Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Chocolate Chip Brownies are yummy!
They don't need frosting either!
They are all gone, so sad!
Another great brownie and another yummy way to eat your daily chocolate serving! 
 Doesn't everyone have this in there diet!??
Chocolate Chip Brownies
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Lightly beat your eggs.  I did this by hand too!  Add your sugar, butter and vanilla.  Stir this until all the butter is completely combined.  Meaning the butter will no longer separate from the mixture.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  I did sift this together.

Add your flour mixture in thirds to your wet mixture.  This makes it much easier to mix this together by hand.  Mix just until blended.  Fold in your chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  The recipe says to flour your pan, I didn't and they came out fine, but do what you think :)!

Spread your batter to the edges of your pan.  Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool in your pan and enjoy, really enjoy! 

(I found out later that the rest of the brownies were thoroughly enjoyed with ice-cream, sliced strawberries and chocolate sauce on top!  YUMMM!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to make Homemade Croutons

So with baseball and we just ended soccer, dinners have become more interesting and rushed! 
I was thinking that I didn't want another night of whatever we could find in the freezer, so I put together a chef salad!
The only thing missing was croutons to make it really good!  I was planning to go to the store, but thought all I need is croutons and if I go to the store I will know what I mean!
So I went to the trusty Internet and decided why can't I make them!  Needless to say there are many recipes for them and they are truly better than the store bought version and they were simple too!
So, we will be making croutons at our house from now on and I will double the amount next time because they were all eaten.  In fact I couldn't keep hands off them as they cooled on the baking sheet before dinner even started!
So as we head into summer, make a big batch of croutons (and don't go buying them at the store :) one day and eat salad all week! YUMMMMMMMMMM!

How to make homemade croutons
  • loaf of quality bread, cut into about 1-inch cubes (I used sour dough bread I had)  ~ preferably the loaf to be a day or two old
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • seasonings ~ Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, put your bread cubes.  Now evenly drizzle your olive oil on top.  I didn't measure my olive oil, I just drizzled and tossed together until it looked evenly coated.  Season with salt and pepper and add your additional seasonings as desired.  I seasoned mine with garlic powder.

Toss again making sure all seasoning are evenly distributed.

Spread your bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, turning the bread to brown on all sides.  Cooking time will depend on your bread thickness.  The recipe said she did it for 15-20 minutes, mine took longer by 10-15 minutes.  Watch carefully though, you don't want burnt croutons!

Remove when done from oven and let them cool completely on the pan.  Try to keep any taste tasters at bay!  It may be hard because the smell was so enticing and it traveled throughout the house!!

Store any leftovers in an air tight container.  Use within a week or freeze for up to 6 months!

  • Season with a salad dressing instead of oil and herbs
  • Bake in a toaster oven (for smaller amounts)
  • Use different kinds of breads (rye, sandwich bread, etc.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Potatoes Romanoff

I have now made these potatoes twice and this was the first picture able to get!  Why you ask??  Because they were gone before I could get a picture!  My family isn't so sure about taking time to take a picture before we eat and sometimes I try not to embarrass my family when we have other people over!
So here we have it and they were fabulous!  That was just the first word that came to mind!
These potatoes are easy and the ingredients are usually ones I have on hand!  The only thing to remember is that you cook the potatoes in advance!  I am sure you could probably cook the potatoes in the morning and then put it together in the evening, but part of the ease is that I put the kids to bed, put the potatoes in the oven, sat down and watched a movie and turned the oven off after an hour and I was done!  So easy! 
If you don't have air conditioning as we head into the summer months, you may want to save this for the fall or I guess you could cheat and use store bought hash browns??
Either way they were YUMMY!!
Potatoes Romanoff
  • 3 large baking potatoes (or I did about 6 medium potatoes)
  • 3/4 cups minced shallots (I omitted this, due to I don't have shallots laying around my kitchen:)
  • 2 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese (I just used regular cheddar since it was what I had)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • I added bacon bits to mine too!
First off, I want to say that this is super simple and you can adjust as you want.  I didn't even really measure the second time I made this because how to you mess up with potatoes, cheese and sour cream!

Bake your potatoes first.  Do this the night before.  Bake 425 til done or about 40-60 minutes depending on the size.  The recipe recommends to wrap them in foil.  I did this the first time, but not the second and they seemed fine both ways! 

Let potatoes cool to room temp and then put them in the refrigerator over night  or if you are like me and you forgot about them in the oven, let them sit there and then put them in the fridge in the morning :)!!

