Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies



If you are looking for a thick, rich, indulgent cookie; look no further. This is it. 

The basis of the cookie is cake mix, something I have been meaning to try for a while. I had heard it resulted in a thick, chewy cookie and that is certainly true in this case. The batter is so thick, in fact, it must be flattened a bit on the tray so it takes the shape of a cookie.
It is also such an easy way to make cookies. Other than unwrapping and crushing the peanut butter cups this took me hardly any time to put together. 

These aren't really classic holiday cookies, but I have a bunch frozen to bring out later this season. Personally I think a good chocolate peanut butter cookie is good any time of the year. :-) 

Adapted from Taste of Home

 Ingredients:

1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 stick (8 tablespoons) Butter, melted
1 large Egg
2 cups Mini Chocolate Chips
25 Mini peanut butter Cups, crushed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour cake mix into a large mixing bow. Add melted butter (I melted the butter in the microwave. Having the butter completely melted makes mixing the batter easier.) egg, chocolate chips and crushed peanut butter cups. I put the peanut butter cups in a Zip lock bag and ran my rolling pin over them to crush them.  It's a very thick, heavy batter and I ended up using my hands.

3. Using a tablespoon or a medium cookie scoop drop dough onto a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. The dough does not spread much so they can be closer together then most cookies. With a spoon or your fingers press down slightly on the top of each dough ball.

4. Bake for 11-13 minutes until cooked through. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. I am normally not good about doing these but these fall apart unless they are allowed to cool

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pumpkin muffins


I did some baking this week to donate to a bake sale to benefit the local animal shelter. Anything with animals is a cause near and dear to my heart.

I made these chocolate pecan pie bars that are beyond delicious. My plan was to donate half the pan and keep the other half frozen and have for Christmas. I think they would have to be frozen and stored across town to survive much longer. It doesn't help that they are amazing even straight out of the freezer.

There was leftover pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving so I decided to try this pumpkin muffin recipe. They are nice for a light breakfast or a quick snack. I didn't have sunflower seeds, but I think they would be a nice addition. I could also see mixing in some nuts; pecans sound really good.  Husband thought cream cheese frosting would be good, sort of a pumpkin bar in muffin form. I can't argue with that, but I left this batch as is.



I donated six pumpkin muffins, a plate of chocolate pecan pie bars and some milk chocolate fudge.



Adapted from Parade Magazine

Ingredients:


2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Ginger
¼ tsp Salt
1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
½ cup Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
¾ cup Pumpkin Puree
¼ cup Milk
Sunflower Seeds, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Beat butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Fold in pumpkin puree and milk.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Fit a regular muffin pan with liners.

Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups ( a cookie scoop works well ) and sprinkle with sunflower seeds if desired. Bake until muffins are puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Italian Chicken soup


I have been wanting to make chicken noodle soup ever since the weather turned cold, but I wanted something different than the classic egg noodles and chicken in broth. I like all the vegetables in this recipe and the heavy cream made this soup a bit richer and decadent that most classic broth soups.

My original plan was to modify this recipe a bit and use leftover turkey. As it turned out I didn't have enough leftover turkey, but I am glad it worked that way. I had four chicken legs sitting in the freezer with no plans for them and they worked great in this soup along with a chicken breast. Bone-in skin-on chicken makes for tasty stock for the soup, as does a little dark meat.

 This recipe is half the original and still produces six large servings.

It is wonderful as leftovers too as I found out for lunch today. The flavors meld and everything gets extra delicious after sitting a few days. 

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

½ Box Ditalini Pasta (Very Short Macaroni-Type Pasta Noodles)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ Whole Chicken - Breasts, Legs, Thigh Or Any Combination - I used one large breast and 4 legs
4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ Whole Medium Onion, Diced
1 Whole Red Bell Peppers, Diced
1 Stalks Celery, Diced
1 Whole Fresh Jalapeno pepper, Diced
1 ½ tsp Olive Oil
1 Can (14-Ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup Heavy Cream
⅛ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Minced Fresh Oregano
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Parmesan Cheese Shavings or grated Parmesan, For Serving

Directions:

Place chicken pieces in a large soup pot and cover with the chicken broth. Cover and bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let chicken sit in broth for an additional 30 minutes. Remove chicken, reserving broth and dice or chop chicken; discarding the skin and bones. Set aside the meat.

Cook pasta in a separate pot according to package directions (mine took about 8 minutes) being sure not to overcook it. Drain pasta and drizzle in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Dice canned tomatoes if using whole tomatoes and return them to their juice.

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and oregano and turn off heat, stir constantly for one minute. Set this aside. You can also used dried oregano as the olive oil does a nice job reconstituting the flavor of the dried spice.

Pour chicken broth into a separate container and use the original soup pot to saute onion, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add cooked pasta, cream, and all the oregano and olive oil from the small skillet. Stir to combine and until desired temperature. Turn off heat.

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan or shavings. Bread is always good with soup too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Ala King


Turkey Ala King is always on of my plans for leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I am a sucker for anything with a creamy sauce. Since we only had enough leftover turkey for one recipe; this was it.

I went heavy on the turkey as husband mentioned the last batch had more peas than meat.

Oh the horror. :D

Actually I went heavy on the veggies too.  I served it over leftover ciabatta bread; it's delicious over any bread or toast....or toasted bread! I have also served it over buttermilk biscuits which is excellent.

