Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slow Cooker All-In-One Italian Pork Tenderloin Dinner

We got hit with a bit of a winter storm here in Michigan in the afternoon on Tuesday. Knowing in the morning that the weatherman was mentioning possible power outages later in the day, I knew that I didn't want to have to worry about trying to make dinner without any power. So, I got out the slow cooker and got a pork tenderloin going quite early in the morning to ensure that dinner would be cooked and ready should power go out anytime after the storm hit. And, the awesome part ... all of the components of our dinner came together right in the slow cooker together.

Seriously, it takes like, maybe fifteen minutes in the morning to get this going. Grab your slow cooker. Toss in a small pork tenderloin {no need to sear first}, throw in some chunks of potatoes, pour on an Italian Parmesan vinaigrette and - partway through cooking - lay a foil packet of seasoned whole green beans on top. So simple. So delicious. And, clean-up is a breeze after dinner.

NOTE:  You could easily substitute 4 or 5 chicken breasts for the pork tenderloin in this recipe.  Also, if you didn't want your potatoes in with the Italian Parmesan vinaigrette, you could package those up separately in foil, too, with a little olive oil (or butter) and some seasoning.

Serves 4 - 6.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

French Onion Soup

I had been craving this soup for a couple of weeks now, but I don't often make it because two of my three children won't eat it (they are simply not onion fans).  So, when I do make it, it means I have to make something else for them to eat.  And, honestly, who enjoys cooking two different dinners at the end of the day? Well, Saturday was the perfect opportunity for me to make French Onion Soup, however, since my thirteen-year old was off at a band lock-in and our five-year old was spending the day at her cousin's house.  That meant that it was just my husband, my son and I at home for dinner ... and we all love, love, love this soup.

Please believe when I tell you that although the cooking time seems lengthy, the results are so totally worth it.  You may call it labor intensive, but I call it a labor of love.  The recipe is actually a very simple one ... just know that the onions really need time to cook slowly over very low heat so that they will caramelize correctly.  Also, the recipe does call for dry sherry or red wine.  I have made this soup without either of those ingredients and it is still amazing, but the sherry or wine does add a depth of flavor that will not be present if you omit.

My french onion soup recipe is adapted from a 1999 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Yields 4 - 6 servings (depending on the size of your soup crocks/bowls).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Joyously Domestic Giveaway

UPDATE 3/15/13:  THE WINNER OF THE CONTEST HAS BEEN CHOSEN.  The winner is Sleepy Headed Mom.  Thank you to everyone who entered!  More giveaways to come!

I am so excited to venture into holding some giveaways here on Joyously Domestic.  I truly value each of my readers and appreciate your support of Joyously Domestic.  Each time you visit the blog and our ad sponsors, it helps to allow the blog to continue operating.  Each comment, share, pin, tweet and like on various social media sites means a great deal to me, as well.  I know there are so many of you who share pieces of your own life with all of us, as well, through comments here and on our social media sites.  When I started Joyously Domestic, I especially wanted to create a "community atmosphere" that would allow us to feel connected based on the importance of family, recipe inspiration, love of food and all things domestic in all of our lives.  I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to build relationships with all of you.

And, now onto the giveaway ...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joyously Domestic Joins Twitter!

Quickie post today, readers.  I just wanted to extend an invitation to those of you who are on Twitter to head on over and follow JD.  Joyously Domestic recently hopped on the Twitter bandwagon after many inquires by readers about why the blog didn't have a Twitter link button.  Well, we do now! 

So, follow us HERE and spread the word!  I'm pretty new to the whole "Twitter thing," so thanks for your patience as I venture into new territory!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spiced Lime Vinaigrette Tilapia Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

I love, love, love my kids' openness to trying new foods.  With a day off from school yesterday due to President's Day, we ventured off to our closest large city for some shopping and lunch.  Well, it must have been "taste of the ocean" day at one particular store because there were employees up and down every aisle passing out all kinds of fish and seafood samples.  From shrimp to crab cakes to flounder to tilapia to salmon - in every flavor of sauce, breading and seasoning - my kids tried them all (and loved them all).  And, of course, they begged to pretty much buy them all.

