Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins


If you saw yesterday's post, it was about cooking and pureeing a pie pumpkin. After splitting the puree up into 15 oz portions (the amount in a can of store-bought pumpkin) I had about a cup left.

I was thinking about making Pumpkin Muffins, but that recipe makes so many darn muffins I knew we'd never be able to eat them all without signing up for 5k to run off all the calories!

I saw this recipe at one of my favorite blogs, and it appealed to me because the recipe was small, to use up my itty bitty bit of pumpkin, and seemed to work well with the Chili that I was planning to serve that night.

The verdict?
I was worried when putting the recipe together that it would be too sweet with the brown sugar, honey and cinnamon. But, when these came out of the oven, it was such a huge treat. The cornmeal kept it savory, and it was a great pairing with Chili. Everyone inhaled their muffins!
These were so good. I ate six. Six! Three with dinner, one snuck while washing the dishes, and two later in the evening as a snack. 

The next day, my son and I polished these off with a smearing of Strawberry Raspberry Jam. Yummy!

I am sharing this recipe at Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday , Tip Day Thursday, Mommy's Kitchen Potluck Sunday and also at Eat at Home's Pumpkin Ingredient Spotlight.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
recipe from MomAdvice

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted with regular milk and a teaspoon of vinegar to sour)

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, room

2 tablespoons honey

Sugar for sprinkling (I left out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners. In a bowl, toss together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. In another mixing bowl, mix with a wooden spoon, the pumpkin puree, sour cream or buttermilk , butter, eggs and honey, until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture just until combined. Transfer to the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until edges just begin to color. Cool to room temperature. Makes approximately 12-13 muffins.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cooking and Pureeing a Pie Pumpkin

I bought a Pie Pumpkin at the store last week. I ended up posting it on Creatively Domestic's Facebook page because I was so excited to get a little taste of fall.

But after I got it home, I started doubling guessing how I was actually going to execute  that cute little pumpkin into usable pumpkin puree. After skimming a few cookbooks, this is how I did it!

Cut out the core, spilt the pumpkin, remove the seeds and "goop" from inside the pumpkin. I saved the seeds to roast them later in the day. My son was excited to help, but got about half a handful into the "goop" and said "I'm all done, Momma."

Cut the halves into managable pieces. I cut the whole pumpkin into eight pieces and piled them into  my steamer all ready to go with boiling water in the pan. Steam for approximately 15 minutes or until you can stab through the pieces with no resistance. I've also seen directions to roast the pumpkin or boil it, but this worked best for me. (still too hot around here to crank on the oven!)

Remove the pumpkin pieces from the pan and let cool until you can handle them without burning your fingerpads off!

Remove the flesh from the peel, either by scoping it out with a big spoon, cutting off the peel or peeling it off with your fingers. (I seem to get the most messy in these projects!) Puree in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons from the steaming water until it runs smoothly. I did it in about 3 batches.

Spilt the puree into 15 ounce portions (similiar to a store bought can's size) or 1 cup portions. Freeze.

Here's some pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
and I also threw a couple spoonfuls in my son's scrambled eggs and he was none-the-wiser. :)

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thai Coconut Soup in the Crockpot

I usually order Tom Kha Gai soup when we go out for Thai food, and the possibility of having more than one bowl was the driving force to me wanting to try this recipe.

Thai Coconut Soup
recipe adapted from A Year of Crockpotting

4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken, I used homemade)
1 can coconut milk
4 limes (3 juiced, 1 for garnish)
1/2 tsp lime zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T fish sauce
1/2 tsp to 2 tsp red chili paste, to taste (you can use red chili flakes, too)
1 tsp sugar
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
4 oz sliced shitake mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/2 pound extra firm tofu, cubed
I also added some zucchini since I didn't have any mushrooms

I used a 6 quart slow cooker for this soup. Pour the broth into the crockpot. Add the juice of three of the limes (it equaled about 1/2 cup for me), and zest one of them until you get 1/2 teaspoon to add. Stir in the sugar and fish sauce. Grate the ginger and add. Stir in the coconut milk. You now have your soup base. Add the red chili paste, 1/2 tsp at a time until you have reached desired heat.

