Archive for May, 2010

Ghiradelli’s “The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”

May 31, 2010

I had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies a few weeks back, so I started with my Google Reader, and searched for recipes.

I have hundreds of chocolate chip cookie recipes bookmarked.

That can be kind of daunting.

Instead, I turned to a Chera, a friend of mine who is an awesome cook and baker, and asked her if she had a favorite recipe for them.

But even she had trouble narrowing it down! LOL

She gave me three…so today I started working through them to see which we enjoy. In the interest of my gym time, as well as my waist line and checkbook, I didn’t make all three today — just one. 🙂

I baked off half this recipe (which my husband, his visiting friend, and dad, promptly polished off) and froze the rest, to be pulled out later when the need for a fresh baked cookie strikes. 🙂

These were fantastic. A very simple chocolate chip cookie, but delicious. You can use any chocolate chip you prefer in them — I just happened to have a bag of semi-sweet on hand so I used those. Chera prefers them with milk chocolate chips, and I think they’d be divine with dark chocolate as well.

Ghiradelli’s “The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”

(This link, via Chera)

  • 11 1/2 ounce(s) chocolate chips (your preference — dark, semi-sweet, milk…)
  • 2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1 cup(s) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions

– Preheat oven to 375ºF

– Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside

– In large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla

– Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture

– Stir in nuts and chocolate chips

– Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto ungreased cookie sheets.

– Bake at 375ºF for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

To Freeze

– Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie on a cookie sheet and set inside the freezer for approximately 1 hour

– Remove from freezer, and package little frozen dough balls in a zip top bag

– Return to freezer, and remove as many ‘dough balls’ as you need at a time for baking

– Follow the baking information above

Fruit Pizza

May 31, 2010

There are hundreds of ways to make fruit pizza, but I prefer this recipe. I dislike the recipes which call for the ‘glaze’ over the fruit. Yes, it keeps the fruit from turning color — but it also makes the dessert too sweet, in my opinion.

Instead, I choose to only use fruits that won’t color. This time around I did a red/white/blue theme for Memorial Day, using strawberries and blueberries. But really, the sky’s the limit (as long as you don’t count bananas and apples or anything that turns brown when exposed to air as part of that limit!)

I’ve had it with blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple,sliced peaches, kiwi, seedless grapes, raspberries, blackberries, etc and they’re all delicious.

Be creative! Have fun!

Lastly, my mom used to make this recipe in a round pizza pan, and then ‘fan’ each layer of fruit out from the center. It makes for an awesome presentation, but can be expensive to purchase all that fruit. Instead, I normally cut the slices before I put the fruit on, and then I’ll decorate each ‘piece’ based on the fruit I’ve chosen to add.  Additionally, I find it easier to cut and serve at parties if I make it on a cookie sheet — so that’s normally the route I go.

Fruit Pizza

(Family Recipe)

1 package (20 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough (*Note that Pillsbury’s packaging has gotten smaller over the years. A roll of Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough is now 16.5 oz. Rather than suffering through a thin crust, I generally use 1.5 rolls of their dough. You could, of course, make your own from scratch, if so inclined.)

8 oz. softened cream cheese (you can use low fat, but I’ve never tried it with non fat)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (almond is also delicious)

Directions

– Press dough into a 14″ round pizza pan (or a standard, sided cookie sheet. Mine is just slightly larger than 13×9…maybe 14 or 15×10?)

– Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and puffed. Cool completely.

– Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together using an electric mixer, until well blended. Spread over cooled cookie.

– Layer your fruit of choice over the cream cheese mixture, and refrigerate. Remember to keep this dessert very cool if you’re serving it at a picnic. Travel with it in a cooler with ice, and make sure it doesn’t sit out all day. It’s really best right from the fridge!

Menu Mondays

May 30, 2010

Saturday: BBQ at our place! Hot dogs (with fixins and chili dog fixins), hamburgers (all the fixins), cheddar brauts, pasta salad, chips, fruit pizza and mud pie!

Sunday: Attending another BBQ — taking fruit pizza 🙂

Monday: Leftovers!

Tuesday: spicy honey chicken, oven fries, green beans

Wednesday: salmon, macaroni and cheese, cauliflower

Thursday: salad for me — DH can’t eat anything but jello/broth/popsicles  for a medical procedure

Friday: Leaving it open…DH will be able to eat and I’m letting him pick all the foods. LOL

Menu Mondays

May 24, 2010

This week will be incredibly affordable/eat-from-the-freezer type meals…we are working on home projects, so I try to save us a little money every other week or so with menus like this!

Sunday: Prep day, with take-out for dinner

  • Make bread for DH’s lunches this week
  • Chop/prep all veggies
  • Cook bacon
  • Make pancakes or waffles for my weekday breakfasts

Monday: venison steak, steamed broccoli, pasta

Tuesday: MIL making dinner — looks like fried chicken, potatoes, corn, and a dessert (she isn’t known for her ‘light’ cooking! LOL)

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner — omelettes, bacon, toast

Thursday: spaghetti with meat sauce, salad

Friday: cheddar brauts on the grill, oven ‘fried’ french fries, green beans

Crockpot Pork Barbacoa

May 23, 2010

This crockpot pork recipe is delicious! It’s very similar to the Cafe Rio pork — but less sweet, and more of the pork flavor shines through.

Absolutely delicious! I imagine you could make this with chicken, as well, with similar results.

