Apple Walnut Turnovers

Imagine biting into your favorite apple pie with all of the fall aromas and beautiful texture. Now imagine that apple pie filling inside of a flaky, buttery, melt in your mouth puff pastry. That my friends, is my definition of perfection. These Apple Walnut Turnovers are a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu. They are super soft, filled with delicious apple pie filling, and have a slight walnut crunch that makes them extra with out all the extra work.

What you’ll need to make these Apple Walnut Turnovers.

It does not get any simpler than this. The ingredients required for this recipe you may already have. If not, they can be found at almost any grocery store.

For the apple walnut filling:

  • 3-4 apples ( I recommend sour apples like Granny Smith)
  • water
  • corn starch
  • brown sugar
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • crushed walnuts

Puff Pastry:

  • 1 package puff pastry ( 2 sheets)
  • egg wash
  • granulated sugar

Optional glaze:

  • powdered sugar
  • milk

Puff pastry is quite difficult to make and requires advanced level baking skills. That is why, for this recipe, I recommend using store bought puff pastry. It will make your life a whole lot easier and this recipe will be fool proof.

Making the Apple Walnut Turnovers.

You won’t be stuck in the kitchen making this all day. I promise. There are 4 major steps in the process of making these into perfection.

  1. Making the apple pie filling.
  2. Assemble the apple walnut turnovers.
  3. Bake.
  4. Drizzle with glaze.

Can I make the apple pie filling ahead?

Yes! You can make the apple pie filling up to 2 days ahead. If doing so, place in an air tight container and store refrigerated. In fact, you can make a bigger batch of this Apple Pie Filling recipe that not only easy to make, but can be made ahead and frozen for easier future preparations.

Can I freeze the apple turnovers?

Yes! Wait until they are completely cooled. Then, place in a freezer bag and refrigerate for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove from freezer and let sit at room temperate for a few hours.

Apple Walnut Turnovers

Homemade Apple Walnut Turnovers stuffed with a delicious homemade apple pie filling and a walnut crunch.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Walnut Turovers
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9

Ingredients

  • 1 package puff pastry 2 sheets
  • 1 ¼ lbs Sour Apples 2-3 apples
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • tsp salt
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar topping

For the Glaze (optional):

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk

Instructions

  • Remove puff pastry from the freezer and thaw according to package instructions.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, place water, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until there are no more clumps of corn starch. Then, bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has boiled for 2 minutes, add the peeled and diced apples, cover, and let simmer until the apples are soft or about 4-5 minutes.Remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  • Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut each pastry sheet into 9 sections. You should have 18 total. 
    The easiest way to do this is cut 2 horizontal lines where the puff pasty sheets have a crease and then 2 vertical lines, slightly over 3″ apart.
  • Add about 1-2 tablespoon of the apple filling and about 1 teaspoon of chopped walnuts on 9 of the puff pastry sections, leaving about ⅛ inch space around the edges.
  • Brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg wash and add a puff pastry sheet on top of each of the 9 filled with apple pie filling and walnuts. Crimp tightly around the edges to seal the turnovers.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, keeping them at least 1″ apart. Brush each of the turnovers with egg wash and sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake 20-23 minutes or until golden and puffy.
  • Transfer apple walnut turnovers onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.

The Glaze:

  • Wish together powdered sugar and milk. Add teaspoon of milk at a time to reach desired consistency.
  • Drizzle over turnovers and enjoy.

Notes

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it on Instagram.

       Make sure to tag #inaeatsin or mention @InaEatsIn

 

 


White Bean Stew with Sun Dried Tomatoes

A statement Mediterranean dish that is authentic, hearty, and loaded with layers of flavor. This White Bean Stew with Sun Dried Tomatoes is made with white beans, seasoned with staple Mediterranean additions, and intensified with sun-dried tomatoes that make this dish all that it is!