Cube the tofu, slice the bell pepper, and mince the garlic. Add to pot. Coarsely chop the shitake mushrooms. Stir in carefully, so you don't break up the tofu. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-4. This soup is finished when it is fully hot, and the flavors have combined nicely.

The verdict?
Maybe my limes had more juice than the original recipe called for, but this had a lot of lime juice so the tang at the end was prominent. The spice was good with a little heat (I used about 1 tsp of Sriracha sauce), but not too much heat to make it unedible.

My husband and I enjoyed the soup and my son loved the tofu. He picked out all the tofu first, had a pepper, then had a few spoonfuls of broth. I'd call that a victory for a 3-year old! Who knew we had a big tofu eater on our hands!

Overall, the soup was similar to the restaurant soups I've had, but I don't think I have it exactly matched yet. Yet! I'll keep trying variations of this!

I'm sharing this at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday and Dining with Debbie What's on the Menu Wednesday.

Creatively Domestic
Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buffalo Mac and Cheese

My husband loves Buffalo Sauce. Chicken coated in Buffalo Sauce, either on a sandwich or a salad, is his preferred dine-out entree. And he always loves Macaroni and Cheese, so this looked like a good recipe to try.

The verdict?
I used approx 1/3 cup of the hot sauce for a half recipe, and I was hoping the hot sauce would add just a tinge of spice, something running along in the background, but this amount really set our mouths a good way.

I would compare this to ordering "mild" wings at your favorite neighborhood restaurant, so if you are going for a full blown burn, crank up that amount of sauce. My son had one noodle and remarked "too spicy!" so there was more for me and my husband, which we were all too happy to eat. The leftovers were actually divvied up pretty fairly between us, but we weren't letting the other take too many...we watched each other like a hawk.

I will make this again, but probably with such a small amount of hot sauce (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 cup?) that the "buffalo" portion of this is downplayed. This would be good for football game eats or a potluck (with it appropriately labeled!)

I'm sharing this at Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight: Hot Sauce.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese
recipe adapted from Our Family Eats
serves 8 as a main dish

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
salt, for pasta water
16 oz (1 pound) macaroni
3/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half and half (or milk)
16 oz (1 pound) sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a large casserole dish (9x13 is recommended).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente or the shortest amount of cooking time on the box or less.  Drain.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and mustard and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the half and half, and the hot sauce.  Stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the cheeses and whisk in the sour cream.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat.

Spread macaroni in the baking dish.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave.  Stir in the panko and the blue cheese if using.  Sprinkle over top of macaroni.  Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carrot Potato Hash Browns

I'm all about stretching not too prime vegetables into new forms. I receive the most ginormous carrots from my Produce Basket, so one carrot can be enough for it's own sidedish! (See the potato that's sprouting over there! Waaaaay past it's prime!)

Carrot Hash Browns
recipe adapted from Get Healthy Cheap

3 tablespoons olive oil (or less)
3 medium carrots, grated
3 medium potatoes, grated
1/3 small onion, grated
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste!)

Heat oil in a skillet. Add the veggies and sprinkle with salt. Saute until browned on one side. Flip over and saute on second side until browned.

The verdict?
These were really good and I was pleasantly surprised. Really loading them up with seasoned salt while they were cooking boosted the flavor, too.

In the past, when I have grated up raw potatoes to make hashbrowns, they didn't cook up too well and became pasty and mushy, but the addition of grated carrot kept everything the right texture.

Using my food processor to grate all the veggies (including the onion) made it super quick.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crash Hot Potatoes

I saw these a long time ago on Pioneer Woman's site, and since then, I've seen other bloggers create them. I always thought it was a little too...tedious.... I guess is a good word. Boil the potatoes, THEN bake them? Too much work, I thought.

Until I got a bag of small white potatoes from my Produce Club. I was not interested in any sort of mashed product, and the thought of mayo-potato salad was really turning me off, too. I remembered the Crash Hot Potatoes and thought these potatoes would work great in that recipe.

Crash Hot Potatoes
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

12 whole new Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or other herbs of choice) to taste ( I used paprika)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. (As you can see, my potatoes didn't smush up evenly, as some fell apart, and some stayed pretty round-ish) Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.) Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

The verdict?
I used kosher salt, black pepper, and paprika as my spice toppings, instead of rosemary,  because I was serving them with a very highly seasoned Lime Pepper Chicken, and needed something unstimulating to offset the chicken

My potatoes did not appear to be as crispy as ol' PW's, but I think I didn't top them with as much olive oil as she did. Although, the flavor was great, and my normally "sour-cream-isn't-already-on-the-table?" husband didn't even ask if we had any sour cream to douse the potatoes - they held up on their own.

