Easy Homemade Kung Pao Chicken

This easy kung pao chicken is even better than takeout!

Chicken, Rice | October 11, 2016 | By

Do you ever go through “food phases,” where all you want to eat is a certain type of food? Lately, all I’ve been craving is spicy Asian food, so I decided to make this easy homemade kung pao chicken.

This is an update of a recipe I’ve been making for many years, from a cookbook I’ve had so long its cover is ripped off and pages are falling out. It’s one of the first stir fry dishes I learned how to make, and it’s still a family favorite. It’s an Americanized version of the Szechwan classic, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.

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Freezer Friendly Apple Pie Filling

Making you're own apple pie filling is so easy! Freezing is so much easier than canning, and you'll have apple pie filling all year long.

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but in ours it is really starting to feel like fall. Last weekend my family and I went to a local orchard and picked our own apples.  We came home with way more apples than we expected, and I knew that making a few batches of apple pie filling was the perfect solution. I love all pie, of course, but apple is one of my favorites and it’s the perfect way to get into the fall spirit.

The best part of making multiple batches of apple pie filling was that I was able to put a few of the batches in the freezer for later in the season. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and it’s nice to have some at least one thing that’s already prepared.

Making you're own apple pie filling is so easy! Freezing is so much easier than canning, and you'll have apple pie filling all year long.

When it comes to apple pie filling, some people prefer their apples sliced, and others prefer them diced. I like big, juicy slices but if you prefer to dice your apples, this recipe will still work well.

When it comes to picking the perfect apple for making apple pie from scratch, Granny Smith is the go-to. However, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady are also recommended. To be honest though, I’m not picky and I’ll love almost any variety.

Making you're own apple pie filling is so easy! Freezing is so much easier than canning, and you'll have apple pie filling all year long.


Freezer Friendly Apple Pie Filling

Yield: 4 cups


  • 5 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups water


  1. In a medium sized bowl, toss the apple slices in the lemon juice.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.
  3. Pour water into a dutch oven and whisk in sugar mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Once mixture is boiling, stir in apples.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until apples are soft but not mushy.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  7. To freeze filling:
  8. Spoon cooled pie filling into a quart sized freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal.
  9. Freeze up to 3 months.
  10. Thaw completely before using. *It's not recommended that you can this recipe because it contains cornstarch.
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Making you're own apple pie filling is so easy! Freezing is so much easier than canning, and you'll have apple pie filling all year long.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup With Orzo

Creamy tomato basil soup with orzo is one of the best soups you will ever make!

One thing I love about fall is the return of soup season! One of the first soups I make every year when the weather turns cooler is this creamy tomato basil soup with orzo, which is based on a ready-made soup from Costco. It’s probably my favorite “Costco hack” recipe. I’ve made this soup dozens of times – for my family, for company or for potlucks – and people always ask me for the recipe.

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Crispy Bean and Chorizo Tostadas

Crisp, fresh and spicy bean and chorizo tostadas combine all your favorite Mexican flavors!

Beans, Fall Recipes, Mexican | September 28, 2016 | By

Everybody loves tacos, but sometimes tostadas are even better: crispy, crunchy and spicy, with lots of room for fresh toppings. The only thing I don’t like about tostadas is that they’re messy and difficult to eat. I wanted to make my favorite bean and chorizo tostadas for a football watch party last Sunday, but tostadas are not exactly finger food. I decided to cut the tortillas in half before frying them, to make them easier to pick up. Everybody argued about whether these were mini tostadas or giant nachos, but they devoured them anyway!

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Sun Dried Tomato Walnut Pesto

Yum! This sun dried tomato pesto is packed with Italian flavors!

Italian, Sauces, Snacks | September 21, 2016 | By

Anyone who knows me knows I love Italy and Italian food. My husband’s family is Italian on his mother’s side. Recently his Italian immigrant great grandparents were honored with a historic plaque at the site of their former farm, now a city park. It was a great time for the family to get together, celebrate Italian heritage, and eat Italian food. Everyone brought snacks and appetizers, and I decided to make this sun dried tomato walnut pesto. This pesto is irresistible! The bold, bright flavors of sun dried tomatoes and fresh herbs perfectly complement the rich, mellow flavors of walnuts and olive oil.

