Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

You'll definitely need a big glass of milk when eating these whoopie pies! The deep chocolate cookies are very dense which pairs perfectly with the creamy peanut butter filling!

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Source: Martha Stewart's Cookies

For the cookies:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla

for the filling:
1 1/3 cups natural, creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make cookies: Line two rimmed baking sheets with nonstick baking mats. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients; mix until combined.

Drop 1 1/2 Tbsp. of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. (When the top of a cookie is gently touched, it should feel soft but not wet). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make filling: With an electric mixer, beat peanut butter and butter on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add confectioners' sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.

Assemble cookies: Spread 1 heaping Tbsp. filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Fall is the season for pumpkins! These cookies will be a hit at your fall get together. Try some with a warm glass of cider. Sure to please! The brown butter icing on these soft cookies add a rich caramel flavor.
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Source: Martha Stewart's Cookies
for the cookies:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 oz.)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For cookies whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in bowl. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until page and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.

For the icing:
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
10 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. evaporated milk, plus more if needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Make Icing: Put confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth.
Spread about 1 tsp. icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tex-Mex Lasagna

This dish was definitely a crowd pleaser! This dish was very easy to put together and could be made ahead of time. The cream cheese and sour cream cooled the heat from the peppers and spices.

Tex-Mex Lasagna
Source: Cooking with Paula Deen

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 (15.25 oz.) can corn

1 (15 oz.) black beans, drained

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1 (16 oz.) sour cream

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

6 oven-ready lasagna noodles

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, grated

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cheddar cheese, grated

In a Dutch oven, combine chicken and next 12 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cream cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Spoon one-third of sauce into prepared dish. Top with 3 uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread one-half of sour cream mixture over noodles, top with one-third sauce. Sprinkle with half of cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad

This was a great way for me to use up the bounty of tomatoes and cucumbers I had. I loved the tangy tomatoes with the feta cheese.

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad
Source: Cook's Illustrated

2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
ground black pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Toss tomatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and sugar in medium bowl; let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to salad spinner and spin until seeds and excess liquids have been removed, 45 to 60 seconds, stirring to redistribute tomatoes several times during spinning. Return tomatoes to bowl and set aside. Strain tomato liquid through strainer into liquid measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Bring 1/2 cup tomato liquid, garlic, oregano, shallot, and vinegar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 3 Tbsp., 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk in oil and pepper to taste until combined. Taste and season with up to 1/8 tsp. salt.

Add cucumber, olives, feta, dressing and parsley to bowl with tomatoes, toss gently and serve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baked Mostaccioli

So, I've been trying to incorporate more healthful dishes into my meals. This recipe for mostaccioli is a light version that includes lots of tomato flavor, ground turkey and fat free cottage cheese. I must admit that I am not usually a fan of cottage cheese with pasta dishes, but this definitely made the dish really creamy!
Baked Mostaccioli
Source: Healthy Cooking
8 oz. uncooked mostaccioli
1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups (16 oz.) fat-free cottage cheese
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1-1/2 cups shredded, part skim mozarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook mostaccioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the turkey and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain if neccessary.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and marjoram; set aside. Drain mostaccioli.
Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce into an 11x7x2 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the mostaccioli, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Top with cottage cheese mixture. Layer with remaining mostaccioli, meat sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (dish will be full).
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30--40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Strips

These buffalo chicken strips came out so juicy! The chunky blue cheese sauce was delicious to tame down the heat!

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Strips
Source: Cook's Country
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
6 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. celery salt
1/2 cup hot sauce
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenderloins
Salt & pepper
Combine blue cheese, soure cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, and celery salt in a bowl. Whisk hot sauce and butter in a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup. Add chicken strips to bowl with remaining hot sauce mixture & toss to coat.
Season chicken with salt & pepper. Grill over hot fire until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and brush with reserved hot sauce mixture. Serve with blue cheese sauce.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tastes Like Home Delivery!

I received a special delivery from the Tastes Like Home Local Goodie Swap!

This was hosted by Megan of Meganscookin and April of Abbysweets. Megan was so nice to let me join the swap late, as my original message was never received. This left Megan with two partners!!

Megan was my swapping partner. She lives in California and sent me some fabulous goodies from her area! Here is all the goodies I received:
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Jam -- Megan made this--WOW! This is the best jam. My breakfasts will be extra good with this jam!

Osker's Spicy Garlic Marinade & BBQ Sauce -- Delicious! For dinner we marinated our chicken in this. Great flavor!

Olina Ridge California Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- I have some great things in store for this!

Raspberry Honey -- Yum! I can't wait to have some for breakfast on my oats!

Chef Ryan's Q-Rubs Tri-Tip Rub -- Smells great! This will be perfect for one of our grilled dinners this week!

Lavender Vanilla Gourmet Scone Mix -- Sounds great! Can't wait to try this!

Goats Milk & Honey Lavender Body Cream -- Smells fabulous!

Shea Lavender Healing Lip Balm -- I've already tried this-- works great!

Tuscan Heights Lavender Gardens Flyer -- This looks like a great place to visit!

Fabulous Fixin's Cream Cheese Cake -- This will be dessert today! Yum!

Spiced Pecans -- Megan made these as well! Awesome! I've been snacking on these. Can't wait to have some on my salad!

Jason's Soap Creations, Orange & Clove -- Smells wonderful! I love homemade soaps!!

Edible Shasta-Butte magazine -- Great articles & recipes. I've been enjoying reading this!

Thanks so much for all the California goodies Megan! As you can see I've already enjoyed some of the goodies & am looking forward to trying all of them!

If you would like to see what I sent Megan you can check out her site, Meganscookin.