Monday, September 30, 2013

Applesauce Bread with Crumble Topping

This Applesauce Bread is easy to make with just a few pantry ingredients!  Luscious, moist, full of flavor, enjoy it for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or serve it as a dessert. 

8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup dark *brown sugar
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup applesauce
2   eggs
1 cup raisins (optional)

Crumble topping
1 cup oats, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 4 tbls. butter, 1/2 cup pecans; mix all together and spread in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Bake in a 350 oven, stirring once, for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir and allow to cool.  Store in a mason jar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add the remaining ingredients except raisins. Mix well until blended; stir in raisins. Pour into greased and floured 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan or two small 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25-inch pans raisins and top with a tablespoon or two of the crumble topping. Bake large loaf for 60 to 65 minutes, smaller loaves 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

* Brown Sugar - 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tbls. molasses = brown sugar

Note - this bread freezes well if wrapped in plastic wrap, then stored in a zip-loc freezer bag.

Yield:  One large loaf or 2 mini-loaves


Friday, September 27, 2013

Strawberry Butter


Wonderful, lovely, fresh and sweet strawberries!  My #1 Spring pleasure.  We buy them by the gallon from Willard Farms, then slice 'em and bag 'em and freeze 'em.  I use them for Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Dream Squares and more!  Most recently I made this "out of this world, to die for yummy" Strawberry Butter ... it is simply deliciousness in a jar!  Just wait till you taste it!


4-5 cups frozen sliced strawberries (frozen from fresh, sliced berries)
-OR- 4-5 cups fresh strawberries, sliced (plus 1 tbls water)
2 scant cups sugar
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 Tbls.pure vanilla extract (do not use imitation)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2 tsp. butter (to prevent foaming)

Thaw frozen, sliced strawberries and process in a blender until smooth (if using fresh strawberries, add 1 tbls. water to blender).

Place blended strawberries in a large stock pot and add butter, lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg.  Cook over low heat, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.

After mixture is bubbling, slowly add 2 scant cups sugar and continue stirring until sugar is blended in and melted.

Cook on low heat approx. 2 hours or until mixture has thickened to your liking (it should be thick enough to scoop up with a teaspoon and not run off the spoon - much like a thick sauce). During the cooking time, the strawberry mixture will reduce by approx. half.

Ladle hot strawberry butter into half-pint canning jars and process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool, undisturbed on your kitchen counter 24 hours.

Store jars in pantry.  Opened jars must be stored in the refrigerator.

Yield:  2 half-pint jars


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fig Butter


So, if you can make Apple Butter then why not Fig Butter?  I'll have to admit after looking for some recipes for Fig Butter, they are virtually nonexistent.  Oh, sure, there are a few out there, but not the many I expected to find.

Well, that led me on a mission to make my own.  The results are this creamy, luscious, "full of fig" flavor butter.  Be warned!  This stuff is addictive!  Also, it takes awhile to cook down and thicken, just as Apple Butter does.

How do you use it?  Spread it between layers on a cake, use it in fruit pasties, top it on thumbprint cookies, slather it on your toast, biscuit or English Muffin.  It's delicious!



2 gallon bags of figs (approx. 8-10 cups of whole figs)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2-4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
1-2 tsp. orange zest (optional - make your own)

Place figs in a large stock pot (no need to chop, or stem). Cover stock pot and cook over med-high heat, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.  Cook until figs are very soft.

Process figs through a food mill, or use the "vegetable and fruit" strainer attachment on your electric mixer. The result is the fig "pulp" which will resemble very thin applesauce.

Return processed figs to the stock pot, and add the sugars, molasses, and all the spices except the orange zest.  Cook uncovered over a low heat several hours, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking (this may take up to 3 hours).  Eventually you will notice the fig butter thickening. Once it is thickened to your liking, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.

Process all the fig butter in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to stock pot, add orange zest if desired, and continue to cook down over low heat about 1 hour.

Ladle hot fig butter into half-pint jelly jars and process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed on your kitchen counter 24 hours.  Store in pantry. 

Yield:  8 half-pint jelly jars


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apple Pie a la mode Ice-Cream


Oh yes!  The hubs took his Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream and married it with my Apple Pie Filling, served with a crumble topping ... it is off the charts delicious!  Once again, he is the champ of ice-cream!


