Categories
Crockpot Main Dish Soup

‘Peas’ your tastebuds with a spicy crockpot soup

Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.

There is enough debate about black-eyed peas that there’s actually an article about them on the Library of Congress website.

It starts out very simply, asking, “Are black-eyed peas really peas?”

The answer is simple: “No.”

The article then goes into a very technical, scientific explanation of how peas, beans and legumes are classified and named. It’s great reading if you want to take a nap.

But I suppose no matter what their official classification, their presence in our house every New Year’s Day is a constant, as they are supposed to create good luck in the coming year.

Obviously, with all the craziness over the past year, I must have not cooked them quite right in 2021, so I’m hoping this year’s recipe was a better one.

I decided to go with a spicy version of black-eyed peas this year, mostly because I had some jalapeno peppers languishing in my crisper drawer already. You can leave those out and just add another bell pepper and cut out the cayenne if you want to try this recipe and you’re not much of a spice person, but if you like a little heat, you’re really going to like this one.

This recipe from Trisha Haas comes from the blog “Salty Side Dish.” You can find the original post at https://www.saltysidedish.com/slow-cooker-black-eyed-peas/. I added extra spices in my version.

Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
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Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.
Course Main Course
Keyword bacon, bell pepper, black-eyed peas, cayenne, crockpot, cumin, garlic, ham, jalapeno, oregano, slow cooker, soup, spicy, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dry black-eyed peas
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bell pepper diced (any color)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers diced (remove the seeds for less kick)
  • 1 cup ham chopped
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the beef bouillon cubes to about 1 cup of hot water. Smash the cubes before adding them to a large crockpot along with five more cups of water, and then add all of the rest of the ingredients, as well. You do not have to do anything to prep the peas. Just dump them in.
  • Give the mixture a good stir and then cook on high for six hours or until the peas are cooked through.
  • This is fantastic served with fresh cornbread.

The photos on the recipe’s website show a mushier-looking soup without a lot of broth. I had a decent amount of broth with mine, so it’s really more about what you prefer with yours if you let it cook down even longer to really get the liquid thinned out. Personally, I love having broth with soups like this so I have something to soak up with my cornbread.

This was so, so easy, since it was as simple as just dumping everything in the crockpot. It literally took no cooking skills whatsoever, which I appreciate sometimes.

Now, with our bellies warmed, supposedly Joey and I are covered for 2022 and all the luck life can bring us. I’m not sure if it worked, but I have some leftovers in my freezer just in case we need a boost in the coming weeks.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 13, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

I could go ‘almond’ and on about this cherry pie

This cherry almond crumble pie uses canned pie filling, which makes it easy, tasty and beautiful.

Joey looked at me this afternoon and declared he’s officially done with turkey.

After taking home some leftovers from my parents’ house on Thanksgiving and having our own leftovers from hosting that weekend—and making both a roasted bird as well as one on the smoker—we have quite the collection of Tupperware boxes in our fridge.

The good news for Joey is most of the leftover meat will be combined with the broth we made from our turkey carcasses for some turkey noodle soup and go in our freezer for another day.

Just like the turkey inundation in our house, I know I’ve also been giving you a dessert inundation over the past several weeks. If you’re tired of tarts and pies, just hang in there—I’ll definitely think of something else for next week.

But if you’re like me and love all things sweet, this is another great dessert. Plus, it’s super easy to make, even if you’re not much of a baker.

This comes from the blog “Singing Through the Rain.” You can find the original post at https://singingthroughtherain.net/2013/12/easy-crumble-cherry-pie.html. I added extra almond extract and sliced almonds to my version.

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Cherry Almond Crumble Pie

This cherry almond crumble pie uses canned pie filling, which makes it easy, tasty and beautiful.
Course Dessert
Keyword almond extract, cherry pie, easy, pie filling, sliced almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 nine-inch pie crust
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Arrange your crust into a pie pan and crimp the edges.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, extract, butter and sugar, cutting with a pastry cutter or fork until the ingredients are well-combined and in small crumbles.
  • Pour the cherry pie filling into the prepared crust and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top. Top with the sliced almonds.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

This pie was delicious and was really pretty without any effort whatsoever. The almond flavor was a fantastic combination with the cherries, and the addition of the crunchy nuts on top were yummy, too.

Luckily, I ended up sending my in laws home with quite a bit of pie, since they had much of the family staying with them through the weekend after Thanksgiving to help them eat it, so I haven’t heard Joey declare that he’s done with pie quite yet.

Of course, if I decide to make yet another one for next week, I’m guessing I’ll hear about it. Sounds like it’s time for me to get creative while keeping my pie tins in the cabinet.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 2, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Nothing is ‘butter’ than simple-to-make cookies

The recipe for these butter cookies uses only three ingredients but still yields crispy, delicious cookies, perfect for a snack with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

One of my favorite Internet memes is a photo of a blue Royal Dansk butter cookies tin.

