Thursday, April 23, 2015

chocolate chip m&m cookies...

I am a cookie snob. There, I said it. These cookies are the BOMB! It doesn't get much better than this folks. This recipe makes a BIG batch of cookies...the good news is that the dough freezes beautifully. If you don't need 6+ dozen cookies in one shot (and why wouldn't you) just scoop dough onto cookie sheets and place in freezer. Once frozen place into freezer bags. The beauty of this is that if you have a hankering for one or two cookies, and who doesn't from time to time, just pull from freezer and bake. You're welcome.

1 1/2 cups shortening
1/2 cup butter; room temp
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar 
4 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
5 cups flour 
2 tsp salt 
2 tsp baking soda 
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup m&m's 
1/2 cup m&m's; set aside

Cream butter and shortening; add both sugars and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add in three batches, mixing just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and m&m's. Scoop onto lined baking sheets. Use reserved m&m's & place 1-2 m&m's on top of each cookie before baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

crispy roasted potato wedges...

Do you ever buy a giant bag of potatoes for $1.99, use what you need for one...maybe two recipes and then still have a giant bag of potatoes left?? Well, here's one solution for you. These bad boys are addictive. They are crispy and delicious on the outside and soft and fluffy inside. Mmmmmm!!

1 medium russet potato per person
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3-4 wedges. Place in a large ziplock bag. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat and sprinkle in salt & pepper. Shake to coat. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake about 10 min and flip to other side (don't rush this step...if potatoes don't lift easily after 10 min give it a little longer. When they have developed a crust they will lift easily) Bake an additional 10-15 (approximately) until crispy on each side and tender in the middle.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

balsamic quinoa vegetable salad...

Quinoa...Yes?? No??

The first time I tried quinoa the answer was a resounding "NO!" I didn't like it. 
Everyone else did.
So I played around with it until I found recipes I liked. This, being one of my favorites. There is no specific recipe, mostly just assembly. Even better! No measuring!

By all means if you feel inspired to make your own balsamic dressing, please do so. I go that route occasionally but I'm pretty happy with a pre made version. Cater the veggies to your own liking. I just used what I had on hand. 

This is great served at room temperature and would be perfect for a Summer BBQ...if Summer ever comes.

Balsamic Vegetable Quinoa Salad 

cooked quinoa 
english cucumber; diced
yellow pepper; diced
red onion; diced
carrots; shredded or diced
chopped baby spinach
sugar snap peas; chopped 
salt & pepper; to taste 
balsamic vinaigrette 

Mix everything together and let sit at least 30 min. before serving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

tortilla and black bean pie...

4 flour tortillas (10 inch)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion; diced
1 jalapeno chile; minced (remove seeds & ribs for less heat) *if desired
2 garlic cloves; minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper
2 cans (15oz each) black beans; drained and rinsed (OR 1 can black beans and 1/2 pound extra lean ground beef)
1 1/2 cups water1 pkg (10 oz) frozen corn
4 green onions, thinly sliced; plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim (if necessary) tortillas to fit a 9-inch spring form pan, using bottom of pan as a guide. Set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion, jalapeno, garlic and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5-7 min.
Add the beans, and water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 min. Stir in the corn and green onions and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Fit a trimmed tortilla in the bottom of the spring form pan; layer with one quarter of the beans and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat three times. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, 20-25 min. Unmold pie, sprinkle with green onions. Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

This is a fabulous recipe from Everyday Food's Great Food Fast cookbook. I love this book. I have so many recipes bookmarked just waiting to be made. The original recipe calls for 2 cans of beans and no meat. The meat was a delicious I'm feeding a hungry husband and three growing boys who love beef! I did also leave out the jalapeno.
We LOVED this. It was very filling and such a nice change from the regular tacos/burritos.
I think this would work great in a cake pan if you don't have a spring form pan. Just cut the tortillas to fit and it would be fine. This would also be great if you are cooking for a crowd and wanted to double or even triple the recipe.
I lightened this up by using lighter tortillas (thin & crispy, low carb, whole grain, etc) and using less cheese.