This recipe certainly works with chicken and you could use any cooked cut up chicken or turkey. But I especially like using the meat from a leftover roasted turkey and I think using a little dark meat adds a lot of flavor

The original recipe called for green pepper, which stays out of all of my recipes. That is my idea of horror. But this time I did add some red pepper and I thought it was nice, for both flavor and a little color. 

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

¼ cup Butter Or Margarine
½ cup Frozen Peas , thawed
¾ cup Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Red Pepper, chopped
¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
¾ cup Milk
¾ cup Chicken Broth
1 cup Cut-Up Cooked Turkey or Chicken

Directions:

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.

Cook onions, peas, mushrooms and red pepper in butter, stirring occasionally, until onion and pepper is crisp-tender.

Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk and broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Stir in turkey; cook until hot.

Serve over bread or toast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp


Shrimp is by far my favorite seafood. I make it for husband and I a couple times a month and have it myself for lunch at least a day a week. It's a great main entree choice as it's low in fat and calories; provided you don't smother it with fat. :-)  No problem for me, I prefer my shrimp roasted with just a little olive oil.
It also cooks very quickly; and makes it easy to get a meal on the table quickly. 

This recipe is light and a nice change from heavy marinara or Alfredo sauces. The lemon zest and fresh juice creates a lovely zesty flavor. The roasted shrimp goes perfectly with the lemon flavor.

Adapted from Ina Garten - Food Network


Ingredients:

Good Olive Oil
14 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined - I also removed the tails
Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Angel Hair Pasta Or Thin Vermicelli - I used about ⅙ of 1 lb box of pasta
1 tablespoon(s) Unsalted Butter, melted
Zest And Juice Of 1 Lemon


Directions:

Place a large pot of water on your cooktop and heat the water to boiling.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well, spread them in one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they are pink and cooked through.

I like to use my toaster oven and broil the shrimp on high for about 5-6 minutes until pink.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Toss pasta with the melted butter, a drizzle of olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until the pasta mixes well.. Add the shrimp and serve hot.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chocolate chip cookies


One of my baking goals for a long time has been to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. It would be thick, soft, chewy and, of course, taste amazing. I have made lots of good cookies; this recipe I am sharing is delicious. For years I went with the classic Nestle Toll House recipe; which is excellent. I also love these Peanut butter Oatmeal Chocolate chip cookies.

But I have never found what I consider to be my idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

That said, these aren't too shabby. They bake up soft, taste great and are nearly irresistible in dough form. Me and cookie dough...it's a sickness. Actually I have never gotten sick; not that it would cure me.



Adapted from Food.com
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Real Butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Shortening
3/4 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 large Eggs
1 (6 ounce) Package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts (Optional) I opted not-my perfect cookie does not have nuts.


Directions:


In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening until creamy.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add slowly allowing ingredients to combine, then beat to blend well.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop batter in 2-tablespoon portions about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake in a 375°F preheated oven until edges of cookies are brown but an area about 1 inch wide in the center is still pale, about 10 minutes.

Let cookies cool on pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks with a spatula.

Yields about 18 cookies and easily doubled if you wish to make more.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Enchilada Stuffed Shells


I can't remember coming across this recipe; but it has been in my must-try folder on my computer for a while. Pasta and Mexican flavor together sounded so delightful and definitely something different.

I modified the original to incorporate extra spice with more onion, more cumin and the cayenne pepper. As I have mentioned Husband and I like spice and I used mild enchilada sauce; so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of flavor. I have been meaning to try some homemade enchilada sauce but for this recipe I used the canned and it was good.

Canned refried beans aren't my favorite; though I do love refried beans and beans in general. I substituted some black beans I smashed with a fork as I wanted the texture and flavor of beans without the mushiness of canned refried beans. I thought it worked very well.

Adapted from BlogChef.net

Ingredients:

8-10 Jumbo Pasta Shells
½ pound Ground Beef Or Turkey
1 (10 ounce) Can Enchilada Sauce
¼ cup Minced Onion
¼ tsp Dried Oregano
¼ tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Refried Beans Or Smashed Beans
½ cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese Or Mexican Blend Cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside. I made a few extra as it was hard to tell how many shells I could fill with the meat mixture.

 In a large skillet over medium heat brown meat until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat. Stir in onion, oregano, basil, cumin and pepper. Stir in refried beans. Set aside.

Coat an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour half of the can of enchilada sauce evenly over the bottom. Using a small spoon fill the cooked pasta shells with the meat/ bean mixture and place the shells facing up into the bottom of the dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tops of the shells making sure to coat the meat mixture of each shell.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, uncover and sprinkle the tops of the shells with cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted.

Serve immediately, spooning some of sauce from the bottom of the pan over the shells if desired. I did as evidence by the picture. :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brat Beer Cheese soup


Some of my favorite recipes are soup. They tend to be pretty easy and are often just as good reheated. We can enjoy the soup the day I make it and then have a great, quick lunch down the road.
I also happen to love chopping and soups are all about chopping and stirring. :-)

I used Wild Rice bratwurst we buy from a local meat market. They are so delicious; I love them grilled during the summer. I used a dark amber beer as that was all I had available. I think I need to go shopping.....

It went very well with Ciabatta bread. Of course soup and bread is such a great combination. 

