Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites with Nutella Swirl

 Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites with Nutella Swirl
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream butter and Crisco till smooth, add sugars, vanilla and eggs beating after each addition. Add water.
Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Add  to creamed mixture, stir gently. Add chocolate chips and pecans. Using a small Pampered Chef Scoop put a level scoop of cookie dough in each cup of a sprayed mini muffin tin.  Bake at 325 for 8-10 minutes till top appears light brown. Cool in tin and remove when just cool. Frost with Nutella Swirl!

Nutella Butter Cream Swirl
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened  butter
1/2 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk (I used 1%)
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
Mix butter and Nutella add vanilla and milk, add powdered sugar. Whip and pipe onto cookie bites.
Frosting recipe comes from Tracy's Culinary Adventure

Sometimes you just want a winner. I know these cookie bites are delicious and get rave reviews wherever I take them. I like them because I always have everything in the house to make them. They come together in a jiffy, they are portion controlled and it is easy to change them up a bit.
Last time I made them for a 'garden party' for adults--so I went with an Almond Butter Cream Swirl. This batch was for kids so I went with my grandson, Gregory's favorite flavor--that would be Nutella!
The Nutella Butter Cream was silky smooth and was a dream to pipe. I used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a very large star tip. They are fancy and delicious. Perfect for summer gatherings.
Kids will love them but adults will make sure they get a couple!

Monday, June 24, 2013

That Yummy Veggie Lasagna

This yummy lasagna is meat free and delicious, perfect to share with a vegetarian new mother. I used my food processor to speed the process of cutting the carrots and zucchini. I also used it to grate cheese, put the cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes for easier grating. I won't lie--this recipe took almost an hour to get it ready for the oven. It also cooks an hour and then needs to sit. Allow plenty of time. This one dish meal is delicious! Please try it. Inspiration for this recipe came from a Pampered Chef Stoneware Sensations Cookbook. I believe it is out of print.

Lasagna Primavera – We just call it That Yummy Vegetable Lasagna
2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups small zucchini, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
¾ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (14 ½ ounces) Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, drained
1 container (15 ounces) part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup diced parsley
1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated, about ¼ cup
1 jar (16 ounces) white Alfredo pasta sauce
¾ cup milk
10 uncooked lasagna noodles (about 8 ounces)
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Heat oil in large skillet or pan over medium heat.  Press garlic into oil.  Add sliced carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, Italian Seasoning and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add drained tomatoes to vegetables; set aside.  In another bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, salt.  fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.  In yet another bowl, (we love dirty dishes!!) combine Alfredo sauce and milk.

To assemble lasagna, spread ¾ cup of Alfredo sauce mixture over bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Top with half of uncooked noodles in single layer (place 4 noodles lengthwise and 1 noodle crosswise, breaking noodles to fit).  The recipe actually says that…as if we couldn’t have figured it out on our own.  Press noodles into sauce.  Spread half of ricotta mixture over noodles. I had  a genius idea. I spooned the ricotta mixture in a large zip lock bag, cut a 1/2 inch slice off one corner. It was so easy to 'pipe' the ricotta cheese on the noodles. I was impressed with myself.  Top with half of vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers, starting with ¾ cup sauce.  After layering, pour remaining sauce over top of lasagna.  Cover.  Bake 50 minutes.  Uncover, carefully, it says, and continue baking 10 minutes.  Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes.  
Printable Recipe

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

I do love Pinterest! When I'm making my menus each week I check the freezer and fridge for ingredients then I head to Pinterest and look for the right fit. I'm on a roll with my Crock Pot. I don't have a crazy busy life but I do like the convenience of putting a few ingredients in the Crock Pot, and then smelling it simmer away all afternoon.
It's summer, the days are getting warm, actually hot, turning the oven on can really heat up my west facing kitchen. The family gets hungry at 6 no matter the season! Using your Crock Pot can provide a tasty meal for a hungry family without heating up the kitchen. Summer and Crock Pots really do go together!
This Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken  from The Comfort of Cooking was easy to make, I added brown rice and a fresh fruit salad for one yummy meal. Next time I will add some steamed veggies too.

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs--I remove all traces of fat, because I can!
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 3/4 cup water
sesame seeds for garnish
sliced scallions for garnish
Place chicken in bottom of Crock Pot and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix onions, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil; and red pepper flakes. Pour over chicken cook for 3-4 hours on low or 2 hours on high. Do not over cook as chicken will dry out. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred. Mix corn starch and water, stir into sauce. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes or until thickened.
Serve rice, topped with chicken and drizzled with sauce. Garnish with sesame seed and scallions. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe 

Other Crock Pot Favorites
Crock Pot Mashed Potato Soup
Potatoes Au Gratin in a Crock Pot
Pepperoncini Beef in a Crock Pot--always on the menu at Harris Family gatherings!
Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Monday, June 17, 2013

Corn and Bean Salsa

Don't let the plain name of this fool you; it is way more than beans and corn. This dish is full of flavor and all good things. We took this to a summer party and got rave reviews. This recipe originates from Southern Living, I found it on You Go Girl and adjusted it to suit what I had and like. You can do that you know!

