Monday, September 18, 2017

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


These cookies are SOOOO good. They are definitely in my top two ever, which is saying something because I make a TON of cookies and have tried every single recipe on this blog (and lots of other recipes too). They are actually America's Test Kitchen, which is also saying something.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups + 2 tablespoons (301 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (198 grams) light or dark brown sugar
½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups (255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Roll a scant ¼ cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2½ inches apart.
  5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to set, yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. These can also be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months.coo

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Protein Balls




We went on a ladies-only backpacking trip this weekend and it was SO fun. One of my friends made these protein balls. I didn't think much of them because I usually hate this stuff, but these were seriously AMAZING. They were the first snack gone and I've been craving the ever since.


Protein Balls
Recipe from Anne Kimble

Spray measuring cups with coconut oil (or Pam) 
1 cup all natural peanut butter (I use the big tub of Adam's crunchy from Costco)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Combine above ingredients

Then slowly add:
2 1/2 cups brown rice crispies (There are few brands you can find at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup chia seeds (Some people use 1/8 cup, but I love chia!)
2 T hemp hearts (optional)
2 T ground flax seeds (optional)
chocolate protein powder to taste
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life brand)

The mixture will be sticky, but if it seems like it won't hold together, add a few more oats. Put mixture if fridge for 30 min to make it easier to handle. Spray a small cookie scoop and shape into balls. Place flat in gallon ziplocs to freeze (and so you won't each the whole batch the same day!).

Friday, August 18, 2017

Health-ier Higher Protein Guacamole

This stuff is addicting- so good and so much better for you than regular guacamole.  The other bonus!? It lasts waaaay longer than the regular stuff, as in it doesn't get brown for several days!  

High Protein Guacamole

3 ripe avocados
1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt (I use TJ's)
2 large limes, juiced
1/2 Purple onion, diced fine
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
Garlic salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Bruschetta Chicken

Made this last night and didn't take a picture, so you get a google image. :)  It was amazing!  We loved it, and even better, it was SOOO easy to put together.  I love a quick and easy dinner. Yum!

Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta sauce (from Trader Joe's in the jar)
Skim or full-fat Mozzarella cheese (bought it from TJ's and sliced it up)
Oven baked chicken (recipe here)
Cooked pasta or zoodles

After baking the chicken, scoop the sauce and spread evenly over breasts.  Place sliced mozzarella on top.  Broil in oven all together until cheese is melty and golden.  Remove and serve plain, over pasta or our favorite, zoodles!

Simple Baked Chicken Breasts

Made these last night in my convection oven and they turned out so juicy and tender- I was totally amazed!  Because convection and juicy don't usually go together?? Anyway, this will be my new go-to for cooking chicken.  Loved it.

Simple Baked Chicken Breasts
Allrecipes.com

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not frozen)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper (or any spice you'd like)

Preheat convection oven to 400 degrees.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings on both sides. Place on broiler pan or cookie sheet, lined with foil.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.  Flip to other side and cook for 15 minutes more, or until internal temp reads 165 degrees.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This is a really simple pulled pork recipe...light on ingredients and easy to make.  I love to cook this, then mix it with the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce from Trader Joes, and serve it over oven-roasted sweet potatoes.  The perfect combo- seriously amazing.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 oz.) root beer
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns or roasted sweet or regular Idaho potatoes.  My favorite way to roast potatoes is this one.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chicken Tomatillo Soup

This is the second part of the recipe I posted last week- Salsa Verde.  This soup is seriously amazing!! You have to top with avocados to make it incredible.  Also- you could definitely make this vegan and/or vegetarian by skipping the meat and doubling the beans and veggies.  

Chicken Tomatillo Soup 

Mirepoix Mix from Trader Joe's (or chop 1/2 onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks)
8 cups chicken or veggie broth
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups salsa verde 
1 large can (or 2 small cans) of Hominy beans (found in Mexican aisle)
Avocado for garnish

Sauté your mirepoix in your soup pan for 5 minutes. You can add a little olive oil if you want, but you don’t need to. Next, add your broth and bring to a boil. After it begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium and let it cook until all veggies are soft (about 8-10 mins). Add your chicken and can of hominy (drained) and let everything simmer for an additional 20 mins. Right before you are ready to serve stir in your salsa. Garnish with sliced avocado.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Salsa Verde

This stuff is seriously so amazing. And SO easy to make.  Just throw all of the ingredients in a blender.  Done.  It makes a TON.  Plus, it makes great gifts- I made some and put them in jars to give away with a bag of chips!