The caption reads, “Why are there cookies in Grandma’s sewing kit?” It always makes me smile, mostly because I’m glad I wasn’t the only child who was fooled by the reuse of a cookie tin for storage.

What can be more disappointing than discovering thread and buttons in a place where you thought you might find a snack?

There is something great about a butter cookie. They have that hint of sugar, are a little crunchy and they are highlighted with that deep, satisfying flavor of real butter.

Whenever they’re around at Christmastime, I find them irresistible, and I’m clearly not alone, since this week’s recipe is actually originally from a viral video. The video features butter cookies made quickly and easily with only three ingredients: butter, sugar and flour.

Of course, I had to give it a try.

I found this recipe on a website called “I Love My Recipes.” You can find the original at https://ilovemyrecipes.com/these-brilliant-cookies-are-taking-the-internet-by-storm-3-ingredients-and-ready-in-no-time/. This was such a simple recipe, I didn’t add anything to my version.

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Three-ingredient Butter Cookies

The recipe for these butter cookies uses only three ingredients but still yields crispy, delicious cookies, perfect for a snack with a cup of hot coffee or tea.
Course Dessert
Keyword butter, cookies, simple

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 1/4 cups flour

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, beat all three ingredients together to form a crumbly dough.
  • Dump the dough out onto a countertop or piece of waxed paper and squish it together into a log about two inches in diameter.
  • Roll the dough in sugar and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 320 degrees, and slice the log into about 3/4-inch slices. Place them an inch apart on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. They will spread out a little but won’t get overly brown—just around the edges.
  • Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets before transferring them to an airtight container.

Don’t be discouraged if your dough doesn’t come together immediately. It takes a little effort to get it to finally stop flaking apart and stick together—just keep messing with it.

These cookies aren’t overly sweet and are absolutely delicious dunked into a cup of coffee. If you wanted them to be a bit sweeter, you could coat the sliced cookies in sugar before baking them, too.

The recipe only made about one and one-half dozen cookies, the perfect amount if you’re just looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without too much temptation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a blue tin on hand to put my cookies in, but I think I’ll still enjoy them just as much, even if I don’t have a new storage place for my needles and bobbins when my cookies are all gone.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 23, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Feel like you’re on ‘toffee’ the world with three ingredients

With just three ingredients and a little patience, you can easily make homemade toffee that has a great flavor and can be eaten alone or incorporated into baked goods.

As a complete sweets addict, it figures I would marry somebody who would rather have an extra portion of a savory main dish than eat dessert.

That being said, Joey does still have a sweet tooth—it’s just fairly particular.

So, while most sugary concoctions I share with you are decidedly something I made because I wanted to try it or share it outside our household, this one was 100% made with Joey in mind: homemade toffee.

He loves toffee, and when I found a recipe that promised to be an easy way to make it with only three ingredients, I decided to give it a try.

This comes from the blog “Cook With 5 Kids,” but this recipe appears to only exist on Pinterest. You can find the original post at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/564427765807969699/ or visit her website at http://cookwith5kids.com, if you’re interested in her other stuff. I didn’t change anything, because it was so simple that there wasn’t anything to change.

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Homemade Toffee

With just three ingredients and a little patience, you can easily make homemade toffee that has a great flavor and can be eaten alone or incorporated into baked goods.
Course Dessert
Keyword brown sugar, butter, salt, toffee

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter 8 tablespoons
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Prepare an 8-by-8-inch pan or dish by lining it with waxed or parchment paper.
  • Combine the butter, brown sugar and salt in a medium-sized skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir regularly, making sure everything is smooth and well-combined.
  • Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Once the mixture reaches 300 degrees, remove it from the heat and pour evenly into the lined pan.
  • Place the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to let the toffee set up and harden.
  • Once the toffee is set up, remove it from the paper and then smash it into bite-sized pieces. (I used my meat mallet.) Store in an airtight container.

If you wanted to turn this up a notch, I’d recommend melting some chocolate and spreading it on the top of the toffee before breaking it into pieces. Let the chocolate harden, and then break it. You could include a sprinkling of nuts on top, too.

This is great to eat on its own. It’s super crunchy (like peanut brittle), but it also dissolves in your mouth like hard candy if you don’t want to chomp on it.

The recipe’s author also suggest smashing it into much smaller pieces and incorporating it into chocolate chip cookies. I think it would also be great in brownies or sprinkled on top of a frosted cake.

For us, it’s just hanging out on our counter in a little sealed bowl, and every day, each of us savor at least one piece and try not to go back in for more.

I have to admit, I haven’t done a great job of eating only one at a time. Maybe, if I’m being honest, I did make this for myself more than for Joey. Just don’t tell him. He doesn’t need to know.

This piece first appeared in print on June 17, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

Banana cinnamon rolls aren’t monkeying around

Banana cinnamon rolls have great banana flavor, paired with warm cinnamon, walnuts and a delicious cream cheese frosting.

