Friday, February 17, 2017

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Double Choc Oatmeal Cookies blog 2

Oatmeal Cookies are one of my families most favorite treats.

Don't get me wrong, we love lots of different kinds of cookies, but oatmeal is really up there at the top of the list.

I've made Raisinette Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal Cookie Bars, Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies, Thin, Chewy & Buttery Oatmeal Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza, Chocolate Oatmeal Bars, Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, andGood Ole Original Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, phew! The list could go on and on. Just when I thought there can't possibly be another kind of oatmeal cookie that I haven't made.....I think about Chocolate Oatmeal cookies and because if one dose of chocolate is good, two or even three is better right? So I start concocting a recipe, a bit from this recipe, a bit from another until I have Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and I want to make them immediately but I wait.

I'm patient.

I knew I had to wait. I waited for a snow storm, which doesn't take very long in February in Rhode Island and last week we got over a foot of snow and I knew I was going to make soup and I knew I was going to make these cookies.

Snowy days are just meant for oatmeal cookies and when they are loaded with chocolate chips and cocoa powder and some espresso powder it takes the little ordinary oatmeal cookie and sends it over the top!

Double Choc Oatmeal Cookies BLOG

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 32 cookies
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional but I think it gives the cookies a rich flavor)
pinch salt
3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a few baking sheet with parchment and set aside. I alternate with 3 baking sheets when I'm making cookies. One for cooling cookies, one in the oven and a third to rotate so I am never putting cookie dough on warm cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix softened butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix it well. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if you are using it) soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet. Mix until just combined. Mixture will be thick. Fold in oatmeal using a heavy wooden spoon or large spatula, again, this batter is what I call spoon-breaking batter so make sure you are using a strong stirrer. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Use a cookie scoop or drop by rounded tablespoon on the baking sheet. Bake for 11- 13 minutes. Mine we perfect at 13 minutes. Don’t over bake! Remove from oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Italian Wedding Soup

Wedding Soup Blog

You see that picture of soup right there? Oh how I suffered to get that photo. My husband was out shoveling, it was 12 degrees out, and I ran into the garage with this nice hot bowl of soup and my camera and made him hold a spoon in the bowl so you could see all the delicious ingredients in that soup. A dozen or so shots and I was done. It was just too cold! Brrrr!

So we got a whopper of a snow storm last week. Over a foot of snow, and while most people will hate the thought of all that snow, I love it. I mean I really love it. I am a snow lover. I love the way it blankets my whole world in white, the crunch of it underfoot, the coldness in the air. I adore a snow storm.

The absolute best part for me is all of us the house at one time (rarely happens with two college students), big mugs of homemade hot chocolate, warm cookies from the oven and a huge pot of soup on the stove. That is exactly what I did last Thursday.

I made what might have been the best soup of my life that day. I got up early in the morning and made the little meatballs, then I cooked a chicken in a big pot and started on Italian Wedding Soup. One of my faves. I took notes as I was going along so I could share it with you all. So glad I did.

This soup is so good. I mean really so incredibly delicious. I doubled this recipe. By Friday it was gone!

Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
Recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
For the meatballs:
1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
7 cups chicken stock * see note
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 cup acini di pepe pasta (or any other little pasta)
4 cups, fresh baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix together. Don't over-mix it though. I use my hands to mix. Roll the meat into small little balls. About the circumference of a dime. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and then add onions, carrots, celery and cook until just tender. About 10 minutes. Set aside.

Put the chicken stock into a large pot on medium heat (*see notes). Once the veggies are tender add them to the stock. Add in the seasonings and heat to a slow boil. Boil for about 15 minutes.

Put the meatballs into the soup and continue to cook for about 4 minutes or until the meatballs float. Lower the soup to a simmer. Now to add the pasta. I cook my my acini di pepe in a separate pot until it's very al dente and then add it in to the pot. I find that cooking the pasta in the soup makes it turn out very gummy and makes the soup too starchy. Add in the cooked pasta and the spinach leaves. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Add the Parmesan, give it a quick stir and your ready to eat! Mangia, mangia! Something my dad always said when the food hit the table!

Note* You can certainly buy chicken stock but I like to make a quick chicken "stock" by boiling a small 3 - 4 pound chicken carcass. You can even do this with a rotisserie chicken. Just pick the meat off the bones and then throw all the bones and skin into a soup pot, bring to a boil and simmer an hour. Remove the chicken bones and you have a fast chicken stock! I save the chicken meat for another meal or freeze it for my next batch of chicken soup.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayo BLOG 1'

Homemade Mayo.

It was something that I had on my "to do" list for years, something I knew that I wanted to start making from scratch.

I wish I would have started earlier. It's so easy.

Oil, eggs, a litle mustard, some lemon and a little garlic and you have mayo! Creamy, delicious homemade mayo!

I'm adding this to my "I don't have to buy it, I make it from scratch" list!

Homemade Mayo blog 2

Homemade Mayo
1 cup oil (I used vegetable oil but you could also use a neutral tasting oil like canola)
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Optional - 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped (adjust amount to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste

Make sure ingredients are at room temperature before starting to mix and use a cylindrical container. You don't want to make this is a wide bowl or container.

Add oil, egg yolks, dry mustard and lemon juice into a blending container. Place hand blender at the bottom of the container and turn on. You will see the mayonnaise start to form at the bottom. It will begin to emulsify and become thick. IMPORTANT: make sure to not lift up blender until most of the oil has been incorporated; then begin to move up slowly. Add in the chopped garlic Add the chopped garlic, salt and pepper. This should keep in the fridge for a week, hence the small batch. I keep mine in a small glass jar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Creamy Baked Asparagus

Creamy Asparagus Blog

Say hello to our new favorite asparagus dish.

