Monday, December 15, 2014

Almond Cherry Double Chip Cookies

Christmas time is here and I can be found n the kitchen baking away. This year I had a few new cookie creations on my list of things to bake. First up were these almond cherry double chip cookies. If you're a fan of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream, you must make these cookies. The flavor is similar with the mixture of the cherries and the chocolate.  These cookies have a little crisp on the outside and a sweet, soft center. They will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth and will be the perfect addition to your holiday cookie platters. Enjoy!


INGREDIENTS: 

1 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
2 lg. eggs
1/2 tablespoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour (all purpose)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips 
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1  cup dried cherries, chopped

DIRECTIONS: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda, then set aside. 

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Next, mix in pudding mix. 

3. Then add in the eggs, and almond extract. Mix well. 

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until dough is formed

5. Stir in the dried cherries, white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

6. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. Remove cookies from oven. Let them cool on baking sheet for one minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container. 



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brookies

Brookies. Have you heard of them before?  A brownie and a cookie mixed together. Yup. It's as amazing as it sounds. 

This past Thursday, I realized I hadn't crossed off many things from my fall baking list. Yes, I made a list of things I wanted to make. I do this a lot. It's the only way I get things done. I also realized that I had yet to send a fresh baked treat to work with hubs this fall. Since Halloween was the following day, I decided it was the perfect time to send some treats in with him. 

I used a boxed brownie mix for the brownie part of this deliciousness. I had a box in the pantry and went the easy route. If I had cookie dough in the fridge for the cookie part, I would have used that too. Unfortunately, I didn't. So I used the recipe below for the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie portion. 

Overall, it took me a little less than a half hour (with a little at my foot and one in the solly baby wrap on my chest.) Cook time was a half hour. Worth every minute. These babies were my kind of dessert. The best of both worlds all in one little square. I ate three right away and had to package the rest before I ate the entire pan. These are sure to be a hit at any gathering this season! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brookies
Adapted from Something Swanky 


Ingredients
    Brownie Mix with ingredients for brownies: eggs, oil water 
    For the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie layer:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin spice baking chips
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Prepare brownie mix as directed on the package. Set aside. 

  3. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the salt, baking soda, and flour. Add it to the butter/ sugar mixture little by little until the dough is formed. 
  5. Fold in the pumpkin and chocolate chips. 
  6. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Just enough to cover the bottom of the dish in a thin layer. 
  7. Next, drop tablespoon sized balls of dough on top of the brownie layer. I used a medium cookie scoop to do this. I tried to evenly place them on top of the batter. Spread lightly with a knife or spatula. 
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.



You'll have half of the brownie mixture left over. You can make another batch of the brookies or make some brownies. I decided to make 24 mini brownies using a mini muffin pan with the leftover batter. I baked them for 10 minutes at 350.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is a staple in my house during the fall months. If you come over for coffee, I'll most likely offer you a piece of pumpkin bread to enjoy with it. There is just something about pumpkin bread, coffee and the cool fall breeze that fits together. It's my idea of an ideal breakfast, or lately in my case, my mid morning snack. Here is a recipe for my favorite pumpkin bread. The combination of the sweet chocolate chips with moist pumpkin bread, topped off with spices is perfect for fall. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350. 
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking side, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. 
  • 2. In another bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and vegetable oil. 
  • 3. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture about a cup at a time and continue to mix. 
  • 4. Once batter is formed, fold in chocolate chips. 
  • 5. Pour into a greased loaf pan (mine was 8x4.) 
  • 6. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through. 
  • 7. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a finish cooling on a wire rack. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Pot Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta

One pot pasta dishes have been a recent favorite around here. I don't have as much time to cook with a toddler getting into everything and an infant who likes to be held a lot during dinner time. This particular dinner doesn't have much prep time, cooked in less than a half hour and was enjoyed by the entire family (including the toddler and my parents.) There wasn't any left over but if there was I'm sure it would have been just as good the next day for lunch. Enjoy! 

