Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember last week I made chocolate chip cookies that tasted good, but really flattened out on me? My friend, Erin, posted that she had a great recipe for them and she posted it! I made them today and it's my new GO TO recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies! Thanks, Erin!! And one batch isn't nearly enough, so better make it a double :)

Here's the recipe:

"The" Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In medium bowl, cream together melted butter, sugars until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix sifted ingredients until well blended.

Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are lightly toasted.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cookies!

Today Tim had to take a plate of cookies with him to work. Every month or so a different department at his school is supposed to treat the other teachers, but they haven't done it since he's been there, so this month there are 3 departments working together on it. I didn't know that until AFTER I already baked cookies. So, I thought it was just him and the other teacher so I made 2 batches, one with chocolate and one without. So, he took both batches, anyway. The chocolate chip ones that I made were good, but they really flattened out....too much for my taste. I won't be making that recipe again, but from the same book, I got this recipe for Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting. Tim didn't get to try them last night because I was up until 11pm making them. Apparently they were good because he woke me up to tell me they were "terrible" (He thinks that telling me they are terrible will make me make them again since I RARELY ever make the same recipe twice...) Well, I have to agree, they are pretty darn good! I love the brown butter frosting....it's caramely in flavor and the color is GORGEOUS! They are a fussy cookie to make, but COMPLETELY worth it!! Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

2 3/4 c ap flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh ground if you can)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c) unsalted butter (I used salted and cut down on the salt above to compensate), softened
2 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c (14 oz) canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling!)
3/4 c evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together: flour, baking soda and powder, salt cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer (here's when I really LOVE my KitchenAid!). Mix in eggs. Reduce spead to low and add pumpkin, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. This mixture will be rather soft.

Use a pastry bag and a #12 (or similar) tip to pipe circles 1 1/2 inches around and 1 inch apart on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 5-7 minutes or until tops spring back. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Icing
4 c powdered sugar
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put powdered sugar in the bowl you want to mix in. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Pour into the powdered sugar and scrape the browned bits from the pan into the frosting. Add evaporated milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Frost each cookie with approx 1 tsp of frosting. Allow to set before stacking. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days. (Like they'd last that long!) Makes approx 6 dozen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

I got this recipe last year from Clean Eating Magazine. Since I'm the only one in the house that will eat spinach, the only hard part is keeping their paws off my stawberries!

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

dressing:
1/2 c plain or vanilla low/non-fat yogurt
1/4 orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Stir until blended.

Salad:
each serving:
3 1/2 c baby spinach leaves
4 large strawberries, quartered
2 tbsp dressing

Simple and healthy AND super YUMMY! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Root Beer Cake with FUDGE Frosting

Helps with the diet, no? heee heee heee!

I got this cookbook from the library about a month ago. I'm LOVING it! I may have to look into purchasing it. (Where's the best place to get good deals on books?? I use amazon and half.com sometimes is there something better??) I made the granola from the book and now this super yummy cake. The cake is screaming, "BOW DOWN before my awesomeness." And then with a scoop of ice cream on the side? Heaven, I'm telling you!! And this has got to be the BEST frosting I've ever put on a chocolate cake....even Tim commented that it was really good frosting. With a little tweaking, this is a GREAT cake!! Enjoy!!

Root Beer Bundt Cake

Cake:
2 cups root beer (NOT diet!)
2 capfuls root beer concentrate
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups ap flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325*. Generously spray the insde of a 10" bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat root beer, butter, and cocoa powder over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs just until beaten and then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture (it doesn't have to be all the way cooled, just enough that you aren't going to scramble the eggs when you add them). Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy, so be careful not to over beat or your cake will be tough.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking. Transfer to a wire cooling rack until completely cool. Then loosen the edges and turn onto a cake platter.

Fudge Frosting

2 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup root beer
1-2 capfulls root beer concentrate
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 powdered sugar

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and shiny. Spread on cooled cake. Allow frosting to set before serving.

Serve slices with a scoop or two of ice cream for a really nice treat! It's like a root beer float...only better!