All about the ingredients:

  • White Beans: Cannellini beans are the largest of the white beans and are the shape of kidney beans and that is why they are sometimes called white kidney beans. They hold their shape very well and have a tender and meaty inside, making them perfect for stews and soups because they will not fall apart if properly cooked. To prepare the cannelini beans for this White Bean Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, simply soak the beans overnight in a pot of water. For best results, the beans should soak for at least 6 hours. A great substitute for cannellini beans are Great Northern beans.
  • Onions and garlic are a great addition to this stew that contribute to its magnificent flavor. The chopped yellow onions and minced garlic cloves are added to the beans while they simmer giving them plenty of flavor so you don’t even have to use vegetable stock that is often very high in sodium.
  • Herbs and seasonings: Oregano, parsley flakes, paprika, bay leaves, turmeric, salt, and pepper are all that you need to reach the perfect flavor. These are all very simple ingredients that are very commonly used in the Mediterranean region. 
  • Sun dried tomatoes: These are tomatoes that have been dried out and although not moist, they still preserve their sweet flavor with a little bit of a tang. Sun dried tomatoes are usually sold in a jar, are dunked in oil and sometimes, seasonings. This recipe calls or 1/2 of a cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes since they are usually sold whole or halves. To get smaller pieces that are easier to eat in this White Bean Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, remove them from their container and using a knife, slice them into small pieces.
  • Olive oil and all purpose flour: The olive oil gives the stew a smooth texture an adds flavor while the all purpose flour acts as a thickening agent. These ingredients are used to make a roux that is then added to the White Bean Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes to make it a slightly thicker consistency.

How to make White Bean Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes:

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Simmer beans with chopped onion, bay leaves, minced garlic, parsley flakes, and oregano.
  3. Sauté the chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.
  4. Add all purpose flour, paprika, and turmeric to the olive oil and sun dried tomatoes. Whisk.
  5. Pour sun-dried tomato mixture to the white beans.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes then serve!

Can you use canned beans?

The answer is yet! I avoid using canned beans mostly to avoid the sodium content however it would save you some time. In place of 1 1/2 cups of dry, uncooked beans, use 2 cans of beans. Canned beans do not have to be soaked in water. Simply drain and rinse the beans and simmer then for 10 minutes in water, then 15 more minutes after the sun-dried tomato roux mixture is added.

How to make the thickening Roux:

Roux is a thickening agent made of fat and flour that gives stews and soups a thicker, smoother consistency. Roux is made using equal part fat and flour or cornstarch. The roux for this recipe is not as thick and is cooked in the olive oil that you used to sauté the sun-dried tomatoes. 

  1. Start by sautéing the sun-dried tomatoes for about 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Next whisk in the flour, paprika, and turmeric. Whisk quickly for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Although it will not be as thick as traditional roux, it will become slightly thick and should be smooth.
  3. Finally, add the roux to the simmering beans and stir to incorporate it with the rest of the beans

A great addition to the Mediterranean Diet:

The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that consists of daily consumption of plant based, whole foods including fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and healthy fats. It also encourages weekly consumption of poultry, eggs, and daily while greatly limiting red meats, sugar, and other processed foods. This diet received great recognition in the 1960’s when it was noticed that the population in the Mediterranean region had much lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. This encouraged a lot of research on the lifestyle choices in people living near the Mediterranean region. For a healthier version of this White Bean Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe, you can omit the all purpose flour. This will leave you with a soupy consistency that will still be packed with incredible flavors. *Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice so be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning a new diet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry white beans (Cannelini or Great Northern)
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon back pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, add beans and cover with water. Let them soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Drain beans and to the soaked beans, add 5 1/2 cups of water. To the beans, add chopped onions, minced garlic, bay leaves, parsley flakes, and oregano. On medium heat, bring beans to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Add more water if needed.
  3. In a non stick skillet on medium low heat, heat olive oil and add chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for about 4 minutes.
  4. To the sautéd sun-dried tomatoes, add flour, turmeric and paprika. Whisk quickly for 30 seconds until the oil thickens, being careful not to burn. Then add mixture to the simmering beans. Add salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Let the stew simmer on low heat for 10 more minutes, add more water if needed. The consistency should be just slightly thicker than a soup.
  6. Remove from heat and serve warm.


Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Cut out sugar cookies are a perfect way to get festive during the holiday season because you can put your own touch into decorating them. This recipe will give you perfect cut out sugar cookies that are super soft, vanilla flavored, they hold their shape and have a flat surface making them not only taste great but perfect for decorating.

How to make perfect cut out sugar cookies:

  1. cream together butter and sugar
  2. add in vanilla extract and egg
  3. mix in the dry ingredients
  4. roll out dough
  5. cut out cookies and place on lines baking sheet
  6. refrigerate overnight
  7. bake
  8. decorate

Tips that will get you perfect cookies:

Use room temperature butter. When you cream the butter together with the sugar, it helps tremendously when your butter is not solid hard. Your butter will be perfectly smooth and that will directly reflect the texture of the finished product.

Do not roll out the cookies too thin. Generally, perfect cut out cookies you get from a professional baker are about 1/4″ thick. That is the absolute thickest that I would go when rolling out the cut out sugar cookie dough and slightly thinner also works. Don’t roll them out too flat because they will not be as soft that way, instead, more crispy.

Cut out cookies before refrigerating them. There are many reasons for this and all are valid and super helpful. First reason is because of the butter. To avoid spreading of the cookies, the butter needs to be solid and cold. If you were to refrigerate the dough, then roll it out cut out the sugar cookies, all of that will warm up the butter and then you bake the cut out cookies may loose some of their shape.

Another reason is because it’s much easier to get the counter top dirty while you are already baking and have your ingredients out, then to clean up and then get it dirty again the next day. If you follow the steps to my recipe, you will have already cut out your cookies and placed them on a baking sheet with parchment paper so the only thing left to do is take the baking sheet out of the refrigerator, uncover the cookies, and place them in a heated oven.

You can use the scraps to re roll the dough after cutting out your first batch. This dough is very soft so you will be able to use the edges around your cut out cookies, work it with your hands, re roll it, and cut out more cookies.

What to expect with the dough for perfect cut out sugar cookies:

This dough will be very very soft which is another reason why it helps to cut out cookies on the thicker side. Start with 2 cups of flour. If you find that the dough is too sticky, add one or two more tablespoons of flout until it no longer sticks to your fingers. Also, I recommend using a spatula to lift the raw cookies and transfer then onto your baking sheet to avoid altering the shape of the perfectly cut out cookies.

Baking is important:

As with any baked good, baking the product is one of the main contributing factors to the outcome of your final product. These cookies should not be over-baked. Once the edges of your cookies turn light brown, they are ready to come out of the oven. It’s important to note that the center of the cookies will still be very soft and will look undercooked. However, as the cookies cool, the center will become harder and the cookies will be solid. That is why once you remove cookies out of the oven, leave them on the baking sheet for 5-6 minutes because they will be too delicate to be picked up. After about 5 minutes or so, you can transfer them onto a cooling rack where they will cool completely.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter (110g)
  • 1 cup sugar (230g)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour (310g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in the egg, and vanilla and continue to beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl when needed.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) to the wet ingredients and mix until evenly combined. The dough will be very soft but should not stick to your hands. If you find that the dough is too sticky  and will be difficult to roll out with a rolling pin, add in 1 more tablespoon of flour until it is not longer sticky to your hands but still very soft.
  5. Transfer dough on a lightly floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes of your choice and using a spatula, transfer cut out cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Any left over dough can be re-rolled to make more cookies.
  6. Cover baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at lease 4 hours, up to 2 days. Overnight refrigeration is best.
  7. Once the cookies have chilled for at least 4 hours, preheat oven to 350°F .
  8. Uncover the baking sheet(s) and place in heated over. Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown. The center of the cookies should still be very soft to touch but that will harden as the cookies cool.
  9. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit in baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer cookies onto a cooling rack and let them cook completely.
  10. Decorate cookies once they are completely cooled.

