Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

We made these over Thanksgiving with the kids and they are so soft and buttery!  I love this recipe because it doesn't have shortening which I personally can't stand.

1 cup sugar
1 cup(2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp really good vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended(it will look grainy.)
3. Beat in 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.  Gradually add remaining flour.
4. wrap dough and refridgerate until firm.
5. preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and cook for 7-9 minutes.
7. Frost and decorate as you choose.

I use cream cheese frosting:
1/2 stick butter softened
4 oz. cream cheese softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar.
Beat together till smooth.  Color if you want

Corn and Black Bean salad

This is a Southwestern twist on the corn and tomato salad that I posted previously.  It goes really well with the enchiladas I posted too.

2 cups frozen corn
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half or just 2 regular tomatoes diced
2 avacadoes pitted and diced
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1/4 of a large red onion diced very small or 4 chopped green onions
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
juice of 1-2 limes 

Lay out corn on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until the corn is warm.  Mix all veggies together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice.  Pour over veggies and toss till well coated.  Add more lime or salt if needed to taste.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best Fish Tacos Ever!

Okay I may be biased but I literally spent the entire summer perfecting this recipe.  I think I made them every week.  Each attempt was yummy, but this was the winner of all winners.  There are a lot of steps, but they are all fast and simple.  Do not skip any of the condiments!!

Fish marinade

Juice and zest of one orange
juice and zest of one lime
juice and zest of one lemon
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together.  Marinade 3-4 Mahi Mahi fillets in the above marinade for at least 20 minutes.  Reserve marinade, and transfer to small pan on the stove.  Right before eating, grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily.  While fish is grilling heat marinade over high heat until it reduces by about half.  It should look thick and bubbly and saucy.  When fish is done, break into chunks and pour reduced marinade over fish and toss to coat.

Avacado Mango salsa

1 white onion chopped small
6-8 roma tomatoes diced small
1 bunch cilantro chopped small
1 Tbsp salt
juice of 2-3 limes depending on the size
1-2 mangos peeled and cut into cubes
1-2 avacados peeled and cut into cubes
1 small serrano chili, seeds and membranes removed, chopped small

Toss all ingredients together and refridgerate until rest of tacos are ready


1 1/2 cups cabbage sliced very thin
2 peeled and grated carrots
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1/4 cup crema(mexican sour cream) or more, to coat
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Put cabbage, carrots, and cilantro in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together lime juice, honey, salt, and crema.  Whisk till smooth.  Pour over cabbage mixture and toss until coated.  Set aside

Warm corn tortillas in microwave until warm and moist.  Add fish to tortillas.  Top with slaw and then salsa.  Enjoy!  They are messy so you may need a lot of napkins.

Chicken Enchilada Suizas

These are seriously my new favorite enchiladas.  I have made them a few times and they are so amazing.  I do make them a little differently though.  Out of convenience, I put a couple boneless skinnless frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with the broth they suggest plus the juice of 1 lime on high for 4-5 hours.  That way I can just not think about the chicken until dinner time.  Then I shred it and toss it in the salt and crema and do everything else the same way.  The chicken is so moist and creamy that way!


  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 to 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more for topping (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 serrano chile peppers, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1/2 cup for frying
  • 1 large white onion; 2/3 diced, 1/3 sliced into rings
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 12 corn tortillas, preferably white
  • 3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco


Put the chicken in a medium pot with 3 cups water, the broth, garlic, bay leaves and cilantro; season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer, turning the chicken as needed, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool. Discard the bay leaves and cilantro and reserve the broth and garlic.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Put the tomatoes and chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning, until charred, about 12 minutes. Wrap in the foil to catch any juices, then cool slightly. Peel the chiles and transfer to a blender with the tomatoes and collected juices. Remove the garlic from the broth, add to the blender and puree until smooth.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the tomato-chile puree and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved broth and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook about 20 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt; keep the sauce warm.
Discard the chicken skin and shred the meat. Toss the chicken with the crema and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Soak the sliced onion in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the enchiladas.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of the tomato-chile sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry a tortilla until puffed, about 15 seconds per side, turning with tongs. Quickly spoon 2 tablespoons chicken onto the tortilla, roll it up and put seam-side down in the baking dish. Fry and fill the remaining tortillas, arranging them side by side in the dish.
Pour 2 cups of the tomato-chile sauce over the enchiladas and top with the queso fresco. Bake until warmed through, about 20 minutes. Drain the sliced onion and scatter over the enchiladas. Divide among plates and top with more cilantro, sauce and crema, if desired.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

My friend Erin made this recipe when she came over for dinner one night and it is seriously addicting!!  I have made it tons of times since and always get rave reviews.  

