Phew! The holidays kicked my butt this year. How did my parents do this? Better yet, WHY did they do it??
Although I try to post only the best of my kitchen attempts, here are some of my absolute favorites from last year. I mean the ones I crave & want to make again & again.
Happy New Year to you!!
1. Gardener’s Pie (vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie): This is always a huge hit. I took it to a Christmas pot luck this year and got so many compliments from vegetarian & non vegetarians alike.
2. Best Coffee Cake in the World There are no surprising ingredients in this but it’s simply delicious. Perfect for a special brunch or to warm up a chilly Sunday morning.
3. Kermit Smoothie (green smoothie) Want to sneak a handful of spinach into your family’s gullets? Try this! So yummy, easy & fun.
4. Blueberry Lara Bars. A healthy, yummy & portable snack. Perfect for hiking or just to carry in your purse (or man purse) to keep the munchies at bay.
5. No Knead Bread. If you’ve never made bread before I strongly encourage you try this one! It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and is so rewarding! There’s something wonderful about the smell of bread baking in your home.
6. Glory Bowl. After the holidays many people (ahem, THIS person) feel compelled to eat a little, shall we say, “lighter?” Although this dish contains many light elements the rice & dressing make it so satisfying. I had serious doubts about it when my dear friend Kinga recommended it but now it’s one of my favorites. Try it!! I mean it, really! I wouldn’t put it up here if it weren’t super yummy.
7. Red Velvet Cupcakes. Make these for Valentine’s Day! Or use green food coloring and make them for St. Patrick’s Day.
8. Simple Caesar Salad. This is a cheater’s version of caesar salad. Oh garsh sometimes I crave caesar salad so much but don’t want to get involved with raw eggs & anchovies etc. This is a satisfying remedy when you’re short on time. Now that I make this I find most restaurant salads disappointing. Totally reminds me of an ex boyfriend’s mom (who happened to be an excellent cook) answering the waiter’s “How is everything?” with a tragic look followed by her New York accented, “Mine’s bettah.”
9. Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies. After trying many recipes, I have to say that these are my favorites for both simplicity & results. Because of the cornstarch they end up a bit pale and can trick you into thinking they aren’t done but they are soooooo sooooooo sooooooo (sooooo) good. Every time I make them I have to double the recipe b/c of all the greedy hands snitching them off the cooling racks (G!!!).
10. Vegetable Pot Pie. I just realized I have a few “best _____ in the WORLD” recipes. Do I exaggerate? Or am I just hungry? Anyway, this pot pie was a sleeper hit! I always loved pot pies. From the nastiest to the high end restaurant ones. But I was tired of paying $5.00 for a tiny Amy’s vegetable pot pie, plus I thought I could feed more than 1 person with a lot less packaging. This recipe takes almost 3 hours to make but is TOTALLY worth it! YUM.
11. Broccoli Gribiche. Last year I started making some dishes from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” and this was one of the hits. I seriously didn’t make ONE bad dish from that cookbook and still use it every week. This is a surprisingly hearty, satisfying yet tasty meal that can be a main or side. The simple ingredients make it a no-brainer!
12. Moscow Mule. Alcohol is a good way to end a list/night/year so here is a simple, tasty drink that we enjoyed time & again mostly during the summer. Our friend Trish introduced us to them last June when we stayed at her house in Denver. We drank them all summer. Not all day but you know what I mean.
I hope you enjoy these recipes & for all the best to you in 2013!
Here’s a REALLY easy cookie recipe for when you have NO TIME.
I just made these this morning for our daycare’s caroling at the convalescent home. Totally forgot I was going to make them until around 8AM. D’OH!
No pictures – no time. These are winners from The Pioneer Woman. You only need one bowl. You are done making them from start to finish within about 20 minutes. They are chewy, tasty & yummy. The only change I made was to use the turbinado raw sugar to roll them in but if you don’t have it you can use plain sugar too.
Just a break between salads to add this recipe. I know I just did a chocolate chip cookie recipe a week or two ago but this one is:
B. WAYYYYYYY better!!!!
These are very light, fluffy cookies. If a cookie can be fluffy?? They look “undone” coming out of the oven and don’t flatten out or darken. Don’t worry though! That is how they are supposed to be. I made these for the Daleos’ visit last weekend and they were all eaten BEFORE the Daleos arrived so I ended up making a second batch really quickly. They were so good I just made a THIRD batch this weekend!
You probably have all these ingredients!
3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c butterscotch chips
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
Add egg (replacer) and vanilla and beat well.
3. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda & salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix!
You’ll notice this sandy, grainy texture. This is exactly as it should be!
4. Once it’s thoroughly combined, add chocolate/butterscotch chips and stir until spread throughout the batter evenly.
5. Drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet using a Tablespoon. Since the dough hasn’t really “come together” you may need to make small balls with your hands. I did.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. NOTE: the cookies will NOT darken or flatten. They will not seem to be “done” but they are done! If you truly are worried about them being underdone, just bake them for the full 10 minutes.
By the way, my brother in law got me this Airbake cookie sheet for Christmas. I put two dozen cookies into the oven – one on this sheet and one on a regular one and the regular ones burned on the bottom. I really love this cookie sheet! (I am not being compensated in any way, by anyone really, for saying this…)
Back to the cookies. Here’s what they look like PRE baking:
I make ‘em on the small side since they have so much butter/sugar.
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat together butter & sugars. Add egg (replacer) and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Then add to butter/sugars. When evenly combined, fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed. (How many times can I use “evenly” and “combined”??)
Drop Tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. NOTE: cookies will NOT flatten or darken. Trust me!
Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before eating.
Having a box of egg replacer on hand saves you a trip to the store for the eggs if you have run out. Also, you can eat the raw dough without fear of salmonella (though that risk is quite low…) Nobody notices and it does help keep the cholesterol lower than it would be.
We’ve cut back on sugar and desserts this year, saving them only for special occasions, treats & bribes. But once in a while you just want to eat some chocolate chip cookies (‘specially while you’re waiting for the Thin Mints to arrive…) I figure homemade must be healthier than store bought so here we go…
Let me tell you right away: leave a couple sticks of butter out a few hours ahead of time. I just leave them out the night before but you could take them out when you get home from work & then make the cookies after dinner too.
Also, there are a couple of oddball ingredients in here. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!! But if you don’t have ‘em – don’t worry about it!
Here’s what you need:
Some of that stuff is optional so don’t get stressed out looking at it!
1 c butter, softened
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs (I used egg replacer which reduced the cholesterol & no chickens were harmed – except knowing my luck, the truck carrying the boxes of egg replacer ran over a truck of chickens)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp (heaping) instant coffee granules (I accidentally used 2 TBSP and loved the result!)
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP ground flax seeds (OPTIONAL)
3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c (heaping) milk chocolate chips (or use just one kind of choc. chip)
Hopefully you are already excited about the amount of chocolate chips in this recipe. Yayy for chocolate chips!
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a LARGE bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar & white sugar until combined.
Add egg replacer & vanilla, stirring to combine thoroughly.
Best thing about using egg replacer instead of eggs is that you can taste the raw dough without that pesky salmonella worry in the back of your mind!
3. In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
Don’t ask me why I had instant coffee. I think Tim & Liana picked it up when we were camping last Memorial Day weekend. I’m glad they did!