Friday, January 31, 2014

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is such an easy way to make chocolate chip "cookies".

Its actually more like Blond Brownies than normal cookies because its so thick; to make it more like a huge cookie you could divide the mixture between 2 pans {or refrigerate/freeze half for another day; defrost, spread and bake} or you could also half the batch for a pizza-sized pan.
-1 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 eggs
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking soda
-2 cups chocolate chips {or butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate or other chips}
Optional Ingredients:
-1 cup walnuts or other nuts
-raisins or dried cranberries
-1/2 cup flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl beat butter, both sugars, vanilla and eggs until fluffy.
3. Add flour, salt and baking soda, mix well.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
5. Spread on a greased or parchment lined pizza pan or cookie sheet.
6. Add sprinkles, if using.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
8. Cool in pan on a wire rack or if using parchment remove cookie from pan and cool on rack.
9. Decorate as desired.  
{You could use this for a cookie lover's birthday and use frosting to decorate the top.}
10. Slice and enjoy!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Crunchy Apple & Grape Salad

Well, we are now back to below zero weather and a head cold is working its way through our house.  Right now seems to be my turn, big bummer!  

So, since I know I'm not going to want to make supper later; I started a Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder this morning.  All I'm going to do later, is make some fresh dough in my bread maker so I can serve the chowder with fresh bread or baguette.  {Recipe to come later this week.}

Well, time for this wonderful Crunchy Apple & Grape Salad!  The original recipe was found from Tasty Kitchen.  

The recipe makes 8 servings; I actually halved it, since I suspected I would be the only one eating it.  {The measurements for a half batch of the salad are listed at the end of this post. The process for combining the salad is the same.}
Ingredients for full batch of Dressing:
-1 cup vanilla yogurt
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup mayo
-about 2 tsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Salad Ingredients for a full batch:
-4 apples, cored and diced
-1 pear, cored and diced
-1 stalk celery, diced
-1/2 cup slivered almonds
-1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
-2 cups seedless grapes, halved

1. Mix dressing ingredients in a medium bowl.  
*Place in refrigerator while you make the salad, optional.
2. Add apples, pear, celery and grapes.
3. Stir to combine.
4. Add the walnuts and almonds.
5. Stir to combine well.
6. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate before serving, within the same day.

Ingredients for a Half Batch of Salad:
Ingredients for half a batch of Dressing:
-1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
-8 tsp sugar
-8 tsp brown sugar
-1/4 cup mayo
-about 1 tsp lemon juice
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Salad Ingredients for half batch:
-3 apples, cored and diced {I skipped the pear}
-1/2 stalk celery, diced
-1/4 cup slivered almonds
-1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
-1 cup seedless grapes, halved
I hope these instructions make sense, considering the cloud in my head!  Please ask if something isn't clear.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

These are so easy to make!  You can put the ground beef in the crockpot frozen or not.  
I found the original recipe from The Stay-at-Home Chef... I looked for the recipe on the site was not able to find it!

Note:  You could use a low fat content if you are worried about the extra grease since its tough to drain off the grease from the cooked sloppy joes.  I used an 85%/15% blend and it wasn't overly greasy.

I think I'll be making these for supper tonight!  Serve them on some fresh buns with pickles or any other toppings you like on your sloppy joes!  Enjoy!

-1 1/2 lb. ground beef {or other ground meat, no need to thaw if frozen}
-1 cup tomato sauce
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 tbsp molasses
-1 tsp worchestershire sauce
-1 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-salt and pepper to taste {about 1 or 2 tsp each}
-1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
-dash cayenne pepper
-2 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
-2 oz. applesauce, grape jelly or apple butter

1. Place all ingredients in crockpot.  Turn on low and stir occasionally, to blend everything and break up the meat as it cooks.
2. Allow to cook for 6-8 hours, the mixture should thicken up.
3. Enjoy with your favorite sloppy joe toppings!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Bacon Ranch