My son absolutely loved these, and even said "Thank you for making me these potatoes" so it was a out-of-the-park homerun with him and my husband. hmmmm....I might have to repeat them if it was such a fantastic hit.

I had these reheated the next day for lunch with scrambled eggs with ham, and it made a great breakfast-for-lunch meal.

I'm also sharing this recipe on Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap,  Foodie Friday, & Tidy Mom

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Comments will be back soon!

It's just been brought to my attention that my comments have dissappeared! They will be back soon...well as soon as I get the I.T. Department on it.(Ha ha!)

**Comments are working again! Thanks I.T. Department!**

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Lime Pepper Chicken

I like to try out new freezer recipes before I freeze massive amounts of food my family won't eat. This recipe is on my list of freezer meals, and I have a ton of limes to use up from our tree, so I thought this would be a great one to try.

The verdict?
I don't know if the flavor would change after being frozen, but this was really seasoned and paired great with simpler sides, like mashed potatoes. It was very good!

I would reduce the dried basil in the next run, but I feel very comfortable freezing this and stocking up!

This recipe is now included in my Creatively Domestic's Freezer Meals ebook for sale on Amazon. To view this recipe and many others, please visit (and buy if you're interested) from that site.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Recycled" Pickles

I love pickles. One of my stops when I frequent the local Farmer's Market is "The Pickle Man." I buy a 50 cent HUGE kosher dill pickle and persue the fruit and veggie offerings. After my pickle is finally inhaled, I venture back and get all the good deals I saw from comparing all the prices.

My son has also acquired the pickle gene, (he has been known to balance The Pickle Man's pickles with alternating bites of fresh sugared doughnuts from another vendor) so we burn through a lot of pickles in our house. I was contemplating canning my own pickles this spring, but I missed the pickling cucumber season from my Produce Club. Maybe next year....or not. :)

This recipe name is misleading, but I didn't really know how to properly describe this process of making pickles with leftover pickle juice. I found the idea at The Happy Housewife.

"Recycled" Pickles
Leftover pickle juice from jar of pickles
Cucumbers, sliced, enough to fill the jar.

Slice cucumbers and put them in the pickle juice. Refrigerate for one to two weeks, until the cucumbers are pickled to your desire. (Mine took at least two weeks to be pass the test of the rest of the family)

The verdict?
This was so shockingly easy, and it was a fun way to stretch one jar of pickles into two! By the time the two weeks had passed, there weren't too many pickles left in the jar - I have been "testing" a few everyday to find the perfect brewing time. My husband was pretty surprised that this worked, and the final product was really good.

I am also sharing this at Tasty Tuesdays and No Prep Fridays

Creatively Domestic
Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Green Rice

I ripped this out of Everyday Food a few months ago in the hope that I would have some leftover herbs one day. Well, last week there was a half bunch of cilantro hanging out in my frig, on the verge of getting funky.

Green Rice
recipe adapted from Everyday Food

1 cup packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup white rice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Lime wedges, for serving.

In a blender, combine cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, and water. Season with salt and pepper, and blend until smooth, 15 seconds.

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add rice and stir to coat. Add herb mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until water in absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes. Add lime juice and fluff with fork. Serve rice with lime wedges if desired

The verdict?
I found this rice specifically unsurprising. It didn't have the flavor I thought it would, and thought it needed a lot  more salt. It was a still an effective side dish, but the leftovers didn't call to me. I ended up doctoring them up the next day at lunch with Creole seasoning.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Open Face Pizza Burgers

Now that it's getting to be Fall and Back-to-School season, I asked my husband what was his favorite hot lunch from school (OK, so the topic of conversation around my house really does revolve around food!) and he mentioned Pizza Burgers. That was pretty much all the explanation I got. Pizza...burger.

I tried a version that was a burger with spaghetti sauce on top of a regular grilled hamburger with melted mozzarella on top. Nope, that's not it. But he did expand on his preferences, telling me it was a loose meat sandwich on cheap hamburger buns, open face. Well, that's much more helpful!