ONE PAN CHICKEN APPLE SAUSAGE PASTA



Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package chicken apple sausage, sliced (about 1lb)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 apple, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes 
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces penne pasta 
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
sliced green onions for garnish 
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
1. In a large skilled cook the sausage on medium high heat, until brown. 
2. Add in garlic and apples, cook for another minute.  
3. Once apples and garlic are cooked, add in chicken broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Once it's at a boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked. 
4. Once pasta is cooked, add the cheese. Stir to combine. 
5. Once cheese is melted remove from heat and add the green onions. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Toffee and Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies

The week before baby #2 was born, I spent most of my time during the day in the kitchen. It was the first week of fall and I wanted to make everything and anything pumpkin. I scoured Pinterest for hours and made a master list of everything I wanted to bake over the next few months. I also started experimenting with some new recipes using some of the new pumpkin ingredients I've found at the store. One of the new ingredients I've added this year is the Toll House pumpkin spice morsels, which I found at Target. For this recipe, I wanted pumpkin flavor without using canned pumpkin. I love canned pumpkin but using it in cookies tends to make them soft. I decided to pair the new pumpkin morsels (chips) with toffee bits after seeing a I love toffee and pumpkin together, but I didn't want to make a traditional pumpkin cookie because they can be too soft sometimes. These are soft on the inside with a perfect crunch on the outside. They have the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice.  Enjoy this tasty fall treat!


Ingredients
1 cup butter softened
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 ¼ cup flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 1/2 cups of toffee bits (found in baking section)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin spice baking chips 


Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375. 
2. Mix together butter and sugar, beat until creamy. Add egg and continue to mix. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. 
4. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Continue to mix until well blended. 
5. Stir in toffee bits and pumpkin spice chips.
6. Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake about 9-11 minutes, until edges are set. I used a medium sized cookie scoop, which made just over 3 dozen cookies. 
7. Let cookies cool for 1 minute on baking sheets before removing to a cooling rack.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Double Chip Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is officially here and I couldn't be more excited. To celebrate, I spent some time this weekend baking away. Almost everything I made involved pumpkin. All but one recipe turned out to be a keeper. 

Today, I'm sharing my new cookie recipe with you. I love pumpkin cookies but don't love that sometimes they are too soft and mushy. These cookies were exactly what I was looking for. They had a little crunch on the outside and were soft and chewy on the inside. They have the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice without being too overpowering. I ended up freezing half of them just to keep myself from eating them all. Definitely a recipe that will be used for many years to come. Happy Fall! 

Also, I bought the Hershey's Toll House pumpkin pie chips at Target. I haven't seen them anywhere else this year. 



Ingredients: 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin spice chips (baking morsels)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips 

Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
2. Mix the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon together in a bowl. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl combine the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract and mix well. 
4. Gradually add the flour mixture and continue to mix until dough is formed. 
5. With a spoon, mix in the pumpkin and chocolate chips. 
6. Line a large cookie pan with a baking mat or parchment paper. 
7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on the pan, I used a medium cookie scoop and fit 12 cookies on each pan. Bake for 13-14 minutes. 
8. Allow to cool for one minute on baking sheet then move to a wire rack to cool completely.  
*Makes about 4 dozen cookies*

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Turkey Chili with Cornbread Waffles

Yesterday, the weather dropped a bit here in Florida. The high was just over 80 degrees. I'm sure that is still hot for many of you, but I'll take any taste of fall I can get. As soon as I looked at the forecast for the day, I knew it would be a perfect day for the first crockpot chili of the season. 

Turkey chili is a staple in our house during the fall and winter months. I make it every other week, using pretty much the same recipe. Last night, I decided to use the waffle iron to make cornbread waffles to go with our chili after seeing it on Pinterest. 

I have to say that this is the best way to serve cornbread with chili. There was cornbread in every bite of chili I had and it was absolute perfection. Mom, dad and hubs agreed and said this needs to be our Sunday night football dinner from now on.  Success! 

