Google Groups
Subscribe to The Culinary Creative
Visit this group

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chocolately Chocolate Crockpot Cake

Okay, been having too much fun with my crockpot, but couldn't move on without trying something sweet.

Was curious to find out if anyone had ever tried a crockpot cake and it turns out they have.  I checked out several recipes online and picked the "best of" parts.  So here you go.

Chocolately Chocolate Crockpot Cake

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 pkg chocolate fudge pudding mix
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz sour cream
1 cup water
3/4 cup oil
1 cup dark chocolate chips

MIX everything together until smooth(ish).

FOLD in chocolate chips.

SPRAY the inside of the crockpot with baking spray or lightly coat with shortening.

POUR mixture into crockpot.

CROCKPOT on low for 6-8 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Yes, I just used crockpot as a verb.

SCOOP out and serve with your favorite ice cream, or whipped cream and fruit. I recommend strawberries.


Here's where you really get to benefit from my trial-and-error.  Most of the recipes I found said to cook it on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8.  I took the High road and after 2 hours the smell of burnt cake was blending with the smell of deliciously baked chocolately chocolate cake, so I dropped the temperature until it cooked enough that my skewer came out clean.

When I scooped it out, the cake tasted fine and the texture was fabulously baked but moist (thank you pudding mix) only the outer edge (against the sides of the pot) was burnt.  Problem was a combo of heat was too high and I did not coat inside before pouring mix in.

I am recommending that you take the Low road because you'll have more control over the baking and a better chance of it cooking consistently (= no burning).

Originally this was suppossed to be a Irish Whiskey Chocolate Cake and I used 3/4 cup water + 1/4 cup Jameson's, but by the time it was done, you couldn't taste the whiskey.  I think the key next time would be to use just 1 cup whiskey in lieu of water.  If you are feeling brave and want to give that a try, let me know how it turns out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Crockpot Cubed Steak

More fun with crockpots!  Here's another easy-peasy recipe.  Pop it in the pot first thing in the morning and it will be ready in time for dinner.  It's an all-in-one dish, just serve up with your favorite crusty bread and beverage.

Crockpot Cubed Steak

2 lbs pot roast beef, cubed
2 (10.5 oz) cans Cream of Celery soup
1 cup water
1 pk beefy onion soup mix
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup frozen peas

I bought pre-cut pot roast cubes and then just made sure they were all the same size by cutting up any bigger chunks.

Mix all but the frozen peas in the crockpot.

Set on low and cook for 5-6 hours until beef is cookedthrough and veggies are fork tender.

Mix in the peas 15-20 minutes before serving.

Dish out and enjoy!


Chell (aka The Crockpot Queen) shared her recipe for this with me and I used it as a starting point.  Hers called for Cream of Mushroom and only 3/4 cup water, but it didn't include vegetables.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can change it up to suit your own taste.  So if you wanted to switch out beef for chicken, you can do that.  You could pick whichever Cream of Soup that you prefer.  It's a great chance to be creative in the kitchen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crockpot Lasagna

So you all have my friend Chell to thank for this post as well.  We were talking about food and she told me about this recipe she tried.  Another winner for any big football finale gathering...lasagna that you prep in the morning and ignore all day until dinner?  Winner winner!  I gave her recipe my own little twist (and of course encourage you to do the same) and here's the result.

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb ground meat*
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 oz (1/2 box) uncooked lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups cottage cheese

Brown your ground meat in a large deep-sided skillet. Add in onions and garlic, cook stirring for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent.

Add crushed tomatoes, Italian Seasoning, tomato paste, black and red peppers to the meat.

In a small bowl, mix mozzarella and cottage cheese.  Set aside.

Lightly coat crockpot with cooking spray and then spread 1/4 of the meat sauce in the bottom of the crockpot.

Arrange 1/3 of your uncookied noodles on top.  Break into smaller pieces to make them fit if needed.

Spread 1/3 of your cheese mixture on top.

Repeat layers (sauce/noodles/cheese) two more times. Then spread the last 1/4 of the sauce on top of the last layer of cheese.

Put the crockpot cover on, set temperature to warm and let cook for at least 4 hours. 

