Saturday, November 30, 2013

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Can we all agree that few things top creamy, perfectly-baked scalloped potatoes?  Scalloped potatoes are truly one of my favorite comfort foods and I'm always sure to make plenty because I adore the leftovers.  I have many recipes for scalloped potatoes.  Some include ham.  Some include some sort of a cream-based condensed soup.  Some have a good amount of cheese and some are intended for the slow cooker.  However, this classic, simple version is probably my personal favorite.

This is a take on a Martha Stewart recipe.  I've been making this recipe for a couple of years now.  It couldn't be easier or more-delicious!  The ingredient list is a simple one and I like they I can make these a few hours in advance, then bake them when I'm ready.  (Just be sure that all of your potatoes are submerged in the cream mixture and that the dish is tightly covered with foil so that your potatoes don't discolor.)  You could, of course, add in some ham to make this a more-complete meal, but this is one side dish as-is that cannot be beat.

Yields 6 - 8 servings as a side dish.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why I Am Thankful to Be A Blogger

I encourage my children each November to create some form of a "thankfulness" craft project.  It might be a table centerpiece tree that they clip paper leaves onto - each one inscribed with something they are thankful for that year.  Last year, it was a paper turkey project that encouraged them to add a "thankfulness feather" each day during the month leading up to Thanksgiving.  So many young people seem to have an all about me mindset these days.  What they have often doesn't seem to be enough.  For me, I have had a saying for many years that I use when my children are whining about not getting a certain toy they desire or when they overly complain about something they dislike in their lives.  I utter the phrase Attitude of Gratitude to them on a regular basis.  Reminding them of all of the things that we DO have to be grateful for is important to me.

Today I am embracing that same concept and want to share with you from my heart just what blogging here on Joyously Domestic means to me.  I'd like to share a little of my backstory about joining the blogging world.  And, more importantly, I'd like my readers to know just how grateful I am to them for joining me on this amazing journey that I started a year and a half ago.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun Party Appetizers, Snacks & Dips from Joyously Domestic

Whether it's a holiday gathering, game day or card night, it's always nice to have some grub to munch on ... and share with friends and family.  Here's a collection of some tantalizing snack foods that are sure to please a crowd.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs in Marinara

It's official. I am in love with cheese-stuffed meatballs prepared in the slow cooker. They cook up so incredibly mouth-watering juicy and tender. And, they are oozing with cheese and packed full of flavor.
There are a lot of options when it comes to this recipe with regards to both how it is served and how it is prepped. The recipe, first of all, calls for both ground pork and ground beef, but you can simply choose all beef. Or, you can even go a healthier route by using ground turkey or chicken (although using turkey or chicken may result in a somewhat drier meatball due to the lack of fat content). Regarding service of the meatballs, you can devour them as-is, use them for meatball subs, serve them as appetizers (just make them smaller and use smaller chunks of cheese inside) or serve over pasta with extra sauce.

As far as some prep options, you can assemble just prior to browning the meatballs and cooking in the slow cooker (as the recipe is written). Or, the meatballs can be assembled the night before you plan to cook them. Just place them in the fridge in an airtight container and brown them up just before tossing into the slow cooker. However, meatballs are a great freeze-ahead item.  I often assemble meatballs, place them on a baking tray, freeze until solid and toss them into a zip-top freezer bag. Just thaw them a bit prior to using.

I do find that I prefer any homemade meatballs to be chilled in the fridge a bit (prior to cooking) even if I'm assembling them the same day as cooking. It firms up the meatballs so that they hold together well when browning. And, it allows time for the flavors to meld.

See .. I told you I would give ya lots of options. Now go run and make these meatballs (or, at least, get these ingredients jotted down onto your shopping list). You won't regret it.

Yields 14 - 16 large meatballs.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken

My kids went wild for this chicken!  It came out of the oven incredibly moist, juicy and super flavorful.

