Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus

Sometimes you want an easy and quick pasta recipe that tastes incredible. Well, this recipe for ravioli with sautéed asparagus is all of that and more.  It can be whipped up quickly and the addition of  parmesan cheese at the end makes it a culinary masterpiece.  I kid you not!

Fresh store bought ravioli is cooked, then tossed with asparagus that has been sautéed in a simple butter and lemon sauce.  A little bit of grated parmesan, and minced parsley  are added at the end–just give it a toss and you’re done.

I love asparagus, an early sign of spring around here, and I can’t resist buying it when I see it.  With asparagus you want a simple sauce to enhance it’s flavor and this light lemony, buttery sauce is just right.  All it consists of is butter, lemon juice and a dash of black pepper.  Not at all heavy or greasy, it just coats the ravioli and asparagus.

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A couple of notes:  The asparagus should be slightly damp when you sauté it.  This helps with the sauce.  So rinse your asparagus right before you chop it and add to the pan.

Also, you can use whatever fresh ravioli you like for this dish–cheese, mushroom, spinach would all be good choices.  I used a three-cheese ravioli for mine.

This is a dish that goes together very quickly so be sure to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.  It takes no time to prepare the asparagus, chop the parsley and measure out the other ingredients, so this can be done while you’re waiting for the water to boil for the ravioli.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUTÉED ASPARAGUS 

Yield:  Serves 2

Ingredients:IMG_9309

  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh ravioli, filling of choice
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, chopped into thirds
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • few twists, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve at the table

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2.  Prepare asparagus by snapping off tough ends, then chopping into thirds, or smaller.  Mince parsley, squeeze lemon and measure out butter.

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3.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until frothy.  Add chopped asparagus to the pan, stir to coat asparagus with butter and cover with a lid.  (If asparagus is damp, steam created will hasten cooking.)  Cook for 4 – 5 minutes depending on thickness of asparagus.

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4.  Add ravioli to boiling water and cook as per package directions.  Drain when done and place in a bowl.  Keep warm.

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5.  When asparagus is done, add to bowl with ravioli with a slotted spoon.  Leave any browned butter in the pan.

6.  To the butter in the pan, add lemon juice, several twists fresh pepper, and bring to a boil.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Pour the butter-lemon sauce over the ravioli and asparagus.  This will just lightly coat them.

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7.  Add parsley and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.  Toss to coat and combine.  Serve with more cheese at the table.

This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again.

 

SOURCE:  Adapted from Green Valley Kitchen

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Italian Style Chicken Sausage with Roast Vegetables

Italian Style Chicken  Sausage with Roast Vegetables and Rigatoni

Italian Style Chicken Sausage with Roast Vegetables and Rigatoni

I wish you could taste how good this dish is!  But since you can’t, you’re going to have to take my word for it.

This baked dinner came about as a result of having roast vegetables left over from when I made the Roast Vegetable Subs.  It’s everything I love in a meal and it’s all ready in about an hour.

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I used spicy chicken sausage to give it a little kick, but if you want it to be milder, simply swap it for sweet Italian sausage. The pasta I used is a large size rigatoni and I chose it so it would be compatible with the chunks of roasted vegetables.  For sauce I used a small jar of prepared pizza sauce mixed with a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano.  Grated Italian blend cheese sprinkled on at the end of baking time gave it a nice melty topping.  We added more grated cheese at the table.  There wasn’t much conversation going on at this meal;  all we kept saying was  “MmmmmMm, Wow, this is So good”!!

If you’d like to Wow your family, here’s the recipe……

ITALIAN STYLE CHICKEN SAUSAGE WITH ROAST VEGETABLES (and Rigatoni)

Yield:   Serves  6

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups roast mixed vegetables (refer to Roast Vegetable Subs for directions)IMG_9390
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 ounces uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 jar (15-oz.) pizza sauce
  • 1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 package (12-oz) Italian style Chicken Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese, plus more for the table

Directions:

1.   Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and keep warm in the  pot.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the chicken sausage just to brown a little;  add the roast vegetables and stir to combine.

Saute sausage with roast vegetables.

Saute sausage with roast vegetables.

Add the pizza sauce and tomatoes with their juice.  Heat the mixture thoroughly.