 


Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

Where are all of my cheesecake lovers because these Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies are incredibly flavorful and very easy to make! They are extremely moist and require very few ingredients and minimal work is required. This recipe makes 18 cookies.

What are Thumbprint cookies?

Thumbprint cookies are very similar shortbread cookies because they require butter, sugar, and flour as their main ingredients. Once the dough is prepared, they are rolled into balls then in the center of each ball, they have an indent that is filled with preserved of your choice. The indent in the center has traditionally been formed using your thumb, giving them the name-“thumbprint cookies.”

While very popular in the United States during the holiday season, thumbprint cookies actually originated in Sweden. These cookies are called Rosenmunnar in Swedish, meaning “strawberry cave.”

This recipe, however, is not for a basic thumbprint cookie. These Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies resemble the taste of a cheesecake, giving them an American twist.

What to expect when preparing these cookies:

  • basic ingredients 
  • refrigeration of 1-2 hours is required
  • Quick baking time (12-13 minutes)

All about the dough:

This dough for Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies comes together extremely quickly. The main ingredients in these are the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour, and preserves of your choice. The lemon zest and vanilla extract are for extra flavor that makes these cookies incredibly flavorful. 

Preparing the dough is simple. Start with creaming together the cream cheese and butter. They should be room temperature before you start so that they cream smoothly and will leave you with a light, airy, and creamy texture. Next add the sugar to your creamy butter and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer again until the mixture is smooth. 

Once your cream cheese, butter, and sugar are creamed together, add the lemon zest and granulated sugar and mix again. The last ingredient in these cheesecake thumbprint cookies will be the flour. Add the flour about a quarter cup at a time and mix until just combined. It is important to mix the ingredients just until they are combined. Be careful not to over mix the dough. Over mixing causes more air bubbles to get inside the dough which will in turn leave your cookies flatter instead of puffier when baked. 

Shaping the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies:

Shape the cookies while the dough is at room temperature– this will make is much easier since they dough gets harder once it is refrigerated. Using a small cookies scoop, scoop out about one tablespoon of dough for each ball and roll it into a smooth ball. Once the dough is formed into a ball, using your thumb, lightly press the center of the cookies to make an indent. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Why is refrigerating this dough required: 

Trust me I know you are probably as impatient as I was to try these Cheesecake Thumbprint cookies but this dough requires refrigeration. The butter and cream cheese should be solidified so that once baked, your cookies do not over spread. Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies cookies should be thick and soft instead of flat and crispy. For this recipe, I recommend 1-2 hours of refrigeration and while 2 hours will give the best results, refrigeration of at least one hour will definitely put you in the safe zone. I recommend shaping the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies prior to refrigerating them so that they are easier to work with. The dough will harden once it is refrigerated, making it more difficult to roll out.

Baking instructions:

Baking these Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies does not take a long time. In fact, it only takes about 11-13 minutes. One important tip to remember is to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 30 minutes prior to baking them. This is to make sure that the temperature of the oven has reached 375 Fahrenheit  prior to placing your cookies inside of the oven. If the oven has not reached that temperature, the cookies will soften before they actually bake, resulting in more spreading. 

Freezing instructions:

You can absolutely freeze these cookies for up to 2 months. Make sure that you cookies have cooled completely prior to freezing them. Place cookies in a freezer bag, tightly seal the bag, and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (115g)
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (85g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (105g)
  • 1 cup flour (150g)
  • 1/4 cup preserves of your choice (90g) 

Directions:

