Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mini M&M Cookies

I go through phases with cookie recipes. This is the one I have been making recently. 3 times in the last month to be precise. :) Twice with m&ms and once with mini Reeses' pieces. I like to freeze the leftover dough in balls and then bake them when needed, straight out of the freezer. All you have to do is add 2-3 extra minutes to the bake time. The cornstarch in the recipe acts as a tenderizer. It also works without the oats, and you can of course substitute chocolate chips.

Mini M&M Cookies
2 cups flour
2 tsps cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsps vanilla
1/3 cup quick oats
1 cup mini m&ms, or other add in

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Add flour mixture and to creamed mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in oats and m&ms.
5. Using a TBSP sized scoop, drop dough onto prepared pan.
6. Bake on cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes on pan then transfer to wire rack.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

This might be one of the best things ever. I bought a loaf of Challah bread from the store just to try my hand at a Nutella french toast and I loved it so much! All you really do is make a Nutella sandwich and then cook it french toast style. If you've got some Nutella sitting in your pantry you need to go make this! Don't even bother waiting for breakfast! We had it for dinner. :)

Nutella Stuffed French Toast
12-14 slices bread, I like Challah or Brioche but anything works!
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 TBSPs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, bananas, or syrup

1. Spread Nutella on a slice of bread. Top with another slice like you are making a sandwich. Repeat until you have 6 or 7 sandwiches.
2. In a shallow bowl or pie pan, whisk eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until combined.
3. Heat skillet or griddle to medium and lightly grease it with cooking spray or butter.
4. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture turning to evenly coat both sides.
5. Cook on skillet until browned on both sides.
Serve with powdered sugar and bananas or syrup.
Makes 6 or 7 pieces

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Slow cooker recipes are my favorite. It's so nice to prep dinner in the morning and have it ready when it's time to eat! In this recipe, you cook the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker, then cook your pasta separately and mix it together before serving. My kids love this meal!

Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
adapted from familyfreshmeals.com
1 lb. chicken breasts
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1 oz) packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
½ tsp of pepper
½ cup water
8 oz. of spaghetti, cooked
 6 strips of bacon, cooked and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.
2. In medium bowl, mix garlic, ranch, soup, sour cream, pepper, and water. Pour over top of chicken.
3. Cover; cook on low heat setting 6 hours or on high heat setting 3 to 4 hours.
4. When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
5. Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked spaghetti, cooked bacon, and peas. Salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where I Cook

I've been in my new house in Texas now for 6 weeks, and I thought I'd post a few pics so you can see my behind the scenes. I love this kitchen! I especially love how big it is! There is ONE thing that I hate which you can see in the last picture.

I have lots of cupboard and drawer space. There is a pocket office in the back that keeps my papers out of the kitchen. My pantry is back there too. I love the big seating area at the bar, and that it's open to our living room space. 

Here's a pic from when we were looking at the house (husband and realtor included). When we moved in the kitchen was painted a dark brown. I miss my Washington white kitchen, but like the knotty look of the brown cabinets, so I decided to paint the kitchen walls an antique white. 

I've never had a wall oven or wall microwave before and they're great!

I have a nice gas cooktop and since the oven is on the wall, I've got space underneath to store my big pots.

Here's my pantry. Lots of space for my machines, big things, jars, and food. 

This is one of my favorite things. A big island with an outlet! I'm still trying to figure out the best place to take pictures of my food. I've been going back and forth between the kitchen table in this pic, and the dining room table.

And finally the one thing I hate...this is the switch for the disposal. Waaaaaaaay down the counter and around the side. I have to walk over there to turn it on, and I can't see if everything is going down the drain. So I leave it on, walk back to the sink, then go turn it off. SO STRANGE! I also hate the fact that my kids can turn it on at any point when I'm doing the dishes if they ever feel like chopping up my hands. But other than that, I think the kitchen and I will work very well together!!! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Creamy Tortellini and Sausage

Made this yummy one pot meal last week. Actually, I was a little busy when it was time to start dinner so my husband made it! He said he thinks it tasted better than normal because he made it himself and wondered if that's how I felt about my food. I told him yes. Haha. The tomatoes with the broth and cheeses make a great sauce. We used turkey sausage and Colby jack cheese, but there are lots of substitutions you could do. I added a little shredded Parmesan on mine and served it with a Caesar salad and these breadsticks. Next time I'm going to add a little pinch of red pepper flakes. 

Creamy Tortellini and Sausage
adapted from yellowblissroad.com
1 TBSP oil
½ cup diced onion
1 lb package of turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 cup chicken broth or water
20 oz. package of refrigerated tortellini
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 TBSPs cream cheese
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook onion until soft.
2. Add sausage and cook until browned.
3. Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
4. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. 5. Remove from heat and add cheeses. Cover and let stand for five minutes, then stir the melted cheeses until incorporated. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Peach Sauce

I made this peach sauce to go with my Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast. It would also be great with pancakes, waffles, or desserts!

Peach Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen peaches
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSPs cornstarch, mixed with 2 TBSPs cold water

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of water, sugar and lemon juice. Stir frequently, and bring to a low boil.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
3. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the peach mixture. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Serve warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

Notes: You can adjust the sweetness of the sauce by decreasing or increasing the sugar. Also, if you want it to be more syrupy instead of thick, then add a little more water.

Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast

I almost went a whole month without posting!! I'm in my new kitchen and getting settled. I'll do a post about it soon, but we're trying to finish painting it right now. This week I bought a bunch of peaches for $.78 a lb and wanted to try my Brazos Baked French Toast recipe with them. It was AMAZING! I've made it with blueberries too, but we liked this even better. I also used some to make a peach sauce, which I'll post separately, but the link will be listed below. It's super easy and great for breakfast, brunch, or if you're like us, dinner. :)

Peaches and Cream Baked French Toast
1 loaf french bread (day old bakery bread works great)
3-5 peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
8 oz cream cheese
4 TBSPs butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup peach jam
10 eggs
Powdered sugar
Peach sauce (optional) or whatever you want on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 in baking dish with non stick spray.
2. Cube bread and layer half in prepared dish. Layer the sliced peaches in rows on top of the bread cubes. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and drop them on evenly across the peaches. Cover with remaining bread cubes. 2. Pour melted butter over the top of the bread cubes.
3. Whisk together half and half, jam, and eggs pour over the top as evenly as possible. Try to cover all the bread. The jam might sink to the bottom and end up on top after pouring, which is totally fine. Press down with spatula so that the liquid is absorbed by the bread.
4. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. If it starts to get too brown, lay a sheet of foil on top until it has finished baking. Remove from oven and sift powered sugar over top. Cut into 8-12 servings. Serve with peach sauce or syrup.