My pork didn’t turn out nearly as red as Joelen’s, but I think that’s because I was unable to find La Victoria taco sauce, and substitued another brand for it.

Still delicious!

We served it as tacos, and can be served any way mexican meat is  — tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, over salad, etc!

Also: Since we hadn’t had it before, I elected to halve the recipe and make a 2 lb pork roast. Next time, I’ll make the full amount and freeze it for future meals! I also made this on a Sunday and just re-heated it during the week for our meals, since I wouldn’t be home during the week to add the other ingredients after 6 hours!

Pork Barbacoa

(Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

5-6 pound pork roast
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, dicedwater

1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup dark brown sugar
12 oz bottle La Victoria taco sauce
20 oz Coke

Directions

Place pork roast in a crock pot with the garlic and onion. Add water halfway covering roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

– Drain water and add remaining ingredients. Cook 4-6 more hours on low.

– Shred pork and serve with tortillas, rice or whatever you’d like.

Stuffed Chicken Florentine

May 23, 2010

This was very good — but the first night we ate it, I thought the ‘florentine’ part needed something. Maybe some garlic??

I ate it as leftovers for lunch later in the week, and it was much more flavorful — maybe it just needed to sit? 🙂

We’ll be having it again!

Stuffed Chicken Florentine

(The Rookie Chef)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

salt

pepper

1 TBSP vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (I omitted)

1/2 of a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained

1/3 cup of ricotta cheese

Directions

– Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper. Pound until thin and even with a meat mallet.

– Sprinkle both size with salt and pepper, set aside.

– Heat oven to 350 degrees

– In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and mushrooms; sautee until onion is transparent. Stir in spinach and cheese to form stuffing. Heat through.

– Spread stuffing evenly over each chicken breast. Roll up chicken.

– Now stick a skewer through it to hold it all together.

– Place chicken in a lightly greased 9 x 9 pan. Cover with tin foil and bake 15 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 10 minute

– Remove the skewer and enjoy!

Menu Mondays

May 17, 2010

Sunday: Take-out for dinner, and prep day:

  • Chopped all veggies needed for the week
  • Made protein and whole wheat waffles for work breakfasts
  • Made the pork barbacoa for Thursday in advance and froze it

Monday: beef steaks (filets!), steamed broccoli, pasta

Tuesday: stuffed chicken florentine, couscous, green beans

Wednesday: salmon, risotto, cauliflower

Thursday: crockpot pork barbacoa (tacos with fixin’s), mexican rice, black beans

Friday: out of town!

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

May 16, 2010

It’s always nice to add a new side dish to the rotation.

This looks like “just rice” in the picture, but it’s actually amazingly delicious from the garlic and chicken broth. The baking also gives it a different texture than regular rice….it was phenomenal!

It takes a little more time than I’d normally want for a side dish (25 minutes+45 minutes), but I made it work by starting the cooking, and then after I’d added the second bit of chicken broth, I’d walk the dog or prep the rest of the meal. It worked out well.

I served it with the lemon chicken — great pairing by the way — and had made the lemon chicken in advance. I just re-heated it in the casserole dish it cooked in, while the rice was cooking. Everything was done at the same time. 🙂

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

(Annie’s Eats)
2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup long-grain white rice
2½ cups chicken broth, divided
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice

Directions
– Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Have ready a covered casserole dish.

– In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and rice to the pan and cook until both are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

– Stir in 1 cup of the chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.

– Stir in the remaining 1½ cups chicken broth and bake, covered, for another 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it is finished baking, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Note: This recipe can be doubled without increasing the baking time.

Lemon Roasted Chicken

May 16, 2010

This was delicious and super-easy. I actually made it on a Sunday, and then just refrigerated it in the casserole dish with the marinade juices until Tuesday (when we ate it). I covered it with foil and re-heated it while I was cooking the baked garlic rice pilaf and everything was done at the same time.

Perfect!

I’m not normally a “fresh herbs” snob, but this dish definitely needs the fresh herbs. It’s really delicious, and just fancy enough looking that you could probably serve it to company and wow them. LOL

Enjoy! We did!

Lemon Roasted Chicken

(Annie’s Eats)
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-4 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks (I used a whole cut-up chicken)
2-3 tbsp. melted butter
Thinly sliced lemons, for garnished

Directions
– Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large zipper-lock plastic bag.  Seal the bag and shake well to blend.

– Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, pressing out excess air and sealing once more.

– Refrigerate and let marinate for 2 hours.

– Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish, skin-side up, reserving the leftover marinade.  Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

– Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the skins are crispy and well-browned.  Halfway through baking, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces in the baking dish.  Once fully baked, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

– Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Menu Mondays

May 10, 2010

Sunday: Prep day! Take-out for dinner

  • Prep veggies (chop broccoli, clean green bean ends off, slice peppers, clean and slice carrots into sticks, steam asparagus for weekday lunch)
  • Make chicken sausage patties and freeze
  • Make lemon chicken for Tuesday (won’t have time for such a long-cooking meal during the week, but I WANTED it!)
  • Make lasagnas for two — will eat one this week and freeze the other two
  • Make protein waffles for Monday’s breakfast

Monday: venison steak, steamed broccoli, pasta

Tuesday: lemon chicken, garlic rice pilaf, green beans

Wednesday: crockpot french dip sandwiches, baked oven fries, salad

Thursday: lasagna for two, salad

Friday: leftover french dip sandwiches, mixed veggies from the freezer / or / cauliflower