Sorry

I apologize for the delay in posting recipes. We have been in the process of moving across the country and it will still be a while until we have all of our belongings, and most importantly my kitchen gear. Please bear with me and I hope to post again very soon!

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Peanut Blossom Cookies

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Nothing welcomes in the holiday season quite like Peanut Blossom cookies. I have finally perfected the art of cooking these finicky cookies, since you have to make sure they are mostly cooked before placing the kiss on top, but not under-cooked or over-cooked. I remember well the year that I burnt the whole first batch. I will admit that I was so upset that I actually flipped a few of them behind the refrigerator. Thankfully I have not had the need to become violent with my cookies since that unfortunate incident, since figuring out the tricks to cooking them just right. One of the main cookie cooking tips that I have is to place the cookie sheet onto a hot pizza stone for baking, along with the cookies being placed onto parchment paper. For this batch my husband had  purchased the dark chocolate Hershey’s kiss and after using them I doubt I can go back to making these with milk chocolate kisses. I do not like milk chocolate as a general rule, and these dark chocolate kisses add a bit more zing to an already delicious cookie. I also added another scoopful of peanut butter to amp up the peanut buttery taste. 

Peanut Blossom Cookies

1/4 C. lard

1/4 C. butter

1/2 C. + 2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter 

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 C. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/3 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 bag dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Cream together the butter, lard, and peanut butter. If not using lard replace with 1/4 C. butter. Add in the sugars, vanilla, and egg, creaming for a couple of minutes on lower speed.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients. Add slowly to the mixture in the mixer. 
  • Once the batter is made roll into small balls, aprox. 2″, and roll in extra granulated sugar. Place the round ball onto the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. 
  • Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, until almost cooked all the way, and remove from the oven. Push a Hershey kiss into the center of each cookie, and bake for another 1.5-2 minutes. 

My sister gave me her recipe, which I have adapted, though I am not sure where she got it from. 

Delicious Breadsticks

Now here is a fantastic recipe for breadsticks. My husband and I have decided that the dough used for pizza is not good for breadsticks. Why they are usually in the same category we are not sure because the dough for pizza is all wrong for good, fluffy breadsticks. I found the blog Cooking Classy through, what else, Pinterest and this recipe tastes just as good as it looks. We had a basic dinner of spaghetti, sauce, and spinach as a salad, when my husband suggested making breadsticks to round out the meal. I jumped at the chance to try out this recipe and it turned an okay dinner into a great one. 

Delicious Breadsticks

1 C. + 2 Tbs. hot water (110-115°)

1 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast

1/2 tsp. sugar

3 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. canola oil

Topping

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  • In the bowl of your mixer put in the water, yeast, and sugar. Mix with a whisk attachment until both sugar and yeast are dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast starts to foam.
  • Sift 1 1/2 C. flour and salt. 
  • Switch to the dough hook and mix the flour and canola oil into the yeast mixture. Add the rest of the flour. The dough should be slightly sticky. Put the dough into a buttered bowl, cover, and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours in a warm place. I let my dough rise in the oven after turning it on to warm slightly. The dough will take longer to rise if it is not warm enough.
  • Once the dough has doubled turn it onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 12 pieces (aprox. 2 oz. a piece), and roll into 9″ breadsticks. Keep the dough and the formed breadsticks covered while finishing. Place the finished breadsticks onto a cookie sheet on top of parchment paper. 
  • Let the breadsticks rise for 45 minutes to an hour, turning on the oven to 425° for the last 20 minutes of the rise. 
  • Once the breadsticks have risen the desired amount bake them for 13-15 minutes. 
  • As soon as they come out of the oven brush them with butter and sprinkle with the mixture of salt and garlic powder. 

Barely adapted from Cooking Classy’s Olive Garden Breadsticks Copycat Recipe. 

Tinolang Manok

Pronounced: Tee-no-long mah-noke. 

I have been blessed that my husband is such a terrific cook, and sous chef. After serving in the Philippines for 2 years he came home with a love for the people, culture, and especially the food. Over time we have been cooking more of the recipes that he loved when he was living there, and this particular recipe has been made, remade, and tweaked to be the delicious recipe it is now. My almost 1 year-old son gobbled it up, and fussed when it was all gone. I love finding happiness through food in items that are peculiar to the American kitchen- like the chayote. We do not have any problem finding the chayote in your average grocery store, though you can substitute a green papaya if you like. My husband does not like their flavor and prefers the chayote, and I agree. It is a squash that doesn’t taste overly squashy, if that is a real term. We substituted the fish sauce for soy sauce, which is used in place of salt, and adds a little more flavor. If you are looking for a meal that is new to your routine then give this a try. You will not be disappointed. 