Salsa Verde

1 bunch cilantro
8 tomatillos, cut into quarters
2 green heirloom tomatoes (just to keep the color)
6-8 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
3 limes, juiced
1 medium white onion
Salt

Cut up everything and throw into blender raw. Blend until you get your desired consistency and then add salt- about 1 1/2 Tbs, or to taste.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

 We have a professional cook in our ward and this is her original recipe.  Every year there is a cookie competition in our stake and for the last 3 years this cookie has won the award- funny story is that a different person other than the creator has won with this every single year.  Tara, the person who created these, even attends and enters a different cookie and she doesn't win!  They are that good...so you should probably make them right now.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg (2 cups) milk chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and mix. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Bake at 350ºF. Medium and small cookies bake until golden around the edges and just set in the center, 10 to 12 min. Don't overcook! They continue cooking on the pan out of the oven. Let cool slightly (if you can wait) and remove from pan.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Coconut Oil Popcorn

This is the best popcorn ever.  My kids ask for it all of the time.  So easy, way healthier than the store-bought, and I promise there is no coconut flavor.

Coconut Oil Popcorn

Directions:
  1. Heat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Be careful not to go over medium heat, or you may experience a very unpleasant chewy texture where the kernels were heated too fast and did not completely pop.
  2. Add the coconut oil and let it completely melt. Once the oil is completely melted put a few kernels into the pan and wait for them to pop. This helps determine when the oil is heated enough to popping.
  3. Once the test kernels have popped, place the rest of the popcorn seeds into the pan and cover.
  4. After the kernels begin popping, begin to shake every 10 seconds or so until you hear the popping slow down. When the popping slows down to a pop every 2-3 seconds remove the pan from heat and continuously shake for another 10-20 seconds. This helps the popcorn at the bottom from burning.
  5. After the 10-20 seconds, or you feel the popping is finished pour into a bowl, salt to taste and enjoy.

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

I made this for Mother's Day and it was fabulous! So easy- it seriously takes like 5 minutes to prep and then you bake.  I served it with coconut rice and Dad's sauteed asparagus.  Delicious!

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

FOR THE CORDON BLEU:

  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise (to form two thinner chicken breast cutlets)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 6-8 slices Swiss cheese (6 to 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I prefer panko in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • FOR THE PARMESAN-DIJON CREAM SAUCE:

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray set aside.
    2. Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Lightly sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
    3. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham and top with 2 slices of swiss cheese, shingling across the chicken breast to make sure the entire piece of chicken is covered with ham and cheese. Toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the chicken.
    4. Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.
    5. For the sauce, while the chicken bakes, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly to avoid lumps.
    6. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
    7. Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
    8. Serve each chicken cordon bleu portion with warm sauce.

  • NOTES:

    My preference for bread crumbs in this recipe are fresh bread crumbs (I save the heels of my bread stashed in the freezer for just a recipe like this when I need to grind up fresh bread crumbs quickly in my blender or food processor) or crunchy Panko breadcrumbs. Both will give the best texture.
    For the chicken, the idea is to have six thinner cutlets of chicken (about 1/2-inch thick) so you can either pound chicken breasts thin or cut thick chicken breasts in half to form two thinner cutlets (like the recipe suggests).
    I’ve also made this more casserole-style and cubed the chicken. When I do it that way, I also chop the ham but do everything else the same. It helps the meal stretch further, especially with kids who are too little to eat a whole chicken breast piece.
    Over the years since this recipe has been posted, I’ve made note of your comments; I’ve omitted the salt from the sauce recipe and indicated in the recipe to add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
    Make Ahead Instructions: Assemble the chicken, ham and cheese according to the recipe. Store the prepared bread crumb/butter mixture in a resealable plastic bag or other container. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and store it and the bread crumb mixture in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. When ready to bake, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and bake according to the recipe, adding anywhere from 5-15 extra minutes since it was refrigerated prior to baking. Make the sauce while the casserole bakes or make it ahead of time, let it cool, and store it covered in the fridge, for 1-2 days, reheating over low heat and stirring with a whisk.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding IV
This was So good! Mom said it was jsut as good, if not better than Magnolia Bakery! "A quick and easy banana pudding recipe - enjoy!"
By: All Recipes 
Banana Pudding IV

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers

Directions


  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with vanilla wafers. Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers. Spread with pudding mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sour Cream Banana Bread

I've always used my old stand-by banana bread recipe (the Cinnamon Swirl one on this blog), but I've officially switched b/c that one hasn't worked for me the last few times.  This one is amazing!  Its super moist and has awesome flavor.  Really easy to make and we still swirl our cinnamon into it and make muffins.  

