluminum foil liner.

Once the pie has hung out for at least an hour in the refrigerator, lay a large sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and gently press it down to conform to the shape of the dough/pan.  Don’t do this before the dough is cold otherwise you run the risk of the foil sticking to the dough.  Some recipes call for parchment paper instead of the foil, but I like the foil because it also serves as a shield to keep the edge of the pie crust from burning.   Pie edges tend to burn easily and we don’t want that!

Once you’ve gently molded the foil, add pie weights or pour in sugar to come up 3/4 of the way on the sides of the dish.  This is just another step to help your pie keep its shape.  Without this step your pie will puff up on the bottom and slump on the sides.  (No puffy bottom, slump-y sides on our watch!)  Notice we didn’t dock the pie (prick it all over the bottom with a fork).  That’s because docking is not necessary with this method and you don’t want holes in the bottom of your crust with a custard filling.  Once your pie is ready for the oven it should look like the following picture with the pie weights (little ceramic balls) mostly filling the aluminum foil shield.  I’ve pulled back an edge so you can see the pie underneath, but you’ll want to make sure all the edges are covered.

You’ll only need to blind bake the crust at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

#5  Put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet before you put it in the oven.

I always put my pies on a rimmed baking sheet.  It makes it easier to get them in and out of the oven and makes it less likely you’ll get burned or that you’ll damage any decoration.  Now that we’ve got the crust under control, it’s on to the filling!

 

Secrets to a Delicious Filling

#1  Pre-cook your apples to concentrate / reduce juices.

This helps keep the filling from being too loose and watery.

#2 Use an abundance of apples.

I love to serve over-the-top dishes, like miles-high meringue on my Lemon Meringue pies, or decadent layer cakes or luscious sauces – it makes my family and guests feel special and loved!  One of the best ways to do this with an apple pie is to use plenty of apples so the top of the pie is domed and bursting with apple goodness.

#3 Custard takes your filling to the next level.

The rich creamy custard is the perfect foil to your tart, delicious apples.  I like to start with a layer of about 1/2 the apples and 1/2 the custard to line the bottom crust after it’s done partially baking, like this.

 

Then a layer of the rich creamy custard.

Followed by the rest of the apples and the rest of the custard.   Notice the pie is still on the baking sheet just in case the custard bubbles over the crust.  I hate cleaning ovens, and the baking sheet also helps to prevent this!

Secrets to a Beautiful Pie

We eat first with our eyes.  This pie is delicious – and one bite will prove it.  But before you even put a fork in it, wouldn’t you guess it tastes great?  That’s because it looks great.  It’s like being at Disney World.  You expect an amazing experience before you even begin to explore the park.  That’s not by accident.  You’re visually being primed for that attitude.  Everything you see is telling you at varying degrees of subliminal messaging, “this is going to be AMAZING.”   A beautiful dessert does the same thing.  And it’s really not hard.  Trust me.

#1  Use your ready made pie dough to make a decorative topping.

Ready made dough is generally a LOT easier to work with than homemade if you’re going to decorate a pie.  It’s the correct thickness, it’s a consistent thickness and it’s the correct size.

#2  Pre-cut your decoration.

I like to cut stripes for a lattice and then weave them on parchment paper.  This allows me to get them just right before I put them on the pie.  Once I’ve woven them I press down at each intersection of dough to ‘weld’ the strips in place.  Then I put them in the refrigerator for at least an hour to cool down so they hold their shape.  I use dough cutters to cut decorative leaves at the same time.  Once you’re done you should have something that looks like this.

Now comes the fun part. (No, really!)  Move the leaves aside and position your parchment paper beside your pie.  Slide your hands under the paper and lift it up so that the edge of the pie is touching about an inch into the edge of the lattice.  Then gently flip the parchment paper over the pie so the lattice is transferred to the the top of the pie.  If you’ve thoroughly pressed down at each intersection prior to putting the lattice in the fridge, your lattice should hold together when you do this.  If it doesn’t, gently move any strips back into place.  It should now look like this.

 

Simply trim the edges by running a paring knife around the glass and remove the excess dough.

#3  Use an Egg Wash.

