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cooking frugal living Frugal Recipes how-to recipes

Blueberry Cream Puff Recipe

Wanna wow your guy or your co-workers? Need to take a dessert to a potluck or a work function? This is the one you want to make. It’s simple and there are so many fabulous pie fillings out there you can make it in many different flavors. I chose blueberry because it’s a favorite of my main squeeze, but you should pick a pie filling that your family loves. If I had picked a flavor like cherry or strawberry, I would have drizzled chocolate sauce on top but I chose not to do that here because I don’t care for the chocolate/blueberry combo. To each their own!

To make this cake, you’ll make a recipe for cream puffs, spread it in a pan and bake it. I made homemade vanilla bean pastry cream, but you could substitute a package of vanilla pudding (prepared and chilled) mixed with a tub of whipped topping. I encourage you to try the pastry cream though, it is so good and adds that extra something special to the cake. It will be tasty if you choose not to go the homemade route though, don’t fret. The pastry cream gets spread over the cream puff base, topped with a can of pie filling and a container of whipped topping is spread over it all. Tuck it away in the fridge for a few hours to completely chill and combine flavors and then serve to your happy, adoring crowd.

A word of warning, leftovers-if you have any, tend to not be very good after a couple of days. The cream puff base gets a little soggy and not as tasty. Try to plan making this dish when it will be devoured all in one sitting, or as close to it as you can get. Oh, and write out the recipe on a few recipe cards as well. You WILL be asked for this recipe 🙂

Blueberry Cream Puff Recipe

  • Recipe for Cream Puff Dough (recipe follows)
  • Recipe for Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
  • 1 can Blueberry Pie Filling (or filling flavor of choice)
  • 1 (16 oz) tub whipped topping

For the Cream Puff Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, melt the butter and water together and bring to a boil. Add in the flour all at once. Cook and stir until the dough forms a ball and comes away from the side of the pan. Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time, beating until they are completely incorporated after each addition. Spread the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks (save the whites-make angel food cake!)
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Place milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla bean pod and scrapings into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. In a bowl, beat together the remaining sugar and egg yolks. When they are light and lemon yellow colored, add in the flour and stir well. Bring the milk mixture just to a boil and remove from heat. Dribble the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly, until about 1/2 of the milk has been incorporated. Add all of the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan and return to medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes very thick and starts to boil. Remove from heat and add in the pinch of salt, butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill until completely cool.

When all of the bits and pieces are completely cool, you can put it all together! Take the cooled Cream Puff cake and set it on the counter.

Spread the cooled pastry cream over the cake. See the little black specks? Those are all of those lovely little vanilla bean seeds in there. Yummy!

Spread the pie filling over the top. I like to leave a little room at the edges so you can see all of the layers, but you don’t have to. Spread to the edge if that’s what floats your boat.

Then, lastly, spread the container of whipped topping over it all. It’s the icing on the cake!

Cover it with plastic wrap and let the cake chill for at least 2 hours, but up to 6 would be fine too. Share with friends and family and watch their faces light up with glee. This cake is so fast and easy to make, less than 30 minutes actual work is involved, but the finished product is so nice and tastes so good. You are going to love it!!!

 

 

crafty creative ideas food gifts holiday how-to party valentines

Valentine’s Day Craft: Felt Valentines Fortune Cookie

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays since becoming a mom. I love to surprise them on the days up to Valentine’s Day with fun crafts, little treats and things they just don’t expect. …

cooking food frugal living Frugal Recipes recipes

Homemade Dry Ranch and Onion Soup Mixes

I cook and bake a LOT. I have a family of 7 and we very rarely eat out. We all know that groceries are not getting any cheaper and one of the ways I combat high prices in the store is to make my own mixes. You know, all of those little packets that you pick up- the taco seasoning, the ranch dressing mix, gravies, etc. I just make them in bulk and it has saved us a bundle! I thought that today I would share a couple of my favorite mixes with you and how I store them so they will last a long time.

Herbs and spices should be kept in a cool, dark place. One way that I help my mixes stay fresh for the longest possible time is to store them in plastic containers with tight fitting lids. But, I take it one step farther! I recycle plastic lemonade mix containers that I get from family, spray paint them black with spray paint meant for plastic outdoor furniture and then I store my mixes inside! Works like a charm.

I just use a bright colored paint pen to write on top of each one what I have inside and store them in my cabinets. They stack perfectly, keep me organized and make it really simple to mix up large batches of the mixes we use the most, like ranch dressing or chili seasoning.

Buttermilk Dressing Recipe

Source credit: Robyn’s View

  • 1/2 cup powdered buttermilk
  • 3 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon course Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients together ( you can use a food processor or grinder to make it really fine, but I don’t). Store in an airtight container. To use mix combine 1 Tablespoon with 1 cup mayo and 1/2 cup milk. Stir well. I like to let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, I think it has better flavor that way.

 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Makes enough to equal 1 packet

  • 1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
  • 3/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Mix it all together and store in an airtight container. To make a dip, mix 5 tablespoons mix into 16 ounces of sour cream. To make soup, mix together 5 tablespoons with 4 cups of water, bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes.

Having these, and other, mixes at the tips of my fingers makes it so easy to whip up some healthy snacks for my kiddos whenever they want. We’ve started putting a tray of cut up raw veggies on the table at 4:oo pm every day to let the little (and big) people snack on in the afternoon. The kids are loving it and I’m loving that we aren’t spending a fortune in ranch or other dip!

Money Saving Tip: Meals by the Week takes meal planning off your plate. They  plan dinner menus based on sale items at your grocery store. Currently, Meals by the Week publishes 18 different menus each week for grocery store chains, including Safeway, Hy-Vee, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and others. They also publish a Vegetarian and a 400 Calorie menu. Recipes are family-friendly, and we like to build convenient menus based on real food.

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