Monday, November 29, 2010

Whole Wheat Cowboy Cookies

I know this is going to sound ironic, but you are going to have to believe me on this one. I know how to cook healthy. Really, I do. I make salads, and whole wheat stuff, and steamed veggies and all. I also know the question that is circling your head at this very moment. 
"Where are they??, Where's all the healthy stuff?? Don't you know that 98% of the human population is at this very moment starting (or restarting) a diet?! 
Show us some healthy stuff!!" 
Yes, I hear you loud and clear. But the thing is, I believe that there is a place for everything and everything should be in it's place.  So having said that, 
Sugar+Whole Wheat≠ Healthy
 Whole wheat flour does not make everything magically healthy. Not a chance. There is no way you can make something healthy (and I mean really healthy) and still have it taste good. And you know what, if it tastes good- its not healthy. I know lot's of people who will disagree with me and tell me "But I have the most amazing whole wheat-spelt-flaxseed muffin recipe, and everyone says it tastes amazing."  That might be true, but please don't compare that to a chocolate chip banana crumb muffin. Its just totally different wavelengths. Now for anyone who has been following my ramblings thus far, you may be slightly confused at the title of this post. Didn't I just say that there's no point in making "Healthy Junk Food"?
 Spot on. These cookies aren't healthy! Gotcha didn't I?

Ok, now a few points about these cookies:

*Don't skip the rice krispies- they give the cookies an awesome crunch
*I am not sure if these cookies will come out the same with regular flour as they do with whole wheat flour- let me know if you switch it, and how it works for you.
*Make these soon- you'll thank me!
*Oh, but don't make them if you really are on a diet- then you'll just be mad at me...
*These are not the same thing as regular chocolate chip cookies
*Sorry for getting so philosophical on you today, next week I'll post something fun, I promise!

Whole Wheat Cowboy Cookies                       Makes 4 dozen cookies
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup oatmeal (either reg. rolled or quick)
1 cup rice krispies
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream together: both sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until thoroughly combined.
Gently stir in the rice krispies, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° f
or approx. 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Broiled Chicken with Honey Roasted Potatoes

Broiled Chicken
Broiled chicken is super easy to make, with very little effort. Its a flexible food- you can change the seasoning easily to suit your taste. 

1 chicken cut into quarters or eighths - you can leave the skin on or remove it.
Any of the following:
Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Cajun Seasoning
Salad Dressing
Teriyaki Sauce

Barbecue Sauce

Arrange chicken in an aluminum 9x13 pan. Sprinkle seasonings and/or sauce onto chicken. You can refrigerate it at this point until you are ready to broil the chicken. Adjust your oven rack to be one level higher than usual. Turn your oven on to the broil setting. This is usually 500° but most ovens have a special setting. Broil chicken for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and broil again for 8-10 minutes, depending on how rare/well done you like it.

Honey Roasted Potatoes
1 pound red potatoes, cubed
1 medium diced onion
3 tablespoons margarine, melted ( you can substitute oil, but the margarine makes it creamier)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Lightly coat a 9X11 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place potatoes in a single layer in prepared dish. In a small saucepan, melt margarine. Saute the diced onion until it starts to become clear. Add in the mustard,honey, salt and pepper. Cook until it is well combined. Drizzle the honey mustard sauce over the potatoes. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through the cooking time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yellow Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Frosting

My little sister's birthday was last week. Yep, this one. And this one. Same one +  She's amazing and I love her. Ok enough mushy stuff. I got her a card, and had The Three Little Monkeys add their artwork to the back. Then  Z-monkey had the cutest idea. 
Let's make her cupcakes and mail them to her. 
 Only my son would think up such a crazy idea, and have complete confidence in his mother to carry it through. And only I would be crazy enough to agree to it. Anyways, who would knew it, but AC Moore has these adorable little cupcake boxes. They even come with little inserts to hold the cupcakes in place. I put a skewer in each cupcake exactly the height of the box to hold it down (in case the mail man turned the box upside down) and put a candy on top to prevent icing from shmooshing all over the window. Then I put the cupcake box in a box just slightly bigger than it and stuffed styrofoam all around the cupcake box. Then I sent it off from the post office and held my breath...

....and held it....

....and held it....

and five days later....