When it's done cooking, remove the lid and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. This will help the lasagna set so it's more like lasagna and less like soup.

Serve it up with your favorite crusty bread and football fans.


*Can use ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork. I used ground turkey for mine.

Chell says she makes hers in the morning before going to work so it's ready to eat when she gets home at the end of the day. You can throw it together in the morning and by Superbowl kick off will be ready to scoop out.

Instead of using canned tomatoes and herbing it up, you can always just subsitute your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce instead.

If you want to add veggies to your dish, can certainly throw in a layer.  If you add zucchini or yellow squash, slice them very thin and you won't need to pre-cook.  Same with mushrooms.  If you want to add carrots, I would partially cook them before adding in.

It's pretty easy to adapt this to your own favorite lasagna recipe, be creative...and then tell me how it goes, always welcome new suggestions.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits with Crab Dip

More fun with Superbowl food ideas.  Here's a new combo for you to try out.  My friend Chell told me about these yummy biscuits she makes (AND shared her recipe, thank you Chell!) and I thought they would pair up nicely with a crab dip recipe that I have that goes over gangbusters with my party people.

The nice thing about this combo is that as stand alone items they work just as well.  With the dip, you can go cold or hot depending on your preference.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits with Crab Dip

2-1/2 cups Bisquik
4 tbsp cold butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 tsp dried parsley

Using a pastry blender (or fork), combine Bisquik and cold butter in a large bowl until evenly lumpy/mealy.

Add in grated cheddar, milk and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Either use your hands or a wood spoon to gently blend but not overmix.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop batter by a generous tablespoon.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the biscuits are baking, melt butter and mix with parsley and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

Once the biscuits are done, remove from oven and brush tops with the herbed butter.

Makes 2-1/2 to 3 dozen deliciously light and flavorful biscuits.

cold crab dip
12 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp dry white wine
3 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp Worchestershire
1/4 cup minced white onion
12 oz canned crabmeat, flaked
salt and pepper to taste

Whip together cream cheese, garlic, wine, lemon juice, horseradish, and Worchestershire until well blended.

Fold in crabmeat and onions, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with dried parsley.

Makes 3 cups.


I cut up my butter into little cubes to make it easy to blend in.  Cuts back on blending time.

I used fat free cream cheese which despite being refrigerated was soft enough to blend easily without having to leave out for a long time.  Gently squish the box at the grocery store and you'll see what I mean.

If you want to make it a hot crab dip simply add 1 tbsp milk or cream to the cold crab dip recipe. Transfer dip to an oven-proof dish and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Top with 3 tbsp chopped almonds (optional).  Serve hot.

I used Chicken of the Sea White Crab Meat, took three 6 oz cans (= 4 oz drained).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mini Chickpea Patties

For the veggie-friendly guests at your Superbowl do, here's a bite-sized treat that's easy to make.

Mini Chickpea Patties

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
2 medium carrots, shredded (approx 1 cup)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp Italian dressing mix (packet, dry mix)
1 egg

In a medium-size bowl, coarsely mash the chickpeas with a potato masher/pastry blender/fork.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well until it all molds together.

Using a generous teaspoon, form mixture into patties (makes 2 dozen).

Bake on a lightly greased (or parchment covered) cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Flip patties over and bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until patties are lightly browned on both sides.

Remove and allow to cool for a minute or two before serving.

To make a dipping sauce, blend together plain yogurt and Italian dressing mix.


Another variation to try, substitute 1/2 tsp curry powder for the Italian dressing mix.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Croquettes

Switching gears a bit here.  Figured with the big February Food Fest (aka Superbowl Sunday) on the horizon that I would wrangle up a couple of new things for you to impress your fellow football fans with.

This recipe is a combo of two of my favorite things -- chicken wings and fried anything (which I guess technically can be one and the same).  It's the first time I can remember making croquettes and I must say, I was VERY pleased with myself.  This is a new favorite snack of mine, hope it becomes one of yours too!

Buffalo Chicken Croquettes

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
4 cups cooked chicken, minced or shredded
2 stalks, chopped small
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
ranch dressing mix
oil for frying

Whisk together heavy cream and buffalo wing sauce until well blended. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in 2 tbsp of flour and blend well.

