Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Candy Bar Cookies

Really, if you don't think you want to eat something whose title has both "candy bar" and "cookie" in it, there is something wrong with you! This is one I have been making for a long time. Like, back when I still lived with my parents. I know it's a recipe from my Mom and quite possibly from the Christmas Cookie Swap she used to do every holiday season. Regardless, they are YUM! And, best of all, they are super easy and fast to make!

Here is what you need!

Graham Crackers, Butter, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter (or Chocolate Mint) chips

Throw 1 and a half packages (about 15) graham crackers into the food processor

Grind 'em up until they are very fine

Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave (about 45 seconds)

That makes half a cup of melted butter (when the foam subsides)

Add it to the processor and pulse about 4 times, shouldn't take long to come together

Spread graham cracker mix into a greased 9x13 pan

Pour evenly the whole can of condensed milk* over the graham cracker crumbs.

You may need a spatula to even it out.

Next, sprinkle your regular chocolate chips evenly over the milk, I'd guess it's about 1.5 cups?

Don't fully cover the milk. This is just right.

Cover the rest with the peanut butter (or chocolate mint) chips. Still, it's OK if some of the milk shows through.

Pop it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until it is slightly brown all over.

It needs to cool to room temperature to allow it to cut best, but here is the finished product!

And here is a look at them from the side, so you can see the thickness

YUUUUMMMMMMYYYYYYYY! It is seriously hard not to eat one of these each time you walk by them!

*In the pictures, the sweetened condensed milk is fat free. It does NOT come out unless you use full fat condensed milk. What was I thinking trying to make something a little less fattening?! Believe me, it tasted just as good but the fat free milk is thinner, therefore it does not set as well and you can't cut them into bars. So if you are super depressed and decide you want to eat them right out of the brownie pan with a fork while you cry and watch "Steel Magnolias", go for the fat free milk.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Bakers Dozen Scones

Here is what you'll need to make a plain scone:

Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Butter, Half and Half, and Egg.

The first step is to measure out 2 cups of flour, 3 Tablespoons of Sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder and dump them in your food processor.

Cut up 6 Tablespoons of butter(room temp or cold) :

And throw them in with the dry mix.

Whiz, whiz, whiz until it looks like crumbs

Next, measure out a teeny tiny bit more than half a cup of half and half...

and one egg.

With the food processor running, pour the egg and half and half in the shute.

And leave it alone until the dough forms all on one side.

Next, shape the dough into a disc or ball. I had quite a few to do this day!

Roll out the dough into a circle about an inch thick and 8 or so inches wide.

At this point, you have a plain scone! You can brush some half and half over the dough, sprinkle it with sugar, and pop it in the oven at 400 for about 15-20 minutes (until browned) and you'd be good to go...but lets do better, shall we?

Once the dough is on a baking sheet, take the back of a knife and poke some holes - not all the way through.

Then fill them in with frozen blueberries:

Poke some more holes, and fill them in with cream cheese:

Now brush some half and half over the entire scone, and sprinkle with sugar.

Most scone recipes tell you to score them before baking, but I just wait and cook the whole thing first and cut when cooled. That way they make sharper, more even cuts.

Anyway, bake the scones at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until browned. Once they are cooked and cooled, I cut them into 8 even slices (like pizza).

To make them even tastier, you can drizzle some powdered sugar icing on them. I will post how to make that this week hopefully. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potato Enchiladas!


This is the second time I have made this dinner, and while it is a little longer than a 30 minute meal, it is worth it and you can most definitely make it ahead of time. Now, a little background: In July 2008, my meat-loving husband stopped eating meat. It just started grossing him out all of the sudden. Also in July 2008, I was 4 months pregnant with our baby, and pretty much everything but cheese grossed me out. Cheese will NEVER gross me out, but that's a story for another time. So, I was met with the challenge of turning some of our favorite meals into vegetarian meals. I was SO excited when I found a recipe for these enchiladas, and though I have simplified it a bit, it is still just as yummy! So here we go!

First, cube up some potatoes, any kind. I used red. I guess it's 4 cups? I only measure accurately with baking. Muy importante.

