Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Averie's Chocolate Chip Cookies



I want to be this girl, Averie.  I have a love/hate relationship with her because I LOVE her recipes but I hate that I lose all self control! :)  It is a miracle I have not blogged about this recipe.  It is my favorite BY FAR.  I've made about 10 batches since I moved here.  They are highly approved from all visitors and Hunter's office.  I even shipped them to the home office.

A couple things stand out in this recipe:
1.  Pudding Mix
2. Refrigeration of dough required
3.  They are MASSIVE
Ingredients:
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (1.5 sticks)
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not 'cook & serve')
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 bag (10 oz) Trader Joe's chocolate chunks
I've tried different chocolate chips but these by far are the best.  I stock up on these.
I've been meaning to post a picture of the butter here.  I first saw the small bars when I moved out here.  They are squatty but the same measurements of the long sticks back home.
This discovery is from the farmer's market (I am obsessed).  You can see the vanilla bean specs in the cookies because of it.
Steps:
In your mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the wet ingredients (first paragraph) for 4 minutes on med-high speed. 
Scrape the sides.
Add dry ingredients on low until just combined (about 1 min).
Add the chocolate until just combined (30 seconds). 


This is how large the cookies should be.  I use my 1/4 measuring cup. 

They make 14 cookies (ok, i ate one).  Do not be confused.  Be accurate.
When you place them on the tray, flatten them a bit.  They do not spread when baking.  

You will them cover with plastic wrap and put in the frig for at least 4 hours.

They bake at 350 for 11 minutes.  Let them cool on the pan.

I believe they are best the next day...if you can wait that long.

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Favorite Waffle Recipe

Our favorite impulse wedding giftcard purchase was a Calphalon waffle iron.   Our fav time to use it is a lazy Saturday morning.  I make the waffles while Hunter cooks the bacon.  We've made several recipes but to this date, this is our favorite.

*Our favorite requires a little more work (of course) but a good backup recipe with pantry ingredients can be found here.

The name of the recipe:

Waffles of Insane Greatness
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/waffle-of-insane-greatness-recipe.html
333 reviews and 5 stars...I knew it must be good!

Ingredients:

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil  (I will try less!)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:

I use my mixer...


Mix the dry ingredients - flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix. 

Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix again. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.  (Some say beat the egg white first but I couldn't tell a difference for the effort.)

Preheat the waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. (This is part of why I love this recipe!) 


Notice the steam - I keep the setting one notch past the medium setting.
The recipe makes what you see below.  It is perfect for the two of us but you can easily double it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shrimp Scampi With Roasted Peppers and Spinach

This is one of my top 5 recipes and... it was a Publix Apron recipe I found on a trip to the grocery after work one day.  It's a great way to sneak in some veggies.  Like many recipes, we eat this for 2 nights (woo hoo).  I don't always measure exactly with this recipe and that is ok.





Shrimp Scampi with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach
(altered just SLIGHTLY from the Publix website)

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (before we discovered the Boise market I would use the jarred

minced garlic)
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 oz linguine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped
12 oz peeled/deveined shrimp, thawed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (or stock)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I reduced it from 3 - it's not needed although it does take
 some bite out of the kick if you choose to do all 3 T.)
4 cups baby spinach leaves (6 oz)

Prep

  • Bring water to boil for pasta.
  • Slice garlic.
  • Chop peppers.
  • Grate cheese (1/3 cup).
*Most of the work is prep.  Be sure you have it all ready because once you start, it goes fast!  
In fact, I line my ingredients up for this one and it is done start to end in 15 minutes.


Steps


*It is also good to note this has kick.  So if you want less kick lessen the spicy peppers or red 

pepper flakes.


  1. Cook and drain pasta following package instructions.
  2. Preheat large sauté pan (we use our lovely new wedding gift!) on medium 1–2 minutes. 
  3. Place oil and garlic in pan; cook 3–4 minutes or until the garlic edges begin to turn golden.
  4. Add peppers, shrimp, pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook and stir 1 min.
  5. Add broth; cook 2–3 minutes or until reduced by about one-half and shrimp have just turned pink
  6. (It never reduces that quick for me but I like liquid so I am ok with it.)
  7. Reduce heat to low; stir in butter, spinach, cheese, pasta, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. 
  8. Toss until butter and cheese melts and spinach wilts. Serve.


This garlic is "polish gem."  I will take a picture of the sweet garlic farmers next time we go.  
They have quite a selection.  I never knew there were so many types.  Spanish rojo is another one of our favs.


Trader Joes made up for the Publix loss.  I am addicted to these peppers. I stuff them with blue cheese for snack!
  I use about 6 for the recipe. 

This is a Fred Meyer find.  If you know me and shrimp, you know I am picky where my shrimp comes from.  
No Thailand farmed shrimp for me.  Blame it on a movie I watched re: food in grad school.  
This bag of shrimp retails (its been on sale) for $4.  I kid you not.  Thank you, Fred Meyer.


I like to chop the spinach up in smaller pieces if they are large leaves so it is spread out further and 
I don't notice I am eating leaves (I am weird like that).


