Thursday, June 08, 2017

Lemon-Kissed Homemade Tapioca Pudding

Sometimes we just crave old-school, from-scratch desserts ... recipes perhaps that our mothers and grandmothers made throughout our childhoods. For me, that often means desserts like, homemade banana pudding, Texas sheet cake and gelatin pretzel dessert. It, also, means tapioca pudding. My grandmother used to make the best homemade puddings. My favorite was always tapioca, which works well for me even to this day because it is, also, my kids' favorite type of pudding.


I have made traditional tapioca pudding numerous times for my children over the years. Recently, I experimented with a lemon version. And, I just adore the fresh twist. The lemon is not overpowering, but is present just enough to rock the boat in the typical-vanilla-pudding sea. And, this pudding isn't one that is overly sweet, which is part of why I love making it at home. I control the ingredients.

Basic pantry and refrigerator staples are the foundation of tapioca pudding - pearl tapioca, milk, water, vanilla, eggs, salt and sugar. With a touch of lemon zest and juice added, the result is a super satisfying, refreshing and unexpected dessert that I'm sure you'll fall in love with, too.

Keep in mind that you need to use actual pearl tapioca. (Do not use the instant tapioca powder that is typically used as a thickening agent.) Also, note that the lemon flavor will develop as the pudding completely cools and hangs out in the fridge. So, don't think when tasting it at the time of preparation that the lemon essence isn't present. It will be there ... just be patient. The pudding really does need, at least, a few hours to chill in the fridge for the perfect consistency and for the flavors to develop.

Serves 4.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Festive Farro Rainbow Taco Salad

If you're anything like me, taco salads are a favorite. The blending of simple ingredients into one salad that's loaded with spice, texture and freshness always seems to be a hit. In our house, we prefer our taco salads without meat. {This particular one could easily be adapted to include some grilled chicken or shrimp, however, if you desire.} I find that the farro is pretty hearty and actually mimics the texture somewhat of ground beef. I season it up simply in this recipe by blending it with fresh salsa, so it has a lot of flavor and a little kick. Building this salad using blue tortilla chips, tomatoes, corn, iceberg lettuce, sweet peppers and cheddar cheese drives home the rainbow theme and yields quite the pretty presentation.


Farro is a grain that is pretty easily found in most supermarkets these days. You could replace it with brown rice or quinoa if you'd like here, but I think you'll agree that the use of cooked farro is a great choice in taco salads.

This taco salad is hearty and filling enough to be a meal all on its own. And, it makes for a quick and easy-to-prepare weeknight dinner that is especially satisfying in the summer.

Serves 4.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Classic Macaroni Salad

A true summer staple, Macaroni Salad is a throw-back to so many of our childhoods and a side dish that never quite goes out of style. With simple ingredients and easy prep, it's a recipe that I come back to time and time again. It's perfect alongside baked beans, corn on the cob and watermelon wedges at cook-outs. Our grandmothers and moms knew a thing or two about easy, delicious recipes. And, Macaroni Salad is just one of those recipes that truly stands the test of time.


Grab some elbow noodles, make a creamy {and quick} dressing, dice up a few vegetables, toss in some chopped boiled eggs and give the whole thing a stir. It's a great make-ahead option for picnics and warm-weather gatherings. And, it always disappears quickly.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

No-Fail Oven-Roasted Eye of Round Roast

I have struggled with preparing eye of round roasts for years. It has always been hit or miss - mostly miss. The beef was either incredibly tough and overcooked {think jerky or shoe leather} or completely raw in the middle. I have strived to find a recipe that would not fail me ... one that was simple and uncomplicated, but would yield perfect results every time. I wanted a predictable outcome ... not results that I had to cross my fingers over and pray to the gods that the meat would be edible. Well, I have found the perfect recipe and method. Eye of Round Nirvana. Heavens opening. Angels singing. Perfection.


I did quite a bit of research recently online to try to unlock the secret to preparing this particular cut of beef. One thing I discovered was that I was cooking my roast at too low of a temperature, cooking it for too long and not allowing a long enough resting period. I, also, realized a few other key tips like, it is best to roast the meat with the fat side up and that there is no need to add any liquid {or even oil} of any sort to the pan.

