Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

Sick of cookies yet? It's been so long since I've made peanut butter cookies and I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's Favorite Comfort Food book. I just knew they'd be good! I added 1 cup peanut butter chips for extra deliciousness.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dry-roasted, salted peanuts, for sprinkling (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until well combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture, and beat just to combine.
  4. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, shape into a ball, and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, placing scoops 3 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork in warm water; press the dough balls lightly with the back of the fork to flatten them slightly (dip the fork back in the water for each dough ball, to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with a few peanuts, if desired.
  5. Transfer to the oven, and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the oven shelves halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Basketball Cookies

This year my friend and I decided to be the managers of the freshman boys basketball team. Today was their first game, and so we made them basketball cookies. They turned out pretty dang cute! :) I was impressed. The guys loved them and scarfed them down. They ended up loosing the game today against Freemont though. BUT the score ws 52:50. Only lost by 2 points! Overall it was a good game, and I had a lot of fun making these with my friend for them.

Sugar Cookies:
3/4c shortening
1c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp lemon flavoring
2 1/2c flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
(makes about 4 dozen SMALL cookies)

Mix together in order .

First mixing shortening, sugar and eggs

Cut out cookies

bake @ 4oo for 6 to 8 min


In a mixing bowl, combine:

1 lb powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c of milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 c butter

Then beat with an electric mixer or heavy spoon until smooth and creamy scrape bowl often.

Healthy cookies hu?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

These are probably my very favorite cookies in the world. One of my mom's best friends makes these and once I had my first bite I was hooked! Thanks Debbie!

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oats
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Add sugars, butter, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in oats and coconut. Shape to form 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes or until tops are golden. Makes 2 dozen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, for cute!

Are these the cutest teensiest ice cream cones you've ever seen? Just wanted to do a little free advertising for JOY. Perfect size for dessert for my kids- and good portion control for me and Chris. You should have seen him with a spoon, packing it down in there to maximize cone space. :) Got mine at good ole Wal-Mart.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

This was our Sunday night dessert- perfect for when you didn't make it to the store Saturday night, but you pretty much always have a yellow cake mix and a couple cans of pineapple in your pantry. Try serving this Charlestons-style; hot out of the oven and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whoa.

Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

2 20-oz cans pineapple slices (or chunks)
1/3 C. melted butter
2/3 C. brown sugar
1 yellow cake mix, plus eggs and oil the box calls for

Drain pineapple slices, reserving juice. Grease well 24 muffin cups. Stir butter and brown sugar together and spoon mixture into bottom of cups. Place pineapple slices over sugar mix. Prepare cake mix according to pkg directions, replacing water with reserved juice. Pour batter evenly into cups. Bake 350 for 20-25 min. Cool, invert onto serving platter. Try not to let Adam eat them all before getting to Granny's house.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu and Meatball Subs

This week's menu:
Sun- broccoli cheese soup
M- meatball subs
T- seared chicken salad with berries
W- TJ's mac-n-cheese
Th- white bean and ham soup
F- chicken fajitas
S- Adam's Birthday!!

We had meatball subs tonight- I gave them a 7 (probably because they have onions), but Chris said it was the best sandwich he's ever had. Mostly it was just fun to eat something so out of the norm.
Recipe here; from "For the Love of Cooking".
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Williams-Sonoma Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my all-time favorites. Maya and I loved it the most- she was going on and on about how much she loved this dinner. :) She said she wanted to eat the crust all day. Who can blame her?!

W-S Chicken Pot Pie

1 C. sliced peeled carrots
1 C. frozen corn
1 C. frozen peas
2 T. unsalted butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. half-n-half
1 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 9-inch pie dough round (I used Pilsbury)

Preheat oven to 400. Boil carrots for 5 minutes, boil corn for one minute. Drain and set aside. In large frying pan with lid, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides. Sprinkle in flour and stir well. Stir in the stock, half and half, and parsley, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Stir in veggies, including peas. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Brush some egg yolk in a border around edge of pie dough. Place dough, egg side down, over the filling and press dough to rim of dish. Brush surface lightly with remaining egg yolk. Cut a few slits in center of the top with the tip of a knife. Place pie dish on a baking sheet to catch spills. Bake til crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce

If you haven't noticed yet, I love breakfast foods. I would eat them for every meal. I've tried pancakes from scratch a few times, but they've never turned out that great; until now. I came across this recipe from For the Love of Cooking and they were delicious! The recipe called for rasberry sauce, but I had blackberries so I used those. So so good.

Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce


1 cup of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar
Combine all ingredients together and mix thoroughly.
1 cup of milk
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly combine into dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly (there should be some lumps). Heat a bit of butter in a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Once hot, add a ladle full of pancake dough to the pan and cook for a few minutes; once you see bubbles forming on top of the pancakes, flip. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until done. Serve with fresh raspberry sauce or hot maple syrup. Enjoy!

Blackberry sauce:

1 cup of frozen blackberries
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon zest, chopped finely
1-2 tbsp water

Combine ingredients in a small pan over medium heat. Cook until raspberries have melted down and thickens slightly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Corn Chowder

I clearly remember watching the Paula Deen show the day she made this chowder. She started the soup with a stick of butter, and when the soup was finished, she cut a whole other stick into pieces and stirred them into the soup, barely melting them, so the first few bites taken would be 1/2 butter, 1/2 soup. WHOA. Over the top even for me. I left out the second stick of butter, and it was still delish.

Corn Chowder
(Paula calls this "Chef Jack's Corn Chowder)

1 stick butter
1 small onion, diced (or not)
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 C. white corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 C. chicken stock
2 C. half-and-half
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic- saute for 2 minutes. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, set aside to cool. Meanwhile, combine corn and chicken stock in another saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour stock and corn a little at a time into the pan with the roux, whisking briskly so it doesn't lump. Return the skillet to the heat and bring to a boil. Mixture should become very thick. In a small saucepan, gently heat the half-and-half; stir it into the corn mixture. Add nutmeg, and salt and pepper. (This is the part when Paula adds a whole other stick o butter, so go ahead if you have the gumption.)

I added one potato, diced small, and boiled it with the corn and chicken stock. It made the soup good and thick, and potassium-laden.
Also. Try fresh-grated nutmeg. I bought my first whole nutmeg (at Sprouts) for the butternut squash lasagna, and have been loving using it since. So fragrant and fancy- give it a try.
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Pumpkin Dip

I came across this recipe and knew I had to try it. I thought it was a really fun way to have dessert- similar ingredients to pumpkin pie, but the filling is the dip and the crust is the cookie or graham cracker. Fun!

Pumpkin Dip

2 C. pumpkin puree
1 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Cream together pumpkin and cream cheese. Add in all other ingredients til well blended. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with gingersnaps and graham crackers. *Trader Joe's Triple Gingersnaps are amazing.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

20-minute Chicken Parmesan

This, of course, isn't my photo, but I wish it were because it's so great (thanks Marth). This recipe comes from Tara Winward, my friend from dental school. It is so so good- I am so glad there are leftovers in our fridge at this moment. YUM.

20-minute Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I use panko and then add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning)
2 T. olive oil
1 large jar spaghetti or marinara sauce (I like Trader Joes)
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil

Season chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with flour. Dip into eggs, then breadcrumbs to coat. In skillet over medium heat, in olive oil, brown chicken on both sides, 1 or 2 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce. Cover, simmer ten minutes, Sprinkle with cheese and basil. Cover, simmer for 5 more minutes til cheese melts. Yours won't look as pretty as the picture because it cooks in the sauce- but it is so tender and flavorful- a crowd pleaser. It pleased my crowd!
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Strawberry Muffins

These are probably my favorite muffins so far. I had 4 in one sitting and probably could have polished all dozen of them off, but was nice enough to let my kids have some and save a few for Derek when he got home from work. Recipe from Martha Stewart.

Strawberry Muffins

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (I just used 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped strawberries (you can substitute any fruit you like)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a standard muffin tin or use baking cups. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl; whisk to combine.
2. In medium bowl, combine butter, vanilla bean scrapings, sugar, milk, and egg; whisk to combine. Fold butter mixture and fruit into flour mixture until incorporated.
3. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each prepared cup. Bake until tops are golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool in pan 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menus and recommendations

First, this week's menu:

Monday- Chicken parmesan over pasta (recipe to come)
Tues- corn chowder in bread bowls (recipe to come)
Wed- Orange chicken and rice
Thurs- Williams-Sonoma chicken pot pie (recipe to come)
Fri- leftovers
Saturday- out

A couple recommendations: Whatever you do, do NOT purchase a bag of Fresh and Easy salt and black pepper potato chips, unless you want to eat the ENTIRE bag in one sitting, and crave them forever more. They are the best chips I've had in all my life. Super crunchy, the right balance of salt and pepper, and a little sweet, too. Perfection.