If you have any decorative items, like my leaf cut-outs, brushing an egg wash on the top crust will not only help them adhere, it will produce a beautiful brown, drool-worthy crust.

#4  Always use Sanding Sugar.

One of the reasons these pies always catch everyone’s eye is because I sprinkle them heavily with sanding sugar.  Not only is it tasty, it sends a subtle message that this golden, flaky, crunchy thing is sweet and delicious.  Alway remember the sanding sugar.  it really helps take your pie over the top.

#5  Protect your Masterpiece.

Your two remaining jobs are: 1) Don’t let it get broken and 2) Don’t let it burn

You can protect it from breaking (as well as protect your oven from bubble-overs) by placing your pie on your rimmed baking sheet.  This enables you to safely move it around without damage.

To prevent it from burning I watch it like a hawk and when the edges get to the desired degree of golden perfection I slap a pie shield on them.  I also cover any spots that are getting dark golden brown with small (couple inch) pieces of aluminum foil so they don’t get any darker and burn.

Finally, thoroughly protected, I let it cook until NONE of the top crust has that raw, oily doughy look.  Once it all looks flaky and done, you’re rewarded with this.

Believe me it tastes every bit as good as it looks.

The final, over the top, make ’em howl at the moon, step is a simple (it’s easy) Creme Anglaise sauce.  You REALLY need this sauce in your life.  It’s not low-cal, but hey – it’s the HOLIDAYS.  Enjoy!

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French Apple Custard Pie
Print
French Apple Custard Pie
Prep Time
1 hrs
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 50 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 1 or 2 packages Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crusts (2 crusts per package (2 crusts per package) the second package is for cut-out leaves, etc.
  • 1 teaspoon flour
Filling
  • 4 1/4 pounds tart apples such as Granny Smith, about 10 large apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Custard
  • 1/2 cup butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs , slightly beaten
Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream , optional
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 + tablespoons Sanding Sugar
Crème Anglaise
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg
Special Equipment
  • 9 inch glass pie pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Pie weights or sugar
Instructions
  1. Place 1 of the prepared crusts in the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie pan and gently press up the sides of the pan. Trim edges. Do not prick crust. After shaping the dough in the pan, refrigerate for at least an hour to ensure it's perfectly cold and relaxed.
  2. Cut the other prepared crust in 1/2-inch wide strips.
  3. On a piece of waxed or parchment paper weave the strips into a basket weave pattern. Gently press down at each intersection to secure. Cut leaves or other shapes out of the 3rd prepared crust if desired. Place on a flat baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least and hour and up to 2 days.
  4. Meanwhile peel, quarter, and core the apples, then cut each into wedges about a quarter inch thick. Toss the slices as you cut them with lemon juice to prevent browning. You should have about 10 rounded cups.
  5. In large skillet over medium-low heat, combine filling ingredients. Sauté about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. DO NOT OVER COOK OR YOU’LL MAKE APPLESAUCE.  Remove from heat. Set aside.

  6. After the dough in the pie pan has chilled an hour, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and gently press it down to confirm to the shape of the pan. Fold over the edges to prevent the edges burning and pour in pie weights or sugar. Weights or sugar should come up ¾ of the side of the pie to prevent the crust from puffing up and losing its shape while cooking. Place on a baking sheet (for easy transport) and partially bake crust at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

  7. In a medium bowl, mix custard ingredients.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE – may be made to this point up to a day in advance. If not baking immediately, when pre-baked crust is cooled, carefully remove aluminum foil and weights, cover lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap and hold on counter. Cover and refrigerate custard mixture and apple mixture.
  1. When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spoon ½ apple mixture in pie crust-lined pie pan. Pour ½ custard mixture over apples. Add remaining apples and pour in remaining custard.

  3. Gently place the woven crust on the top of the filling. Trim and seal the edges, using a paring knife to trim excess dough and then pressing the lattice gently to the bottom crust to seal.

  4. For the Egg Wash:  Whisk egg, water and cream, if using, together in a small bowl, then brush over the pie.

  5. Stick on any decorative pieces and then sprinkle sanding sugar heavily over the entire pie top.

  6. Bake at 425 for 35 – 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and flaky, with no doughy damp areas remaining. Check frequently and cover as necessary with pie shield and pieces of aluminum foil.

