Saturday, December 24, 2016

Almond Joy Cookies

14 oz. sweetened coconut flakes
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 c. almonds, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir until well mixed.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until the tips of the coconut are just starting to turn golden.

Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Strawberry Jam Filled Cookie Bars

For the Filling:
2 1/2 c. strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. sugar

3 Tbsp corn starch + 1/4 c. cold water

For the Cookie Dough:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

To make the filling: The filling will need to cool down before being used, so make sure you make the filling first.

In a small pot, add the strawberries, water, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.You will need to stir regularly and break up the strawberries with a spoon as they cook.

Dissolve the corn starch in the cold water. Add slowly to the boiling strawberry mixture. Stir constantly. Cook for another few minutes until the mixture thickens and becomes the consistency of pie filling. Make sure you're stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl to cool. Cool for at least 30 minutes, stirring it every now and then before using it in the cookie bars.

To make the cookie dough: Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder, then fold into the creamed mixture until a dough forms.

Divide the dough into two equal parts.

Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with plastic wrap and press one half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan. Lift the flattened dough out of the pan, still keeping it on the plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Lightly grease the baking pan and line it with parchment paper.

Press the other half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the strawberry filling evenly over the base layer.

Take the dough square from the fridge and peel back part of the plastic wrap so you can flip it onto the filling. Then peel the rest of the plastic wrap off. Press down lightly on the dough.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until lightly golden on top.

Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Large Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are definitely my new favorite cookies.

Plan ahead... needs to chill...

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. granulated sugar, for rolling

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth.

Add in the eggs and beat until combined.

Mix in the peanut butter and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Add in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator. If you chill the dough longer than an hour or so, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before trying to roll into balls.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Roll cookie dough into large balls, about 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie (it's a lot, but they are large cookies!), then roll the dough in the granulated sugar.

Place 8 balls onto the cookie sheets. Gently press down on each ball to slightly flatten.

Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will still look very soft.

Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

If you're waiting between making batches, make sure you put the dough back in the fridge or it gets to sticky and is hard to roll.

These cookies are amazing and I will definitely be making them again. Soon.

Here's a link to the recipe I used: I love Sally! Haven't gone wrong with any of her recipes yet!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Southwest Salad with Garlic Lime Dressing

For the Salad:
8 c. lettuce, any kind really
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
1 avocado, sliced
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. frozen corn, cooked according to package directions
2 c. chicken, diced and cooked
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 c. nacho cheese Doritos, crushed

For the Dressing: 
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. canola oil

To make the salad: Divide lettuce among 4 bowls. Arrange cheese, avocado, beans, corn, and chicken around each bowl. Top with crushed Doritos.

To make the dressing: Combine all ingredients together. Whisk to emulsify. Drizzle over salads. Serve.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Oreo M&M Cookie Bars

1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
18 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
1/2 c. M&M's
sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, then spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the melted butter (slightly cooled), egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Add in the flour, and stir until just combined.

Stir in the Oreos.

Stir in the M&M's and any sprinkles if you want them.

Turn the batter out into the prepared dish, smoothing it out lightly.

Place a few Oreos or M&M's or sprinkles (or all of them) on the top to be aesthetically pleasing.

Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until the top is set in the center. The bars will firm up as they cool. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 90 minutes before slicing and serving. The filling in the Oreos has to re-solidify after melting, so this is why it takes 90 minutes before you can cut and serve.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Irish Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. beef chunks
1/2 c.carrots, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
thyme, to taste
basil, to taste
rosemary, to taste
coriander, to taste
2 c. beef broth
1/2 onion, diced
5 sprigs cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter, softened, almost completely melted
2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 c. frozen peas
hot mashed potatoes (I make mine mixed with butter, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper)

In a skillet, brown the beef in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes.

Remove the beef and put it in a crock pot. Add in the carrots, spices (I was lighter on the rosemary and basil than all the other spices), and beef broth. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

After 3-4 hours, cook the onion in a deep pot with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes, add the cilantro, and cook another minute or two.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour. Stir until smooth and mixed together.

Transfer the stew from the crock pot to the deep pot with the onion and cilantro. Turn up the heat to high. Stir the butter mixture into the stew. Add in the peas. Let the stew come to a boil, and let it boil 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the stew get thick before reducing the heat. Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

I'll be making this again.

Here's a link to the recipe I slightly adapted:

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Plan ahead... needs to chill... 
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
1/2 c. white chocolate bar cut into chunks
cooking spray
sprinkles (optional)

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until combined.

Add in the vanilla and pumpkin. Stir to mix in.

Add in everything else minus the white chocolate (and sprinkles, if you choose to use them) until you get a soft dough.

Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Refrigerate the dough for 30-60 minutes.

When your dough is ready, preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 4 minutes, then rotate pans. Bake for 4-6 more minutes. Don't over bake these. They will continue to cook slightly after you remove them from the oven.

Slightly flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass. Add sprinkles if you want. My two year old added sprinkles to ours.

Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Here's a link to the recipe I slightly adapted:

Friday, September 30, 2016

Potato Green Bean Chowder

3 red potatoes, diced
4 c. chicken broth
2 strips of bacon
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/3 c. frozen corn
2/3 c. frozen green beans
garlic powder, to taste
thyme, to taste
oregano, to taste
coriander, to taste
dash of cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
5 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. flour
2/3 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. cheddar, grated
1/4 c. sour cream

In a large pot, combine the potato and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Let the potatoes boil for 5 minutes.

In a small skillet, cook the bacon. Chop up before or after you cook it. Drain most of the grease on a plate covered with a paper towel. Reserve a small amount of the grease in the skillet. Set the bacon aside.

In the skillet with the bacon grease, add the chopped onion. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

When the potatoes are tender, and the water is still boiling, add the corn, green beans, and seasonings. Bring to a boil again; let boil for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

In another skillet, add the butter. Melt over medium high heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir constantly until it is all blended. Add the milk and bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. It should get thick very quickly.

Add the thickened butter and flour mixture to the potato broth. Stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings if you need to.

Turn the heat on the chowder down to low. Add in the cheese and sour cream. Stir until combined. Let heat through.

Add a bit of crumbled bacon to the top of each chowder bowl. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Raspberry Chocolate Cake Bars

1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 box yellow cake mix
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 c. sliced almonds, divided
3 1/2 c. shredded coconut
12 oz. raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the melted butter and cake mix. Press into the prepared baking dish.

On top of this crust, sprinkle 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips and 1 1/2 c. almonds.

Sprinkle with coconut.

Carefully spoon jam over the top as evenly as possible.

 Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and almonds.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges lightly brown.

Let cool before cutting into bars.

Store in the refrigerator.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Tiny Taco Salads

Cooking spray
12 round wonton wrappers
4-6 oz. ground beef
cumin, lots
onion powder, to taste
coriander, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
chili powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 c. lettuce, shredded
3 Tbsp. black olives, sliced
1/4 of an avocado, sliced into small pieces
1 c. cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/4 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Place each wonton wrapper into a cup of the muffin pan, and press it into the bottom and sides. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake until lightly browned, about 8-9 minutes.

Let cool about 10 minutes before popping them out of the pan.

Cook the beef over medium high heat. Add in the seasonings until it tastes how you want. Break it up into small pieces.

Evenly fill the wonton wrappers in this order: lettuce, beef, olives, avocado, cheese, and sour cream.

Really you could change up the ingredients every time you make this. You could try black beans, refried beans, tomatoes, salsa, pepperjack cheese, etc.

Here's a link to the recipe I adapted:

If you're looking for something to do with leftover wonton wrappers that you have, here's a link to my Lasagne Cupcakes: