Friday, October 31, 2008

Survived this week! Plus toasted ravioli, buffalo chicken dip, and BBQ Chops!

It's Friday, which means we made it through both the cinnamon roll sales and the sandwich sales! Whew! We made a good amount of money, which is great because my kids can do more labs with that money and invest it into another food sale. The kids had a lot of fun and took a lot of ownership with the project, and I am so proud of them! The lunch sales definitely went better, probably because it was later in the day....I am so exhausted!
Happy Halloween!

Here are a few recipes that I have made lately and wanted to share: (easy easy easy!)

Toasted Ravioli
8 oz fresh cheese ravioli
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Dry Italian Bread crumbs
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly spray a baking sheet. Brush ravioli with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until golden, about 7-9 minutes. Serve hot with chilled red sauce as an appetizer, or with heated sauce as a meal.
Pork Chops w/ Homemade BBQ Sauce
Norris was helping our neighbors out with sheetrocking last night, so I volunteered to make all the hungry boys dinner. I had made some BBQ sauce a few days ago to baste onto some chops we've had, and we all agreed that these were at least in the top two best chops we've ever had! They cooked perfectly in the oven--I don't have a broiler rack nor do I want one because they're so large and take up valuable space! So, I used a pizza pan with a cookie sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drippings.
6 large chops (we had the "grillers" since they were on sale and they were huge and awesome!)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c ketchup
2 T W sauce (worcestershire...?)
2 T soy sauce
a few other seasonings if you want (depending on what I have and my mood for spiciness!)- thyme, hot pepper sauce, garlic salt, spicy garlic seasoning, ground red pepper (choose a couple, or none, and add about 1 t of whatever you want; adjust according to taste)
Rub a little salt and pepper on the chops and lay them out on the pan. Baste the top side with some sauce. Put under broiler on high heat for about 8 minutes per side (adjust according to chop size). Flip, baste again, and broil another 8 minutes. Be sure to check to see they are done!
Serve with remaining sauce.
**food safety note: separate the sauce you will use for basting from the sauce you will use for serving so that you don't dip a basting brush with raw chop juice on it into the sauce you will later eat!
I served with roasted spicy garlic potatoes and salad...the hungry boys loved it!
Tonight we are having a sort of Halloween party with our neighbors, so we are making a few things for that. I have seen a bunch of posts on other blogs about this buffalo chicken dip, so I am trying the recipe from tonight! I am serving it with chicken flavored crackers and celery sticks. I plan to use fat free and low fat versions of everything possible. Hopefully this does not affect the flavor too much. I will be able to just stick it in the crockpot, which is the best part! Now on to figure out something to bring to "Girls' night" which happens to fall on election night and something for next Monday night when Sara and Joey come to stay with us! So excited to have them coming!
Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce, such as Franks® Red Hot®
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box chicken-flavored crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4 monthiversary?

For some reason, even after being in the kitchen all day at work, I really wanted to work in the kitchen at home. I think I get so excited to try ideas and recipes that I think of while at school that I want to do them immediately at home.
This cake could be something simple and semi-impressive to bring to a small get together or something for work, but it probably won't make it there if you're like us.
The "healthy" part of it is:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 regular sized can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; not the giant fat can)

Mix together and bake according to package directions. Make it in your Bundt pan to make it a little more special than a regular cake!

Then, Norris wanted me to ice it. I didn't want to make a heavy cream cheese icing. I wanted to make some sort of a glaze. I was burning my Henri Bendel Bitter Orange candle, and it made me think of orange icing!

1 c powdered sugar
3 T orange juice
1 T melted butter

Drizzle it over the top! I did it while it was still warm, so it pretty much soaked into the cake, which I actually like. You could wait until the cake is cooled and the icing is set before doing it and it would probably sit on top of the cake more.
We just ate way too much of this cake and it was so good! You could make it without the icing for a "diet" dessert (hey, it's better than the real cake recipe, right?!?):)

We've been married for a whopping 4 months today. I really can't believe how fast those four months have gone....and am sure I will be saying the same thing about 50 years from now!

Ridiculous, but fun!

