Saturday, July 25, 2015

Comfort Food: Pink Lemonade Pie

Pink lemonade pie is the perfect frozen summer treat. I remember my mom making this multiple times each summer and I would savor every bite of the cool, sweet, tangy treat. Now, you might think I'm crazy since the title of this speaks of pie, but the photo above shows this concoction in a 9x13 pan. You can make this into a graham cracker crust pie shell, but you will need two shells if you like it in a pie shape. Also, this is a super sweet and rich dessert. A small, frozen square of this will satisfy your sweet tooth for quite some time.

Here are the cast of characters:
2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
6 Tablespoons of butter
1 small can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate (thawed)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 small tub of whipped topping (thawed)
A few drops of red food coloring

For the crust:
Pour 2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs in a medium sized bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Pour the butter into the graham crackers and mix together with a fork. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

For the filling:
In a large bowl, mix together the lemonade concentrate and the sweetened condensed milk. Be sure not to cut your tongue on the lid of the can as you lick the lid - yes, I know you do it whenever you open a can of sweetened condensed milk!

Add in the whipped topping. You'll probably need to use a whisk to get it fully incorporated into the milk/lemonade mixture.

At this stage in the process, the mixture is a very pale pink. If you want a "pinker" pink lemonade pie, add some red food coloring.

Mix well to combine the food coloring until you get the desired color. Then pour the filling into the crust.

Sprinkle a few crumbs on top of the pie and put it into the freezer for at least a few hours. Yes, it will be hard to let it set up completely before you want to dig in, but it is so worth the wait. It's supposed to be about 106 degrees here today, so by later this afternoon, we'll be enjoying a piece of this cool, summer dessert.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Comfort Food: Juicy Burgers

Most people call them "sloppy joes," but in our house growing up, they were always "juicy burgers." I'm not sure why. The original recipe in the 1971 Logan Methodist Church cookbook calls them "skillet burgers" but I'm not sure why my mom called them Juicy Burgers.

Whatever you call them, they are good. Really good. I mean Pavlov's slobbering dogs good. Whenever I make them and I start to smell everything coming together, I'm immediately taken back to about 1977. The kitchen in our house located on Main Street in Logan, Kansas. (That sentence has way too many prepositions for my liking, but I'm focusing on these juicy burgers right now.)

I remember growing up in the 1970s and 80s and seeing TV commercials for Manwich and wondered why my mom never bought it at the store. She knew better. This recipe for juicy burgers was way better than any canned sauce could do — and making these babies are just about as easy as opening a can of sauce.

Here's the cast of characters:
  • Hamburger
  • Onion
  • Green Pepper
  • Ketchup
  • Yellow Mustard
  • White Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar

I already had the hamburger/green pepper/onion in the skillet before I thought about blogging this recipe, so here are the rest of the characters.

This is a large batch of juicy burgers, so I started with three pounds of hamburger, one green bell pepper and a medium onion. Place the ground beef in the skillet (add salt and pepper) and then add the chopped onions and green pepper. Cook until the ground beef is browned. Drain.

After you've drained the grease off of the meat mixture, it's time to get the "juicy" going for these. I think the original recipe (I can't find my 1971 Logan UMW cookbook right now) calls for about 3/4 cup of ketchup and 1/4 cup of yellow mustard. I put about a cup of ketchup on this and about 1/4 cup of mustard - give or take. Then pour about 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar into the mixture and about 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar into the meat mixture.

Then start mixing it all together. This is when the art of cooking overtakes the science of cooking. You always have to give it a taste and see where you are at. Maybe it isn't "juicy" enough or it might be a little sour if there's too much vinegar. If you like them sweeter, add a little more brown sugar.

When you've got it all mixed together, it should look like this and smell like my mom's 1977 kitchen (with bright orange cabinets everywhere).

Once everything is incorporated, you are ready to eat. It's time to turn off the burner, open a bag of hamburger buns and a bag of potato chips. I like to take a chip and scoop some on that chip for my first bite. It is heavenly. My wife prefers to put shredded cheddar cheese on her juicy burger, but I'm pretty simple. Bun and meat. Sometimes I'll eat it with a fork, sometimes not. Sometimes open-faced with meat on both sides of the bun, sometimes not.

However you eat them, you will never want to open a can of Manwich again. These are the very best juicy burgers/sloppy joes you will ever eat.

Hands down.

They are great right out of the skillet or also work great in a crock pot for a football-watching gathering of friends. The meat reheats well for lunch the next day, too!