Never mind that we simply went in there to pick up boxes of candy bars for Allanah's Washington D.C. trip fundraiser. (Wanna buy a candy bar?  They're only a dollar!)
We settled on some fresh tilapia.
We decided on using it in fish tacos. Spiced Lime Vinaigrette Tilapia Tacos with Pineapple Salsa to be exact. I love this recipe and it's actually quite simple to prepare. The vinaigrette for the fish consists of some basic taco-style seasonings, fresh lime juice and a little oil. Once brushed with the vinaigrette and cooked, the fish gets snuggled inside of a warm tortilla and topped with a super healthful, fresh pineapple salsa. Add on a little shredded cabbage and bright, fresh cilantro for the perfect fish taco.

Yields 8 tacos (4 servings).

Monday, February 18, 2013

JD on foodgawker - Finally!

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!  After months of rejected submissions to a couple of the top food photography sites, I was pleasantly surprised this morning to discover that one, lone photo of mine was accepted on foodgawker.

Here's a description of foodgawker (from their "about" section):
"foodgawker is a curated photo gallery that allows the visual search and discovery of new recipes, techniques and ingredients to inspire culinary adventures. we publish photography submitted by food bloggers from around the world. our editors review submissions daily and choose the highest quality, most appealing images to showcase."
I'm tellin' ya ... it's very difficult to get a photo accepted.  I know lots of food bloggers who get so frustrated with denials over and over.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cheesy Ravioli Bake

With my girls off babysitting today and my son helping my hubby chop wood all afternoon, I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon watching a Law & Order: SVU marathon that I had recorded on the DVR.
A warm, crackling fire?  Check.

A cup of Sleepytime Herbal Tea?  Check.

My favorite Nonni's Caramel Milk Chocolate Biscotti Bites?  Check.

Comfy yoga pants and fuzzy socks?  Check.

Stabler and Benson on my t.v. screen?  Check.

It was an afternoon of pure bliss.

(And, just so you don't think that I'm too incredibly lazy ... I did bundle up [eventually] and trek outdoors to help with the final hour or so of wood stacking.)

Oh, and I made dinner.

But, shhhhhh!  Don't tell my family how quick and easy this recipe is to make!  I'm positive that they think I must have been slaving away all day putting this together! (It'll be our little secret.)

This is such a simple recipe as it is written. But, it is easy to adapt it to suit your preferences. Round or square ravioli can be used. Refrigerated "fresh" ravioli can be used or you can use frozen ravioli. I keep this vegetarian, but you can layer in cooked ground beef or sausage. And, adding in fresh spinach or mushrooms, for example, makes this super hearty and gives you another layer of flavor.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Easy Peasy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I am usually one to make every aspect of chicken and dumplings from scratch.  And, I'm not sure that I had ever made them in the slow cooker before testing this recipe.  I, normally, like to start with a fresh, whole chicken.  I use the meat and stock from boiling the chicken for my traditional recipe.  And, I like to make my dumplings from scratch.

But, I have had a super-hectic schedule recently. I haven't had a lot of time to go the labor-intensive, from-scratch route, but we were all craving Chicken and Dumplings.  So, I utilized my slow cooker and a couple of ingredients that I try to use only in moderation in my everyday cooking - canned soup and refrigerated biscuits - to make this super simple version.  (I almost titled this post "Cheater's Chicken and Dumplings" because it's just so easy.)

Our family loved it. The slow cooker did all of the work. The result was still that comfort food that we know and love. I will say that chicken and dumplings is not a dish that photographs well, so the photos really don't do it justice, as they say. But, please trust me that this recipe is one to have in your back pocket when you may be short on time, but still are wanting something lovely and pleasing on a chilly day.