We started our preparation for this wild food sale week (what was I thinking scheduling two in one week, anyway??) yesterday with the preparation of cinnamon roll dough-- enough to make 216 rolls. Today, we shaped them, and in the other class, made seven recipes of focaccia and four S'mores cakes. Thank goodness for our industrial mixer and other equipment!!
I am proud of my kids for how well they have done! I have some helpers coming in the morning at about 6:15 (I plan to get there a little before 6) to bake and ice the rolls so they will be fresh out of the oven for the teachers who preordered theirs. That way they can take them to our weekly 7:10 meeting and the meeting will be a little bit better because of them, hopefully! I know some teachers have bought them for their families, their classes, and even to freeze for the holidays, so I really hope they enjoy them. After tomorrow morning, we have our lunch on Thursday. We will be "reflecting" on Friday for sure!
Last night's recipe was toasted ravioli; tonight's is Chicken and rice with lemon poppyseed muffins. Nothing too exciting-- simple but homemade, which is what counts! Happy Halloween week! What are you going to be for Halloween???

Monday, October 27, 2008


No pictures, but brunch was great yesterday! The company was obviously the best part, but the food was pretty good too, and my mom learned how to make homemade cinnamon rolls! She already knew, but just how to make these:)
We had Farmer's casserole, fruit kebabs with dip, and those ninety minute cinnamon rolls from the other day. The best part about this whole meal is that everything could be made the night before or everything could be made the morning of, in not too much time. We only started a couple hours before they arrived, and it was all done (including cinnamon rolls!)


Farmer’s Casserole

Serves 12
Nonstick cooking spray
6 c frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (not with peppers or onions)
1 ½ c shredded Monterey Jack cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
2 c diced cooked ham or bacon (your choice)
8 beaten eggs
3 c milk
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper

1. Coat a 3-qt. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheese and ham.
2. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.
3. Bake, uncovered in a 350 oven 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Fruit Kebabs with Fruit Dip

The cinnamon rolls are the same from the other day, and the same that today in 5th hour, we will begin to make 200 of to sell bright and early on Wednesday morning! This crazy food sale week has officially begun! Wish us luck!

½ of a watermelon or any melon of your choice (I would choose watermelon or cantaloupe, depending on which is cheaper)
Grapes (1 bag)
Strawberries (if decent price)- 1 large container
Pineapple (if decent price)
20 wooden party skewers (can find in baking supply aisle)

Basically, just choose three to four of the above fruits. Three is probably best.

Cut fruit into ¼ to ½ inch squares, depending on size of fruit. Thread 3-4 different fruit cubes on to each skewer. Cover and refrigerate.
Serve chilled fruit kebabs with chilled fruit dip.

Fruit Dip
2 c non fat vanilla yogurt
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla or almond extract
Combine until well blended. Refrigerate.

Can serve fruit skewers in a bowl lined with lettuce leaves with dip on the side. Can also serve fruit skewers lying down on a tray. (or any way you want)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a week! So glad I planned ahead...

This has been a heck of week! I have my audit appointment this afternoon, which means they will go through every single paper, training agreement, work employment record, etc. to make sure my students really have jobs where they say they do and that employers are evaluating them. (I teach job skills classes in addition to the cooking classes) I am a little nervous for my appointment, but glad we get this "pre-audit" appointment so we have a chance to get extra things together if we're missing something.

On the planning front, I fortunately had this week pretty well planned ahead so we have actually been eating good dinners each night and I've been getting exercise in while getting other things done. On Tuesday I made some chicken tacos--they were so good--I got chipotle taco seasoning this time and that made a huge difference; we liked the flavor a whole lot more.
Last night I made beef stroganoff, another recipe that I hadn't made before because I've never been a big "meat and potatoes" eater, but in an effort to fill Norris up with good warm food, I tried this one out, and it was actually good. It was pretty easy to make too, and was a good meal that I could get prepped, then go to the gym, then come home and finish it off within about 25 minutes of getting home from the gym. I served it over some garlicky Yukon gold mashed potatoes (best potatoes for mashing!) and a salad. Tonight is my night to help at the cooking school, so I won't get home until around 9:30 or so, yuck. It's poultry night with chef Damien, so hopefully I'll learn something good and different!

Tomorrow night we are going to a coworker's for a bbq, then to the high school football game. I'm pretty excited because my school is playing the school I used to work at! Saturday we are headed to the KSU/OU game (hmm...might not be pretty!) and then to Joey's birthday party/costume party in Topeka! I'm not sure that we'll be dressing up though. Sunday, we are having brunch (that my mom and I are making) with my sister, her bf, his parents, and my parents. Big day! We are making those awesome homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit kebabs with fruit dip, and a farmer's casserole (eggs and meat type dish). It's going to be a full fun weekend!