Adapted from Midwest Living

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Butter Or Margarine
1 medium Onion, finely chopped (½ cup)
1 medium Carrot, coarsely shredded (½ cup)
1 stalk Celery, chopped
3 large Shallots, chopped
1 14-ounce Can Vegetable Broth Or 1-¾ Cups Vegetable Stock
⅓ cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Milk, half-and-half or light cream - I used Half and Half
½ tsp Caraway Seeds, crushed
½ tsp Celery Seeds
¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
10 ounces Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese Or Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 Cooked Smoked Bratwurst, halved lengthwise and sliced into bite sized pieces
1 12-ounce Can Beer Or 12-Ounce Bottle Ale

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, shallots and celery; reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is very soft and golden.

2. Stir flour into the onion mixture and slowly add Vegetable broth, stirring to incorporate. Add the milk, caraway seeds, celery seeds and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Gradually stir in the cheese; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, just until cheese melts. Stir in the bratwurst and beer. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chicken Marsala with Spinach and Mushrooms


Yup, another chicken recipe. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are so convenient for the two of us and good portion size.

The recipe also called for mushrooms, spinach and wine, so it definitely sounded up my alley.

The biggest challenge for me was trying to pound a half a chicken breast flat enough to cook through in two minutes a side. Really?? I think the key, for me anyway, would be to buy those flattened out breasts they sell in the grocery store. Maybe some people can pound meat flat as a pancake, but I am evidently chicken-breast-pounding-challenged. So I improvised. After frying on both sides for a few minutes I stuck them in the oven to bake the rest of the way. The chicken gets softer on the outside than it would obviously be if it were fried until it is done, but this way-it gets done.

The rest is a snap, put the rest of the ingredients in the frying pan; then stir and cook.  I served it was smashed potatoes and I am thinking pasta would be great too. It's a very tasty recipe with the wine and sun-dried tomatoes, and of course the spinach and mushrooms which are some of my favorites.

Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:

 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
 All-Purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper
1 Tbs Dried Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 cups Sliced white Mushrooms
1/3 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes chopped
3/4 cup Packed Fresh Spinach
1/2 cup sweet white Wine

Directions:

1. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper, and pound to ¼ inch thick with a meat mallet.
2. Dust chicken with flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
3. In a skillet, fry chicken in olive oil over medium heat.
4. Cook about 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but not over done.
5. Set aside, and keep warm. (As I mentioned above, no way was my chicken flat enough to be done in that amount of time; I baked in the oven at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.)
6. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat; add mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and cook for approximately 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add wine and cook for 6 more minutes. Stirring and scraping the bottom of pan to release all the flavor.
8. Mix in spinach, and cook for about 2 minutes.
9. Serve over chicken.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pesto Chicken


We have been enjoying basil pesto recently. I bought a jar for a fish recipe and we both really liked it. I have made a few recipes with it and also found it makes a great addition to pizza! Just sprinkle a bit on either before or after the pizza sauce. This was Husband's idea; giving credit where credit is due!

This recipe is super quick and easy; and healthy if you don't overdue the pesto and cheese.

Recipe adapted from South Beach diet.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( I used one large breast )
Fresh Ground Black Pepper For Seasoning Chicken
Approx ¼ cup Basil Pesto
Approx ¼ cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese  ( I used a shredded pizza cheese mixture)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim any fat from chicken pieces, then cut lengthwise into 2 to 3 long pieces.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray. then spread half the basil pesto over the bottom of the dish. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, and add pepper to taste, then spread remaining basil pesto over the chicken. This originally called for salt and pepper, but I can't imagine needing additional salt with the pesto.

I indicated approximately with the pesto and cheese as I honestly didn't measure. I just added a thin layer of pesto to the bottom of the pan and then over the chicken then sprinkled a reasonable amount of shredded cheese over the baked chicken.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through.

Remove foil and sprinkle chicken with grated mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. Switch to broil for another 5 minutes to lightly browned the cheese.

Serve hot. Rice is a nice side dish.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken with mushrooms



I have played around with this recipe a couple times; trying it different ways. While searching for chicken recipes on allrecipes I found this one. With a title like Chicken with Mushrooms I knew I had to try it.  We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts so I am always up to try something new.
The reviews were good but offered lots of changes in the original recipe; adding and deleting ingredients and changing the preparation.  I tried the suggestion to saute the mushrooms and wasn't thrilled with the final results. 
This time I decided to make it pretty much exactly as directed and it turned out great. It was also quick and easy for a good weekend meal.  I served it with a baked potato; microwaving the potato for five minutes on high before baking it the rest of the time in the oven with the chicken.

Ingredients:

* 1-½ cups Sliced Mushrooms
* 2 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 1 Eggs, beaten
* ½ cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
* 1 Tbsp Butter
* 3 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
* ¼ cups And 2 Tablespoons Chicken Broth Or Wine

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place half of the mushrooms in a 8x8 inch pan. Dip chicken into beaten eggs, then roll in bread crumbs.
 3. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Brown both sides of chicken in skillet. Place chicken on top of mushrooms, arrange remaining mushrooms on chicken, and top with mozzarella cheese.
4. Pour wine or broth in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring to free up any flavor bits remaining in the pan from the chicken. Pour the mixture into the pan with the chicken and mushrooms.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BBQ beer chicken


I have been on a roll....three straight nights of new recipes and they were all good. I finally remembered to get a photo so I am sharing the one from tonight. The other two are definitely worth a repeat so stay tuned. :)

It doesn't get any easier than throwing meat, sauce and spices in the slow cooker, set it on low and come back in eight hours to eat. The meat was falling-apart tender and great flavor from cooking all day. The beer and barbecue sauce make a great base and I could definitely taste the spices. I added a little Cayenne pepper for some spice.