This recipe was very easy to "throw" together; you could get everything in the crockpot the night before and just start it the next morning.
-3 garlic cloves, minced OR about 1 1/2-2 tsp dried minced garlic
-1 pkg. ranch dressing mix {I used my Homemade Mix #1 OR #2; they're both good}
-10.75 oz. can cream of chicken soup {I used my cream soup substitute}
-1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
-about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts {I didn't bother thawing them ahead of time}
-1/2 cup real bacon bits or pieces
-about 1 lb. pasta
1. Place chicken in bottom of crockpot.
2. In a small bowl combine garlic, ranch mix, condensed soup, yogurt/sour cream and bacon pieces.
3. Mix well.
4. Pour sauce over chicken.
5. Cover and allow to cook on high for 4 hours OR on low for 7-8 hours.
Before serving shred chicken breasts; they should shred easily.  {I shredded the chicken after about 5 hours of cooking on low, and allowed to cook the remaining time to let chicken absorb the sauce flavorings.}
6. Cook pasta according to directions, strain and pour into serving dish.
7. Top pasta with chicken mixture.
8. Enjoy with a fresh salad and/or some fresh baked bread.
Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cream Soup Mix {Condensed Cream of ... Soup Substitute}

This is a very easy and very cheap substitute for any condensed cream soups.

I keep a container of this in my pantry and have the recipe and instructions written right on the container so I can refill and use as needed.  Enjoy!

-2 cups powdered milk
-3/4 cup cornstarch
-1/4 cup powdered chicken bouillon
-2 tbsp dried minced onion
-2 tsp italian seasoning

1. Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Process for 1 (10.75 oz.) can substitute:
1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup dry cream soup mix with 1 1/4 cups cold water.
2. Whisk and heat until thickened.

When cooking the mixture you can add things like diced mushrooms, chicken, celery, etc. to customize the creamed soup for your recipe.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Homemade Baked Doughnuts

These are VERY good; and actually very easy!  I found the recipe from Make lemonade and more!  

The original recipe calls for a Maple "Icing" which I think is more like a thick frosting.  Its okay.  The second time I made these I just made a glaze of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla; the kid's like this even better than the Maple Icing.  
You know how I like to take bread/dough recipes and make them easier; well, I made these even easier by making the dough in my breadmaker!  Why not!?!
They were a huge hit with the kids and the hubby.  The kids ate the leftovers for snacks and dessert until they were gone.
Ingredients for Doughnuts:
-1 1/2 cups milk
-1/3 cup shortening {I used butter flavored}
-1/4 cup water
-4 tbsp sugar
-2 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-5 cups flour
-2 tsp cinnamon {could be optional, you decide}
-2 envelopes yeast {4 1/2 tsp total}
Ingredients for Maple "Icing":
-1/3 cup butter
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup milk
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-2 tsp maple extract {or any other extract to flavor your icing to your liking}
-1/8 tsp salt

Ingredients for Vanilla Glaze:    {makes about 1/2 cup}
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1 1/2 tbsp milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract {or any other extract to flavor your icing to your liking}

Process for Doughnuts:
1. Combine milk, shortening and water in a microwave safe dish.  Microwave until warm, about 110 degrees.
2. Pour milk mixture into bread machine pan.
3. Top with remaining doughnut ingredients in the order listed.
4. Set bread maker to the dough setting and allow cycle to run through.
5. Remove dough to a floured or oiled surface.  
I found that the excess flour stopped the icing from sticking;
I used oil the second time, worked great.
6. Roll dough out until it is about 1 inch thickness all over.
7. Use a pizza cutter or bench scraper to cut the dough into 12 to 18 pieces.
8. Place pieces on a greased or lined baking sheets.
9. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.  
10. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Make Maple "Icing" if using while oven is preheating {process below}.
11. Bake risen doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes until golden.
12. Remove doughnuts to a wire rack to cool slightly, enough to handle.
13. Make icing while doughnuts cool just slightly.
Process for Maple "Icing":
1. Combine butter, brown sugar and milk in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.
4. Add maple extract, salt and powdered sugar and blend well.  {Add more powdered sugar or a bit of water or milk if needed.}

Process for Vanilla Icing:
1. Combine/beat all ingredients in a bowl.  {Add more powdered sugar or a bit of water or milk if needed.}
2. Drizzle or spread over doughnuts.

*My kids and hubby really like them sprinkled with chocolate and rainbow colored sprinkles!

Frost or ice doughnuts while warm and enjoy!

Don't take a picture of me...
...take a picture of me!

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