April 30, 2016

Reposting: A dozen of my favorite Muffin Recipes!

A DOZEN of my favorite recipes in one post!  Mostly for my own use but if it helps a reader or two, then all the better! 






Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins - Healthy and Almost like a Cream Filled Pumpkin Cupcake!







 Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins (Low Carb, Wheat Free, Sugar Free and with Flax) 







Almond Muffins Everyone Can Love - (even if they eat Paleo, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Atkins, Low Carb...) OR NOT








Healthy Almond Muffins








 Homemade Blueberry Muffins - Shh, no one will know they are wheat free and sugar free!






An American Housewife's Wheat Bran Muffins










Pumpkin Muffins with Flaxseed (that happen to be low carb, flour-free, sugar free.... but you won't know it)









Low Carb, Sugar Free Muffins - (good replacement for corn muffin








Mini Cinnamon Donut Cupcakes/muffins










Sugar Free Almond Poppy Seed Muffins ( a low carb option!)









The Best Homemade Blueberry Muffins









Healthy Low Carb, Sugar Free Berry Muffins (blueberry and blackberry, etc.)






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April 26, 2016

Old Fashioned Fish Bait (made with molasses)

I've had this sitting around in my 'draft' files since 2007 y'all!  That's almost 10 years ago!  You might remember your great-grandpa talking about this one!

Old Fashioned Fish Bait

Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup corn meal and 10 tablespoons of thick molasses. Mix into stiff dough and roll into bait balls. Drop into boiling water. Boil 10 minutes. Remove and drop into cold water. Print Friendly and PDF

Grilled Chicken with Homemade Watermelon BBQ Sauce

Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Sauce

Watermelon flesh and pink/white rind but don't use any of the bright white or bitter green
1 1/4 c brown sugar (or white sugar and 1 heaping T molasses)
3-4 T water
1/4 t cream of tartar
dash of salt
1/4 c ketchup (reduced sugar is fine too)
1/4 c white vinegar
3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t liquid smoke flavor (hickory or mesquite)
1/8 t ground black pepper

Chop watermelon and pink/white rind into chunks.  About 3 cups full of chunks.  Place in a food processor and pulse briefly to puree.  You want about a cup full more or less and you want it to stay thick.

To a saucepan on the stove place the brown sugar (or white sugar with molasses added) into a pan.  Add the cream of tartar, dash of salt and about 3-4 T water.  I used a mixture of white and brown sugar but found I was out of molasses. No worries, you are just making a general syrup.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 3 or 4 minutes until it's thickened. Add the watermelon puree, ketchup, vinegar, red pepper flakes, flavoring and pepper.  If you want to use less crushed red pepper flakes you can, or substitute similar measurements of minced jalapeno, canned green chilies, or for a completely sweet sauce, leave out the spice.  Bring to a boil again, reduce to s simmer and let simmer for 1-2 hours until it reduces down, becomes dark and thickens.  The longer you simmer, the thicker and darker it becomes.

I canned mine in sterilized jars with lids and used a water bath process for 30 minutes.  But then we ended up using it that night anyway because it was SO good I couldn't wait!  We used it on grilled chicken (basted, grilled, basted more, grilled more and finally, final basted and served extra with dinner).   We are saving the rest to use with Cream Cheese Won Tons like a spicy, sweet plum sauce.

Making a simple syrup

Cleaning the watermelon

Scraped and chopped. You can use these rinds for watermelon pickles or discard.

Pureed watermelon and the pink/white part of the rind
Bringing to a boil

/Simmer until it's as thick as you need or want it to be

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Making Lasagna in the Crock Pot? YES. Do.

So... I'm not going to bother with a long detailed 'recipe' for lasagna because seriously... there are a thousand of them and yet you don't really even need a recipe.   Use your own favorite recipe or just layer some pasta, your spaghetti sauce, some cheese mixture (mozzarella, ricotta or cottage cheese, maybe an egg in there... or even sour cream if your crew hates lasagna with ricotta or cottage cheese) and some meat if you want it, etc.  The point is, just layer your pasta, sauce and cheese... but try doing it in a crock pot.  Usually I use lasagna noodles and I only cook them for a few minutes just to get a bit of the starch out of them but sometimes I don't even do that.  This time I had rotini on hand so I used that instead.

Layer... in a greased crock pot or slow cooker.  Put on low for about 6 hours.  If your slow cooker cooks "hot" (the newer ones cook hotter than the older versions) then adjust accordingly.  The cheese on the edges can brown and burn if you have it on high too long or even low if it's 'hot'.  This is a great idea for having a nice, filling meal on a summer day, without using your oven and heating up the house.


Crock Pot  4-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker, Black Demask Pattern
Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker, 6-Quart
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, 6-Quart
Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

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April 25, 2016

Busy Weekend! Cooking over the Fire & in my Solar Oven (which is actually a good Mother's Day gift idea!)

