Friday, November 18, 2011

Andes Creme De Menthe Cookies

So do you love Andes mints as much as me?  Do you look forward to them at the end of you meal when you eat at the Olive Garden?  Then this is a cookie for you.  These are a soft cookie on the inside with a firm outside.  The mint chocolate explosion in your mouth when you take a bite of these is to die for.  They are one of my favorite cookies.

Andes Creme De Menthe Cookies
From: Andes
Yields: about 40+ cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 packages (4.67 oz. each) Andes Mint Thins chopped or the much easier 1 package (10 oz) Andes baking chips (see picture below, I always find them at Wal-mart next to the chocolate chips)
2 2/3 cup flour

Blend butter and sugars together until throughly combined.  Add baking soda, powder, vanilla and eggs and mix well.

Stir in Andes candies and then flour.  Chill approximately one hour or longer in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Measure out approximately 1 oz of dough and form a ball and slightly flatten.  Place on non-stick baking pans and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on pans for 2 minutes before removing. 

The ever easy baking chips!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

I have already shared with you my love for waffles, my favorite breakfast item.  However, my husband prefers pancakes.  Pancakes are just okay, I like them enough, but I have never loved them, that is until now.  These pancakes are the best I have ever had by far.  You have to try these delicious babies!

Oatmeal Pancakes
From: Smitten Kitchen
Yields: About 18 pancakes
Print Recipe

3/4 cup oat flour (you can make this by pulsing oats in a food processor until finely ground; I cup of oats yields 3/4 cup flour)
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus extra for the pan)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup cooked oatmeal *
1 Tablespoon honey
2 large eggs

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk the butter, milk, cooked oatmeal, honey and eggs together until throughly combined. Gently fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a light hand is important for tender pancakes, the batter should be slightly thick with a holey surface.

Heat a 10 inch skillet or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Lower to medium-low. Rub the pan generously with butter, this is the key to crisp buttery edges. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan, once bubbles have begun to form on the top side, flip the pancake and cook until the bottom is a golden brown.

Serve the pancakes hot straight from the skillet or keep warm in a low oven.  These are great as leftovers too, heat in a low oven or even in the microwave.

*Cook Oatmeal; mix 1 cup water, 1 cup rolled oats, and a pinch of salt in a small microwave safe bowl.  Cook in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oreo Caramel Brownies

These claim a spot on my top five dessert list.  Which is a tough list to get on.  They are so simple, require very few ingredients and come together in a flash, but they taste so gourmet.  I have made these several times in the short few months that I have had this recipe and they are a hit with everyone that has tried them. I think that you will love them just as much as I do, give them a try!

Oreo Caramel Brownies
From: Picky Palate
Yields: 9x13 pan
Time: 10 minutes prep+ 20 minutes bake time

1 devils food cake mix
1 stick butter softened
1 large egg
14 Oreo cookies, broken into bite sized pieces
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ( I prefer milk chocolate)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil sprayed with cooking spray.

Place cake mix, butter, and egg into a large bowl, mixing to combine.  Use your hands, it works much quicker.  Press into the prepared baking pan.  Top with cookies, pour milk over the cookies and top the milk with chocolate chips.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through, do not over bake. 

Let cool completely, remove foil from pan and cut into squares.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

Okay, so this is one of my all time favorite recipes.  It is so good!  My kids all love it too.  This makes a ton of food, so I just serve it as a main dish, but you could scale it down for a side dish or use it as a side dish to feed a crowd.  This will not disappoint and as a bonus it taste great as leftovers.

Chicken Fried Rice
Adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen
Time: marinate overnight + 30 minutes prep + 30 minutes cook time
Serves: 6-8 as a main dish or 10-12 as a side dish

1 to 2 frozen chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 cups white rice, cooked
2 carrots finely crated
1/2 a white onion finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the frozen chicken breast(s) in a ziploc bag pour in the soy sauce and allow to marinate for 8 hours or over night. In a very large frying pan cook chicken in a little bit of olive oil, add carrots and onions and saute until clear.  Add frozen peas and cook until soft.  Then add the rice to the mixture.  In another pan, scramble eggs, chop finely and add to the rice mixture.  Then add butter and garlic powder and stir until butter is melted.  Serve immediately. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake

Do I need to say more. . . okay, I will, this is absolutely heavenly.  The best cheesecake I have ever had, hands down. Forget pumpkin pie, this creamy, slightly spiced pumpkin cheesecake will be the new standard at Thanksgiving desserts everywhere.  Once you try it you will be sold!

