Pumpkin Pudding

Pudding1Pumpkin is one of the healthiest veggies around! It’s low in calories but chock full of fiber and vitamins. This quick and easy recipe allows you to serve up veggies as a delicious (and healthy) dessert! Your secret is safe with me. Continue reading

Peanut Pumpkin Soup

Soup1Rich and earthy, warm and savory, this is a perfect soup for a crisp autumn evening. You can use canned pumpkin to make a pot of Peanut Pumpkin Soup quickly, or roast a pie pumpkin and puree the flesh for added depth of flavor. It’s entirely up to you. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Nalewka Babuni for Beginners

N1Don’t kill the messenger, friends, but the holiday season will be here in the blink of an eye (I know, I know…). A pretty bottle of Nalewka Babuni makes a wonderful gift! Translated approximately as “Grandma’s Liqueur,” Nalewka (pronounced “Na-LEF-ka”) Babuni is Continue reading

Signature Dish: Savory Stuffed Pumpkin

p3Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we don’t toss around the Signature Dish moniker lightly. If we label a recipe as a Signature Dish, you can rest assured that the recipe is a guaranteed, crowd pleasing success. Savory Stuffed Pumpkin fits the bill! Continue reading

Crab Melt Appetizers

WIN_20151031_211358‘Tis the season for holiday parties and other food-appropriate gatherings. Consider bringing an appetizer to your next event… something fun that doesn’t require utensils to enjoy. Crab Melt Appetizers are perfect for this, because they’re easy to prepare and completely portable. You can prepare them ahead of time right up until the very last step (broiling). Drive them to your party on a baking sheet, borrow your host’s broiler for a quick few minutes, and Voila! Bubbling hot Crab Melt Appetizers for everyone!

WIN_20151031_204703Ingredients (Makes approximately 24 appetizers)

8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded

8 ounces crabmeat (canned is fine)

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

WIN_20151031_2050331 loaf French bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/4 cup green olives, sliced thin

Directions

Step 1) Melt cheddar cheese, butter, and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.

WIN_20151031_205753Step 2) Whisk crabmeat into cheese mixture (drain crabmeat first if using canned).

Step 3) Use a teaspoon to spread the crab mixture onto slices of French bread. Top with a few slices of green olive.

Step 4) Arrange slices on a baking sheet and broil for 3 – 5 minutes or until the cheese on your crab melts begins to bubble and brown.

Step 5) Remove from broiler and serve. Happy Holidays!

Variations

If you love these flavors as much as we do, you might want to experiment with the following variations…

  • Instead of topping your crab melt appetizers with green olives, try thin slices of red bell pepper. So pretty!
  • Instead of spreading the crab mixture onto slices of French bread, keep it warm in a fondue pot. Set a bowl of bread cubes and fondue forks alongside the fondue pot, and invite your guests to help themselves to Crab Melt Fondue!
  • Feeling adventurous? Try scooping the seeds out of cherry tomatoes, and spooning the crab and cheese mixture into the hollowed out tomatoes. Arrange tomatoes in a pie dish so that they are touching each other (to prevent tomatoes from tipping over). Broil until the crab melt mixture begins to turn golden brown. So fancy!

Top Ten Affordable Kitchen Gadgets (Great Gift Ideas!)

kitchen gadgets

Here you have it – the Crowded Earth Kitchen “Top Ten” list of affordable kitchen gadgets we simply love. There are no status symbols on this list… if you’re looking for a TV show food processor that costs more than many people pay for rent, you’ll need to look some place else.  We’re pretty frugal and low tech around here. Check out the “old standbys” that we use often and highly recommend!

1) CANNING SUPPLIES.  Cooks who learn to preserve food through simple, hot water bath canning save more money than cooks who don’t. Investing in a few basic canning supplies will pay off quickly!

Granite Ware 0718-1 Enamel-on-Steel Canning Kit, 9-Piece

2) A STOCKPOT.  You can get away with saucepans and little one-quart pots when you’re living on ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese, but when you get serious about cooking, you need a stockpot.  Yes, you do.