I made a relatively small amount as dinner for the two of us. If you needed a casual main entree for a potluck or family gathering this would be an excellent choice. Cole slaw worked very well as a side.

Sadly we are about to the end of our grilling/outdoor BBQ season here so it was a good way to use up some leftover sauce. I do love that sweet, tangy flavor.

Source: How Sweet it is

Ingredients:

2 large Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
6 ounces Of Beer - I used a darker Amber beer
20 ounces Of Barbecue Sauce - I used Sweet Baby Ray's

Directions:

Trim chicken of any fat and sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and Cayenne pepper. Add to crock pot, then pour in beer and  barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring a couple times. After 8 hours, shred and serve on buns.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

My favorite Apple products


My French Apple pie


My still warm; just enjoyed for dessert tonight, apple crisp. 

 

My MacBook Pro; writer of blogs, keeper of photos, occasionally sprinkled with flour
as my electronic recipe book.


Our original iPhones, straight out of the box and since upgraded. To this day I can't leave the thing alone.


The iPad.

Thank you Steve Jobs.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Asparagus And Shrimp Quesadilla


We first had shrimp and asparagus quesadillas on vacation this summer. We arrived at our destination city mid-afternoon and needed a little something; nothing that would spoil dinner, just a little snack. We decided to split an appetizer and were so impressed with these. In fact when we went back to the same restaurant for dinner a couple nights later Husband ordered these quesadillas again for his entree.

I have been on the look-out since for a recipe. I found one that sounded close and gave it a try a couple weeks ago. They were good, but the cheese wasn't quite right. I used a pepper cheese with some diced jalapeño pepper added. It was good spicy flavor but just not quite what we remembered from our previous experience. Husband suggested a smoked cheese as we remember a smoky flavor. This time I used smoked mozzarella along with some regular mozzarella as not to overpower the smoky flavor. A little smoked cheese goes a long way.

I was thrilled with these. The flavor was fantastic and a lot like what I remember from our initial introduction to these great quesadillas.

The cool thing about this sort of recipe is you can add, subtract and substitute ingredients pretty much to your heart's content.  Basically you put cheese and something for cheese to melt around between two tortilla shells and fry it up.

Very loosely adapted from Fusion Menus

Ingredients:

1 ounce Smoked Mozzarella Cheese - Grated
1 ounce Mozzarella Cheese- Grated
9 medium Shrimp Per Quesadilla
1 large Garlic Clove- Minced
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Chili Powder
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Coarse Salt
2 Tbsps Canola Oil
1 Tbsps Olive Oil
4 large Flour Tortillas
5-6 stalks Asparagus Trimmed And Cut Into 2 Inch Sized Lengths
2 Green Onions - Thinly Sliced
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Salsa

Directions:

Quesadilla Filling

In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
Marinate the shrimp in the above oil and garlic mixture for 10 minutes.
Chop the asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl covered with a lid. Microwave the asparagus on high power for 2 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
Cool the asparagus on a plate.
Slice the green onions and set aside.
Heat a large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add the shrimp  to the hot skillet along with the marinade and cook for a minute, or until the shrimp are cooked.
Transfer the shrimp to a  bowl and set aside.

Assemble the Quesadillas

Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat.
Lay a flour tortilla flat on a pan. Place some grated cheese, shrimp, asparagus and green onion on top of it and cover it with another tortilla.
Cook the quesadilla for a few minutes ; turning over halfway through, until the cheese is melted and each side is golden brown.
Cut each quesadilla into 6 or 8 triangles.
Place quesadilla with a spatula on a serving platter and serve with tomatoes or salsa, guacamole and sour cream

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


I don't usually blog about something I don't eat. Most often I have just enjoyed the food for dinner, lunch, breakfast or dessert and the photo was of the food I ate immediately thereafter.
An exception to the rule was the carrot cake I shared about last month. It's one of Husband's favorites; along with bread pudding. He likes, in fact pretty much insists, that they both contain raisins.
I am just not big on raisins.
There were several boxes of leftover raisins from the second pan of carrot cake and he requested Oatmeal Raisin cookies; which is another favorite. More raisins..are we seeing a pattern?


Hey, I love a chance to try a new recipe and aren't these some photogenic cookies?  So pretty! The dough was tasty too. I tried a bit after I added the oatmeal and before I added the raisins. The kitchen smelled great as they baked.
Husband was happy with them; they didn't last long.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:

1 stick Butter, softened
⅔ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
1 ½ cups Rolled Oats
¾ cup Raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large bowl or a stand mixer cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.

If desired refrigerate the dough for about a half hour. The instructions indicated the cookies cooked up thicker so I did refrigerate the dough. Otherwise the cookies can be baked immediately

The cookies should be two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in, I actually needed about 13 minutes.), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Toast


French toast is one of my all time favorite breakfast foods. We usually save it for weekends and really don't have it that often; but, oh, so good. :D
This picture was Husband's weekend breakfast. It was made with cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Which is awesome for French toast; or so I am told.  I am not a fan of raisins so I opted to use my multi-grain loaf of sandwich bread. It made some delicious French toast in it's own right.
We usually have bacon or sausage with French toast; bacon is my personal favorite. An added benefit is using a bit of resulting bacon grease to fry the toast. Yummy! 

