Thursday, January 28, 2010

M&M Cookies

There's nothing too special about these cookies. They're just your basic M&M cookie, and completely delicious. When I made these for my family at New Year's, I had to make a second batch just two days later.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening, butter, brown sugar and white sugar,

eggs and vanilla. Mix this well, then add the flour,

salt and baking soda, scraping down the bowl often during mixing to get all the sugary, buttery goodness!

Add the M&M's,

and mix well with a wooden spoon to distribute them throughout the batter.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.

(Thanks to my assistant Rachel for snapping this picture!)

Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.

Protect these from your cookie monsters!

Get more ideas at the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Cooking Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Feasts and Would you like Chocolate with That?

M&M Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup m&m's

Cream together the sugars, butter and shortening. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt, mixing well until all incorporated into the dough. Stir in the m&m's.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets, and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes 5 dozen.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Baba Ghanoush

This is my favorite appetizer at Middle Eastern restaurants, so I was excited to try my hand at it, using my food processor. This is very easy to make, and is a great dip for parties or a mid afternoon snack. It also can be used as a spread on sandwiches.

Start by cutting the top and bottom ends from an eggplant, then cut it in half lengthwise. Next, score the flesh side with a fork by just dragging the fork through the white flesh for the width of the eggplant.

Place the eggplant flesh side down on a baking sheet coated with non stick spray,

then bake for 30 minutes or until eggplant is softened.

Let cool, then scrape the flesh into a food processor bowl. It should separate from the purple peel quite easily.

Add the balsamic vinegar, garlic,

olive oil, salt and pepper and tahini to the bowl. (Tahini is sesame seed paste and can usually be found near the peanut butter in large supermarkets. After you've opened it, store it in the refrigerator.)

Process until the mixture is smooth.

Serve the dip with pita, pita chips or vegetables; and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

There are more ideas at Mouthwatering Mondays, Cooking with Chaya, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table and Tasty Tuesday, Ingredient Spotlight.

Baba Ghanoush

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. tahini

pita bread, pita chips, crudite for dipping

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and score flesh side with a fork. Place flesh side down on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until soft. Cool.

Scrape eggplant flesh into a bowl of a food processor and add garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and tahini. Process until smooth. Serve with pita bread, pita chips and/or crudite. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

Oh, boy these are good! And they come from Healthy Cooking, the "light" version of Taste of Home, so you can eat them guilt-free! (or have seconds, and thirds...) This is also one of the easiest cheesecake recipes but you will need to plan ahead a bit - it's best for cream cheese and sour cream to be at room temperature, and the coffee and chocolate need to be cooled before adding them to the cream cheese.

I think that anything that starts with an oreo crust is bound to be delicious. I used two rows of oreos for this recipe - which I think was probably more than the 25 cookies it called for - crush them up in your food processor, or with a rolling pin or whatever you have.

Add the chocolate syrup and the melted butter,

then pulse until it is blended. If you're not using a food processor, simply combine the crumbs with the syrup and butter and mix well. Pat the crust into a greased 9x13 pan;

cover and set in the freezer for 15-20 minutes while you assemble the filling.

Pour the coffee into a small saucepan, and sprinkle the gelatin over it.

Cook this over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Set aside the coffee to cool. Melt the chocolate however you like best - I normally put it in a small glass bowl and microwave at about 50% power until it's soft until to stir. Set aside the chocolate to cool.

Combine the cream cheese and the sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Beat this until smooth. When beating cream cheese, it's really important to scrape down the sides of the bowl often, and scrape up the bottom - you don't want to find a layer of cream cheese there when you're done!

Beat in the sour cream,

and the chocolate

and the coffee.

Mix this until completely blended, then pour over the crust.

This can be garnished in a number of different ways - I always like to grate chocolate over the top of most anything, so that's what I did!

You can also garnish each piece with a chocolate covered coffee bean, which I did for the final photo op (at the top of this post.) Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight to set completely.

Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator, if you have leftovers...

Find more ideas at Save Room for Dessert, What's Cooking Wednesday , the Ultimate Recipe Swap , Cooking Thursday, Foodie Friday, Friday Food, Food on Fridays, and Would You Like Chocolate with That?.

