Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cookies n' ice cream

Had a good weekend catching up with a friend who came to visit.  I made strawberry ice cream to go with burgers on the grill on Saturday and today I made my favorite form of oatmeal cookies.

Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups chocolate covered raisins (I prefer dark chocolate)

Cream butter and sugars together.  Gradually beat in eggs, vanilla and milk.  Combine all the dry ingredients and slowly add into butter mixture.  Stir in chocolate covered raisins last.  Bake at 325°F for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 pound strawberries, mashed

Clean and mash strawberries in a large bowl.  Add in sugar and vanilla.  Gradually stir in cream and then transfer to your ice cream maker.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What makes me smile

This was at the top of my list yesterday when I got this awesome artwork from Haley. 

Haley started 1st grade today and has been one of my taste testers.  On her advice, I did add more pears into my pear muffin recipe and am reminded I should put up a cookie recipe that she also tried out and gave me feedback on. 

Take note chefs, you not only have to please the parents but the younger foodies too.  They do help to make the decisions at where the family eats at. 

Thanks again Haley and have a good school year.  More treats will be coming your way for you to taste test!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A new record for me

I flipped 20 pancakes without any crashing and burning.  I'm not planning on giving up my job in corporate America and go to work for iHop, but I will proudly boast about my accomplishment.

My sunflower has grown another 2" since Sunday.  For a plant that is rarely watered and never fertilized, it's doing great.  It's almost twice as tall as the other plants. 

Back to food....

Cinnamon & Sour Cream Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix together all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and whisk into dry ingredients.

I used a strawberry syrup with these and it was wonderful. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My view

This is the view outside my kitchen window.  I think my sunflower is on steroids because my window is not at ground level. 

Tonight I made an easy salsa chicken recipe over white rice.

Salsa Chicken

Brown 6 chicken breast fingers in extra virgin olive oil with one clove of minced garlic.  Season with Ancho chili pepper, pepper and salt (this depends on how salty your favorite salsa is).

Place in a baking dish and cover with one cup of salsa.  Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with cheddar cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Such an easy meal.  It's actually a perfect meal to make on a work night when you're in a hurry.

In case you are wondering where my Ancho chili pepper came from - it's Penzey's.  It's a mild accent to add in and I've used it twice today.

Snack Time

And it's even healthy ~

Chickpea Snack

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Ancho Chili Pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place garbanzo beans in a bowl.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and lightly agitate bowl to coat all the beans.  Combine spices and sprinkle on top while gently shaking so all beans are equally coated.

Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes, shaking pan every 15 minutes.

Easy Sunday morning dessert

Actually I made these last night but I had one for breakfast today too. 

Blackberry Mascarpone Shells

1 box puff pastry shells, baked per package instructions
1/2 cup mascarpone
6 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blackberry spread

Scoop of centers of puff pastry shells.  Mix together mascarpone and sugar.  Spread carefully on bottom of shells.  Place a layer for blackberries over mascarpone mixture.  Stir blackberry spread in a small bowl and cover blackberries in shell.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A sweet side turned savory

Beautiful, mild weather today and it was perfect for grilling filet mignon for dinner.  I'm still on a sweet potato kick so I made some cakes to accompany the steak.

This was the view as they were cooking. 

Sweet potato cakes

2 sweet potatoes, shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Mix beaten eggs into the shredded sweet potatoes.  Add in flour and spices and mix by hand.  Cook in hot pan with olive oil.  Each cake is 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup.  Place in pan and lightly flatten with a pancake turner.  Grill until golden brown on both sides.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My favorite summertime sandwich

I created this sandwich a few years ago.  It's my version of a blt with just the b and the t.  I'm allergic to mayo so I shy away from foods at potlucks that are possibly hiding this sauce so my throat doesn't start itching on the inside. 

I use a pumpernickel bread that I lightly toast.  This is not a good bread for grilled cheese sandwiches.  It does taste good but you can't tell when it's toasted so I've burned one or two. 

For my "sauce" I use cream cheese.  Nice crisp bacon and fresh tomato slices complete the sandwich.

Have a fantastic weekend ~

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grilled Italian Chicken

This chicken recipe makes your meal so flavorable and it literally melts in your mouth.

Marinate chicken in ~

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice of the entire lemon
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 clove garlic, diced

Marinate in a sealable plastic bag for 2 hours before grilling. 

Dark chocolate caramel cookies

I promised a friend that I'd bake something special for her this weekend since she had long week doing double duty at work.  I've been reading Joanne Fluke's mysteries that revolve around her business of baking cookies.  So Andrea - these are awaiting you in the morning at work (no murders will be happening there though).

Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup double dutch dark cocoa powder
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.
Scoop out using a medium cookie scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets. 

Servings: 40

Cooking Time: 12 minutes at 320°F

Press a finger in the middle of each cookie right after you take it out of the oven.  It will be hot so take care not to burn yourself.

Caramel center

20 caramels unwrapped
1 tsp water

Put both in a microwave safe dish and heat for 1 minute.

Stir until completely combined and drop in the center of each cookie with a spoon.

Sunday morning sweet potato hash

I've been wanting to make this for quite some time.  My biggest decision this morning was which protein to add to it and the applewood smoked bacon won it.

Sweet potato hash

1 large sweet potato
1 large yukon gold potato
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
1 dash paprika

Peel, slice and dice both potatoes in equal sizes.  Brown in olive oil.  Add in bacon.  Season to taste.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cinnamon Pear Muffins

I just realized that I posted a picture in one of my very first posts and promised to post the recipe to go with it.  I apologize for being so late in doing so ~

Cinnamon pear muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pear, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter and 1 cup white sugar.  Add in eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Stir in sour cream.  Gradually mix in flour, baking soda and powder and salt.

Mix together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle on top of muffins.

Servings: 16

Cooking Time: 25 minutes at 325°F

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caramel Apple Brie Bites

I'll admit this isn't the healthiest lunch I've ever had but it's a fun one and it was very easy to make.

Caramel Apple Brie Bites

15 mini Phyllo Cups
1/3 apple, peeled, cored and chopped, I used a Granny Smith
1 small brie
15 caramel candies (about 1 ounce)

Cut up brie to fit into bottom of phyllo cups.  Sprinkle diced apple pieces on top and around the brie.

In microwave, melt caramels with 1 tsp water.  Stir and drizzle over top of apples and brie.

Bake and enjoy!

Servings: 15

Cooking Time: 20 minutes at 350°F