Oh dear, so maybe they got a little smashed, but it was the thought that counts, right? 
Happy Birthday ML!

Yellow Cupcakes                       
                                                                                                                 Makes 12 cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons margarine (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream or Rich's whip
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with cream. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more cream or sugar.

Here is a great clip from MyBakingAddiction that explains really clearly on how to pipe frosting beautifully on cupcakes.


* It has been brought to my attention that many people have no idea how to leave a comment on blogger This would explain the dearth of comments around here...Anyone who needs help with leaving a comment, check here: Blogger Support or email me. If you think no one cares if you comment, check out what this blogger wrote. I thought they summed it up quite well...*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Wednesday Night Special

Remember I promised a surprise for you? Well here it is! I thought it would be fun to feature some dinner ideas on Wednesdays. I am not sure how it will work, so please bear with me! I do know that my Monday post generally drains me of all my creative energy, so chances are, there will not be that much witty text on the Wednesday post- just straight up food! Hope you guys enjoy this new feature, and please leave feedback in the comments- I love to hear from everyone. 

Now, onto more serious business- dinner! 

Disclaimer: Please note that we generally do not have such complicated and impressive dinners such as the one you shall see as soon as you scroll down, if you haven't already. But, since I greatly enjoy making you fall out of your chair with wonder and awe, I decided to kick off "Wednesday Night Specials" with something extra yummy. This is really not as hard as it looks, and is completely worth the four pots and one bowl you are about to use (hence;wash)....

CopyCat General Tsao
Adapted from

1/4 C. Cornstarch
1 C. Water
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh Garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh Ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Soy Sauce
1/4 C. White Vinegar
1/4 C. Sherry (you can skip this, I don't use it)
1 cup chicken soup broth* or 1 cup  hot water + 2 tablespoons soup mix
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how spice you want the sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. When you are ready to cook it ( you should cook it right before you are ready to serve) heat over a medium fire, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. 

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small chunks
1/4 C. Soy Sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 C. Cornstarch
2 C. sliced Green Onions (optional)

Mix chicken and soy sauce in a large bowl. Stir in egg. Add cornstarch, and mix until chicken pieces are coated. (It doesn't look that pretty at this point.) If you are not ready to serve it yet, you can put it in the refrigerator until you are ready. When you are ready, heat about 1 1/2 cups oil in a small sauce pan. (You can test to see if the oil is ready by putting a piece of chicken in. If it bubbles immediately , its ready. Or you can be super fancy and use a thermometer, and heat the oil to 350°.) Deep fry 7 or 8 chicken pieces at a time until chicken pieces are crispy (less than 2 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all chicken chunks are fried.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add in 1 sliced onion ( not diced) and 1 red pepper cut into strips. Saute about 3-4 minutes and add approximately 1 cup broccoli florets. Saute another 3-4 minutes, and then turn off flame. ( You can do this earlier in the day and reheat when you are ready to eat.)

Serve with steamed rice. ( Layer rice, vegetables, chicken then sauce. Or you can mix the vegetables and chicken into the sauce, and then serve over rice. )

* Whenever I have leftover chicken soup, I measure out 1 cup increments, and freeze them in  sandwich size ziploc bags. This way I have it all ready for recipes like these.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cracked Sugar Cookies

*Short announcement:
 In case anyone is checking their calendars to see if today is Monday or Tuesday- Yes, today is Monday. ( You did realize new posts go up every Tuesday, right?) 
I am switching things up a bit here- New posts will be going up on Mondays instead of Tuesdays, and I have a surprise for you on Wednesday so stay tuned  *

If you were to throw the words "Sugar Cookies" at me, the first thing that comes to my mind is three long hours of refrigeration, mounds of cookie dough to roll and cut, roll and cut, roll and cut and then ice and ice and ice and ice, and then you finally get to eat the sugar  cookies.

(Did I mention the dishes?)