The verdict?
It just so happened we had these on the first night of my son's preschool. It felt like a classic "Back to School" theme. We even talked about some of our first day of school memories while we tried to grill our son about his. He's locked up tight, that one, although he did share how much he like the "new" playground. At least we got a little info!

My husband was very happy with these, and I really enjoyed them even without the elementary school memories. It's kid-friendly, simple, non-high brow food, and an easy way to use up half a jar of spaghetti sauce. My son was mildly interested, but didn't jump all over them. I still enjoyed the leftovers the next day!

I am sharing this recipe at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap and Mommy's Kitchen. 

Open-Faced Pizza Burgers
recipe adapted from 
Taste of Home
Makes: 12

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 - 15 oz can pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

6 hamburger buns, spilt and toasted
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pizza sauce, mushrooms, sugar and oregano; mix well. Spoon onto buns; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan for Monday Sept 13

I am still on my simple and uncomplicated kick, so a very inelaborate lineup this week. Also trying to work more meatless dishes in this week, so Black Beans & Rice and Thai Coconut Soup with Tofu. My son has been eating Miso Soup when we go out for Sushi and happily eating tofu, hopefully that trend continues at home!

Mon: Chicken Breasts, Rice or Potatoes, Veggie

Tue: Black Beans & Yellow Rice, Veggie, Salad

Wed: Enchiladas from the freezer, Lettuce Salad, Tomato, Onion

Thurs: Baked Salmon, Baked Potatoes, Veggie

Fri: Take Out Pizza (we're having a ceiling painting party!)

Sat: Lunch: Birthday Boy's Lunch: Grilled Hot Dogs, Hot Dog Buns, Baked Beans, Pasta Salad, Birthday Cake
       Dinner: Light Sandwiches or Leftovers

Sun: Lunch: at the in-laws!
        Dinner: Crockpot Thai Coconut Soup (Maybe Tofu Trials will be making a comeback?)

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

I have had issues with homemade Scalloped Potatoes over the  years, and sometimes when I don't want to worry about how many hours the potatoes need to bake, I cheat and just do the boxed version. (*gasp! I know!)

I served really hard potatoes once and it scarred me from making them for years. Then I had a few pans of scalloped potatoes that got thrown into the microwave, then finished baking in the oven to get the crunchy top. I knew that there had to be an easier way, and when I saw this recipe, I bookmarked it to try.

My food processor made quick work of slicing the potatoes, then I used the same attachment and flipped it over to grate the cheese. I didn't mind that a little cheese got in my potatoes and vice versa, so it made prep work go really quick.

Totally comfort food. Heavy and satisfying. I ate waaaay too much of this, but didn't really care about the stuffed feeling - it was that good!

I was pleased with the homemade mushroom soup, and it really did have the flavor and consistency of the canned stuff. To make it seem more like the canned stuff, I would chop up the mushrooms a bit more on the next run. I didn't mind the big mushrooms, but a picky 3-year old about lost it when he spotted them.

The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the top had a little crust on it, so the cooking time was good for my crockpot. I checked the doneness of the potatoes with a knife, and that gave me the confidence to spoon it up. My next rendition of this would be to remove the ham and serve it as a side dish.

I am sharing this at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap and Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight: Potatoes

Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
recipe adapted from Joy in My Kitchen

Homemade Mushroom Soup: * or a 10.75 oz can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
1/2 cup onions, chopped
4 oz of mushrooms, canned or fresh
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 - 1 lbs of cubed, cooked ham
6-8 raw potatoes, sliced (I used 4 large ones!)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 C grated cheddar cheese
1 C grated mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan, saute 1/2 cup onions with mushrooms in 1 tablespoons oil or butter until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add chicken broth and heat to boiling. Mix 1/2 c milk with cornstarch until well mixed, and add to the boiling mixture, stirring frequently until thick (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Set aside. **Alternatively, you can use cream of mushroom soup from a can.

Put half of the ham, potatoes and onions in a crock pot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and half of both cheeses. Repeat layers.