Add pizza sauce and tomatoes.

Add pizza sauce and tomatoes.

3.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

4.  Pour the sausage mixture over the cooked pasta and stir well to combine.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.

Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.

Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

5.  Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake uncovered, an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

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Comfort food….Yes!

Comfort food….Yes!

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

 

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

Sweet Spinach Smoothie

Looking ahead to spring you may be thinking , as I am, that you’d like to rid yourself of those few pounds that somehow sneaked on when you weren’t looking.  Ah, yes, this has been a winter for comfort foods, and for some reason comfort foods are the ones that put on the pounds.

One way to lose enjoyably(?) is to sip away the pounds.  Juice cleanses are not the best idea, in my opinion, but a healthy nutritious smoothie just may be the best kept secret around.  This blended beverage offers you tons of nutrition as well as protein and fiber to help keep you full from breakfast to lunch, or from lunch till dinner.

I guess I was a latecomer in discovering the goodness and benefits of smoothies.  But now that I’m on board I’ve been having one for breakfast, and one for lunch.  Then a regular meal for dinner, being careful to watch portion size, and with  carefully selected complex carbohydrates.

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of combinations that include both fruits and green vegetables.  Protein, fiber, and calcium make this green smoothie a filling, fat-burning meal.  It’s green color comes from spinach, but it also includes a pear, grapes,  some avocado, and Greek non-fat yogurt.    I must admit, I was hesitant about “drinking spinach”, but it’s really good.  I like this one very much.

SWEET SPINACH SMOOTHIE

Yield: 1 large serving, or 2 smaller onesIMG_9268

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 ripe pear, cored and seeded, cut into pieces
  • 15 red or green grapes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped avocado
  • 1 – 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 6 oz. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

Put all the ingredients into a blender container and liquify on high until smooth and thick.   I put the yogurt in first, as my blender needs something soft to help it get going.

 

Put everything in the blender and whiz to liquify.

Put everything in the blender and whiz to liquify.

This is thick and satisfying.

This is thick and satisfying.

SOURCE:  My own combination

 

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Subs

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Sub

Garlic Roasted Vegetable Sub

Oven-roasting is an easy way to prepare vegetables and bring out the best of their natural flavor.  Any combination of vegetables will work in this hearty vegetarian sub sandwich.  I particularly like the combination I put together to create an Italian vibe.  I filled them with a medley of garlic-roasted eggplant, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and tomatoes, then topped them with cheese and placed them in the oven for a light toasting.  This is an easy and delicious meal.

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The quantity of vegetables given in this recipe was more than I needed for just two of us, so I plan to use the extra ready-roasted  vegetables in another meal with pasta, sausage, and tomato sauce.  They would also be good on a pizza, I’m thinking!

Once roasted, they can be used in several ways.

Once roasted, they can be used in several ways.

GARLIC ROASTED VEGETABLE SUBS

Yield:  enough for 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubesIMG_9336
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 3 or 4 thick slices
  • 2 thick slices sweet onion, separated into rings
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 soft sub/hoagie rolls (about 6 inches)
  • 4 to 6 slices cheese ( mozzarella, muenster or provolone)

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F. and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.

2.  Place eggplant cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with 1  1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread the cubes on one of the prepared baking sheets and set aside.

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3.  Add the peppers, tomato slices, onion rings, and mushrooms to the bowl.  Sprinkle with the chopped garlic, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  Toss to combine and transfer to the other prepared baking sheet.

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4.  Roast the vegetables until tender and lightly caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheets and toss the vegetables about halfway through the cooking time for best results.

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5.  Split the rolls lengthwise and divide the vegetables between them.

Split rolls, add veggies.

Split rolls, add veggies.

Top with slices of cheese.

I used sliced mozzarella.

I used sliced mozzarella.

Place in the oven for  4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the rolls are lightly toasted.  Serve with chips or fries.

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A delicious meal!

A delicious meal!

SOURCE:   My Gourmet Connection

Irish Whiskey Cake

This year I got a little carried away with making Irish recipes for our St Paddy’s Day dinner.  Here today, we have the meal’s finale; Irish Whiskey Cake.