4 large or jumbo farm fresh eggs
2 cups sugar
1 qt. heavy cream
1 pint half and half
1 vanilla bean
2 tbls. pure vanilla extract
1 cup apple pie filling
Crumble Topping
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 tbls. butter
1/2 cup pecans

In a large bowl, whisk firmly 4 eggs; slowly add sugar and whisk to blend thoroughly.  Add heavy cream and mix.  Add one (1) pint half and half and mix.  Add pulp of one vanilla bean and vanilla extract.  Mix thoroughly. Churn ice-cream according to manufacturer's directions.

Pour ice-cream into square or rectangular container and let firm in freezer 1-2 hours. Remove ice-cream from freezer and slowly pour apple pie filling over top and swirl in.  Freeze until firm. 

Crumble topping
1 cup oats, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 4 tbls. butter, 1/2 cup pecans; mix all together and spread in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. 

Bake in a 350 oven, stirring once, for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir and allow to cool.  Store in a mason jar.

Serve ice-cream with crumble topping sprinkled over top!


Apples! Apples! and more Apples!


I've put 4 of my favorite apple canning recipes together for you in one post!  Applesauce, Apple Butter, Apple Pie Filling and Apple-Mint Jelly! 


Apple Butter

Apple Pie Filling

Apple-Mint Jelly


Apple-Mint Jelly


Apple-Mint Jelly is such a delight and so good served with a Roasted Leg of Lamb. Of course Apple-Mint Jelly is naturally an amber color and not green, so food coloring is added to achieve the green color we are so used to.  It's completely optional, so leave it out if you'd prefer.

7 large crispy apples (I use Honey Crisp)
1 cup water
1 tsp. pure mint extract
1 package Sure-Jell
5 cups sugar
Green food coloring (optional)

Cut up apples (I quartered each and cut each quarter in half).  Do not peel or core!  Place cut apples and 1 cup water in a large stock pot.  Cover and cook over med-high heat 20-30 minutes, or until apples are very soft and have an applesauce consistency, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.  Remove stock pot from heat and ladle apple pulp into a cheesecloth lined mesh colander/strainer placed over a large bowl.  Allow apple juice to strain from apples (this will take several hours). Use the back of a spoon from time to time to push against apple pulp to extract more juice.

Place extracted apple juice (you'll need 4 cups) in a large stock pot, add mint extract, Sure-Jell and food coloring.  Bring to a rolling boil over high to med-high heat. Stir in sugar all at once. Return to a rolling boil and cook one (1) minute. Remove stock pot from heat, skim any foam off the stop, and ladle hot jelly in prepared jars. Cover jars with seals and rings and process in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool on a kitchen towel on your counter top undisturbed 24 hours. Store in pantry. Once opened, jars need to be stored in your refrigerator.

Yield:  7 half-pint jelly jars


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Oh my goodness! This Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin is so good!  The perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

1/4 cup mustard
1 heaping tbls. minced garlic
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
2 heaping tbls. honey
1 tbls. dried rosemary
1 small pork tenderloin

Mix 1st five ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.  Grill pork tenderloin over indirect-medium heat, basting sauce over pork, turning from time to time.  Thoroughly baste pork on all sides while cooking.  Grill approx. 20-30 minutes until pork tenderloin registers 145 degrees internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Apple Pie Filling for Canning


I love Fall!  It's my favorite of all seasons.  Fall leaves, crackling fires, hoodies, and of course, apples, pumpkins, soups, stews and more.  This Apple Pie Filling is so easy to make and convenient to have on your pantry shelf.  Want to make an Apple Pie or Coffee Cake?  How about Apple Crisp, or Apple Crumble?  Grab a jar!  It's that easy. 


6 large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup Clear Jel
1 tbls. Fruit fresh
1-2 tbls cinnamon
2-3 tsp. ground nutmeg

How to:
Peel, core and slice 6 large baking apples (you need to use crisp, crunchy apples). Apple slices should be about ½” thick.

Mix 2 1/2 cups sugar with 2 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan or small stock pot.

Add 1/4 cup Clear Jel, 1 tbls. “fruit fresh” (found in most grocery stores), 1-2 tbls. cinnamon, 2-3 tsp. ground nutmeg.  Add apple slices to sugar mixture.

Bring apples mixture to a boil over med-high heat and boil softly for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.  Sauce will thicken slightly while cooking.

Ladle apple and sauce mixture evenly into pint canning jars, leaving ½” head space.  Screw lids on jars.

