Cookie Bake 2012

Cookie Bake 16-crop

Another cookie bake is officially in the books…!! Hard to believe this was the 11th year…(well, it was the 2nd Annual Ponca City cookie bake, and the 11th Annual original cookie bake).  I was sad to not be in Denver for the first time in cookie bake history, but Skype is a wonderful thing.  :)  It was super fun to see what was going on in Denver, and the girls there could see what we had going on here in Ponca as well.  Sooo super fun!!

Once again, I remembered what it was like to have many many bakers with oodles of cookies to bake…and only ONE rack in the oven.  Oi

But, somehow we persevered.  All cookies made it into the oven, and no one short-circuited.  Well, except for when Rosa kept asking over and over “is the oven free yet….how about now…is it open…?!  I need to get my cookies baked!”  HA

And just when you think you have an extra large kitchen with tons of counter space…guess again!  When you’ve got several girls all mixing up batters and doughs at the same time, no matter how many sets of stackable cooling racks you have, there is never enough space!

Let’s get down to the recipes – there are some goodies!!  Enjoy… ((I will post the recipes from the girls as I get them…so keep checking back!))

Toasted Coconut Macaroons

Toasted Coconut Macaroons – Jessica

3 egg whites

1/2 t. cream of tartar

1 T. sugar

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 t. vanilla

1 t. lemon zest

20 oz. sweetened shredded coconut

7 oz. dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa)

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites on low. Once broken up, add cream of tartar & sugar. Increase speed to medium & beat until whites are frothy. Fold in condensed milk, vanilla & lemon zest. Add coconut & mix until well blended. Let mixture sit 2-3 minutes. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2″ apart. Bake @ 325F for 20-25 min. Cool. Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Dip half of cookie in chocolate. Place back on parchment to allow chocolate to set. (pop cookies in the fridge for a few minutes to speed this up)

Lemon Stars

Lemon Stars – Rosa

Cookies:

6 c. all-purpose flour

6 T. cornstarch

1 1/2 t. salt

3 c. unsalted butter

2 c. powdered sugar

2 T. freshly grated lemon peel

3 t. lemon extract

1/2 t. almond extract

Glaze:

3 c. powdered sugar

3 T. fresh lemon juice

3 t. freshly grated lemon peel

Whisk flour, cornstarch & salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll one piece of dough 3/8″ thick. With floured cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place cookies 1″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet (or you can bake them on parchment paper – works great!). (if dough becomes too soft, freeze 10 minutes until firm) Bake @ 325F for 15-16 minutes, until edges are golden. Transfer to cooling rack; cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice & lemon peel until blended. (you can add additional water to glaze if it begins to thicken) Dip top side of each cookie into glaze. Set cookies back on cooling rack until glaze sets (~20 min).

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chipsters

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chipsters – Kristin

3 c. old-fashioned oats

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.

1 c. chunky peanut butter

1 c. sugar

1 c. light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks; or 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, spices & salt. Beat butter, peanut butter & sugars on medium speed until smooth & creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min. after each addition, then add in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; slowly add dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Mix in chocolate. (dough may be refrigerated at this point if desired) If dough isn’t chilled, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2″ apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. If dough is chilled, scoop up in rounded tablespoonfuls, roll between your palms first before putting onto cookie sheets. Bake @ 350F for 13-15 min. Cookies should be golden & just firm around edges.

Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies – Jessica

3/4 c. unsalted butter

2 c. all-purpose flour

 2 t. baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. ground ginger

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. ground cloves

2 c. sugar, divided

1/4 c. dark molasses

1 egg

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. (this cookie is mixed by hand in the pot) Cool to tepid. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, spices & salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir 1 1/2 c. sugar, molasses & egg into the butter, mixing until smooth. Add dry ingredients 1/2 at a time, blend well. Cover with wax paper & chill for 30-45 min. until firm. Shape dough into 1″ balls (or you can use a cookie scoop!), and roll balls in the remaining 1/2 c. sugar in a shallow dish. Put balls 2″ apart on cookie sheets. Bake @ 375F for 8-10 min. (these cookies spread out quite a bit, so don’t crowd them too much) Remove from oven & allow to sit on cookie sheets for 2-3 min.

