Sunday, December 28, 2008

Brownie Roll Out Cookies

(image from Smitten Kitchen)

More experimentation for my son's upcoming first birthday party. Instead of a cake we're doing a build your own ice cream sandwich station with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and these from Smitten Kitchen.

They really do taste like brownies in cookie form. I tried them smeared with a little vanilla ice cream and they were absolutely heavenly.

The best part is that they require nothing but the bare baking essentials. To quote Deb,

There’s no sea salt in them, no melted 70 percent chocolate. There’s no brown butter or vanilla bean pulp or pinch of espresso powder. There is not a single thing in them we’d probably jazz them up with today, and instead of fighting this simplicity, I encourage you to revel in it.
Woooo simple cookies!

Recipe copied and pasted for your convenience:

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies*
Recipe from Deb’s mom

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened (Deb note: I don’t really see “lightly salted” much these days, so I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used the “good” stuff–Droste or Galler–but I can assure you that my mother only used Hershey’s growing up, so your choice)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

* According to my mother’s recipe, they’re called chocolate sugar cookies but I do not feel that it does them justice.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cafe Rio-esque Chile Lime Rice

My sister pointed me toward this recipe on her sister-in-law's blog. Copied and pasted here for your convenience:

saute in pan:
2 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
in large pot bring to boil:
6 2/3 cup water
8 tsp. chicken bullion
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
2 tsp cumin
2 small cans diced green chilis
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

*add onion and garlic to boiling water. Add 3 cups long grain rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes

It was definitely much better than the cilantro lime rice, but it still could use some tweaking. Next time I make it I'm going to halve the cumin. 2 teaspoons is a could really taste it and my house smelled like cumin for 3 days. Also, I think I might reduce the bouillon by one or 2 teaspoons and increase the salt. But I did like this rice and it would probably do well as a stand alone side dish. It worked really well as a burrito filler with the shredded beef. The tastes seemed to be more complimentary than with the cilantro lime rice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ginger Snaps from the Kitchen of Jeannie McC

Ginger Snaps - Adapted from an All Recipes Recipe - yummmmmmmm

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
5 cups unbleached all-
purpose flour
1 T+ 1.5 t.  ground ginger
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped crystallized
ginger (chop in food processor until a ball of mush)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cream the butter and the brown sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and eggs and mix well.

Combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Blend in candied ginger. Roll into 1 inch balls and dip in chunky sugar.  Bake about 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and BARELY cracked... Cool.


*Very spicy  and flavorful!  You can buy Candied Ginger in bulk at HEB Plus for super cheap.... best when served about 30 minutes after baking*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Semi- homemade cheddar broccoli soup

Ok so i realize that this is cheating a little bit but oh well.

1 bag cheddar broccoli soup mix (Bear Creek)
diced potatoes
frozen or fresh broccoli
season to taste
Ham (optional)

So this is something that I usually keep on hand for cold days. I try to crockpot pretty much everything so I turned this into a crockpot meal too. I put the soup in the crockpot with 8 cups of water as directed then I just add extra stuff to make it extra yummy. I just add whatever i have, and i add a little salt and pepper and just cook it for like 4 or 5 hours.It is delicious. I usually serve it with fresh rolls or bread bowls. Yumm. We are having this tonight since we have like a foot of snow it really sounded good!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I'm on a burrito kick right now. It's kind of ridiculous actually...I've even started dreaming about them. I kind of wish I were pregnant so I could justify a burrito a day ("The baby demands a chili shredded beef burrito!") but, alas.

We're doing a burrito bar for my son's 1st birthday party in January so the next few weeks are going to be spent testing recipes. Here's what I tried tonight:

Whole wheat tortillas - was really excited about this since it's so highly rated on AllRecipes but turns out the dough needs to be covered with a damp cloth. My beautiful little dough balls dried out during the resting period. Good thing I bought back up tortillas. But I think they're worth a shot for anyone who has ever had the desire to make their own tortillas. I'll try again at some point.

Shredded Beef - This was excellent. I took the advice of several of the AllRecipes commenters and went with the cheaper and easier-to-shred chuck roast instead of rump roast. Also, since some commenters complained that it tasted a little bland, I added a 3rd can of hot tomato sauce (the brand I used was called El Pato and came in a yellow can) plus 2 cans of water to submerge the roast, as suggested. It definitely had a kick and Aaron and I both enjoyed it. I just need to learn to be patient and let roasts cook longer since I kept trying to shred it before it was ready and said bad words at the people who swore that chuck roast would be easier. It really was easy after it had cooked thoroughly. I shredded it and then left it in the juices in the crockpot for another hour or so. Delish.

