A few weeks ago I went apple picking and came back with a whole bunch of tart Pink Lady apples. I decided to use them for an apple crisp, since they weren’t going to be the best eating apples.


Recipe courtesy Ina Garden, Food Network. I omitted the orange zest and juice and it still tasted great. Serve with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream!

5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.



I’ve made some really great (if I do say so myself) meals over the last few weeks. The hot weather (for some reason) makes me want to try new things and stray from my usual go-to recipes.

Without further adieu, here are a few of the more memorable ones.



1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 7 ears)
3 cups water
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add corn and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

Place half of corn mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Strain corn mixture through a sieve (or strainer) into a large bowl; discard solids. Repeat procedure with remaining corn mixture. Garnish with chives, if desired.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
Cooking spray

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) carton frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed and divided
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 (3.9-ounce) packages chocolate instant pudding mix
Unsweetened cocoa (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until combined. Add butter; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely.

3. To prepare filling, place 1 cup sugar and cream cheeses in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Fold in half of whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture on cooled crust. Cover loosely; refrigerate 1 hour.

4. Combine milk and pudding mix in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until pudding is set. Spread the pudding mixture over cream cheese layer. Spread remaining half of thawed whipped topping over pudding layer. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Cut into 15 pieces.

Happy Eating!


Lauren Kase
Hillman’s Helpings


When someone close to your heart passes away, you try to remember every moment you’ve spent with them. You think about the happy times and the sad times, but most of all, you try to focus on what was special about him/her and how they were unique.

Sadly, my grandmother passed away last week. She was a remarkable lady and will always be remembered for her strength, wit and her love of chocolate! Today’s recipe is an ode to Mom-Mom, who loved sweets – especially chocolate.



2 c. sugar
1 c. flour
5 eggs
3 tbsp. cocoa
5 c. milk, or 1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 c. water
2 baked pie crusts (can be found in freezer aisle of the grocery store)

Separate that egg yolks from the egg whites. Do not discard either part of the egg.

Mix sugar and egg yolks with a hand mixer; add flour, cocoa, then milk and vanilla extract.

Cook mixture in double boiler (away from the direct heat), stirring until thickened. Pour into baked pie crusts.

Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer and add 1/2 cup sugar. Spread on top of pies. Place pies in preheated oven (350 degrees) to brown. Keep an eye on the pies – they will brown quickly!

Note: To make a more creamy filling: After mixture has thickened in double boiler, use a hand mixer and mix thoroughly before pouring in pie crust.

Hope you enjoyed reading!


Lauren Kase
Hillman’s Helpings


I’m not going to make any excuses for not writing for almost two months. Let’s just say that life has been busy. I got married and changed my last name to Kase, but this newsletter will always be a Hillman creation so “Hillman’s Helpings” it will stay.

I’ve actually been cooking a lot more lately. I’ve been pretty bored of my old standbys to I’ve been trying to make 1-2 new recipes each week. For the most part, they’ve turned out really well. I’ve been trying to make the most out of the summer produce.

This weekend, we had over some friends for the first time. I obviously wanted to make a good impression so I made a HUGE meal, thinking there’s no way we’d finish it all — we were wrong. Our bellies full, we couldn’t forget about dessert, which was my favorite part of this meal.

I made a Peach-Blueberry Cobbler from CookingLight that was out-of-this-world. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t super fattening!



½ cup sugar
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. lemon zest
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups (about 2 pounds) chopped, peeled peaches
2 cups (about 1 pint) blueberries
1 tbs. lemon juice
Cooking Spray

1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated (white) sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbs. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 and ½ tbs. turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Preheat oven to 400.

To prepare filling, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add peaches, blueberries and juice. Spoon mixture into 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake a 400 for 15 minutes.

To prepare topping, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, no problem! You can just take two butter knives and to use them like scissors and crumble the butter into your mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until just moist (not too much).

Remove dish from oven and drop dough onto fruit mixture to form 8 rounds. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t even or looks ugly – it’s supposed to! Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Serve with low-fat vanilla ice cream.

Bon appetit!

I promise to begin my regular Hillman’s Helpings issues again. Happy Fourth of July!


Lauren Kase
Hillman’s Helpings


Last weekend I had the good fortune of attending Mr. Hillman’s Helpings grandmothers 100th birthday celebration. Isn’t that amazing? I got to thinking, what foods were popular and/or ‘invented’ in the early 1900s? I found a wonderful website that gives a timeline of when certain foods were introduced.

Did you know that people have been drinking wine since 6000 BC? Anyway, in the early 1900s Americans were introduced to many different types of food including peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, Animal Crackers, Canned Tuna and Corn Flakes! (Isn’t the internet amazing?)

In 1908, the year Grandma was born, the Hershey Bar was first manufactured! Today’s recipe is an ode to the Hershey bar. It comes from my friend’s family and is one of Hr. Hillman’s Helpings favorite desserts!



Cream 1 cup unsalted butter and 3/4 cup sugar together. Add to the mixture 1 egg, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix until uniform. Slowly add 2.5 cups flour to the mixture until completely incorporated.

The dough should be sticky.

Wet your hands and cut the dough into 2 sections.

Spray Pam on the inside of a 9×13 baking dish. Press half of the dough into the pan, covering it completely. (Usually this requires thinning it out a whole lot)

Place whole Hershey Chocolate Bars onto the dough, enough so that the entire dish is covered (about 4 bars).

Smooth the remaining dough on top of the Hershey Bars.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the baked bars. Cut into squares before it cools completely.

Note: Once they harden, they are very difficult to cut.

This was your history lesson of the day. Have a great rest of the week!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

I made the following recipe for a holiday party this weekend – they were amazing and best of all, they’re low fat! Only 131 calories per brownie!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
2 large eggs
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 large egg white


Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring once. Combine milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Add chocolate mixture and milk mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Spoon batter evenly into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, cheese, and egg white in a medium bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended using clean, dry beaters. Drizzle cheese mixture evenly over chocolate mixture; swirl batters together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until batter begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.


Sorry I missed last week – sometimes I’m too busy to think of something good to send to everyone!

I’m super excited about this issue because it has two of my favorite desserts! The first are mini-cupcakes that my mom has been making for years. When I got my first apartment, one of my aunts gave me a hand mixer. I think I might have made these cupcakes (or banana bread) that day!

The second recipe comes from my friend Allison. She made them for a holiday party we had last year and I just loved them!


Makes About 60

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine 8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 less fat), 1 egg, 1/3 c. sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt. Stir in 1 package of chocolate chips.

In another, larger bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour, 1 c. sugar, 1/4 c. cocoa, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt.

Add 1 cup of water, 1/3 c. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. white vinegar, 1 tsp. vanilla.

Beat well until it is a uniform consistency.

Fill mini-cupcake tins with liners.

Fill the liners halfway with the chocolate mixture and drop 1 tsp. of the cream cheese mixture on the top of each.

Bake for 10-11 minutes or until done.

For a festive approach, use food coloring to color the cream cheese mixture. I mixed red and yellow together last weekend to make orange filling! A great Halloween treat

Bon appetit!


OK these aren’t really eyes, but I think they look like them!

These are cute, fun snacks that take no time to make, although it is nice to have a friend there to help. 🙂

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Lay out a bunch (50?) of butter crisp pretzels on a baking sheet covered with foil. Place an unwrapped Rolo on top of each of the pretzels.

Place the baking sheet (with the pretzel/Rolo combo) in the oven for 3 minutes.

After removing the baking sheet from the oven, press one M&M into each of the Rolo’s. Let them harden for at least an hour.

What a fun treat!

Hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings! Have a great day.


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

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