This is seriously such an uncomplicated, simple method to follow. Know, however, that there is a bit of time involved. You'll actually be leaving the roast in the oven - after some initial high-temp cooking time for like, two hours with the oven off. Seriously. Do not open the door. No peeking. No poking. Just let it sit in there. Please - trust me. And, I definitely encourage you to use a meat thermometer for this recipe. You need to make sure that your beef is cooked precisely to your liking.

Regarding the seasoning, I have chosen to use a basic steakhouse seasoning blend that includes salt, pepper, garlic and a few dried herbs. But, simple salt and pepper can be used. {Whatever your fancy on beef.}

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Grilled Asparagus with Maple Walnuts and Savory Yogurt

Lightly grilled asparagus comes together with a super simple Greek yogurt sauce and some quickly-glazed maple walnuts for an incredibly easy and healthful side dish. This is a recipe that takes mere minutes to prepare, but is one that truly celebrates the freshness and beauty of asparagus - especially during the spring.


I have been testing a good deal of asparagus recipes over the past week or so. I made a farro salad with chopped grilled asparagus and tomatoes. I tried a Parmesan-crusted baked asparagus recipe, but still can't quite manage to keep the crust to stay fully on the asparagus. {I may keep working on that one because it was very tasty.}

After testing this particular recipe for this post, I came to the conclusion, however, that I really prefer keeping things pretty simple and uncomplicated when it comes to asparagus. This recipe really highlights asparagus. Just a few other ingredients amp up the dish. Greek yogurt is mixed with lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and a little za'atar {a Middle Eastern Spice Blend}, then drizzled on top of the grilled asparagus. Maple walnuts top it all off for come crunch and sweetness. It's a beautiful, quick side dish that I'm sure asparagus lovers are sure to savor and enjoy.


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Yields 2 - 3 servings.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cheesy BBQ Flatbread with Grilled Vegetables

I seriously cannot express to you nearly enough just how awesome this recipe is. I know this flatbread may not look super knock-your-socks-off impressive. And, I can attest that this certainly isn't a complicated or sophisticated dish. But, it's just one of those things that once you start making your way through this at the dinner {or lunch or snack or anytime} table, you'll come to understand just what I am talking about. If you're a lover of barbeque sauce, cheese, and/or grilled veggies, this is right up your alley. I know it is mine. {So much so that I've made this three times in the past week.}


Using store-bought naan bread {found in the bread or bakery section in most supermarkets these days} makes this a super simple recipe to whip up. {Soft pita bread could, also, be used.} A bounty of freshness from the sweet corn, onions, peppers and fresh thyme makes this flatbread a real winner. Some zip and sweetness comes from the inclusion of bbq sauce. And, a little cheddar cheese makes the whole thing truly sing.

Regarding the bread, you want something that isn't too thin and is rather soft. This dish turns out best when the flatbread just kinda warms through during a few, quick minutes in the oven. It should still remain tender and soft for service. Nothing super thin, crispy or crunchy.

One last thing I'd like to mention ... we experimented with a few different kinds of barbeque sauce for this. We have our favorites for certain types of grilled meats and the like. For this? It has to be Kraft Original. I mean, go with what you like. But, we found old-school Kraft to be our choice.

NOTE: Grilled or breaded chicken {already cooked} that has been cut into small dice can be added for those desiring more than just vegetables on their flatbread. {I did use some chicken during one of the times that I recipe tested this flatbread - as shown in the photo below.}

Joyously Domestic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. You can read my full disclosure statement here. This post contains affiliate links to amazon.com.

Yields 4 flatbreads / Serves 4.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Simple Potato and Corn Soup

I have shared several potato soup recipes here on the blog since its start in 2012. Some were slow cooker ones. Some called for summer sweet corn off of the cob. A couple were spicy versions. Bacon and lots of cheese were the highlights of a couple. But, for this particular recipe, I've broken it down to the basics. A simple, straight-forward soup. Simple, no-fuss ingredients. Very simple, easy prep. On the table in around thirty minutes from start to finish.


The result is a creamy soup that is loaded with chunks of potato and pops of corn kernels. This is the type of soup that you want to hunker down with on the couch on a chilly evening - a blanket atop your lap and remote in hand - and just savor each comforting, homey bite.

