Friday, November 17, 2017

Apple and Pear Crisp

If you're looking for a quick-to-assemble dessert that celebrates simple, seasonal ingredients, making an Apple and Pear Crisp just might be right up your alley. With some basic pantry ingredients {and some fruit, of course} and a tiny bit of prep time {mostly spent peeling and cutting the fruit}, you'll have this in the oven in a jiffy. All that'll be left to do is to sit back and enjoy the most tantalizing of aromas filling your kitchen. Like, seriously ... intoxicating. The end result is a slightly toothsome, buttery oat topping that bakes and bubbles up nestled among the nooks and crannies of tender slices of caramel-y, perfectly-spiced fruit. C'mon now. This is pretty much one of the most-comforting, old-school desserts on the planet.


Of course, any top-notch crisp must have a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top before digging in. {That's a given in my book.} The crisp can be served hot, warm or cold - whatever you prefer. And, I even give permission to enjoy any leftovers the next morning for breakfast. It's fruit and oats - breakfast staples, right?

Yields 6 servings.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Maple Dijon Hasselback Butternut Squash

Celebrate the beauty, seasonality and deliciousness of butternut squash by making this unique, fun recipe. Hasselback Butternut Squash is both fabulous in taste and a total show-stopper in presentation. The flavors of maple syrup and Dijon marry together in a herb-y glaze that undeniably compliments the roasted shingles of this slightly sweet orange-hued beauty. This is a side dish that will shine served next to a baked ham or roasted turkey. But, it's, also, enjoyable as a main dish served with a salad for a simple fall or winter dinner.


I am not going to lie to you, however. Preparation here is a bit of a time and effort investment, but is definitely worth it.

First the squash will need cut in half lengthwise. Then, you'll need to scoop out the pulp and seeds. Next, the two halves will need peeled.

Peeling a butternut squash is not the easiest task in the world. But, it is totally doable and totally worth the effort. It took me about ten minutes to peel mine. It pays to be sure to have sharp blades on your peeler. {I tried two different ones that I had. One was newer and so much easier to use.}

Following the peeling, the two halves will need to be popped into the oven for about twenty minutes just to start to soften the flesh so that it is easy to slice through. Please do not attempt to make your tiny cuts {shingles} while the squash is completely raw. Very risky and almost impossible.

After slicing, you'll be brushing on a glaze a few different times before and during the roasting process. And, at the end, you'll top the squash with chopped pecans just before hiking the oven temp up to give everything one last blast of really high heat.

Note that if your squash is super large {like mine}, you should be able to get four-to-six servings out of it so long as you're serving it as a side dish and not a main dish. If your squash is petite, you're probably looking at two-to-four servings.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Vegetarian Cauliflower Rice Taco Salad

I have been eating mostly vegetarian for over a year now. I would say that I am vegetarian probably ninety percent of the time. I still use chicken stock in many of my soups. I occasionally dribble a little gravy over my mashed potatoes when I make a big Sunday dinner for the family. And, being a food blogger means that I taste all of the dishes that I make while testing recipes - meat or otherwise. But, I never really sit down and eat an actual "meat forward" meal very often. One thing I have missed terribly is traditional tacos, taco salads and burritos. That was until I started making tacos with cauliflower rice.


It changed my life. Seriously. I can enjoy tacos again ... tacos that actually taste as if regular seasoned ground beef is included. Like, cauliflower rice seasoned with taco seasoning is amazing, guys. And, it tastes like, well ... taco meat. I will admit I was hesitant even as it was cooked up and ready in the pan. When I tasted it, I thought that it tasted like cauliflower rice cooked up with taco seasoning. But, get it in a taco or taco salad with all of the fixings ... mind blown.

I feel like a whole new world opened up to me with this concept. Frozen cauliflower rice may scare some of you. Please don't let it. Even my ten-year old daughter who despises cooked cauliflower said that it felt as if she was eating regular taco meat. (That's huge.)

For this post, I've utilized the cauliflower rice taco "meat" in a taco salad. But, it works just as great in regular tacos or loaded burritos. When we tried it in tacos, we definitely agreed that the one notable difference between cauliflower rice versus ground beef is the lack of fat/grease. But, once sour cream and/or guacamole was added into the taco, that void was totally filled. So, I would recommend the inclusion of one or the other (or both).