Cilantro Lime Rice - I didn't realize that this is supposed to be a copy of Chipotle's rice, which I don't actually like all that much. It was ok and if you like Chipotle's rice you might like this. It was fine as a burrito filler, but I didn't care for it on its own. What I'd really like is a recipe for Cafe Rio's green chile rice. Anyone have that?? Google searches are not bringing up anything promising.

I just used bottled green sauce since I was too lazy to go searching for tomatillos to make my own (they're going out of season). It was good, as per usual.

We threw some cotija and monterey jack in there and voila! Burritos. Sans beans. We don't do beans around here, good for your heart or no.

The burritos were excellent, though I wouldn't have minded a change of rice. We had plenty of leftovers so we made a couple more, wrapped them in foil and plastic and threw them in the freezer for easy lunches. I'll probably eat them both tomorrow since the imaginary baby requires them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Teriyaki Ranch Chicken

Another winner from Kayla's other blog ( I added some mushrooms to cook with the chicken, it got rave reviews from Blaine! I had whipped peaches (recipe? Open can of peaches, pour in blender, whip, add ice if you want, eat with spoon). Blaine has spent his night trying to convince me that this is a healthy recipe so we can have it often, he really liked it!

I think this baby has a thing against chicken, it just doesn't sound good, so I stick to fruit. And cookies.

Teriaki Ranch Chicken

I thought this chicken was sooo yummy. It does take a little time though, so for me it's going to be more of a company/special dinner recipe.

2 T vegetable oil
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (flatten w/meat mallet if desired)
1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

Pour flour (1 cup?) into a ziplock bag or a bowl. Press each piece of chicken in flour, then shake off excess. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken breasts in oil for 4-5 min on each side.

Place browned chicken breasts in a 9X13 baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on the Ranch. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and bacon bits.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, removing foil for last 10 minutes of baking time.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

(image from Simply Recipes)

I recently made these enchiladas for Aaron and I. The enchiladas themselves were ok (I thought the chicken filling was a bit dry..probably because I didn't have the thighs the recipe calls for on hand and used white meat instead) but the real standout was the sauce.

I luuurve Mexican green sauce and this one is easy and so very good. I always see tomatillos at our local farmers market and wondered what they were. Now I know. They are a food of the gods and they exist for making delicious delicious green sauce.

Recipe here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

BBQ chicken pizza

This is from a book called "Dinner, it's in the bag" by Christine Vanwagonen. She just got called to the general relief society and she wrote this book of recipes to help you cook from your food storage. so the first time i made this i made it how it was written and the second time i did mostly fresh stuff and it was amazing both ways- the smell of canned chicken gets to me, but it tasted pretty much the same as the fresh chicken. I give it four stars!

Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1T salt
1T sugar
2T active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (no more than 105 degrees)
3T extra virgin olive oil

-In a large mixing bowl, wisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
-In the 1 1/2 cups of warm water, dissolove the 2 rounded Tablespoons of yeast, stir well. Let rest for 5 min- then add olive oil
-Pour yeast mixture into the flour, salt and sugar. Stir withe wooden spoon until dough forms a ball. The dough will be sticky.
-Turn the dough onto a heavily floured board. Gently add flour as you begin to knead the dough. Continue adding flour until the dough stops stickingto your hands (this will take about 10 min)
-Form the dough into a ball
-pat entire ball with olive oil
-place in bowl and cover with cotton cloth, place in a warm place for 20-30 min. Remove it from the bowl and punch it dowm on a floured board and reform into ball, put back in bowl for another 20 min
-preheat oven for 45 min at 500 degrees (warming the pizza stone if you want good results)
-separate the dough into 2 balls for 2 large pizzas or 3 balls for three medium pizzas.

ingredients for the toppings

1-2 (14oz can) chicken
1 bottle BBQ sauce (sweet baby ray's is my favorite kind)
1 small bag of pregrated pizza cheese (parmesean, romano, and asiago grated cheese)
1 (8oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 1/2 T dried onion (I used fresh red onion which added nice flavor)
2 T dried Cilantro

-Reconstite onion with 1/4 cup water.
-in a ziplock bag, combine chicken and 2/3 cup of BBQ sauce. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
-Pour off marinade
-Sprinkle cheese over crust
-spoon 2/3 cup of the bbq sauce over the cheese. top with the chicken, onion, and pineapple tidbits. sprinkle more cheese on top.
-bake for 8 min at 500 degrees. sprinkle with cilantro.