Add them to a pan of boiling, salted water.

I threw some onion in there for the flavor, but left them big so I could pick them out because I like onion flavor, but not onion texture. Read my mom's comment about how picky I was in this post.

Cover them and let them cook for 10-15 minutes. You could take that time to chop some fresh cilantro. I took that time to swap laundry and feed my baby.

But I did come back and chop about 2 cups of cilantro.

After straining the potatoes and adding them back into the pot, I threw in a few handfuls of Mexican Blend Cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like. Cheddar, Mozzerella, Colby, mmmm cheese....

Next, add your chopped up cilantro.

Mix. Try not to eat directly out of the pan.

Next, take your enchilada sauce and pour a little into the bottom of a casserole dish. Then lay down a tortilla shell, scoop in some potato filling, and wrap. Repeat until you run out of shells or filling.

It took me 5!

Next, pour your remaining enchilada sauce over your enchiladas.

Try to cover as even as possible, but I never fully soak them -- I like some of them to be dry.

Next, sprinkle with more cheese. I ran out of Mexican Blend, so I used Mozzerella.

Pop in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until they look like this:

There you have it! Try it and let me know how it turns out, OK?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Amazing what you can get done when Mom comes to town.

Except baking, of course! Sorry to leave everyone hanging for the last week. I had my Mom visiting and got a ton of stuff done outside of the kitchen!

I made a headboard, cleaned the garage, started painting my baby's room, gathered stuff for a yard sale (we made $400!) and got a date night with my hubby!

This morning I documented the scone making process, so stay tuned! Hopefully I will get it up while the kids are napping.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Let me start with this.

Do not be afraid. What you see above you is quite possibly the oldest piece of kitchen equipment known to man. It is a mixer, blender, food processor, scary old machine that my mom still uses! I was forced to use this all weekend, and luckily the food turned out OK. It ain't no Kitchenaid, that's for sure! I actually guessed it was from the 70's, but my mom still has the user manual (which is amazing enough) and it's from 1987! Now, I was 6 years old in 1987. The 80's were full of color, weren't they? Then why is this thing fifty shades of brown?

I am happy to be home where I will never take for granted my lovely KitchenAid again.

Still haven't done brownie research, but I have some banana bread in the oven and am going to try out some blondies (which I have never made or eaten before) this afternoon. I plan to document it all and hopefully post the recipe later this evening (if they are good, that is).

In the meantime, go to your KitchenAid and show it some love this afternoon, or it might be replaced by something scary from the 80's.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Goal for the week!

OK, we made it home and I am ready to get back in the kitchen tomorrow! My mom came down for the week so hopefully I'll get some time to get to some recipes I've been wanting to try.

But my ultimate goal for the week is to find a GREAT brownie recipe. I have tried several and there is always something I am not fond of so I plan to do some research and try a few out, unless the first one rocks!

If you have a recipe for brownies that you would like me to try, please let me know!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Overload...

Ham, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, homemade rolls, pasta salad, strawberry shortcake. Full belly.

It's been a fun weekend at the folk's house. I've been in the kitchen and I've been out of the kitchen. I've been to church. I've been to the beach. I've caught up with old friends. I've TAKEN NAPS. My kids have not slept much. My baby has not slept well (except during the day, of course).

I have completely lost all willpower when it comes to food.

We head back home tomorrow and I am looking forward to getting back into a routine, getting back into my kitchen, and getting better sleep! But I love my family, too. Happy Easter all!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The thing about baking is...

you can do it anywhere! I was wondering if I would get my hands in any dough Easter weekend, especially since we are not at home, and sure enough, Day 1 here at my parent's house and I cranked out about 30 cinnamon rolls! I have made so many that I didn't even need my recipe and they turned out great!

My grandmother heard about and wanted to try them...funny thing is I made a batch to give her and totally left them in my freezer at home -- oops! Now we will be eating them all weekend and I am just not sad about that, sorry to say.

I do want to make a promise to document more of my cooking when we get back so you guys have full recipes and pictures to go along with them...so keep checking back. We will be driving back home sometime Monday so hopefully I'll be back in the kitchen Tuesday.