Spread home-made mushroom soup (from saucepan) over the top, completely covering the potatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Muffin Tin Deep-Dish Pizzas

My latest issue of Everyday Food arrived in mail, and that night I made a new recipe out of it. That's called "Wow this picture is really calling to me" and "I think I have pizza dough in the freezer". Almost like an aligning of the stars...or maybe my menu plan really wasn't interesting me! I love it when I can try new recipe without running to the store!

Muffin Tin Pizzas
From Everyday Food
Makes 6 (I made 12)

1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, in 6 pieces
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
desired toppings, such as cooked vegetables, olives, pineapple, ham or pepperoni

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush 6 standard muffin cups with oil. Roll out each dough piece on a lightly floured work surface to approx 6 inch round. Fill each cup with 1 rounds, gently pressing dough into bottom and sides of cup.

Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 tablespoon each cheese and tomato. (We tried half with tomato paste)

 Add desired toppings and another tablespoon cheese.

Bake until dough is golden brown and crisp, 12 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing from cups.
The verdict?
These would be good as a hand-held party food, like a Super Bowl game, but they weren't overly filling by themselves.  We preferred the pizzas with tomato paste in them, but didn't mind the ones without. The ones with raw tomatoes seemed to be more watery than the ones with tomato paste that held in all the yummy fillings.

The effort that went into these was a lot higher than just slapping together a pizza, so I don't think I would repeat for another weeknight meal, but for a fun party it would be worth it.

If you're looking for more muffin tin food, take a look at Muffin Tin Meatloaves!

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guest Post: Rustic Pepper Steak

This is a Guest Post from Heather Green. She is a Christian mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for, a free informational website offering tips and advice on

Growing up, my grandmother would make dishes that you could smell from a mile away. Full of flavor, these are the homemade foods that you can't buy in any restaurant! So when I got married, the first recipe I begged my grandma for was her mouthwatering pepper steak. Thankfully, it turns out that it is much easier to make than I had thought and carrying on her tradition of Southern cooking makes me so proud.

Rustic Pepper Steak

1 lb. Top Sirloin steak
2 Tbsp Crisco
1/4 chopped onion
1/2 clove garlic
salt & pepper
1 beef boullion cube (2 if you like a little extra flavor!)
2 Tbsps soy sauce
2 Tbsps corn starch
1 lb canned stewed tomatoes
1 large green pepper

Heat large skillet on medium high and melt Crisco. Slice steak into 1 inch cubes and brown for 15 minutes. Add chopped onion and whole garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of hot water and the bullion cube/s (crush and stir in melted bullion cube) Simmer covered on medium heat for 25 minutes.

Add chopped green pepper and stewed tomatoes (you may have to cut the tomatoes up) cook for 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce and corn starch with 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir the soy sauce mixture in with meat and veggies on medium high heat, stirring consistently for 5 minutes and bring to a boil.
Remove garlic clove and serve hot over egg noodles. Enjoy!

Thanks Heather!

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Best Coffee Cake


On a Sunday night, my husband and I were both jonesing for something sweet. I refused to go buy him ice cream from the store (so nice, right?), and we were both burnt out on cookies. I fished this printout from my "To Try" folder, and I whipped this up right after dinner.

The Best Coffee Cake
recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
2 cups Scant Sugar
3 cups Flour, Sifted
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1-1/4 cup Whole Milk
3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
3/4 cups Flour
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1-1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don’t overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula.

Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.
In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm—delicious!

The verdict?
This recipe was listed as "Easy"...but I think it should be an Intermediate level at least. Or maybe "Intermediate if your child wants to help...Easy if you can concentrate on one thing at a time." It was a lot of steps and took me a lot longer to "whip up" than I was anticipating.

Once out of the oven, this definitely got the sweet tooth taken care of. This made a TON of coffee cake, perfect for bringing to an event or serving to a crowd. I had two pieces before bedtime, and my tummy hurt. But it's sooooo good.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This is not the fried, dripping with sauce version that most people think of when they hear "Sweet & Sour Chicken." This recipe that I found in one of my favorite cooking magazines even has a large majority of vegetables in it! Shocking, I know!

The verdict?
Easy to put together, and it had surprisingly great flavor for a simple marinade. I did all my prep work in the afternoon, marinating the chicken, chopping up all the veggies, and even cooking the rice ahead of time so actually cooking dinner took less than 10 minutes.

