Sunday, November 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are always one of my favorites. They provide that sweet and salty-ness that is awesome. I added chocolate chips that I had laying around that just made these even better! 4/5 rating.

Peanut Butter Cookies-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Makes 36 Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
In a large bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Mix in chocolate chips.

Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork or meat mallet if desired. Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes. Remove to wire racks

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

These cookies were really good! The original recipe called for salt, but I omitted it because I had salted macadamia nuts. 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies-adapted from The Culinary Chronicals
Total Time: 20 Minutes

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus 1 Tablespoon
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Cup Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg plus 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Heaping Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Heaping Cup White Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nuts by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 14 -15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

I wanted to try something a little different when I made cookies last weekend. If you're ever really craving chocolate-make these cookies! They were so good (4/5). They also stayed soft really well. And looking at the comments, you could change the flavor of the pudding you put in to meet your cravings for the day--such a neat idea!! Also-check out Recipe Hunter Lisa-I LOVE her blog!

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies-adapted from Recipe Hunter Lisa
Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (4-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding
  • 1 package chocolate chips
Cream butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and pudding mix. Add chocolate chips, mix well. Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.


I have never ever made snickerdoodle cookies. I don't even remember having them as a child. These were hands down the best cookies I made during my cookie extravaganza last weekend. They were soft and delicious! Go make these now! 5/5

Snickerdoodles-adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Makes 24 Cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Cinnamon Sugar
  • 4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookies sheets, or line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a bowl, and set aside.
Cream butter and both sugars on medium speed for several minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
Add the flour mixture in two batches, making sure the first half is incorporated before adding the second. Stop when the second batch is fully combined.
For the cinnamon sugar, stir together cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Roll 1-inch balls of dough into the mixture. Place them on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie or 12 to 13 minutes fir a crispy cookie. Cool the sheets on wire racks for a few minutes, then transfer cookies directly onto the racks to let them cool.

Sugar Cookies

I love how easy sugar cookies are to make. As a kid I couldn't wait for Christmas so that I could help my mom frost her absolutely delicious sugar cookies. I still think that my mom's are the best (recipe here), but these were definitely a close second! These ended up a little thicker, and were so easy to make. I'd give them a 5/5 for sure--you just can't go wrong with cookies!

Sugar Cookies-adapted from Faith & Daisies
Total Time: 20 Minutes
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar, extra to roll dough in
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Stir together the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Form into balls and roll in sugar. Bake for 6-7 minutes.

Try Again: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

So this was my bad baking experience for my cookie extravaganza! But I feel as though it's not my fault completely...The original recipe calls for 2 TABLESPOONS of beaten egg. What recipe doesn't have a whole egg count? I just saw the 2 and assumed it was two eggs. After looking at the comments, I have determined that two tablespoons of beaten egg is about 1 egg. So I changed it in my version, so we can all know from now on. The flavor was good, but the cookie was more like a sponge cake with the extra egg. So I don't want to give this a rating as I know it was wrong--I'll update when I try again!

Oatmeal Rasin Cookies-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time 30 Minutes
Makes 14 Cookies
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
In a smal bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl combine the oats, flour baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in raisins.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thighs on Rice

My mom used to make a really good chicken and rice recipe. I never got it from her, but I found this one over at This was not nearly as good. I'm not quite sure what went wrong, but I don't think I'll be making this again. The rice didn't cook right and there wasn't a whole lot of flavor. Overall, 2/5 rating for this one.

Thighs on Rice-adapted from
Serves 6
Total Time 45 Minutes

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian-style seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, rice, butter, onion, and water. Pour into a 9x13 baking pan. Place chicken thighs on top and season with Italian seasoning. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maple Glazed Chicken

I love finding new ways to enjoy chicken! Especially when you find quick and easy recipes! This was absolutely delicious and it'll definitely be on my list of recipes when I don't want to spend a lot of time. And, usually I'll have most of the ingredients on hand anyway! Overall, a 4/5 dish!

Maple Glazed Chicken
Maple Glazed Chicken-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes on each side over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine cornstarch and cider until smooth. Stir in syrup and onion powder and add mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Nutrition Information-1 chicken breast 
226 calories
7 g fat
1 g saturated fat
78 mg cholesterol
220 mg sodium
11 g carbohydrates
29 g protein


I love guacamole. And homemade guac is the best. But I really hate prepping the avocados. They just get so messy for me! Either way, the best thing about homemade guacamole is that you can make it however you like. If you like it spicy, add more peppers or jalapeno juice. If you like it a little more salty, add some salt. This is a great guideline!