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
6 ears of corn, husked (about 4 cups of kernels)***
2 cup red grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, cut into small cubes (You can use feta cheese instead if you don't have Mozzeralla but you only need to put about 3 TB.  Both are delicious!)
1 ½ cup fresh basil leaves

Whisk vinegar, salt, pepper in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil starting with a few drops then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth dressing,  Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife, roast corn in 375 degree oven for about 7-9 minutes.  Combine corn, tomatoes, scallions, and mozzarella in a bowl.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coast.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes to 2 hours.  Before serving, tear the basil over the salad and serve.

***You can use frozen corn too, it is easier and tastes just as good.  When roasting frozen corn just cook until the corn is warm and starts to smell.

Tuscan Bean soup

I read through three new soup recipes today and they all looked so yummy, but for different reasons, so I picked parts I liked from each of them and made up my own.  It was really good so I want to record it so that I don't forget.  It is a perfect fall soup.

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large celery hearts, halved and sliced
1 medium red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 pieces bacon or pancetta
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, mashed
1/2 box whole wheat small pasta shells
parmesan cheese rind
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary crushed up
1 bunch kale with ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a soup pot add olive oil and bacon over med-high heat.  Stir frequently until bacon is browned and fat is rendered.  Add carrots, onion, and celery.  stir and cook until softened, about ten minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes longer.  Add stock, water, rinsed beans, tomatoes, parmesan rind, bay leaves, pepper and rosemary.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Bring back to a boil and add pasta shells.  Cook until al dente.  Add Kale leaves and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Make sure to stir frequently.  Remove bay leaves, and parmesan rind.  Right before serving add salt, lemon juice, and extra parmesan cheese.  Serve with crusty warm bread.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Greek Chicken Roulades with Creamy Orzo

ok, so I made this for dinner last Sunday, tripled this recipe since it is only for two. It is delicious and easy with a gorgeous presentation. Try it!
12 pitted Kalamata olives, divided in half, half to use later in sauce!
3 TB bread crumbs
3 TB minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 TB minced lemon zest
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced onioin
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1&1/2 cup chicken broth
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp. cornstarch
In food processor, dice together the top 6 ingredients. Set aside. With a meat mallet pound breasts between plastic wrap to about 1/4". Spread olive-tomatoe filling on top and roll up lengthwise. Secure with toothpicks, crossed. With a sharp knife, slice across the roll, like sweetrolls, to about 1&1/2 width. This much preparation can be done the day before, cover tightly and store in fridge on Saturday and dinner is made in a snap the next day. Saute the roulades in the olive oil, flat in the pan, on the swirl, on medium high heat to brown, two minutes each side. Remove to a plate. Add the onions and wine and cook about 2 minutes till alcohol cooks off. Add chicken broth. Bring to a low boil and add reserved olives and the chicken back. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove chicken again and whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch, stir into sauce, simmer a minute then serve the chicken with the sauce over it.
Creamy Orzo
1&1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry orzo (pasta)
2 TB minced sun-dried tomatoes
2 TB cumbled feta cheese
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
Bring broth to a boil. Add orzo, cook 9 minutes until liquid absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and feta, season with s&p and serve with roulades! Delicious!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

don't roast the veggies any lower than 400 degrees.  I usually go with 425 degrees

Vegetable finishing for broccoli or asparagus or brussel sprouts or whatever vegetable you want!

Jordan wanted the recipe for vegetable seasoning. There are several options limited only by your imagination but here are some family favorites:
Roasting vegs - Rachel's latest favorite! Cut up your vegs, sprinkle with olive oil, mix to coat, then add salt and pepper and seasonings like oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, just one or a combination of several spices then roast in the oven at 350 till crisp tender. Yummy. Lower fat here if you care!

Another is to melt 1/4 c butter in the microwave with the juice of a whole lemon and pour it over steamed vegs and then add salt and pepper and any seasoning you want.

