Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toffee Squares


When my youngest was born, a friend from the Mom's Club brought over these Toffee Squares with a pan of Stuffed Shells. I very rarely make my husband's favorite Manicotti, so the Stuffed Shells made my husband very happy. I was in love with the dessert. Isn't any meal that someone brings over while you are in the baby fog awesome? She shared the recipe with me and stashed it away.

I do almost all my baking at night, after all the kiddos are in bed and I can semi-focus on precise measurements. This also means that I bake after all the wonderful bright light for photos is gone. If some of the baked goods make through to the next day and into the nice daylight, then it gets a nice photo. Oh, and if the baked goods do make through to the next day and I remember to pull them out and take a photo. Ahhh, the tragedies of indoor lighting. At least I still get to eat the goodies.

My husband is not a nut-loving man, so I left nuts off of half of them. I happily enjoyed my squares with the nuts on them, and while he thought his plain squares were good, he wasn't too impressed with the dessert overall. I finally talked him into trying the nut side, and he agreed that the nuts are better...so don't leave them off, even if your husband claims not to like nuts!


Toffee Squares
recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 whole egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups  flour
2 cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and flour and mix until combined. Spread on cookie sheet with an offset spatula until thin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle on chocolate chips.


Return to oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven and spread chocolate thinly over the cookie layer. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cut into squares.

I'm sharing this recipe at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Got my business cards!



I got my blog business cards in the mail this week (don't they look nice?) and I am officially signed up to attend the Food Blog Forum Seminar in Orlando in a few weeks. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of attending a food blog conference. That means after 2 years of doing this blog, I'm ready to admit that I AM a food blogger and enjoy taking photos of dinner each night from various vantage points. Imagine that!

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cilantro Lime Coleslaw



I am ready for my lime tree to kick back up into high production. I checked it yesterday, and it's growing a ton of teeny tiny little buds, which will produce lots of margaritas soon! Until then, I had one sad looking lime left rolling around in my crisper. Lucky for me I found this coleslaw recipe to use it up along with the cabbage and cilantro leftover bits.

Once this was all put together right before dinner, it was tangy, sour, crunchy and with a little mexican kick at the end.  I served this with Oven Baked Chicken Wings, and it complemented and cooled the hot sauce I had on the side of the wings well.

The original recipe uses it as a topping on a pork tacos, and I think it would be great on fish tacos. The slaw would be much better paired with or piled on something than on it's own, as it does have a bit of a tang.


Cilantro Lime Slaw
recipe adapted from Make It and Love It


1 package cole slaw or whole shredded cabbage
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a dash of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin


Combine all but the cabbage. Mix desired amount of dressing with cabbage no more than 30 minutes before serving.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flashback Saturday for March 26, 2011

 Flashback Saturday is a way to introduce some posts
that might be lost in the shuffle of years' past!

A year ago this week I posted some great recipes for:


 

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tartar Dill Sauce


This Lent season we have been eating alot of Pan Fried Tilipia. Mostly because my son will actually gobble it up like nobody's business, but partially because I can buy a huge bag of frozen tilipia fillets on the cheap and feed everyone fish tacos and tilipia with capers and lemon and no one complains.

I usually have a new version of tartar sauce each Lenten season that I whip up to accompany the fried fish, but the recipe never gets written down. This year I actually remembered!

I used Greek yogurt because it was hiding in my frig, and it's also a great alternative to sour cream. If you don't have it, you could easily substitute sour cream or mayo for it. If you are looking for a reason to buy a big tub of Greek yogurt, try the recipe for Gyros with Tatziki Sauce and use the leftovers for topping your tacos and making tartar sauce!

Tartar Dill Sauce
2 tablespoons mayo
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped pickle
1/4 teaspoon dried dill (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.



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

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Roasted Carrots


Easy side dish: open one bag of baby carrots, dump on a cookie sheet and roast.

Our grocery store had 1 pound bags of baby carrots on sale a few weeks ago, and I bought more than we could have polished off while snacking. I have been on a huge roasted vegetable kick: green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes, and just about any random veggie hiding in my crisper. It has become my default, go-to preparation technique.

I don't normally like cooked carrots, but roasting enhances their essence, adding a slight sweetness. We ate the whole batch! No leftovers.

