Slow Cooker Sunday: Creamy Corn Casserole

As the days start to get warmer I am trying to find things to make in my slow cooker that aren’t too heavy. This Corn Casserole fits the bill and it’s perfect for warmer days when fresh corn starts flooding your supermarket and you don’t want to turn on your oven.

I started off by mixing all the ingredients together in a large bowl. I started off my creaming sugar and cream cheese together. Then adding in two eggs. Next, I stirred in the dry in the dry ingredients – flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. And then some more wet ingredients – melted butter, mill and heavy cream. And finally, I stirred in a chopped jalapeno, cheddar cheese and corn. I used frozen corn, so, in order to thaw it out I left it in a bowl on my counter for a few hours stirring it occasionally.

 

I then poured the mixture into the insert of my slow cooker that I generously sprayed with cooking spray. I covered it and set it took to cook on low for about 4 hours. I knew it was ready once it was set in the middle and the delicious aroma started filling my house.

 

 

Now, I made the big mistake of trying to remove the casserole from my slow cooker while it was still warm, so, it broke apart. I “saved” it by just scooping it into a glass dish. Trust me it didn’t alter the delicious flavor one bit. To avoid my mishap, I suggest you remove the insert from the slow cooker once the casserole is done and let it cool a bit.

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Corn Casserole

Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, salted

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 cups corn, fresh or frozen and thawed

Directions: 

Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the dry ingredients – flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, mixing the ingredients together well. Add in the melted butter, milk and heavy cream. Once everything is well combined, stir in the jalapeno, cheddar cheese and the corn.

Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Until the center is set and the top is puffy.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Cupcake Bouquet Tutorial

I came across Cupcake Bouquets while doing some research on Pinterest for something else. Once I saw it though I knew I wanted to try making one myself.

To begin, I gathered my supplies: a 6-inch pot, a 6-inch Styrofoam ball, 9oz. paper cups, toothpicks, and glass weights or rocks. You will also need a hot glue gun. A couple of things to point out… Make sure that the size of your pot and ball are the same size, or close to it, so that ball can fit snug inside of the pot.

Since I had a piece of circular Styrofoam I decided to cut it down to fit inside the bottom of the pot…

So, just in case any of my glass weights escaped from the newspaper I wrapped them in they wouldn’t fall through the hole in the bottom of the pot. The reason for the weights in the pot is to prevent it from tipping over if all the cupcakes are removed from one side.

Next, I lined the inside of the top of the pot with hot glue and placed the Styrofoam ball inside and let it dry for a few minutes before hot gluing paper cups – that I cut to an inch tall – to the ball. Make sure you place the cups just above the rim of your pot, you don’t want too much space. You could attempt to just stick the cupcakes on to the ball using toothpicks, but, using the cups will give the cupcakes more support and less chance of them falling off.

 

I continued gluing the cups around the ball, placing them fairly close together. I ended up with 9 cups in my first round.

For the second round, I placed the cups in between two cups from the first round, ending up with a total of 6 cups. And then, one final cup on top of the ball. Don’t worry about the spaces as they will be filled later with cupcake liners.

 

And finally I placed toothpicks inside of each of the cups. Three toothpicks forming a triangle in the first round, and two toothpicks in the cups on the second round and the one on top. Leave about half of the toothpick out. Be careful as you might stick yourself with a toothpick here and there and it can be quite painful.

A quick recap… A 6-inch Styrofoam ball in a 6-inch pot will yield a 16-Flower Cupcake Bouquet.

Next, bake your favorite cupcakes – I decided on Chocolate & Yellow cupcakes. Once they cooled I stuck one into each of the cups on the ball.

  

Now it’s time to fill the spaces between the cupcakes. Using green cupcake liners, I gathered them and began placing them in the empty spaces, using toothpicks to anchor them to the ball.