Ingredients:

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
splash of vanilla
4-6 slices of bread
Oil or bacon grease

Directions:

Heat oil or grease in a  non-stick skillet over medium heat. Whisk egg and milk in a shallow bowl large enough to dip the bread. Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix again.
Dip bread in egg/milk mixture. Turn the bread over and make sure the bread has been completely submerged in the mixture. Transfer to skillet and fry until golden on both sides; about 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the bread.  Repeat with remaining bread. If you are using regular sandwich bread you should get six slices, if using thick slices, such as the raisin bread or French bread this mixture will be enough for about four.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pumpkin bars


My coworkers and I had a potluck to celebrate some birthdays. There is always lots of great food and I decided to bring pumpkin bars. I hadn't made them in ages and I couldn't even remember what happened to my old recipe. I decided to just find a recipe online and this one is adapted from Paula Deen on Food Network.
These bars are so incredibly moist. We ate the leftovers two days after I baked them and they were still very moist and fresh tasting. Of course the cream cheese frosting puts them over the top; it doesn't get any better than that.

Ingredients:


For The Pumpkin Bar:

4 Eggs
1 ⅔ cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Oil ( I used Canola - Vegetable is also fine)
15-ounce Can Pumpkin
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda

For The Cream Cheese Frosting:

8-ounce Package Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Butter Or Margarine, softened
3 cups Sifted Confectioners’ Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the eggs, sugar, oil, canned pumpkin and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

Hand mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Spread the batter into the prepared 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (I needed 35 minutes for the center of the cake to get completely done.) Cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemade Pizza Sauce


 It is getting to be fall, it's officially football season, so we once again have homemade pizza at our house about every weekend. I am happy with my recipe for homemade crust and the baking method; but up to yesterday I was still using store bought sauce. Nothing against most of the sauce I have tried, but I knew it couldn't be that hard to make my own.
This recipe is very easy and quick and results in good flavor and color. The resulting sauce is very thick; which I liked. You could add more sauce if you prefer a thinner tomato sauce. The thickness also varies, of course, with how long the sauce simmers.


I decided to leave it a bit chunky and not puree in the blender. I am now curious to try the recipe with fresh tomatoes in place of the canned sauce, but regardless I was really pleased with the spice in flavor as is.

Adapted from Noble Pig

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
½ cup Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 (8 ounce) Can Tomato Sauce
1 (6 ounce) Can Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Dried Basil Leaves
1 tsp Dried Oregano Leaves
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Sugar
¼ tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

Melt butter with the oil and add the onion and garlic; saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste and continue to stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. If a smooth texture is desired puree in a blender. Spread sauce on prepared pizza dough and add your favorite toppings.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chipotle Chicken and Rice


The recipe contains Chipotle Peppers in Adobo. It's the second recipe I have ever made using these spicy canned peppers. The first time I tried it, which was months ago, resulted in a chicken recipe so spicy we could hardly eat it. We like spice; so this is saying something.
Some time has passed and I decided to give them another try. We do like spicy, after all, and I knew if I could get the right amount we would probably really like it.
I used one pepper and the adobo sauce that was clinging to it and resisted any urge to add more. Good thing; there was PLENTY of spice with one pepper.
It was easily the best chicken and rice recipe I have every made. Most of my past attempts, made with canned soup, resulted in some pretty blah flavor. There was nothing blah about this recipe.
It was also quick and easy, and I can definitely make it on a work day as it only take about 45 minutes from start to finish. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 large Boneless, skinless chicken breast - cut into large chunks
Coarse Salt And Ground Pepper
1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1-2 Garlic Cloves, coarsely chopped
½ tsp Ground Cumin
1 Canned Chipotle Chiles In Adobo, minced
1 large Tomatoes, diced large
½ cup Long-Grain White Rice

Directions:

1.In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Season chicken on both sides with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Brown chicken on both sides and transfer to clean plate. The chicken will still be quite raw, but no worries; it spends a lot more time cooking later.

2 Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, scraping bottom of the pan to incorporate all the flavor bits.

3.Add garlic, cumin, and chiles; cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices. Stir in ½ cup water and return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes.

4.Stir in rice, making sure it is completely submerged in liquid. Cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes more. Check rice when between 5-10 minutes left in cooking. If still firm you may need to add a bit more water.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Peach Cobbler


I always like to bake with fresh peaches each late summer/early fall and I usually make a peach pie. It is one of my personal favorites and a great excuse to use delicious fresh peaches. Over the weekend I was hungry for a dessert and decided to try something different.

I went to Food Network in search of a recipe and this one got great reviews. One comment I read several times is too much cinnamon. I decided to make the recipe as originally stated and I am so glad I did. I loved the cinnamon and I thought the brown sugar really made this recipe special; both in the filling and cobbler crust. The crust browned beautifully and that last sprinkle of brown sugar gave a nice sugary coating to the top.

Cobbler Filling:

5 Fresh Peaches - Pitted, Peeled And Thinly Sliced
¾ cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Flour

Cobbler Crust:


1 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
⅔ cup Buttermilk
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar, for topping
Whipped Cream or ice cream


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Generously spray or butter a 1 ½-quart shallow baking dish. Sprinkle peaches with brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and flour. Mix gently until a thick syrup forms. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile combine all dry ingredients for cobbler crust in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers, to make the texture like coarse crumbs. I prefer my fingers; i just think it gets more evenly mixed. Add buttermilk and stir to form a soft dough.