Roasted Carrots
1 pound baby carrots, or whole carrots cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put carrots on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle the carrots with olive oil and sprinkle on seasonings.  Toss with your hands until they are all coated with the seasonings. Spread out in a single layer and slide your pan into the oven. Roast for 20-25 minutes and stir once or twice during cooking process.

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flashback Saturday for March 19, 2011

 Flashback Saturday is a way to introduce some posts
that might be lost in the shuffle of years' past!

A year ago this week I posted some great recipes for:




Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Friday, March 18, 2011

You just never know...


Today I served my son raw Sugar Snap Peas (finally made it back to my Produce Club after a 2 month post-baby break) with his PB&J for lunch today. I thought for sure we were going to have a "Just one bite...just give it a try....Ok, thank you for trying it" coversation, but after a tentative nibble, he gobbled them up! You just never know with kids!

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chicken Triscuit Hotdish


This again proves that casseroles are just not that pretty. But they can be a necessity of using up random bits. I had cooked diced chicken in the freezer that I wanted to use up, and a box of Triscuits from all the holiday sales that was getting close to its "Best if Used by" date.

My mom made this when I was growing up, so I have no idea why this recipe calls specifically for Triscuits, although the version she always made had canned asparagus in it. I just can't eat canned asparagus now - I must have grown into a food snob. Fresh asparagus is so great, why is canned asparagus so wrong? The world will never know.

Then comes the discussion of the word "hotdish." I've heard "casserole" and "hotdish" used interchangeably, although my sister-in-law who moved to Minnesota from Iowa couldn't figure out what everyone was talking about when they said "hotdish" until she finally said "Are you talking about casseroles?" I guess that proves that the origination of this recipe must be from Minnesota!

The verdict?
This put me in the mood to have Broccoli and Rice Casserole, which I haven't had for many years. While this wasn't a smash hit dinner for the whole family, (I kept telling the 3 year old there was crackers and chicken in there, but he wasn't buying it) it was a nice change of pace and a great way to use up some random ingredients. Let's just say I ate the majority of the leftovers...no one had to be bribed to eat it again, but I was the only one excited about it.


Chicken Triscuit Hotdish

Serves: 8

1/2 package crushed Triscuit Crackers

3 cups cooked chicken or turkey
3 cups fresh green veggies or 2 cans vegetables
1 can mushrooms
 (I left out - didn't have!)
1 can water chestnuts

2 - 7 1/4 ounces cream of chicken soup

Put half of the crushed Triscuits (1/4 of the whole box) in the bottom of a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Spread in layers of chicken, green veggies, mushrooms, and water chestnuts.


 
Pour chicken soup, that's been heated, over mixture and put remaining Triscuits on top. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour covered and uncovered for 15-30 minutes longer.


Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oven Baked Chicken Wings

This recipe should be called "Why I Will Never Fry Chicken Wings Again."

I usually fry my chicken wings outside in my electric skillet, but I was not in the mood to get it all setup, stand there, get burned with oil flecks, or deal with the cleanup. Frying things is a necessary evil in my book. Plus, I'm still scrubbing greasy spots off the floor of my lanai from my last frying adventure so I was looking for a new way.

This is the perfect example of why I save my old bread bags: I refuse to waste a ziptop bag that I paid good money to use once and toss. Every time I wash out a bread bag to air dry then stuff in a drawer, I think "Gosh, I've hit a new frugal low..." but that switches to pure genius affection when I'm faced with a situation like this.

 

Recipe: Oven Baked Chicken Wings

Summary: recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 chicken wings

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a large bag; (see my recycled bag below!) close and shake to combine.
  3. Add the chicken wings; reseal and shake to coat.
  4. Arrange the chicken wings on a foil covered baking sheet.
  5. Cook the wings in the preheated oven 1 hour, or until crisp and cooked through.

Cooking time (duration): 15
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: dinner
My rating: 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

The verdict?
These were so easy with the same taste and texture of frying, that I'm never frying wings again. Sold! These would work great tossed in your favorite wing sauce, but I happily ate them as is.




Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flashback Saturday for March 12, 2011

 Flashback Saturday is a way to introduce some posts
that might be lost in the shuffle of years' past!