Pour the cream-wing sauce into the pan and simmer until thickened.

Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Mix together the chicken and celery.  Pour in cooled sauce mix and blend well until all the chicken is coated.

Form into patties (will be very loose) and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm OR put in freezer for about 30 minutes until firm.

Mix together the breadcrumbs and ranch dressing mix in a shallow bowl (about 1 tsp dressing mix to 1/3 cup breadcrumbs).  Whisk the eggs and place in a shallow bowl.  Put the flour in yet another bowl.  And now your dredging station is ready.

Carefully coat the patties in flour, shaking off excess.  Dip them in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumb mix.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Cooking in batches, fry the patties in hot oil for about 2-3 mintes per side or until they are nicely browned all around.

Remove from oil and set on a rack to cool.  I cover a cookie sheet with paper towels and put a rack on top to allow the excess oil to drain off.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving so that you don't burn the roof off your mouth.  They taste great plain, but if you want to have something to go with them, I mixed together the buffalo wing sauce with some plain yogurt to make a simple dip.


I minced my chicken this time, but will probably hand-shred it and chop it up a bit the next time.  The more sinewy shredded chicken will help to hold the patties together a little better.

If you feel your mixture is too soft to easily form into patties, just put the bowl in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to allow it to firm up and then try again.

I did a 50/50 heavy cream-buffalo sauce mix because I knew at least half (GP Mom) of my tasting crew doesn't like super hot food, but you can play with the mix. Next time I think I'll try 1/3 HC to 2/3 BWS.

Whatever combo you try, you want to make sure that your buffalo wing sauce has some viscosity to it, it needs to be as thick as your heavy cream as not to lose the balance of the sauce.

On the off-chance you have leftovers, I recommend reheating them in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes so you don't loose the crunch.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spiced Lentil Soup

I'm on a bit of a soup jag and have a tasty vegetarian one to share with you.  This is another low fat, low cal bowl of deliciousness.

Spiced Lentil Soup

1/2 cup lentils
2 tsp veggie oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups (32 oz) vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
1 can (11 oz) corn, drained
salt and pepper, to taste
plain yogurt, for garnish
parsley, for garnish

Rinse lentils in cold water and set aside to drain.

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Saute onion and garlic until soft (but not brown).

Stir in garam masala, ground coriander, cumin and tomato paste.  Add in 4 tbsp of the veggie stock, mixing well.  Cook together for 1-2 minutes.

Add lentils to the pan, then pour in the rest of the stock and water.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour until lentils are tender.

Stir in the corn, then season to taste.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and garnish with parsley.


You can use yellow or white corn (or a mix thereof).

The yogurt dollop is KEY!  Adds another taste level to the dish that you don't want to miss out on.

In case you are out of garam masala like I was or don't have any on hand, you can make some yourself.  Garam masala is simply a spice blend that you can make yourself.  Here is a simple recipe to make your own if you have the ingredients at home.

Garam Masala

1 tbsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1-1/2 tsp black pepper
1-1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Steak-n-Potato Soup

Healthy and belly-warming, here's a soup recipe that is as easy as it is delicious.  Low fat, low cal, all good.

Steak-n-Potato Soup

2 tbsp veggie oil
1/2 lb sirloin steak, cut into bite-sized strips
1/2 lb new potatoes, halved
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 leeks (white parts), sliced
1 qt (32 oz) beef stock
1 (15 oz) can baby corn, sliced
1 tsp bouquet garni
2 tbsp sherry
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped parsley, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add steak strips and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

Add potatoes, carrot, celery, and leeks.  Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Add beef stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat until soup is simmering then add baby corn and bouquet garni.  Continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.

Stir in sherry and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and a smattering of chopped parsley.  Serves 4-6 depending on your serving size.


You want to look for steak meant for braising or frying.  I bought stir-fry stripped sirloin to save some cutting time.

I used fingering potatoes, but you could use russet, just make sure to cut them into medium dices so that they cook more quickly/easily.

If you are not familiar with bouquet garni, it's a blend of basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, dill, tarragon, and sage.  If you don't have any bouquet garni in the cabinet, you can make up your own blend using a combo of the savory herbs listed above, putting your own twist on the flavor.