With all the baking I do, I cannot believe I’ve never made Oatmeal Cookies, but I haven’t- I promise it is not just a ploy to get in my 6th recipe for the month!

So, when I saw that Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe and when I had a bridal shower I needed to make cookies for I realized it was time!

So- the difference with mine is that I used Quaker Oats instead of the rolled oats Smitten Kitchen suggests.  I think my cookies definitely came out differently than hers, so next time it is rolled oats!

Here’s the recipe:

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup (2 stick or 8 ounces) butter, softened

1 and 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
3 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.

At this point Smitten suggests chilling the dough, as the cookies will come out thicker.  I chilled it for about 1/2 hour just in the mixing bowl.  Next time I would freeze overnight, just to experiment!

Place the cookies two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in).  The cookies are done when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

I also think I overcooked the cookies a little, since it was my first time and my oven was faster than hers.

The verdict though?  YUM.  These cookies were huge, and soft yet chewy and delicious.  I will definitely be using this as my go to oatmeal cookie recipe!

I know the cheesecake is front and center here (not home made, but the best I’ve had in a while) but the cookies are there too- in the right hand corner!

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After my success with roasted red peppers earlier in the week, I was excited to have them again.  My Mom mentioned having made this recipe over the weekend and how delicious it was, so she sent it over.

YUM.  It is a lovely, easy, great tasting meal that is healthy too!  Basically, Peppers, Onions, Chicken and Tomatoes.  Can’t go wrong, right?

Matt roasted the red peppers and did a great job.

The real secret is letting this sit and stew for a while so the vegetables get nice and stewed and the chicken stays moist while soaking up all the flavors.

Here’s the recipe:

Delizie di Pollo con Peporoni (Chicken Morsels with Peppers)

Serves 4

4 large yellow bell peppers

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts cut in to bite-sized pieces

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

1 onion chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips, juices reserved.

Roast the peppers- there are a lot of ways to do this.  So far I’ve just been putting them on a pan in the oven for 20-30 minutes cut up.  I want to try whole next.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, if using (I used it it really helps make the dish I think), the garlic, the bell peppers and the tomato strips and their juices.  Simmer until the chicken in tender, 20-25 minutes.

The tomatoes I had weren’t great, so I can’t wait to try this again with really ripe and fresh tomatoes.

Kate brought some Trader Joe’s polenta to go with it, we sliced it and threw it in the oven for a few minutes- it was perfect!

This will definitely be a recipe I’ll make again.

Morsels

I was exctied to try this recipe because it meant roasting my own red peppers.  When the cousin I was making dinner for told me it was something he loved to do, I knew it was the right recipe for the evening.

The peppers themselves were so easy!  You slice them open and cut out the seeds and ribs and then lay them flat skin side up on a pan.  Drizzle on some olive oil and put them in the oven on 350 for about 35-40 minutes.  When you take them throw them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.  The skins will slide off and you have roasted red peppers!

The salsa was a little fussy with lots of ingridents.  I chopped and organized the ingredients as the peppers roasted.

I was a little hesitant about the golden raisins, the orange and the cinnamon spice mixture I’d be rubbing the chicken with as I don’t like sweet tastes in my entrees or salad dressings.

However- it was delicious.  I forgot to salt the chicken and the salsa, and I didn’t even notice- which is saying a lot for a saltaholic.  The olives really helped add the zestiness the dish needed to steer clear of sweet.

I used our griddle pan to grill the chicken, it worked perfectly and I will definitely be using it again. My biggest pet peeve with it so far was cleaning it, and this time I had a huge sink of hot soapy water to help.

I paired it with a box of garlic couscous and arugula salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For this dinner we pulled out our “table” and I set it.  I put a TV table next to it with the items so we could easily serve ourselves.  It was great to have a set table and to sit at it with guests and enjoy a delicious meal.

I’ve been really enjoying having citrus infused water with our meals, it is lovely to use the pitcher we got and since most recipes I’ve been making call for citrus I just buy an extra and throw the slices in the water.  Refreshing!

This one is worth typing in and I’ll definitely be making it again.

3/4 Cup coarsley chopped roasted red bell peppers

1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives (I pitted these myself, a little annoying but worth it for the freshness- just press the side of your knife onto the olive and it will split and you peel)

1/4 cup golden raisins

3 tbspn chopped red onion

3 tbspn chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

juice of 1 orange

Kosher salt (I didn’t use this)

2 boneless chicken breast halves

2 tbspns olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine the bell peppers, olives, golden raisins, red onion, cilantro, orange zest, and orange juice in a small bowl.  Season with kosher salt to taste (Again, I didn’t use the salt, you’ll think the salsa is too wet, but it isn’t and it will get wetter!)

Prepare your grill (or gridle as I used)

They have you tenderize the chicken, I should have tenderized it more, give it some good whacks.

Heat the olive oil in small heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add half of the spice mixture to the bell pepper mixture.  Brush the remaining spice mixture on the chicken and season with kosher salt to taste (again, didn’t use it, don’t think you need it).

Grill the chicken.  Spoon the salsa over the chicken and serve.