The cilantro wasn't essential to the flavor of the dish, and I'd leave it out the next time. This made a lot, and we were all happy to eat it for leftovers the next day. My son was most pleased to find pineapple in his dinner!

Sweet & Sour Chicken
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
Serves 6

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 breasts), diced into 1 inch pieces
1 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 medium green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 20 oz can pineapple, in juice (not syrup) or 1 3/4 cups fresh pineapple
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked rice, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. Place chicken in a large shallow dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade and saute for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over rice.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sharon's Spaghetti Sauce

This is the spaghetti recipe my mom (Sharon to all you fine folks) made while I was growing up. I always loved it, and asked for it for many Birthday dinners. She made it with her own jarred tomatoes from her summer garden and then set it to sit at Warm in the crockpot for the day so it was ready when she got home from work.

After I moved onto college and then out on my own, I got interested trying new spaghetti sauce recipes, and tortured my husband through many "simple" Rachael Ray sauce recipes. He would always eat it, but was never super excited when I said that's what I was making for dinner.

Finally, I gave up trying new recipes and pulled out my mom's tried and true recipe. At dinner, my husband exclaimed..."Now THIS is what I call spaghetti!" and "this" has been it from then on.

I leave out the canned mushrooms and olives for my husband's preferences, but it's not my mom's spaghetti without a generous topping of the grated Parmesan cheese from the green can, but you can class it up with the "real" cheese - I won't mind.

I'm sharing this recipe at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap and Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight.

This recipe is now included in my Creatively Domestic's Freezer Meals ebook for sale on Amazon. To view this recipe and many others, please visit (and buy if you're interested) from that site.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Slow Cooker Hot & Sweet Chicken Legs

Chicken drumsticks are a frugal (read: cheap) way to get some good protein in meals. When our grocery store had drumsticks on a super-sale, I bought an excessive amount and filled my freezer. When I saw this recipe, I knew my spicy side that has shown up with this whole pregnancy thing would be very happy.

This recipe was originally a oven recipe, but I adapted it to a slow cooker.

Crockpot Hot and Sweet Chicken Drumsticks
recipe adapted from Siggy Spice

1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
3 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 12)

Combine preserves, molasses, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic and Sriracha in a bowl. Spray a crockpot with non-stick spray. Place drumsticks in slow cooker and pour sauce over, turning to coat all pieces. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on Low, 4 to 6 hours on High. The last hour, remove the lid, turn it to High to reduce the sauce, and stir carefully and baste the chicken with the sauce a few times

The verdict?
Opening the lid and reducing the sauce did wonders for the sauce, besides making my kitchen smell wonderful. I couldn't detect the spice, so next time I would increase it. Everyone in my family ate happily, so it was a success! I did have to soak my crockpot liner for a day or so to get rid of the sticky "funk", but it was worth it.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bowtie Lasagna

This is my kind of home style food. A cold day, a warm skillet of pasta, it's just how I was raised...unfortunately, it's not really that cold down here in Florida that often, but food like this still screams "supper" to me. So I keep trying new recipes like this, hoping to rope in the rest of family to my way of thinking.

I've had this recipe bookmarked for a few weeks, and when I needed to use up some sour cream, I only needed to pull a box of bowtie pasta from my pasta stockpile. I didn't need to buy anything for this meal, so it was a great budget stretcher.

The verdict?
This was homemade Hamburger Helper! My husband kept going on about how good the sauce was, but I finally let on at the end of dinner that it was just a jar of Prego, jazzed up with some spices. It was a bit of a buzz kill, but he still took the leftovers for lunch for 2 days.

I would put this under "Casseroles" in my recipe binder, but it is more of a one-skillet meal. I thought it was very similar to my recipe for Triple Cheese Delight Casserole, but a little easier in that I didn't have to pop it into the oven.

Bowtie Lasagna 
recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen/Pioneer Woman

1 pound ground beef
5 cups bow tie noodles (12 oz bag/box)
3 cups spaghetti sauce (24 oz jar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or more to taste
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
top with Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, fry ground beef in a large skillet. After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil, add into the skillet with ground beef. Mix in your spaghetti sauce. Add seasonings, cheese, and sour cream. Fold together and allow it all to combine and melt together, over low heat, for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.