Almond Macaroon Cookies

Almond Macaroon Fingers – Rosa

1 can (7-8 oz.) almond paste

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 egg whites

1/2 t. vanilla

2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces

In food processor with knife blade attachment, process almond paste & sugar until combined (a few small lumps will remain). Add egg whites & vanilla; pulse until combined. Spoon batter into decorating bag fitted with 1/2″ star tip. (*dough needs to be well chilled – otherwise cookies will not retain their shape while baking) Pipe batter into 3″ long fingers, 1″ apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake @ 300F for 17-19 min., until edges are golden. In microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate. Using pastry brush, brush chocolate on half of each cookie; let dry. (it helps to pop cookies into the fridge for a few minutes to set the chocolate)

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies – Jessica

1 c. pecans, chopped

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 c. powdered sugar (+ additional for rolling)

2 c. flour

2 t. vanilla

1/8 t. salt

Beat butter & powdered sugar until light & fluffy.  Gradually add 1 c. flour, vanilla, & salt.  Beat on low speed until blended.  Stir in remaining 1 c. flour & pecans with a spoon.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour (or longer).  Roll into 1-2″ balls.  Bake @ 350F for 12-15 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.

**Recipes for the following two cookies will be posted soon!

Suzanne's cookies

MaryAnne's cookies

Cowboy Potato Chowder

Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods (it’s Oklahoma these days)…winter is hiding out, and is nowhere to be found this year!  I’ve been searching high and low, doing all kinds of “snow dances”, praying to the Gods…I’ve done everything I can think of…and still NO winter!  :(

And…I keep making soups and stews thinking that somehow this might summon good ‘ole winter out of wherever it’s hiding.  No such luck yet, but I’m gonna keep on trucking.  So – if you’re actually experiencing winter where you are, and you’re looking for a super yummy meal to warm your tummy, this is a great one (and super easy – of course)!  Thanks Tasty Kitchen for the original recipe.

You will need: potatoes (the original recipe called for Yukon, but I used Russet as the store where I shop, which shall remain unnamed,  was fresh out or never ever had the Yukon variety), garlic, onion, sausage (any kind you like), dill, thyme, chicken stock, and half & half.  Oh, and a little bit of flour (which didn’t make it into the pic – oops).

First thing, saute up the garlic and onion in a bit of olive oil (until onions are tender…~5 minutes).

Add in your spices and sausage.  You can use any ‘ole kind of sausage that you want (or in my case, whatever I could find-ha).  I used turkey sausage with cheddar in this recipe – it turned out great!

Continue to saute ~5 minutes, or until the sausage begins to brown.

Add the potatoes and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat to medium, put the lid on and simmer for ~20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Add in half & half (I actually used a mixture of skim milk and half & half – I thought skim milk might not make the chowder creamy enough, and I happened to have half & half in the fridge, so I thought what the heck?).  Mix well, bring back to a boil, and simmer another 2-3 minutes.

While the chowder is coming up to a boil, make a roux using flour and butter.  (The original recipe called for olive oil in this step, but I find that butter works better).  Stir the roux into the soup and continue to cook until the soup thickens up – it should thicken up quite a bit in just a few minutes…mmm….

Remove soup from heat, stir in salt and pepper, top with cheese (everything’s better with cheese!), and a few chopped scallions.  YUM!!

  • 2 T. Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 3 T. Fresh Thyme (or 1 T. Dried)
  • 3 T. Fresh Dill (or 1 T. Dried)
  • 14 oz.Sausage
  • 4 c. Chicken Broth
  • 5 Potatoes, Peeled And Chopped
  • 2 c. Milk
  • ¼ c. Flour
  • Salt And Pepper to taste
  • Optional Toppings: Grated Cheese, Bacon Bits, And Chopped Green Onions

Originally posted on Colorado Cowgirl Kitchen:

So…many many moons ago, a college roomie and I started a Christmas Cookie Bake tradition.  When it started, it was just the two of us.  We baked cookies (and ate the dough too of course) until we made ourselves sick….but it was oh so fun!!  As the years passed, it has turned into an all out Cookie Extravaganza – with many many friends and all of their cookie recipes, and lots and lots of cookies being baked and shared!!  And…since we learned our lesson by making ourselves sick due to the sugar overload, it’s now tradition to have plenty of snacks (and wine!!) to off-set all the glorious sugar.  Hope you enjoy all the recipes!!