This one was given to me by a friend long ago: Put 1&1/2 TB of dijohn mustard in a bowl, add almost the same amount of honey, stir together and pour over steamed vegs after pouring a few TB of butter over them first. Salt and Pepper to taste. Especially good with brussel sprouts because they tend to be bitter if you don't cook them the DAY you buy them!

Strawberry Soup or Raspberry

We got this recipe on a cruise where we were basically drinking as much of this as we possible could! We had to buy the recipe book just for this recipe - so since strawberries are cheap now - here's a great cool treat for a hot summer day!
2 pints strawberries or raspberries, gently washed
2 cups sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup ginger ale
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB fresh lemon juice
* this is my secret addition to the recipe that makes all the difference - a couple TB of homemade strawberry jam to taste!
Puree in a food processor the berries until smooth. Strain the berries through a sieve, pushing as much as possible through into a bowl, removing all seeds. Whisk everything else and chill in fridge about 4 hours.

Chicken Marsala

This and the lemon sticky rice are family favs that everybody probably has already, but Jordan is making this for his wife for mothers day and needed the recipe so here we go for posterity! Yummy!

4 Skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 TB. sliced green onions
3 TB. butter
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. Marsala wine
snipped fresh parsley
Pound chicken between plasting wrap to 1/8 inch. Rinse chicken. Stir together flour, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Press into flour mixture. Set aside. In skillet, cook mushrooms and chopped green onions in 1 TB of the butter. In the same skillet cook chicken in remaining cutter over med heat. Two minutes per side, browning evenly. Remove chicken, return onions and mushrooms, add broth and marsala. Cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes till thickens slightly. Put chicken on a platter and spoon sauce over it and sprinkle with parsley.
*we usually make three times the sauce amount just because we love tons of sauce.

lemon sticky rice

1 Tb. olive oil
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 cup arborio rice or brown or any kind you want
3 cups canned beef broth
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. small grated lemon peel (lemon zest)

1 TB butter
1/4 c.fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 TB chopped Italian parsley, optional or not italian, just any kind.

Heat oil. Saute onion. Add rice; stir for a minute. Add 3 cups broth, lemon juice and peel. Simmer until tender but still firm to bite. Add more broth if it gets dry must be creamy and moist. Remove from heat. Add butter, cheese, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley if you want.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

wheat pizza dough

I have been trying different wheat pizza dough recipes because my kids are really into making their own pizzas lately and have been disappointed with most of the ones I have tried.  I just tried this one last week and we all loved it!  It is slightly sweet, slightly salty and the bottom gets crisp, but the inside stays chewy.  It's really easy too.

1 pkg dry yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

-Mix yeast and warm water in a small bowl and set aside until thick and creamy.

-In a food processor add whole wheat and all purpose flours, activated yeast, and oil mixed with honey and salt.  Pulse processor to combine all ingredients.  Then process until the dough forms a ball on the blade.  Remove dough to a large oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk.

-Punch down dough and transfer to a floured board and knead briefly.  Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll each piece into a bowl.  Place the balls of dough, covered, in the refridgerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding.

-On a floured board roll and stretch each piece of dough into a 7-8 inch circle.  Place each circle on a wooden pizza peel or pizza pan and top as desired.

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake 7-8 minutes per pizza.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken 'n Dumplings

This was my favorite thing in the world when I was little and my roommate made it the other day and it was amazing. I had to share the recipe. She got it from a blog called smittenkitchen.com which is a great site you should check out, but I posted the recipe here below.

Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, February 2005

CI notes that you should not use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe, and that you should start the dumpling dough only when you’re ready to top the stew with the dumplings.

Serves 6 to 8

5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Table salt and ground black pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
2 medium leeks , white and llight green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, minced
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)

1. For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.

2. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.

3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.

4. For the dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.

5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper. Following the steps below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.

To make the dumplings: Gather a golf-ball-sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon. Cover the stew with the dumplings, leaving about 1/4 inch between each. When fully cooked, the dumplings will have doubled in size.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Melting Pot Fondue recipes

Chocolate Turtle Fondue

1 bag good chocolate chips(16 oz)
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup or more to taste prepared carmel sauce
handful toasted pecans

Melt Chocolate chips and whipping cream together over LOW heat.  Stir constantly until smooth.  Turn off heat and transfer to fondue pot.  Right before serving, pour carmel sauce right in the middle of the pot and sprinkle toasted pecans over the whole top.  Then swirl in the carmel with fondue skewer and it looks all swirly and pretty.