Remove fruit from oven and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on top. Sprinkle with last tablespoon of brown sugar and return to oven. Bake until fruit is bubbly and crust topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream

Monday, September 5, 2011

Key West Chicken


 I am always on the look out for recipes. This I found in the local newspaper's weekly recipe section.  Marinated chicken on the grill is so delicious and this is definitely a different flavor than we have had before. I am a big fan of citrus flavors with chicken so I knew this would be good.
I took a large chicken breast and sliced it in half. Usually I end up with a pretty piece and another that looks pieced together. As you can tell by the photo this time was no exception. But the less pretty piece does show the marinated flavoring on the meat.


The sides for the meal were basically by chance, but they complimented the meat beautifully. We had leftover potato salad from last night that I had served with wild rice brats. There was also half an avocado from the shrimp tacos we enjoyed for lunch earlier in the day.  The flavors all tasted great together and I definitely will remember to include an avocado the next time we have this chicken.

 Ingredients: 

6 Tbs. Soy Sauce
2 Tbs. Honey
2 Tbs. Of Chopped Garlic
Juice Of 1 To 1 ½ Limes
2 Tbs. Of Oil - I used Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Chicken Breasts Split

Directions:

Combine first four ingredients and then slowly whisk in the oil. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour over the chicken and allow to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  I used an 8x8 pan, but a Ziploc bag also works very well to marinate meat.

Place the chicken on a hot grill and pour marinade over the meat. Grill until chicken is cooked through.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Carrot Cake


Husband loves carrot cake, but it's gotta be just so. It has to have raisins and crushed pineapple, be very moist and have lots of great cream cheese frosting. He is a carrot cake connoisseur.

I have made a few different recipes in the past; and they were all pretty good. It has been a while and I decided again for that perfect recipe.

Several things got my attention:

1. This recipe calls for a lot of shredded carrots. Three cups of carrots for 9x9 pan is a lot of carrots compared to my other recipes.
2. The instructions to shred the carrots, mix in the brown sugar and let it sit for an hour. Love that! The carrots juiced up and took on the flavor of the brown sugar.
3. Mixing in the raisins with the carrot mixture seem to plump up the raisins and I am thinking that contributed to them not sinking to the bottom of the cake. I have had that problem in the past and no issues this time.
4. Lots of cinnamon; which made it taste great and smell amazing while it baked.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

3 cups Grated Carrots
½ cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Raisins
2 Eggs
¾ cup White Sugar
½ cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ cup Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 9 x 9 inch baking pan.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla until creamy. Stir in the pineapple. (Make sure the pineapple is well drained.)  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Stir in the carrot mixture. Pour evenly into the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick.  When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.


The cake is only part of it; carrot cake HAS to have cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients:

½ cup Butter, softened to room temp
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened to room temp
4 cups Confectioners' Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Chopped Pecans If Desired

Directions:

To Make Frosting: In a stand mixer or bowl using a electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired. Frost the cooled cake.

*Both the cake and the frosting can contain nuts if desired; either walnuts or pecans. I didn't opt for either.

I think husband liked it. :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crumb Topped Pecan Strawberry bars


I love eating breakfast and I have been on a personal crusade to eat healthier cereal. I know many people think "healthy cereal" is an oxymoron, but I do think you can, at least, make better choices. Whole grain with minimal sugar beats overly processed sugar bombs any day. Your digestive tract will thank you. ;-)

Enter these cereal bars made with whole grain cereal. They are more indulgent than a bowl of cereal; but we have been enjoying them for breakfast the last several morning. The original recipe called for cherry; but I am not big fan of cherry. As far as I am concerned any jar of all fruit should work just fine.

Adapted from Relish.com



Ingredients:

1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Quick-Cooking Oats
1 cup Puffed Rice Cereal  ( I used Kashi 7 whole grain cereal puffs )
1 cup Chopped Pecans
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
¼ cup (½ stick) Butter, softened
¼ cup Vegetable Oil
⅓ cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 (10-ounce) Jar Strawberry All-Fruit Spread ( I used Smucker's Simply Fruit. )


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or spray a 9-inch-square baking pan.

Combine flour, oats, puffed rice, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat butter, oil, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well-blended and creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix until moistened and a crumbly dough forms. It is less dough and more crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the dough for the topping. Press remaining dough evenly into bottom of pan.

Spread fruit spread evenly over dough in pan. Sprinkle reserved dough mixture over top, leaving some areas uncovered. Gently press down to adhere topping to fruit layer. Bake 30-35 minutes or until deep golden. Cool 15 minutes. Slice into 12 (2 ¼ x 3-inch) bars.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chili Rubbed Pork chops



I have experimented with this recipe a couple times now. I love the concept of a spicy rub on a pork chop. The first time I made it; I didn't use a lot of spice rub and it tasted like a pan fried pork chop. Which isn't a bad thing, of course, but we couldn't taste much chili rub. This time I doubled the rub. My plan was also to allow the rub to sit on the pork for a couple hours to hopefully incorporate more flavor; but my work schedule prevented me from getting home in time to make that happen.
There was certainly more flavor this time, but we agree we want to try grilling them next time as opposed to frying in the cast iron.
I served them with the Black Bean and Corn Salad that I blogged about recently and it made a good combination. I added a jalapeño pepper from the Farmer's Market stash to the salad so it was a bit spicier than before.

Adapted from Food Network



Ingredients:


2 large Onions
⅓ cup hot Chili Powder
Kosher Salt
½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Ground Cumin
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
8 Thin-Cut Boneless Pork Chops (About 2 Pounds Total), trimmed
Vegetable Oil, for the cast iron pan

Directions:

Roughly chop ½ onion and garlic and place in a blender or chopper with the chili powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, the oregano, cumin and cloves. Puree, adding about ⅓ cup water to make a thick paste.

