Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Duo

I had to do it, I just had to. I just saw these cookies yesterday over at Jenny's blog, Picky Palate, I just knew I would have to make these ASAP. I am sure you are all familiar with Picky Palate, she has the most amazing things and her pictures are always awesome, so please go visit her, if you don't already. You will be sorry if you don't. You will be missing out on things like these cookies.The combo of chocolate and peanut butter is a big hit in our house and I love that I had everything on hand to make them. The Peanut Butter cookie dough has only 3 ingredients, 3 people, does it get easier than that. Here we go.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Duo

Peanut Butter Cookie dough

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix all together in a bowl until well combined, set aside

Seriously, how hard is that?

Chocolate chocolate chip Cookie

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup hersheys cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugars until well combined. slowly beat in eggs and vanila until well combined.

Place flour,cocoa,baking soda and salt into a bowl, mix with fork .

Add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips, until just combined.

You will end up with these two doughs, yummy.

To Form Cookies:

Take 1 tablespoon of peanut butter dough and a tablespoon of choc cookie dough and gently press them together, forming a " not so perfect ball". Don't press too much, just stick them together and place on silpat or parchmant paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are cooked how you like them. Let cool 5 minutes before removing them to cooling rack. Enjoy, with a big, ice cold glass of milk.

These cookies are so cool. They look great. They were big and chewy and you could definately taste both flavors. These will become a regular in my house.

I think the next time I will double the peanut butter dough, because it didn't make as much as the chocolate cookie dough. It worked out ok though, I just used the leftover chocolate dough to make delish chocolate chocolate chip cookies, that were awesome as well.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm back...with Everything LoMein

Hey everybody. I am back from the Jersey Shore,vacation was great, good weather,good friends and lots of sun at the beach but I swear it's like I never left. The kids are fighting, I am swamped at work and I am so far behind on commenting that I feel as if I am drowning. But never fear, I will catch up and I am sharing a really good recipe with you. This is a Rachael Ray recipe, I know, I know, some of you love her and some of you hate her, just deal with it and you will get something really good when it's done.The original recipe can be found here. I don't know why there are such RR haters out there. If you really look at her recipes, they are full of veggies and good stuff. So, for me, do me a favor, don't turn away , just read through and you might be surprised. My sister has made this recipe and I really was scared to try it. The ingredient list is long, and there is alot of prep work. There were a few things I did have to pick up at the store, but if you prep everything ahead of time, it comes together really quick.

Everything Lo Mein


3 rounded tbsp hoisin sauce

3 tbsp dark soy sauce(tamari)

3 tbsp water

2 tsp hot sauce( I used red hot)

* I doubled the sauce

Everything Lo Mein

3/4 pound spaghetti


1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 large eggs, beaten ( I used 4)

3 chicken cutlets, thinly sliced into strips

3 thin cut pork chops, thinly sliced into strips

black pepper

2 tsp ground coriander

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 scallions, cut into 3 inch lengths, then sliced lengthwise

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters,seeded,and sliced into strips

1 small can sliced water chestnuts,drained

1/2 pound shredded cabbage ( i used Napa)

Mix together sauce ingredients and reserve.

Bring pasta water to a boil, salt water, and cook spaghetti to al dente. I used this brand pasta.

It is a little more expensive, but it is better than whole wheat pasta and has a low glycemic index and honestly I couldn't taste the difference and I felt better for eating it.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in large non stick skillet. Scramble the eggs, remove and reserve.

Season the meat with salt,pepper and coriander.

Heat remaining oil to a ripple, then add meat and stir fry for 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add ginger,garlic, and veggies to pan.

Stir fry veggies for 2 minutes, or to your liking, then drain and add pasta and eggs back to skillet. Return meat to the pan. Pour sauce over all and toss to combine. Remove from heat and let the liquids absorb a little.

This makes enough to feed a small army and it tastes so much better the next day. I love chinese food but making your own will make you feel better about what you are feeding everyone. So let go of your misconceptions or just your annoyance with Rachael Ray and just give it a try, Please. For me.

Just for fun I am adding in some random pics. Here is our brand new stone patio, we just had put in on Saturday. I love it. Now I need patio furniture.

Here we are at the beach. The girls had an awesome time. I hope they remember these vacations, because they mean so much to me. Especially this one, my oldest lost her first tooth while we were away. I still cannot believe she is old enough for that to have happened.

And of course, here is my sister, Donna, of My Tasty Treasures and her FFH, who joined us for a day at the beach. Aren't they cute?

And finally, here I am , with my girls.