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

You might be tempted to call this a “drunken cake” because of the whiskey content.  But fear not, the alcohol content evaporates with cooking, leaving behind the flavor of the whiskey.  To be really authentic, you should use Irish Whiskey, but having none in the house, I used what I had, which was an American brand of whiskey.   Can’t say I noticed a hugh difference in flavor….it’s just plain good no matter what brand you use.  Oh, and it’s very OK to adjust the amount upward if you’re so inclined.

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When you look at this cake you would not suspect what’s hidden inside.  It looks like a nice golden poundcake, unassuming and quiet-like.  But wait…..what’s that ribbon of moistness lying along the bottom of the cake?  and what IS that white, crusty, crunchiness on top?  That folks, is the whiskey glaze that slowly seeps through the cake from top to bottom carrying all the whiskey flavor throughout the cake and making it super moist.  Scattered throughout my cake are finely chopped walnuts, but you could also use pecans.   For those with nut allergies, you can leave them out and still be totally satisfied with the results.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

The recipe for this cake calls for baking it in a round tube pan or bundt pan, but I wanted to share the cake with another family, so I baked it in two loaf pans, and split the amount of glaze between the two cakes.  There was no problem in doing that, they both came out fine.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Yield:  1 round bundt cake, or 2 smaller loaf cakes (8″ x 4″)IMG_9423

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding added)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz. whiskey of choice ( or more?)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk ( skim is OK)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

For the glaze:IMG_9431

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Generously spray a bundt cake pan or 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray, and then flour well, shaking out the excess flour.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Beat well…this will be a thick mixture.

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3.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, and whiskey.  Add to cake mixture and continue to beat 3 minutes.  Lastly fold in the nuts, if using.

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4.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes.   Loaf cakes may take a little less time.  Start timing at 45 minutes and watch and test for doneness.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

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5.  While cake is baking, make glaze.  Place whiskey glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook on stove top just until it begins to bubble and boil.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is out of the oven, pour the glaze slowly over the cake while it is hot and still in the pan.  It helps to absorb more quickly if you make holes all over the top of the cake with a chop stick or other fine wooden tool.  Let cake stand in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing to a rack to finish cooling.

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7.  Once completely cooled, remove cake from pan.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 12 hours or more for flavors to permeate throughout the cake.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

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SOURCE:   The Ranting Chef

 

(The Best) Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

For something so simple as Irish Soda Bread, there certainly are a lot of recipes out there for making it.   Luckily for me, I have a recipe for the best ISB I’ve ever tasted and so it’s the one I keep returning to time after time.

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Generally speaking, Irish Soda Bread recipes seem to fall into two categories; those with raisins and those without.  Most all of them call for caraway seeds.  Since I am not fond of caraway seeds, I always leave them out, but we love the bread with raisins.  They add just a touch of sweetness.

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This recipe was submitted by a church member when we were putting together a recipe book of favorite recipes by women of our church.  It contains raisins and NO caraway seeds.  Besides the usual baking soda and buttermilk combination, this version has three eggs in it also, so it raises up nice and tall.  It will fill a 9-inch round pan to the top, with a nice high crown.  The eggs also make the texture of this bread more cake-like.

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When I have this bread around I want to keep having a piece, with coffee, with tea, with just about anything.  I especially like it in the morning with some fruit for breakfast.   Making this bread only once a year for St. Patrick’s Day is way too long to wait to enjoy this wonderful bread.  Once you taste it you will want to make it much more frequently than that.  I promise you’ll be craving it all year ’round.

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Butter spread on warm bread makes it just a little better!!

 

BEST EVER IRISH SODA BREAD

Yield:  1  9-inch round loaf, approximately 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole-wheat flour)IMG_9406
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

2.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients, flour through sugar.

3.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and combine well.

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Lightly beat into the flour mixture.  Stir in the raisins.

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Place dough into the prepared pan.

5.  Bake in 350* oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the bread has risen and the top is golden brown.  A knife inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.

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Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.

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SOURCE:  Feeding the Flock

Guinness Braised Corned Beef

Guinness-Braised Corned Beef

Guinness-Braised Corned Beef

The St. Paddy’s Day parade took place downtown, the restaurants and bars were overflowing with folks wanting to celebrate and have a good time, and wearing something green made everyone Irish.

