Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Big, Flat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have decided I am on a quest for my favorite chocolate chip cookies. These were pretty good, but not my favorite. Nick liked them a lot more than me though because he liked the texture of them- he said they were a little crispy around the edges but still chewy. This recipe is from Good Things Catered. Mine don't really look like the ones on this blog so maybe I did something wrong and will try this recipe again at some point- but for now, I will be trying out new recipes!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

-Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
-With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
-Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.
-Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips.
-Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
-Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy (about 17 minutes in my oven).
-Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

Welcome Readers!

Woo Hoo! I now have 3 blog readers! A special shout out to Nick, Meg-o, and Marcus :)
(And yes, I did mess up the positioning of the pictures- my bad)

Easy Beef Stew

I don't quite know who to give credit to for this recipe because I got it from my mom and I don't know where she got it, but this is a really easy and delicious beef stew- perfect for a cold, icy Kansas day :) The recipe below is as I made it (slightly adapted from the original):

1 tsp olive oil
12 baby carrots, diced
l small onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 stalks diced celery
4-5 diced new potatoes
1 can roast beef (I had to use Hormel but Costco's Kirklands brand is best)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
12 oz V8 vegetable juice

1. Microwave carrots, onion, celery, and potatoes for about 2 minutes so they will slightly soften.
2. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven (or other soup pot) over medium heat.
3. Add vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. (Salt and pepper veggies when you put them in)
4. Add can of diced tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
5. Add roast beef, garlic powder, V8 juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
6. Stir and break up beef so it shreds into smaller pieces.
7. Continue simmering until vegetables are cooked to desired "doneness".

This is also good as leftovers :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Julie's Chicken Salad

Julie told me about a chicken salad that she makes. It sounded so good that we had to try it! It was great! Nick ate it on bread as a sandwich, and I had mine on a bed of lettuce (which is what I recommend :) ) I didn't measure anything so everything is approximate.
  • 1 roasted chicken, chopped
  • poppy seed dressing (approx 3 Tbsp)
  • light mayo (approx 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 can of light mandarin oranges (canned in juice), cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, and you are done! (You could also add green onions, but I forgot to buy them)

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

To continue using the bananas in the freezer....We made banana pancakes! I always try to make a healthy version of pancakes, and this was the first real success! Even Nick was surprised because he liked them. My previous attempts at healthy pancakes always tasted a little too healthy :) I found the recipe at Epicurious and added bananas to it. (I also reduced the butter- shocking!) The recipe with my small changes is below:

* 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
* 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk, divided
* 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
* 1 cup mashed banana

Soak oats in 3/4 cup buttermilk 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

Stir egg, butter, brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, and oat mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.

Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more.

FYI: Recipe said it makes 8 pancakes- I got 15 :)

Skinny Scalloped Potatoes

I saw this recipe in my Clean Eating magazine (which is one of my favorites!) and wanted to make it so I could use my new mandolin that Mr. Ron and Ms. Janice gave me for Christmas. The recipe turned out well despite the fact that I forgot to buy chives. To make up for this, I put a thin layer of sliced onion in the middle. The recipe was good as is, but I think you could also make a lot of variations. I want to try it adding turnips and sweet potatoes- not sure how that would turn out though! I did add a sprinkle of low fat cheese on top and used an extra carrot. The recipe below is the original with my changes in parentheses so you can make it however you want! Also, you can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8x8 pan.

- 2 tsp whole wheat flour
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, sliced into 1/8" slices
- 2 carrots thinly sliced (I used 3)
- 1/2 cup chives chopped (I used a few thin slices of onion)
- (1/4 cup reduced fat cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Place flour in medium saucepan over low heat.
3. Gradually add milk stirring with a whisk until blended.
4. Stir in broth and pepper, bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until mixture
thickens- about 5 minutes- and remove from heat.
5. Layer 1/3 of potato mixture in bottom of 11x7 baking dish.
6. Top with half of carrots and sprinkle of chives (or thinly sliced onion).
7. Repeat layers and end with potatoes.
8. Pour milk mixture over potatoes, and top with remaining chives.
9. Cover dish, and bake for 45 min.
(10. Sprinkle with cheese, and broil for 2-3 minutes.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I saw some banana chocolate chip cookies on this blog and thought I should make some since I had oodles of bananas in the freezer. The cookies were so soft and delicious! I will definitely be making these again in the future. I wanted to make a healthy cookie so I changed a lot of ingredients. My recipe is below. (And they kept well for 4 days- I think they would probably last longer though if they don't get eaten by then!)