Cheddar Beer fondue

1 cup beer
spoonful crushed garlic
1 Tbsp flour
1 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1 1/4 cup swiss cheese shredded
1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 shakes worcestershire sauce

Heat Beer and garlic in a sauce pan.  Simmer about 3 minutes to burn off alcohol.  On a separate plate or in a bowl toss the shredded cheeses with the flour until coated.  Slowly add the cheese in handful stirring constantly until smooth.  Stir in mustard powder and worcestershire sauce until well combined.  Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm stirring every once in awhile so the bottom doesn't burn.  NOTE:  If you have to add more cheese to get it to the correct thickness, make sure to toss it in more flour before adding.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Moules marniere

Every once in a while I just crave this dish. Costco sells a 5lb bag of mussels for $10, and they are debearded which makes it a lot easier. Eat with french bread and a salad. Mom asked for it so here goes, so easy and delicious.

3 Tbsp butter
1 Onion
4 cloves garlic minced
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
4 lbs mussels
1 1/2 C white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 C heavy cream

1. Melt butter, sautee onion, garlic, and herbs till onion is soft in a large pot
2. add wine, cream, salt and pepper, bring to a boil
3. add mussels (debearded and rinsed) cover over medium-high 5-8 minutes or until all shells have opened.
4. garnish with parsley and lemon, sop juices with bread.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Strawberry or Raspberry Soup

2 pints fresh berries, washed
2 cups sour cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup gingerale
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB fresh lemon juice
strawberry or raspberry jam to taste
In a food processor puree the berries until smooth.
Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds.
Whisk the remaining ingredients in, adding the jam last to desired sweetness. Chill and serve cold.

From the cruise where we drank this stuff until we just had to buy the recipe book to have the recipe or die! (except we added the jam idea!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cowboy Caviar

This recipe is from a friend in Maine! It is an amazing salsa that so many people have asked for that .......here ya go! I gave it to neighbors with chips for Christmas a couple years ago and heard rave reviews!
1 can whole corn drained
1 can black eyed peas drained
1 can black beans drained
1 bunch green onions, five sprigs chopped
1 small bunch cilantro chopped
2 cans chopped tomatoes with seasoning and chiles
small packet of good seasons italian dressing made according to directions
Mix the above and season with salt and pepper to taste
Just before serving, chop two avocados and add. Serve with chips.

Raspberry Muffins

I took these to Sunday School yesterday and they are amazing! Remember these from seminary days? You can make them with any berries! I liked the tart raspberries so much but blueberries are yummy too!
1/2 square butter
1/2 square 8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1&1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c milk
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 square butter
Cream together the butter and cream cheese till smooth, add eggs and beat till light and fluffy. Mix flour, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon and mix in alternating with milk. Add frozen berries and mix in gently. Spray muffin tin and fill 3/4ths full. In a separate bowl mix the last four ingredients till crumbly and sprinkle over top of muffins, Bake at 350 for about 20 min. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

no sugar, no eggs, no butter, but soo good chocolate chip cookies!

My friend brought these cookies to our house last week when we had them over for dinner.  I ate 6 of them and I was amazed when she told me they have no sugar, no butter and no eggs.  They are soooooo amazing!

Anna's Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 1/2 c. oatmeal (regular, not quick)
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Mix well and then add:
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 t. vanilla
2 t. water
(I sometimes add a large spoonful of Adams peanut butter too, for flavor and to hold the cookies together more. I like them best this way.)
Bake at 365 for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red Velvet Whoopie pies

This is a fun Valentines Day treat because it is red and festive as well as yummers. They are amazing!   I took 2 dozen of them to my ward's valentine's enrichment and they were seriously gone in 2 minutes. This recipe comes from my Food Network Magazine again. Again, I highly recommend that magazine:)

1 ounce (2 Tbsp) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 ounce (1 Tbsp) milk chocolate, chopped
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp red food coloring
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped (I forgot to get this so I just used 1 tsp vanilla extract)

To make the cookies:
1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the semisweet and milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave about two minutes until melted and smooth. Check on it about every 30 seconds and stir so it doesn't burn. Whisk until smooth.
2.Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in four equal batches, whisking each batch completely before adding the next. Stir in the melted chocolate.
4.Scoop heaping Tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and smooth the tops with a damp finger so that they look like smooth round mounds. Bake until the cookies spring back when lightly pressed, 8-10 minutes. (7-9 mins if using a convection oven) Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
5.Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and the butter with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla seeds or extract. Sandwich a heaping Tablespoonful of filling between two cookies; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Refridgerate 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ben's Favorite Brownies

Double Chocolate Mocha BrowniesGourmet | December 2002

Active time: 10 min Start to finish: 45 min

Yield: Makes 32 brownies
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 45 min
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of foil to hang over ends of pan, and grease foil well (except overhang) with 1 tablespoon butter.