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

25 cream filled chocolate cookies (like Oreos)
3 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 - 8 oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) reduced fat sour cream
3 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

grated chocolate (from a 1 oz. square of semisweet chocolate)
chocolate covered coffee beans

Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Add the chocolate syrup and butter and pulse until combined. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish/pan coated with nonstick spray. Freeze while you assemble filling to allow crust to set.

Pour coffee into a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 1 minute; then heat over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, chocolate and coffee until blended. Pour over crust. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Garnish with grated chocolate and/or chocolate covered coffee beans. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 20.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pasta with Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli

This is a recipe I devised after not being thrilled with any of the recipes I could find online for some kind of shrimp and vegetable combination in a creamy sauce. I must admit, it turned out beautifully and is SO good. I brought leftovers to work for lunch, and got comments like "what restaurant is that from?" People were very impressed when I answered "my kitchen!"

It has a few steps, and did dirty THREE pans, but it was worth it! (Don't let that scare you - this is an easy recipe, and well worth the dirty dishes.)

Start by bringing a large pot of water to boil. (I wanted more veggies and less pasta, so I only used 6 oz. of pasta. If you like more pasta, or you need to stretch this, feel free to use more.) Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Then add the broccoli florets and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, start making the cream sauce. This is just a basic white sauce with some added goodness.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the flour.

Cook and stir this until bubbly, then gradually add the milk.

Bring this to a simmer until it is slightly thickened, stirring quite often so it doesn't scald the bottom of your pan. Remove from the heat and add the parsley,


worcestershire sauce, salt and parmesan cheese,

and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.

Next melt some more butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add garlic

and red pepper flakes. I used 1/2 tsp. of flakes and it had quite a bit of kick. You may want to use more or less to your taste. Cook the garlic and the red pepper until fragrant, about two minutes, then add the zucchini, and stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Next add the shrimp

and stir fry for an additional 2 minutes, just enough to get the shrimp heated through and coated with the garlic and red pepper. If the pasta is now sticking together a bit, rinse it and the broccoli under hot water, then add it to the shrimp and zucchini,

and then add the cream sauce.

Stir well to coat everything with the sauce. Delicious!

Get more inspiration at Mouthwatering Mondays, Cooking with Chaya, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, and Tasty Tuesday.

Pasta with Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli

6 oz. angel hair pasta
3 cups broccoli florets, in bite sized pieces
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbsp. minced garlic, divided
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2" slices crosswise, then each slice halved
1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for 6 minutes, then add the broccoli florets and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add the flour and stir and cook for one minute. Gradually add the milk; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the parsley, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, salt, Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter over medium high heat. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. minced garlic and red pepper flakes; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook and stir 2 more minutes or until shrimp are heated through and zucchini is tender.

Rinse the pasta and broccoli if necessary, then add to the shrimp and zucchini mixture in the skillet. Pour the cream sauce over and stir well to combine.

Serves 4.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

This is a fun, different take on oatmeal which we really enjoy. You can make a big batch of it on the weekend, and dish it out several times during the week for a warm morning wake-up. The hearty oats combined with fruit sticks to your ribs, just like oatmeal should!

Start by combining the oats, baking powder and dried fruit in a 1 quart greased baking dish.

You can use any dried fruits you like, I just used the combination that I had leftover from making toasted almond granola.

Then add the apple - I usually just use one - cored and chopped, I leave the peels on.

Finally, add the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Next, combine the milk,

oil, eggs and brown sugar in a blender jar.

Blend this together until it is well mixed,

then add to the dry ingredients in the casserole dish.

Stir it well so that all the ingredients get coated with the liquid,

then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, bake for 45 minutes.

Serve the oatmeal with milk, and watch the smiles appear around your table!

For more great ideas, visit Cooking Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food and What did you Bake Today?

Baked Oatmeal

1 1/2 cup quick oats
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (or more to taste)
raisins, craisins, chopped apple
2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar

Grease a 9-inch baking dish or 1 quart casserole dish. Mix the oats, baking powder, spices and fruits in the dish. In a blender, combine the milk, oil, eggs and brown sugar and blend until well mixed. Pour into the dish and stir to combine.

Refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Serve with milk. Serves 6.
Powered by Blogger.