  1. In the mixing bowl or the body of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add the sugar and beat well.
  3. Add vanilla and lemon zest and mix again.
  4. Add in flour a quarter of a cup at a time and mix just until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  5. In a large baking sheet with parchment paper scoop out 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough, roll them into smooth balls , and place them on the cookie sheet.
  6. Lightly press your thumb in the center of each ball of dough and fill each thumb press with about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.
  7. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  9. Once oven has preheated, place baking sheet in the oven to bake for 12-13 minutes, or until just golden at the edges. They will look undone and still be very soft when you take them out.
  10. Allow them to cool on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes then transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Classic Chili Recipe

This Classic Chili Recipe may just be the best you have ever tried! Classic chili is the ultimate cold weather comfort food that comes together so quickly in one pot, I can guarantee you will enjoy it! I know I do! This recipe is a perfect weeknight meal and it freezes wonderfully even if you want to make it ahead of time for meal prep. It’s so easy that literally the only thing you will have to chop for this recipe are the onions!

How to make Chili:

  • saute onions
  • cook beef
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • simmer
  • enjoy!

All about the beans:

The best kind of beans to use this classic chili recipe are either pinto or kidney beans. I prefer kidney beans because they are slightly larger and are a little bit mushier in texture then pinto beans, however, you can use whatever you’d like. Another option is using using chili beans. Chili beans are canned beans sold that are seasoned, thus giving extra flavor. This classic chili recipe will have plenty of amazing flavor that you are not required to add chili beans.

Preparing the beans:

You can use canned beans for this and save yourself SO much time. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them into your chili recipe. This will get rid of extra starches from the beans as well as extra sodium. 

Seasonings:

There are many chili seasoning mixes on the market but I truly believe that the key to the perfect classic chili is making your own. Homemade chili seasoning comes together in just a minute without the additional sodium and additives that are included in store-bought chili seasoning mixes. I also don’t add sugar to my classic chili recipe because the tomato sauce and tomato paste provide just the right sweetness, that no more is needed.

How to freeze:

If there is one meal I love to make ahead and freeze for a cold lazy day, that would be this classic chili recipe. It is incredibly easy to freeze because you can portion it in containers of your choice and have it ready to go for either lunch or dinner. To defrost, either leave it in the refrigerator overnight or microwave it. Keep in mind, depending on how much chili is in your container, it may not completely defrost in the refrigerator overnight. 

Adjusting the consistency:

Letting the chili simmer will allow the liquid to reduce, making it thicker. However, if you’d like to speed up this process, you can add about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the chili to make it thicker. If you are adding cornstarch, I recommend mixing the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water in a small place, and then adding the mixture to your chili. This will prevent from lumps of cornstarch throughout your chili. Only add cornstarch if you are not letting the chili simmer until desired consistency is reached.  

TOPPINGS TOPPINGS TOPPINGS:

Do you agree that chili tastes so much better when you add toppings? Some of the most common toppings for classic chili are :

  • cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • fresh parsley or celantro
  • green onions (my favorite)
  • oyster crackers
  • avocado

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (grated)
  • 1 medium sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2- 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans- drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Bay leaves

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent than add garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir then add the drained beans into the pot. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the bay leaf to the chili mixture.
  6. Bring the liquid boil.
  7. Then, reduce to low heat. Allow the chili to simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat. Before serving, Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Add your favorite toppings- Enjoy!

 


The BEST Tzatziki Recipe

Close your eyes, have a taste of this AMAZING Tzatziki and you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a Greek island listening to the waves crashing and the gentle sound of the lyre in the background. Now open your eyes because the reality is, you’re just eyeing this recipe because its creamy and garlicky and that’s all you ever want. Trust me when I say that you will LOVE this Tzatziki recipe because there is nothing quite like it and if you’ve tried Tzatziki in Greece, the flavor of this recipe will take you back .

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of full-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, grated
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, VERY finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Note: You may opt to use sour cream and instead, just use 1 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt. However, I have found that sour cream gives it a thicker, smoother texture with a more authentic and bold flavor.