My parents recently gifted me with bananas—a lot of bananas.

So, looking at the bunches lining my countertop, I decided it was time to try every banana recipe on my Pinterest board.

As I perused the large number of recipes I’d set aside, one popped out at me for banana cinnamon rolls. Not only did they look amazing, but there was no yeast to wait for, so I was excited to try it.

Plus, it got rid of a banana.

Yeah, just one banana. But, hey, at least that’s one fewer banana on my countertop, and these rolls were phenomenal.

This comes from the blog “Inside Bru Crew Life.” You can find the original at https://insidebrucrewlife.com/banana-nut-cinnamon-rolls/. I doubled the spices and vanilla in my version.

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Banana Cinnamon Rolls

Banana cinnamon rolls have great banana flavor, paired with warm cinnamon, walnuts and a delicious cream cheese frosting.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, quick, walnuts

Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Roll Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 7 tablespoons butter divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or use regular milk with a touch of vinegar

Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan, and set it aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling until well combined, and set it aside.
  • In a separate bowl, for the rolls, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork to combine. Add the banana, two tablespoons of the butter, melted, and the buttermilk. Mix by hand until the dough comes together.
  • Dump the dough onto a floured workspace and begin kneading with floured hands. Once the dough is together (it will likely still be a bit sticky), spread it out with your hands into about a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Spread out two more tablespoons of the butter, melted, on the dough. Sprinkle on all of the filling, evenly, leaving about one-half inch empty around the edges.
  • Starting on the long side (so you create a nice, long tube), start rolling the dough. (I had to use a flat, bendy spatula to help mine along, because it was firmly stuck to the counter. It also tore as I went, but don’t worry if that happens. Baking will cover all your sins.)
  • Cut the tube into nine slices and place them, spiral side up, in your prepared pan. Go ahead and crowd them together.
  • Melt the last three tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over the top of the rolls.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops of the rolls look golden brown.
  • While the rolls bake, combine all the frosting ingredients, except the walnuts, until it is smooth. Spread the frosting over the warm rolls and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Serve warm and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Despite only using a solitary banana, the flavor really came through in these rolls. They were soft, gooey and so, so good. If you’re looking for a good fall recipe to get cinnamon in your life, I highly recommend giving this a try. 

And be prepared for some more banana recipes from me over the next few weeks. I have to do something to reclaim my countertop, and unless I get a visit from a troupe of monkeys, it looks like it’s all up to me.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 15, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

You’ll have ‘fillings’ for this pot pie casserole

Chicken pot pie casserole is a great, homestyle meal that comes together quickly and easily for a weeknight meal.

I have a ton of amazing memories about my paternal grandma, who passed away in 2012. She was such an awesome person and a crazy good cook.

Near the end of her life, she invited me over to her small apartment for dinner—just the two of us. She made a chicken and biscuits meal with some mixed veggies in it that was perfectly belly-filling and delicious. And, since she and I both had a serious ice cream addiction, we ended supper with a big bowl of it for dessert.

I don’t remember what all we chatted about while we sat at her small table, but I do remember the meal, which I suppose highlights the power of food in how we bond with one another.

That seemingly insignificant dinner popped into my memory this past week, when I stumbled on a recipe for a chicken and dumpling casserole. It reminded me so much of the meal she and I shared.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “Plain Chicken,” and while I generally like the base of this blog’s recipes, I often feel the need to add quite a bit to make them less, well, “plain.” You can find the original post at https://www.plainchicken.com/chicken-dumpling-casserole. I added herbs and veggies to my version, so I decided to dub it a “pot pie” casserole instead of just dumplings.

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Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Chicken pot pie casserole is a great, homestyle meal that comes together quickly and easily for a weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Keyword canned biscuits, casserole, chicken, dumplings, easy, mixed vegetables, pot pie

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken cooked and shredded
  • 12 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 10.75 ounces cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and then spread the shredded chicken and mixed vegetables over top of it.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and milk until it’s smooth, and pour the mixture as evenly as you can over top of the chicken. You don’t need to stir or spread it out.
  • In the same mixing bowl (why cause more dishes?), whisk the cream of chicken soup, broth and herbs and spices together until smooth and pour it evenly into the baking dish. Again, you don’t need to stir or spread it out.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until the biscuit dough is a golden brown on top.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes.

The mashed potatoes were a perfect touch to give this casserole a very homestyle taste. The night I made this, I actually only had a bag of frozen carrots in the freezer, so ours was missing all of the mixed veggies goodness, but we still really enjoyed it.

As a side note, I used a rotisserie chicken for my version, and then after Joey graciously shredded all the meat off of it for me, I boiled the carcass for about 20 minutes with the herbs listed above to make my broth instead of buying some. It worked really well, and I had some broth left over to put in the freezer for next time.

I can’t tell you what recipe Grandma used when she and I sat down to our casserole nearly a decade ago, but as the old cliché goes, I know the main ingredient was love, and that’s really all that matters.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 13, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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