Friday, October 30, 2009

Christmas Orange and Cinnamon Cookie-Cookie # 4 of 12 weeks of cookies

Ok, this is going to be a short one, just because honestly I'm tired and have been fighting with my 5 year old and it has upset me. If it is like this now, what the hell am I going to do when she is 12???? UGH!! Anyway on to this weeks cookie. This is my fourth cookie of the 12 cookies of Christmas and it is pretty simple but the aroma it gives off is extraordinary. It smells like Christmas Potpurri in your house, like one of those Yankee candles we all buy this time of year...the cinnamon and the orange make this an irresistable cookie. The recipe comes from Canary Girl, I'm not sure how much she still blogs, but it is worth a trip to check out her older posts, they look so good. On to the recipe:

Christmas Cinnamon and Orange Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup orange juice ( from the orange I zested)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
Line baking sheets with parchmant paper.
Baet 1 cup sugar with the shortening,egg,vanilla and orange zest.
Add Orange juice, flour,salt and baking soda. It will look like this. Can you see the zest?

Shape dough into walnut sized balls.
Roll into reserved cinnamon sugar and press onto prepared cookie sheets with a glass dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Bake 10-15 minutes- until lightly golden.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

I wish you all could smell these. They smell like the holidays and it is something a little different from the regular Cookie tray cookie.

So if you are looking for something new, something a little out of the ordinary, look no further, they are right here. Make them and take deep breaths, and smell the holidays.....
Please check out April, Barbara, Megan,Kim and Megan to see what they have in store for you....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken Stuffed Shells and an award

This is a great, quick and easy weeknight meal.I found this recipe over at Pioneer Woman. It was the response to one of her contest questions, just like my last post. This is a big hit in my house and you really only need to add a salad and you have a satisfying dinner. It can be put together fast and you can use store bought Rotissere chicken, if you don't want to roast your own.

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 package Jumbo shells, I used Ronzoni
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 box stove top stuffing
1 large jar beef or chicken gravy, I used Franco American


I roasted my own chicken, so basically took 2 chicken breasts on the bone, salted and peppered them, drizzled with olive oil and baked for 45-50 minutes, until they looked like this:

Let them cool and then shred them and put in a bowl to the side.

Cook shells according to package and drain. Make stuffing according to directions, using the butter and water. Cool and add in chicken and the mayo:
Right here I could stop and just take a fork and go to town, the filling is soooo good.

Fill shells with the chicken mixture and place in a 9x13 pan, that already has a thin layer of gravy spread on the bottom of it.

Pour remaining gravy over the shells.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. That's it, that is all there is to it. It is really yummy and so easy and so perfect for weeknight dinner. Aren't we all looking for easy weeknight dinners right now? I know I am.

I would also like to take a minute to thank Spryte, over at Sprytes place for this awesome award. Go visit her if you haven't already. She has lots of good things to try. I tried to answer the questions but couldn't figure out how to copy and paste them....sigh....oh well

Monday, October 26, 2009

3 packet Pot Roast

I love my crockpot. It is so great to be able to cook something without turning your oven on . My husband is typical Irish, loves his meat and potatoes and not much else, so you can see how my hands are somewhat tied when it comes to making new things in our house. I found this recipe over at Pioneer Woman, no, it is not her recipe, but she had a contest last year and it is one of the responses that I thought my husband would like. I finally got aroiund to making it and it is to die for. He loved it soooo much. The meat is fork tender and it makes a wonderful gravy and embarassingly enough it only contains 5 ingredients. Here are 4 of them...

3 Packet Crockpot Pot Roast

1 beef roast, any kind, sized to fit your crockpot
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 package brown gravy mix, I used Lawrys
1 package Italian dressing mix, I used Good Seasons
1/2 cup very warm water


Place roast in crockpot. In a bowl combine the envelopes of mixes together.

Sprinkle on top of the roast, I rubbed it in all over. Donna, you would have been so proud.

Pour in 1/2 cup warm water. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

I broke the cardinal rule, I opened the crockpot to get a picture for you guys. This had about 2 1/2 hours left to go. Some rules are made to be broken!!!!!

Here it is after 7 hours, it smelled so good. My husband was practically drooling, but honestly, it doesnt take much to have that happen. Sorry, honey, the truth is the truth.

The meat is so tender.

For the gravy, just pour the liquid from your crockpot into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. I usually thicken with a cornsatrch slurry. Some cornstarch mixed with cold water. Make sure the drippings are boiling before you add the cold water mix. Makes a delicious gravy. I usually always serve this with buttered noodles. It is a favorite in my house and its great to pour the gravy over everything. Mashed potatoes would be awesome with this. I would defiantely serve this for company as well. It's that good. It's nice to have a recipe that doesnt call for the most expensive cut of meat, either.

Enjoy, and sop up that won't be sorry.

Friday, October 23, 2009

12 Cookies of Christmas- Cookie# 3 Lemon Luscious Snow Cap Cookies

Ok, so I am up to week #3 of the 12 cookies of Christmas, and do I have a good one for you this week. This cookie has some of my favorite things in it, coconut, macadamia nuts and lemon flavor. This recipe comes from Recipezaar. The original can be found here. I follow it completely, no changes for me. I think most of us have heard of chocolate snowcap cookies, but this goes totally the other way, and it produces a chewy cookie loaded with flavor, and it is pretty to look at, as well. How bad can it be when these are the main ingredients?

Lemon Luscious Snowcap Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup macadamia nut pieces
2 large eggs
1/2 cup powdered sugar, to roll cookies in
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream sugar and butter together in mixer.
Add Lemon zest,eggs and lemon extract.

I always use my microplane to zest, it is one of my fave kitchen gadgets. Just thought I would share that random thought. Moving on.