As the baking got into full-swing, I got a bit sidetracked and forgot to take individual pics of all the cookies!  So, some of the recipes have pics, and some don’t…  Oops!!  Guess you’ll just…

View original 934 more words

Italian Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Wow – this looks sooo yummy, I’m already thinking of making it again!  This recipe was adapted from a similar recipe that I found in EatingWell magazine.  The original recipe called for turkey sausage and arugula.  However, once again…because I live in Small Town USA (I’m beginning to sound like a broken record every time I have to explain a substitution in a recipe – ha), I could only find regular run of the mill Italian sausage, and had to use spinach instead of arugula.  But, I have to say – it tasted amazing!!  So, I don’t think the substitutions made this adaptation any less yummy than the original.  And, what a fun way to eat “greens’.  I’m always looking for a new way to incorporate greens into my diet – it definitely gets boring just eating them in salads.  Enjoy!

You will need hot Italian sausage, pasta, garlic, baby spinach, cherry (or grape) tomatoes, Italian cheese, olive oil, and salt & pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (follow the directions on the package).

While the pasta is doing its thing, brown the sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon (or whatever utensil you have handy – spatula, spoon, mallet, tongs…well, maybe not the tongs) and cook it all the way through – this will probably take ~5 minutes or so.

Halve those tasty little ‘maters…YUM…might have to pop one in your mouth like I did (you know, just to make sure that they are edible!).  And while you’ve got your knife handy…chop up 3 cloves of garlic.  Now we’re talking – everything’s better with garlic!!

Add the garlic, halved tomatoes, and spinach to the browned sausage.  Cook (stirring frequently) until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes begin to break down.  (~3 minutes)

Remove the skillet from the heat, cover, and keep warm until the rest of the dish is assembled.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 c. cheese, salt & pepper.  Then, remove 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water (don’t forget to do this BEFORE you drain the pasta!) and whisk into the cheese mixture.

Drain the pasta, add to the bowl with the cheese mix, and toss to combine.

Top the pasta with the sausage, spinach, tomatoes mixture (and a little extra cheese of course)…and Voila!!  Easy as pie.

Christmas Cookies Galore!!

So…many many moons ago, a college roomie and I started a Christmas Cookie Bake tradition.  When it started, it was just the two of us.  We baked cookies (and ate the dough too of course) until we made ourselves sick….but it was oh so fun!!  As the years passed, it has turned into an all out Cookie Extravaganza – with many many friends and all of their cookie recipes, and lots and lots of cookies being baked and shared!!  And…since we learned our lesson by making ourselves sick due to the sugar overload, it’s now tradition to have plenty of snacks (and wine!!) to off-set all the glorious sugar.  Hope you enjoy all the recipes!!

As the baking got into full-swing, I got a bit sidetracked and forgot to take individual pics of all the cookies!  So, some of the recipes have pics, and some don’t…  Oops!!  Guess you’ll just have to try and figure out which is which in the pic above.   :)

Walnut Balls - Rosa

4 c. flour

1 c. powdered sugar (+ additional for rolling)

1/4 t. salt

2 t. vanilla

2 c. walnuts, chopped

4 sticks unsalted butter

Beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar and all remaining ingredients.   Shape into 1-2″ balls.  Bake @ 400F for 7 minutes.  (I think I remember that they actually took longer than this – bake until cookies are lightly brown on the bottom).  Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm.

Czechoslovakian Cookies – Gabby

4 c. butter, softened

4 c. sugar

8 large egg yolks

8 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. salt

4 c. walnuts, chopped

2 c. strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two 15 1/2 x 10″ jelly roll pans.  In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until mixed – occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.  Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low; beat in egg yolks until well combined, constantly scraping bowl with spatula.  Add flour and salt and beat until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl.  With a wooden spoon, stir in nuts.

With lightly floured hands, divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Pat one section of dough evenly into one of the prepared pans.  Spread 1 c. preserves over dough.  Pinch off 3/4″ pieces from one of the other parts of the dough and drop on top of preserves – do not pat them down.  Repeat this process with remaining two parts of dough and preserves.

