Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Dessert in a Mug

Do you ever have those times when you want something sweet? What am I talking about, of course you haven’t, that’s only me. Sometimes in the evening after dinner, I just want something, just a little something. Know what I mean? I don’t want a bowl of ice cream. Well, maybe I do, but my waist does not. This little secret is the best little secret I’ve uncovered. I cannot begin to take credit for it, I’m not sure where it originated, all I know is my mother-in-law is a genius for sharing it with me! If this is old news, by all means, please move on to my next article. If you are like me, read on!

This is really detailed and has a long ingredient list, so get your pen and paper ready. Ha! Just kidding. The easiest EVER! I wish I could take credit for it. If anyone out there knows where it originated, please tell me!

Dessert in a Mug – aka 1,2,3 cake

1 pkg angel food cake mix

1 pkg any other flavor cake mix (I’ve got chocolate. Lemon is up next)

Instructions:

1. Mix dry cake mixes well (I used a large zipper bag so I can just store it there)

2. In a microwave safe coffee mug (or large ramekin) mix 3 tbsp mix, 2 tbsp water. Stir it well.

3. Microwave for 1 minute on high.

4. Enjoy your dessert in a mug/minute.

The cake will be on the spongy side, I think it has to do w/the nature of the angel food cake. But it’s very moist and quick and easy. And you can eat it w/o feeling guilty. Top it w/chocolate syrup, fruit, or whipped cream if you desire. Enjoy!

Store remaining mix in an airtight container, hence the zipper bag.

 

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The BEST Roasted Potatoes. EVER

Hello my friends! Yes, contrary to the rumors, I am still alive and kicking and have an amazing recipe to share. We’ve had some incredibly warm weather already this year, never really had winter to be honest. Today’s a busy day, so my plan, grill burgers. Everyone loves my burgers. Next question, what to have with? chips? no. Salad? well, I’d eat it, but get nothing but complaints from the short people in my house. Let me think about it. Ah! I do have a bag of potatoes hiding in a cabinet, I think I”ll try roasting them.

I googled a few recipes, just to get all the what to do’s and how to do’s of roasting potatoes, since I’ve only done it maybe once before. A long time ago. What I came up with really turned out amazing! I’ll tell you right now, be careful. Be very very careful with these potatoes. You will want to eat them until you are ill, they are so good! (which, incidentally, was nearly what I did!)

Parmesan/herb roasted potatoes

4-5 potatoes scrubbed
1/4C grated parmesan/asiago cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. cut each potato into fourths and then cut each piece into 1/4″ slices. Place in a bowl. Toss with olive oil to coat.
3. Mix all other ingredients together and sprinkle over potatoes. Toss to coat.
4. Spread as evenly as possible on a greased jelly roll/cookie sheet.
5. Bake 25 minutes. Turn. Bake another 20 minutes. Some will be golden brown, others still white. Check tenderness. If potatoes are fork tender, you’re done!

Enjoy! These would be great with steak or pork chops. Yummy! I’ll be making these again! Let me know what you think!

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Peppermint Cake

I know, right? Not the two things you’d normally assume go together, but trust me, it is AWESOME! Need to make a dessert to impress and amaze your friends and guests? This is it! If you can mix a box cake mix and grease a fluted pan, you can so make this! Sorry, I don’t seem to be able to take pics these days! I made it for a teacher luncheon at my daughter’s school today and put the cake on a dinner plate that’s white w/silver trim and used a cranberry red charger plate. O.M.G. Just gorgeous and festive if I do say so myself! If you don’t believe me, you can ask the teachers!

Peppermint Cake

1 pkg white cake mix

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 tsp red food coloring

1/2 C + 2 tbsp crushed peppermint candies

1 tub ready to use vanilla frosting

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. prepare cake according to package instructions.

2. Well grease a fluted cake pan (aka Bundt), and preheat oven to 350F.

3. In a small bowl, put 1C of cake batter. mix in red food coloring, peppermint extract, and 1/2C crushed candies.

4. Pour 1-1/2 C of remaining plain batter in bottom of fluted pan.

5. Carefully spoon red/peppermint mixture over plain batter. Top with remaining batter.

6. Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 min, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

7. Cool in pan 5 min, then turn out on a cooling rack to cool completely. **Note-don’t allow cake to stand in pan too long, any of the peppermint candies in the peppermint layer that have sunk thru the batter to touch the pan itself, will stick to the pan as it cools and when you turn it out, will stick to the pan and take chunks out of the cake.