Everyone have a wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Verdict. And someone please make me stop!

OK, so everyone seemed to like the enchiladas last night. When my non-formula drinking kids take their first bite and then say "When I eat all of this, can I have some more?", that's a good sign!

I will definitely be making them again soon and when I do I will post the recipe and pics on here...I will be changing it around to simplify it a bit and make it more mine, now that I have the gist of the basic recipe. I always follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it, then doctor it to accommodate my family and our likes and dislikes. Most of the dislikes come from me, the ultimate picky eater. One day I'll have to tell you just how hard it was for my parents when I was at the dinner table as a youngin'. I'm sure there is much snickering at their house when I call to say the kids refuse to eat something I made.

Now, someone please stage an intervention. PLEASE. My addiction is getting dangerous. We leave town tomorrow and I purposely did all of my baking last night for my deliveries this week -- 4 dozen scones -- so I could clean and pack and make lists and clean and pack some more... I even thought as I finished up last night around 11pm, "I am actually looking forward to not baking for a couple of days", but what am I doing today? I am making cookies to bring with us. I am already bringing a dozen cinnamon rolls (made yesterday and frozen until we leave) but just walking through my kitchen this morning made me want to bake something.

I SO do not have time, but it looks like in between scrubbing toilets, I'll be (after washing my hands thoroughly, of course) making 2 kinds of cookies to bring home for Easter weekend. Maybe it should be re-named Eater Weekend?

Those darned peanut butter chips are calling my name...I'll be back later!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What happens when you google "what to make for dinner tonight"?

So, not only am I addicted to my kitchen, but I also really love looking at food sites and blogs online and after not having a chance to think about dinner yesterday, I googled "what to make for dinner" hoping for some inspiration.

Through weeklygeekshow.com, I came to a site called Cookthink, where you can type in what you are craving or what foods you happen to have around the house, and it will pull up recipes for you. Awesome!

I did this tonight and ended up making Potato Enchiladas...we'll see how they turn out as I am not-so-patiently waiting for my husband to get home. The oven is pre-heated and as soon as his car pulls in the driveway I will be popping those suckers in the oven...OK so maybe I couldn't wait and they are already in there. I hope he gets home in the next 20 mintues or he might be eating something else. I can smell the yummy sauce and the cheese melting as I type. I may go drool on the window of my oven until I hear the timer go off...

I'll let you know how it goes and if I like them, I will be putting them up here soon. The recipe I found was a little dis-organized, but now that I have the general idea of how to make them, I will be simplifying them. Later!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Play on Spaghetti - Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I don't know about you, but I love pasta! I could eat it every day, but sometimes the old spaghetti standby just doesn't cut it. I came across this recipe from Pioneer Woman (who is my online idol, I just love her!) and decided to try it the other night. It was good! Definitely a nice change from your standard spaghetti. I took some pictures of the process along the way, though I left some steps out because I was too hungry and impatient. I also veered just a little off her recipe to make it a quicker fix since we had been out all day.

So..start by getting out your food processor and add half a jar of roasted red peppers. I used this kind. And, yes, that is flour all over my poor food processor...lets just say it gets used a LOT.

Add half an onion, roughly chopped (her recipe has you add them later but I don't like chunks in my food so I put them in here), and some toasted pine nuts (I toasted mine quickly in my pan while getting the peppers out of the jar) and whiz away.

Pine Nuts

Peppers, Pine Nuts, and Onion Before...


And after, added to a pan with some garlic sautee'd in a little olive oil.

Next (and this is the part where I forgot to take a picture) add half a cup of half and half or heavy cream and mix together while your pasta of choice is cooking. Once the pasta is done, strain it and add right into the pan.

Mix it up and you are ready to eat!

Normally I would plate it and take a picture of the finished product, but it sat for a while as we were busy putting kiddos to bed and I was so hungry when we got done, I may have actually taken my fork right to the pan...is that wrong?

If you try this, I really hope you like it! I have yet to dislike anything I've tried of PW's.

I am working up something awfully cute for Easter, and hopefully I'll have time to get it done and document the process before the weekend hits. Later!