Corn and Bean Salsa
4 ears fresh corn
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 or 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes. seeded and diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 avocados, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Roast corn, cool and cut off cob. Whisk together lime juice, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Toss, cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve with corn chips.
Printable Recipe

One Year Ago--------Breakfast in a Scone
Two Years Ago-------Puff Pancakes
Three Years Ago------Banana Mini Muffins
Four Years Ago-------Pasta Chicken Cashew Salad

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lemon Biscones

This is just a different version of my Cinnamon Biscones from Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. I added lemon zest and a delicious lemon glaze to a basic Buttermilk Biscone recipe. It was delicious, I served them for girls weekend and everyone agreed they were perfect. A Biscone is a combination of a scone and a biscuit. It marries the ease of the biscuit with the buttery flavor of the scone--a match made in Heaven! Light and delicious.

Lemon Biscones
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick cold butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk or more as needed
1 egg beaten for wash
2 tablespoons sanding sugar
Rub zest into sugar with your fingers--it will smell wonderful! Add flours, baking powder and salt, mix well. Cut in cold butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender. You will have various sizes of butter from pea size chunks to sandy patches.
Gradually add the buttermilk and gently fold the ingredients together until you have a soft dough with no flour at the bottom of the bowl. You should still see lumps of butter in the dough--this makes the flaky goodness. If the dough seems too dry add a tablespoon of buttermilk. the dough should seen slightly sticky and moist.
Scoop mounds of the dough on a parchment lined sheet pan. I like stoneware. I also use the Pampered Chef large Scoop. This is the perfect size. You will get 12 maybe 13 biscones. Brush gently with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Rotate pan half way through. Keep a close eye on them. You want a very light golden biscone. Do not over bake.
Remove to a cooling rack and when cool glaze.
Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
zest from 1 lemon
lemon juice to desired consistency
Printable Recipe

One Year Ago-------Chocolate Iced Cookie Bars
Two Years Ago------Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake
Three Years Ago----Idaho Party Cookies
Four Years Ago------Broccoli Salad

Friday, June 7, 2013

This is the way you give a loaf of bread!!

When I give a food gift, I want it to not only taste wonderful but I want it to look amazing. You taste with your eyes first. I was going to lunch at a sandwich shop--they sell amazing breads and treats.
 I was taking dinner to anew mother and had made Veggie Lasagna. A loaf of their Asiago Cheese Bread would certainly compliment the meal. I purchased the bread and while we were eating and chatting I happened to have a perfect view of an employee making beautiful gift baskets and gift items. I took the my purchased loaf of bread and this is what she did! The bread is wrapped in a fun kitchen towel, looks like a bandana--perfect for a little boy. The ribbon is bright blue, white on sheer polka dots and a splash of lime green. I love it! Pretty classy, and I think I could recreate too.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich using the Chocolate Sugar Cookies.

 Jarom was kind enough to taste test the prototype. This is one delicious dessert was his reply.. My kids are coming to visit in a couple of weeks. My freezer will be full of mini chocolate sugar cookie ice cream sandwiches. They will love me forever. Do you think we can get away with giving the kids otter pops and they adults ice cream sandwiches?? I didn't think so either. Kids are smart like that.
I think if I used the small Pampered Chef Scoop they would be the perfect size. Using the medium scoop like I did for the cookie was a perfect desert sized cookie. The small scoop will make the perfect snack size Ice Cream Sandwich! 
Just make a batch of these Yummy Chocolate Sugar Cookies, cool, scoop slightly softened ice cream on one cookie--top with another. Freeze, you have the perfect summer treat.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I don't make a lot of sugar cookies because they are kind of fussy and have plenty of steps. Mix dough, chill dough, roll out dough, cut dough, make cute shapes, bake cute shapes and finally you must make icing and then frost and decorate the cute shapes.
Please know that I do admire the bakers that create works of art in the shape of cookies. I also think they taste wonderful.
So after all of that why am I making Chocolate Sugar Cookies??? These are very easy to come together, a couple of bowls--no mixer and they were ready to bake. No chill time, no rolling, heaven!  Thanks Tracey's Culinary Cooking Adventure for this yummy cookie

Chocolate Sugar Cookie
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour (8 1/8 oz)
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (yes, I really did sift it)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
14 tablespoons butter, divided
1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 oz) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Put 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a wide shallow dish. 
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
Add 10 tablespoons of the butter to a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 or 30 second bursts until melted. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until it is completely melted. Set the butter aside until lukewarm. It should read 90-95 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Don't skip this step--if the butter is too warm the cookies will not bake properly. Add the brown sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until incorporated. Mix in egg and egg yolk until well combined. Switch to a rubber scraper and stir in the dry ingredients just until combined.
Shape the dough into balls--I used a medium Pampered Chef Scoop. Roll the balls in the sugar you put in the shallow bowl, coating all sides. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Use the bottom  of a glass to press the balls down so each of the cookies has a diameter of about 2 inches. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse sanding sugar.
Bake until the cookies are slightly puffy and the edges are just barely set, about 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer to  a cooling rack and let the cookies cool a few minutes, remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies
Printable Recipe 
1 year ago-------Oasis Naan
2 years ago------Fresh Mango Salsa
3 years ago------Summer Salad
4 years ago------Cheesecake Bites