8. When cake has cooled, place it on the serving dish you want to use.  Microwave container of frosting (minus the foil top and lid) for approx 30 seconds on high, or until the frosting is liquid enough to be pourable. Drizzle over the cake to your liking. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp crushed candies.

**Fun side note*** peppermint candies will melt. Yes, MELT. If you want to have some on your cake that look a little different, you can put unwrapped candy on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a 350 oven for  5-7 min and they will melt. They will spread out and become a flattened disk about 2 inches in diameter.  They look really pretty and fracture in a different way than the regular, unmelted mints.  If you’re really quick and talented, you can use a metal spatula and before they cool, wrap them around a wooden handle to give them a curved or conical appearance.

**ANOTHER NOTE** I had candy canes about because it was nearly Christmas and thought, hey why not use them? They’ll be pretty and festive. Well, while they did look festive, they did not have the powerful peppermint kick the  mints do. The cake was not nearly as good with them. I love to taste the peppermint in the middle and it just didn’t happen the second time around.

Something else I thought about is using a chocolate cake mix. My children and I love chocolate mint anything. The next time I will try it that way, but leave out the red food coloring. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Thanksgiving always makes me think of good food. My thing is dessert. I love making dessert and trying new recipes. Especially when there are several people around to share with, which means there’s less for me to have to worry about eating! So, what this year? Pumpkin pie’s old hat, besides I just don’t like it. Apple pie? Did that last year. I’d totally do it again, though, I’ve got a kicking recipe for upside down apple pie that is amazing. My mind was wandering on the apple thought. Hm. Apples are in season right now. I love caramel apples. I wonder, what about a caramel apple cheesecake? Genius, pure genius.  I did a search online and came up empty. I did find a recipe in my cabinet that I’d found a while ago for caramel pecan cheesecake. Ha! And I’ve got a recipe for an apple topping that would work perfectly! Voila! Caramel Apple cheesecake!

This:
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Plus this:

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Equals this:

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I must say, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but holy cow it’s really good. My bff said it was the best cheesecake she’d ever had. In the last pic you can even see the caramel oozing out of the cheesecake! Yum!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

2pkg reduced fat cream cheese (8oz) softened

2 eggs

1-1/4 C sugar divided

1/2 tsp vanilla

20 caramels unwrapped

2 tbsp milk

1/2 C chopped pecans

1 premade graham cracker crust (6oz)

4 medium apples, peeled & coarsely chopped

4 tbsp butter

1-1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat cream cheese, 1/2C sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric or stand mixer on medium until well blended. Add eggs and mix until just blended.

2. In a small sauce pan, on medium/low heat, melt caramels with milk stirring frequently until caramels are completely melted. Stir in pecans and pour in bottom of pie crust.

3. Bake 40 minutes or until center is ALMOST set. cool and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Let cheesecake stand at room temp for at least 30 min prior to serving to allow caramel layer to soften. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

4. while cheesecake is baking, in a large skillet, melt butter and  saute apples, 3/4C sugar, cinnamon until apples are tender. Add 2 tsp corn starch to thicken if desired. Cool. Serve over cheesecake. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

This is so good. Even if you don’t want the apples, this cheesecake alone is good and would be delish with other toppings as well, I’m sure, like maybe chocolate! Isn’t everything good with chocolate? All I can say is be prepared for compliments out the wazoo and an empy pie dish!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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New: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Before you ask, yes, I posted a similar recipe last year, but this one turned out much better, hence the ‘New’ at the beginning! I’m loving my slow cooker these days. Running wild and crazy trying to keep up with two kids at different schools and different calendars. Plus soccer and soon there will be basketball in the mix as well. I try to keep several slow cooker recipes handy. This is a new fave. Oh, sorry, no pics for this one either, it didn’t last long and I didn’t think about it til all that was left was dirty dishes. And, well, those aren’t very attractive!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1-2 lb stew meat in chunks

2 celery stalks sliced

1 medium onion chopped

2 carrots peeled and sliced

2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed

1C frozen mixed vegetables

1 can beef broth

12oz V8

1 can tomato sauce

1/4 C red wine

2 tbsp Worcestershire

5 to 6 whole peeled garlic cloves

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper

1. Put all ingredients, except frozen vegetables, in large slow cooker. Cook on high 7-8 hours.

2. 30 min to 1hr before you are ready to eat, add in the frozen veggies.

