Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fantastic Strawberry Pie

This is an excellent family recipe of mine - I remember my dad making two of these after a day of picking our own strawberries at the local farm. I only made one this time - with store bought strawberries - but it was still delicious!

Stuff you should obtain:
1 graham cracker pie crust
4 cups strawberries
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 ounce package strawberry Jello

Notes about ingredients: I have no idea what 4 cups of strawberries actually is. Generally I just put in enough strawberries to fill up the pie crust - this time that was all the berries from one of the plastic cartons from the grocery store. The graham cracker crust was just one of the pre-prepared ones from the store, although you can make your own if you're so inclined.

What you should do:
1) Prepare the strawberries!
Obviously cut the green leaves off the strawberries. The recipe calls for the whole berries to be placed in the pie, but if you have larger berries I suggest cutting them in half (or quarters) so that they lay better in the plate.

2) Boil the mixture!
Place the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and cook over low heat. Wait until the mixture begins to boil, stirring often, and then boil for 2 more minutes. In case your stovetop is lame like mine is, yes it does boil eventually, and you will be able to tell by the small bubbles popping on top of the liquid. When it's ready the mixture will be thick and clear.

3) Add the Jello!
After boiling the mixture, add the packet of Jello mix. Stir until all of the Jello mix is dissolved, and then pour the syrup-like mixture over the strawberries.

4) Refrigerate and enjoy!
Even though it looks delicious now, you have to put it in the refrigerator for a few hours for the pie to set. After it's set, enjoy the delicious sweet pie! (Add some whipped cream on top to make it super awesome.)

Artsy strawberry pie picture.

Leftover Capability:
Can you have leftovers of a pie? Depending on how big you like your slices, you can get 6-8 slices out of it.

But What About My Money?:
Graham Cracker Crust$1.37
Strawberry Jello$0.99
I didn't include the sugar price as I mooched off my roommate, but it wouldn't add that much to the total. Cheaper than a store-made pie and so much better!

Final Grade: A+
I love this recipe and it is so easy to make - there's definitely a reason why it's a passed-down family recipe.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tasty Jambalaya

My boyfriend, quite randomly, requested that I make jambalaya when he visited me this past weekend. It's not my favorite dish, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something different. A quick Google search landed me this recipe, which ended up being a solid meal, despite being the first time I ever prepared shrimp.

Stuff you should obtain:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 8 ounce box of Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix
1 pound shrimp
1 package andouille sausage

Notes about ingredients: For the shrimp I purchased a 2-lb bag of frozen raw shrimp labeled 16-20 shrimp per pound, which ended up being a good size for the dish. The andouille sausage was also of the "medium" heat variety, as I'm not really one for lots of heat.

What you should do:
1) Prepare the vegetables!
Chop the bell pepper and onion into nice medium sized pieces. Wait until after you're done to heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat (I used my all-purpose pasta pot). I put the oil on before cutting the vegetables and quickly had to take it off before I set off the smoke detector in yet another building. After the oil is heated, put the vegetables in and cook for about 7 minutes.

2) Prepare the meat!
Chop the sausage into thin slices. To prepare the shrimp I had to take the shells off - depending on what kind you buy you may need to devein them as well. To defrost the shrimp I put them in a colander and ran them under cold water for a few minutes. To take the shells off... well I pretty much just ripped off the tail and accompanying shell. My boyfriend was a lot better at ensuring that most of the meat stayed on the shrimp and didn't come off with the tail.

3) More ingredients!
After 7 minutes of cooking the vegetables in step one, add the tomatoes, water, and jambalaya mix (don't do anything on the back of the mix box, just dump the contents in). Bring that to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

4) Add the meat!
After the mixture has boiled for about 15 minutes, add the shrimp and sausage and cook for 10 minutes more. I ended up messing up a bit here, as the liquid boiled away quicker than 15 minutes. So I put the meat in earlier and then added about a cup of water more so that things wouldn't begin to burn in the pot. Turns out I added too much water, so my jambalaya had a little bit too much liquid when the meat was finished cooking. Luckily, it did thicken up a bit after sitting.

5) Enjoy!
You've created a tasty jambalaya!

Leftover Capability:
So much leftover food! Two people had two servings each, and I have at least 4 more plates worth in the refrigerator. Definitely something that's good to eat for the week after you cook it.

But What About My Money?:
Green Bell Pepper$0.89
Yellow Bell Pepper$1.85
Canned Tomatoes$0.69
Jambalaya Mix$1.89
2 lb bag frozen shrimp$15.98
1 package sausage$3.59
Oof. That's a little bit more expensive than normal. It still comes out to about $3.25 per serving, and that's with a leftover pound of shrimp in your freezer. Obviously, if you can get a better deal on shrimp (fresh shrimp perhaps?), the cost for this meal would go down significantly.

Final Grade: A-
I'm not a huge fan of spice, and this did have a little bit of a kick to it. It got docked a few points for that from me, but it wasn't that spicy and it was very tasty. Probably a good dish to make in the winter to warm up with and I'd make it again.