Bake until golden brown, ~45-50 minutes.  Cool completely in pans on cooling rack.  When cool, cut into 2″ squares.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread – Jessica

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

bittersweet chocolate for dipping (~2 bars)

sea salt

Beat butter, sugar, & powdered sugar until fluffy.  Whisk flour & sugar together, then add to butter mixture.  Line an 8″ square (or 9″ round) pan with parchment paper.  Press dough into pan.  Score into strips.  Chill for 30 minutes.  Bake for 1 hour @ 300F.  Cool.  Slice along lines.  Melt chocolate (in a double boiler if you have one, or you can use the microwave like I did).  Dip one end of each piece of shortbread into chocolate.  Lay onto a piece of parchment paper, & sprinkle with sea salt.

Mexican Wedding Cookies – Jessica

(these are basically the same as Rosa’s Walnut Balls, but made with pecans)

1 c. pecans, chopped

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 c. powdered sugar (+ additional for rolling)

2 c. flour

2 t. vanilla

1/8 t. salt

Beat butter & powdered sugar until light & fluffy.  Gradually add 1 c. flour, vanilla, & salt.  Beat on low speed until blended.  Stir in remaining 1 c. flour & pecans with a spoon.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour (or longer).  Roll into 1-2″ balls.  Bake @ 350F for 12-15 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.

Oreos – Jessica

2 boxes Devils Food cake mix

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 eggs

frosting

Mix all ingredients together.  The dough will be super thick – work those muscles (or let your Kitchen Aid do it like I do!).  Use a cookie/ice cream scoop (1″) – place dough a few inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.  The cookies will spread out quite a bit, so be sure to give them enough space.  Bake @ 350F for 8-9 minutes.  Let cookies sit on hot cookie sheet for an additional ~2 minutes or so after pulling them out of the oven.  Move cookies to cooling racks.  Make a sandwich with 2 cookies and some frosting in the middle…oi….the best!!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies - Courtney

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder

1/8 t. baking soda

10 T. butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)

1 c. sugar

1 egg

3 oz. cream cheese

1 t. vanilla

12 oz. chocolate chips

Mix together the dry ingredients, (first 4 ingredients) and set aside. Beat the butter, sugar, egg, cream cheese, and vanilla together. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Once blended, stir in chocolate chips. Place spoon-sized balls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies – Kristin

* 3 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
* 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (about 8 1/2 ounces)
* 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Using spatula, stir in cranberries, white chocolate chips, and nuts.

For large cookies, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 21/2 inches apart. For small cookies, drop dough by level tablespoonfuls onto sheets, spacing 11/2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until just golden, about 18 minutes for large cookies and about 15 minutes for small cookies.

Snickerdoodles – CindyGhiradelli Chocolate Chip – Judy

(I’m still waiting on the girls to get me these recipes…check back soon for these!!)

 

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Who doesn’t like a great one-pot meal to warm you up on a crisp fall evening…??  YUM.  I love this time of year.  Time to turn on the oven and warm up the crock-pot…mmm…  A girlfriend of mine in Colorado brought this recipe into work one day and said that it was super yummy – that we must must try it.  I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about the pumpkin part…  Not, that I don’t like pumpkin – I love love love making homemade roasted pumpkin seeds, and I’ve never met a pumpkin scone/cookie/bread that I didn’t like!  I just wasn’t quite sure how I felt about pumpkin being an ingredient in chili.

I was thinking about this recipe the other day, because I was craving chili – but I didn’t want to make the same ‘ole thing…  Luckily, my girlfriend came through for me when I e-mailed her saying “you know that pumpkin soup…or chili, or whatever it was…that recipe that you brought into work that day – you know the one…?  Well, I can’t find the recipe – can you find it, like now, and send it to me?!”  Thank you Megan – you’re the best!!   :)

First off, you will need ground meat.  Duh…what I’m trying to say is that this recipe is called “Turkey Pumpkin Chili”, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s no turkey in the picture.  If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know that more often than not…I have to make substitutions in my recipes.  This is thanks to living in Small Town America (or…po-dunk _____…whatever – it’s all the same to me).  You will also need a yellow onion, garlic, green chiles (I used these instead of jalapenos), diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, chili powder, cumin, and kidney beans.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, chiles and garlic.  Cook…stirring frequently, until tender, ~ 5 minutes.