The ingredient list is a short and simple one - just the way I like it.  And, the prep time is quick and easy.  This is a great go-to chicken recipe for busy weeknights and is perfect with mashed potatoes and a simple side salad.

Yields 4 servings.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mexican Party Dip

I have made this dip for years for family gatherings and parties.  Often, I will make it on a circle serving platter and lay out the toppings in a "bull's-eye" pattern.  It is always a huge hit with any crowd.

If you're making this more than an hour or two in advance, I would recommend waiting to add the tomatoes until shortly before serving so that they do not add too much moisture to the top of the dip.

It does take a little extra time and patience to arrange the toppings in rows as compared to just piling the toppings on.  But, the presentation always wows and it allows people to possibly avoid portions of the dip they may not care for.

Serves 8 - 10.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Busy Mornings" Baked Oatmeal

I am not a morning person.

But, I have to be for the sake of getting my three children ready for school every weekday morning.

My day begins around 5:30 a.m. and things are usually pretty hectic until the bus pulls up around seven.  Having breakfast options that are quick and easy makes our mornings go a lot smoother.  These are perfect to have on hand throughout the week for everyone to grab a quick breakfast.  I like that they are full of healthy ingredients and are not overly sweet.

This recipe is pretty versatile.  Omit the nuts.  Mix up the types of dried fruits you use.  Add in whatever seeds you like.  (Just try to stick with the basic ratios provided.)

Serve warm or room-temperature for a grab-on-the-go breakfast or snack.  Or, these can be served hot with milk poured over and a little drizzle of honey in a bowl (and eaten with a spoon).

These keep for up to a week, so they are ideal for busy weekday mornings.

Yields 9 servings.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup. Yay or nay? I am a huge fan. But, I don't make this soup often because I have a couple of children who would rather be forced into a ten hour marathon of household chores than eat a soup with peas as the main ingredient. {My daughter asked if I was actually going to post this on my blog because she was so grossed out by this soup.}
I adore the simplicity of the ingredients, how inexpensive this soup is to make and I like how wonderful this soup cooks up using the slow cooker. {My loyal readers are aware of my love affair with my slow cooker.}

People do seem to either really love split pea soup or they absolutely despise it. For those who adore it, this recipe is a real winner.

This soup can be made using a chunk of leftover ham, a hambone, ham hocks or salt pork. {It's a great soup to make after you've had a big ham dinner.} If using salt pork that is sliced, use some kitchen string to tie it up so that it doesn't all come apart during cooking.

You can make the soup as thick, thin, chunky or smooth as you prefer. Simply adjust the stock amount as the soup cooks or towards the end of cooking to suit your preference. And, blend the soup as much as you prefer to suit your preference.

Yields 6 servings.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip with Cinnamon Sugar Dippers

So many of us get bombarded with pumpkin recipes this time of year.  They are all over Pinterest, the blogosphere and Facebook.  I've restrained myself and have only shared one pumpkin recipe (thus far) this fall on the blog - my Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Apple Cider Butter Sauce.  But, I have been dying to share my recipe for this pumpkin dip with you.

In my household, we prefer serving this dip with what we call Cinnamon Sugar Dippers.  These little cinnamon and sugar tortilla wedges are divine all on their own, but they are out of this world when plunged into this creamy, perfectly-spiced pumpkin dip!

My friends at Kroger graciously sent me a bunch of Kroger Greek products to try recently.  I was invited to develop some recipes using their products.  I was able to incorporate two of their Kroger Greek products into this recipe - their cream cheese and plain yogurt.  The results were great ... both products worked perfectly in this fall-inspired dip.  They added the perfect amount of tanginess and creaminess to the dip.  And, I love that the products contain lots of protein.  The cream cheese is, also, lower in fat than traditional cream cheese.  (But, I promise that you'll never notice the difference!)

NOTE: This recipe can easily be made with traditional plain yogurt and cream cheese, if desired.

This dip is full of the fall flavors that we all love and crave this time of year.  It's super simple ... and is perfect for parties and gatherings because it can be made in advance.