  7. Meanwhile, make the Crème Anglaise: In a medium saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. In a small bowl, combine 4 egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar. Blend a small amount of cream into yolks. Blend yolk mixture into cream and cook over low heat about 10 minutes or until mixture coats a spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Sift in cinnamon and nutmeg. Crème Anglaise may be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

  8. To serve, pour small amount of warm Crème Anglaise onto individual plates. Cut warm pie into 8 – 10 pieces and place on the plates.

 

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Sausage potatoes green beans

Sausage potatoes green beans

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Simple Pleasures Sunday

Comfort Food at its Best – Sausage Potatoes and Green Beans

One of the BEST.  DINNERS.  EVER.

Do you have a sister?  I do.  In fact I have many.  Some are not directly related to me, one is a cousin and one is technically a half-sister.  But the one thing that they all have in common is they are wonderful, smart, strong, loving, caring women.  Another thing they share is that I love them dearly.

Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you love someone until something happens that shows you their character and depth.  My half-sister, Geri, is 18 years older than me.  (can you imaging what a surprise THAT was to my 38 year old mom!?!)  so we didn’t know each other very well growing up.  She is a scary-smart, no nonsense, roll up her sleeves and get things done kind of gal.  We stayed in touch, but she lives in a different state and we could go months without talking.  Then several years ago my half-brother passed on.  He was not exactly a neat person and I found myself standing in his (extraordinarily cluttered) home wondering just exactly how to deal with the sheer volume of his belongings.  Geri, who was getting ready to leave for her flight home, was watching me closely as I surveyed the scene and said simply, “Who’s going to help you with all this?”  “No one,” I replied somberly.  “Not true,” was all she said as she went to the phone to cancel her flight.

I love my sister.

Turns out we have a lot in common.  For example, one of our all time favorite meals is Sausage, Potatoes and Green Beans.  It is warm, comforting and oh so easy to cook.  Sisters – I hope you’ll love it as much as Geri and me!

Fixing this Sausage Potatoes and Green Beans meal couldn’t be easier.   This is all you need.  In this dish I strongly prefer canned French-style Green Beans for their unique taste.

 

Just chop the onions.

 

Chop the potatoes.

 

Chop the Polish Sausage and fry it until it’s slightly browned.

Add the potatoes, onions, beans and butter (the butter makes it).

And 20 minutes later – you have the most wonderful meal in the world.  Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and butter and Geri and I will join you for dinner.

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Let’s get started!

 

5 from 1 vote
Sausage Potatoes Green Beans
Print
Sausage, Potatoes and Green Beans
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A quick, very easy WONDERFUL meal.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 - 2 packages Polish Kielbasa (Polish Sausage)
  • 1 large onion , white or yellow - cubed
  • 8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes - cubed
  • 2 cans French Style Green Beans - don’t drain
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Chop potatoes, peel and shop onions, cut sausage into finger width slices

  2. In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned on both sides. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.

  3. Add onion and some of the juice from the beans. Sauté until onion is softened, scrapping up browned bits on bottom and sides of pan.

  4. Add potatoes, green beans including juice, 2 tablespoons butter, and ¾ cup water.

  5. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Cook 15 - 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are fork tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

 

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Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Wicked Good Loaded Halloween Bark

Wicked Good Loaded Halloween Bark

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 Aloha Dreams

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Wicked Good Loaded Halloween Bark

So what’s your favorite Halloween memory?  Mine is getting to draw creepy halloween silhouette pictures in grade school.  I loved to draw spooky haunted houses with creepy trees, black cats on fences and of course a witch flying in front of the full moon.

Seeing these type pictures still brings a smile to my face.  So does this Wicked Good Halloween Bark.

Making Bark is ridiculously easy.  It’s ready in 15 minutes and is loaded with all kinds of fun flavors and textures. The salty crunch from the pretzels and peanut butter cups tempers the sweetness of the silky chocolate while the sprinkles and the candy corns add a great pop of Halloween color.