It's an ideal soup to make for weeknight dinners due to the ease and simplicity of the recipe. And, if you'd like to make dinnertime even easier, you can have the potatoes prepped the night before or morning of, too. Just keep the chunks submerged in cold water in a lidded bowl in the fridge, then drain before utilizing them in this recipe.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles

Deeply savory, beefy and hearty, my Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles is sure to become a family favorite. This is one of the simplest slow cooker dinners that you could probably make. The preparation is beyond easy and quick. And, the list of ingredients is a super short one. All that's required is a beef roast, frozen egg noodles and a few other basic pantry staples. And, with just a few minutes of your time in the morning, you'll have everything set in motion for a hot, comforting meal come dinnertime. No canned soups here. No store-bought seasoning packets. And, no need to even sear the meat on the stove top. Simple, breezy and easy.


Frozen egg noodles are utilized in this recipe and are added during the last couple of hours of cooking. I have been easily able to find them near the frozen ravioli and bread dough at most supermarkets these days. If you can't get your hands on them, I think you could possibly use dried egg noodles from the regular pasta aisle, but I can't truly advise on the exact cooking time for them since I have not tried using them in this recipe. Also, they may not contribute much to the thickening of the "gravy" in this recipe. {I do have a killer stove top Beef and Noodles recipe here on the blog that uses homemade egg noodles if you'd like to go that route.}

NOTE: The recipe begins with five cups of stock when the roast first starts in the slow cooker. However, you may find that you need to pour in some additional liquid as the noodles cook later in the cooking process if your noodles are thickening things too quickly or if you simply prefer a thinner consistency to the "gravy."

Joyously Domestic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. You can read my full disclosure statement here. This post contains affiliate links to amazon.com.

Yields 6 servings.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Soft Banana Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

These cookies, my friends, are seriously one of the best cookies that you'll ever bake and perhaps the best cookies you may ever consume. I know that there are oodles of cookie recipes out there in baking-land. But, these are something spectacular. This recipe is my mother's ... one that she has made for years and years. The cookies are truly a family favorite {along with her Slow Cooker Steak in Golden Mushroom Cream Sauce recipe}. She is asked to make these particular cookies for most any special gathering. And, when the grandkids show up at her house, it's pretty much a given - almost without fail - that they will ask her for these cookies. She usually keeps batches of them tucked away in her freezer. And, truth be told, they are barely given adequate time to thaw before everyone - including the adults - are diving into them.


Ripe, mashed bananas - lending both amazing flavor and extra moisture - are used in the dough. Mini chocolate chips lend just the right amount of crunch as you make your way through each chewy, soft bite. These are not dense like some traditional chocolate chip cookies. Rather, the texture is light, fluffy and ultra-soft.

I highly urge you to try this recipe. And, I'd love for you to come back and let me know how you like these. I think you'll find that these become a family favorite for you, too.

Yields 4 dozen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Potluck-Style Crunchy Asian Ramen Salad

This recipe is a throw-back to the hip-happenin' days when this salad was a staple at so many church potlucks, family gatherings, summer picnics and reunions. Perhaps it is still a mainstay in some circles at get-togethers today, but it's been quite awhile since I've seen it around. It happened to cross my mind the other day when I was cutting up cabbage for our St. Patrick's Day dinner. I had not eaten this salad in years, so I was excited to make it for my family to see if they'd love it as much as I remember loving it.


The salad is a marriage of thinly-sliced cabbage, lots of crunchy vegetables, sliced almonds, a little fruit for sweetness and crushed, toasted ramen noodles. The whole shebang gets dressed with a simple Asian-style dressing that probably uses ingredients most of us tend to keep on hand.

Many recipes call for inclusion in the dressing of the actual chicken-flavored seasoning packet from the ramen noodle package. I have had the dressing both with it and without. Both are good. I opted to make the dressing without it for nutritional reasons. {If you would like to include it as it does add a little something "extra" that isn't present when omitting it, I recommend lessening the soy sauce called for in the dressing to only 1 tablespoon and using only ONE packet of the chicken flavoring.}

TIME SAVING TIP:  If desired, packaged coleslaw mix can be subbed in for the hand-prepped shredded cabbage and carrots.

SERVES 6 - 8.