Sour Cream Banana Bread

  • ⅔ cup butter
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract (either are delicious!)
  • 1½ cup mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • 2¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ c sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla or coconut extract then add eggs, beating well after each egg.
  4. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
  5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Beating on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients until just combined. Add ¼ cup of the sour cream, beat on low until just combined. Repeat with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream, then finishing with the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients, making sure to mix until just combined with each addition. (I just threw it all in together and it didn't make a difference)
  7. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. For muffins, bake 20-25 minutes, or until muffin springs back when you lightly push the center.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Divine 1-Hour Breadsticks

Pic Courtesy Google

These are the yummiest breadsticks and they only take 1 hour!! Amazing!

Divine 1-Hour Breadsticks

Ingredients
    Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups flour, about 15-20 ounces (see note above)
  • Butter and Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)
  • Dried herbs, garlic salt and grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or in a large bowl by hand), mix together the water, yeast, sugar, salt and one cup of the flour.
  2. Continue adding the flour until the dough just clears the sides of the bowl; knead for about three minutes. It should be soft and slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers.
  3. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
  4. While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the melted butter onto large, rimmed baking sheet (about 11X17-inches).
  5. On a lightly greased countertop, pat the dough into a long rectangle, about 16-inches by 7-inches or so. Cut the dough every 1-inch (more or less) into strips with a pizza cutter.
  6. Twist each strip slightly and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with dried herbs of choice, garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Let rise for 20 minutes (you can cover with greased plastic if you want to, but it's not necessary). Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

White Chicken Lasagna Soup

Pic Courtesy Google Images

I made this a few days ago and it was SO good. I didn't think it would be a hit, but they loved it! I made it with the Divine Breadsticks from the same site and everyone gobbled it up! It makes a ton, so half it.:)


White Chicken Lasagna Soup

Ingredients
    Soup:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 large)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 12 to 16 ounces tri-color rotini (depending on how noodly you want it)
  • 8 cups milk (I actually think it would be better with 6 cups of milk, it was a little runny)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked, shredded or chopped chicken
  • Creamy Topping:
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Chopped, fresh tomatoes
Directions
  1. In a large 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and rotini.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the rotini is al dente (it will continue cooking a few more minutes in the next step).
  4. Whisk or blend together the milk and flour.
  5. Add the mixture to the soup and simmer for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the chicken and heat through.
  6. For the topping, stir together the ricotta cheese, basil, pinch of salt and pepper, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
  7. Serve the soup topped with a scoop of the ricotta mixture plus a smattering of fresh tomatoes.





Perfected Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Pic courtesy of Google

I made this for dinner last week and it was DELICIOUS! My kids all gobbled it up and Christian even loved it. Yum!


Perfected Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped and divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (12-ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cans (14-ounces each) Italian-style diced tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (28-ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces button or baby bella mushrooms, chopped (I added these, but might reduce or even sk
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Directions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent and slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so.
  2. Add beef, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess grease.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend remaining 1 cup onion and the red pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot with the beef and onions.
  4. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms (if using), beef broth, and sugar. Stir until combined before adding the bay leaves.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and let the sauce rest for 10-15 minutes (for the flavor to absorb) before serving.

Aunt Sheri's Chicken Lasagna

Pic courtesy of A Bountiful Kitchen


I made this a few weeks ago and we all loved it. It was an easy, comfort meal.

Aunt Sheri's Chicken Lasagna

1- 12 oz package of wide egg noodles (cooked al dente)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1 24 oz container cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cups grated parmesan cheese
  • additional sprinkle of pepper and chopped fresh or dried parsley for garnish, if desired

    1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium to medium high heat. Add flour, salt, pepper, dried basil and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    2. Whisk chicken broth into flour and butter mixture, about a cup at a time, until mixture is thickened.
    3. Turn down heat and add chicken.
    4. Turn off heat.
    5. Mix cottage cheese and egg together in a medium bowl.
    6. Mix cheeses together in small bowl.
    7. Layer the ingredients together in this order in a greased 9x13 pan:
    8. one third-chicken mixture
    9. one half- pasta
    10. one half- cottage cheese mixture
    11. one third- mozzarella mixture
    12. one third- chicken mixture
    13. one half- pasta
    14. one half-cottage cheese
    15. one third- mozzarella
    16. one third chicken mixture
    17. one third- mozzarella on top
    18. If layering is too complicated, see notes for simplified version!
    19. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until golden on top and bubbly.
    20. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or basil and a sprinkle of pepper.