It was a great trip, but I am happy to be home. I missed all your posts and am anxious to catch up on all the good things that were made while I was gone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation and Orange-Cranberry Walnut Loaf

Well it is that time of Summer. We are going off on vacation. We rent a beach house every year down the Jersey Shore. The girls are at a perfect age to enjoy the beach, the boardwalk and all the goodtimes we hope to have. I will be back in a wekk or so, so I am leaving you with one of my favorite breads, Orange- Cranberry Walnut Bread. Is it a bread or a poundcake, I don't know, I don't care, all I know is that is is really good and the smell it makes in your home while baking, well you will just have to see for yourself. How could anything that starts with these ingredients be bad? This recipe comes from Good Things Catered. Her blog is really good, full of tons of great recipes. Check her out if you haven't already. There are so many things on there that I want to make and if they are all as good as this bread, I am hooked. The recipe is for 2 loaves, so cut it in half if you only want one. Or do what I did. You'll see. Be patient.

Orange- Cranberry Walnut Loaf

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 2 large oranges
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
12 tbsp unsalted butter,softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup chopped walnts

2/3 cup finely chopped dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 and prepare loaf pans, spray with baking spray

In a large bowl,combine flour,baking powder and salt and whisk to combine; set aside

In medium bowl, combine milk,orange juice,zests,a nd whisk to combine; set aside

In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy in texture, about 3 minutes

Reduce speed to medium and incorporate eggs, one at a time,beating each until fully combined before adding another

Add vanilla and beat to combine

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour and mixing until incorporated.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in walnuts and cranberries. Doesn't it look good so far?

Scrape batter into prepared pans and spread evenly.

Place in oven and bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean, 35- 40 minutes, for mini loaves and 45-50 minutes for full sized loaves. Or if you don't want 2 loaves, do what I did, make 1 loaf and 12 muffins.

If you make muffins, only bake 12-15 minutes, keep an eye on them. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and remove and cool on rack. Cool completely before serving.

I couldn't cut open the bread to show you because it was a thank you gift for someone I work with. But trust me the smell is amazing and it is so pretty when cut open.

You know what I can show you, here are the muffins. Aren't they pretty?

This recipe comes out very moist and would be great for brunch or as a gift for the holidays, especially Christmas, with those festive red cranberries. So everyone have a great week and I cant't wait to see what you all will have done when I was gone.

Here is the top of my bread. What, I told you I couldn't cut

Monday, July 13, 2009

Melt in your mouth BBQ ribs

I cannot lie. I have always been intimidated, let's be honest, just plain scared to try and make BBQ ribs. Let's face it, I live in New York and we are not known for our bbq ribs. But I love them so much and was determined to find a way to make them, and did I ever. These ribs are as advertised, melt in your mouth. I don't think it is so much the recipe but the method. Let me share with you. The original recipe comes from Recipezaar, I have adjusted a few things and my changes are in parenthesis.

Melt in your mouth BBQ ribs

4lbs pork ribs ( I used Baby Back, from costco)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp hickory salt ( i used regular kosher salt)

1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp cumin ( my addition, not in original recipe)

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground red pepper ( optional, I did not use)

2 cups favorite BBQ sauce ( i use Sweet Baby Rays)

The Method:

Pre heat oven to 300.

Peel off tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.

Mix together sugar and spices to make the dry rub.

Apply rub to ribs on all sides.

Lay ribs on 2 layers of foil, shiny side out and meaty side down. Lay 2 layers of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, edges facing up and seal. At this point, I put them in the fridge and let them marinade in the rub for 4-6 hours.

Place on baking sheet, or as I did, use throw away aluminum pans, in case rub leaks. Bake 2-3 hours, I did 3, until meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone.

STOP. Right here at this point, you are good. You can eat them now, they are soooo good. But let's keep going and go for the gusto with the big finish. Remove from oven, unwrap ribs and apply BBQ sauce to both sides and carefully put on the grill. I say carefully, because at this point they are so tender they will fall apart if not handled with care. So, handle with care.

I was, once again, lucky enough to have my hubby man the grill, and grill those babies for 5 minutes on each side. Apply more BBQ sauce if you like. And please use a silicone brush. Dear hubby is old school and has a bristle brush and I was picking strands off my ribs all through dinner. It's time to embrace the 20th century, honey. Hurry up and join the rest of us. Good Lord. Very carefully remove ribs from the grill.

Get lots and lots of napkins and wet wipes and get to it. These are truly awesome and I love the easy clean up and the minimum effort these ribs require. So go forth and conquer your fear of BBQ ribs. I have and if a woman from New York can make Good ,old fashioned, messy,sticky ribs, you can too. Don't let me down.

Can you smell them?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My favorite Chicken Salad,Sugar Cookie Bars and awards

First things, first. I have amazingly received another award. I never thought anyone would even look at my blog, let alone give me for an award for it and it is very rewarding for me. This Kreativ Blogger award comes from Teresa over at A blog about food. Her blog is wonderful, she has great recipes, so if you haven't visited her, please do so today. You won't be disappointed.