I also already voted this week by mail. It was crazy to finally see the presidential candidates' names on a ballot--it seemed like this was never going to get here. Glad to have voted!

I am stressing a little bit just thinking about next week. We are going for a lot more rounds of cinnamon rolls as my CC class is taking preorders for cinnamon rolls for teachers to buy before our Wed. morning PLC meeting (starts at 7:10!) This means I will have to get here around 6:15 to get the rolls in the oven and iced before they pick them up! Then we will sell them to students in the hallway before school. THEN on Thursday, we are serving (so far) 46 people, mostly teachers a great lunch of paninis on homemade focaccia, barbecue kettle chips, and S'more snack cake. We will be prepping that next week. It will be a wild week and Friday is Halloween, so we'll be ready for a little bit of a relaxing day!

Anyway, enjoy your weekend! I am going to post the S'more snack cake recipe because it's pretty darn good! We had a practice meal that the kids served each other to make sure the recipes they picked were good. I already posted the focaccia, and you can buy the kettle chips at the store, obviously:) I am also posting the sweet and sour pork with vegetables recipe that we are finishing cooking and eating today in PC class. It is another yummy one! I will post the farmer's casserole recipe on Monday after we make it Sunday.

S’more Snack Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes (ready in 2 hrs. 15 minutes)
Yield: 16 servings

1 c all-purpose flour
1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs (24 squares)
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c shortening
3 eggs
1 c milk
1 c mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 (7-oz) jar (1 ½ c) marshmallow crème

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 13x9 inch pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.
2. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, shortening, and eggs; beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients and milk; beat at low speed until well blended. Beat 1 minute at medium speed. Stir in 2/3 c of the chocolate chips. Spoon and spread batter evenly into greased and floured pan.
3. Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt remaining 1/3 c chocolate chips over low heat. Spoon teaspoonfuls of marshmallow crème onto top of warm cake; carefully spread with knife dipped in hot water. Drizzle with melted chocolate; swirl chocolate through marshmallow crème to marble. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled
Sweet and Sour Pork with Mixed Vegetables
1 small onion, quartered and layers separated
1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ red pepper, cut into thin strips
½ c sliced bamboo shoots
½ c sliced water chestnuts
1 c pineapple chunks

Combine marinade ingredients; pour over pork and marinate meat 30 minutes or longer. (May be marinated overnight in the refrigerator if desired.)
Combine all sauce ingredients by first dissolving cornstarch in water. Then add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil and is thickened. (Or, microwave until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally). Set aside.
Put rice on to cook according to package directions.
Combine egg and cornstarch. Add pork cubes, drained, to the batter and stir to coat the pieces. (Note: Batter should be very thick; if not, sprinkle in a little more cornstarch).
Heat three inches of oil in deep fat fryer, deep skillet, or wok until 375 degrees F. Deep fry meat, a few pieces at a time, until golden and cooked on the interior. (You may need to cut into a sample piece to check to see if it is done). Transfer meat to paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining pork until it is all cooked. Drain all oil from wok except 2 T.
Stir fry vegetable mixture by first stir frying carrot for 1-2 minutes. Then add onion, green, and red peppers. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until tender crisp. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry a minute or two until very hot.
Add pineapple and sauce to the work. Toss to combine and to coat ingredients. Return cooked pork to the wok, stirring to coat with sauce. Serve with rice if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Cook’s Tips: Start this recipe the day before if you like to simplify things. Marinate the pork and refrigerate it; it will hold nicely 24 hours. To speed things up a bit, use the microwave to cook the sauce. It may be refrigerated for 24 hours also. Often times I cook the vegetables in the microwave so they are ready to use the minute the meat is cooked.
All you need to do before serving is dip the drained pork pieces into the batter and fry them. Drain oil from work; stir in prepared sauce and microwave-cooked vegetables. Stir until all ingredients are heated and coated with sauce.

Recipe from: Contemporary Cooking, written by Bonnie A.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Homemade pizza and Apple Spice Bars

Before I even talk about these, I do have to say that I have had to kick up my workouts and watch my other foods throughout the day to compensate for these great things I am making...but I still better not do this too often!

