Broccoli Mango Stir-Fry

WIN_20150517_184936It’s possible that a more vitamin-packed meal exists, but I can’t think of what that might be right now. Broccoli and mango are nutritional powerhouses on their own… combined, they are magnificent! Not big on vegetarian meals? No worries – feel free to top this dish with cooked shrimp or chicken for a protein packed dinner.

Please note that this recipe cooks FAST… have your rice cooked and your table set before the broccoli goes into the pan!

WIN_20150517_175606Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 large mango, cut bite size

2 large heads of broccoli, cut bite size

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons fish sauce, such as Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce – 7 oz

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, such as Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil Unrefined — 12.7 fl oz

4 cups cooked rice

2 cups cooked chicken or shrimp (optional)


Step 1) Add coconut oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and broccoli to a hot frying pan or wok. Stir-fry over medium-high for three minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Add one or two tablespoons of water if the ingredients begin to stick to the pan.

Step 2) Add mango to the pan. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3) Whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, and cornstarch. Drizzle this mixture over the broccoli and mango. Cook everything over medium heat for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.

Step 4) Serve over cooked rice. Top with chicken or shrimp if desired.




Apple Cinnamon Granola

WIN_20150526_153601Making homemade granola is an all-around good idea. For starters, granola is delicious and versatile as both a breakfast and a snack food. Store-bought granola can be quite expensive, and can also contain questionable ingredients. The do-it-yourself approach can save a LOT of money, while giving you complete control over the quality of each ingredient. Enjoy!

WIN_20150526_143639Ingredients (Makes about 6 cups)

1 cup apple jelly

1 tablespoon real butter

3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)

1 cup dried apple pieces

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Step 1) Grease two baking sheets (the kind with shallow sides) and set aside.

Step 2) Combine apple jelly and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for two minutes, then remove from heat.

Step 3) Combine rolled oats, apple pieces, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Drizzle boiled jelly mixture over dry ingredients, stirring with a large spoon to evenly coat the ingredients.

Step 4) Spread granola mixture onto greased baking sheets and bake in a preheated 275 degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir once after 15 minutes.

Step 5) Allow granola to cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

Oggi 5355 4-Piece Locking Acrylic Canister Set with Spoons


Easy Bread and Butter Pickles

WIN_20150830_135132Somewhere in between the sweetness of sweet gherkins and the saltiness of dill pickles lives bread and butter pickles. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we think they’re delicious!

Some bread and butter pickle recipes are fussy, requiring cooks to soak cucumbers for long periods of time and/or change brines throughout the process. In our humble opinion, none of that is really necessary. You can prepare these bread and butter pickles in less than half an hour, and be on with your day!

If you don’t want to can these, no worries – just stop after Step 1 below and transfer your pickles and brine into refrigerator containers. Refrigerate for at least one week and up to one month.

WIN_20150830_130254Ingredients (Makes 4 pints)

8 cups small cucumbers, cut into bite size chunks

1 small white onion, sliced thin

2 cups white vinegar

WIN_20150830_1304352 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sweet curry powder, such as Organic Sweet Curry Powder (Salt Free)


WIN_20150830_133949Step 1) Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and curry powder to a boil. Add cucumber chunks and sliced onion. Return to a boil, then remove from heat.

Step 2) Ladle pickles into sterilized pint size canning jars and top with brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Top with lids and rims, and process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.

Share your favorite travel photo, WIN a set of French bistro note cards!

The Global Recipe Project charity cookbook is almost complete… but needs a few more photos from all around the world! If you have a favorite photo that you would like to see featured in the Global Recipe Project cookbook, we would be happy to credit your name as a valued contributor to this worthy project. What’s more, one contributor will be selected to receive a free set of French bistro note cards as a “Thank You” gift!

Contest Ends September 30th

Visit Global Recipe Project to enter!