Turkey Chili 

Ingredients: 
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes 
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 (16 oz) cans pinto beans
1 cup chicken broth
1 packet of chili seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions to garnish 

Directions: 
1. Season your ground turkey with a little salt and pepper.  Brown it over medium heat until its cooked through and no longer pink.  
2. Remove from heat.
3. In the crockpot, add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili mix and chicken broth. Stir to combine. 
4. Add ground turkey to the tomato mixture in the crockpot. Stir to combine. 
5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  
6. When it's time to serve, spoon your chili over waffles (see below for directions) and garnish with your choice of toppings. 


Cornbread Waffles 

I used 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix and followed the directions on the box to prepare them. The only thing I added was 2 tsp of chili powder to the mix to give the waffles an extra kick. 

Make sure your waffle iron is hot and ready. Pour the cornbread batter onto the waffle iron and close to cook. I used a large cookie scoop for the batter and made 5 medium waffles for this meal. Our waffles took about 4-5 minutes to cook through. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Big Sister Survival Kit

I've been working hard getting things ready for little man's arrival, which is less than two weeks away. For the most part my bags are packed, clothes are washed and we have what he will sleep in. That is all I need, right? 

Anyhow, one of the big things on my to do list before he gets here was making a survival kit for big sister Avery. I have it packed for the hospital so it's there when she visits Luke for the first time. I wanted to include items in it that would keep her busy and entertained while she was there once the newness of her little brother wore off. 

Here is what I included in the survival kit:

(top left to bottom right)

{One}
This adorable and personalized notebook is from Tiny Prints. I'm absolutely in love with how it came out and the quality of the notebook. Avery loves to color and write in all of my notebooks so I figured she would love one of her own. I personalized it with pictures of our family on the front, it makes me smile every time I look at it. 

{Two}
Princess Wand
This was a Target Dollar Spot find. She is obsessed with all things princess right now, I have a feeling this magical wand will be a big hit. 

{Three}
Frozen Play Pack
Another Target Dollar Spot find. Again, she is princess (and Frozen) obsessed right now. 

{Four}
Arts and Crafts. 
Again….Target Dollar Spot for the win! She loves to color so I thought this would be a fun little craft for her to do.  

{Five}
Minnie Mouse Play Camera 
I'm sure we will all be picture crazy when Avery meets Luke for the first time. I thought it would be fun for her to have her own little camera to pretend to take pictures with as well. If she was a bit older, I would totally give her a disposable camera. 

{Six}
Avery absolutely loves these. They are great to take on the road and out to dinner. All they require is a little water and are reusable. They don't make a mess and keep her entertained for a while. This is a new notebook and she loves animals, I think she'll be obsessed. 

{Seven}
Fruit Snacks
One of her favorites that she doesn't have on a regular basis. 
Tried to put "new" things in it that she won't put to the side in three seconds. 

{Eight}
Animal Crackers
when in doubt feed the toddler!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


One of my most popular posts on this blog is the survival kit I made for hubs before Avery was born.
I didn't want to forget about him this time around either. I decided to put together a little basket of his favorite sweets and treats for the hospital. In this survival kit I included gummy bears, trail mix, Twizzlers, gum, chap stick, protein bars, mints, Kit Kat and Starbursts candy. 



  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Easy Apple Crisp & Grandparents Day Celebration

September 7th was Grandparents Day. Honestly, I didn't know there was such thing until I had a child. Now, it's a day I make sure I am well prepared for. Avery has 6 very special grandparents in her life. I love that there is a day set aside to celebrate them. 

Since two sets of Avery's grandparents live in different states, I used Treat to make them a sweet card. I love how I can add pictures to the cards using Treat and also schedule the delivery so it arrived right before Grandparents Day. 

On Grandparent's Day we had a nice dinner with my parents and grandmother. Avery was very excited to hand her nana and papa their card, also thanks to Treat.




Hubs and I decided to cook a nice dinner for the family so my parents could have a night off. We grilled steaks with shrimp, devoured skillet red potatoes along with steamed broccoli. 

I was in charge of the dessert. A task I usually volunteer for and thoroughly enjoy. I decided to try my hand at apple crisp for the first time. I had all things fall on my mind and this seemed like the perfect sweet treat to kick off September and the start of fall (in my book.) 