NOTE: I have found that using buttermilk biscuits yields a dumpling that is oddly too sweet for this recipe. Therefore, I highly recommend using an original-style flavor of biscuit.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thank You from Joyously Domestic

Just a short post to say thank you to my lovely readers!

Recently, Joyously Domestic reached half a million page views! And, even though I began the blog in late-June of 2012, traffic was pretty slow and stagnant until October. From June through October, we saw just around 10,000 visitors total. So, the majority of those 500,000+ page views are from November until the beginning of February!

For a reasonably new blog, half a million page views is a pretty awesome milestone in just a few, short months.

I thank each and every one of you who come by regularly to visit. And, thank you for pinning, sharing, reposting and featuring the content that you find here on the site.

I appreciate, too, the comments, emails and messages that I receive from so many of you!  You often share your own stories, tips, recipes and thoughts here on the blog, through email, on Facebook and Pinterest. I read each and every message and comment.  And, I try to reply back to all of them as quickly as possible.  Comments truly make a blogger's day.  And, they reassure us that we're not just talking typing to dead space.

So, again I say thanks.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups

I am officially in love with making little appetizers in crispy wonton cups. Recently I took one of my favorite flavors - buffalo chicken - and put it inside of a wonton wrapper. The result was nothing short of amazing. They are perfect for parties, light dinners or watching the big game on t.v.
You can find these wrappers in different shapes and sizes. There are circle ones and large, square ones.  I buy the small squares. The official name is "won ton wrapper," but most folks blend the word "wonton" together when referencing them. There are forty-eight wrappers in the package that I buy and they run around two dollars for the pack.

These Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups embody everything that I love surrounding the flavors of buffalo chicken. They have just enough of a kick without being overly spicy. You get some creaminess (and coolness) from the cream cheese and bleu cheese dressing.  The melted cheese pretty much binds everything together. And, you have some crunch from the chopped celery and green onions. Oh, and the wontons ... they crisp up beautifully and are a great vehicle to hold everything.

Recipe yields 12 cups.

Monday, February 04, 2013

No-Bake Cranberry Date Energy Bites

My post for No-Bake Energy Bites was a big hit and I've received lots of positive feedback regarding the recipe.  I've tinkered around with some variations in recent weeks and wanted to share with you another version.

My husband and kids have really come to love these bites.  The kids have fought over the last one or two each time I make them.

I really encourage you to play around with what works for you ... what you like and have on hand in your own pantry.  But, this cranberry date version is scrumptious.  It seems to have a perfect texture balance ... and a fabulous balance of sweet and salty.

Yields 25 - 30 bites/balls

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Shredded Beef and Four-Bean Beer Chili

There are a few things that set this recipe apart from my traditional chili recipe.  For starters, I use four varieties of beans.  Secondly, I use masa (corn flour) in this version.  I, also, use shredded beef instead of ground beef.  And, the last difference?  Beer, baby!  (To quote The Pioneer Woman ... "may I call you baby?")

We love chili served over corn chips.  Sometimes we buy those little individual bags of corn chips, snip open the side of the bag and ladle chili over the chips.  Top with some shredded cheese, diced onions and a dollop of sour cream ... and you've got a winner, winner, "chili corn chip" dinner.

We, also, sometimes serve this chili over some burritos that I like to get from Trader Joe's.  This is the way we served the chili tonight.

This chili recipe itself is super economical.  You only need a small amount of beef (a quarter of a pound), so many times when I buy a large roast or boneless beef ribs, I'll divide up the package and tuck a small portion of the meat into the freezer just for this chili.  With so many veggies and tons of beans, you don't need a huge amount of meat.  Yeah for the pocketbook!  (Does anyone really say pocketbook anymore?)

Of course, you don't have to serve this chili over corn chips or burritos ... the chili is mighty tasty all on its own with some cornbread on the side.  Below is the recipe for the chili with instructions at the bottom of the post for serving over burritos, if desired.  Any brand or type of burrito that you prefer would work.

Yields 6 - 8 servings.