Stir in flour and baking powder.
Add nuts and coconut. It should look like this:

Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar.

Place on parchmant lined cookie sheet.

Did you notice something missing? I ran out of parchmant paper. I hate not having it but life goes on and I sprayed the hell out of my sheets.
Bake for 18 minutes or until the edges are set. I always underbake my cookies, its just personal preference.
Cool a minute or two on the cookie sheets, and remove to wire racks and sprinkle with more powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies, as they continue to cool.

The smell this cookie gives off as it is baking is incredible. It is so simple and quick to put together. The only issue is that the dough is a bit sticky to roll, but it is definately worth the extra effort to have these babies on your holiday tray. They are so pretty to look at and I think they are something a little different. They have great chewy texture . I hope some of you will give them a try.
Please also check out what the other ladies will be offering up today: ( Megan just lost her dog, so excuse her if she doesn't have something to add this week. It is a hard thing to deal with, the loss of a family pet. Take your time and come back when you are ready, Megan)

These ladies know their cookies....

Friday, October 16, 2009

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies #2 and a change

I am not a big fan of change. I like my routines and I thrive on them. My kids need their routine, as boring as it may be, it is what keeps me sane and makes my life work. So, that being said, I was all set, I was ready with my xmas cookie tray list. I had thought it through, I added and subtracted and tried to figure out what was best and then I got thrown 2 curveballs. The first one being asked to join The 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies bake along, April over at Abbey Sweets, invited me to join her and other ladies in posting a Christmas cookie every Friday from now until Xmas. I am thrilled. I quickly accepted, and thought to myself, I got this, I am so anal and so prepared, that this will be easy. Then my 2nd curveball struck.

I got a comment on my last post from Valerie, she is at Valerie's attempt at pondering. She was new to me, so I immediately checked out her blog, and I was blown away. It is full of so many things that I cannot wait to try. Please, guys, for me, check it out, you will be so happy you did. The first thing I see when I get there is these. Well, these are mine, but you get the picture. These are Baby Shortbread Bites with Mini Chocolate Chips and Toffee. Are you kidding me?

I made them that night and they are incredible. They are little buttery pieces of heaven with choc chips and toffee added in just for the hell of it. My whole gameplan has now changed and I am posting these as my Week 2 cookie because that's how good they are. You have the option of melting chocolate and dipping half the cookie into it, but I believe they stand up well enough on their own. These will now be on my holiday cookie tray. You have to try them, you will thank me later.

Baby Shortbread Bites with Mini Choc Chips and Toffee

1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup mini choc chips
3/4 cup heath toffee bits
1 tbsp vegetable shortening, optional
1 cup mini choc chips, optional


Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Mix in the flour until combined, then stir in ( or add with the mixer on the slowest speed) 3/4 cup min choc chips and the 3/4 cup Heath bits. It should look like this.

And like this. You can definately try the dough, there are no eggs. Yes, you will try it. I did!!!

Shape spoonfuls of dough into small balls(Donna, behave), about one inch wide. I used my hands, but I'm sure you can use a very small cookie scoop. Place 2 inches apart on parchmant lined cookie sheet. Press down lightly to give each cookie a slightly flat surface to rest on.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until fairly firm to the touch. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the pan, shortbread can be delicate and is very brittle. If you choose to, you can melt the remaining 1 cup of mini choc chipsand shortening in a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth. Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate, then place them on wax paper until set. Store in air tight container at room temperature and try, just try to control yourself. These are amazing cookies.

Makes 4 dozen Baby Shortbread Bites, love the name.

As shortbread normally does, these taste better as the days go on. They taste better today than yesterday.

I guess sometimes change is good. lol

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back...with my 12 cookies of Christmas

Hello all. Yes, I have been away for awhile and I really have no excuse except I was overwhelmed with the start of kindergarten, and pre- K, a new work schedule, my husband got very busy at work and was working 18 hour days, 7 days a week and I felt like a single parent for a while. We also had my Brother -in-laws wedding, in which my daughter was the flower girl,

and we were busy picking pumpkins and getting ready for fall.

I have missed you all and hope you will still follow along as I get back into the swing of things. I have loved looking at all the delish things that have been made while I was away. I cannot wait to be inspired by you all again and hope I can do the same for you.
I am back with a cookie, not just a cookie, but a cookie tray cookie. I am going to give you, over the next few weeks, the 12 favorite cookies that go on my cookie tray for the holidays. These cookies are so pretty to look at and so delicious to eat. This recipe comes from Stick to your hips, her blog is full of tempting recipes that will definately catch your eye, so check it out, when you get a chance. This cookie is flaky and tender, from the addition of cream cheese and they are so good with a nice cup of tea or coffee, so here it is Cookie #1 on my cookie tray:
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Swirls

1 cup butter, softened
1-8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
In a large bowl beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until fluffy.

Combine the flour and salt and gradually beat it into the butter mixture. Divide dough in two and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a rectangle- about 1/4 inch thick.

Spread 1/2 the cinnamon sugar mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Don't be afraid that it is too much, it's not. Repeat with other half of dough.

Roll up tightly- starting at either the short or long edge, I did long edge, using the shorter edge will give you a fatter log and bigger cookies.

Wrap log tightly in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375, I use 350, but that's just my oven. Slice logs into 3/8 inch slices and place 2 inches apart on a parchmant lined cookie sheet pan.

Bake 14-16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

This is what you get. A tender, flaky, cinnamon sugar cookie that will knock your socks off. They sparkle and are so perfect for your holiday tray.

I cannot wait to see what everyone else is putting on their holiday trays, I'm sure I will find some additions to make to mine and I hope mine make you make some additions to yours.
It's good to be back!!!!!!!