Slice the remaining 1 ½ onions into thin rings and place in a bowl with the chili puree and pork; toss to coat.

Place vegetable oil a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan  and place over high heat. Place 4 pork chops in the skillet and surround with half of the onions. Cook until the pork starts to blacken on the outside and is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pork chops and onions.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos



It's getting to be harvest season around here so the local Farmer's Market has a lot of offer. I have been in a meal planning slump so I was looking for ideas.

This is our haul yesterday.


Suddenly the meal plan for the week was coming together. Chicken chimichangas tomorrow night to make use of one of those Jalapeno peppers, black bean and corn salad with pork chops later in the week, sweet corn with hamburgers on the grill tonight with a slice of fresh tomato on the burger and I couldn't wait to try the Raspberry jam on toast this morning. I couldn't decide between Rhubarb or Red Raspberry jam so I asked the vendor; he said why decide?  Good point, but I decided on the raspberry and it is delicious.

I already had Cilantro Lime chicken tacos on the menu for last night. I hadn't intended to use Jalapeno but with six peppers to use it seemed like a good idea. I only used half of one in the marinade as I didn't want it to over power the lime and cilantro flavor.  I thought it turned out perfect.  I minced the rest of the pepper and we sprinkled it over the finished taco mixture.

Adapted from Food.com



Ingredients:


1 small Lime, juice and zest
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ small Jalapeno Pepper
¼ tsp Cumin
¼ tsp Onion Powder
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp Chili Powder
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
⅛ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, trimmed of any fat
Flour Tortillas , warmed
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Green Onions, sliced
Salsa or fresh tomato
Mexican cheese, shredded

Directions:

1 Place all ingredients up to cilantro into a bowl and mix. Place the chicken breast in a large Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade mixture. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-4 hours.

2 Grill chicken breasts until thoroughly cooked. Let the meat rest for a few minutes  before slicing into thin slices. Layer the warmed tortilla with sour cream, guacamole, sliced chicken, green onions, diced Jalapeno pepper and tomato or salsa and shredded cheese.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad


I was so hungry for corn on the cob this weekend and despite the fact that it's too early for local corn we bought some. It was pretty good; not quite as good as the local produce will be in a few weeks but at least it satisfied the craving.
The corn was sold in pack of five ears; which meant leftovers. I remembered a corn and black bean salad we bought at the local food co-op a while ago that was delicious. I figured this was my chance to try it out.

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

1 Can, 14 ounces, black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups Fresh corn
1 small Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
½ Red Onion, chopped
1 ½ tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Hot Sauce,
Juice of one Lime
2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Cilantro 
2 Tbsp Vegetable Or Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper

Directions:

Combine corn, pepper, onion, cumin, hot sauce, lime juice and oil. Add beans and mix again. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and drain the beans. Taste and add pepper and salt if desired.  Refrigerate and allow to set at least a half hour so flavors will meld. Stir once more before serving.

We both really liked it. Husband is a huge fan of fresh cilantro and this was a good chance to harvest from the plant we have potted on the deck. I think the lime and the cilantro really make this salad.  I liked the bit of spice from the cumin and hot sauce, but if spicy isn't your thing you could always leave it out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spicy Turkey Burgers


Throwing a burger on the grill is such an easy summer meal. We have both been enjoying turkey burgers when we go out to eat and I decided to try it at home.
I wanted plenty of spice and seasoning as turkey has a lot less fat (and therefore flavor) then hamburger. Some of the flavor was in the meat in the form of Cayenne pepper and garlic and onion flavor, but most came from the spicy guacamole and Pepper Jack cheese. I really like Wholly guacamole and we both enjoyed the spicy variety.

 Ingredients:
1 Pound ground turkey breast
½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Onion Powder
Salt
Cayenne Pepper
1 Egg

Top Burgers With:

Tomato Slices
Guacamole - spicy if desired
Cheese - Pepper Jack or your choice
Directions:

Combine meat, spices and egg and mix with your hands. Separate into our equal amounts and form into burgers. 

Spray one side of patties lightly with no-stick cooking spray. Place burgers carefully on grill. Spray the other side of the patty before flipping. Handle carefully and try to only flip the burgers once. Turkey burgers fall apart much easier then hamburger.

Serve on fresh buns with tomato slices, guacamole and cheese.

I served it with classic potato salad and it was a good combination.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

No bake cookies



I was in the mood for cookies today; but since it's 90 degrees and the humidity is whatever-awful-is I sure wasn't turning on the oven. These cookies don't require baking, are made in one pan and are super easy. Win.
You can also eat as much "dough" as you want; no raw eggs to be found! Not that raw eggs have ever stopped me from cookie dough; it's just too tempting.

Chocolate, Peanut butter and Oatmeal No Bake cookies

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Ingredients: 

½ cup (1 stick) Butter
2 cups Granulated Sugar
½ cup Milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
½ cup Peanut Butter
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 cups Quick-Cooking Oats

Directions: 

1. Add butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder to a large saucepan.

2. Stir frequently and allow butter to melt. Heat to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. This whole process takes about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats. Mix well.

5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. Be careful as the cookies are still pretty hot at this point.  The cookies do not spread from the position in which they are placed on the wax paper. Flatten with a spoon if more of a cookie shape is desired.