French Bistro 4 French Bistro 3 French Bistro 2 French Bistro 1

Wiener Winks

WIN_20150905_124446Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, this particular recipe is heavy with nostalgia. I remember Wiener Winks cooling on Grandma’s kitchen counter on countless occasions throughout my childhood. As soon as they were cool enough to handle, children of all ages (including those “children” with children of their own!) would scramble for a hot dog wrapped in homemade white bread and dipped in either ketchup or BBQ sauce. What could be more American than that?

This week, I taught my little ones how to make Wiener Winks, beginning with homemade white bread dough. I sure had a lump in my throat when a little one exclaimed, “I like making Wiener Winks… it makes me remember [great] Grandma.” I sure do miss her.

Ingredients (Makes 24 Wiener Winks – they freeze well!)

24 precooked hot dogs

2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup canola oil

6 cups white flour


Step 1)  Combine sugar and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.

Step 2) Add dry milk, salt, and oil to the picture331yeast mixture.  Stir in flour, one cup at a time, and transfer dough to a floured tabletop.

Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms.  Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking.  Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.

picture334Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size.  This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.

Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is fun!).   Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes.  Divide dough in half.

WIN_20150905_114157Step 6) Roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle on an oiled countertop. Cut each rectangle into 12 strips.

Step 7) Wrap each strip of dough around a hot dog, tucking the ends underneath. Place wiener winks on greased baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches of space between them, as the dough will rise and spread a bit.

KitchenAid KB6NSO15JR Classic Nonstick 10″x15″x1″ Jelly Roll Pan Bakeware

WIN_20150905_114936Step 8) Bake wiener winks in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the dough turns golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn! Cool on a wire rack. Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce.

Plum Tart

WIN_20150915_201813Plum season makes me nostalgic for France. During my travels to Lichtenberg, plum trees were everywhere, heavy with fruit. Not surprisingly, local cafes and bistros featured plums prominently on their menus. This tart reminds me of that visit and makes me smile.

Ingredients (Serves 8 – 10)

For the crust:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup ground pecans

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cold butter

2 tablespoons brandy

1 egg

For the filling:

9 small plums, halved and pits removed

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened (or substitute cream cheese)

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon brandy

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest


WIN_20150915_181058Step 1) Combine flour, pecans, and sugar.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two forks, until mixture resembles little peas.  Add egg and brandy.  Mix – use your hands! – until well combined.

Step 2) Press dough into a tart pan (a pie dish would work fine, too).  Place a piece of aluminum foil over the dough and sprinkle with dried beans.  This will keep air bubbles from forming and “puffing up” your dough.

Step 3) Bake dough (foil, beans, and all) in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove beans and foil, and let cool for 10 minutes.

Step 4) While crust cools, use an electric mixer to combine softened Neufchâtel cheese, eggs, sugar, brandy, and lemon zest.

Step 5) Spread cheese filling over crust. Gently press plum halves, cut side down, into cheese filling.

Step 6) Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm or cold. I prefer this dish cold.


Tom Yum Vegetables

WIN_20150828_205931I enjoy garden fresh vegetables perhaps more than most people, but really folks, a gal can only eat so much zucchini before she starts to frown at the prolific plants in the garden! Luckily, I snapped out of my frown quickly, and mustered up a bit of kitchen creativity.

WIN_20150828_193953I keep a jar of Tom Yum paste, which is a Thai hot and sour seasoning base, in my freezer at all times. The flavor combination of lemongrass, tamarind, chili peppers, garlic, and lime (among other things) is exquisite, and really has no equivalent in American or Western cooking. In other words, it’s perfect for when you are feeling the Zucchini Blues!

WIN_20150828_194711Ingredients (Fills a 9″ pie dish, about 6 side dish servings)

1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rings

1 large yellow potato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings

1 large tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings

WIN_20150828_1952422 tablespoons Tom Yum paste – any variety, such as Spicy Tom Yum Paste / Instant Sour Paste

1 cup coconut milk


Step 1) Grease a 9″ pie dish with olive oil. Arrange zucchini, potato, and tomato slices as shown (zucchini, potato, zucchini, tomato, repeat).