I am giving you 2 recipes today, just because I feel like it. My kids are quiet, the husbands sleeping, so in between cutting out paper hands for the girls , I am posting my absolute favorite cranberry-walnut chicken salad and sugar cookiebars. First the chicken salad. This recipe comes from smitten kitchen. I am sure most of you know about her blog. It is amazing. There are so many recipes and they all look so good. Go see, if you haven't already seen. You will be so happy you did. I love this salad because it has so many different textures, creamy and crunchy and just so good. I tweaked it a little to suit me. My changes will be in parenthesis.

Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 cup walnuts,chopped and toasted

1 cup dried cranberries

1 celery rib,diced into small bits

2 tbsp chopped shallots

2/3 -3/4 cup mayo ( i didn't measure, just put what looked right)

3 tbsp Tarragon vinegar ( used white vinegar, its fine)

2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon or herb of your choice( I used dill)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

The way I prepared my chicken, was The Barefoot Contessa way. I took 2 chicken breasts on the bone and drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Roast at 425, for 40-45 minutes, or until they look like this:

I know my picture is upside down. So dumb. Let the chicken rest and when it is cool enough to handle, shred it into large bowl.

Then comes the hard part. Add all ingredients to the bowl with the chicken and mix well.

Refrigerate and enjoy on bread, english muffins, put it in wraps or enjoy it on toast. I am going to share one of my favorite appetizer s with you. Have you seen these little shells in the supermarket. When you see them, buy them. They are so versatile. Sweet or savory.

I take a teasoonful of chicken salad and put it in a prepared shell and serve it as an appetizer. People love it.

And why wouldn't you? They are adorable and really tasty. Try it, you'll like it.

Next up are sugar cookie bars, that's right you heard correctly. Sugar cookies as bar cookies. This recipe comes from stylish cuisine, this blog is full of goodies you have to see to believe. So when you have a minute , go check it out. I'm sure you will like it. You will find things like this on there:

These sugar cookie bars are so easy and it makes a huge amount. They are perfect for a school bake sale or a big holiday party. The original version called for buttercream frosting, but I used a cream cheese frosting instead, I didn't want them overly sweet. I even cut down on the amount of sugar used. I only used 1 2/2 cups and it is just perfect to me.
Sugar Cookie Bars
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar ( i used 1 1/2)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar, until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour,salt and baking soda.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spread into a greased jelly roll pan (13x18)

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Cool completely and frost with your favorite icing. Cut into as many bars as you can. This makes alot!

I used cream cheese icing. I also doubled the icing , you can never have too much. Here is the recipe:
Cream cheese icing
1/2 cup butter ,softened
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat together butter and cream cheese, add vanilla and then add powdered sugar. Beat until you reach the consistency you want.

Aren't they lovely? And the best thing about these cookies, think about the holidays. For Valentines day add a little red food coloring to the icing, St Patricks Day, add some green, how about Halloween add some orange food coloring and you will have a huge tray of the most festive cookies, at whatever party you are at.

I hope you try them, you will like them. They are a keeper.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chocolate Meltaway Brownie Bites

Hey all, I hope everyone had a safe and fab 4th of July. Once again I find myself playing catch up with this blog and my comments, so please forgive me. I believe you will, once you see the beauties I made these with these brand spanking new Hersheys kisses that just came out. They are called chocolate meltaways. They have a velvety smooth center, at least thats what the bag says.

We went to my Brother-in- laws house in Virginia for the long weekend and as usual it was a great time. There was BBQ and of course, fireworks:

A good time was had by all, but by the end of the day, we were all tuckered out. Some of us more than others.

Now onto the brownie bites, I would say these definately fall somewhere between a brownie and a cookie and any recipe that calls for the use of my trusty, favorite mini muffin pan, I am all over that. This is a back of the package recipe, which I think makes life easier. Here we go:

Chocolate Meltaway Brownie Bites

48 Hersheys kisses, brand Chocolate Meltaway Milk Chocolates
2/3 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
powdered sugar


Remove wrappers from chocolate; place in freezer while preparing and baking cookies. VERY IMPORTANT!!

Beat butter, sugar,water and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat well

Stir together flour,cocoa, salt and baking powder.

Gradually add to butter mixture, beating on low speed until well blended.

Cover and refrigerate dough about 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 350.

Line 48 small muffin cups with foil baking cups or spray well with cooking spray.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place in prepared muffin pan.

Bake 11-13 minutes or until cookie surface is set. I say more around 12 minute mark.

The cookies will appear soft and moist. Do not overbake. Cool about 5 minutes on wire rack.

Dust cookie tops with powdered sugar.

Press one frozen kiss into surface of eah cookie. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

I have to admit I did things a little different. I placed the kiss, about a minute after taking them out and I didn't dust them with powdered sugar until the next morning. I refrigerated them overnight. And they came out like this:

They were a huge hit with my husband and my office co-workers. The oohs and ahhs made it all worth while. I love oohs and ahhs, don't you? Great for a party or a housewarming gift. These are a keeper in my book.

Can you smell them? Can you? They are calling you, don't be afraid, they won't hurt anything but your