Tinolang Manok

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

.3 lbs ginger, peeled, bruised, and chopped into large pieces

A few Tbs. of canola oil

26 oz. chicken stock (1 box)

14 oz. chicken broth

soy sauce, as desired

2 large or 3 medium chayote, peeled, removing the pit and surrounding white part from the center, and cubed

a couple handfuls of baby spinach, washed

white rice, cooked

  • Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute a couple minutes, until beginning to be translucent. Add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, after which add the ginger. Saute together until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces, and desired amount of sea salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is done, aprox. 3 minutes, and add a dash or two of soy sauce, stock and broth. Bring to a boil, put a lid on it and turn the heat on a low setting. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add in the chayote, turn the heat up to medium, recover the pot and cook until the chayote is soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the baby spinach and turn the heat off. Scoop out the pieces of ginger, and serve over white rice.

From our kitchen to yours.

My Mother-in-Law’s Super Sugar Cookies

I never knew just how lucky I would be when I married my husband. Not only because he is the most wonderful man in the world, perfect for me in every way, but because his mother is a fantastic cook/baker and has a plethora of recipes. This is one of the great recipes that I married into. My husband’s sugar cookies are the best- he did get the recipe from his mother after all. 

My Mother-in-Law’s Super Sugar Cookies

1 stick of butter

1 C. lard

2 C. granulated sugar

2 tsp. almond flavoring

4 eggs, one at a time until blended

5 C. flour

2 tsps. Baking powder

2 tsp. salt

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream the first 4 ingredients together until smooth, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer.
  • Sift Together dry ingredients and then resift 2 more times.
  • Add dry ingredients to cookie batter in the Kitchen Aid and blend well.
  • Chill for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Roll out to ¼” thickness onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.

*This recipe is doubled. Cut in half if you do not want so many cookies. We just LOVE frosted sugar cookies out of the freezer. They keep very well in the freezer, and last a long time. 

Sugar Cookie Frosting

1 stick butter

4 C. sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp. almond flavoring

½ tsp. kosher salt

whipping cream to consistency

food coloring if desired

  • Cream butter, salt and flavoring until light and fluffy.  Mix in powdered sugar.
  • Add whipping cream a little at a time until proper consistency.  Frost and decorate as desired.

Chicken Chili Verde

Updated 11/11 for a spicier, and not too clumpy, chili. Leave out the serrano chilies if you do not want a spicy chili. The spice level is not that hot, but more tongue tingly. 

Do you want to eat a delicious and tangy chili, different from any chili you have ever eaten? Good, then this recipe should be on your menu for next week. If you don’t, then I cannot help you. This chili is delightful, tangy, and straight-up yummy. There is no terrific story behind this recipe. I found it in the recent issue of Southern Living and I knew I had to make it. My husband only likes Chicken and White Bean chili because it has no base of tomato sauce, and when I saw this one knowing how much he loves making salsa verde I had a feeling it would be a hit. If I was not also cooking if for my parents we would have added a couple Serrano peppers, to add some heat. Although if we had done that I would not have been able to feed it to my son, and he loved it! He just loves food that comes from our plate and is not baby food. Such a little man, even at his age. 

Chicken Chili Verde

3 C. chicken, cooked and chopped*

14 tomatillos (about 3 lbs), rinsed with husks removed

3 garlic cloves

1 large chicken bouillon cube

3 C. water

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

2-3 poblano peppers

3 serrano chilies

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

2 (15 oz.) cans great northern white beans

2 (15 oz.) can pinto beans

3 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

*I used 8 drumsticks, cooked them for a few hours in the crock pot, mostly on low, covering them with water to prevent the tops from overcooking, and add a light sprinkling of salt. I took the cooked meat and chopped it up for the soup. Cooking dark meat in the crock pot is a perfect way (not to mention easy) of cooking chicken for soups and stews. 

  • In a large pot bring the tomatillos and next 3 ingredients to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, uncovered, until the tomatillos are soft.
  • Meanwhile, put the olive oil into a dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the peppers and cook for a few minutes before adding the onion. Cook for around 10 minutes, until they are soft. Take off the heat and process in a food processor. Put back into the dutch oven.
  • Puree the tomatillos with some of the broth, until smooth. If you want a runnier broth use all of the water. I left about 3/4 C. of liquid when I pureed the tomatillos so it would be a thicker chili. 
  • Add the pureed tomatillos into the dutch oven with the peppers and onion. Turn the heat onto medium and add in the chicken, beans, spices, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes over medium, stirring infrequently. 
  • This dish can be served with shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese, avocados, and fresh, crunchy tortilla chips. 

Adapted from Southern Livings Chicken-and-Three-Bean Chili Verde. 

Easy Skillet Baked Apples

Pancakes for dinner is one of our favorite meals, and so easy. It is normally our Sunday evening after church meal, though yesterday my husband made a fabulous crock pot roast, so we decided that since we have been cooking a few heavier meals lately we would go light tonight. I pulled this apple topping idea from a Tyler Florence recipe on foodnetwork.com, and it was amazing on top of our blueberry pancakes. I was just lucky enough to have freshly picked apples from a nearby farm to use. 

Easy Skillet Baked Apples

4 Golden Delicious Apples

1/3 C. maple syrup (the real stuff!)

