Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mini Cookie Cups


One of my favorite foods is chocolate chip cookies.  As many of my friends have noticed, I like to stuff things inside of it, stuff the dough inside other things, eat the dough raw (I know, salmonella and all those other things but it's well worth the risk =)  )  I came across this idea and of course had to try it out =)  It was soooo good!  I made my hubby take a bunch to work so I wouldn't eat them all, and quite a few of his coworkers said these were their new favorites.  I have a few more ideas to do with these that I can't wait to try out so keep an eye out for them =)


2 sticks softened butter
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp.  salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray. Cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla.  Add in salt, soda, and chocolate chips.  Gradually add in flour.  

Scoop out approximately ½ tbsp. dough and roll it into a ball and place in muffin tin.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately press in the center of the the cookies, just far enough to make a small well, like you would with tarts. 

 Let the cookies cool 15 minutes in the muffin tin before removing.  While they're cooling, make your filling 
8 ounces softened Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (ore regular sized or even sprinkles)

 Place cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla into a medium bowl, mixing until well combined. Place dollops of cream cheese filling into center of cookie cups and top with mini chocolate chips.
To make this a nice festive treat, put food coloring in the cream cheese or use different colored sprinkles.  This would be a great treat for the upcoming holidays.  It's bite size, so the perfect treat (unless you're like me and bite size just means you need to have more bites =P ).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

I have been looking for a good sweet and sour recipe. I posted one earlier that was pretty good, but it didn't have the breading.  My hubby wanted to have the breaded kind.  Then I found this and I have made it several times.  It's a hit!  This is definitely a regular now.  I have also been looking for a good friend rice recipe and lucky for me, the blog Life in a Lofthouse, had both the fried rice and sweet and sour chicken.  Score!!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

Courtesy of Life in the Lofthouse


The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup  oil

The sweet and sour sauce: (I actually doubled mine so I could have extra sauce for my rice)
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
       Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Cube your chicken Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs.  Heat your  oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
      On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated!
Try adding some diced ham, or green onion. Yum!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brocolli Cheese Soup

Once the cold weather sets in, my favorite thing to do is make soups!  Which bugs my hubby because he isn't a soup person (he is a meat and potatoes type person)  But oh well, every once in awhile I have to cook a meal that is for ME and not everyone else and they just have to deal with it.  You get what you get and you don't throw a fit! =)  I love broccoli and cheese soup but the canned stuff has way too much salt for me.  So when I found a recipe that didn't have any canned stuff I had to try.  I think this is a keeper!
3 tbsp. oil
1/3 of a yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken stock or broth
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. white cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish (you can sub yellow cheddar if you want)
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
seasonings to taste (I used some roasted garlic and herb seasonings)

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add onions and saute.  Add garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add flour to pan and stir until the moisture is soaked up, and cook for 1 minute.
Add stock a little at a time, mixing to incorporate all ingredients and work out any lumps.  Add milk.  Bring mixture to a simmer and add broccoli.  Simmer over medium heat until soup has thickened slightly, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and break up chunks by putting some in a blender or food processor.  Do as much or as little as you want, depending on how chunky you like it.  Return soup to heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.  The stir in cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted and thickened.  Ladle into bread bowls and garnish with extra cheese if desired.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

This Sunday I was home from church with a sick little baby girl so I had some extra quiet time while everyone else was away.  So I decided to make a treat....okay....so it's not any different from when I have a houseful...I still make treats.  But I guess I just got a little bored since the baby was sleeping.  I wanted something simple, and something that I had all the ingredients on hand since it was Sunday.  So I figured this would be good.  And kid-friendly =)

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats
(Recipe from Chef in Training)

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, pour measured Rice Krispie Cereal.
  3. Chop and mash Oreos. You can do this by putting them in a ziplock bag to help keep the mess under control. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed.
  4. Add Oreos to Rice Krispy cereal and stir to combine.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and marshmallows together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they melt together.
  6. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal and oreos and use a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to quickly combine all the ingredients.
  7. As soon as all the cereal is combined, spread mixture into the prepared 9×13″ dish. Use the spatula to press the mixture around the dish, and flatten as needed.
  8. Let sit until completely cooled.
  9. Drizzle with melted chocolate or sprinkles if you want.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bread


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bread

Fall is my favorite time of year!  This last week we got a little teaser of fall with some nice cool, rainy weather.  It get me all in the mood for hoodies, jeans and pumpkin flavored stuff. (not to mention that hoodies would be more comfortable to wear now that I don't fit into any of my clothes......a few more weeks to go until our newest addition gets here!)  I have had this recipe saved for awhile and have just been waiting for a good time to make.  So I figured now was as good as ever.  I love how this combined pumpkin and cream cheese....two things that are perfect together!  It's like eating pumpkin bread and cheesecake in one bite =)


INGREDIENTS


  • FILLING:
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • BREAD:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chocoalte chips (optional, but oh so yummy!!!)

DIRECTIONS


  • In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and milk; set aside.




  •  In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Pour half of the batter into three greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Spoon filling over batter. 


  • Cover filling completely with remaining batter.




  • Bake at 350° for 65-70 minutes (for larger loaves, if using mini-loaf pans like I like to, the cook time is closer to 30 minutes, but use the toothpick method) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in foil; refrigerate until serving. Yield: 3 loaves (16 slices each).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Homemade Samoas

I've decided that my daughter needs to be in Girl Scouts, mainly so I can have access to the cookies without having to search for the tables at the grocery stores.  But alas, there isn't a troop in our area and I have way too much going on to try and start one. So i will have to make do with buy a bunch and stashing them in my freezer (I may or may not still have at least 2 in my freezer....) and then trying to make some copycat versions.  My ultimate favorites are the Samoas   When I made these, I was very happy with how they turned out out =)  So when I need my cookie fix, I know how something I can make.  Sure, it takes more time than just opening up a box....but I can make a whole lot more! (and consequently, eat more!)



Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
Topping
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 30 bar cookies.
Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

I have been a little lazy with cooking lately....I haven't had much energy to put into it.  but since for some reason my family thinks they need to eat everyday, I can't avoid it.  So I love when I find easy meals.  One of my go to sites for these is 365 Days of Crockpot.  She has awesome crockpot recipes.  I love my crockpot because I can throw everything in it and let it do the work.  I found this recipe for Hawaiian Chicken on there and it looked pretty easy and yummy so I gave it a whirl.  My kids loved it!  I think this is something I am going to be making more often.  I did change a few things so if you want her original, go to her website for it.


2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour ( I think I may have used a little more)
1 (20 oz) can pineapple rings, juice reserved
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 red bell pepper, diced 

1.  Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour and place in the slow cooker.
2.  Combine 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce,  Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder, tapioca and vinegar.  Pour over the chicken.  
3.  Top the chicken and sauce with the pineapple rings.
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.  Add in the  pepper and cook for another 30 minutes on HIGH (without lid). (I was short on time so I cooked it on high for about 2 1/2 hours)
5.  Serve over rice.