Now your potatoes are chilled, grate them, skins and all!  I used my large box grater or it was recommended to use a food processor.  Put your grated potatoes into a large bowl and sprinkle with the shallots, 1 3/4 cups of your cheese, salt and pepper.

Use your hands and gently toss this all together.  Make sure you don't compress or squish your potatoes.  Fold in the sour cream.  Transfer this into a 1 1/2 quart dish.  (I doubled this both times and a doubled recipe fits nicely in a 9 x 13 pan)

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Now you can sprinkle bacon bits on top too!

Bake at 350 degrees until the tops are golden brown.  About 30 minutes.  We put them under the broiler at the end to help brown up the cheese too!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Best ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (or Raisin) Cookies

Well these cookies have lived up to the title!  My family has absolutely loved them!  We have a disagreement going though about which is better ~ raisin or chocolate chip!!  We are even thinking to try craisin or craisin chocolate chip???
These cookies are soft and flavorful and really are a great oatmeal cookie!
Best ever oatmeal chocolate chip cookie
(found on a blog that I forgot to write down! OOPS!)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick oats (or I did 2 cups regular oats)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or divide your dough and do 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chocolate chips)
OK, the original recipe says that these taste better mixed by hand!  I looked away at these directions and used my mixer!  So you decide. but the thought of mixing all this by hand wasn't happening!  Just remember, we thought they were super good mixed in the mixer!

Mix your butter and sugars together.

Add in eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Stir in your flour, then oats.  This is where I did do a little hand mixing.  I divided my dough in half and hand mixed in my raisins in one side and chocolate chips in the other half.  (If you find your raisins are hard, just soak them in warm water while you get the cookie dough made and it should soften them up!)

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  They are done when they start turning golden brown in color.

Great on there own, with a glass of milk, or I really wanted to make an ice-cream sandwich with them!  YUM all 3 ways!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ben's Birthday Cookies and Cupcake Cake

Since I am always looking for ideas when it comes to my kids birthday cakes, I thought I would post what I did for Ben's birthday!  I am by no means an expert, just a closet baker who enjoys trying new ideas!
 These are sugar cookies with just white icing and a food pen.  I won this set of food pens a long time ago and had never used them.  We went with a baseball theme, since Ben is in the middle of baseball right now. 
The pen worked really well, but best to use when the icing is wet and not completely set.  I was impressed and thought I would buy some again when they ran out!
I saw this on pinterest (I know so 2012 to be saying found on pinterest!!) and I will say it was easy and so fun to make a cupcake cake!  This was my first attempt and I am sure next time it will look better and more filled in, but I thought it wasn't too bad! 
Here is the frosting recipe I used!  It was super good!!

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream (or I used whipping cream since it was what I had)
Whip all this together and adjust the powdered sugar or cream to get the desired consistency and spread away!  Save your leftovers and spread it between 2 graham crackers!  A total childhood memory I can't get over and recreate whenever I can!  YUMMY!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp

This is another great find from my new Pioneer Woman cooks cookbook.  I did mess up a little and bought the wrong shrimp!  OOPS!  But all in all the recipe was good and easy and oh sooo buttery!  I think next time I might try this with half the butter and I am sure it will still be plenty.  But then again, when I buy the right shrimp, maybe it will be right!
Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
(The Pioneer Woman cooks cookbook)
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (if using dried, 1 tsp dried = 1 tbsp fresh)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, deveined, shells on
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Add your butter and garlic to a food processor.  Then add your parsley, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Pulse this mixture several times until everything is mixed together.

Arrange your shrimp on a baking tray in a single layer.

Dot the top of each shrimp with your butter mixture. (The cookbook has great pictures and step by step pictures throughout!  Love it!!)

Roast the shrimp in your oven until the shrimp are cooked through and the butter is bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Serve in a large bowl making sure to keep the juices and drizzle all over the shrimp.

She recommends serving with crusty french bread so you can dip your bread in the yummy buttery juices!  We ate ours with some yummy flank steak, french bread and baked potatoes!  It was super yummy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pioneer Woman Tres Leches Cake

I made this cake way before Cinco de Mayo, but as said in previous posts, I have been a slacker and haven't wanted to get on the computer!  So here it is many days after, but still a really good cake to try any time!
It was moist, and easy to make!  I dont' know if I would have thought to make this except I bought Pioneer Woman's new cookbook and was wanting to make something from it!  Cake it was!
It is definitely a yummy (and no chocolate) recipe and it was really simple to make!
Try it today!  I dare you!  You wont be disappointed!
Tres Leches Cake
(The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk (she says whole milk, but I used 1% that I had on hand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 12 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 14 ounce can evaporated milk (I think I found I had a 14 ounce can sweetened condensed and 1 12 ounce evaporated and it was fine)
  • 1 pint plus 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish if wanted!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your 9 x 13 pan.  Really follow this because I didn't and was unable to get mine out of the pan! 