1/4 C. butter

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Peel the apples, cut them into thirds or fourths, take out the core and seeds, and slice. With the apple cut in thirds I was able to get 4-5 slices per piece.
  • Melt the butter and mix in the maple syrup. Add the apples and combine. 
  • Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are super soft and starting to caramelize. 

Barely adapted from Tyler Florence’s Roasted Golden Delicious apples. 

Butterscotch Banana Zucchini Bread

Here is a relatively simple, 1-bowl, banana bread. You could certainly use a mixer if you wanted to, but you need to make sure not to over mix the batter, especially once the flour has been added. Every so often it’s nice to mix by hand- reminds me of the real olden days when there was no Kitchen Aid mixer- no electricity for that matter. It makes me want to give the Kitchen Aid a nice big hug- but I restrain myself. What if someone came into the kitchen while I was hugging the mixer. Don’t worry about it, you’ll say, I’m just showing it how much I appreciate all the work it does around this place. 

Butterscotch Banana Zucchini Bread

1/4 C. butter, melted

3/4 C. granulated sugar

1/4 C. dark brown sugar

1/2 C. sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini

3-4 ripe bananas, mashed

3.4 oz box of butterscotch instant pudding

2 C. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

  • Preheat the oven to 325°.
  • In a microwaveable bowl melt the butter. To the melted butter mix in the sugars, sour cream, egg, and vanilla and whisk to incorporate. Make sure to add the sugar into the melted butter before the egg, so that you do not get scrambled egg banana bread. Add in the zucchini and bananas, followed by the dry pudding mix.
  • Sift together the flour, salt and soda. Stir flour mix into the batter, mixing only until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the 4 mini loaf pans evenly, and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

You could probably use 1 full-size loaf pan for this bread, but I seem to have problems with my bread cooking all the way through without over-browning on the outside, and I really liked the mini loaf pans that I used to cook this bread in. I used 3, however they bubbled and ballooned out over the top and onto the pizza stone they were baking on, so I would suggest using 4 mini loaf pans. If you really wanted to you could cook the batter into muffins. 

Optional: Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, microwaved until soft

1/4 C. butter, softened

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

heavy cream to consistency

  • Beat the butter and cream cheese together in mixing bowl. Add in the vanilla. Sift the powdered sugar and add that to the butter mixture, drizzling in the cream to consistency. It should be creamy, smooth, yet slightly runny. It’s more of a glaze than a frosting. Frost the top of the loaves or have everyone use and knife and add their own frosting. My daughter wanted to just eat it straight out of the bowl with no bread. Maybe for her birthday I shouldn’t even bother with making a cake; I’ll just make her frosting. 

Adapted from Averie Cook’s Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. 

 

Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

*I have revised this cookie recipe slightly. I am tired of making the chocolate cookies that fall to bits and pieces after they are cooked. Trying to find the right consistency for the batter so that the cookies hold together has not been simple. I think, though, that I have finally solved the problem. I added another egg- making a total of 3 eggs, and took away the milk. I did not put the batter in the refrigerator, but I think chilling the batter would help it firm up and make getting the dough onto the sheet much easier. I ended up with sticky dough all over my fingers after shaping the dough the best I could, though what I really need is a cookie scoop. That item has made its way onto my essential kitchen equipment list- someday.

My husband bought me some mint and chocolate chips that were on sale once the Christmas season had ended. Unfortunately, this bag is, seasonal- as I have not seen them any other time of the year, because they were delicious! I simply made the cookie recipe on the bag and the resulting cookie was chocolate, almost cake-like in texture, with the soft bite of the mint and chocolate morsel. I made this same recipe my own way with a bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate morsels and it is a chocolatey delight! I am thinking I should add Health toffee pieces, pretzels, nuts, white chocolate pieces, peanut butter chips, and all sorts of other goodies to this delicious cookie recipe.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C. All purpose flour

2/3 C. Hershey’s cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. softened butter

2/3 C. granulated sugar

2/3 C. packed dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla

3 large eggs

1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, or Andes Mint Chocolate chips

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream together butter and lard.
  • Meanwhile, sift together dry ingredients. I like to get my cocoa powder into the measuring cup with a spoon over wax paper, so what falls on the counter I can add back into the container easily. Otherwise I end up with a cocoa counter mess.
  • Add both sugars to the butter in the Kitchen Aid, followed by the vanilla and eggs.
  • Add milk until the dough is the correct consistency: slightly wet and sticky. The cocoa powder makes the dough a tad dry ad the cookies crumble when they are done. I am trying to modify the recipe to be less crumbly, though the humidity in the East does contribute to the crumbly-ness of the cookies.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips, spoon them onto the parchment paper.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. Pat down the puffed cookies with the back of the spatula once they come out of the oven. Use a knife, or other utensil, to help get the cookie onto the cooling rack without it falling apart.
Adapted from the Very Best Baking recipe online for Mint Chocolate Delights.