You’ll love making this Loaded Wicked Good Halloween Bark.   My 5 secrets guarantee your bark will be as DELICIOUS as it is EASY!

 

5 Secrets to Making Great Bark

Secret #1  Use the right chocolate.

For dark chocolate bark, you can’t beat Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers.  They have a wonderful chocolate-ly depth of flavor without the typical dark chocolate bitter taste.  You can get them on Amazon.  For milk chocolate, most craft stores carry Wilton Light Candy Cocoa Melts.  I don’t recommend using chocolate chips because in general when they melt, they’re thicker, less pourable, and harder to handle than melted bars or melting wafers of chocolate.

If it’s white chocolate you’re craving, Wal-mart, Target or Amazon carry Ghirardelli Chocolate White Chocolate Melting Wafers. You can also easily order them on Amazon.   When working with white chocolate be EXTRA careful. White chocolate melts more quickly, and burns more quickly.  Don’t even think about exceeding the 30-second microwave bursts, stirring between each.  I do NOT recommend using white chocolate CHIPS as they tend to scorch way too easily.

Secret #2 Include a Salty Item

I always like to include a salty item in the toppings, in this case the pretzels, but nuts of all kinds work well or even potato chips if you want to do a “snack” bark.  This wicked bark is loaded with all kinds of other goodies such as mini peanut butter cups or mini Kit Kats, and loads of color from wonderful witchy gold stars. Seasonal items are also fun, like the creepy eyeball candy or the candy corn.

To prep I simply put each of the ingredients in a small bowl and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Sil-Pat silicone mat.

Grocery stores are starting to carry many fun sprinkle options, but one of my favorite sprinkle shops is Sweetapolita – with absolutely the best sprinkles ever.  They have a delightful selection of sprinkles and will often send you a free “Emergency” sprinkle kit for your purse, just in case.  How fun!

Beyond that, the sky’s the limit.  Our Wicked Good bark is loaded with pretzels, creepy eye ball candy, and mini peanut butter cups.  I usually chop the mini candy bars into bite-size pieces to include in the mix.  I especially like the mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups or the mini Kit Kat bars.  Seasonal items are also fun, like the creepy eyeball candy or the candy corn.  One note:  The mini eyeballs are actually gum balls.   Not being a gum fan I wouldn’t have used them had I realized that.  Somehow gum does not seem to be a good fit with chocolate.

 

Aren’t those sprinkles wonderful!!  They would make anything into a festive event.  (Of course I LOVE anything that sparkles!)

#3  Melt the chocolate.

The easiest way to do this is in the microwave.  Place your chocolate in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 minute on 50% power.  Very likely nothing will happen.  Stir the chocolate and put it back for additional 30 second increments at 50% power.  Most of the chocolate discs will not change shape and will have to be stirred after each heating to determine if they have melted enough.  Be careful and do not over-cook as it can scorch the chocolate.  Keep sneaking up on it in the 30 second increments.  It will probably take a total of 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.

Secret #4  Spread the chocolate 1/4 thick and gently press in the toppings.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the chocolate from the bowl and into a puddle on the center of the parchment paper.  Using an off-set spatula (if you don’t have one, treat yourself.  You’ll love their versatility.)   Spread the chocolate in an even layer about 1/4 inch thick. Try not to let the edges get too thick or too thin.

Working fairly quickly before the chocolate sets, add your toppings, pressing down slightly to ensure they stick.

Secret #5  Refrigerate and Break

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  The final secret is once you peel off the parchment paper, the easiest way to break it is to put it on a cutting board and press the tip of a sharp knife into it where you want it to break.  This is the least disruptive method and dislodges far less of the toppings than cutting it or breaking it into pieces by hand.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Store your bark in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until it’s needed. It will keep for 3 – 4 weeks no problem.

Here’s another version with the milk chocolate.

This Wicked Good Bark is a very flexible recipe based on what’s in your pantry. The recipe doubles or triples easily if you’re feeding a crowd.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

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5 from 2 votes
Halloween Bark
Print
Wicked Good Halloween Bark
Prep Time
7 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 people
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 24 - 30 ounces dark, milk, or semi-sweet chocolate melting wafers
  • 1/2 cup broken or chopped pretzel twists
  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups rough chopped in half
  • 3 tablespoons sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper, set aside.