Tonight I made homemade pizza with lean ground beef and mushrooms on top. I like making it homemade so I can make a thinner crust, use lean beef, and less cheese. It was really good--Norris approved!:) I just used a Jiffy pizza crust mix, which is super easy and really cheap. You could easily make your own crust. I didn't take a picture because it was coming out of the oven when I got home from the gym and it was time to eat!

So, not a great picture of the apple bars, but an excellent treat! I know, I made treats yesterday...cinnamon rolls. I have had this recipe sitting here printed out since the day I saw it on another food blog-- Good Things Catered and it is so yummy. It tastes a lot like apple pie, but is a whole lot easier to make.

Here is the recipe:
Apple Spice Cookie Bars

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice ( I didn't have allspice or cloves, so I just used a dash more of nutmeg)
small pinch ground cloves
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (I used Splenda and cinnamon-- same trick)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray. **This is my least favorite thing to do in baking, so I am certain it would also work fine with a well greased 9x13 pan.
-In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
-Whisk to combine well and set aside.
-In another bowl, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
-Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine.
-Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
-Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.
-Fold in apples.
-Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon Splenda/sugar.
-Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 33 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

ENJOY! These would be a great Thanksgiving treat if you wanted a little variation from the typical apple pie. I guess I'm in apple pie mode, since I did those dumplings a couple weeks ago...time to move on to a new flavor!

Tomorrow night: chicken tacos (simple!) and Wed. night, a new recipe for Beef Stroganoff. I used to think this stuff was the grossest when it was served in the cafeteria in elementary, so we'll see if I can get myself to like it this many years later!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls....just like Mrs. Powell's

This has been a really great weekend. Friday night, Laine and I carved pumpkins and watched Baby Mama--pretty funny movie. You can kind of tell what our pumpkins are supposed to be, but it's hard since we couldn't figure out how to turn the flash off on my camera. Mine is "Freaky Frank" and hers is a crystal ball and witch. They look pretty cool lit up!
Saturday, Gram and Granddad came down for Auntie Carolyn's surprise 70th birthday party. It was so great to spend the day with them and to be with family that I don't get to see very often! We took a "cousins picture" at the end of the party, and it was so great to be with them, because I don't get to see these cousins nearly as often as the cousins on my other side. It also made me miss my other cousins more weekend I get to see you all!

And this morning...I can't even describe how good the cinnamon rolls are that we just ate (as in, I am so excited about them that I started this post as soon as I finished mine).

Norris has been hunting since Wed. night so I thought he might like something homemade after standing in a field for so many hours (although he didn't go without home cooked meals from his mom!)

These cinnamon rolls can be made in much less time than any other recipe I found. That's why I chose to make them. They are incredible, especially warm. They are easy to make. I made ours with raisins, and I would definitely recommend that! Bake them for no more than 20 minutes (exactly 19 minutes is how long I baked them, and they are just a little gooey, which is perfect in my mind!....they cancel out the WW oatmeal cookies from the other day, but are so worth the indulgence.)

Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from

12 servings

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
1 (.25 ounce) package instant
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6T margarine, softened
1/2 cup raisins (leave them out if you want)


1.Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in margarine; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

2.In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. **You will have to add a little more flour as you knead it, as it is super sticky straight from the bowl. Don't add too much--you don't want tough rolls! Just enough to make the dough smooth.

3.Cover the dough with a warm damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened margarine.
4.Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up into a 9x13 pan (I had to use a 9x13 and a small dish...only 8 fit in the 9x13 with room to spread). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5.Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Ice with Confectioner's Icing (or buttercream, or whatever you want) and serve warm.
Confectioner's Icing
2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
4 to 6 T skim milk
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk to make a smooth, creamy glaze that you can drizzle. Spread over warm rolls. If you want a thicker glaze, spread it over the rolls after they have cooled.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Weight Watcher's Style

Last night I made some oatmeal raisin cookies for Norris to take with him on his hunting trip. I was under the impression that you could not eat cookies while sitting in your tree stand, since he has to wash his clothes in no-scent stuff and spray himself down with this lovely "earth" scented spray...but anyway...