Yields 4 servings.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup with Parmesan Croutons

I often say that I could live on salads during the summer months and on soup during the chilly months {with maybe a casserole thrown in every now and then for good measure}. I've shared with you an abundance of soup recipes over the past five years here on Joyously Domestic. Recently, I posted a collection of Fourteen Tantalizing and Comforting Soup Recipes and it took off like wildfire here on the blog and on social media. So, I know I'm not alone in my adoration of soup.


Now, with that said, I understand that not everyone particularly digs cauliflower. But, even if you insist that it is the evilest of vegetables, I think you may be a bit surprised at just how amazing it is roasted and spun into a creamy soup. Seriously.

Just the roasted cauliflower alone almost did me in. I had to restrain myself from eating half of the batch when it came out of the oven ... before the soup-making process had really even gotten off of the ground. {I'll definitely have to randomly roast up a slew of cauliflower florets more often just for snacking purposes. For sure.}

The fabulous news about this soup? It is quite healthful. Can you believe the recipe has ZERO butter, milk or cream? It's, basically, a combo of cauliflower, garlic and chicken stock with a few seasoning components. {And, if you really wanna be healthy, I guess one could omit the croutons. But, I would not recommend it, friends.}

NOTE:  Know that the recipe as written only yields four smaller-sized servings. {This soup isn't necessarily one that a big, whopping bowl is needed at one sitting as it's somewhat decadent and rich in taste and texture. It's a pretty easy recipe to double, however, to feed a larger crowd if needed.

Yields 4 servings.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Sweet and Salty Halloween Bark

You can't go wrong with chocolate {or any type of candy really} this time of year. The spirits of ghosts and goblins may be in the air. But, truth be told ... sweets are on our minds. {What parent doesn't look forward to raiding those Trick-or-Treat buckets after the kiddos' bedtime on the night of October thirty-first?} As if we didn't get enough sugar this month, I give you Sweet and Salty Halloween Bark.


My kiddos and I love making different types of bark for different seasons. Besides the fact that it's a simple enough of a "recipe," barks are just so darn fun to make and they really allow for an abundance of creativity. What you include is pretty much up to you. It's a very adaptable, customizable recipe. By starting with a base of melted bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate, you create a foundation for whatever candy, nuts, dried fruit, sprinkles, etc. that suit your fancy.

NOTE: I highly recommend some sort of pretzels or salted nuts to create that ideal sweet and salty combination. The salty component really counteracts the amount of sweetness present. Furthermore, some coarse salt can be sprinkled on top of the melted chocolate, if desired, to really drive home the salty flavor.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fourteen Tantalizing and Comforting Soup Recipes

Fall is upon us. Winter will be here before we know it. In my household, this time of year means SOUP. I've complied some of my favorite and most-popular soup recipes from Joyously Domestic. Some are for the slow cooker. Some are vegetarian. A few are cream-based soups. A handful of them are more-healthful and good-for-you versions. Basically, there's something here for everyone.  
 
 
Just follow the links to check out the recipes for each soup. And, if you'd like to browse through all of my soup recipes, you can visit my RECIPES page here and look through the SOUPS, STEWS AND CHOWDERS section.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cheesy Stacked Enchilada Skillet Bake

Getting a wholesome, comforting meal on the table at dinnertime doesn't have to be a hassle. This recipe is such a simple one - quick and easy enough for busy weeknights. Layers of corn tortillas, ground beef in enchilada sauce, corn kernels and lots of cheese come together in bubbly, beautiful harmony to create a meal that kids and adults love.


I think you'll appreciate just how versatile this recipe is. Shredded cooked chicken can be subbed in for ground beef, for example. A drained can of black beans can be layered in with the corn if you so desire. A little Mexican rice can be tossed in. And, frankly, this would be perfect to throw together using up leftover beef, chicken or pork after Taco Night. What a fun, creative way to reimagine leftovers into a whole new meal.

A large, ten-inch cast iron skillet is recommended for this recipe. However, a medium-sized casserole dish would work fine if necessary.