  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate wafers and heat in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate has melted and becomes smooth when stirring.

  3. Using an offset spatula spread chocolate on the parchment or wax paper into an even layer, 1/4 inch thick. You should have about an 8 x 12 rectangle of chocolate.

  4. Evenly sprinkle the toppings over the chocolate; set aside to cool on the counter if your house isn't too hot or refrigerate until set hard.  Once cooled, transfer the bark to a cutting board and break the bark into pieces by pressing on it with the point of a sharp knife.

 

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Jeff’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Jeff’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Cooking for a Crowd

 

 Aloha Dreams

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Simple Pleasures Sunday

Comfort Food at its Best – Jeff’s Vegetable Beef Soup

When was the last time you snuggled into a big soft cozy chair, with a hot cup of cocoa, a warm, ultra-soft blanket wrapped around you and a fantastic book you’d been dying to read; the rain pattering softly on the windows, thunder rumbling in the distance and the space around your chair lit with the soft glow of the table lamp or a pumpkin spice candle.

If it wasn’t recently, you need to – sometime soon.  That wonderful, warm cozy sensation such an activity inspires is called hygge (pronounced “hooga”)

The word hygge comes from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being” and it encompasses many things, including the art of creating intimate gatherings, removing annoyance from your life, cultivating an attitude of gratitude for your current blessings, enjoying cozy togetherness and especially cocoa by candlelight.  This is hygge.

Another key component of hygge is sharing fabulous comfort food with family and friends.  While I don’t remotely agree with Danish politics, at a Danish hyggelige dinner there are no divisive discussions about politics, family issues, or someone’s dysfunctional kids. No one makes snide comments, complains, or is overtly negative.  Everyone pitches in and lends a hand, so that not one person gets stuck doing the dishes.  There’s no bragging, or attacks, or competition.  It is filled with well-meaning communication with a focus on appreciating the here and now, the good food, and the folks.  We all need a little more hygge in our life.

Our regular dinners with our dear friends are hyggelige to the max.  These are the faces of hygge.

So for our Simple Pleasures Sunday this week, and to send you some hygge of your own with love, here’s another one of my favorite comfort food recipes – Jeff’s Vegetable Beef Soup.  This soup is like wrapping yourself in a soft warm snuggly blanket.  It’s really, really, really good.  It’s also really, really easy.  Just chop some stew meat or chuck roast and add it to a stock pot to sear over medium heat.  While the meat is browning, chop some potatoes like so.

Next chop some celery, carrots and onions.  Jeff loves using a bench scraper to transport food in the kitchen.

Add 4 quarts of water to the stock pot and scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any browned bits.  Then add 15 cubes of beef bullion and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and all the vegetables except the cabbage.

Let everything cook for 30 minutes at a low simmer.  Jeff generally uses green cabbage, but he thought the red cabbage would add some festive Halloween color.  (Besides which, that was what we had in the vegetable crisper…)  Waste not, want not.  Doesn’t this look wonderful?

You may be tempted to rush it, but the soup needs the full 45 minutes of cooking time to tenderize the meat and allow all the wonderful flavors to mingle and marry.  It’s worth it when you’re rewarded with this.

This Vegetable Beef Soup is so tasty and filled with love. Look at all that beautiful fall color and the meat is fork tender.  Not to mention, t’s just brimming with hygge.

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Let’s get started!

 

5 from 1 vote
Vegetable Soup
Print
Jeff’s Vegetable Beef Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A warm, savory comforting bowl of love.  An AlohaDreams.com recipe brought to you with hygge.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 bowls
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds stew meat
  • 8 Yukon Gold potatoes , medium size - peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 large white or yellow onion chopped
  • 12 - 16 ounces baby carrots , sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 6 stalks celery , chopped - 1/2 inch thick
  • 15 beef bullion cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 4 quarts water
  • ½ head green cabbage , or red - sliced ¾ thick
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot over medium high heat, sear stew meat until browned on all sides.
  2. Add water to pot and scrape bottom to remove the browned bits.
  3. Add beef bouillon cubes, Worcestershire sauce and all vegetables except cabbage.