Not only did I have fun making this recipe, but I got to say, “Halibut for the Helluvit” a few times, which was really fun!

These recipes were in our Newlywed First and Forever cookbook.  The Halibut seemed like it would be easy to make and who doesn’t love a good couscous!

I didn’t crush the chips enough, and we over salted the Halibut, however the salsa was good that topped it and the couscous was the shining star!

I probably won’t make the fish again, I don’t typically cook fish and this one wasn’t good enough to try again.  With that said, I’m not going to type in the recipe.

Now, the couscous.  This was so easy, some chicken broth, some leeks, a pan with butter.  You let the leeks get melted in the pan and then stir them in to the couscous which has been cooked the broth.  Delicious!

Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture in time, so none this time.

I knew I’d make up for my failing in January by cooking extra in February, and I did!  This is my 7th new recipe of the month, and it feels great!

We had some friends over for a post Bar Exam celebration on Wednesday night so I decided it would be a great time to open up the cookbook and choose a new recipe.  I pulled out my Whole Foods Cookbook since I knew I could shop there Wednesday afternoon.  First I wanted to try a Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, but there were two goat cheese lovers and two goat cheese haters (I’m a lover, I can’t get enough of the stuff) so that was nixed.  I turned the page and found this recipe and knew it would be easy and yummy.  Luckily Matt is a recent cilantro convert so we had all Lovers in the bunch.

Whole Foods had great looking shrimp so I picked it up fresh, otherwise I probably would have used frozen.  I’ll be honest, I could tell the difference from when I’ve had both.  This shrimp was very pure and fresh tasting.

Basically for this recipe you do minimal chopping, the green onions and halving the cilantro and let the blender do the work.  The paste came out perfectly.  I layered it over the shrimp and stuck it in the fridge.  While I marinated I threw some Trader Joe’s fingerling potatoes in the oven with EVOO, S&P.  It was great to have the time to let them just roast.

After an hour the shrimp went in the pan, I ended up turning up the heat to high because it wasn’t cooking fast enough on Med-High- I think all the paste slowed down the heating process.

I plattered it all with the avocado, tomatoes and cilantro on top.  They were a great compliment to the shrimp and tasted great all paired together.  The one thing lacking was heat.  Next time I would leave the jalapeno seeds in, and might even throw another one in to the blender.  I also left out the cumin since I’m not a fan and swapped in cayenne – I couldn’t even taste the cayenne.

This recipe was so easy, it will definitely be a staple going forward- especially when I can get to Whole Foods at lunch for their great fresh ingredients!

Serves 6 (I served 4 with 1.5 pounds of larger shrimp)

Ingredients

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/3 cup sliced or whole almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 green onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and halved
2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
6 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Method

Set aside 6 sprigs of cilantro for garnish. Put remaining cilantro, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the oil, cumin, green onions, garlic, jalapeños, and 1/4 cup water in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute.

Arrange shrimp in a wide, shallow dish and spread cilantro paste over them. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and salt, and stir a few more times to scrape up any browned bits.

Transfer shrimp to a platter and garnish with reserved cilantro, avocados, and tomatoes.  (You really shouldn’t leave those out, they all pair really nicely together)

YUM

As soon as I read this recipe over on Smitten Kitchen after being referred to it via Stephanie Klein I knew I had to make it over the long weekend.  While blueberries are not abundant right now, we have a lovely little produce shop down the street I knew would come through for me, on the yummy and not too pricey blueberry front.

The recipe as Smitten Ktichen says is very, very easy.  It was fun to dig my hands into the mixture and get the consistency I wanted instead of just watching it happen in a mixer.  Not to knock the mixer, I am ever so grateful to have one.  So, back to the easy factor.  I made these while on the phone, balancing over our Super who was fixing the dishwasher.  Seriously.  That’s how easy this is to put together.  I made one mistake, I put the lemon juice in the dough, so I used some fake stuff I had in the fridge for the blueberry mixture- I honestly don’t think it made any difference.

Yield: More than you’ll need, seriously I had too many and I gave a lot out.

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg, I just used my hands. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.  Cool completely before cutting into squares, this helps a lot.

These came out gooey and smelled delicious.  The stayed delicous a week plus later.  The one problem, they go down too easy.  They’re not too sweat, have just the right tang and feel light and yet hearty.

The one thing I’d change is that I put too much of the dough mixture on the bottom of the pan and didn’t have enough to cover the blueberries, so they weren’t as bar looking or covered as I would have liked.

I will be revisiting these this summer for sure- they’d make a great 4th of July treat!

BlueSun Dappled

So tonight I tried something new that wasn’t from a cookbook, just my own imagination.  We had some potatoes in the fridge I wanted to cook, and some scallion we needed to cook.

I sliced the potatoes into about 1/4 inch thick slices- some thicker.  They went in a pan with two chopped scallions, oil and salt.  I put them in a 350 degree oven and let him cook for about an hour, maybe less.

They were delicious!  The first serving wasn’t quite crisp enough, when I went back for seconds they were much crisper and tasted like sour cream & onion potato chips.  Next time I’ll let them sit for a few minutes when they come out.