I wanted to make some cookies that I could enjoy a couple of also, so I went to my WW cookbook and found these: (I changed a couple things, but I just accounted for that in my typing)

1 3/4 c quick cooking oatmeal

1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c whole wheat flour (could use all purpose flour if don't have this)

2 T nonfat dry milk (if you have it; if not, leave it out or add in 1 extra T milk)

1 t double-acting baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t salt

1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 c unsalted stick margarine

1 egg white

1/2 c skim milk

3/4 c raisins

1/2 c chocolate chips (optional--I put them in half of the recipe since Norris likes both raisins and choc chips in his, but I don't like that!)

1 t vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, dry milk, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In another large bowl, with an electric mixer at high speed, beat the sugar, margarine, and egg white until light and fluffy (takes a while!; get it as frothy/fluffy as you can). With the mixer at low speed, alternately add the skim milk and the flour mixture with the raisins and vanilla; stir just until combined (do not overmix).

4. Drop the dough by tablespoons full (small scooper) onto the baking sheets, making 24 cookies. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack; store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

I thought they were a little dry last night, but I put them in a tupperware and today they are much better. Hmmm....

They look funny because they don't spread like cookies normally do! They look like the shape of my normal no-bake cookies. They make a good guilt-free breakfast cookie if you need something on the go. Simple, but good---my kind of cooking!

Per serving: 95 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 17 carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 34 mg calcium

Sugar Cookies

We finally finished and delivered our Pac-Man cookies to the library today!

It's teen read week, and the theme is "Take A bite out of reading", so our librarian wanted us to make Pac Man cookies. I got what is truly the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used from the blog Good Things Catered and we made 250 cookies (yes, rolled, cut, and iced....what a process with ten teenagers!!) We made buttercream and royal icing, colored it yellow and red (go Heights!:) and set out to ice them today. Whew---what a project. Fortunately, I have great students who stayed through their lunch hour and came in when they were done with classes to finish icing and helping me clean up. We are so glad to be done!

Next up: tomorrow--teaching another knife skills class, which means another round of Zippy Potato Soup (recipe in a previous post), then next week I am demonstrating cooking techniques, so we are making Sweet and Sour Pork with vegetables and brown rice. I will post that next week--it's great!

And the focaccia from the other night....all gone! We had excellent sandwiches on it on Monday. Last night I made some chicken and rice soup and we finished it off with that. Oh it's sooooo good! I can't wait to make it for our food sale at school!

Oh, and these cookies are sooooo not good for you, but enjoy one anyway!! Don't forget to cream the butter for 5 minutes. We tried not to, and it definitely does make a difference!

BEST EVER Sugar Cookies
from Good Things Catered
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

I found that this recipe made 30-32 big, thick cookies. I decorated the cookies with an edge of buttercream, filling of royal icing, and decoration with buttercream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Simple Focaccia Bread

I am planning to make paninis tomorrow with grilled chicken and swiss or cheddar cheese. I have a kind of spicy sauce that I am going to put on them (just something leftover from girls' night from last Tues). We tasted a bite of it tonight and it tastes like an herbed breadstick--it's really good. It could definitely be served on its own as the bread with a meal or as a sandwich. Use as little olive oil as possible to make it best and best for you. (you will have to use some though!)

Blitz Bread: No-Fuss Focaccia

(Somewhat adapted from King Arthur Flour) and I adapted it slightly from another blog!


1 1/2 cups warm water

3 tbsp. olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)

1 1/4 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 packet instant yeast (approximately 1 tbsp.)

garlic powder, onion powder, cheese powder, basil, oregano, and parsley (or whatever spices you would like to add)

parmesan cheese, grated (approximately 1/3 cup)


1. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom.

2. Combine water, olive oil, salt, flour, yeast, garlic powder, oregano and onion powder (or whatever spices you want to use) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes.

4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger. Be careful not to poke all the way through--this is where you could cause problems with the dough not rising! (been there done that...)

6. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil (about 1 T is enough), and sprinkle with the dried herbs of your choice (if desired). (I used dried basil, oregano, and parsley.)

7. Bake the bread until it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of bake time, open the oven and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top.

8. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chicken Breasts with Tomatillo Salsa and Spanish Rice

This is the recipe of the day here at school in 5th hour. I think they're going to love it! They prepped yesterday and will do the final steps and eat today. I have homemade foccacia in the oven for 6th hour that smells soooo good! They are making paninis with kettle chips and s'mores cake. I will try to post those recipes tomorrow!