  4. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. Break cabbage slices apart and add to soup. Cook, uncovered and additional 15 minutes. Serve.

 

Here’s some other fantastic recipes to put you in a hygge frame of mind.

Kansas City Steak Soup

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Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Cheesy Chicken Melts

Cheesy Chicken Melts

Cooking for a Crowd

 

 Aloha Dreams

   Fabulous Recipes, Cooking for a Crowd, & Dream Home Design

Sign-up for Fabulous Recipes!

1 HOME
2COOK A RECIPE
4FEED A CROWD
5DESIGN A ROOM
6PLAN A PARTY
3 EXPLORE

Cheesy Chicken Melts

Welcome to the first of a series of recipes which take advantage of our Poached Shredded Chicken Master recipe.  It’s designed to create maximum results with minimal efforts.

This one’s for all the hard working moms (and dads) who spend 8 hours working (at the office or at home) only to drag themselves into the kitchen at the end of a long, tough day to pull together a delicious meal for their family because they know family dinner is key to family unity and strength.  This one’s designed to make your life easier and your table livelier.

Emily and Serena – this one’s for you !

Even better – use my Make Ahead Shredded Chicken and you’ll have dinner on the table within 30 minutes.  They freeze great too!

Here’s how:  Just split the buns in half and place them in a baking dish like this.

Then combine 3 cups chicken (Use the Shredded Chicken from my Shredded Chicken Master Recipe), 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ¼ cup chopped picked jalapeño pepper slices and crumbled bacon.

Divide the chicken mixture between the buns, then top with the cheese.

In a small bowl, combine 8 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  Spoon half the butter mixture over the cheese and place roll tops on the rolls.

Pour remaining butter mixture over roll tops and bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 – 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and top of rolls are light brown.  Serve.

Your family is going to love these darling little sandwiches. They’re fun and they taste fantastic!

Pin for Later

Or Make Now

Let’s get started!

 

5 from 2 votes
Cheesy Chicken Melts
Print
Cheesy Chicken Melts
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Grab some shredded chicken and whip up these deliciously easy and cheesy chicken melts in minutes. A Worcestershire and butter bath add even more extra flavor to these tasty sandwiches.   

An AlohaDreams.com recipe 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 mini sandwiches
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
Filling
  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 strips bacon
  • ¼ cup chopped pickled jalapeño pepper slices (don't worry, these aren't hot)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Rolls & Melted Topping
  • 12 (3 inch) savory sandwich rolls (I use King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Dinner Rolls)
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the bottom of ta microwave safe plate with 2 paper towels. Add the bacon in a single layer. Cover the bacon with 2 paper towels. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. When done check the bacon and microwave in additional 30 second bursts until the bacon is done to your liking. Crumble and set aside.

  3. Cut the sheet of 12 rolls in half horizontally and place bottoms into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set roll tops aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 3 cups cooked shredded chicken, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ¼ cup chopped picked jalapeno pepper slices and crumbled bacon.

  5. Divide chicken mixture between 12 roll bottoms.
  6. Top with 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese. Set aside.

  7. In a small bowl, combine 8 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  8. Spoon half the butter mixture over the cheese.
  9. Place roll tops on rolls.
  10. Pour remaining butter mixture over roll tops.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be made to this point, wrap top tightly with foil and frozen for up to 2 months. Or placed individually in a freezer bag, sealed tightly. When ready to serve, thaw over night in refrigerator.
  1. Bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 - 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and top of rolls are light brown.

  2. Serve with pickled jalapeño slices if desired.

Recipe Notes

Reheat any leftovers in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds.

 

Here’s some other fantastic recipes to put you in a Hawaii frame of mind.

Huli Huli Chicken

This is without a doubt one of the Best. Chicken. Recipes. Ever. We fixed this for our luau last year. I figured out of the 140 guests there had to be some folks who didn’t like roast pig. So we made 70 pieces of Huli Huli Chicken to supplement the roast pig. Turns out no one doesn’t like roast pig. But NO ONE wanted to skip the chicken either.

read more

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Shredded Poached Chicken

Shredded Poached Chicken

Cooking for a Crowd

 

 Aloha Dreams

   Fabulous Recipes, Cooking for a Crowd, & Dream Home Design

Sign-up for Fabulous Recipes!