 

Next, the fun part – decorating the cupcakes. Since you will be piping flowers, make sure your frosting is firm enough to be piped. Your best bet is to make your own. My favorite frosting to use for piping and decorating is this Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. It’s the perfect consistency and tastes delicious. I used a Wilton 1M tip to creates the roses and a 2D tip to create the hydrangeas. Before you start piping the flowers on to the cupcakes just give them a little nudge to make sure they are all the way into the cups secured by the toothpicks.

 

And finally… You have your Cupcake Bouquet. This is a nice gift for a birthday, a cute idea for a baby shower, or a nice alternative to flowers, etc.

 

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Indian Butter Chicken

Happy Sunday! I came across this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed and knew I had to try it.

I began by crumbling a 1/2 piece of naan into the bottom of my slow cooker. On top of that I added in thinly sliced red onion, quartered red potatoes, a sliced jalapeno and chopped cilantro stems.

On top of that I arranged chicken thighs in a single layer and then sprinkled them garam masala, kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. I also placed a cinnamon stick and dotted the chicken the butter.

And finally I poured tomato sauce over everything.

I set it to cook on low for 7 hours and then switched the slow cooker to the warm setting and gently stirred in heavy cream and let it stand for 10 minutes.

And finally I stirred in chopped cilantro leaves…

And then served myself some over basmati rice and a piece of naan… YUM!

 

Slow-Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 pieces naan bread

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 pound baby red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

1 Fresno or jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced

1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated and chopped

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 6)

1 tablespoon garam masala

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cinnamon stick

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Crumble 1/2 piece naan into the bottom of a slow cooker insert. On top of that add the onion, potatoes, pepper and cilantro stems.

Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Dot the chicken with the butter and add the cinnamon stick and then pour the tomato sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

Uncover and switch to the warm setting and pour in the heavy cream. Gently stir in the heavy cream and break the chicken into large chunks. Let it stand for 10 minutes and then stir in the cilantro leaves and season with salt if necessary.

Serve with the remaining naan and basmati rice.

Recipe from Food Network

Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

Skillet Spinach Lasagna

So, I wasn’t too impressed with this Skillet Spinach Lasagna right after I made it, but, after taking it to work the following day for lunch my opinion changed. I think what initially had me a little eh about it was the lack of sauce and the fact that the bottom of it got burned, but, both of those things are things that can easily be changed next time I make it.

I began by browning a pound of sausage meat in a 12-inch skillet. I was able to find ground sausage meat, but, you could easily use a pound of sausage removed from the casings.

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Next, over medium heat, I added crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt. I let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.

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While the sauce was cooking, I combined ricotta cheese, an egg, a cup of shredded mozzarella and salt in a medium bowl.

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Once the sauce was ready it was time to assemble the lasagna. I set aside 3 cups of the sauce and placed a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles over the remaining sauce in the skillet. I then topped the noodles with a cup of the reserved sauce, 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and 3 cups of the spinach. I repeated the layer two times with the remaining ingredients, omitting the spinach from the top layer.

I then returned the skillet to heat; covered and cooked over medium heat until the noodles were softened and sauce began to bubble, about 15-20 minutes. I think next time I will do this step over medium-low heat. I then topped it with remaining cup of spinach and covered and cooked it for another minute or so until the spinach had wilted.

And finally, I uncovered the lasagna and topped it with a cup of shredded mozzarella and broiled it until the cheese began to melt and brown. About 5 minutes. I then sprinkled it with freshly chopped basil.

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Skillet Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground Italian sausage

1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese

1 egg

8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

6 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles

7 cups (about 5 oz.) baby spinach, divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Cook the sausage, stirring often, in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through.

Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to simmer.

While the sauce is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, an egg and the remaining salt in a medium bowl.

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from the heat.

Once the sauce is cooked remove it from the heat, reserving 3 cups of the sauce in a bowl. Place a layer of the lasagna noodle over the sauce, breaking the pieces as necessary. Top with 1 cup of the reserved sauce. 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and 3 cups of the spinach. Repeat the layer two times with the remaining noodles, sauce, ricotta mixture and spinach, omitting the spinach from the top layer.

