Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

No pictures, sorry. I made these on a whim because friends were coming over. However, they were delicious, so I thought I would make a record of the recipe.

I always have problems with my chocolate chip cookies falling flat, always. I've tried every trick in the book for that not to happen, but to no avail. Anyway, this recipe didn't produce any fallen cookies. Every last one turned out puffy, soft, and delicious. Give it a try.

Jocelyn, this one's for you!

Oh yeah, one more thing. This is a double recipe, so just cut it in half and it is the perfect size. I'm just too lazy to cut all of it in half for you. :) I just copied and pasted the recipe directly from allrecipes.com.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce

I enjoy making my own spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately it is not as cost effective as buying it already made. Well, I suppose it could be if you hunt down amazing prices on tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes. At any rate I will share my "recipe" with you. Recipe is in quotes because it isn't really a recipe, it is whatever I feel like. I'll do my best.

I use:

TONS of mushrooms
2 green bell peppers
2 onions
about 5 cloves of garlic
3 cans of (I think) 15 oz tomato sauce
3 cans of (I think) 15 oz diced/stewed tomatoes
1 small can (I think) 4 oz tomato paste
About 4 heaping tablespoons of Italian seasoning
1/2 cup brown sugar
crushed red pepper
butter or olive oil

Chopping up my mushrooms, onions, peppers and garlic.

With 1/4 cup of butter, or for the more healthy conscious (I love the taste of butter by the way) 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, saute the garlic, bell peppers, and onion until the onion is transparent. This takes hmmmm, oh I don't know, 5 minutes?

Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have "cooked down". Again about 5 minutes.

Then, you add EVERYTHING else! The Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, pepper, etc is to taste. I even add crushed red pepper to give it some zing. Maybe about a teaspoon of that.

After a taste test, Mary decided it needed more garlic. Hopefully Mary will warn people before she talks to them that she ate her spaghetti sauce that day. Lots o' garlic could equal no friends!

I let it simmer for a while. Notice the nice steam coming off there? Yummy! Next, you store it all! Measure out about 25 oz of sauce and you can put it in Ziplocks or jars,. then freeze it! If you put it in ziplocks (like I do because it is a space saver in my freezer) then let the sauce cool off before you bag it. That way you don't compromise the integrity of the bag. The sauce kind of melted the plastic the last time I did that. :D Oops!
Please, try making this some time! It's so easy and really leaves a lot of room for you to mess with it. Some revisions I would like to make in the future are to add anchovies to the sauteing process. They are supposed to "melt down" so you don't get chunks of anchovies. Plus, they are a great salty flavor. I would also like to add shredded carrots for an added vegetable. Also, in the past I have used fresh herbs; basil, thyme....mmmmmmm..... So much better that way.

Cake Mix Cookies

Thanks again to all of my avid fans. :) I don't think I have any actually. :( That's ok. I'll get you hooked eventually! In order to make progress towards that goal, I share with you the recipe for, Cake Mix Cookies!

Pardon the bananas being in the picture. I didn't actually use any in the recipe.


2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup peanut butter
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the eggs, water, margarine and peanut butter. Stir in the cake mix and blend well. Finally, fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ok, so this was my first time making these cookies. They were pretty yummy if you like chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies. Honestly, I was skeptical about whether or not I would like them, but I did and so did the other few people who tried them. Bake them yourself and tell me what you think!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Apple Crisp and Chicken

Don't judge me when you read this new blog of mine. It isn't nearly as fancy as many others out there, and I admittedly don't know too much about cooking. However, I still cook so I thought I would document what I make, mainly for my own purposes. If you benefit from it, then Yay!

Let's start things off with one of my favorite things to make for dinner. Marinated chicken. :) My mouth is watering already. Oh, I should also mention that I am a very visual person, so I will take pictures of everything I think is relevant. However, I am no photographer, so these pictures aren't really up to par. Sorry!

This is the marinade I love to use. The brand is called "All Seasons" and you can find it in the condiment aisle. This is only one of their flavors, and I love them all.
You can use fresh chicken, but I prefer to buy, as my good friend Carlee calls them, boobies in a bag. They are also known as frozen chicken breasts. :) Put however many breasts you want in a ziplock and pour some of the marinade on them, till they are nicely coated. I like to marinate them for at least one hour if not more.
My preferred way of cooking these is on the grill, but in the colder months of the year I opt to cook them in the oven as a means of heating up the house. But they are so much better on the grill. If you cook them on the grill, put them on medium heat about 10 minutes per side. If you bake them in the oven, put them in a glass baking dish and cook them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I like to make baked potatoes or mashed potatoes and a side of veggies when I make this chicken. It is so quick and easy, so we really do eat this often in our home.
Moving on....Apple Crisp. Tis the season! I picked my apples straight off of my mom's tree. It doesn't get any better than that. I did some research on apple crisp recipes and discovered that they are all extremely similar. So, I settled with the recipe from my "only failed me once" cookbook. It's called How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

(I meant to take a before picture, but I was too eager to eat it
that I forgot. These left overs only lasted about 2 hours.)
6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples (This equaled 5 apples for me.)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon (I used lemon juice from a bottle, about a tablespoon)
2/3 cup brown sugar, or to taste
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
dash of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fruit with half the cinnamon, (1/2 tsp) the lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and spread it in a greased 8 inch square or 9 inch round baking dish.
2. Combine all the other ingredients--including the remaining cinnamon and sugar--in the container of a food processor and pulse a few times, then process a few seconds more until everything is well incorporated but not uniform. (To mix the ingredients by hand, soften the butter slightly, toss together the dry ingredients, then work in the butter with your fingertips, a pastry blender, or a fork.)
3. Spread the topping over the apples and bake 30-40 minutes, until the topping is browned and the apples are tender. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
There you go! Enjoy them. Tell me if you tried them, or if you have any suggestions. I want feedback!