On the flip side (and I am very sorry for what I am about to do), I have been very disappointed with the Martha Stewart line at Costco. So far I have tried the tomato soup (chunky, oniony, and all around yucky), and last night we tried her apple raspberry slab pie. Not good. Crust wasn't flaky, fruit wasn't flavorful... nothing to write home about. As one of Martha's biggest fans, I feel like a traitor saying these things about my dear friend. But I was genuinely disappointed and thought the information was worth passing along. I would be interested if anyone has different thoughts or has tried anything else from the line.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Much of this recipe blog is about trust. We are not kitchen pros, and we're no photo experts either (see picture above)...(it doesn't help matters that the sun goes down before 6 pm now). But, I think it's safe to say that we know and appreciate good eats. Maren and I have been laughing lately at the realization that we are becoming food snobs. Things we used to like are now below our standards. It can be frustrating. :) Point being- trust me when I say that this pizza, recipe by the amazing Amanda, makes the cut!

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

1 ball pizza dough (Trader Joes, Fresh and Easy)
1 C. alfredo sauce (see below)
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1/2 pkg. bacon, oven baked til crisp

Roll out dough (I used whole wheat) according to package directions. Top with sauce, chicken, cheese, and crumble the bacon on top. Bake according to package directions, at 450 for about 15-20 minutes. (I find that because the chicken is already cooked, if you put it on top of the cheese it can dry out, so I put it under.) Also, this dinner will come together much more quickly if you can bake your chicken and bacon in the morning, shred and crumble, and have them in the fridge ready to go. Please try this- you will not believe how good it is.

Alfredo Sauce:

I have yet to find a jarred alfredo sauce that tastes good to me (food snob), and making your own only takes a few minutes. Plus you can pronounce all the ingredients, so why not?

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 C. milk
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium heat on stovetop. Add flour and cook for two minutes, stirring continuously- to get the starchy taste out of the flour, but don't let it brown. Whisk milk into flour mixture (the roux, for you Frenchies) and keep whisking a few minutes til thickened. Add parmesan and stir til melted. Season with salt and pepper.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(Recipe from the back of the Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries package)

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (6 ounce) package ocean spray original craisians dried sweetened cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate, chunks or chips

1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) In a mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs mixing well.
3) Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
4) Add dry ingredients a little at a time to the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.
5) Stir in by hand the cranberries then the white chocolate chips.
6) Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
7) Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
8) Cool on wire rack.

Yield: Approx. 2 ½ dozen

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

I'm not sure why pumpkin seems to be most popular during fall when you can buy canned pumpkin year-round, but I'll admit in the last couple of months I've gone through quite a few cans and I'm still not sick of pumpkin. This is one recipe you'll definitely want to try!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake with a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Drizzle

(recipe from Stephanie's Kitchen)

For the cake:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 15 ounce can pureed pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

For the Drizzle:
2 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and mix until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter into a greased 9X13 baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until set. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Mix all ingredients for the drizzle until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

White Chili

This is probably more like soup than chili, but still good! I love crock-pot recipes because you just throw everything in and it does the rest.

White Chili

2 cans white beans
1 can diced green chilies
1 cup green enchilada sauce
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used a Costco rotisserie)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper
sour cream and cheese (opt.)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours, until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and top with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

(*My photography and presentation skills are apologies)

I realize that we already have a recipe for enchiladas posted, and that enchiladas are a pretty basic meal to make, but I tried this recipe over the weekend and thought that they were quite delicious so I thought I should share it anyways.
8 flour tortillas
4 chicken breasts
1 lb grated cheddar cheese (I thought this was a little much, so halved the amount of cheese I used in the filling)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 4.5 oz can of diced green chilies
1/2 cup of sour cream (I may have used closer to a cup of sour cream...whoops :)
Boil chicken (around 20 minutes). Cut or shred chicken. In large mixing bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken, cheese, green chilies, and salt and pepper (to taste). Lay out 8 tortillas Evenly spoon chicken mixture onto each tortilla. Wrap tortillas and place into Pam-sprayed pan, crease down. Bake at 400 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes with left over cheese sprinkled across top.
Serve with salsa below, or your favorite salsa. For presentation, spread chopped green onions, sliced black olives, avocados, etc. on the top.

10 Roma tomatoes (no other tomato works as well)
finely chop 1/2 bunch of green onions
finely chopped cilantro (add to taste)
1 can Marca El Pato Jalapeno hot sauce
lemon juice to taste
salt/pepper to taste