Monday, October 20, 2014

Cranberry white chocolate cookies

My sister gave me a big bag of dried cranberries after she realized she didn’t really like them.  My first thought was awesome, I’m going to make some cookies! And I’m glad I did.  These were delicious!

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries


In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, mix for about 5 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Once chilled, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will look extremely soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

According to the recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, the cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well - up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well - up to three months.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Smashed baby potatoes


8 whole new potatoes (I used baby reds)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Dash of garlic
Rosemary (or other herbs of choice)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.  On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato. With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

I topped these with shredded Colby jack, sour cream and some diced green onions. They were great.  Thanks, Pioneer Woman for the recipe. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pepper jack and bacon omelet - 150 calories

Want to spice up your morning breakfast but keep it healthy?  How about 150 calories and 11 grams of protein?  This quick and easy omelet is my new favorite breakfast meal.  

1 egg, scrambled
1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 wedge Laughing Cow Pepperjack cheese
1 tsp garden fresh salsa or pico di gallo 

Cook bacon and set aside on a paper towel to cool.  Pour egg into heated pan.  When first side is done, flip.  Spread crumbled bacon and chunks of cheese onto one half of the egg.  Let set for a minute.  Flip the empty side of the egg over the bacon and cheese.  Cook a bit longer so that the cheese begins to melt.  Top with fresh salsa or pico and enjoy! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Coral Reef drink

Need a quick and refreshing new drink? Try this lovely concoction and you can almost feel your toes in the sand.  

1.5 oz strawberry vodka (I used Smirnoff)
2 oz Malibu rum
Splash of lemonade
Splash of Squirt
Splash of grenadine

Serve over ice.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ritz Chicken Casserole

Review by Lyndee:

5 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup sour cream or room temperature Greek yogurt
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup melted butter
Optional- poppy seeds, garlic powder, other seasonings, to taste, shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken and cook. You can boil or bake it. I baked it the night before for 30 minutes at 350.  Cool slightly then cut into 1 in. cubes. Place cubes in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Stir together cream of chicken and sour cream/yogurt. Stir in any other desired seasonings. Pour over chicken.  In a bowl stir crackers, butter (and poppy seeds, if using). Sprinkle over casserole. I added some shredded Colby jack cheese on the top as well.  Bake 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Serve. 

This was creamy and warm.  Perfect for a cold fall evening in Iowa. The flavor was great and the crushed crackers added a fun texture.  Super easy to put together.  I will definitely make this again. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crockpot hotchata

Review by Lyndee

4 cups half and half
2 cups rumchata
1 cup cake vodka
1 bag andes mint chips

Mix all ingredients and cook in crockpot on low for 2 hours, stirring frequently. 

I couldn’t find Andes mint chips at all three stores I checked. So I went with a different brand.  The only weird thing? They were green. So my drink was green. Which could be cool for Christmas or holiday parties but was a little weird for a random bbq on a Saturday afternoon.  Next time I would only use half a bag of the mint chocolate chips.  It was smooth and delicious but very rich!!! I added the vodka because, let’s face it, vodka makes everything better and it was national vodka day.