Step 2) Whisk together the Tom Yum paste and coconut milk. Pour over vegetables. Use a pastry brush to spreading coconut milk mixture, evenly coating vegetables.

Step 3) Cover the pie dish with foil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

Chocolate Strawberry Muffins

WIN_20150826_100036Chocolate and strawberries… what’s not to love? These muffins take 5 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to bake. The aromas which will waft from your oven will be amazing enough to convince even a teenager to climb out of bed and get ready for school. Or, bake them the night before and share a little lunchbox love. Here we go!

WIN_20150826_091617Ingredients (Makes 12 jumbo muffins)

2 cups flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder

2/3 cup sugar

WIN_20150826_0923081 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup oil (such as canola oil or melted coconut oil)

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup frozen strawberries, partially thawed and cut in half

Red sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins (optional)


Step 1) Combine flour, oats, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add egg, milk, and oil. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

WIN_20150826_092819Step 2) Gently fold chocolate chips and halved strawberries into the batter. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into each of 12 jumbo muffin liners. Tip: you don’t actually need a jumbo muffin pan! The larger liners will sit fine (just higher) in a standard muffin tin.

 Keliwa 12 Cup Silicone Muffin & Cupcake Baking Pan / Non – Stick / Dishwasher – Microwave Safe / 21 FREE RECIPES

Step 3) Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving!



Tomato Corn Chutney

WIN_20150825_195646This sweet and tangy recipe is so versatile, I can recommend three completely different dinner ideas right off the top of my head. First, you can combine one quart of chilled Tomato Corn Chutney with one pound of cooked, chilled shrimp and a diced jalapeno pepper for a fantastic spin on coctel de camerones. Second, you can combine one quart of warmed Tomato Corn Chutney with a small can of black beans and one pound of cooked, cubed chicken for a delicious chicken chili. Third, you can drain a quart of Tomato Corn Chutney and combine it with one pound of seasoned ground beef for a tasty enchilada filling.

However you plan to use this chutney, remember… the season for fresh sweet corn is SHORT!

Ingredients (Makes 5 quarts or 10 pints)

1 large white onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1 large green apple, diced

5 pounds of tomatoes (about 20 tomatoes), coarsely chopped

8 ears of sweet corn (kernels only)

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt


Step 1) Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot. This is simple, but peeling and cutting corn, chopping tomatoes, and dicing peppers, onions, and apples takes a little while. Be patient.

Step 2) Bring all ingredients to a gentle boil.

Step 3) Ladle chutney into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a knife or canning tool along the inside of the jars. Top with lids and rims, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (pints) or 20 minutes (quarts).


Easy Freezer Gumbo

WIN_20150725_120228Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, the first days of September are the lull before the storm. Also known as the “honeymoon phase” of the school year, early September ticks by on a predetermined schedule with the precision of a Swiss watch.

But I know what’s coming.

First, a lunchbox will be forgotten on the bus, never to be seen again. A math assignment will disappear. After this week’s round of laundry, paint from an art project will fail to come off of a favorite sweatshirt, and every third sock will be consumed by the Sock Eating Monster Who Lives in the Dryer.

All organization will fly out of the window, and by mid-September the school year will settle into its usual, chaotic self.

Dinner? I’m supposed to cook DINNER amidst this madness? [Insert maniacal laugh here!]

Today’s recipe for Easy Freezer Gumbo will set us up with four future dinners, which can be easily thawed and served even when you are on your last frayed nerve. (“You need posterboard and 85 cupcakes for school tomorrow? Sure, let me find my magic wand.”)  Let’s get started!

WIN_20150725_103545Ingredients (Makes 4 quarts of concentrated Gumbo – add more broth when serving for 6 quarts total!)