Verdict: YUM!

So last night I decided to just open to a page in my Gourmet cookbook and cook whatever it was.  The recipe below is what it opened to and I was excited!  I had never made biscuits before and ones with cheddar and scallion sounded great.  I also love using ground turkey for all kinds of things so I was looking forward to trying out a new way of cooking it.

I checked out the recipe online today and saw a lot of mixed reviews, so I got a litte scared.  I’m glad I read them though because I got a couple of good ideas for substitutions.  First, the recipe:

yield: Makes 8 servings

active time: 40 min

total time: 1 3/4 hr (includes making biscuits)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 lb ground turkey (not labeled “all breast meat”)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Tabasco, or to taste
  • Cheddar buttermilk biscuits

Preparation

Heat oil in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add turkey and sauté, stirring occasionally and breaking up large lumps with a wooden spoon, until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.

Purée tomatoes with juice, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a blender until smooth. Add to turkey and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve turkey sloppy joes on split Cheddar buttermilk biscuits.

yield: Makes 8 biscuits

active time: 15 min

total time: 40 min

These drop biscuits are as tender as they are easy; since the dough isn’t rolled out, there’s no chance of overworking it.
var recipeIntroText = “These drop biscuits are as tender as they are easy; since the dough isn’t rolled out, there’s no chance of overworking it. <p>\r\nThis recipe is an accompaniment for <epi:recipeLink id\”230464\”>Turkey Sloppy Joes on Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits</epi:recipeLink>.”;

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground; not coarse)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk

Preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 1 large baking sheet.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheeses and scallions with a wooden spoon, then add buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Drop dough in 8 equal mounds about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool to warm, about 10 minutes, then cut in half horizontally.

Cooks’ notes: You can use 2 small baking sheets instead of 1 large. Bake biscuits in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking. Biscuits can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in a preheated 350°F oven 10 minutes.

So- what did I do?

I used a can of tomato paste, and I used pureed tomatoes instead of whole so I didn’t have to use the blender.  I just poured all the ingredients in to a medium bowl and stirred together.

I sprinkled in some cayenne pepper and some chili spice without cumin so the turkey had a kick to it which was nice.  I will say that the turkey isn’t packed with flavor- that probably has to do with me not using any dark meat and the overwhelming amount of tomatoes in this recipe.  However, it worked well because the Cheddar Biscuits were nice and flavorful.
The biscuits were so easy to make, I was surprised and I will definitely be making them again.

This recipe does take a little while to make, but I think it is a great easy weekly recipe and it would work well for kids and families in general.  We’ll be having it for dinner tomorrow night too and freezing the rest!

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I get Martha Steward Craft, Organizing and Recipe emails everyday.  They are a little treat for me to open and read during the work day, and I often find a helpful tip, a fun craft or a yummy recipe.  Funny enough this recipe came from the organizing email.  It was about your Winter pantry, what to stock it with and how to utilize those items.  Included was a link to the recipe I decided to make.  I love pappardelle and the picture drew me in, so I decided to try it!

I grew up not liking onions.  I remember one dinner my Mom decided to tell me to close my eyes and she would feed me so she could get me to stop picking the onions out of my food and just eat it.  I would spend the whole time my family was eating picking onions out.  Istill don’t love them, but I’ve learned to appreciate what they add to a meal.

I was ready for these onions to take a while, instead I burnt them the first time.  They cooked much more quickly than the recipe said, and I had my heat on medium as instructed.  The second time (I had Matt run out and buy more onions) I watched them much more closely and they took about 10-12 minutes.  The pappardelle was so easy, I picked up a fresh package in a speciality market and it cooked in about 5 minutes.  Once I got the onions under the control the rest of the meal came together really easily and was delicious.  It had a simple, delicate flavor that wasn’t too overpowering or oniony!  I added some precooked meatballs for protein and a side salad with some balsamic and olive oil.

I don’t know if I’ll make this recipe again, but I will definitely be looking to use pappardelle again!

dinner-007

I dont’ remember how I found it, but I stumbled across what looked like an easy and yummy recipe for a berry meringue. (Plus she’s got great photos!)  I love meringues, and I love berries so it was perfect.  I wanted it to be one of my January recipes, but said stomach virus side tracked me.

Yesterday I was in NH for the day and being surrounded by a lot of fluffy white snow reminded me of this recipe, so I got to it!

Meringue’s are so easy with a mixer.  I remember when I was a kid helping my mom bake and whipping the egg whites and sugar by hand, yikes.

Getting the berries mixed in isn’t as easy as it may sound/look.  You really do have to be careful not to let the whites fall.  Using the spatula was a good work around, but it still didn’t mix as well as I would have liked and some meringues were berrier than others.  Oh well.

Unfortunately these didn’t come out ideal.  I think I could have let the egg whites whip for a few more minutes.  That mixed with the wet berries made the meringues a lot softer than I usually like.  I’ll definitely be trying these again, and now I’m excited and confident about making meringues in the future- they’re quite easy!

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