I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but it is traditional here in the Northeast to have corned beef dinner for St. Patrick’s Day.  We had ours this weekend when I had the time to prepare it and we also had the time to enjoy a leisurely dinner.  I’m so glad I did that, so now I can tell you all how wonderfully good it was!!  Along with the corned beef dinner I also made Irish Soda Bread and Irish Whisky Cake.  You’ll be reading about them in upcoming posts, so stay tuned.

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This meal begins with a piece of corned beef packaged in brine with a packet of seasonings included.  With Guinness being the traditional beer of Ireland, it is fitting that Guinness is used as part of the liquid in which the beef slow cooks.

The slow cooker is the perfect way to cook this cut of meat since it requires long slow cooking to achieve it’s perfect tenderness.  I started it in the morning and let it cook on HIGH for about 8 hours.  The meat and all the vegetables were falling apart they were so well done and tender, and the flavor was “out of this world”.  This was the best corned beef I have ever cooked.

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GUINNESS-BRAISED CORNED BEEF

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup waterIMG_9400
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can beef broth
  • 2 cups Guinness stout (if using one bottle, make up the difference with water)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 3-4 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 red-skin potatoes, halved
  • 1 (3-pound) cured corned beef brisket, with seasoning packet
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cut into wedges

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Directions:

1.  In a large slow cooker, begin by stirring together all the liquids, then adding the brown sugar and tomato paste, Stir to combine well.  Add the seasonings, including the packet with the corned beef.

2.  Put in all the vegetables except the cabbage.   You may choose to add other vegetables you have on hand.  Some people like turnip in this mixture  or parsnips.

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3.  Lay the corned beef brisket on top of it all.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 hours or until beef is tender.  Add wedges of cabbage when there is 1 hour of cooking time remaining.

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Remove beef, slice diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.  Serve surrounded by the vegetable mixture.  Discard the broth mixture.

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SOURCE:   AllRecipes.com

Impossible Coconut Cream Pie

 

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Tomorrow is Pi Day, folks!

In case you are not aware of it, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14; so March 14th has earned the title Pi Day.  Since the date this year is March 14th, 2015, we have the first five digits of pi, 3.1415, an extra special day for celebrating.   And it’s so nice to have another food holiday (besides Thanksgiving) to celebrate each year.

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Of course, we love our pies for Thanksgiving, but most of us stick to the traditional ones–pumpkin, apple, pecan, etc.   I like Pi day because it gives me a reason to make a pie (#1), and because it gives me a chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet (#2).  As I do each year I browse through many pie recipes, mulling over the choices in my mind, considering both sweet and savory options.   This coconut cream pie just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t let me rest until I made it.  I don’t remember trying coconut cream pie before this.  Newsflash—-it’s fabulous.  Don’t be thrown by the name.  This pie is not impossible to make, just impossibly good!

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Naturally since this is my first attempt at coconut cream pie, I have no basis for comparison, but we do love this pie.  The coconut custard filling is silky smooth and luscious without being too rich.  A cap of freshly whipped cream on top makes almost any pie better, and this is no exception.  I decided to go the extra mile and toasted some coconut chips for a garnish—so fun and so pretty.  I just love the way it looks.

Will you be celebrating Pi Day with pie?  I’d like to know what flavors you all are making!

IMPOSSIBLE COCONUT CREAM PIE

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked ( your favorite recipe or a refrigerated pie crust)
  • 2 eggsIMG_9361
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup non-sweet coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.  Set aside.

2.  Flour a work surface and roll the pie crust out to fit your pie plate.  Carefully place the crust in the pie plate, flute the edges and refrigerate until ready to fill.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt , milk, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix well.  Fold in the coconut.  IMG_9362

Fold in the coconut.

Fold in the coconut.

4. Pour into the pie crust.

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Bake  at 350*F. for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are set.  The center may still be a bit jiggly.  It will become firm as it cools.  Allow to cool at room temperature about 2 hours, then refrigerate.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

5.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with some coconut flakes that have been lightly toasted.  You can easily do this when the pie is cooked and out of the oven. Leave the oven on and toast the coconut flakes for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not become too brown.