1 pound uncooked sausage (Andouille sausage is traditional; use whatever you like)

1/4 cup flour

WIN_20150725_1047452 quarts chicken stock

1 pound cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

4 cups okra, cut into bite size pieces

4 cups assorted vegetables (corn, onions, and zucchini work well), cut into bite size pieces

WIN_20150725_1049234 teaspoons of gumbo file (sassafras) powder, such as:

Tony Chachere’s Creole Gumbo File’ – 1.25 oz


Step 1) Fry sausage in a large, heavy pan until it is cooked through – don’t wash the pan afterward! Remove sausage from pan and cut into small pieces. Divide the pieces between 4, quart size freezer containers (we WIN_20150725_115210recycle quart size yogurt containers for freezing soup).

Step 2) Add flour to the pan and stir vigorously into the sausage drippings over medium heat. You are making “roux” or thickener for your gumbo in this step. Continue to stir over medium heat until the flour is cooked to a rich golden brown color. WIN_20150725_114717If there is not enough fat from the sausage to blend with the flour, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan.

Step 3) Slowly whisk chicken stock into the pan with the roux, adding stock a little at a time to avoid lumps. Simmer stock mixture, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to simmer until it reduces in volume a little bit WIN_20150725_113504(you should have about 6 cups of thickened stock when you are finished).

Step 4) Divide the cooked chicken into fourths and place in each freezer container on top of the sausage. Likewise, divide okra and any other raw vegetables you are using between the four freezer containers. The containers should appear full.

WIN_20150725_114446Step 5) Sprinkle one teaspoon of gumbo file (fee-lay) powder into each freezer container. Gumbo file powder is made from dried sassafras leaves, and is considered by many to be an “essential” ingredient in creole dishes such as gumbo. In addition to flavoring your gumbo, file powder acts as a thickening agent.

Step 6) Bring thickened chicken stock to a full boil, then remove from heat. Carefully ladle the hot chicken stock into each freezer container, allowing the stock to seep between the meats and veggies, filling the containers to within 1/2 inch of the top. The hot liquid blanches the vegetables right in their storage container, saving you a step!

Step 7) Cover and label your four containers of gumbo, and cool in the refrigerator. Within 12 hours, transfer your containers to the freezer.

To serve: Remove one container from the freezer the night before or the morning of the day you plan to serve gumbo for dinner. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Before dinner, transfer contents of the container to a large pot. Add additional chicken stock, broth, or water to bring to a soup-like consistency. Gumbo is versatile – feel free to throw bits and specks of leftover veggies into the pot before serving! If you want to be fancy, throw in a few cooked shrimp as well!

Three Ingredient Apple Pecan Tarts

WIN_20150827_101143Seriously, folks. Three ingredients. You could make these in your sleep, and they’re delicious. What are you waiting for?

WIN_20150827_093203Ingredients (Makes 32 mini tarts)

1 package of roll-out refrigerated pie crust

2 cups of apple jelly

2 cups of shelled pecans (halves or chopped pieces)


Step 1) Bring apple jelly to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for five minutes, then remove from heat.

Step 2) While apple jelly is boiling, open the package of roll-out refrigerated pie crusts (there are two crusts per package). Instead of rolling them out, squish each crust into a big ball of dough. How fun!

WIN_20150827_093857Step 3) Place a small ball of pie crust dough, about the size of a golf ball, in each well of a mini muffin pan. Push the dough down in the center so that it flattens on the bottom and up the sides of the well. You can use a tart press (shown), a medicine cup, or just your fingers for this.

The Pampered Chef Mini Tart Shaper 1590

Step 4) Place two pecan halves or one heaping teaspoon of chopped pecan pieces inside of each tart crust. Gently spoon the WIN_20150827_094743boiled apple jelly over the pecans in each tart crust, leaving 1/4 inch of empty space at the top of each tart.

Step 5) Bake tarts in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6) Using a butter knife and/or a teaspoon (not your fingers!), remove the tarts from the mini muffin pan while they are still warm. Cool on a wire rack.

Share your favorite bakery recipe, WIN a set of European bakery note cards!

 Cookies and cakes and pies, Oh My!

