Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chunkolatenutterbutter Cookies

This is a treasured recipe of mine that I feel needs to be passed down to my readers before the holiday season is upon us. I can't remember how I came across this recipe, but it is one of the few recipes that's managed to stay in my collection of special occasion cookies because it never disappoints.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (or 1 tsp kosher salt, which is what I use)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulate sugar and peanut butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. (Seriously folks, wait until it is creamy). Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in morsels and peanuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Press dough down slightly to flatten into 2-inch circles. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft.

Cool on baking sheets 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Adam's Comments: They are really good. Definitely unique.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

Garlic. Cheddar. Chicken. How could I not make this recipe? I got this recipe from a wonderful set of girls who love to spend their days swapping recipes. With all the talk, this chicken recipe gave me high expectations for how delish this dish would be. I must admit that it did not disappoint. It's a great recipe to throw together in a flash and I bet everyone in your family will love it.

1/2 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and cook the garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.

In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.

Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.

Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Adam's Comments : "It's Yummy. It's cheesetacular."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms

Do you love pasta but are sick and tired of the same boring sauce? Get ready to throw a curve ball to your tastebuds with this unique dish. As a side dish or a veggie meal, this recipe is perfect for the month of October.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage (you can use fresh chopped sage too)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound pasta, cooked to al dente (I made whole wheat pasta)
Cheese of choice (I used sharp cheddar)

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms.

Next add sage and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and fresh sage leaves if desired.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


In honor of my super husband finishing his MBA degree, I spent this afternoon taking my first attempt and a "decorated" cake. I think I did pretty good for my first try! :)

I used the Mmmonika's Chocolate Cake recipe and a butter cream icing.

Morning Coffee

The recipe that most people ask me for isn't some fancy dessert or labor intensive meal. It actually is something that takes less that 5 minutes to prepare and I have daily. It's my world famous (okay, maybe only famous to me) coffee.

I've been drinking coffee since 3rd grade and I can't ever see starting my day without it. There is something about a nice rich cup of strong coffee that calms me down after my frantic morning routine, yet energizes me with a positive pick up and go to start my day.

3 Heaping Tablespoons Starbucks Verona Coffee, ground
12 oz water
2-3 Tablespoons coffee-mate fat-free hazelnut or french vanilla creamer

Special Equipment : Hamilton Beach Stay N Go coffee machine & No. 4 Coffee Filter

Fill up Stay N Go Cup with water (leave a little bit of room for the creamer).
Pour the water into the water reservoir.
Place the #4 coffee filter into the appropriate location on the coffee machine.
Fill filter up with coffee grinds
Press the button twice to start coffee machine (you can program the machine to start at a certain time, but I never use that functionality)
Once the red light goes off add creamer, stir, and enjoy.

If you want to drink coffee just like me, then wait 10 minutes before drinking you coffee. Making my coffee is normally the last thing I do before leaving my house in the morning. I take the cup of coffee with me for my 10 minute commute and then drink it when I get to my desk in the morning and prepare for the day's activities.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chicken with Figs and Gnocchi

If the last recipe with anchovies didn't scare you away from this blog, then you must be a true foodie. And any foodie would love this recipe. Packed with a broad array of textures and flavors, I was impressed with how complex and comforting this chicken was.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound thick-cut pancetta, chopped
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs, cut into large chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour for dipping
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
14 to 16 dried Mission figs, quartered (cut the tops tiny tops off too)
1 1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
One 12- to 16-ounce package fresh or frozen store-bought gnocchi
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives (10 chives)

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the pancetta. Cook the pancetta for 5 to 6 minutes to brown and crisp it, then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper and dredge in a little flour. Reheat the skillet, add the chicken and brown over high heat for a few minutes on each side to brown, then scoot the meat to the edges of the pan and add the onion, garlic and figs. Cook for 5 minutes , then mix the chicken chunks into the onion and figs. Add the wine to the pan and cook it down for 5 minutes or so, until about 1/3 cup remains. Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and thyme, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the chicken another 10 minutes, while you prepare the gnocchi.

Salt the boiling water and add the gnocchi; cook according to the package directions, then drain. Re-heat the gnocchi pan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and cook until the butter is browned. Add the gnocchi to the browned butter. Raise the heat to medium-high and lightly brown the gnocchi. Season the gnocchi with salt, pepper and the nutmeg, turning the gnocchi to coat. Add the chives, toss the gnocchi and remove from the heat.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If you would like a little more sauce, add 1/2 cup of broth to the pan. Mound the chicken and figs in shallow bowls and pile the gnocchi on top of the chicken in the center of the bowls. Garnish with the crisp pancetta sticks and serve.

Red Snapper in Crazy Water

Add a little excitement to your typical weekday menu by making a red snapper dish! I mainly by the wild caught Australian Red snapper, but I am sure whatever your grocery carries will be just as good. The fish tastes most and buttery in this meal and the broth is absolutely delicious. Oh, and don't be scared by the anchovies, when you melt them they take on a completely different flavor - trust me .

2 pounds red snapper fillet with skin, cut into 3-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 jar flat anchovy fillets
3/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons capers
1 quart chicken stock

Season fish pieces with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and anchovies. Melt anchovies into oil. Add snapper, skin side down and crisp the skin. Turn and brown the fish in oil 3 minutes. Add wine and deglaze the pan (lift up drippings) then add capers and scallions and stir in chicken stock. Stir the stew gently so you do not break up the fish. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook another 3 to 5 minutes to combine flavors.

Serve fish in shallow bowls with plenty of broth and some crusty bread. We didn't have any so we used Crostinis from Central Market (mini-breadsticks).

This is another adaptation for a RR recipe. (Yes, I am still her biggest fan!)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cheese Cookies

Every year as the holidays approach, my friends host these fantastic cookie exchange parties. Each person brings a few dozen of their favorite cookie and the recipe to share and by doing so, you get to take home everyone's different cookies and the recipes. It's a great way to get everyone in the holiday baking spirit!

Tonight 22 of my closest cookie-lover friends got together for some cookies, wine, and good times. I choose cheese cookies for two reason.

1. I love cheese. (I mean come on, who doesn't??)
2. I wanted a cookie that would stand out among all the sugar treats.

These savory cookies are perfect to pair with a glass of wine! My family especially loves these around the holidays because they make incredibly tasty make ahead appetizer for those unexpected holiday visitors.

2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons cayenne (use ½ tsp if you want less heat)
2 cups flour
2 cups rice krispies

Cream butter and cheese until well blended. Add flour and mix well. Add other ingredients.

Roll into little balls and flatten to disc shapes. Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Store in an airtight container 1 week.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Curried Chicken Salad with Taro Chips

If your household is anything like mine, it is very rare that the entire family is ready to eat at the exact same time - especially on the weekends. So what is a foodie supposed to do?? My perfect go-to meal on weekends like these has always been chicken salad. You can dress it up with a nice side veggie and serve on some sourdough bread or eat a few bites right out of the bowl.

The below recipe is really just an approximation. I don't typically measure my ingredients and just go by the taste alone, but so many people have asked for this recipe that it's about time I write it down.

1/3 c. mayo
2 tsp curry (I think I used 3 this last batch)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
pinch cayenne
1 c. diced cooked chicken
3 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp minced celery
1 tbsp minced shallot
salt & pepper
1 bag Taro chips

In a small bowl mix may, curry, mustard, lemon juice, cumin and cayenne. In a medium bowl combine chicken, raisins, celery, shallot and curry dressing. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I know this isn't the best picture, but I wanted you all to see what Taro chips were.