Monday, February 11, 2013

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies
Courtesy of my Grandmother

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb package) M&Ms

Cream butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the M&Ms.Reserve the rest for decorating. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate the thop of each cookie with 2-3 M&Ms. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
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Grandmother's Sugar Cookies

Grandmother's Sugar Cookies

** This dough has to chill overnight

2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add sifted dry ingredients a little bit at a time -- I added a 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well, and refrigerate overnight. Working in small batches, roll and cut into desired shapes on a lightly floured board. I put mine back in the refrigerator between rolling batches and while cookies were baking. Sprinkle with sugar if you aren't planning on frosting them. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. If baking 2 sheets of cookies -- switch the baking position about 1/2 way through the cooking time. Cool on cooling racks until room temperature.

** I almost always double the recipes for the cookies and frosting


1 unbeaten egg white
7/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cook in a double boiler for 7 minutes. Beat constantly. It is best to have 2 people working to frost the cookies because the frosting gets harder to work with as it cools. It may take up to over night to have the frosting set -- we placed ours under a fan for 4 hours and they were ready to stack in a cookie tin.

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Ginger Soy Chicken

Ginger Soy Chicken
Adapted from: EMeals

2 chicken breasts (we split ours down the middle length wise so that they are more like cutlets)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon shredded ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 cups prepared Mahatma Jasmine rice
4-6 stalks baby bok choy

** next time, I would use broccoli florets instead of the bok choy

Combine sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar into a large saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the broccoli & chicken in the pan and cook 6-7 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear. Serve over the rice with the sauce from the pan.
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Carne Asada Tacos

 Carne Asada Tacos
Adapted from: EMeals

*** This needs 12-24 hours to marinate

2 lbs flat iron steak (flank steak or skirt steak would work too)
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3 limes
1/2 cup + 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into strips
2-3 avocados, diced
1-2 roma tomatoes, diced
corn tortillas
cilantro (optional)

Combine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, juice of 2 limes, and 1/2 cup of olive oil in a gallon size plastic baggie. Add the meat to the marinade and then let it marinate for 12-24 hours.

Grill or broil for 5-7 minutes per side, and then let it rest. Heat a little bit of butter or oil in a pan and saute onion until it starts to caramelize. Mix avocados, tomatoes, juice of one lime, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cilantro if desired in a bowl. Slice the steak against the grain.

Assemble the tacos by adding some onion, meat, and a bit of the avocado salad on your corn tortillas. Enjoy!
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Homemade Cheez Its

Cheese Straws

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper (optional - I've had it both ways) 

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; pulse in 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.

2. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and roll into a square or round shape. If you want squares like are pictured, I just rolled into a free form square and cut with a pizza cutter. I've also made them and used a small biscuit cutter as well. Use ungreased baking sheets to bake. They don't spread out much, so you can crowd a lot onto your pan. You could also use cookie cutters in various shapes to make your cheez its more festive!

3. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until ends are slightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 30 minutes.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, heaping
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pats
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) mini chocolate chips
Demerara (or other coarse) sugar, for topping (I left this off because I didn't have it)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in your stand mixer -- stir to combine. Add in the small butter pieces, and give it a mix until combined. You won't see the butter much at this point - it will just mix and coat the flour. Put the chocolate chips in the mixer at this point. (I didn't do this until the end the first time, and I would have been happier with the way they mixed in if they had been put in at this point) In a small bowl: mix your heavy cream, eggs, and vanilla. Save 2 tablespoons of this mixture to use as an egg wash before baking. Add this to the mixer and mix until combined and it starts to be a dough.

Liberally flour your surface and press out the dough to about 3/4 inch thick -- I didn't really measure this - I just pressed the dough out in a circle until it was about as thick as I wanted the scones to be. They don't rise or spread much at all so what you see is what you're going to get. You can also crowd this recipe entirely on one pan -- I used a small round biscuit cutter for these, but you could use any shape you'd like.

Once you have all the dough cut, brush with the remaining egg & cream mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on the top. They are best served warm, but we ate on them for several days - I packed them for breakfasts "to go" and sent them off to work with John.

You could freeze the unbaked dough on a cookie sheet until they are firm, then pack them away for use as you need them. Just bake directly from the freezer and add about 5 minutes to the original baking time.

**These would be outstanding with cinnamon chips instead of chocolate... or any baking chip you'd like to use. It's a great basic scone dough that you can add in any flavor you'd like - dried fruit would be great too.
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Cheesy Broccoli Cups

Cheesy Broccoli Cups

1 cup quick-cooking rice (like Minute Rice)
1 cup chicken stock
1 10-oz. box frozen, chopped broccoli florets, thawed and excess water squeezed out
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup Homemade Ranch Dressing, or store bought
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare your rice using chicken stock instead of the water. Once the rice is cooked, put it in a bowl to cool. Squeeze the water out of your broccoli, and add it to the bowl with the rice. Add 1/2 a cup of cheddar cheese, the ranch dressing, eggs, and salt & pepper to your bowl. Mix everything together, and spoon the mixture into a regular sized muffin pan -- top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until the cheese on the top is browned.

You could steam fresh broccoli for this recipe as well, and it would be great! 

This was a toddler sensation, so we will be making them many times in the future! 
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Chocolate Pecan Granola

Chocolate Pecan Granola

4 cups rolled oats
4 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP vegetable oil
12 TBSP honey
12 oz bag mini chocolate chips
2 cups pecan pieces

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a large pot, melt your sugar, honey, and vegetable oil together until liquid and runny. Add in your rolled oats and pecans - coat in the honey mixture. Pour on a large jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides. Spread into an even layer and bake for 10-15 minutes. Mix the oats a bit, and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until everything is a golden brown color. Leave on cookie sheet until cooled. Pour the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture once it is completely cooled, and then scoop into an air-tight container or baggie for storage. 

You can serve it over ice cream, with milk as a cereal, with yogurt, with fruit, or just eat handfuls of it as a snack. Enjoy!
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