Today's Menu:
Chicken Breasts with Tomatillo salsa serve on top of spanish rice

Chicken Breasts with Tomatillo Salsa
Prep- 25 min, 4 servings
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 13-ounce can tomatillos
3 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
In a plastic bag combine cornmeal, flour, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken pieces, a few at a time, shaking once. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170F), turning once. Meanwhile, for salsa, drain, rinse, and coarsely chop tomatillos. Cilantro, onion, lime juice, and jalapeno pepper. Serve salsa over chicken.

**You could also just buy the verde salsa in a jar. Pace makes it. I would still add fresh cilantro and lime juice, and jalapeno peppers if you want, to make it more fresh tasting.

Spanish Rice
Prep- 15 min., cook- 20
Makes- about 5 cups (6 to 8 side-dish servings)
½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)
½ cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 clove garlic; minced
1 Table spoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, un-drained and cut up
¾ cup un-cooked long grain rice
1 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, un-drained
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1. In a large skillet cook onion, sweet pepper,and garlic in hot oil until tender. Add chili powder; cook one more minute. Stir in un-drained tomatoes, chile peppers, hot pepper sauce (if desired), one cup water, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and rice
2. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer covered for about twenty minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If desired, sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pork Roast with Root Vegetables, Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits, and Apple Tartlets

I am getting ready for our first ever "Girls Night In" tomorrow night:) (first ever, like it's reeeal dramatic). I just decided to ask a bunch of friends if they wanted to plan a monthly night of cards, TV, whatever, kinda like a bunco thing, but not. I volunteered to play hostess first, so tomorrow night it is! We are going to play Nerts. The "rule" is that the hostess provides drinks, dessert, and house, and everyone else brings appetizer finger food things.

So...tonight I wanted to make Norris good dinner because I feel a little badly for kicking him out tomorrow night. Well, he's not kicked out, but he probably won't want to hang around in the basement or anything.
The whole meal was really great. It smelled so good in our house with the rosemary and the chicken broth going. The potatoes and carrots tasted great cooked in the broth.
The apple pockets-- OH my! They are so good. And you can eat just one and get your taste of apple pie! I am excited to serve them tomorrow night!

Tonight's menu:

Pork Roast with vegetables

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits


Apple Tartlets (getting them ready for tomorrow night; baked a couple of them tonight for us to sample!)

Pork Roast with veggies:

Preheat oven to 350. Preheat a large skillet to hot.

Rub a 2-lb. pork roast with some onion salt, fresh ground black pepper, and rosemary. Sear the roast in the hot skillet for about 1 minute on each side. (this sears in the juices and flavor)

Place roast in baking dish with one cut up potato (skin on). Put 1 T of bay leaves rubbed on top of pork roast, or one bay leaf in with the potatoes. Boil two chicken bouillion cubes in 1/2 c water, and pour this in with the potatoes. Also add 1/2 chopped onion. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and rosemary over the top of the whole dish.

Bake this for 1 hr at 350.

After one hour, add 4 chopped carrots. Stir veggies around.

Continue baking for another 1/2 hour.

Take out to let rest before cutting. During this time, make your biscuits.

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits
1 1/4 lbs. Bisquik
3 Oz. freshly shredded cheddar cheese
11 Oz. cold water
Garlic Spread:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teas. garlic powder
1/4 teas. salt
1/8 teas. onion powder
1/8 teas. dried parsley
To cold water, add Bisquik and cheese, blending in a mixing bowl.
Mix until dough is firm.
Using a small scoop, place the dough on a baking pan lined with
baking paper. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until
golden brown. While biscuits bake, combine spread ingredients.
Brush baked biscuits with the garlic topping.


Your call:)

Apple Pockets

TIME: Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4 cups thinly sliced peeled Rome Beauty or other baking apples (2 to 3 medium)
1/3 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup skim milk
4 teaspoons sugar or Splenda

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a saucepan, heat the water and butter to 120°-130°. Add to the dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into four portions. Roll each portion into an 8-in. square. Cut into four 4-in. squares. Cut apple slices into thirds; toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon. Place 1/4 cup filling on each square; bring up the corners up over the filling and pinch to seal. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Place 3 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Brush with milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375° for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Discard toothpicks before serving. Yield: 16 servings.