Directions:

  1. Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much of the juices as possible. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, sour cream, garlic, vinegar, dill, and salt.
  3. Mix the grated cucumber into the yogurt mixture.
  4. Place in the refrigerator in a tight lid container for at least 1 hour before serving. Tzatziki is great as a dip with vegetables and pita chips and can even be used as a spread onto sandwiches and wraps.

Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

This Chewy White Chocolaate Cranberry Cookie recipe is so easy and fool proof, it will easily become a family favorite. These cookies are soft baked and when the dough is chilled, the cookies will be thick and chewy but not crumbly. These cookies scream “beginning of the holiday season” and you will love everything about them!

What ingredients are used in these Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies?

Butter: As with many cookie recipes, butter is important in this recipe. Use butter that contains full fat content and is softened at room temperature. The point of butter in baking cookies such as these is to add moisture as well as flavor, which is why I recommend full fat butter. Whether a recipe calls for softened butter or melted butter depends on the kind of texture you want your cookie to be. In these cookies, I use softened butter instead of melted because it will leave the cookies thicker. Softened butter is also easy to cream with the sugars leaving you with evenly combined ingredients. Softened butter should hold its shape but when pressed down with a finger, you will easily be able to leave a fingerprint.

Sugars: In this recipe, you will see that both brown as well as white granulated sugars are used. Whenever I want a chewy cookie, I always add brown sugar because due to its higher moisture content from the molasses in the brown sugar you will be left with a cookie that is more chewy. Brown sugar also has a deeper and stronger flavor. Granulated sugar on the other hand, is dry and cuts down on cookie spreading as it bakes.

Eggs: Eggs are another ingredient essential to a perfect cookie. The protein and fat in eggs aid in holding the cookie together, thus providing structure  as well as flavor.

Flour is another ingredient responsible for the texture. While the flour help hold all of the ingredients together, it will also distinguish whether the cookie will be chewy and dense or brittle. All purpose flour is recommended for these Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies because it has just the right amount of gluten.

Baking soda is a leavening ingredient in many baked cookies that creates a soft and fluffy final cookie.

Vanilla extract adds flavor.

Salt balances out the sweetness.

Dried cranberries and white chocolate chips give these cookies their main flavor.

How to make Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies:

  1. Start by whisking together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (Flour, baking soda, and salt)
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in vanilla and egg to your butter and sugars and mix.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.
  5. Lastly, fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
  6. Refrigerate cookies for 1-2 hours.
  7. Bake
  8. Enjoy!

Is refrigerating the cookies required?

Although not required, it is recommended to refrigerate the cookies in order to prevent the cookies from spreading for at least 1 hour. 

How to properly bake Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies:

Baking time is also a very important step in the final outcome of the Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies . I can not stress enough how important it is to NOT over bake the cookies. A perfectly baked cookie will be slightly brown around the edges, however, the center will still look like it is raw and extremely soft. Don’t wait for the center of the cookies to become harder because as the cookies cool, they will slightly harden while still keeping their soft and chewy texture. Over-baking the cookies will result in a hard and dried out cookie, which is often one of the most common mistakes made when making cookies.

Cookie Presentation Tip: 

If you also like a nice presentation, I recommend saving about a 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips to add to the cookies after they are baked. This will make them look ultra professional and delicious because you will be able to see extra chocolate peeping out of the cookie. As soon as you remove the cookies out of the oven and while they are still very soft, press the white chocolate chips and cranberries gently on the surface of the cookies just so that they are held in place. As the cookies cool, they will just slightly deflate, making the added ingredients (white chocolate chips and cranberries) stand out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the stick of softened butter for 1 minute on medium speed or until the butter is smooth creamy.
  2. Add brown sugar and granulated white sugar to the butter and continue to beat with mixer until the mixture is creamy and well combined. Next, add in the egg and vanilla and mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt together until combined.
  4. On low speed, slowly mix in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Lastly, add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries  and mix until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly and chill for 1-2 hours.
  6. Remove cookies from refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature until your oven is preheated.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 heaping Tablespoon of dough each. Place 10-12 on each baking sheet, (you will need two for this recipe) press them down slightly, and bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden brown around the edges. They will be extremely soft when you remove them from the oven but will slightly stiffen as they cool, still keeping their soft and chewy texture.
  9. Once removed from the oven let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. Then, place on cooling rack to cool completely. 

