Friday, July 14, 2017

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Hey Y'all.  I've been talking to a lot of people lately who believe they can't cook or bake.  They think it's super complicated so they don't even try.  That's not the case at all.  I have lots of recipes that are so easy anyone can make them.  Here is a super simple cookie recipe.  It uses a box of cake mix.  I mean, come on, how easy is that?  




TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Swiss chocolate mix)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract.  You can use an electric mixer on low, but if you don't have one, just stir it until it's thoroughly combined.



Add the chocolate chips and stir to mix them in well.



Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet, leaving room between them.  An easy way to do this is to use two spoons.  Scoop with one spoon then use the second spoon to scrape the dough off and onto the cookie sheet.


Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (you want them to go into a hot oven so be sure it's preheated) for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown.


Let them sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute after you remove from the oven.  Then use a spatula to transfer them to rack to cool.  Yields 4 dozen cookies.



These cookies are really yummy and chocked full of chocolate chips!  Awesome with a glass of milk.  Plus, it's so easy!  A great recipe to make with kids or for a party or anytime, really.  So, if you are one of those who think they can't bake, please give this a try.  You'll surprise yourself.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Smoked Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

I'm always looking for ways to use leftovers.  For two reasons:  1. I really hate wasting food and 2. It cuts down on cooking time.  You can get supper on the table faster and easier.  This recipe uses leftover rice (which I always have in the fridge) plus some other staples that are usually in my kitchen.


   

SMOKED SAUSAGE STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

1/2 lb smoked sausage, diced
4 large bell peppers
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced
1 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
4 cups cooked leftover rice (cold)
salt and pepper to taste
Beef broth (or chicken broth)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the bell peppers.


Clean out the seeds and ribs from inside the peppers.



Remove the stems from the tops.



Dice two of the tops to use in this recipe.  The other two tops can be saved for another recipe.  You can refrigerate them in a zip top bag for a few days.  You can even freeze them for a few months and just thaw out what you need.


Meanwhile, steam the cleaned bell peppers in the microwave for 4-5 minutes.  If you don't have a microwave steamer, you can boil a pot of water and then place the peppers in the boiling water for 5-7 minutes.  You just want to soften them a little.  Not too much, though.  They still need to hold their shape.

In a big skillet over medium-high heat, brown the diced sausage.



Once browned, remove the sausage to a plate.  Next, add the onion, garlic, green onions and diced bell pepper tops to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until softened.


Return the sausage to the skillet.


Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.  Stir.



Add the cold, cooked rice and stir to mix thoroughly.



Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Then, add enough beef broth to make the rice wet but not swimming.  I used about 1 cup.  You don't want the rice to be dry because if it's dry before it goes into the oven, it will be VERY dry when it comes out of the oven.  (You can use chicken broth, but I like the depth of flavor the beef broth adds).



Place steamed bell peppers into a baking dish.


Fill the peppers with the rice mixture.


If you have any leftover (or if you have a picky eater who won't eat a bell pepper) you can add some rice straight into the dish.  (You could also fill a hollowed out tomato or onion, whatever you have on hand).


Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.


These stuffed bell peppers are delicious.  The peppers impart great flavor to the rice dressing.  It almost tastes like a jambalaya, but much faster and easier to make.




This recipe is so easy to double or half, depending on how many mouths you're feeding.  You could use Italian Sausage or breakfast sausage, even ground beef, whatever you have in your kitchen.  The next time you make rice, make a little extra so you can whip up this easy dish.

My Pickiest Eater Ever Son ate the rice that was not in a pepper (shocking, right?) but he ate.  My Old School Italian Husband, who's not a big bell pepper fan, said "Wow, that was really good," as he went back for seconds.  I'd say this one's a winner!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taco Dip

We are having a family game night tonight.  We all put the phones away (even the teen and the college girl!) and play board games, listen to music and eat fun foods.  Tonight we each are making our own pizza.  It's always hilarious to see what my Old School Italian Hubby comes up with and we all know my Pickiest Eater Ever Son will make pepperoni, never anything else, ever.  My Adventurous Daughter and I will add lot's of stuff and gross the guys out.  It's a good time.  I wanted to make a fun snack to go along with game night so I made a Taco Dip.  It's quick, easy and good.  I made it early in the day so it can chill in the fridge and all the flavors can mingle and meld together.  This is a wonderful dip to take to a potluck or office party because you can even make it the day before you need it and keep it in the fridge.  It just gets better.




TACO DIP

1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar (or Mexican blend) cheese
1 roma tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl combine the refried beans and taco seasoning.



Mix until thoroughly combined.


Carefully spread the bean mixture into the bottom of a pie plate or clear bowl.  You just don't want it to get all over the sides because you are layering the ingredients.


Spread the salsa on top.  Try to completely cover the bean mixture.



Dollop the sour cream all over the top (this just makes it easier to spread).  Spread it evenly over the salsa.  Don't worry if the salsa bleeds through.



Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.


Sprinkle the diced tomatoes over the cheese.


Lastly, add the green onions.  I find the easiest way to cut them is to use a clean pair of scissors and just snip off what you need.


That's it!  I told you it was easy.  Now chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.  Like I said earlier, you can even make this the day before you serve it.


I serve it with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops.


You can modify it easily.  Don't like tomatoes?  Leave them out.  Love black olives?  Add them.  Layer in some guacamole on top of the beans or add diced bell pepper.  Use whatever you like.  It'll be great.  I hope you make this for your next potluck or family game night or Taco Tuesday.  Let me know how you customize it.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Chicken and Orzo

I know I haven't been posting regularly lately.  I'm sorry about that.  I love cooking and sharing recipes.  However, I have been crazy busy.  My son just had sinus surgery so I was taking care of him and running him to follow up appointments.  Plus, the renovations are still not finished!  To be fair, the inside is finished.  But, of course, my hubby (who has more energy than the Energizer Bunny) decided to completely change the landscape of the front yard.  So, we have bulldozers and trailers everywhere.  I just want to wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and sit in the silence.  But that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.  Anyway, enough of my bellyaching.  Here is a really yummy one-pot recipe that is sort of a mix between chicken noodle soup and chicken and rice.  It almost has a risotto feel.  Really delicious, but really easy.



CHICKEN AND ORZO

2 TBS oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 lb chicken tenders (or 2 boneless breasts, cut up)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lb orzo pasta
1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 cup water
salt/pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add oil and butter.  Brown chicken on both sides.  That just means cook it on one side (without moving it around) until it's browned.  Then flip it over and brown it on the other side.  It doesn't have to be cooked through at this point.



Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it to a plate.


Those brown bits on the bottom of the pot are great flavor.  You want to get those up and into your dish.  We are going to do that with the veggies.



Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir them occasionally and when you do, scrape the bottom of the pot.  The water released from the veggies will help get those brown bits off the bottom of the pot.


After about 7-10 minutes or so, the veggies are softened a bit.


Raise the heat to medium-high and add the orzo.


Stir well then add the chicken broth and the water.



Add the fresh chopped parsley and stir.



Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling. stir well, then put the lid on and lower the heat to low.  Let it simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes, stirring twice during that time.


After 25 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork.

This dish is so good!  Simple, comforting, filling, one-pot wonder.  What's not to love?