I have to say, I can't believe I have never made this dessert before. It was so simple to prepare and was finished cooking right when we were through with dinner. It served the 5 of us perfectly with one serving left over. As tempting as it was so say "the baby wanted more" I held strong and resisted. Everyone gave the dessert their approval and requested it again. It was a wonderful Grandparents Day dinner! 


Easy Apple Crisp
Courtesy of Betty Crocker 


Ingredients: 

4
medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/2
cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3
cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg
Serve with vanilla ice cream

Directions: 

  • 1Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
  • 2Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except ice cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
  • 3Bake about 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

I have to admit I haven't been the best with meal planning lately. We're living with my parents while our house is being finished and I'm also 9 months pregnant. After chasing around my two year old all day, I don't really have the energy or desire to spend a lot of time on dinner. 

The other night my mom had taken chicken out for dinner. Everyone was on their way home from work and I wanted to have dinner ready when they got home. It was a rare day of extra energy and I took full advantage of it! Anyhow, I immediately turned to my Pinterest Recipe board and started searching for something quick that I could make with ingredients we already had. Did I mention grocery trips with a two year old who doesn't like to stay in the cart no matter how many cookies you bribe her with are no fun? 

My search ended with this recipe. I had all of the ingredients and not a lot of time to get dinner on the table. This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. The recipe took less than 10 minutes to prep and about 35 total to bake. The entire family was impressed with this chicken. My mom kept asking how I made it. We served it with baked red potatoes and broccoli. Enjoy! 


Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken
Adapted from All Recipes 

Ingredients: 

4 skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon bits (more if desired)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
lemon pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, and drizzle evenly with honey and mustard. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
3.
Bake chicken 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Top each breast with bacon bits and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, bacon is crisp, and cheese is bubbly.

*The original recipe said to use chicken breast halves. I used regular breasts and they turned out great. They were cooked through in the amount of time listed above and were unbelievably juicy*

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{Crock Pot} Honey Parmesan Pork Loin

It's that time of the year. Not only is it football season and almost the start of fall, but it's crock pot season. Although I do use my crock pot all year long, I use it multiple times a week in the fall and winter months. 

Pork loins are one of my favorites to cook in the crock pot. I've had great success with most of the pork recipe's we've tried in the crock pot, they are always so tender, juicy and fabulous leftover. I made this recipe while at my parents this past week. They always have fresh grated parmesan cheese in their fridge and I was determined to use it in one of the meals I planned. I used a few different recipes for this dish and was happy with how it turned out. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of honey with the parmesan cheese, it was full of flavor but not overpowering. The family (including my two year old!) gave this recipe an A+ and asked for it to be added to the rotation.   That I can make happen! 


Ingredients: 
1 boneless pork loin (mine was just over 1lb)
2/3 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup honey
1Tbs coconut oil (olive oil could be used as well) 
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs italian seasoning 
1 Tbs minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Directions: 
1. Spray the crock pot with non stick cooking spray. We used Pam coconut oil spray. 
2. Add the pork to the crock pot and season it with the salt and pepper. 
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (honey, cheese, oil, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce & garlic) together in a separate bowl. 
4. Once mixed together, pour it over the pork. 
5. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Make sure the temperature is 160 before you take it out. 
6. Pour some of the extra juices over it to serve. 

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{One Pot} Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet

I made this last night for the third time. It's a big hit with my family, a quick and easy weeknight meal. Perfect for back to school dinner planning. The entire meal takes 20 minutes, start to finish. Plus there are only five ingredients. It doesn't get much easier than that! The one thing I will probably do next time is lighten it a bit. I will use italian turkey sausage and whole wheat tortellini. I cut the cheeses in half, just sprinkling it lightly over the dish. 


Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet
Courtesy of  Yellow Bliss Road (with slight changes)

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 240-24 oz package of fresh cheese Tortellini
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce (1-24 oz jar)
  •  
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet. Crumble in sausage and cook through, until no longer pink.
  2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tortellini.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until tortellini is tender. 
  4. Remove from heat. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over tortellini.
  5. Place the lid back on and let the cheese melt for about 5 minutes. 

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