Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-oz package) Chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in morsels. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

What I did differently from the recipe:

What I'll do differently next time:

Thumbs up!! Man, are these good! I made about a dozen and then refrigerated the rest of the batter so we can make them as we want them. I think we have about 5 cookies left and they've only been made a couple of hours. Everything in this recipe was in my pantry - that was the best part about the recipe. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are the best!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hamburger Minestrone

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp beef bouillon granules
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
28 oz whole tomatoes, undrained
8 oz kidney beans, undrained
8 oz whole kernel corn, undrained
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook beef, onion and garlic in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese, breaking up tomatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender. Serve with cheese.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I left out the cabbage completely. I used 2 beef bouillon cubes instead of the granules, used 2 zucchini, and almost a whole cup of macaroni.

What I'll do differently next time:
Nothing, except maybe use a bit more Italian seasoning, which I did add at the end this time. You can substitute ground turkey for the ground beef to make it a bit leaner.

Thumbs up! This was a really easy recipe to do, and was so good. Every bite had different vegetables and flavors in it, which made it better.


We get our meat from a butcher, but I know you can get a solid pound of ground beef for $4 on sale. The onion was $0.72, macaroni was approximately $1.29, celery was $1.89, zucchini was $1.08, the tomatoes were $1.50, kidney beans were $0.59, and the corn was $0.57. That's $11.64. The other ingredients were free or I've had so long I can't remember what they cost. It is definitely an under $20 meal though, and makes at least 6-8 servings. I was able to freeze over half of it.

Cheesy Potato Skins

4 large potatoes
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Bake potatoes. I always find boiling is the easiest way to go. Should take about 30-45 minutes, or you can split them in half and they'll take 20-30 minutes. Let them stand until they're cool enough to handle. Cut into fourths, carefully scoop out pulp, leaving just the shells. Save the pulp for future use (mashed potatoes are just as good!)

Place potato skins, skins down, on rack in broiler pan. Brush with butter. Broil on the top rack for 8-10 minutes or until crisp and brown.

Sprinkle cheese over potato shells. Broil about 30 seconds or until melted. Serve with sour cream and green onions.

What I did differently from the recipe:
Totally left out sour cream and green onions because we don't like them. Added bacon, because - YUM!

What I'll do differently next time:
Absolutely nothing.

Thumbs up!! I hate how long it takes to boil potatoes, but it was so worth it. These tasted just like the appetizer at many steak restaurants. It wasn't the easiest recipe ever, but the only hard part was scooping out the pulp. Some of the potatoes were so soft they fell apart easily, which is why you see several halves in the final outcome! Obviously they still taste just as good.

I've had some interest in how much it costs to make these recipes, so I'm going to try to keep up with that when I remember and when it's possible. I only bought 3 potatoes - more than enough for two people - ($2.50) and the cheese (on sale for $1.67). I don't know how much the bacon cost but mom bought it when it was Buy 2, Get 3 Free so it was probably around $2-3. All in all I probably spent between $6-7 on this. That's about how much it costs at any steakhouse, except the rest of our meal was fresh veggies from the garden, which were free. At a steakhouse, we would be laying down another $15-20 for both of us. Worth it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits


Place biscuit, open, on a baking sheet. In a skillet, cook one slice of bacon (split in half) and one egg. After egg is cooked, place on one slice of bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay one slice of cheese on top of egg. Top with both halves of bacon. Place in the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.

This recipe is an original. I was hungry this morning, and too hungry to make a breakfast casserole which is what I really wanted. I had leftover biscuits that I needed to use up, so I decided to try my hand at bacon, egg and cheese biscuits. This is such a basic recipe that you can switch it up however you want. Got leftover ham? Toss it in there. Hate cheese? Leave it out. If you like McGriddles from McDonalds, pour a tiny amount of maple syrup onto the biscuit first.

It took only a few minutes to make and was really filling. I almost stopped after just one because it was so filling, but of course I went back for seconds.

Thumbs up! Quick breakfast = happy mom with almost no free time!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 ounces dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a medium baking sheet. Pour egg into a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in separate bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then bread crumbs.

Place coated chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce into a 7x11 baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

What I did differently from the recipe:
First of all, I didn't measure ANYTHING. I probably used only a few ounces of spaghetti sauce, because we don't like too much with this recipe. I only did three breasts, so I just poured bread crumbs as needed. And I piled on the cheeses!!!

What I'll do differently next time:
Same as above - not as much sauce, more cheese, baby!!

Thumbs up! This recipe takes a long time to bake, but not make. It is so good and really filling.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt and cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 7x11 baking pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs one by one and beat for 1 minute. On low speed, mix in half of the flour mixture, the buttermilk, and the rest of the flour mixture.

Gently stir in berries. Pour into baking pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, unmold, then cool right-side-up.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I didn't add any salt at all, and I'm sure I used more than a "pinch" of cinnamon. I just kind of poured it - probably 1- 1 1/2 tsp worth. Instead of using buttermilk, I made a mixture of 95% milk and 5% lemon juice in a 1/2 cup measuring cup. I didn't have a 7x11 baking pan so I used an 8x8. And I never use a mixer - I always hand mix. I doubt it makes a difference. Lastly, I checked the cake after 29 minutes (luckily) and it was done. I suggest you do the same! When it came out of the oven, I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on both the top and bottom.

What I'll do differently next time:
Probably sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar at the end, although I could still do that I think.

Thumbs up!! This was SO easy to make, and I had blueberries I needed to use. It was so fast, and it's really delicious. We are snacking on it tonight, but it will be really good for breakfast too.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 10-oz package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 cloves minced garlic
12 oz angel hair pasta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add chicken. Cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through - about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels (or just set aside).

Heat remaining oil in skillet. Begin heating water for pasta. Add carrot to skillet; cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add broccoli and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, add chicken broth, basil, and Parmesan to skillet. Stir to combine. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

Drain pasta. Place in a bowl. Top with chicken and vegetable mixture. Serve immediately.

What I did differently from the recipe:
This is a classic recipe that we love around here. I usually stick to the recipe because there's really nothing I want to change. But I normally do more chicken and veggies than is in the recipe. I usually do between 1.5 and 2 pounds of chicken, at least 3 or 4 carrots, and between 10 and 12 ounces of broccoli. I chop everything into really small pieces to spread it out more. Tonight I used regular spaghetti because I didn't have angel hair on hand. If you use something other than angel hair, you may want to start the pasta cooking a bit earlier - angel hair cooks in just about 4-5 minutes. Also, I'm sure I use more Parmesan because I just heave it on there!

What I'll do differently next time:
Who knows?

Thumbs up! One of our favorites, and really easy to make!