Add turkey (or ground beef in my case) and cook until browned.

Rinse and drain kidney beans.

Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper – bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. (I accidentally added the beans in with the rest of the gamish – I don’t think it matters, as the chili turned out great!)  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and serve.  I topped the chili with a bit of shredded cheese and cilantro…d-e-l-i-s-h!!

Ingredients:

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded & chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 lb. white or dark meat turkey

1 x 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 x 15 oz. can pumpkin

1 c. water

1 T. chili powder

1 t. ground cumin

salt & pepper to taste

1 x 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed & drained

Peach Crumble Pie

This peach pie came about when I needed something for a Girls Nite pot-luck recently.  One of the girls had a really fun idea – everyone was supposed to bring a dish from their home state.  I never realized that there were actually “state foods”…you should google this and check it out when you have a few minutes.  Of course….the two states that I would consider my home states (Colorado and Montana) don’t really have a state food…go figure…!  Dangit.  So, here I was racking my brain for an idea for this pot-luck.  The only thing that popped into my head was Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Ummm yeah…pretty sure that none of the girls would’ve appreciated me walking through the door with those puppies in my hand!!  I think they probably would’ve turned me around and sent me back where I came from.  ((for those of you not familiar with this ‘delicacy’…please take a moment to google it))   HA

Plan B….  Colorado has amazingly yummy Palisade peaches every season – so these beauties became my inspiration for this pie.  Fresh summer peaches – perfect way to put them to use!  I found this Martha Stewart recipe and it fit the bill.   :)

You will need fresh peaches, flour, oats, brown sugar, unsalted butter…and yes I used store-bought pie crust for this recipe (gasp…I know…please forgive me!).  It still tasted amazing, I promise.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare peaches – halve, pit, peel and cut into 1/2″ slices.  In a large bowl, combine peaches, brown sugar and flour.  Toss gently until peaches are coated.

Make the crumble topping…  In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and oats.  Using your hands, work in the butter until large clumps form.  (you can also use a pastry blender/cutter for this step)

Place pie dough (made from scratch or not – ha) into 9″ pie dish.  Crimp edges using your fingers (sooo pretty!).  Transfer your peach filling to the pie shell.

Crumble topping evenly over the peaches.  Put pie onto a baking sheet and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown – about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Cool pie on a wire rack before serving.  You can store this pie covered at room temp for up to 2 days.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling

1/4 t. fine salt

2 t. granulated sugar

1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling:

3 lbs. peaches (8 cups)

2 T. light brown sugar

2 T. all-purpose flour

For the crumble:

1/3 c. packed light brown sugar

1/3 c. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

6 T. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Chicken Stuffed With Goat Cheese

Everytime I see a recipe that involves some kind of meat being “stuffed” with something, I skip it.  Why?!  Who knows…  I guess I’m somehow intimidated by this.  Seems pretty silly when I think about it – ha.  I mean, how hard is it to make a little pocket in a piece of meat, and stuff something super duper yummy into it…?  Exactly…not hard at all.  So – I decided to get over myself, and give this a shot.  This Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese recipe looked amazing.  Who doesn’t love a little goat cheese?  Count me in!

You will need  boneless/skinless chicken breasts, goat cheese, olive oil, spinach, scallions, dried basil, salt & pepper.

(I’m sure you’re looking for the basil….yeah, it didn’t quite make it in the pic..oops!  I started chatting on the phone as I started in on this recipe, thinking – oh, I can just multi-task…no problemo.  Well, it would’ve been no problemo, except that I got sidetracked and started cooking before I got the “ingredients” pic taken.  One of these days I’ll really get the hang of this, and ALL of my ingredients will make it into the shot.)    :)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the goat cheese, green onions, spinach, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside.

Using a small sharp knife, cut a “pocket” in each chicken breast.  Be careful not to cut all the way through the other side of the chicken while you’re making the pocket…otherwise, all the stuffing will fall out, and you’ll have more of a chicken breast sandwich!