Return the skillet to the heat; cover and cook over medium / medium-low heat until the noodles are softened and the sauce begins to bubble, about 20 minutes. Uncover and top with the remaining spinach; cover and cook for about a minute until the spinach is wilted. Uncover and top with the remaining mozzarella. Broil until the cheese begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Okay, to be truthful these are more like Espresso Pudding Cakes. I only say that because you don’t get the traditional flavor of tiramisu from them. Yes, you have the cocoa powder and the espresso, but, you don’t have the mascarpone. It’s all good though, they are delicious nonetheless.

I began by making the batter for the cake portion. In a microwave safe bowl I combined a stick of unsalted butter (which I cut into small pieces) with whole milk. I microwaved it in 30-second intervals until the butter had melted. I then added in sugar, vanilla extract and salt and whisked until the batter was smooth. I then added in flour and baking powder and continued whisking until the batter was smooth once again. Next, I divided the batter among 6 ramekins that I lightly sprayed with cooking spray and placed on a baking sheet. It came out to about 1/2 cup of batter for each ramekin.

I then topped the cake batter with a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder. It seems like a lot, but trust me you want to use all of the mixture up.

And finally, I poured about 3 tablespoons of hot water (I used boiled water as opposed to hot tap water) into each ramekin.

I baked the cakes in a 350 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes; until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. Once out of the oven I brushed each cake with Kahlua and then sprinkled them with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa power.

After letting them rest for about 30 minutes it was time to try one. As you will see the “pudding” settles to the bottom while baking and you get a nice amount of it with each spoonful.

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur or dark rum (optional)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter each ramekin and place on a baking sheet.

Put the butter and milk in medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter has melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and continue whisking until smooth. Divide among the ramekins.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, along with the brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder in small bowl and sprinkle over the batter. Pour the hot water – about 3 tablespoons per ramekin – over the batter. Do not stir.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean from the center – about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the liqueur or rum and then lightly dust with cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

If you would prefer, you can also make one large pudding cake by using a 2-quart baking dish. The directions and cooking time would be the same.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Frittata with Zucchini, Tomato and Feta

Yes, I made a Frittata in my slow cooker. It may seem a bit odd to make something that can easily take 10-15 minutes in the oven for almost 3 hours in a slow cooker, but, I will say this, this frittata came out super fluffy and was evenly cooked. And reheated a lot better than your traditional frittata. I share this recipe with you this week as it may be a welcomed addition to your meal if you are planning an Easter breakfast or brunch next Sunday.

I began by grating 2 zucchinis into a colander and sprinkling it with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. What I did was grate one zucchini and then sprinkled it with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then repeated that. After letting it sit for a bit, about 20 minutes, I squeezed the excess juices out of the zucchini. After all the squeezing was done I was left with about a cup of grated zucchini.

After brushing the insert of my slow cooker with olive oil I continued on with making the frittata. I beat 6 eggs with paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley. I then added in the grated zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.

I then poured batter into the slow cooker, covered it and set it to cook on low for 3 hours.

I checked on it after about 2.5 hours and it was ready; when I inserted a knife in the center it came out clean.

I tried using a spatula to get the frittata out, but, had much better luck inverting it onto a plate and then flipping it once again.

Slow Cooker Frittata with Zucchini, Tomato and Feta

Ingredients

2 zucchinis, medium sized, coarsely grated with a 1/2 teaspoon salt

6 eggs

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (about 10-12 cherry tomatoes)

Olive oil for slow cooker

Directions:

Place the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let the juices drain for a while and then squeeze out the excess juice with your hands until you are left with one tightly packed cup of grated zucchini.

Grease the insert of the slow cooker with the olive oil.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with the paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley. Add the grated zucchini, the tomatoes and feta cheese. Mix well and then pour into the prepared slow cooker.

Cook on low for 3 hours. Check the frittata after 2 1/2 hours. Frittata is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe from The Foodie Corner Blog