Monday, December 30, 2013

Monster Cookie Dough Truffles

You realize there are a lot of cookie and candy recipes from the holidays that I haven't yet shared, right? I'm just so crazy that there are not enough days for me to share it all. So over the next few weeks, they'll trickle in here or there, but I think this one I saved--a Monster Cookie Dough Truffle--would be awesome for New Year's Eve. They are quick to make and you can eat them one handed with the rest of your party appetizers. And something about peanut butter and chocolate goes well with a celebratory beer to ring in the new year. We love these truffles and I had to hide them from Dave for fear no one else would get a chance to try them. The eggless cookie dough is sweet, soft and loaded with monster cookie goodness. Dipped and milk chocolate and topped with sprinkles, swap out the holiday colors for rainbow or anything that works for your party theme.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spanish Chicken and Rice

One pot meals at like heaven for weeknight dinners. Less stuff to clean up and easy to just throw everything together, layering in the flavors for a delicious, hearty meal. And this Spanish Chicken and Rice is one amazing dinner. Chicken and chourico get amped up with garlic, onions, peppers and seasoning, then cook with rice for a lot of flavor and a filling meal that gets done in less than an hour and is perfect for a cold winter evening. We all loved this dish and it will definitely be in my dinner rotation. It's definitely a full meal, but we added bread and a salad for a more rounded dinner.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my followers, friends and family the merriest of Christmases. Hope you left Santa the best kind of cookies so he felt compelled to give you everything you wished for.

Merry Christmas,
The Cookie Princess

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles

It's almost Christmas, so there's a good chance that you're busy but you still need some holiday treats or gifts or you might have some little, idle hands that are on winter vacation and maybe they need something fun to do. Enter these Chrismas Confetti Cake Batter Truffles. Little balls of cake batter goodness with holiday-themed sprinkles dipped in white chocolate and ready to gift or shove in your face--either is fine, I won't judge. The batter comes together quickly and it's a no bake treat, so even the little ones can help with this recipe start to finish. Make up a quick batch for the unexpected visitor or the neighbor who shoveled out your driveway. Or tuck this recipe away for a birthday party and use rainbow sprinkles. Or save for next week and use gold or silver sprinkles for a fun New Year's treat. No matter when you make them, they'll be delicious.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge

"Holy crack-filled fudge!" This is one of the responses I got to this recipe, which is by far an awesome compliment (because the fudge does not in fact have crack in it). I've been looking for a peanut butter fudge recipe for a while and I'm glad to have finally found one just about as easy as my Mom's Perfect Fudge recipe. Now I have both chocolate and peanut butter in my fudge arsenal, which is definitely a good arsenal to keep full. I might have kept some of this peanut butter fudge back just for me so I could enjoy it's smooth creamy texture and big peanut butter flavor.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Egg Nog Cookies

Confession: I'm not a huge egg nog fan. Technically, before these cookies, I wasn't at all a egg nog fan. But I've seen the light in that the subtle flavor can add some lovely goodness to the right cookie. I added this cookie to the rotation because my brother really likes egg nog, and there are some others, Dave included, who enjoy the flavor. These egg nog cookies are light with a gentle crunch and the sweet glaze gets a dusting of fresh grated nutmeg to mimic a glass of the creamy beverage. So, yes, as far as these cookies are concerned, I'm an egg nog fan.

Monday, December 16, 2013

No Knead Crusty Bread

What's better than fresh, homemade bread with a crunchy crust and soft, fluffy interior? We loved this bread with our Thanksgiving dinner and I even made another loaf this weekend. Super simple to make with ingredients already in the pantry and no kneading. Yup, perfect artisan-style bread and you don't have to knead it at all. Plus, you can adapt this recipe in all kinds of ways to add flavor from herbs and spices to match whatever you're serving. Since we had this with Thanksgiving dinner, I can tell you this bread is great for leftover turkey sandwiches, but also perfect for pairing with pasta, chili or soup.

Secret Recipe Club

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread Men Sandwich Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are a must for Christmas and I make some version of them every year. So this year when I saw the idea of making them into sandwich cookies, I couldn't resist. I made sandwiches out of gingerbread men, stars and trees, because I like to party. The cookies are soft and flavorful, made with molasses, cinnamon and of course, ginger. The filling is perfect for sandwich cookies, creamy and sweet, and has the perfect texture to combine cookies without oozing out the sides like messy frosting. I really need to make more sandwich cookies--they are fun and you can get away with eating two cookies and frosting but look like your only having one.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

You know how I love to make tiny little two bite cookies? Well, these suckers are big.  Huge, even. A big ol' soft pumpkin cookie, stuffed with caramel and then rolled in cinnamon sugar because, well, why not?  The cookies are a wonderful way to tuck in the caramel--perfectly pumpkin flavored with a little spice and sweetness.  The caramel is a nice surprise, offering a creamy center wonderfully matched to the pumpkin and spice.  You might want to keep all these to yourself, but wouldn't it be better to share?  I mean, this is the season of giving.  So I decide the best way to share these cookies would be through the 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange. Like last year (with these) and the year before (with these), I shared a dozen of these cookies with each of three different food bloggers and in return, I received three lovely packages, each containing a dozen cookies from three other food bloggers

