Saturday, October 24, 2020

Beef Chili

This is a great, quick and simple recipe from Penzey's for chili in the slow cooker.  I like that it uses beef stew meat instead of ground beef.  I was supposed to use a spice called Arizona Dreaming from Penzey's, but I didn't have it, so I used their Southwest Seasoning.  One could also use Taco Seasoning.  
Beef Chili
adapted from Penzey's

1 lb. beef stew meat
1 15-oz. can chili or pinto beans
1 15-oz. can black beans
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1-2 Cups salsa (your favorite)
1 tsp. sugar
1-2 Tbs. Penzey's Arizona Dreaming, Southwest Seasoning, or Taco Seasoning

1. Add all ingredients to your slow cooker.  Stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours in the slow cooker.  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar and tortilla chips.

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious, easy peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips.  Soft, chewy and delicious.  

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups smooth or chunky peanut butter
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (or a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine the butter and peanut butter and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can do this with a hand mixer or with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Add the brown and white sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just briefly. While there are still large spots of flour, add the chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips or both) and mix until the flour is completely mixed in and the mixture is well combined. Let the cookie dough sit for 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheets. It will firm up as it sits.

2.  When ready to bake, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough on to silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets leaving about 1 to 2 inches in between the cookies to allow for spreading as they bake. Bake for 10-11 minutes, taking care not to overbake! Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes after baking before removing them to a cooling rack. This will help them set up and be firm enough to transfer without having them overbake in the oven. The cookies may look slightly underbaked but they will firm up as they cool. 
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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Stovetop Chicken Fajitas


We loved this fajita recipe.  I made it months ago- lol- but haven't had a chance to post it.  The pics could be better, but don't let that stop you- these are delicious with so much flavor.  Try to make the Chipotle Crema with this- it really adds such great flavor.  
Stovetop Chicken Fajitas
adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

2 large chicken breasts sliced horizontally to create 4 fillets (1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any mix of colors)
8-12 flour tortillas

Chicken Fajita Marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tsp EACH garlic pwdr, onion pwdr, salt
1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, chipotle chili pwdr, dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Chipotle Lime Crema (optional):
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
Filling/Topping Ideas

Guacamole/chopped avocados
Recipe Avocado Crema
Chopped tomatoes
black beans
Freshly squeezed lime juice

1.  Marinade: In a large freezer bag, whisk together all of the Chicken Fajita Marinade ingredients. Remove 2 tablespoons to use later for vegetables. Add chicken to freezer bag and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 6 hours up to overnight (longer the better).

2.  Chipotle Lime Crema (optional): Whisk together all of the ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

3.  Chicken: When ready to cook, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, dab excess marinade off chicken and add to skillet. Cook chicken undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 2-4 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips.

4.  Vegetables: Meanwhile, Add 1 tablespoon oil to the leftover juices in the skillet along with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Heat over medium high heat. Add onions and saute 1 minute. Add bell peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat.

5.  Assemble: Layer tortillas with Chicken Fajita mixture and desired toppings. Top with Chipotle Lime Crema.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


These were super delicious and not all that hard to make.  Chocolate and peanut butter is always great together.  The original recipe makes a lot, and I cut it in half to fit one 9x13 pan.  

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
(I cut in half to fit a 9x13 pan)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (13.5 ounces) creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups (22.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet (11X17-inches) with nonstick cooking spray. (I cut this recipe in half to fit a 9x13 pan).

2.  For the peanut butter cookie dough, in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until no dry streaks remain.

3.  Reserve about 2 1/2 cups of the dough (20-25 ounces) and set aside. Press the rest of the cookie dough in the bottom and into the corners of the prepared pan.

4.  For the fudge, in a microwave-safe bowl (or in a saucepan on the stove), combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt, chocolate chips and vanilla. Cook for 1-minute increments, stirring in between (or on medium-low heat on the stovetop), until the mixture is melted and creamy; don't overheat or let it burn!

5.  Pour the fudge filling over the cookie dough layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or knife.
Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top in small pieces (it won't cover the top completely- that's ok).
Bake the bars for 15 minutes - don't overbake! The cookie dough should be soft; resist the temptation to let them cook until browned. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving. The bars can be cut and stored in the refrigerator, well-covered, for several days or frozen for several months.

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Caprese Salad in a Bowl

I make regular Caprese Salad all the time- just layer fresh mozzarella or burrata on a serving tray with fresh tomatoes and basil, and top with salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil and balsamic reduction.  I guess I don't really have a recipe on here for it- but I just make it like described above.  I can add one soon.  Anyway, this recipe is a variation on that and great for summer.  You just mix everything in a bowl.  Be sure to use the tiny balls of fresh mozzarella. 
Caprese Salad in a Bowl
adapted from Dinner at the Zoo

5 cups tomatoes, chopped, more or less (can use cherry tomatoes)
1 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls
1/4 cup red onion, chopped small
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 dried marjoram

1.  Place tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion, and basil in a serving bowl.  In another small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, oregano and marjoram.  Pour over tomato mixture and stir to combine.  Serve immediately, or cover and store in the fridge until serving. 
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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cookies & Cream Brownies

These brownies are good and fun to make- the brownie layer by itself is just a good brownie recipe, and then adding the cream cheese plus the chopped Oreos really adds something.  I only had mini Oreos on hand when I made this, and they worked perfectly.  Use mini or regular size.
Cookies & Cream Brownies
adapted from Taste of Home

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 Oreo cookies, crushed (double if using mini's)
8 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (double if using mini's)

1.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth; set aside. For brownie layer, combine the butter, sugars and cocoa in a large bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to cocoa mixture. Stir in crushed cookie crumbs.

2.  Pour into a greased 9x9-in. baking pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture over batter. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped cookies. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Sheet Pan Roasted Gnocchi & Veggies

We loved this gnocchi dish.  Well, the veggie-lovers in my house did.  I can't speak for the rest.  It was so quick and easy to put together, especially using refrigerated fresh gnocchi from the store.  It's super wonderful when you make it, but the leftover gnocchi got mealy, unfortunately.  Maybe using homemade gnocchi would help with that problem.  But then it's not quick and easy anymore! Lol.  The leftover veggies are great, at least. 
Sheet Pan Roasted Gnocchi & Veggies
adapted from the Kitchn

1 pound fresh, shelf-stable, or frozen potato gnocchi
1 (12-ounce) bag mixed baby bell peppers (or 2 medium bell peppers), cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving

1.  Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Place the gnocchi, peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, and a few generous grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and gently toss to combine. Spread the gnocchi mixture out evenly on the prepared baking sheet.

3.  Roast, stirring halfway through, until the gnocchi are plump and the vegetables are tender and caramelized, 18 to 20 minutes total.

4.  To serve, spoon the gnocchi and vegetable mixture into individual bowls and garnish each bowl with the basil and grated cheese.
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