Add jars to boiling water bath - this can be a large stock pot with a cooling rack placed in the bottom (I use a round cake rack). Cover jars with hot water to 2” above jars. Place canner on burner and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil jars 25 minutes (this is the same for pints or quarts).

Remove canner from heat, and remove jars, placing them on a towel on a kitchen counter.

Allow jars to seal completely (the button-type section in the middle of the lid will depress and you will not be able to push it down).

Yield:  4-6 pint jars


Sunday, September 8, 2013

D'Olier Birthday Cake


This birthday cake has been in the hubs family for years and years!  Served only on the special occasion of a family member's birthday, it has many fond memories attached to it for him.

When we were first married, this was the "I must make" cake for him ... I can tell you I have made this cake for many years now, but always only on the occasion of his birthday.  It really is an old-fashioned pound cake-type cake, that is easily made.


1 cup butter
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract (or lemon juice)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup milk
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder


Cream butter, beat in sugar. Add flavorings and egg yolks, beat until pale yellow; gradually beat in milk. 

Beat egg whites until light and fluffy. 

Blend flour and baking powder and add alternately with egg whites until blended.

Bake in 350 degree oven in greased tube pan or bundt pan 60 minutes.  Frost as desired.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Rigatoni and Cheesy Meatball Bake

Casseroles come in all shapes and sizes, they are so convenient and easy to put together, which is why I think we all love them for a quick "go to" weeknight meal.

This Rigatoni and Cheesy Meatball Bake is just one of those meals; quick, satisfying, kid and adult-friendly.  Easily doubled to feed a crowd.  Serve it with a side salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.


1 lb. ground beef
2 cups rigatoni noodles, cooked al dente' and drained
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
3 med/small fresh tomatoes, diced (to equal 1 cup)
1/2-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese (divided)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano leaves
2 tsp. parsley flakes
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Cook Rigatoni noodles in boiling water according to package directions, just until al dente'. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, panko crumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, oregano and parsley.  Mix thoroughly to combine and shape into approx. 20 meatballs. Cook in microwave on high, covered, approx. 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Drain grease and set aside. In an 11 x 7-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, spread just enough tomato sauce to cover bottom of baking dish.

Place cooked rigatoni noodles on top of tomato sauce.  Sprinkle 1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese evenly over top of sauce, then top with diced tomatoes.  Add cooked meatballs, placing in rows across the top of casserole (4 rows of 5 meatballs); add remaining tomato sauce spreading evenly over top of meatballs and sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Add remaining mozzarella cheese and bake in 350 oven 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Let sit 5-10 minutes for easier serving.  Serve while hot with a side salad and garlic bread.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fig-Jalapeno Pepper Jelly


I really like all kinds of pepper jelly and have had many through the years!  Anymore there seems to be all kinds of ways to use the "heat" of jalapeno peppers with the sweet of the fruit.  In this instance I had Bell Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers from our Kitchen Garden, and Fresh Figs from my friend Lynn, at Southern With A Twist, so I made Fig-Jalapeno Pepper Jelly.  Oooo laaa laaaa!  The heat from the jalapeno peppers marries so well with the sweet of the bell peppers and figs.  I cheated and tasted a bit that fell to the counter top as I was filling the jars ... oh ya, it's a keeper!

Makes a great holiday gift for family and friends!


1 ¼ cups white vinegar
2 cups Bell Peppers, seeded and diced
1 cup Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
2 cups Fresh Figs, sliced and diced
1 pkg Sure-Jell
1 tsp butter (to prevent foaming)
7 cups sugar

Mix first six  ingredients together in a large stock pot; heat on high to med-high heat until mixture comes to a boil; stir often to prevent sticking and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour in sterilized jars.

Process jars 10 minutes in boiling water bath.  Remove from heat, remove jars and let sit on a dish towel on your counter-top to cool and lids seal.

Once lids are sealed (middle button on top of jar lids is completely depressed.  Gently shake jars from time to time while cooling to evenly distribute diced pieces throughout the liquid while mixture is jelling.

Serve over cream cheese on crackers.

Yield:  9 - four-ounce jars and 2 pint jars or 7 - eight-ounce jelly jars

Other Jellies you may enjoy are linked here:
Apple-Pepper Jelly
Carrot-Pepper Jelly
Pepper Jelly
Garlic-Onion Jelly
Peach-Pepper Jelly
Pineapple-Pepper Jelly
Craisin-Pepper Jelly