Whether your favorite baked goods are cookies or cakes, brownies or pies, breads, scones, or something else entirely, please consider sharing a recipe with the Global Recipe Project! THREE Crowded Earth Kitchen readers who submit a recipe (not published elsewhere, please) will have their name and recipe featured in the Global Recipe Project charity cookbook and will receive a FREE set of European Bakery Notecards! High gloss, professional notecards featuring Bavarian apple pastry, Belgian dipped cookies, Dutch stroopwafel, and a French bread basket can be yours!

Simply click on the Global Recipe Project for more details, or message me with questions. Thanks and good luck!

Contest ends September 15th!

Bavarian Apple Pastry

Belgian Dipped Cookies

Dutch Stroopwafel

French Bread Basket

Peach Cobbler

WIN_20150906_194452The season for fresh peaches is long this year. I don’t know why peaches are still available (and at low prices!) over Labor Day weekend, but I’m sure not complaining! Instead, I’m making peach cobbler. This recipe was inspired by Toni Blake’s blackberry cobbler recipe, and is just delightful. Toni Blake is one of my favorite authors, and wrote her blackberry cobbler recipe into her heartwarming Destiny book series.

If you’ve made fruit cobblers before, you might find it strange that the fruit goes on TOP of the batter in this recipe. Don’t worry. The fruit will sink, and the batter will rise. and everything will end up in the right place!

WIN_20150906_183231Ingredients (Makes a 9″ x 13″ pan)

1/2 cup butter

2 cups flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups milk

WIN_20150906_1812161/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 fresh peaches, diced


Step 1) Begin preheating oven to 350 degrees. While oven preheats, place 1/2 WIN_20150906_181326cup butter (1 stick) in a 9″x13″ pan. Place the pan in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.

Step 2) While butter is melting, stir together all remaining ingredients except peaches.

Step 3) Remove pan from oven, and pour batter on top of melted butter. Sprinkle WIN_20150906_181453diced peaches evenly over the top of everything.

Step 4) Bake cobbler in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. Share with friends!WIN_20150906_192334

Pecan Freezer Pesto

WIN_20150824_163338Now that the nights are cooler, my basil plants are looking pretty tired. The leaves are beginning to turn a paler shade of green, and I will lose them to winter soon. It’s time for a quick harvest! Luckily, my Swiss chard greens are looking fabulous. Today we’re making a simple pesto using a combination of chard and basil, with pecans instead of the more popular (and very expensive!) pine nuts. This pesto freezes beautifully, and will provide you with the wonderful flavor of fresh basil all winter long.

Ingredients (Makes 2 1/2 cups)

6 cups loosely packed chard leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Step 1) Combine chard leaves, pecans, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until fairly smooth.

Step 2) Add basil, salt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth, using a rubber scraper to incorporate ingredients if necessary.

Step 3) Use a teaspoon to fill each well of an ice cube tray with pesto. Place in freezer until pesto is completely solid, then remove pesto cubes and freeze in a resealable freezer bag.

Add individual cubes of pesto to sautéed vegetables, pasta sauces, soups, and casseroles all winter long!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Coffee Cake

WIN_20150713_112917This recipe is perfect for tossing in the oven on a rainy weekend morning, reading a book while the cake bakes, and then enjoying a late breakfast in your jammies. What could be better than that?

WIN_20150713_101940Ingredients (Makes a 9″ x 13″ pan)

For the cake batter:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup softened butter

2 eggs

WIN_20150713_1036251 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

WIN_20150713_1033261/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup cold butter

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

WIN_20150713_1038521/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts


Step 1) Using two forks or a pastry cutter, combine 1/4 cup cold butter, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This will be part of the topping; set it aside.

Step 2) In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 eggs, and 1 cup sugar. Add flour/baking soda/baking powder mixture alternately with milk. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Step 3) Pour batter from step 2 into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping from step 1. Top with 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon crushed peanuts.

Step 4) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Best served warm.