Serves 6 - 8.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I think that most of us can agree that Macaroni and Cheese is like, one of the best dishes on earth. It's pretty much one of the ultimate comfort foods in life. I make many versions, but I really like this one because of how incredibly easy it is. It, literally, is just a dump-everything-in-the-slow-cooker kind of recipe. Stir it up, plop the lid on, turn the temp to low and walk away for a few hours. That's it. Seriously. {You don't even boil the noodles first.} The pasta ends up perfectly cooked {not mushy at all}, an amazing creamy sauce is created and the flavors are simply spot on.


This takes just a short time to cook {three and a half hours or so}, so I like that this is something I can get going shortly before the kids get out of school and it's ready just in time for dinner around six o'clock. This, also, would be just perfect as a side dish for Sunday dinner after church.

A warning, however ... this is {obviously} not diet food. It has pasta and butter and cheese and milk and eggs and more cheese. So, it definitely doesn't quite register on the "healthy" scale. But, isn't that what we love about Macaroni and Cheese? It's totally supposed to be a little indulgent and a whole lot of yumminess.

NOTE: DO NOT PRE-COOK THE NOODLES. THEY GO INTO THE SLOW COOKER STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX.

Yields 6 servings {as a side dish}

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Retro Cherry Pineapple Crunch Dessert

This is really taking it back retro-style to a dessert that I recall several of my family members making when I was growing up. And, it was something that my best friend's mom made on a regular basis. First, however, a little disclaimer ... this dessert is the furthest thing from healthy. Like, the ingredient list consists of two store-bought canned items, a cake mix, a little coconut and lots of butter. {Yeah, that kind of "furthest thing from healthy."} So, this is maybe something to make like, once a year on the occasion that you're craving it or simply wanting a dessert on the fly with little effort. What it lacks in nutritional value, however, is redeemed in how darn good it is. {Like, try-not-to-eat-half-of-it-all-by-yourself good.}


This is, basically, a dump cake. But, since I absolutely hate that name, I refer to this method of making a quick dessert as a "crunch cake" or "crunch dessert." {And, actually, it's really not a cake, so let's stick with "dessert."}

I combine both pineapple and cherries in this recipe. I am in love with the pink-hued result of the two fruits. I, also, like the contrast of both texture and flavor ... a little zip and tang from the pineapple along with the sweetness of the cherries. And, the coconut on the top is really recommended, so try not to skip it.

Yields 6 servings.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Easy Falafel Salad with Savory Pita Croutons

If you're a lover of falafel sandwiches, wraps or platters like I am, this is a fun take on the traditional way of serving {and eating} those delectable little chickpea fritters. And, with a couple of store-bought shortcuts, this salad is on the table in about fifteen minutes. It's fresh, healthful and light, yet is hearty enough to serve as a casual meal for two.


I'm always looking for fresh and unique salad ideas. I pretty much could live on salads all throughout the summer months. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I have gravitated towards more-frequent and deliberate meal prep with the focus on what I like to call "Intentional Eating." Instead of aimlessly grazing about my fridge and cupboards during the day {nibbling my way from a string cheese to a handful of granola to a spoonful of nut butter}, I have been trying to keep fresh, healthful ingredients on hand that either incorporate quickly into interesting, cravable salads or grain bowls for myself OR they inspire me to take a little time to meal prep a few days worth of quick-to-grab lunches.

Having frozen or fresh store-bought falafel on hand is especially lovely for me. I adore falafel. I do enjoy making from-scratch falafel, but don't always have the time {nor do I always want to take the time} to do so. I like to get bags of frozen falafel from Trader Joe's to keep on hand. But, I have, also, been noticing both refrigerated and frozen varieties more frequently in regular grocery stores, too.

NOTE: When I have made homemade falafel, I always follow Alton Brown's recipe. It never disappoints.

And while I do often make hummus from scratch, there are many really good brands and flavors of store-bought hummus these days. {I prefer the garlic or roasted red pepper versions of hummus for this salad.} I utilize hummus here as the base for the dressing. With just a bit of water to thin the hummus, you've got a quick, flavorful salad dressing that really ties everything together. With both falafel and hummus already in the fridge, whipping up this delicious salad is a total breeze.

Yields 2 servings.