Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

Yesterday began the first round of Christmas cookie baking. Have I mentioned how much I love my new silicone baking sheets. I've never made such pretty cookies. We started off simple with some chocolate chip cookies and chocolate pretzels as gifts for friends. Tomorrow begins the real work. Chocolate chip. Reeses peanut butter cookies (I'll post that recipe very soon). Sugar Cookies. Banana Walnut cookies. Pumpkin cookies. Depending on how all of that goes, maybe we'll make some chocolate peanut butter balls as well. Let the taste testing begin...my favorite part! Happy Holidays everyone. ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite New Kitchen Toy!

I don't know how I have made cookies all these years without this item. I didn't even know they existed until a few weeks ago when a friend of mine mentioned them to me. I'm sold! Never will I bake cookies without them again. How have I lived without silicone liners for so long. I have baked three different batches of cookies on these and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. I couldn't burn the bottoms if I tried. Seriously. These are by Technique. I ordered them from QVC. Right now they have them listed in their clearance section for less than $20 for both! One is a 13" x 18" aluminized steel cookie sheet with silicone liner. The other is a 9" x 13" pan with liner. They have measurements along the side, and there's no need for cooking spray. I made peanut butter and sugar cookies on them, and there was no sticking whatsoever.
I noticed they also sell a two pack of just the larger size as well. I believe that was around $30 if I recall correctly. Definitely a great present for yourself or another baker. If you want to splurge on something nice for yourself, I highly recommend these baking sheets!
Here's the link if you're interested: http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.K19238.desc.Technique-Aluminized-Steel-2-pc-Cookie-Pan-Setwith-Liners

Pepperoni Pita Pizzas

These are very quick and simple. My kids love them with plain cheese, and they are the perfect size for them to share.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes
Servings: 2
One pocketless pita (or pocket pita)
Spaghetti or tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Oregano, optional
Pepperoni slices or other toppings if desired (You may need to pre-cook some toppings)

1. Top the pita with sauce.
2. Sprinkle with oregano or other pizza seasonings of your choice.
3. Cover with cheese and preferred toppings.
4. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
5. Enjoy!
NOTE: Make the pocket pitas in a similar fashion. Just stuff them with the ingredients instead.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Garlic Chicken Bites

These are some tasty morsels.
Prep Time: 40 minutes (includes 30 minutes for marinating)
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
2 boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized chunks
1/4 c. water
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. breadcrumbs or crushed seasoned croutons
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Place chicken, olive oil, garlic, and black pepper in large mixing bowl and stir well.
2. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
4. Combine bread crumbs (or croutons) and cayenne in small bowl.
5. Coat individual pieces of chicken with the breadcrumbs and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until chicken no longer pink.
7. Enjoy!

Pico De Gallo

My husband absolutely loves this with salad and quesadillas. Great served as an appetizer with corn tortilla chips. It's a great way to put you fresh harvest to good use.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill time: At least 1-2 hours or overnight
Servings: 8
3 large tomatoes chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 c. fresh, chopped cilantro (good without cilantro as well)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours to let the flavors combine. May be prepared and allowed to chill overnight as well.
3. Enjoy!

Lean Meatloaf

This is a quick and simple meal that is a little healthier than traditional meatloaf.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8
1 1/2 lbs. of 90% lean ground beef
1 c. skim milk
2/3 c. herb seasoned croutons, crushed (place them in a one gallon Ziploc and crush with measuring cup. You will use the Ziploc again later.)
1/2 c. chopped onion (~one medium onion)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1. Crush croutons inside of a one gallon Ziploc.
2. Add all other ingredients into Ziploc, and mix well.
3. Place in loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (or until center no longer pink).
4. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Balls

Warning! These are rich and addictive!
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes (includes 2 hours of chill time)
Cook Time: 30 seconds
Yields: Approximately 50 balls.
1 c. chunky peanut butter (creamy will work as well)
3 1/2 c. confectioners sugar (almost a one-pound box)
2/3 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. shortening
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into chunks
1. Mix together peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla.
2. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 2 hours.
3. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
4. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
5. Melt the shortening and chocolate in microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until melted.
6. Dip balls into chocolate mixture and place on wax paper.
7. Chill in refrigerator.
8. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you will love this pie!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Time to Set: 1 hour
Servings: 8 slices
1 package (3.4 ounce) of chocolate, cook and serve pudding mix
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. Cool Whip (more if you want to use it as topping)
1 9-inch graham cracker crust
1. Cook pudding according to directions on package.
2. Remove pudding from heat and whisk in peanut butter.
3. Place pan in bowl of ice water for 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
4. Fold in Cool Whip.
5. Pour mixture into crust and cover.
6. Refrigerate until set (approximately one hour).
7. You may top the pie with the remainder of the tub of Cool Whip if desired.
8. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pretzels

These are a great holiday snack. Place them on a mixed cookie tray. They won't last long. The best part... They are very quick and easy to make.
Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 minutes
Servings: 50
50 mini pretzel twists
8 oz. package of milk chocolate Hershey Kisses
1/4 cup of M&Ms
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. On a greased baking sheet place one Kiss on a pretzel.
3. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate softened.
4. Place an M&M in the chocolate before it hardens.
5. Refrigerate pretzels for 5-10 minutes until chocolate is firm.
6. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recent Changes

My kids and I have spent the morning baking. I have made some small modifications to the cookie and muffin recipes. I've also added PICTURES! Enjoy!