Homemade Burger Buns

Homemade burger buns require a little more effort for your outdoor cookout but trust me when I say they will make your burgers that much more special. These homemade burger buns require time to rise (twice) but make no mistake, this almost guarantees that your buns will be super soft and not to mention…freshly baked.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water (about 100°-110°)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablepoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, separated and melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more if needed
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Optional: 4 tablespoons of sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, place warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let the yeast mixture sit for about 7-10 minutes until the yeast activates. It will become thick, frothy, and bubbly once activated.
    • Use the bowl in which you will mix the dough in. If you use an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, make the yeast mixture in that.
  2. Once it has activated, add egg, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and salt to they yeast mixture. Mix together.
  3. Lastly, add the flour one cup at a time. Start off with 3 1/2 cups and add one tablespoon at a time as needed. The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky but it should not stick to your fingers. Work the dough with your hands or with a dough hook attachment if using a mixer for 6-10 minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and drizzle with olive oil. Cover dough and place in warm place to rise until has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, gently deflate the dough using your fingers and cut off 8 equal sections.
  6. Shape the 8 sections into balls and gently flatten them with your hand so that they look like disks. The round disks of dough should be about 3 inches wide.
  7. Place disks on a greased baking sheet or lined with parchment paper, making sure they are about 2 inches apart.
  8. Cover baking sheet with a dry towel and let the dough sit for 45 minutes-1 hours until they puff up slightly.
  9. Preheat over to 375°.
  10. Melt the remaining tablespoons of butter you have left and brush the top of the buns. You should have melted butter left over to coat the buns again after they are baked.
    • Optional-sprinkle top of buns with sesame seeds after brushing them with butter.
  11. Bake buns for 16-18 minutes or until the buns are lightly browned.
  12. With the butter you have left, gently brush the top of the buns again.
  13. Let buns cool completely then slice crosswise to serve.

Grilled Chicken with Mushrooms Peppers and Onions Shish Kabobs

What’s a summer cook out without Chicken Shish Kabobs? This Grilled Chicken Shish Kabob recipe is so simple and made with a delicious creamy marinade that goes perfectly with grilled veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 cup Baby Bella mushrooms cut in halves
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
  2. To prepare your vegetables and chicken, cut each vegetable into 1 inch pieces. Do the same with the chicken. Place the chicken and vegetables in two separate bowls.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mayo, dijon mustard, lemon, garlic, oregano, dill, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk until all of the ingredients are mixed together.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken and mix with a spoon until the chicken is well coated.
  5. In the bowl with the veggies, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together.
  6. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewers.
  7. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove from heat and serve.

Grilled Lemon Garlic Swordfish

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This Swordfish Recipe is so tasty and it cooks so fast, you’ll never regret making it. If you’ve never tried swordfish, know that this fish has a firm, steak-like texture that’s very different than most types of fish. Due to its thickness, roughly 1 inch thick, it’s perfect for grilling because it doesn’t fall apart.

Most say that it should cook for about 3 minutes on each side on high heat, however, I have found that it may need to cook longer if the fish is thicker. Grilling for 3 minutes may leave the fish slightly pink in the center, although that will cook through even after you remove it from the heat.

Once ready, the fish should still be firm and should flake easily when pulled apart with a fork.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Swordfish steaks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbs fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the grill on medium high heat.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and parsley together.
  3. Brush each swordfish steak with the marinade and season with salt and pepper on each side.
  4. Place the swordfish steaks on the grill. Depending on the thickness of the swordfish steaks, 3-5 minutes on each side will be enough to cook through fully.
  5. Once cooked, transfer the steaks on a plate and enjoy.