3/4 cup mashed or pureed banana
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1.5 tsps vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups oats

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, combine sugars and butter and mix on medium speed until pale.
4. Add egg and vanilla to butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
5. Mix in applesauce and bananas until thoroughly blended.
6. Add flour mixture and stir until combined, but be careful not to over-mix.
7. Stir in chocolate chunks and oats.
8. Bake just until set and slightly golden. Time will vary based on size of cookies, but I would guess around 12 minutes???

FYI: I got about 38 cookies from this recipe.

Approximate Nutrition:
Per cookie:
85-90 calories, 3 g fat, 1.2 g fiber

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These cookies are a great basic cookie with the PB and chocolate combo. After the first day when the chocolate has fully re-hardened, they are great microwaved for 10-15 seconds to soften it back up. I just used a classic recipe from the JIF website.

• 1/2 cup Shortening
• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 36 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

1. HEAT oven to 375°F.
2. CREAM together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
3. STIR together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.
4. SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
5. BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
6. TOP each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

Chickpeas with tomatoes and feta

This dish was quick and easy to make. It can be served as a side dish or main course. I served it over cous cous, which I thought was a good match for it. I really liked it, but I like anything with tomatoes! I found the recipe on All Recipes. The only thing I changed was that I used fat free feta instead of regular. Click here for the recipe.


I made this cornbread to go with some spicy chicken tortilla soup. It was quick and easy to make, and it was a great basic cornbread recipe. I found the original recipe on All Recipes, but made a few changes and halved the recipe. The recipe as I made it is below.


* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 1/8 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 1 egg
* 2 TBSP salted butter
* 1 TBPS honey


1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, eggs and shortening; beat for 1 minute. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees F until bread is golden brown. (I don't remember how long, but I would start checking around 15 min).

Meg-ata Frittata

Megan was our first dinner guest in Wichita (not counting family visitors :) ). It was breakfast for dinner night, and we made a frittata. I just used basic ingredients and added asparagus because it is one of the few vegetables she likes. It turned out to be pretty tasty!

7 egg whites
5 whole eggs
asparagus, about 6 stalks cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 large onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup fat free feta cheese
italian seasoning (approx 1/2 tsp)
3-4 oz turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
olive oil cooking spray

1. Beat eggs and egg whites in a bowl and set aside.
2. In an iron skillet or other 9-10" skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onions, green peppers, and asparagus until soft and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Add turkey sausage.
4. Add eggs to pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Sprinkle with italian seasoning.
6. Scatter feta cheese across frittata as it is cooking.
7. When the eggs are almost set, put under the broiler for approximately 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

Giant Cupcake

Megan gave me this awesome giant cupcake pan for Christmas, and the photo below is the baking debut! I made this for Julie's birthday. It is not really a recipe because I just used funfetti cake mix, but I did make the frosting from a recipe on food network. The cake requires 2 boxes of funfetti (although it doesnt require all of the batter- you can make a few cupcakes with the extra).The cake came out more moist and dense than typical funfetti. I am not sure if it is because of the depth of the pan or b/c it is baked longer at a lower temp (approx 50 min at 325 degrees).

Quick Buttercream Frosting


* 3 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

* 4 Hawaiian Bread rolls (or equivalent amount of other kind of bread)
* 1-1.5 ripe bananas
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Cut bread into bite size pieces.
2. Slice banana into same sized pieces as bread.
3. Add bread, chocolate chips and banana to a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour egg and milk mixture over bread and banana mixture.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while bread soaks (you will want to let it soak for 15-20 minutes).
7. Bake covered for 18 minutes and uncovered for 18 minutes.

Sauteed Greens with Tomatoes and Onions

I love greens!! I tried to duplicate Calypso's callaloo. It didn't really taste like theirs, but I still loved it! Nick thought the greens were a bit too bitter for him but I disagree. I could have eaten them all by myself.