This cake is nice and moist, almost fudgy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers

Have your attention yet? BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers are on Tim's top 10 list of fave foods. I needed a QUICK dinner last night since I wasn't feeling exactly wonderful and didn't make it to the grocery store as I always do on Monday's. I had ground beef and everything else for burgers...except buns which the gas stations in town both sell, so it was burger night! These are bacon wrapped cheeseburgers, I had to modify the recipe but they turned out awesome. Tim got one cold one when he got home and I had another one frying for him so he got a hot one, too. Rugby ate THREE of them. The kids I topped with shredded cheddar and ours I topped with pepper jack which was SO GOOD!! Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Burgers

In a large bowl, mix:
1 egg
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's original)
2 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 pounds ground beef

Form into patties. Wrap with bacon (secure bacon with toothpicks). Grill over medium-medium high heat for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Top with cheese of your choice and allow to melt. This made 8 burgers for me and took almost 1/2 pound of thick sliced bacon.

I fried them in a skillet on the stove since I couldn't find the fire stick to start the grill. I had to pour the grease off part of the way through cooking, but other than that, it went smoothly.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mexican Night

Last night was Mexican night at our house. Tim had asked me to make beef enchiladas and Spanish rice, but I don't like beef enchiladas so I made Steak Fajitas instead. My kids are not picky eaters, but they don't do spicy foods. Well, they weren't too pleased at last night's dinner options. The fajitas were a bit spicy and the rice had red and green peppers in it, so they wouldn't eat it. Rugby ate the fajitas and liked them, but said he didn't like the spicy part. I was so happy that he tried it!! Riley tried it, but just barely. Rugby had 3/4 of his gone before he came up for air. :) So, with the modifications, here's two more new recipes for you! Enjoy!

Spanish Rice

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
4 slices bacon, cut into small chunks (a scissors works great to do this!)
1 large onion, chopped/diced
1 cup minute rice (using this takes a ton less time! If you want, use basmati or jasmine rice, but cook 35-40 minutes at the end...)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (or 2 chopped fresh tomatoes)
1 (or 2) bell pepper, diced and your choice of colors. I used red and half of a green
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can corn, drained
handful of chopped fresh cilantro, add to your taste.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring broth and tomato sauce to a boil.

In a LARGE skillet, cook the bacon chunks until browned. Scoop out the bacon and set aside. In the bacon grease, saute the onions until tender. Add the rice and cook until lightly browned (I kinda skipped that step and it was ok). Pour in the boiling broth/sauce, tomatoes, peppers, corn and bacon. Stir in the spices. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked (I didn't cover and it only took 10ish minutes.

Steak Fajitas
WARNING: If you are used to and expecting this to be like "normal" fajitas that you have big chunks of meat that you have to tear with your teeth, this isn't it. Don't expect that. It's gonna be shredded steak but completely yummy!

1 1/2 pounds beef flank steak (I used boneless country beef ribs), sliced into strips
small-med jar of salsa (I used some home canned spicy salsa)
1 jalapeno, diced WITH seeds (or without the seeds if you don't want the heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 medium onion, julienned
1 green pepper, julienned
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
1/4 c butter
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced (I used more...probably about 3 tbsp or better)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
juice of one lime, microwave the lime for 30 seconds before juicing to give you the most juice you can get!
tortillas
sour cream
pepper jack or cheddar cheese, grated
salsa

In a SLOW COOKER, layer meat, salsa, spices, jalapeno. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or until meat is fall apart tender.

When meat is ALMOST ready, whisk the cornstarch into the water and stir into the slow cooker. This will help thicken the juices.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the onion and peppers until tender.

Before serving, stir the cilantro and lime juice into the meat.

****I serve this from the stove like a buffet. Each person can top with their choice of toppings. I use the burrito size tortillas. The spanish rice is good wrapped right in with the other toppings also or served on the size with sour cream on top.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pancakes and Orange Julius

My DH loves making breakfast. It's been so nice having him home this week because he'll make the kids great breakfast before school where I'm content to give them cereal with whatever frozen berries we hauled out of the freezer. Yesterday was french toast and today was his famous pancakes. Ok, maybe not famous, but they are super fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. I like that I don't have to remember to buy pancake mix because it's made with things I always have in the house. YAY!! And when he makes "orange julius" smoothies to go along with it. YUMMY!! Here's the recipes, enjoy!!

Pancakes

1 1/3 cup ap flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tbsp oil
vanilla to taste

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients. Mix well. Cook on a griddle or frypan until golden, flip and repeat.



Orange Julius

6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8-10 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and slushy. Serve immediately.
1 tsp vanilla