The great thing about this cheesecake as it only gets better with age, so make it  a head of time, how great is that when you are planning for Thanksgiving?  One less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving day. Just keep it in the fridge for up to four days and forget about it until you are ready to eat.  I made this three days in advance and it was perfect.

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
Yields: 12 slices
Time: 20 minutes prep + 1 hour bake time + 12 hours or more in the fridge

2 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 45-50 small cookies)
1/2 cup ground pecans
8 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

6 ounces white chocolate ( or 1 cup chocolate chips)
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Whipped Topping (I used cool whip)
Caramel sauce (I used heresy's ice cream topping)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

To make crust, crush the gingersnaps using a food processor or you can place them in a sealed bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  Combine all the crust ingredients well.  Evenly place the crumbs on the bottom and about 1-2 inches up the side of a lightly greased 9 inch spring-form pan. Place the crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, and spices and mix well.  

Melt you white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until smooth.

While the mixer is running in your pumpkin mixture slowly drizzle the white chocolate in a steady stream.  Pour mixture into the pie crust.

Place the cheesecake on the top rack of your oven. Place a 9 X 13 pan filled with two cups hot water on the bottom rack.  This will give it a nice steam bath as it cooks.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center will be slightly jiggly and the top should be golden brown.  Remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool.  Then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or  up to four days.

When ready to serve pour caramel over the middle of the cheesecake, spreading to the edges.  Then pipe on your whipped topping and serve.  Yummy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin (slow cooker)

So I must admit, after posting all the fun Halloween and fall recipes in October, I wasn't very excited about posting anything for November until I had this amazing pork last week.  Oh my, it is so good. I couldn't get enough of it. My whole family gobbled it up too.The pork taste delicious on its own, but then you add the sweet tasting glaze and you are in heaven. So. Good.

Even though the pork loin can be a little pricey this is definitely going into the regular rounds at my house.  I love it so much!  My new favorite meal! To make it even more wonderful, it is so very, very simple to make.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin
Serves: 6-8
Time: 5 minutes prep+ 6-8 hours in slow cooker + 10 minutes to make sauce

2-3 pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of large fat pockets
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons soy sauce

In a small bowl, combine the sage, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Rub spices all over the roast. Place the roast in a slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Near the end of the cooking time combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened.  Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place on a plate or platter and shred, drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

I know, I know sugar cookies are a lot of work.  And if you want them rolled and shaped into something there is no way around the work.  If you want sugar cookies and don't care to use cookie cutters Brit's sugar cookie bars are the way to go.  However, if you want to shape your cookies, these are the way to go. I have tried countless sugar cookie recipes and this is now the only one I use.  It is the best!  Trust me on this, you will not regret making this recipe.  They taste like the Granny B's sugar cookies with the pink frosting that you can get at the gas station.  Yummy!

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
Adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen
Yields: 20-30 three inch diameter cookies
Print Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg *
1/2 cup sour cream

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in a medium bowl, set aside.

Cream your butter in with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes.  Add sugar and mix for another 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix to incorporate.  Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well, add 1/3 of the sour cream, mix well. Continue that two more times.  Your dough will be very soft.  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.  If you leave it longer than that, you may have to let it sit at room temperature for a while before it is workable.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out your dough on a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Cut with well floured cookie cutters, place shapes on a cookie sheet with at least an inch spacing between each cookie and bake for 6-10 minutes just until the edges barely brown.  Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

You will definitely want to frost these as they are not super sweet.

*I add the nutmeg when I am making these in the fall they add just a hint of a festive fall flavor.  It is very subtle, but so good.  I love it.  You can skip the nutmeg all together if you want.  Enjoy!