* 1 bag of pre-washed greens (I used a combination of collard, mustard, and turnip)
* reduced sodium chicken broth
* balsamic vinegar
* 1/3 cup onion, diced
* 1 clove of garlic, minced or chopped
* 1 can diced tomatoes, partially drained (I used diced tomatoes with onions and garlic)
* approx 2 oz sliced smoked ham, cut in small pieces

1. Spray saute pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute until onions are slightly softened
3. Add greens to pan (you may have to do this in batches if greens overflow the pan).
4. Add chicken broth to keep greens from sticking and to help them cook down (approx 1/4-1/2 cup).
5. Add the can of tomatoes and ham to greens and stir.
6. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
7. Add a couple dashes of balsamic vinegar- I didn't measure but I would guess 1-2 Tbsp.
8. Cover and continue to simmer until greens are completely cooked.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.

Asian Chicken Salad

*Lettuce (you can use any lettuce, but I suggest romaine)
* Chicken breast marinated in teriyaki marinade
* Almonds, sliced or slivered
* Mandarin orange, either fresh or canned in their own juice
* Cucumber slices
* Broccoli slaw, optional

1. Grill chicken and cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Toast almonds in oven or skillet.
3. Put lettuce on plate and top with broccoli slaw (if using).
4. Then top with remaining ingredients- chicken, almonds, oranges, cucumber.
5. Serve with any Asian dressing. (I like Newman's Own Light Sesame Ginger.

Open-faced breakfast Sandwich

*1 piece of light wheat or whole grain bread
*1 slice of low fat cheese (I used swiss)
*1 egg
*1-2 oz smoked ham
*salt and pepper

1. In a skillet, begin toasting piece of bread with cheese on it.
2. As bread is toasting, heat ham in skillet and then top bread and cheese with the ham.
3. Cook egg as desired and season with salt and pepper. I like them over easy for this sandwich.
4. Put egg on top of ham and sprinkle with chives.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes

Spaghetti squash is a great vegetable that is often forgotten. It has a great texture, takes on other flavors well, and is very nutritious. My favorite way to fix it is below.

-1 medium spaghetti squash
-shredded Parmesan cheese
-cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
-"I can't believe it's not butter" spray
-salt and pepper

1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds.
2. Add about 1/2 inch of water to glass baking dish.
3. Place squash halves in baking dish with the cut side down
4. Cover with plastic wrap, and cut holes in wrap to vent.
5. Microwave for about 10-12, but time will vary based on size.
6. Scrape out inside with a fork creating strands of spaghetti squash.
7. Spray a few squirts of "butter" and add salt and pepper.
8. Toss together.
9. Add cherry tomatoes.
10. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese when serving.

Roasted Broccoli

Broccoli is good in all forms, especially roasted!

Broccoli florets
olive oil
soy sauce
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss broccoli with a little olive oil and soy sauce.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Roast for about 25 minutes, depending on size of broccoli cuts.(It should have slightly singed edges and be tender but still have some "crunch" to it)

Nick-a-Rooni Pizza

This is the pizza Nick chose for New Years Eve! It was pretty tasty. I especially liked the flavor of the roasted red peppers.

Tandoori Naan flatbread
Newman's Sockarooni spaghetti sauce
low fat shredded Italian cheese blend
onions, slightly sauteed
Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
roasted red peppers, cut in bite size pieces

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cover flatbread with spaghetti sauce leaving a small border.
3. Sprinkle with low fat cheese.
4. Add toppings
5. Bake for 15-20 min.

Veggie and Turkey Sausage Pizza

This is my favorite combination of veggies for pizza. I got the idea from my favorite pizza place- DaVinci's!

Tandoori Naan flatbread
Newman's Sockarooni spaghetti sauce
low fat shredded Italian cheese blend
broccoli florets, chopped very small
carrot, chopped very small
mushrooms, thinly sliced
onions, slightly sauteed
Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cover flatbread with spaghetti sauce leaving a small border.
3. Sprinkle with low fat cheese.
4. Add toppings
5. Bake for 15-20 min.

Crunchy Pecan Bites

I first had these when Ms. Janice made them at Thanksgiving. They were really good and seemed easy to make so I made them for Lynn's Christmas shower. Everyone seemed to like them. They are like little bites of pecan pie with less of the gooey filling, which means I like them a lot more than the pie! The recipe is from Southern Living. The only thing I did different was using phyllo shells that were not frozen so I only baked mine for about 12 minutes.

Makes about 6 dozen

* 3 cups chopped pecans
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
* 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 tablespoons melted butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 5 (2.1-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

2. Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, and next 3 ingredients.

3. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell, and place on 2 large baking sheets.

4. Bake at 350º for 20 to 22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.