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Add the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar to a mixing bowl.  Beat them until very light in color.  Then add your 1/3 cup milk and vanilla.  Beat until just combined.

Pour this over your flour  mixture and stir gently until combined with a rubber spatula.

In a clean mixing bowl, beat your egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.  Add 1/4 cup sugar and then continue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.

Gently fold your egg whites into the bowl with the other ingredients.  Don't over mix!  Again Don't Over mix!!  Stop just short of it all being completely mixed in!

Spread the batter in your baking pan and bake the cake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove the cake and let it cool completely in the pan.  It will be spongy looking!

When the cake is cool, invert it on a platter.  This is where I ran into problems.  If you can't get it out, then just do the next steps in the cake pan.  It worked fine for me!

Poke holes in your cake all over with a fork.  Combine your sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Slowly pour this all over your cake!  Make sure to get it all over the edges and evenly coat the surfaces!  Some of the liquid will pool all around the cake too!

Allow cake to sit for 30 minutes to soak up all that milky goodness.  Then whip your 1 pint heavy cream with the remaining 3 tbsp sugar until thick.  Spread this all over your cake!  YUM!!!

Cut into squares and be prepared for people to ask what is that?? and promptly want the recipe!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

It doesn't seem like I am ever satisfied with the chocolate chip cookie recipe I have!  I do have a few of them and the ones in my recipe book have all been winners!  But for some reason I keep trying new ones and looking for new ones!  I don't know why, maybe I will figure it out one day!
These cookies were definitely thick and chewy and good!
They were yummy dunked in milk and would have made great ice cream sandwich cookies for summer time!
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  I lined mine with parchment paper.

Whisk your flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Set aside.

Cream your butter and sugars together until thoroughly blended.  Beat in your egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add your dry ingredients and beat until combined.  Stir in your chips or mix on low.  Add 1 cup and see if it is enough for you before you do 1 1/2 cups.

OK~This is where you gives you a new way to make cookies!  I tried it and thought the cookies were cool looking, but definitely not a have too!

Roll about 1/4 cup dough in your hand and make a ball.  Now hold your ball between 2 fingertips and tear it in half.  Rotate the halves 90 degrees until the jagged edges are facing up and then squish the balls together at the base to form one ball.  Place the formed balls with the jagged edges up on your baking sheets.  This will give them a cool edgy appearance.

Bake until cookies are golden brown and outer edges start to harden and middles still soft and puffy ~ about 15-18 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the sheets and then remove to your cooling racks!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK I have taken a slight hiatus from posting new recipes.  This is not due to lack of trying new things, but lack of desire to sit at the computer!  See my computer in the kitchen died last fall and I have had to use the archaic old lap top that was bought ages ago and wasn't being used!  It is a pain to use and periodically just turns off!  I guess it is a good timer to monitor your Internet or computer use!!
Well, I made these cookies in April!  They were so yummy and definitely on my make often list, especially since I just bought the big jumbo jars of peanut butter at Costco!
The cookies are soft and the combination of peanut butter and chocolate are always a good combo in my book!  The other bonus in my eyes is that they make about 16-20 cookies!  Just enough to eat and not too many leftovers for my house!  My true love is a hot cookie out of the oven!!
Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick or 1/2 cup butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3/4-1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside!  (If you have an Allison's pantry dealer near you, you totally need to get there parchment paper sheets.  They come in sheets to fit your cookie sheets exactly!  I love it!  No curling sheets, cutting to size, etc!  Totally worth every penny!

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.  (I don't often set aside my dry ingredients, probably because I am too lazy!  So do if you like, she recommended it but I think I just added the dry ingredients a little at a time!)

Cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar,and vanilla extract.  Do this for about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat to combine.  On low speed, gradually add your whisked dry ingredients (or add them a little at a time like I do!  Live dangerous!!).  Add your oats, and then chocolate chips.  The original recipe called for 1 cup, but I thought it was too many chocolate chips, so I adjusted my recipe for next time to 3/4 cup.  I would recommended to start with 3/4 and see what you think!

Use a large cookie scoop and drop your dough onto your prepared parchment lined baking sheets.  Place about 2 inches apart at least and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cool completely on your baking sheets and then store in an air tight container!

Enjoy some peanut butter chocolate goodness and no you are getting your oats as well!