Stuff each breast with the spinach/cheese mixture.  Put chicken in a well-greased casserole dish.  I used a 9×9″ glass dish…  Cover the dish with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until chicken is completely cooked and no pink remains.

Ingredients:
2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
8 oz. herbed goat cheese
3 scallions (green onions), diced
1 c. fresh spinach
1 T olive oil
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
* I couldn’t find herbed goat cheese, so I used the plain kind…but it was still super yummy!

Toffee Crunch Cookies

I’m a crazy baker…always have been.  It always brings a smile to my face, no matter what I’m making.  I love being in the kitchen working with my hands.  You can find me whipping some new (or old) baked treat pretty much weekly in my kitchen.  Cookies…breads…bars…brownies…pies…cakes…you name it, I’ve baked it!  I don’t need an excuse to turn the oven on and put my Kitchen Aid (I love you!!) to work.  Not even 24 days in a row of 100+ temps will stop me – as I mentioned, a little crazy here.  Just give me a couple of hours, and a free afternoon, and you know where to find me.

One of my new favorite websites is The Pioneer Woman.  I love love Ree!!  Who knew that I would end up a fellow Oklahoman living just down the road from her?!  Stranger things have happened.  :)  She’s such an inspiration – I love her site and all of the recipes that she posts.  I’ve made several recipes from her site, so you will find references to her several times on my blog.  I found the recipe for these Toffee Crunch Cookies the other day.  Thought I’d give them a try.

For these cookies you will need: butter, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oats, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and crispy rice cereal.  (I opted to try out the new whole grain, gluten-free Rice Krispies…)

Mix together butter and both sugars.

Add eggs one at a time.

Add vanilla.

Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Fold in oats, cereal, chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Drop by 1-2 Tablespoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.  I use a small-sized scooper…perfect size for most cookies.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Yum!!

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 T. vanilla

2 c. flour

1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

2 c. quick oats

1 c. crispy rice cereal

1-1 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 c. mini marshmallows

Note:  The original recipe did not call for salt, but I decided to add it in (as I’ve never made cookies without it – always adds extra flavor).  Another change, I decided to use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the milk chocolate chips that the original recipe called for.

Roast Beef Noodle Bowls

My inspiration for this recipe came when I was reading an issue of Woman’s Day magazine in the urgent care waiting room the other day.  I have to say, this particular magazine definitely isn’t one of the types I usually go to when I’m trying to come up with a recipe to make for the week.  I thought, oh…I’ll just flip through it…there probably isn’t much in here that I’ll be interested in.  But, alas…who knew?!  There it was – a feature on “no-cook” meals for summer.  P-e-r-f-e-c-t

Anything I can ‘cook’ and not have to turn on the oven in the middle of the hot summer makes me very happy!  So, I promptly came home, jumped online and searched for my perfect “no-cook” meal for this week.  This one looked yummy!

By Woman’s Day Kitchen.

For this recipe you will need: rice vinegar, honey, Kosher salt & pepper (not shown), shallot, ginger, cucumber, roast beef, carrot, mint and rice noodles.

First…put the rice noodles into a large bowl.  Cover them with warm tap water and allow them to soak for ~30 minutes.

Whisk together the rice vinegar, honey, salt & pepper.

Add the shallot and ginger.

Prep all of the other ingredients.

Drain the noodles.  Add them back to the large bowl.

To the noodles in the bowl, add your remaining prepared ingredients.  Add the shallot & ginger dressing.  Toss everything together…and enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1/4 c. rice vinegar

1 T. honey

Kosher salt & pepper

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 T. finely grated ginger

1 pkg. rice noodles

3/4 lb. thinly sliced roast beef, torn into 2″ pieces

2 plums, thinly sliced

1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/2 c. fresh mint leaves

Note:  The recipe was originally for Roast Beef Lettuce Wraps, but I modified it into noodle bowls.  The original recipe called for a seedless cucumber – I used 1/2 of a regular cucumber, and removed the seeds.  (Due to the limited variety at the local grocery store in this small Oklahoma town I live in, I often have to make substitutions!)  I also had to substitute baby carrots for one large carrot, and I used less mint than was originally called for.  I wanted to try out the taste of the recipe first.  You can always add the full amount if you love mint.