Excelsteel 16 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot With Encapsulated Base

3) AN IMMERSION BLENDER. I resisted this for a while, and tried ladling soup back and forth from a stockpot to a standing blender. The first time I burned myself, I stopped being (quite so) cheap and bought an immersion blender.

Conair Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75BC 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender (Brushed Chrome)

4) A BUNDT PAN. I don’t have a huge assortment of baking pans, but I do love my Bundt pan. I use it for everything from delicious, light sponge cakes to decadent pecan rolls. The shape looks fancy – anything baked in a Bundt pan makes a great buffet centerpiece!

Cuisinart AMB-95FCP Chef’s Classic Nonstick Bakeware 9-1/2-Inch Fluted Cake Pan

5) A FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKER. Best… coffee… ever! Just add coffee grounds and boiling water – this couldn’t be any easier. It works with tea leaves, as well.

SterlingPro French Coffee Press –8 Cup/4 Mug (1 liter, 34 oz), Chrome

6) INDIVIDUAL RAMEKIN DISHES. These are great for serving appetizers and desserts.

Norpro 6 Piece Porcelain Ramekin Set

7) OIL FREE, MICROWAVE POTATO CHIP MAKER. I wouldn’t have believed it if my mother didn’t buy one first to try it out, but this little gadget is amazing! You can make awesome snack chips out of potatoes and other vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, you name it) without any added fat. How cool is that?!

Joie Healthy Microwave Potato Chip Maker / Slicer / Cooker (Colors May Very)

8) Silicon Mat for Macarons. After several trips to France, I have developed a borderline obsession with macarons. These silicon mats are perfect for beginners, and are less than $5! Recipes coming soon…

1 X Silicone Macaron macaroon Baking Sheet Mat Muffin DIY Chocolate Cookie Mould Mode – 48 Capacity

9) Ninja Master Prep. This blender is absolutely fabulous, and completely affordable! For approximately $30, this blender will do everything from quickly pureeing soups to effortlessly crushing ice. How cool is that?

Ninja Master Prep (QB900B)

10) 17-Piece Tools and Gadgets Set. Look, Everybody needs these things in their kitchen, especially if they’re just starting out. Whether you need to stir, whisk, ladle, peel, measure, scrape, open, or grate, this set does it all.

KitchenAid Classic 17-piece Tools and Gadget Set (Black)

There you have it… a short list of Crowded Earth Kitchen favorites! What’s your favorite gadget in your kitchen? Feel free to comment below!

Easy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

WIN_20151118_203406So, you agreed to bake pie for the big dinner this week. You had high hopes of learning to make crust from scratch, complete with fancy edges, a lattice top, and all of the frou-frou that you saw on that gourmet food magazine. Then life intervened and you got busy. Don’t worry. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ve got you covered!

To save time and sanity this holiday week, we’re starting with a store bought, roll-out pie crust. If you’re feeling obligated to make a scratch crust, that’s cool – click on the link above and we’ll walk you through it. But seriously, nobody is going to shun this awesome Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie because you skipped a few steps with the roll-out crust. I doubt they’ll even know the difference.

Let’s get started!

WIN_20151118_155802Ingredients

1 roll-out pie crust

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

1 cup (8 oz) evaporated milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

WIN_20151118_174029Directions

Step 1) Roll pie crust into a glass pie pan. This is easiest when the pie crust has been allowed to rest on a counter top for about 10 minutes before unrolling. If you try to unroll the pie crust right from the fridge, it will crack. If you let it get too warm, it will stick. 10 minutes is just about right!

Step 2) Trim the pie crust even with the edge of the pie pan. Cut little shapes out of the scraps if you wish, to use as a garnish.

Step 3) Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread mixture on bottom of pie crust as shown.

Step 4) In a medium size mixing bowl, beat eggs and pumpkin. Add sugar, spices, and salt. Finally, add evaporated milk a little at a time until fully incorporated.

WIN_20151118_185524Step 5) Pour pumpkin mixture carefully into your pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 40 minutes.

Step 6) If using small crust shapes as a garnish, set small crust shapes on a baking sheet and place in the oven for the final 10 minutes of pie baking time. Place baked crust shapes on top of the baked pie.