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Looking for more Pi day inspiration?  Be sure to check the Pie category—there are many more options to choose from.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe by Penzey’s Spices

 

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did it!  I finally did it!!   I found a way to make a chocolate chip cookie that stays tall and rounded, soft and chewy with lots of chocolate pieces in it.    I am in love with these cookies.

So for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, we have these beauties.

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There must be a ba-zillion recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and I must have made at least half a ba-zillion of them, but could never achieve this kind of result.  Oh, they were good all right; some crisp, some chewy, but most all of them flatten out either during baking or as they cool.   I’ve wanted a thick, full cookie that comes out of the oven looking almost the same as it went in, and now I have it.

Before baking.

Before baking.

After baking.

After baking.

What this recipe does is… swap out 1/4 cup of butter and substitute 1/4 cup full-fat cream cheese.  You wouldn’t think that would make a big difference, but it did.  The resulting cookie is so soft with a richness to the dough unlike any other cookies I’ve tried.

Don’t use light, or fat-free cream cheese because your dough will become really soft, and your cookies will spread too much. The cream cheese gets mixed with the butter at the start of the mixing process, followed by the sugars, egg and vanilla.  Then the flour mixture gets mixed in and finally the chocolate chips.

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Make sure to chill your dough for at least two hours before you bake to ensure your cookies bake thick and puffy.  I also found out that if you form your dough into cookie balls before chilling, and chill them all together on a baking sheet, it is much easier to transfer them onto other baking sheets when ready to bake them, than it is to form dough balls when the whole batch of dough is chilled. All the while you are forming cookie dough balls from chilled dough, the dough is coming to room temperature as you work, and then you get limpy whimpy cookies when they are baked.   I want thick, puffy cookies that are overflowing with chocolate, and that’s what these are.

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CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softenedIMG_9320
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened ( use full-fat cream cheese)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  •  2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks ( or a mixture)

Directions:

1.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

2.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

3.  By hand stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.

4.  Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds ( 28 – 30).  Place mounds onto a large flat platter or baking sheet, flatten slightly with your palm, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight, before baking.  Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Before baking.

Before baking.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F., line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.  Place cookie mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 – 9 minutes, or until edges have set and barely browned, tops are just beginning to set, pale and glossy in the center.  Cookies will firm up as they cool, so do not bake more that 10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

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6.  Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Unbaked cookie dough can be store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked at a future time. Chilled cookie dough balls may be transferred to a zip-lock bag and frozen for future use also.

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SOURCE:   this recipe was adapted from one by Averie Cooks

 

 

 

Loaded Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower

Hi folks, welcome to a new week.  It’s Monday Funday, meatless Monday.  Are you getting tired of trying to come up with something new and delicious, but meatless?   Is your family groaning over the same old same old?  How many of you would be satisfied with a loaded baked potato?  You know, with sour cream, bacon bits, grated cheddar cheese, chives, etc, etc.  Oh, yeah, and all those calories……?

Suppose I told you  you can have all that without the extra calories and carbohydrate you get with a potato.  Just put all that good stuff on …..wait now…..cauliflower!   Cauliflower is the new potato, thus we have loaded cauliflower.   What’s not to love about that!!

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This recipe is rather unique, and a little off-beat, but when it comes to reducing our carbohydrate intake and calories,  off-beat is good.  And it’s a great way to add some zip to cauliflower.

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Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. dry Ranch Salad dressing mix
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion, green part only

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Lightly spray a 9-inch baking dish.

2.  Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer.  Bring water to a boil.  Add cauliflower, and steam until very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Steam cauliflower till tender.

Steam cauliflower till tender.

Transfer to a bowl, break up into florets and drain any excess water.

I spread mine out in a baking dish.

I spread mine out in a baking dish.

3.  Mix cauliflower with sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing mix, onion and garlic powders.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.  Top with pieces of butter.

I mixed up the topping and spooned it over the cauliflower in the baking dish,

I mixed up the topping and spooned it over the cauliflower in the baking dish,

4.  Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling, about 30 minutes.

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Before serving, sprinkle with chopped green onions.  I added some fine unseasoned bread crumbs.

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This is so good.  Just like eating a baked potato with all your favorite toppings.

SOURCE:   AllRecipes.com