I've made a slightly different version of this recipe here. This one is still my favorite, but if you're looking to change it up, give it a try!

**January 2014 Update**
This continues to be my go-to guacamole recipe, and I have a few additional pictures to share! For one, this is the GREATEST kitchen tool for avocados you will ever find. It does everything, and is dishwasher safe! Click here for info on it:

We received this amazing bowl for our wedding! 9/27/2014
Guacamole for the taco bar at my cousin's shower!
April 28, 2014
Early Thanksgiving 2014
January 2015

Guacamole - adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Serve 6
Total Time 15 Minutes

  • 4 avocados, chopped
  • 4-6 slice jalapenos, chopped (from a jar of jalapenos)
  • 1/2 teaspoon juice from jar of jalapenos
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 bag good-quality tortilla chips
In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a for until somewhat chunky. One at a time, stir in the jalapeno, garlic, onion, tomato, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface and let sit for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Season with salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are so awesome and easy to do. And this is the best way I've found to do it! Wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in the crock pot. Then they're done when you come home from work! Just try it--you'll love it!

Baked Potatoes - adapted from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'dea
Serves 10-12
Total Time 10 hours
  • 10 to 12 baking potatoes
  • aluminum foil
  • toppings of choice
Use a 6 quart slow cooker. Wash potatoes well and dry. Use a fork to prick the skin of each potato. Wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Put the foil-wrapped potatoes into the stoneware. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for about 10 hours or on high fro about 6. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pepper-Rubbed Steaks with Caramelized Onions

Steak is probably my all-time favorite food. This recipe was probably at the top of my favorites for sauteeing onions. They were very sweet, but it was a nice flavor (4/5)! The only thing I forgot was to buy mushrooms. Mushrooms would have made this even better. I love having mushrooms with my steak. I made this on the stovetop, but you can cook the steak however you prefer--but definitely try the onions!

Photo courtesy of
Pepper-Rubbed Steaks with Caramelized Onions - adapted from Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper blend
  • 4 boneless beef strip steaks
Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, ust until it begins to brown. Stir in sugar and water. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and golden. Remove from heat; stir in vingear.

Meanwhile, cook steak to desired doneness. Serve steak with onions.

Potato, Tomato & Feta Frittata

I've never made a frittata before, but when Scott finds a recipe for one in one of my books, he always asks what it is. So I decided to make one. And this was a very interesting dish. I think the tomatoes were what made it so different. I honestly don't think I'd make it again, but it wasn't bad either, just not really our thing. But give it a whirl!

Potato, Tomato & Feta Frittata - adapted from Easy Family Meals
Tota Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 bag (16oz) frozen diced potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, rosemary, garlic and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until heated through and liquid evaporated

Beat eggs, 1/4 cup water and pepper in a bowl. Pour into skillet. Cook 1 minute, or until edges start to set. With spatula,  carefully lift up edge to let uncooked egg run underneath. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 2 minutes more, or until eggs are cooked through.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki Sauce

Scott has always talked so much about how he loves gyros. I've never had a "real" one. But these were phenomenal  Everything about them was delicious. They were pretty simple to make too! And so was the sauce!

Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki Sauce - adapted from Cafe Johnsonia
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4" strips
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 8-10 small pitas
For the Sauce
  • 1 large container Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, grated and drained (see note and picture below)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper--to taste
Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients for several hours (I only got about 30 minutes, but I can only imagine it gets better).

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the chicken and onions until the chicken is cooked through.

To make the sauce, mix all ingredients together and let sit for an hour for all the flavors to meld. 

Place chicken evenly into the pitas and serve with the Tzatziki sauce.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Try Again: Cranberry-Lemon Tea Bread

I have always had issues with bread. For some reason it always seems to cook too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. This bread did not turn out AT ALL. BUT I think I know why. The recipe says to put it into two pans, and I only put it into one. So the outside cooked pretty good, so we at least got to taste it and it was rather good! But I"ll have to make it again to make the frosting. So if anyone makes this, PLEASE let me know how it goes 'cause I don't know the next time I'll make it!

The ruined can still see the batter inside!

Cranberry-Lemon Tea Bread - adapted from Betty Crocker
Total Time: 2 hour 45 minutes
Serves 16

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 box cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Poppy seeds for topping, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray; sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar in each pan.

In small bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of the cake mix with cranberries. in large bowl, beat remaining cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in cranberries. Divide batter evenly between pans.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Pour glaze over bread, allowing some to drizzle down sides. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.


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