***Hint: when I made this, I didn’t parboil the potatoes and carrots and after 4hrs on high and 3 on low, the potatoes and carrots  were still not completely cooked and a bit on the crunchy side. You could cook it on a lower temp if you parboil the potatoes & carrots for 5 to 10 min before putting them in the slow cooker.

To parboil you place the veggies you are cooking in boiling water and cook them for a short time, they’re not cooked, but only beginning the cooking process, then you finish the cooking process in whatever your method is for the recipe, slow cooker, oven, etc.

I will definitely parboil next time around.

This recipe is more liquid than my first, which makes me like it a bit more. Maybe I should call it ‘Stoup’. If you want to thicken it up, you can mix 2tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water and add it to the stew 30 min prior to eating.

Remove the bay leaves, ladle into bowl and enjoy with some crusty bread or biscuits. YUM!

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An oldie but a goodie!

Once again, I find myself living in an oven, and I”m not liking it! I like to USE my oven, not LIVE in it! But since a move to a cooler climate doesn’t look like it’ll be happening any time in my future, I’ll just have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

One problem with living in the oven rather than using it, I am hard pressed to want to use said oven b/c of the heating of my kitchen. My home has an open floor plan and the kitchen/dining area/family room are all together, making a larger space more difficult to cool. Any one else feeling my pain right now? Yep, I thought so.

With that in mind, I broke out one of my old favorite recipes. I always loved these as a child, but now….well, I still love them! Maybe even more b/c I can have a yummy, decadent treat w/o turning on my oven.

What on earth am I going on about? No bake cookies. I know you’ve had them. I think they’re a requirement for kids. And if you haven’t tried them, you are in for a treat! These little babies are super easy to make and delicious to eat! I’m curious to see how long this batch makes it in my house! I’m also curious to find out if my daughter’s friend’s sister likes them. She announced to me that she did not like peanut butter. Not that she’s allergic, but that she didn’t like it. I probably looked at her like she sprouted an extra head when she told me this. I thought peanut butter was a food group for kids!

No Bake Cookies

2C sugar
1/2C milk
1/3C cocoa powder
2Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 heaping tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 C quick cook oatmeal

1. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, milk, cocoa and butter. Boil 1 min stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
3. Add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Stir well to blend.
4. Drop by spoonful on waxed/parchment paper to cool. Store in an airtight container. if you’re in a warm climate as I am, store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! And stay cool!

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Another slow cooker recipe: French Onion Soup! Mai oui!

Love me some French onion soup on a cold day, so imagine my delight when I came across this recipe (which I immediately modified)! I will share it with you as it mostly was originally and tell you next time I will not add quite so many onions, I’ll use half as many as it called for, it was very oniony, good, but oniony.

Slow cooker French onion soup

6 cans beef broth

6 medium onions chopped (I’ll use 3 next time)

3 bay leaves

3 tbsp butter

1-1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

2tsp onion salt

3 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp Kosher salt

5 to6 whole garlic cloves peeled (if desired)

French Bread sliced approximately 1″ thick and toasted

shredded parmesan/mozzarella/asiago cheese

1. Saute onions in butter until onions are crisp tender.

2. Put all ingredients except french bread and cheese in 4 qt slow cooker. Cook for 5 to 7 hrs or until onions are tender.

3. Remove bay leaves and  ladle into bowls and top with toasted French bread and a sprinkle of cheese. 

This is one of those recipes that makes a big batch and could easily be halved. It’s so delicious on a cold night without being too heavy. Enjoy!

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Tex-Mex Chicken Chowder

OMG! Once again, I read it wrong and it turned out ah-maz-ing! Sorry my friends, I don’t have a pic to share, it was gone too quickly and I thought if it too late! Sooooo good!

