Saturday, November 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder

What's your favorite kitchen appliance? Mine is the Slow Cooker.  I just read an article about a new slow cooker that can be turned on and off via your smart phone.  This may go on my Christmas list.

After a busy day at work, especially those occurring on Monday's, nothing is better than coming home and dinner is ready.  Corn Chowder is one of my favorite soups.   When I saw this recipe, I was thrilled to find a recipe designed for the slow cooker!

The original recipe calls for heavy cream.  I learned a trick (I think from Pioneer Woman?) to add cornmeal as a thickening agent, no heavy cream needed.  Equally as rich with much less calories and fat.

Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder
Adapted from Mama Loves Food!

  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • 2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (approximately 5 medium sized potatoes), NOT peeled, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 8 cups (about 2 pounds) kernel corn
  • 1 medium/large sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 6 - 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • salt & pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients except cornmeal in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.
  3. Blend about half the soup using an immersion blender or just scoop it into your upright blender then return to slow cooker).
  4. Mix 1/2 cup cornmeal with a cup of the broth from the soup, stir into soup and cook on high for 15 - 20 minutes.  This acts as a thickening agent, no cream needed.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Special Veteran

On this Veterans Day as, we pause to remember and thank our Veterans. I'd like to pay tribute to my late Father who served in Pearl Harbor!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lime Mad Madelines - SRC

It's my favorite Monday of the month, Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  If you're not familiar with Secret Recipe Club, you can read all about it here!  It's so much fun.  I am proud to be a member.  For the month of November, I was assigned Jane's Adventures in Dinner.  Jane's blog is one of those, you could spend hours looking through.  She has so many wonderful recipes and beautiful photography. Jane lives in Canada, in addition to having a fabulous blog, she loves to cook and drink wine! 

Do you have any baking pans that you rarely use?  When browsing to decide my post for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was reminded that I do, my madeline pan.  Actually the problem is, I need a larger kitchen (are you reading Tim?), a few of my specialty baking items are stored in a big tote in the garage.  I often forget to use them. Sounds logical doesn't it?  Reminded of my pan in the garage by Jane's recipe for Lime Madelines, I decided to give that pan some use!

If you're looking for a just slightly sweet yet delicious cookie, give these a try.  Perfect to serve with afternoon tea or a dish of ice cream.  This recipe goes together quickly and results in a beautiful treat.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Red Cabbage Slaw

Do you have a go to cole slaw recipe? I do, this one!  I think I made it at least 5 times this summer.  When my CSA basket contained a beautiful head of red cabbage, I decided to branch out and find a new recipe.   This recipe was so easy using my newest kitchen "toy", a Vitamix.  I've been eying them for a couple of years and finally took the plunge.  For those of you who are QVC shoppers, you'll know what I mean when I say it was on easy pay.  Those purchases never seem to sting quite as bad or at least so I tell myself.

What beautiful colors and great flavors!  The cranberries and nuts make a delicious addition to this tangy cole slaw.

Red Cabbage Slaw

 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped
 1/2 cup grated carrot
 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used greek yogurt)
 1/4 cup dried cranberries
 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
 1 tablespoon milk, or more as needed
 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon white sugar, or more to taste

  1. Combine cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise, cranberries, walnuts, milk, cider vinegar, and sugar in a bowl; stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

October?  Is it really October already?  I love all things October except for what comes after October in the midwest, winter!  One of my favorite things about October is pumpkin!!

For October's Secret Recipe Club (SRC), I was assigned The Hobo Kitchen.  If you're not familiar with what SRC is all about, you can read more about it here.  The blogger behind The Hobo Kitchen is Ellie.  Ellie was  born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas and lived there until she was 16. She moved to the US back in the late 90's resides in Hoboken, NJ.  She's been a blogger since 2008!  There's so many great recipes on her blog, check it out!!!

Not sure what it says about me but when browsing Ellie's recipes, I was immediately drawn to her Boozy Cupcakes section.  I guess it's because booze and cupcakes happen to be two of my favorite things, don't think bad of me Ok?!!.    Since it was October, her Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, seemed like the perfect recipe. 

Ellie said the recipe wasn't quite as sweet as she would have liked, so I added 1/2 cup more white sugar.  I found the sweetness just right, not too sweet and the spices were perfect.  I was really excited about the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.  Like Ellie, I wish the frosting had a bit more maple flavor but it was still delicious.

Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-spice
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Sam Adams Octoberfest beer (or a similar seasonal beer)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Combine the cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl or contain
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together, then set aside.
4) Use an electric mixer to cream the butter for several minutes, until white and fluffy.
5) Beat in sugars and spices and mix for about 3 minutes. It will look grainy at first, but just keep beating.
6) Add the eggs one at a time, beating for ~1 minute after each addition.
7) Beat in the pumpkin puree.
8) Add the flour mixture in three additions and the beer in two additions. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the beer. Beat after each addition.
9) Beat the batter on high speed for 30 seconds. The batter will be loose and smooth.
 10) Pour the batter into cupcake liners and fill about 2/3 of the way.
11) Bake 18-20 minutes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup maple butter (I used regular butter)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1) Using a mixer, beat the butter for several minutes until white and fluffy.
2) Add cream cheese and beat until incorporated with the butter.
3) Add the maple butter and maple syrup and beat until incorporated.
4) Slowly add the confectioner's sugar. You can add more or less sugar depending on how sweet you like your frosting. Beat until fluffy.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Individual Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

Whoever is responsible for starting this salted caramel trend, thank you!  I love all things salted caramel, it's that perfect combination of sweet and salty.  Caramel can be very sweet and the addition of salt makes it just about perfect.

I was looking for a dessert for my monthly BUNCO group.  Individual Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes?  Perfect! 

The original recipe called for an oreo cookie crust.  When I did my grocery shopping, I spaced off getting the oreo's.  I used a chocolate graham cracker crust instead. 

Individual Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Cheesecake Filling

16 oz (448g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60g) yogurt*
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (180g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or regular size)
Salted caramel sauce (I used a jarred sauce or you can make your own)


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with 18 liners.

For the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse the whole graham crackers  into a fine crumb. Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter, sugar and cocoa powder together in a medium sized bowl. Press 1 heaping Tablespoon of mixture into the bottom of each liner.   (I used a juice glass to firm up the crust in the liner) You should have enough for 16-18 cups. Bake for 5 minutes and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.

For the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the sugar and yogurt and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and mini chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into the crusts until nearly full. Bake for 20-23 minutes. The centers will still be slightly jiggly, that's OK. The centers may also have risen up quite a bit, but they will deflate as the cheesecakes cool. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature, at least 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least two hours.

Right before serving, top each cheesecake with salted caramel and additional chocolate chips, if desired. Cover cheesecakes tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store cheesecakes (without caramel) in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
*Sour cream OR nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek or regular yogurt is OK.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Layered Greek Dip

If you live in the Midwest, chances are you are familiar with the Hy-Vee grocery store chain. They're slogan is "a helpful smile in every aisle" and it's so true. They're associates are so helpful and often I find great ideas for a meal or side when I am in the store. Today's post is a recipe they were sampling one Saturday while I was doing my weekly shopping. This is a take on everyone's favorite layered dip. The difference with this one is it's healthier. It's fresh, delicious and did I mention healthier? I tried this a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner and it was a hit!

Layered Greek Dip
Recipe Courtesy of Hy-Vee

2 (8 oz) each containers flavored hummus
3/4 cup chopped cucumbers
1 plum tomato, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sliced black olives
3 T green onions

Organic Blue Corn Chips

Spread hummus on platter. Top with cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, olives and onions. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Serve with chips.