1 HOME
2COOK A RECIPE
4FEED A CROWD
5DESIGN A ROOM
6PLAN A PARTY
3 EXPLORE

Super Easy, Quick & Tasty

Make Ahead Meals – Shredded Chicken Master Recipe

Hi guys!

Who wants a super-tasty, quick, easy weekday recipe? Me too!   In talking with many of you, a common theme is: we need easy recipes that come together quickly and taste wonderful after a hard day’s activities.

Done and done.

Meet one of your best solutions – Poached Chicken.

I know, that sounds like kissing your sister – but you’re going to love my poached chicken. Sure you can buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it. But my recipe tastes so much better, it’s less expensive AND you can make up a BIG batch and freeze to use in all the wonderful quick and easy chicken dishes I’m going to be sharing with you in the weeks ahead.  Like these Cheesy Chicken Melts. They’re savory gooey cheesy chicken goodness in mini sandwiches.

If you’re not careful, instead of being a great foundation for your next masterpiece, poached chicken can be tough and flavorless. Well NOT in our kitchens. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves.

Pull up a seat and let me tell you our secrets:

  1. We’re going to cook it at a slow simmer (you barely want to see bubbles) and then remove it from heat to finish cooking.   So long tough bird.

2.  We’re gong to use (wonderful smelling) seasonings and mix some of that cooking liquid back in when we shred it. Good-bye dry,    tasteless chicken.

3.   We can shred it using a stand mixer or a pair of forks.  Can you say easy?

4.   Finally, we’re going to make enough for 7 meals at once and then freeze it in meal-size portions so we can quickly whip up something like my Cheesy Chicken Melts.   Hello delicious!

Are you in? OK then – let’s get started.

Pin for Later

Or Make Now.

 

5 from 2 votes
Shredded Poached Chicken
Print
Shredded Chicken Master Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This workhorse is the foundation for many super-tasty, quick, easy weekday recipes.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 7 meals
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 6 pounds chicken breasts or thighs (boneless, skinless)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic peel and lightly crushed
  • 1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Special equipment
  • 8 (1 quart) freezer bags
Instructions
MAKE IT.
  1. Add all ingredients to a large stockpot on the stovetop and bring to a very gentle simmer.
  2. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Let chicken sit in pot off heat for 7 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl.
  6. While chicken is cooling, strain cooking broth, discard solids and set broth aside (you should have about 4 ½ cups of broth).
  7. When chicken is cool enough to handle, using two forks, shred meat. (Or, if you own a stand mixer, my favorite way is to use the dough hook, adding the hot chicken in 3 batches to the mixer, turn on to low and run until chicken is shredded.)

FREEZE IT.
  1. Note date and contents on 8 quart-sized re-sealable freezer bags.
  2. Divide the chicken into 2-cup portions (12 ounces) and transfer to 7 of the freezer bags. You want to fill your bag about ¾ of the way full. Pour 1/4 cup chicken cooking liquid into each, squeeze out the air and flatten.

  3. Pour remaining juice in remaining freezer bag to use for chicken stock.
  4. Seal and store quart bags flat in a 2-gallon freezer bag.

  5. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
USE IT.
  1. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  In a hurry? Use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Can also use bone in, skin on chicken. This will reduce the yield of cooked chicken to about 12 cups. If you use skin-on chicken, simply remove and discard the skin before you shred the chicken. You may also find that you need to skim some of the fat from the cooking broth before spooning it over the chicken.

 

Here’s some other fantastic recipes to put you in a Hawaii frame of mind.

Huli Huli Chicken

This is without a doubt one of the Best. Chicken. Recipes. Ever. We fixed this for our luau last year. I figured out of the 140 guests there had to be some folks who didn’t like roast pig. So we made 70 pieces of Huli Huli Chicken to supplement the roast pig. Turns out no one doesn’t like roast pig. But NO ONE wanted to skip the chicken either.

read more

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

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