It was a beautiful weekend here in our part of the universe, which made for a busy "maintenance and repair" weekend but a little fun too.  Since it was sunny and warm, it also made it easy for me to 'cook' dinner without thinking about it. 

Saturday I cooked beef ribs in the sun oven all day without worrying about 'what's for dinner'.  We then built a fire in the firepit and finished them over a fire which makes them sooo delicious.  In the photo you can see I used the liquid poured off from cooking, to add some sugar free ketchup and brown sugar substitute, brought to a simmer over the fire and reduced to a nice thick sauce.

Sunday was another busy day - this time repairing some boards on the deck and restaining and finishing the heavy front wooden doors.  Again, I didn't worry about dinner.  I whipped up some simple chicken enchiladas, set them to bake while I worked.

With the sun oven 'hot' and many hours of sunlight left, I decided to mix up a cheesecake and baked that as well.  Dinner is served... without heating up the house or using any electricity.




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April 20, 2016

One of the best summer pasta salads! Cold Spaghetti Salad

This is one of those pasta salads that everyone should keep as a backup for everything from last minute dishes to throw together, company, backyard BBQ's, potlucks and quick summer dinner on a hot day.  So easy (really!) and yet so incredibly good.

You can make it in mere minutes especially if you use a bottled dressing - but it won't take much longer to whip up a homemade dressing yourself and it takes it to the next level.  Use as many of the listed ingredients as you like but feel free to improvise of course based on what you have on hand and what you like!  Lots of options!

Cold Spaghetti Salad

1 lb. spaghetti pasta, broke in half before boiling
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange or yellow pepper, diced
6-8 whole green onions, sliced
1-2 zucchini, diced or sliced
1 large cucumber, sliced or diced
1-2 tomatoes, diced
2 t celery seed
salt and pepper
1/2 - 3/4 c Italian Dressing
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
Options:  red or yellow onion, black olives, green pepper, yellow squash, feta, Romano cheese, sesame seeds

1/4 c Rice Vinegar
2 T balasamic vinegar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 t sugar or sweetener of choice
1/3 c canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/3 c olive oil

Cook pasta til tender but not mushy.  Drain and cool under running cold water.  Combine the vegetables and pasta, add and toss dressing.  Chill.  

Serving dishes available through Amazon;
Fiesta 1-Quart Large Bowl, Sunflower
Serving Pasta Bowl, Serving Platter SUNFLOWER YELLOW
Corelle Livingware 20-Ounce Salad/Pasta Bowl, Winter Frost White (6)
Certified International Tequila Sunrise Serving/Pasta Bowl, 13 by 3-Inch

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April 14, 2016

Homemade Cheese Balls - Feta, Gouda, Cheddar... goodness!

Our family loves cheese. Once while having a conversation with a friend about cheese, I randomly went to the refrigerator to see how many different versions we had on hand at the time.  Fourteen.  Yes... 14.   I don't typically buy cheese 'products' like Cheese Whiz or Velveeta so these were real cheese of all sorts.  That's how much we love cheese!

When I am in the mood for hot, melty and delicious cheese balls I don't actually follow any recipe and I use whatever mixture of cheese I have on hand.  I've posted our 'go to' recipe on An American Housewife before, cheddar and lots of spicy jalapeno's!  I usually add jalapenos and don't take new photos because frankly... they would look the same pretty much every time.  But this time I didn't make them spicy so I decided to snap a couple new photos on my phone while i made them.

Use the cheese you have on hand and adjust the amounts accordingly.  If you don't have feta or gouda (or don't think you want to use them) just use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella.  Or just cheddar and cream cheese.  

I opted to dust them with a little additional flour with some panko crumbs mixed in so they are crispier, but you don't have to use panko if you don't have it.  If you don't have self-rising flour, mix some up and keep it in an air tight container in your pantry.  It's just a cup of regular flour with 2 t baking powder and 1/2 t salt mixed in.  You'll use just less than 1/4 cup for this recipe.

Cheese Balls

1/3 c feta, crumbled
1/2 c gouda, grated
1/2 c cheddar, grated
1/4 c cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 c self rising flour, scant
splash of cream, half and half or milk
more flour and a little panko crumbs for dusting
oil to fry

Mix the cheeses, egg, flour and season with a bit of pepper.  You can opt to add a little garlic or spice it up with jalapenos if you wish.  The mixture should be thick enough to hold together to form balls.  Chill for about 30 minutes to make it easy to work with.  Form little cheeseballs by hand or a small scoop.  Gently roll and toss into the dusting flour/crumb mixture.  At this point you can fry them or you can freeze them to fry later.  I usually fry half and freeze the other half for later.  Fry the cheeseballs in about 1-2 inches of hot oil until golden brown.  If they brown right away, your oil is too hot and the inside won't be completely melted.  Medium high heat, and it should take about 2 minutes.  Drain on layers of paper towels.  Don't crowd the pan - if they are crowded or the oil is not hot enough they won't be crispy, but will be soggy.   You can season with a little salt if you wish.

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