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Baked Buffalo Wings with Easy Blue Cheese Dip

Baked Buffalo Wings are easy and addictive with no deep frying required!

Chicken, Fall Recipes, Sauces | September 14, 2016 | By

Is there a more classic game day dish than Buffalo wings? Maybe football season should be called wing season. I love Buffalo sauce so much, I think I could eat it on just about anything. Every football season, I make Buffalo wings for at least one or two watch parties, and they tend to disappear fast off a buffet table. Most restaurants fry their wings to get them crispy, but if you know a few secrets, baked Buffalo wings can be even better than fried.

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Baked Honey Barbecue Wings with Easy Ranch Dip


Chicken, Fall Recipes, Sauces | September 13, 2016 | By

All through the summer, our family counts down the days until football season starts again for our favorite college team. September is finally here, and the wait is over! Our team is 2-0 so far. If we don’t have tickets to the game, we usually have a watch party with our favorite game day foods, like these baked honey barbecue wings with easy ranch dip. My family loves these wings so much, I make them even when it’s not football season.

One thing that ruins wings is soggy skin. The wings need to be cooked long enough that most of the fat gets rendered out of the skin, but not so long that they dry out. Most restaurants fry their wings, but you can get perfectly crispy, restaurant-style wings from the oven if you know a few secrets.

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Incredible Easy Drop Biscuits

Crisp on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside, these easy drop biscuits add home-baked goodness to any meal!

Breads, Fall Recipes | August 24, 2016 | By

We recently returned from a big family reunion near Yellowstone National Park with a whole lot of memories and a cute little jar of huckleberry honey. If you’ve ever been to the Yellowstone area, you know you can buy huckleberry anything: jam, syrup, candy, even hot sauce. If you go, make sure to try the huckleberry ice cream! I thought the huckleberry honey looked yummy, and immediately I started thinking of things I could eat it with. These easy drop biscuits came to mind.

You'll love these easy drop biscuits topped with butter, jam or honey!

Allie’s Fool-Proof Buttermilk Biscuit recipe is one of the most popular recipes on our site, for good reason, because they’re delicious, buttery and flaky. These easy drop biscuits are even faster to make, because they don’t require rolling or cutting. You can make them start to finish in about 20 minutes. You don’t need any specialized ingredients, just basics you probably always have in your refrigerator and pantry. These biscuits are crisp on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside, and taste great with just about any meal.

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Crock-Pot Honey Balsamic Chicken and Carrots

Flavorful honey balsamic chicken and carrots reach tender perfection in the crock-pot.

This summer has been absolutely crazy at our house, with one daughter moving to another state, another daughter getting married, and a major renovation (still not finished) for the kitchen. I’ve been pulling out all my easiest, quickest and tastiest recipes to try to keep everybody fed during the chaos. This crock-pot honey balsamic chicken with carrots is perfect for busy days. It’s a main dish and side dish all in one, with fabulous flavors the whole family loves.

Balsamic vinegar, honey and chili oil bring huge flavors to simple chicken breasts and baby carrots.

The key to this recipe is one of my favorite flavor combinations: balsamic vinegar and honey. Add a touch of garlic and a little bit of red chili oil, and you have a subtly sweet sauce with a depth of flavor that perfectly complements chicken and carrots.

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Rustic Spanish Bread

This easy artisan Spanish bread will become your new favorite bread recipe!

Sometimes a recipe is so beloved that you make it again and again, until it becomes a family tradition. In our family, one of those beloved recipes is a simple, rustic white bread we call Spanish bread. I’ve made hundreds of loaves of this soft, fine-textured bread, for my family to eat and to give away to friends and neighbors.

My husband’s brother got this recipe from a baker in Barcelona, where he lived for a couple of years. It gets its softness from a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, a typical Spanish ingredient.

Baking bread can be intimidating at first, and to be honest there are many ways to mess it up. But if you know a few baker’s secrets, you can create a beautiful loaf of bread to be proud of. These step-by-step instructions will help guide even a beginner baker.

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