Now like i said this was delicious either way, but I made it with fresh chicken last time and so i just cooked the chicken then added the bbq sauce for the last 5 min of cooking. I didnt have any marinade to pour off though. so i didn't do that. I also added fresh mushrooms and next time i am going to put precrumbled bacon on it too. and like i said, i would recommend red onions- cut up into really small pieces, i also left off the cilantro. this was sooo good though, and i even let the kids make their own pizza and they loved that.

Cranberry Chicken

Cranberry Chicken


I got this recipe from Kayla's other . I didn't actually eat any, but Blaine said it was really good! And it sure smelled good. I served with Acorn squash, which I did eat and which was very good!

Cranberry Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 can whole cranberries
1 Lipton onion soup packet
1 cup Catalina Dressing


Combine ingredients over chicken in baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over white rice.

~this recipe doesn't seem spectacular, buts its really good, kid friendly, and easy to make! Its also a nice change to the chicken/cream of...soup/rice recipes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Apple Crisp

( not the best picture, it started melting before I found my camera)..

4 Apples, cut up
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1/2 C oats
1/3 C butter, soft
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg (I didn't add this).

Put all the apples in a greased 8X8 pan. Mix the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over top of apples. Bake 375 degrees for 30 min.

MUST serve with ice-cream :) I drizzled caramel over the top. Such a good, easy winter dessert :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Secret Ingredient

What did y'all do with your left-over Thanksgiving turkey? A portion of our was destined for a fabulous casserole. The recipe is basically, a bit of this, a bit of that, and ... a Q-tip. Sprinkle with cheese, bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly and q-tip starts to smoke. Serve to your unsuspecting family. When your husband asks, "What's that?", pointing to the fuzz on top of the casserole, just shrug your shoulders and say something casual like, "A Q-tip." Because that's what it is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pumpkin Squares

These are also from Mom. Also very YUM.

2/3 C. oil
2 C. sugar
2 C. squash (you can use pumpkin or any kind of squash here that's mashed up)
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. flour

Pour into a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. Cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe: 8 oz. cream cheese block, stick of butter, 1 splash of vanilla, and powdered sugar to get it to the consistency you want (maybe 1 1/2-2 cups?). If you want to thin it some, add a splash of milk, but go easy on the milk--a little goes a long way. Trust me.

Zucchini Bread

Also from Mom. Also 5 stars.

Mix well:
3 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
1 tsp salt

2 C. grated zucchini
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix well and add a bunch of chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts. But really, only add chocolate chips, friends. It's the secret to this recipe. I can't say enough about chocolate and it's magical food powers. Just take my word and add the chocolate chips and don't be stingy, either. Thank me later.

Grease and flour two bread pans and pour the batter evenly between the two. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (or, again, a little longer if you like drier bread). Cool well before removing from pan.

Grandma Griffin's Banana Bread

I also must give this recipe 5 stars. It's my Great-Grandma Griffin's and has been in the family for years. It's my favorite banana bread recipe of all time.

1 C. sugar
1/2 C. shortening (or sometimes I use canola oil to be healthy, or I have also used 1/2 applesauce to replace the shortening, and it also works if you want to be super healthy)
2 eggs
2 C. flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 crushed bananas

Grease and flour bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (or a little more if you like drier banana bread like my husband does). Makes one big loaf.

My Mom's Cinnamon Rolls

I give this 5 stars and I also give credit to my mom, who makes the same recipe but somehow ends up with yummier rolls than I ever do.

3 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
6 T. yeast
1 T. salt

Let rest 15 minutes.

Then add:
3 eggs
10 cups flour

Roll out right away on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar, white sugar, and any other kind of sugars you can dream up. Oh, and cinnamon. Throw on some raisins if that's your thing. Roll up and cut into cinnamon rolls. I use floss to cut the individual rolls. Stick the floss under the roll and cross the treads on top and pull. Voila! Cut, not smashed, cinnamon rolls. (Does everyone already know this trick?) Stick the rolls on a cookie sheet and let raise 10-20 minutes. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Drizzle with frosting. I prefer cream cheese frosting on these, but if you want to just do a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla/maple flavoring glaze, that's fine, too.

p.s.--my cream cheese frosting recipe goes like this: 1 big block of cream cheese (8 oz?), a stick of butter, a hit of vanilla, and powdered sugar added until it's the consistency you want. If you think it's too thick, add just a touch of milk to thin it, but I rarely find I need the milk, especially if the butter is room temperature. That's it. So easy and so, so good. MAN, I miss sugar...