We all love asparagus in this house and I use it whenever I can. I roast it in the oven with some olive oil and salt and pepper for most dinners or throw it on the grill in the warmer weather but every once in awhile I like to kick it up a notch and make something a little different.

This creamy, cheesy dish is amazing! I've made it 4 times since I discovered the recipe. I doubled it for an AFC Football party, made it for dinner guests, made it again to photograph and I'm making another double batch for the Super Bowl. It really was a huge hit. There was never a stalk left!

Creamy Asparagus Blog 2

I adjusted the ingredients a bit from the original recipe. The Italian seasoning was a bit overpowering in the original and there was a tad bid too much mozzarella. Did I really just say that? Too much cheese? I did, lol.

Creamy Baked Asparagus
adapted from a recipe at Will Cook for Smiles
1 pound asparagus, small/medium thickness
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I lean towards the 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease an 8x8 baking pan or baking dish of similar size. Trim off the hard ends of the asparagus.  Place the asparagus into the baking dish and spread them out evenly. I used a 2 cup measuring cup, added the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and grated Asiago cheese in the cup and poured it over the asparagus. Spread mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or  until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Our most favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our Fave CCC Blog 2

I'm sure everyone has their idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie and I'm also know for sure that there are many, many different kinds of chocolate chip cookies. Not only can you have a chewy cookie, a thin cookie, a crispy cookie, you can have cakey cookies, crunchy cookies, the list goes on and on.

You can make cookies with granulated sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, Crisco, cookies made with whole wheat flour, all butter, chilled dough, you can see where I'm going here, it's endless.

This is the recipe that my family loves the most. This is the cookie that my kids call addicting, and I have to admit, they kind of are. You can't eat just one because once you put that perfectly chewy, chocolate loaded, caramely cookie in your mouth, once your done with it, you instinctively will reach for another and another. They are that good.

Our Fave CCC Blog

The two things that make this cookie different from a lot of other cookies is cornstarch and maple syrup. I'm convinced that what makes these cookies amazing. I really think you need to use pure maple syrup in these. You can use pancake syrup in a pinch, but I think real maple syrup makes all the difference. You do have to chill the dough before you pop these bad boys in the oven, so a little planning is needed.

I don't remember where I got this recipe. It was on a tattered scrap of paper in my recipe file and I can't tell you how many times I've made these. I can't believe I never blogged them before. Hopefully they will become your favorite chocolate chip cookie too!

Our Fave CCC Blog 3

Our Most Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1 cup butter (2 sticks) melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips *see note

In large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined. Stir in vanilla extract and maple syrup. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring until completely combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover bowl and allow it to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350. Once the dough is chilled, I used a cookie scoop to make the cookies. I packed the scoop and then placed the dough on a parchment lined cookie tray about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 13 minutes. Don't worry if they look a little under cooked. They will set up perfectly. Allow cookies to cool for about 15 minutes on the sheet pan before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. After I put the first batch in I scooped out the rest of the dough onto a platter and then put it back in the fridge. You don't have to scoop all the batter at once, you can scoop it out as you go but make sure to keep the dough in fridge in between batches and do not place cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet. I used 3 cookies sheets so I always had one cooling, one with cookies on it and one ready to go in the oven.

*Note - I use Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips in when I make these. We like the fact that they are a bit less sweet and a tiny bit bigger than regular chocolate chips.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and onion with balsamic glaze 1

I realize that there was probably a bunch of people who took one look at the this post and went "yuck, brussel sprouts" but I can guarantee you, you will never hear that phrase uttered out of my mouth. I love them!

I wasn't always a brussel sprout lover. I can remember eating them at a friends house where her mom boiled them and probably threw some butter on them and I politely try to move them around my plate. That was a very long time ago and ever since I started roasting them, they have become one of my most favorite vegetable.

If you think you don't like them, I really encourage you to roast some up and give them another chance. Roasting brings out a really nutty, caramelized flavor, turning them into so much more than a little cabbage. I promise.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is cutting up the sprouts and the onions and it really doesn't take much time at all. The balsamic glaze gives it a tangy little kick!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and onion with balsamic glaze

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey Balsamic Glaze
recipe from Lisa @The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
2 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
1 red onion, sliced
Olive oil
salt and pepper

For the glaze

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the brussel sprouts and onions out on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Add salt and pepper. Roast for 15 and then using a spatulas, flip them over, return to the oven and cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Depending on how caramelized you like them.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon and drizzle over roasted sprouts and onions

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

oatmeal chocolate chip bars

We all need those recipes that you can whip up in a few minutes with ingredients that you always have on hand. There is always butter, flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, and oats in my pantry. I never run out of them. They are truly staples in our house. With as much baking as I do, I make sure to keep stocked up on items that I bake with all the time. You don't even want to know how much butter is in my freezer.

My friend Mary at Bunny's Warm Oven posted these bars and I knew I had to make them. My husband loved oatmeal chocolate chip cookies so I knew these would be a hit with him.

I have to admit. I made a mistake while making these. Mary's original recipe called for dividing a full cup of chocolate chips (1/2 cup in the batter, 1/2 cup on top). Oops! I didn't read through it quite thoroughly enough and only saw that the chips needed to be divided after I had already put a full cup in the batter. Didn't stop me from adding more to the top though. In fact, the added chips just made them that much better so I slightly adapted the recipe below.

oatmeal chocolate chip bars 3

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
very slightly adapted from a recipe at Bunny's Warm Oven
1 stick butter at room temp
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup quick or rolled oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips plus more for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch baking pan.

In a bowl, beat butter,sugars,egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour,baking powder,salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in another bowl and whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until just combined. Stir in the oatmeal and the chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle the top with a few more chocolate chips. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until set in the middle and toothpick inserted comes out clean.