Tex-Mex Chicken Chowder

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast chopped

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies

1 C salsa verde/green enchilada sauce

1 each chopped green, red, and yellow bell peppers

1 medium onion chopped

3C water

2C frozen corn

2 to 3 fresh cloves of garlic chopped or pressed

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp salt

1C (8oz) reduced fat sour cream

1/2C (4oz) shredded cheddar cheese

1. in a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook chicken, peppers, garlic and onion in oil until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in water, corn, rice, green chilies, green salsa, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until rice is tender.

2. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cheese until cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips and chives if desired.

So good, and reheats well. My husband wants me to use a Poblano pepper next time I make this. It would add a different flavor.  If  you like Tex-Mex food, you will so love a nice hot bowl of this on a cold day! Enjoy!

If you want to cut some of the calories, feel free to omit the cheese and use fat free sour cream.

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Tuscan Chicken

By now, if you’ve been hanging out with me on a regular basis, you know I love me some Italian food. I think in a former life I really must have been Italian. I love the food, the wine, the language sounds incredible (although I know not a single word besides names of pasta), the scenery. A trip to Italy is at the top of my bucket list. So, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that when I found this recipe, I ran around in little circles like a yippy dog (minus the tinkle on the floor!). It’s delicious, and even better, EASY!  Are you ready???

I know, right? Makes me hungry right now!

 

Tuscan Chicken

1C chopped onion

1tbsp minced garlic (or several cloves pressed)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can Italian diced tomatoes, drained

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1C each chopped red and yellow bell pepper

1tbsp olive oil

3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4C shredded parmesan

2/3C chicken broth

hot cooked pasta (I prefer linguini)

1. saute onions and peppers in oil 4 to 5 min or until crisp tender

2. add garlic and cook 1-2 min or until veggies are tender

3. place chicken in a resealable bag and flatten to 1/2″ and place over veggies

4. add tomatoes, broth, vinegar and salt

5. bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.

See what I mean? EASY! If the red and yellow peppers are way expensive (like most of the time around here) it works well with green peppers as well, they just give a different flavor.

This is how I like it! A green veggie on the side and nice glass of zin to go with! Mangia!

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Cranberry walnut scones?

When I hear the word ‘scone’, I think dry, crumbly biscuit. But that’s just me. Maybe the ones I’ve had really should not be indicative of what they really are. Well you know me by now and my fondness for trying new recipes and cookbooks, so when I was thumbing through a Bisquick cookbook (Yes, a Bisquick cookbook. It was on a $5 rack and never being one to turn down a cheap cookbook, I got it in hopes of learning some new ways to use my Bisquick besides pancakes and waffles) and saw this recipe, I was hesitant. Mainly because I was afraid they’d taste like the generic, boring drop biscuits that I always end up with, no matter what I add to the batter. Ha ha! Look at what came out of my oven!

I know, they look like Mickey Mouse, but are so delish!

Cranberry Walnut Scones

2 tbsp water

1C dried cranberries

2C original or reduced fat Bisquick

1/4C sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3tbsp firm butter or margarine

2/3C  buttermilk or skim milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3C chopped walnuts

1 tbsp butter or margarine melted

1. preheat oven to 425. pour water over cranberries in 1qt microwave safe dish, cover w/plastic wrap, keeping one side open to vent. Microwave on high 1 min. Uncover and allow to cool.

2. Mix Bisquick, sugar & cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in 3 tbsp butter using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives until mixture looks like fine crumbs. stir in milk, vanilla, cranberries and walnuts until just moistened.

3. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle w/additional sugar if desired. Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Brush w/1tbsp melted butter over warm scones and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

yield 12 scones. Omigosh these are so good. It turns out, my fear that they would be dry and crumbly and taste like bland biscuit mix was unnecessary. The friends I shared them with looked at me as if I’d just sprouted a second head when I offered them up, but after tasting them, they decided I wasnt’ a mutant after all! My husband couldn’t stop eating them! They are so delish! many times I try to cut fat out of a recipe by subbing applesauce, I don’t know how it would turn out in something like this. If you have done that, I’m interested to know the result! Enjoy!

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