6. Let cool until set. Or try one warm. They taste great warm; what cookie doesn't?

Yield is 2-3 dozen. I got 2 dozen as I made fairly large cookies.

If you are like me you will leave an inch or so between the cookies on the pan to spread as if you will be baking them. Old habits die hard. They really do harden in the shape they are placed, so you may wish to pat them down a bit. But flat or round they taste the same. Delicious!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Spinach salad


We did some grilling over the 4th of July; enjoying a rare weekend without constant rain. It has been a weird summer.
To celebrate the holiday we had hamburgers and baked beans. I had some leftover spinach from earlier in the week and a few strawberries still hanging on from a huge container I bought. I decided a salad would be a nice addition to round out the meal. I usually make it in a large bowl but for the two of us I decided to do individual servings and I thought it worked really well. The dressing and pecans can get lost in the bottom of a big dish and the individual serving bowls kept that from happening.

Ingredients:

Baby spinach leaves
Sliced strawberries
Pecan halves or pieces

Dressing:

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of water
2 Tablespoons of  minced red onion
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Arrange strawberries and pecans over spinach leaves.

Mix dressing and pour over salad shortly before serving.

*I did some recipe searches online and see a bit of oil is a common addition to this dressing. It might make the dressing "stick" to the spinach leaves and I will probably try the the next time I make this salad.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Teriyaki chicken


I have always loved teriyaki. It is my go-to favorite choice when ordering chicken wings with sauce. I had never tried making it at home before. Certainly I have bought many of the bottled varieties; and they aren't bad at all. But I though a homemade sauce was probably pretty easy and sure enough, it is.


Ingredients:

2 tsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Cold Water
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 ½ Tbsp Rice Vinegar
½ tsp Sesame Oil
2 clove Garlic Minced
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Pineapple Juice
2 Tbsp Crushed Pineapple
1 Chicken Breast Split

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients except the chicken breast. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles. Watch the sauce carefully as it can scorch and burn easily.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Cut chicken into desired size pieces and place in an 8x8 baking dish. Cover chicken in sauce. Turn pieces over, and brush again.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Pour sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken on the serving plates. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

This recipe is enough for two serving with a generous amount of sauce. Rice would be a natural side but I decided to just serve it with a side of broccoli for a light lunch today. 
I put together this recipe from a number of different sources. I especially like that is contains ingredients I have available. Since I have been making more stir fries I keep rice vinegar and Sesame oil on hand. 
I used can pineapple for the crushed pineapple and the sauce. Fresh would obviously be amazing. I was tempted to drop a few pineapple chunks over the top as it came out of the oven, but I didn't want to overdue the sweet.
It's a delicious recipe and can be on the table in about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pesto Tomato Cod


We don't eat a lot of fish. We do eat shrimp prepared many different ways on the regular basis and I eat a lot of salmon; but we don't eat much fish at home. Fish cooks quickly and can be very healthy; so that made this recipe appealing for a weekend dinner.
The pesto with the cod is a great combination. The flavors meld together along with the tomato and wine but the pesto doesn't completely overwhelm the delicate cod.
I used a generous amount of the pesto as I was using up the end of a jar. For the fish I bought two individually packaged servings of cod. A larger piece would make a nice presentation with pesto and tomato slices over the fish. But the individual servings are really convenient for us.

Loosely adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

 Cod Fillet
1  Tomato
Basil Pesto (green) 1-2 Tbsp depending on the amount of fish
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
Pepper

Place the cod in an oven dish and generously season it with pepper. You could add salt, but pesto generally contains plenty of salt.

Brush or spoon the pesto over the fish; reserving a small amount of the pesto.

Thinly slice the tomato and place them on top of the fish. Brush the remaining pesto on top of the tomatoes.

Pour in the white wine along the side of the fish and in the bottom of the pan.

Place the dish in a preheated oven and bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes.

7. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the fish and serve immediately.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spaghetti pie



Spaghetti pie makes me think of work; in a good way. My coworkers and I used to browse the hospital cafeteria menu and make sure we made it over when spaghetti pie showed up. It's delicious!
I have been trying to make better choices at work and usually bring a healthy lunch. Yogurt, apples and a low calorie entree having replaced large portion, high calorie cafeteria food. But I have sure missed the spaghetti pie.
I found this recipe in Midwest Living magazine called Inside Out Spaghetti pie. I think it's as much upside down as it is inside out. Meat on the bottom, noodles on the top and cheese and sauce between and on top.
The recipe called for hamburger, but I had 1/2 pound each of Italian sausage and ground turkey. I am sure ground beef would be great too.  I also used pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce.




Ingredients:


1 5-ounce Can Evaporated Milk
½ cup Fine Dry Bread Crumbs
1 small Onion, chopped (⅓ cup)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning, crushed
¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 pound Lean Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Turkey Sausage Or Ground Turkey
4 ounces Dried Spaghetti
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
8-ounce Pizza Sauce Or Pasta Sauce
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (4 Ounces)


Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine evaporated milk, bread crumbs, onion, salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Add ground meat; mix well. Lightly press mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the side of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until done (160 degrees F). Fat will be present on the top of the meat; carefully tilt pie plate and drain the fat.

2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Return to pan. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in egg and Parmesan cheese until spaghetti is coated.

3. Spread half of the pizza sauce over meat mixture. Top with ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese and the spaghetti mixture. Top with the remaining pizza sauce and the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until heated through. (If necessary, cover edges of meat mixture with foil to prevent overbrowning.) Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.