Isn't it a beautiful dish?!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Herbed Chicken Parmesan


I first posted this recipe January 2011 and, 3 years later, still love it.  Every time I make it I cannot believe I don't have it on a regular rotation.  It now has 151 ratings and 5 stars.  It deserves its own post and notes so I am adding my alteration and tips.


The original recipe from allrecipes is here.  The version below has my alterations.

Ingredients

  • Breading:
  • 2/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I increased it to be sure I had enough breading)
  •  (I leave out parsley...we don't care for it.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • large egg whites, lightly beaten 
  • 2 chicken breasts*
  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Sauce:
  • 1 jar bottled tomato-basil mushroom pasta sauce (I love sauce so I make it a large jar!)
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • * Albertsons has the hand trimmed chicken...thank you Albertsons.  Trimming is my least favorite part of baking chicken.  I slice them in half so they are thin and positioned well for tenderizing.  It makes it into 4 breast pieces that cook easily through as well

  • Combine parmesan, breadcrumbs, basil, and salt in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in an additional  shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.   Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.   Add chicken.

  • I didn't take a picture.  You know, salmonella and cell phones don't mix.  

  • But this picture is after the chicken is breaded.  See how well they fit in our large frying pan.  It is one of our amazing wedding gifts and I use the mess out of it. 




  1. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Take off heat.


Combine sauce ingredients and microwave until hot.   Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. 
Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese slices. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and broil until the cheese melts.

And here it is!  It easily feeds us for 2 nights!


*I love my new placemats.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hunter's Ice Cream


Today I am sharing my husband's favorite ice cream recipe (just go ahead and consider him an ice cream connoisseur). I was shocked when I noticed this recipe was not on my blog! I'll go ahead and admit, baked goods rank higher on my guilty pleasures list.  But not his...

This recipe comes from a good friend of ours, Ashley Cole-Tyson.  She made ice cream a couple summers ago in different flavors for a cookout at her house.  I went out and bought an ice cream maker like hers the very next day.  No regrets...no rock salt and it takes minutes to freeze.  This recipe makes a great ice cream base.  I love to add mint and chocolate chips but most commonly I add cookie dough.


Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (I use skim)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 dash salt
2 tsp vanilla


These are the simple ingredients.  I bet you have everything you need but the cream. I was shocked to find corn syrup listed as the  4th ingredient in the ice cream most commonly purchased at our house.


Combine cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  (Notice our great, new AllClad pan!?)  If you don't remember anything else, remember to watch this mixture carefully.  Once it starts to boil you must IMMEDIATELY take it off the heat or it will boil over and make a fluffy, tremendous mess.



While the mixture above is heating, combine eggs, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.  



Temper the eggs; pour in about a cup of the hot cream into the eggs (verrrry slowly) while the mixer is running on low speed.  Repeat with another cup of hot cream. 



After it is all mixed together, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream.  Crank up the heat until the temp reaches 170 (usually is a minute for me).  

Turn the heat off, stir in the vanilla, and stick the mixture in the frig overnight or in the freezer for a couple hours.  

After the mixture is cold, mix it in the ice cream maker for 20ish minutes, adding in cookie cough or other topings last minute once the ice cream is pretty much set.  



I like to keep cookie dough in the freezer (make twice the batch I need).  I will slice some for cookies (350 degrees for 14 minutes) and some for the ice cream! 





Store in tupperware in the freezer.  The mixture will be very creamy!  If given the choice, this is how I
 prefer my ice cream!




"Almost Palmetto" Pimento Cheese



Remember when I mentioned Palmetto Pimento Cheese in my engagement post?  I knew I would have pimento cheese withdrawals and they have certainly set in. This past week I set out to make a pimento cheese that would be my Idaho substitute!

And I think I have found it.

I started out with the highly rated Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe on allrecipes.com.  It has 171 reviews and almost 5 stars...always a great sign it's a recipe worth your time.  The first batch I made was wonderful but I altered the recipe this time to get more of a palmetto-like pimento cheese.

Ingredients:

1 lb block extra sharp cheddar cheese (will make about 4 cups)
4 oz cream cheese, softened  (half a block and I used fat free)
1 heaping tablespoon of mayo  (low-fat works fine)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 4 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
salt and pepper to taste

Boise has many options for cheeses.  I've had fun experimenting.  I no longer buy the pre-shredded cheeses.  They often have additives and powder that takes away the natural moisture of cheese.  I love my cheese to be spreadable.  Thankfully my new food processor makes shredding amazingly easy.

video

See how amazing this looks?


I always chop the pimentos smaller than what they appear in the jar so they go further in the spread.  I certainly used more than most people would in this last recipe but Hunter and I both LOVE pimentos!


There are no real steps in this recipe once you have grated/shredded your cheese.  Just add your ingredients into the mixer (with the paddle attachment) and mix it for about a minute on medium speed.


This will be the consistency.


This is my method of choice for eating my pimento cheese...wheat thins!


Enjoy!

Love my new Lenox French Perle Bead Plates!


Boise Update

Hello from our new kitchen...


.....in our adorable rental house...


...filled with amazing new wedding gifts and kitchen gadgets.  I have taken a break from blogging but rest assured...I have done plenty of baking and cooking.  More to come shortly!