Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are amazing. They're better than having a day off of work. They're better than finding $20 in a pocket of old jeans. They're better than going on a Hobby Lobby shopping spree with a gift card and a coupon. They're better than fresh-squeezed lemonade on a hot summer's day.  They're better than a shiny new car.

Okay, so maybe I wouldn't go THAT far, but these cookies are freakin' GOOD.  They have a light, buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla.  And the perfect proportion of chocolate chips. 

As seen on Baking Sheet; originally from The Frog Commissary Cookbook


1 cup butter, room temperature (ehhh, I nuked it for about 15 seconds on power level 3)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups oats (rolled or "quick," but not "instant")
2 cups chocolate chips (I used a little less)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and the vanilla extract.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour in to the sugar mixture until just incorporated.

4. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand. Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes.

5. Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to spread.

6. Bake at 350F for 10-13 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and light golden at the center.

7. Cool on baking sheet for at least 1-2 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch

This year, we've been blessed with an overabundance of jalapenos from our potted plants.  (Read:  This year, I've remembered to water said jalapeno plants on a semi-regular basis.)

I recently harvested more jalapenos than I knew what to do with, so I consulted the Oracle Google.  This spicy ranch dressing was among the first results to pop up, and it was definitely love at first bite.  We ate salads everyday for a week while this was in the fridge.

True story.

From Confections of a Foodie Bride
Serves 12-16

* Gluten-free diners should double-check the sour cream and mayonnaise labels for gluten sources.  My favorite sour cream, Daisy brand, is gluten-free.  Hellman's and Kraft produce gluten-free mayonnaise.

3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 small bunch of chives (equal to ~2 Tbsp chopped)
Small handful cilantro
1-2 jalapenos, seeds and stem removed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (optional)

1.  Place all ingredients in a blender.
2.  Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in buttermilk if desired. (Use less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing).
3.  Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roasted Okra

I get a little "Bubba Gump" when I talk about my okra- fried okra, boiled okra, stewed okra, okra gumbo, I love it it all!  Until today, though, I was lacking one glorious method of preparation in my repertoire- roasted okra!  I don't know why I'd never thought to roast it before.  Roasting veggies almost always results in awesomeness, and this was no different.  The roasted okra had less of the "slimy mouthfeel" that my husband loves so much.  (Not!)

Adapted from Allrecipes
Serves 3

* Gluten-free diners should double-check the seasoned salt label for gluten sources.

18 fresh okra pods, stems removed
1 tbsp olive oil
Seasoned salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 425.

2.  Place okra and olive oil in a gallon-sized Ziploc and shake to coat.  Place okra on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in preheated oven and roast until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

 Authentic?  Not a chance.  Delicious?  Ohhh yeah!

This is the wonderful rice dish I promised you a couple of weeks ago, and believe me when I say it's worth the wait!  This rice concoction was creamy and spicy- the perfect complement to salsa chicken.  I'm usually not a leftovers type of girl, but I took it to work for lunch three days in a row!

Adapted from Allrecipes

* Gluten-free diners should check their chicken broth for sources of gluten.  This website has a list of gluten-free broths.  In addition, diners should check the sour cream and corn labels for sources of gluten.  Daisy produces gluten-free sour cream and Del Monte's whole kernel corn is gluten-free as well.

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 green onion, sliced

1.  In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. 

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. 

3.  In the pot with the cooked rice, mix the sour cream, jalapenos, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, corn, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and top with remaining cheese. 

4.  Bake uncovered 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.  Top with green onion slices and serve.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lard-Free Flour Tortillas

Once upon a time, I told y'all that I'm not real big on breakfast foods.  I guess I'm coming around, though, because I now wake up itching to cook up a big breakfast at least one day a week.  This morning, I got up and immediately began pouting about the paper I need to rewrite because I failed to click the save button caught a craving for breakfast tacos.  But not your standard fast food fare- no, I wanted the kind that would bring me back to the Saturday morning afternoon Taco Taco trips of my college days.

But first, I needed tortillas.

I'll admit that the idea of making tortillas has always scared the everliving daylights out of me.  But now that I've done it, I don't know why I waited so long.  Homemade tortillas are WAY tastier than the bagged grocery store variety, and they take zero extra skill at all.  If you can operate a rolling pin, you can make a tortilla!  I filled them with scrambled eggs and salsa and they really hit the spot.  Now, I just need to figure out how to use the rest of them!

Adapted from Allrecipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter (original recipe called for lard, but I didn't have any)
3/4 cups water


1.  Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. 

2.  Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Set aside and repeat until all tortillas have been cooked.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

This dish is so easy that I'm hesitant to call it a recipe at all.  I like to make a big batch of salsa chicken and freeze it in portions to use in other recipes- tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, you name it. If you decide to give it a go, do pick a spicy salsa because the level of heat will decrease with the long cook time.

Oh, and that rice concoction sitting beside it?  Heaven. 

Looking for a quick and easy crockpot taco recipe but tired of chicken?  Check out my crockpot carnitas!

As seen on Trainer Momma 

* Gluten-free diners should double-check their salsa for sources of gluten.

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 oz of your favorite salsa

Combine in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  (I put it on to cook before I left for work today, so mine cooked for about 10 hours and it was fine.)
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Banana Choco-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Mr. Ommy Noms and I have a sweet, sweet little fox terrier mix who's pretty much the light of our lives.  But, as my grandma would say, "He's spoiled so rotten that he stinks."  Yes, it seems that our little darling has learned that barking his head off when we're not in the room will make one of "his people" appear as if by magic.  He pulled that trick at an inhumanely early hour 9:30 this morning.

I couldn't go back to sleep, so I headed into the kitchen to forage.  We had several overly ripe bananas, and not much else.  (We're definitely past due for a grocery store trip!)  I wasn't in the mood for banana bread, but Google led me to this nifty banana cookie recipe and I started mixing.

Let me tell you, these cookies will rock your world.  They are moist with a delicious banana flavor.  Do keep an eye on them, as my first batch got too brown at the recommended 18 minute mark.  I baked the next pan for 16 minutes and they were perfect.

As seen on Erin Cooks, originally from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup oatmeal (not quick-cooking)
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 bananas, cut into 1/4 to1/3 inch pieces

1.  Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with buttered parchment paper.
2.  In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together, set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled.
4.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the oatmeal. Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Use a large spoon to mix in the banana pieces, mixing just until they are evenly distributed and some of the pieces are mashed but most are still visible, about 20 seconds.
5.  Use a tablespoon to drop heaping spoonfuls of dough (about 3 level tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart. (I just eyeballed it.)
6.  Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the tops look dry, about 16-18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, than use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
7.  The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container, layered between sheets of wax paper, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Chocolate Crinkles

You know, sometimes a girl just needs a chocolate fix.  Chocolate crinkles are my go-to give-me-chocolate-NOW treat.  The sugared outside gets slightly crisp, while the inside is soft and fudgy.

I usually don't think far enough ahead to chill the dough for 4 hours, so I just pop the bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  I return the bowl to the freezer between batches to make sure the dough doesn't get too soft.

Adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
(I have stuck the dough in the freezer before and cooled it for a shorter amount of time.)

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. I like to use a number 50 size scoop. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.
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