A year ago this week I posted some great recipes for:



Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Cornbread

 

I love making side dishes in my crockpot, as it makes meals easy so I can focus on the main dish or take some time completely off! I made this with Slow Cooker Charro Beans, (recipe coming soon!) so my whole dinner was in two crockpots.

This was a great Friday afternoon meal, as there wasn't the 5:00 rush to get dinner started...my son and I watched some TV together while his baby brother slept. It was a relaxing start to the weekend.



Slow Cooker Cornbread

1 package cornbread mix, prepared according to directions
OR
Your favorite homemade cornbread recipe, prepared

Spray cooker with non stick spray. Mix cornbread according to package directions.


Pour into small (3-4 quart) slow cooker. Cook for 1 to 4 hours on HIGH until tested with a toothpick.


The verdict:
The direction I got from A Year of Crockpotting said to cook for 3 to 4 hours on HIGH, but mine was done after 1 1/2 hours. It might have even been done around an hour, but by the time I realized I smelled cornbread, it might have been past the perfect time...but it still tasted great and there were no leftovers! I will make this again, but watch the cooking time a little closer. 

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meatless Menu Planning (aka here comes Lent)

I just realized Lent starts this week, so I'm trying to accommodate it my menu plan. I am not a cradle Catholic, so remembering to create meatless nights during Lent always sneaks up on me. My experience in learning the food sub-culture of Catholics is an on-going process!

The classic go-tos of cheese pizza and fish sticks are fine for the first week, but I like to work in some meals that are proven family favorites.

For all of those who don't observe meatless Fridays in Lent, feel free to use this as another post to broaden your menu-planning!

Here are some recipes I'm planning on pulling from during Lent:










What are your family's go-to meatless meals?



Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Flashback Saturday for March 5, 2011

 Flashback Saturday is a way to introduce some posts
that might be lost in the shuffle of years' past!

A year ago this week I posted some great recipes for:




Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baked Rice


The works well to throw in the oven alongside your main dish and save the effort (and make the best use of your oven's heat!)


I sometimes make a double recipe in a 9 x 13 inch pan, then froze the remainder that we didn't eat for a quick side dish for another night.

Recipe: Baked Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water/stock
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish (I used an 8 x 8 pan) with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Put on the ingredients into the dish and stir to combine.
  3. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cooking time (duration): 7
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: dinner
My rating: 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Slow Cooker Tuna Noodle Casserole


I am a little hesitant to try new slow cooker recipes with pasta in them as they can sometimes turn into goopy messes. But the lure of my slow cooker usually pulls me in, as it did with this recipe.

Tuna Noodle Casserole hasn't been made in my house in a long time because my go-to recipes use a "cream of" soup, so I enjoyed making the white sauce from scratch.

I have started making a list of meals for Lent instead of cheese pizza, and along with Salmon Cakes and Pan Fried Tilipia, this would make an easy meatless meal to put together.

The verdict?
The cooking time on this was right and the consistency was perfect: not too goopy, but still combined well enough to be total comfort food.

I used french fried onions as my topping, as they were leftovers from the Super Bowl (thanks Beth!) and that was a bonus to me! I don't think I would buy them specifically to top this casserole, but it was fun treat. The topping doesn't get too crunchy as the crockpot keeps all moisture inside.

Although the leftovers were still good the next day, I preferred them the first night, straight out of the crockpot.

I'm sharing this at Frugal Upstate's Frugal Food Series: Tuna.

Slow Cooker Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth (I used homemade)
1 - 13 oz can evaporated milk
6 ounces cream cheese
5 ounce can tuna, drained well and flaked
1 heaping cup frozen peas
salt and black pepper
8 ounces uncooked penne
1/2 to 1 cup of your family's favorite topping: cornflakes, potato chips, or french fried onions

Slow Cooker Tuna


Instructions

In a medium size skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then cook the onions and mushrooms until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring to avoid clumping, until thickened into a thin white sauce. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the tuna and peas and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the penne in boiling water for half of the time suggested on the box. You want the pasta undercooked. Drain and add to the tuna sauce and stir to coat evenly.
Use a medium round slow cooker and coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the cooker, and cover with the topping. Cover and cook on High until hot and bubbly, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or on Low for 4 hours. Serve immediately.


Cooking time (duration): 25
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner
My rating: 4 stars: ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)


Creatively Domestic

Simple Cooking | Easy Cooking