Melt remaining 11 tablespoons butter with unsweetened chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt (mixture will be grainy), then add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until batter is smooth.

Toss together flour and chocolate chips in another bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined.

Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes (do not overbake).

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully lift brownies from pan by grasping both ends of foil and transfer to rack to cool 10 minutes more. Cut into 32 squares and lift brownies off foil with a spatula.


Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Ala Ronald Reagan Style

Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake for the Reagan FamilyEpicurious | © February 2007

by Roland Mesnier with Christian Malard
Reprinted with permission from All the Presidents' Pastries

Editor's note: The recipe below is taken from All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House by Roland Mesnier with Christian Malard.

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings
1 1/2 sticks (170 g) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
flour, for dusting
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (220 g) sugar
zest of one large orange
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

1/2 cup (55 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
10x confectioners' sugar, for dusting
candied orange peel and vanilla ice cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch (25-cm) round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment paper. Gently melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Stir the butter into the chocolate to melt, and stir until smooth. Remove from the double boiler and whisk the sugar and orange zest into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk well. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk the batter until totally smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top has formed a good crust. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with candied orange peel and vanilla ice cream.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine Sugar Cookies

It's that time of year and since you aren't all here so I can make you these, you are going to have to make them yourselves! Love you! Mom

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 cup butter, 2 aquares
1 tsp. vanilla
cream above together
1 cup milk with 1 tsp. vinegar in it, set aside to sour
Mix together the following dry ingredients:
1 tsp soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
7 c.flour
add beaten eggs to dry ingredients alternating with milk.
Chill in fridge for about a half hour or so.
Roll out on flour dusted counter to cut valentines or whatever shapes you want.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Just slightly browned edges. Don't overcook!
Frost and sprinkle with red sprinkles
Best frosting in the world
1 square butter
8 oz. of cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar Beat until smooth and creamy!

Monster Cookies

These are the cookies I made my whole life raising my kids because I could make giant rolls of them and freeze them and always have them on hand. Since it is valentines day, I thought I should post this and the sugar cookie recipe I always made! Enjoy

12 eggs, 1 lb butter, 2 lbs brown sugar, 4 cups white sugar, 1/4 c vanilla, 3 lbs peanut butter, (chunky or plain, I always used plain) 8 tsp. soda, 18 cups ground whole oats, made into oat flour, 1 lb choco chips, 1&1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

In a giant bowl cream sugars, butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy, then add the eggs and beat till smooth,add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients, then add to creamed mixture until smooth, mix in the nuts and choco chips by hand. Roll into round long logs and freeze. Slice off 1/2 inch or so and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. You can chop some of the choco chips up in a food processor and leave some whole if you want. Cook only until the edges start to get golden, check bottoms, do not overcook! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Broiled Halibut with Ricotta-Pea puree

This is another food Network magazine recipe that I love! I made it last night and it was a hit and so easy to make.

3 small carrots
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsps extra vigin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 6-ounce center-cut skinless halibut fillets(I used orange roughy)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil and preeat 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss carrots and onions in olive oil and salt and pepper. Also brush fish on both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sprinkle smoked paprika over both sides. Coat fish evenly with the paprika.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven, place the fish in the center and scatter the onion and carrots around. Broil until the fish is golden and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave peas in a bowl with 1/4 cup water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the peas and liquid to a food processor and pulse with the ricotta, butter, and salt and pepper to taste, to make a slightly chunky puree. Divide the puree among plates and top with the fish, carrots, onion, and drizzle with pan juices.

Sweet potato and sweet pepper chicken

This is a classic recipe that Mom made up for me when she was helping after Rylynn was born and then after she left I just tried to recreate it and this is what I came up with. So it is not an exact recipe, but I make it all the time now and LOVE it!

Sweet Potato Puree

peel 2 medium-big sized sweet potatoes and chop into equal sized cubes. Place in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cover pan and simmer until very tender. Drain juices into a bowl reserving the liquid. Mash the potatoes and stir in about 2 Tbsps of butter, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Pound 3-4 pieces of chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap until an inch thick. Meanwhile on a plate or in a large plastic bag combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 Tbsp Lawry's seasoning salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp, dried basil. Place chicken pieces on plate or shake in bag until well coated. Save extra flour mixture for sauce. In a large sautee pan heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until bubbly but not browned. Add chicken pieces and sautee until browned and crisp(about 2 minutes on each side). Place on an oven safe plate and cover with tin foil to keep warm in a 250 degree oven.

Sweet pepper sauce:

Medium dice one onion, one yellow pepper, and one red pepper. Add to same sautee pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sautee until tender. Add 1 Tbsp butter and dump in the remaining flour mixture. Stir until the butter/flour mixture makes a coating on veggies. Stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1 cup reserved sweet potato juices, and 1/2 cup white wine. Stir until smooth and bring to a boil. Turn it to a low boil and reduce by about half.

To serve, spread the sweet potato puree on the bottom of a plate, place chicken on top of sweet potatoes then serve sweet pepper sauce over all. Be liberal on the sauce cause it's so good! Serve the parsnips from the last recipe along side. Enjoy!

Delicious parsnips

I always serve parsnips with the sweet potato pepper chicken(next recipe), and recently I came across a parsnip recipe in my food network magazine that I love. It is super easy and so flavorful!

Slice 4-5 peeled parsnips and add to skillet with 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup white wine, 2 Tbsp of butter, the juice of 1 lemon, a few slices of ginger(or you can use a few shakes of dried), 1 bay leaf, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a drizzle of honey(about a Tbsp).

Partially cover and boil until liquid evaporates and parsnips are brown and carmely(about 20 minutes). Watch closely near the end to make sure the honey doesn't burn.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Creamy chocolate frosting

I got this from my friend's blog. Sounds amazing!

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Melt the unsweetened chocolate (i melted it with a tsp of butter....seemed less prone to burning in the microwave that way). Mix with the sweetened condensed milk. Slowly add water, vanilla and instant pudding mix. Whip the cream and fold into chocolate mixture (We ended up whipping about 2 cups of cream and folded almost all of it into the chocolate mixture....just depends on how chocolaty you want the frosting). Frost immediately, refrigerate.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Basic Dinner Rolls/Cinnamon or Orange Rolls

Here's the secret, use the timer!
4 cups whole milk, warmed in the microwave for 3 min.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup yeast
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk, poured into your Bosch or kitchen aid or whatever bread maker you have. Sprinkle the sugar over it. Let sit for ten minutes.
Then turn on your machine to mix and add:
5 cups flour
4 eggs
Beat for five minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Then add:
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 TB salt
7 cups flour
Mix and blend until smooth.
Add 1 square butter that has been left out of fridge to soften. Beat five minutes.
Let rise 30 minutes. Roll out by putting on counter. If the dough seems too thick, (a little too much flour) spread some oil on your counter top and then roll out in below manner. If the dough seems a little sticky, (a little too moist) then sprinkle the counter top with flour and flour your hands and pat the top with flour. Most of the time, I use flour. However, occasionally I use oil to roll them out if the dough seems a little too dense. From this point, use the dough to make dinner rolls, or cinnamon or orange rolls.

For crescent rolls, I use my canning jar lid to cut off a small amount then pat it into a rectangle with one end a little narrower than the other, and roll it around my index finger (floured) into a crescent roll shape. Start on the larger end and roll to the smaller. My grandmother made them that way. You can also roll out a circle and pie cut it and roll from the outside into the center.

If you make cinnamon rolls, roll out a giant rectangle and cut it into 3 long strips lengthwise after putting in the filling, roll up and let rise until double (about 45 minutes, but it depends on the temperature of your room, the time of year etc. so just when they are double in size) and cook @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cinnamon Filling
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 square butter
1/4 cup cinnamon
Melt and stir above and then add cream or milk about 3 TB. to mixture and stir.
Pour over rectangle of dough before cutting and rolling.

Oh, the easy way to cut your cinnamon rolls is to use dental floss or thread and hold it so that you can slide it under the roll and bring the ends over the top, cross over and pull and they are cut perfectly.

1 eight ounce cream cheese
1 square butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat until light and fluffy and spread on just slightly warm rolls.

Trust me - people will beg for more!