I try to avoid making sugar cookies like the plague. Can you see why? Its an exhausting, all day project, and then some. Soooo when I came across this recipe for cracked sugar cookies on allrecipes, it looked very intriguing. You mean, I just mix up seven ingredients, roll them into balls, and viola: sugar cookies?! Yes ma'am, you heard correctly. Cool! Plus, I made these with my three little monkeys, so I got some "Super Mommy Points", and we all had fun!
 Z-Monkey and little-D had a great time picking different sprinkles to roll them in, and piling candies on top. Even little S-Monkey had fun- he had the busy job of picking up all the sprinkles from the floor!
And of course, they were really delicious. They have the perfect "Sugar cookie" flavor, and just the right amount of crunch. 

Cracked Sugar Cookies                    makes 4 dozen cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350° (180 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. 
Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.Don't try to squish them onto a sheet, 12 is the perfect amount- they really grow! Don't flatten. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

And a here's a special treat:

Can you guess who made these?☺ 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brownie Fudge Pie with Caramel Sauce

This is not to be confused with Fudgy Chocolate Cream Pie. I just wanted to make that clear, you know. Every chocolate pie deserves it's own fifteen minutes of fame, and this one is no different! In all seriousness though, (since chocolate is quite a serious topic for most of us) this pie is made for serious brownie lovers, and chocolate fanatics alike. Its so ridiculously easy to make, its a pity not to! I never try just one recipe, purely for scientific purposes, of course. So I made two different recipes with essentially the same ingredients,but different measurements. The first one I made was from the Betty Crocker website. Then I tried a recipe from Allrecipes. They both rocked my world, although in slightly different ways. Betty Crocker's is a very rich, dense chocolate pie. It has a great texture with a strong chocolate flavor. The peanut butter caramel sauce offset the chocolateyness (how in heavens name do you spell that?!) perfectly. The recipe from Allrecipes was delicious as well. The chocolate wasn't quite as strong, but the fudgey texture just blew my mind. Although they were both heavenly, if I had to pick one to make again, I would pick the one from allrecipes. Since I like my readers to come to their own educated decisions, it would only be fair to post both recipes. Let me know which one you make and how you liked it! So, here ya go:

Fudgy Brownie Pie 
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

One recipe Pat-A-Pie Crust or graham cracker pie crust

1cup butter or margarine
2cups sugar
2teaspoons vanilla
4eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
3/4cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4teaspoon salt
1cup chocolate chips
1cup chopped pecans (optional)
1           tablespoon flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare pie crust according to instructions. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla and eggs until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt until smooth. Pour chocolate chips into a ziploc bag. Add flour and shake well. Stir into batter. Spread evenly in pie crust.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour.

Fudge Pie
One recipe Pat-A-Pie Crust or graham cracker crust

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (not optional!)
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a medium saucepan, melt butter or margarine. Stir in sugar,eggs and vanilla extract. Add  flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Pour chocolate chips into a ziploc bag. Add flour and shake well. Stir into batter. Spread evenly in pie crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. 

Serve either pie warm with warm Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce (an absolute must! You can make it early and refrigerate it until needed, but whatever you do, don't skip the caramel sauce!!) and whip cream. For serious chocolate lovers, you can drizzle on warmed basic chocolate glaze.

For my very observant readers, you may have noticed that the pictures posted here are all of the same pie (Betty Crocker's) Where is the other pie you may ask? How dare I post a recipe without a sneak preview of what you shall be eating? Well, um, so, you see, um, if I were to take a picture, it would kinda look like this... was that good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Do you ever get stuck in a food rut? Like you feel like you make the same supper or muffins or cookies over and over and over and over again?
 I kinda feel like that.
 I was just stuck in an apple crisp and carrot muffins rut. 
I know, it's not pretty at all. 
As delicious as apple crisp is,
(and  I'll be the first to tell you that!) you just can't serve it every week. 
That's why I am so obsessed with food blogs and recipe websites- I am always on the search for that perfect recipe that will shake everything up. Its fun, keeps everyone on their toes, and yummy too!

 Anyways, this week I made Apple Pumpkin Muffins, and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were. These muffins have the perfect balance of moistness and flavor, and were super easy to make. 
Plus, I love the color of pumpkins, and the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, so we really got nothing to lose!

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
  • 2 1/2 cups  flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled apples

  • Streusel:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, oil and apples; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. As with all muffins- do not overmix! Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.

Special thanks to the adorable Nissanel K. for allowing the use of his pumpkin for our photo shoot.
 Come on down (literally!) for your complimentary pumpkin muffin!
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