Search This Blog

Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I have no idea where this recipe originated.

Makes about 15 cupcakes.


2 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Vanilla wafers

You will also need:

Paper baking cups
Muffin pan
Cherry pie filling for topping (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place paper baking cups in a muffin pan and then place one vanilla wafer cookie in the bottom of each paper baking cup.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the room temperature cream cheese. Using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese to soften it up until it is very creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in sugar, and again, scrape down sides. Add in eggs one at a time, beating each one in well and scraping down sides in between each addition. Finally beat in vanilla until the batter is completely smooth.

Fill each baking cup with cream cheese batter up to 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the muffin pan. Top with cherry (or other) pie filling if desired. Refrigerate.

(These may be frozen. Before adding the pie filling on top, of course.)

Cheddar Cornbread

from Cook's Illustrated (January/February 2005, pg 11)


1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed) or fresh
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled

You will also need:

Food processor
Batter bowl
Cast Iron Skillet (or Pyrex glass baking dish)
1 tablespoon bacon fat or butter to grease the pan


Measure and set out frozen corn to thaw. Preheat oven to 400 F and place cast iron skillet in the oven to also get hot.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in batter bowl. Add half of the shredded cheddar to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Set aside.

In food processor, process thawed corn, brown sugar and butter milk for just 2 or 3 short pulses. Add eggs and process just 2 or 3 more short pulses (you want there to still be lumpy corn pieces).

Using a hot pad, remove your cast iron skillet from the oven and add your tablespoon of bacon fat (or butter). Return to oven and allow to warm while you finish the mixing.

Using your spoonula, make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use your spoonula to turn just a few times to barely combine. Add melted butter and continue to fold until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Again, using a hot pad, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and swirl around to spread out the bacon fat. Pour the batter into the skillet and spread it around with your spatula/spoonula. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheddar cheese on top. Bake for 25-35 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack & turn right side up to cool for an additional 10 minutes.

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from my sister’s husband’s family’s recipe (was that convoluted enough for you?)

Makes 12 muffins


2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cool room temperature
1 cup buttermilk cool room temperature*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups blueberries**

* Milk may be substituted for buttermilk.
** Should be fresh blueberries that have been frozen with no sugar added.

You will also need:

Large bowl
Muffin pan
Baking liners (optional)
1 extra teaspoon (or so) of flour


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Work room temperature butter into dry ingredients using fingers until it makes various sized “pebbles”. Gently toss frozen blueberries with a teaspoon or so of flour to coat. Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Gently begin folding together and gently fold in blueberries at the same time. Do not over-mix as the dough should remain rather lumpy. Spoon into 12 muffin cups and bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for about 8-10 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.

Mix together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.

Work butter in with fingers to make small pebble sized pieces.

Add wet ingredients (milk & vanilla) in a well and then begin to fold together.

Toss frozen blueberries with just a little bit of flour to coat.

Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups. I use paper liners mostly for ease of clean-up but also to help contain all that blueberry goodness once removed from the pan.

Just a note: This is a 2 ounce scoop and I loaded it up with batter to fill the muffin cups.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes (my oven is closer to 25 minutes).

Enjoy with a little pat of butter.

Spice Rub


2 teaspoons each:
Whole cumin seeds
Whole coriander seeds
Whole mustard seeds

3 teaspoons each:
Whole Allspice
Whole Peppercorns

1 ½ cups brown sugar
4 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon each:
Curry powder
Ground ginger
Cayenne pepper
Dried rosemary (crushed)
Ground cinnamon

You will also need:

Non-stick sauté pan/skillet
Spice grinder or spice dedicated coffee grinder


Measure each of the whole spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, allspice, mustard seeds and peppercorns) in to a small non-stick skillet and place over medium – medium-high heat. Shake the pan periodically to move the seeds around. Toast the spices in this manner until fragrant and you see a few wisps of smoke rising from the skillet. Remove from heat and pour the spices in to a different bowl or container to cool. Set aside.

While the toasted spices cool, measure the remaining ingredients (brown sugar, seasoned salt, paprika…. etc) and place in a bowl.

Once the whole spices have cooled a bit, place them into your spice grinder or spice dedicated coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Add them into your bowl and mix to combine while mashing up the clumps of brown sugar as you mix.

It can be used on Ribs, Brisket, Chicken... whatever.

Fresh Tomato Pasta

This recipe is most "frugal" when the tomatoes and herbs come from your garden.


4 small to medium size fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh garlic chives (chopped)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
Pasta of choice (cooked to taste)


Dice tomatoes and prepare all herbs. Combine everything in a bowl, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for at least one hour (more is better, in my opinion).

Serve over prepared pasta.

We usually serve it with some grilled chicken, but it is certainly not necessary and most frugal without.

Raspberry Margarita Smoothie


Vanilla Ice Cream
Margarita Mix
1/2 - 1 cup Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Ice (if desired)

You will also need:



In your blender, place several scoops of ice cream (until about 2/3 full). Add 1/2 - 1 cup of raspberries (depending on how tart you want the flavor) on top. Then pour in margarita mix until it about 2/3 of the way up the ice cream. Top off with ice as desired. Blend until smooth and liquid and ice is crushed.

You might also like the recipe for Pink Smoothies.

Pink Smoothies

Adapted from Jane Bull's The Cooking Book

(Makes enough for 2 smallish glasses)


1/2 banana
3 strawberries
A handful of raspberries
2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup milk (approximately)

You will also need:

Cutting board


Look really cute.

Then, cut the banana and strawberry into chunks and place into blender and add a handful of raspberries on top.

Add two or so scoops of ice cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and about 1/4 cup of milk to the blender as well.

Blend until smooth. You may have to stop and push the ice cream down in with a spoon after about 30 seconds.

Pour into glasses and....


Don't worry. If you don't have the "look really cute" step down yet, I think it will still taste okay. We just haven't had the opportunity to taste test that variable yet.