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ginger Rum Molasses Cookies

Of course ginger and molasses go together for awesome holiday cookie flavor, but add rum to the mix and you'll make my heart sing, and not just because I'm a lush and want to booze it up.  As a flavor enhancer, this works very well.  These cookies are soft, with a nice molasses flavor, with the rum coming through for a nice extra bit and speckled with crystallized ginger,meaning you get nice bits of ginger flavor bite after bite.  A soft molasses cookie is always required for the holidays and I really like the slight twist this recipe gives that holiday stand-by.  These might even been a great cookie swap option for those looking for a little variety in their tradition recipes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gingerbread Mini Loaves

Spicy, sweet, soft and quintessentially Christmas.  These mini loaves would make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, or friends.  I love how mini loaves are a perfect little package of tasty goodness, wrapped up as an extra bit of holiday cheer.  And it doesn't get much more cheerful than gingerbread, with it's soft, cakey goodness and lots of spicy flavor.  Gingerbread loaves and cakes don't always get a chance to shine during these days of decadent houses or crisp, men shaped cut-out cookies, frosted and adorned.  But I loved this delicious bread with all it's spice and molasses, plus the fun additional of maple syrup for a little twist.  Plus, I made 6 of these little loaves without breaking out my stand mixer--just two bowls, a whisk and a spatula. Holiday flavor was never so easy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

If you've been following me for a while, you know I love swirled cookies.  I've got so many different flavors and am always looking for more--mint and fudge, almond and sugar, cinnamon and cranberry, peanut butter and chocolate.  I just love these cookies because they are so much fun to make.  It might seem like a lot of steps, but I still think they are easier than regular roll out sugar cookies, and there's the bonus of tons of flavor.  These cranberry and orange swirls are stuffed with fresh cranberries and pecans, sweetened with brown sugar.  It's a lovely combination and I'm really glad I picked up this recipe for my swirls this year.  Sweet and nutty with a nice sugar cookie base.  Cranberry and orange are one of my favorite holiday flavor combinations, and the addition of pecans works so well.  These are officially on the holiday cookie list.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

How pretty are these little guys?  Of course these are dressed up for holiday cookie tins, but you can use any color sugar you like for your special occasion.  But more important than being pretty, these cookies are exactly what a Christmas sugar cookie should be--crisp and airy and perfectly sweet.  A mixture of cream cheese and butter gives these sugar cookies a consistency I haven't had from other drop sugar cookie recipes I've tried.  I'm thrilled with how these turned out and they were super easy.  Let's see: pretty, delicious and easy.  Yeah, that equals a win.

Friday, November 29, 2013

White Chocolate Cookie Butter Truffles

These truffles were a mistake actually.  Well, not a mistake so much as they weren't supposed to happen. I wanted to make a different truffle but I couldn't find the components I needed to make it happen.  However, a bag of Spekulatius cookies and a jar of Speculoos cookie butter said I had everything I needed to make these little balls of spiced cookie heaven.  Smooth, creamy, full of flavor and dressed up in white chocolate and topped with a piece of those delicious spiced windmill cookies.  These truffles are perfect for sharing. In fact, I shared them right away with my November Foodie Pen Pal!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Broccoli Parmesan

This is by far one of my favorite "fancy" ways to prepare broccoli.  Now, Dave and I love broccoli and will have it just steamed, maybe with a little salt and butter, but even just plain is great for us.  But toss a creamy cheese sauce on top and broil it for a bit of crispy gooeyness and I'm sold.  I love everything about this broccoli and made it for the very first Thanksgiving we hosted. I really should make it more often, because it's simple and can easily be added to a weeknight meal.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pumpkin Roll Bars

There's just something about pumpkin and cream cheese that's delicious.  Simultaneously light and indulgent, it's a combo I really like, whether in these muffins or this cake.  So I figured these bars would be an excellent way to get my fix.  These bars are made of a soft, sweetly spiced pumpkin cake with a cream cheese topping, swirled with more pumpkin batter for a simple bar dessert full of pumpkin flavor and creamy filling.We had game night with some friends and a pumpkin roll bar was definitely the delicious dessert we needed to end the night.  They'd be a perfect dessert to put on your Thanksgiving buffet or take with you to your holiday gathering.  I'm pretty sure I'm making these again for our holiday meal, but let's be honest--my menu is usually a moving target.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quick Homemade Dinner Rolls

The first time I made these, Dave asked me if I got a recipe from a local restaurant.  The second time I made them, he said they were better than the ones at the restaurant.  I'll take it.  These rolls are so good--soft and fluffy on the inside, covered by a perfectly buttery shell--not quite a crust, but enough of a crunchy edge that gently yields to a perfect dinner roll inside.  And since it's built in thirds, you don't even have to disturb that perfect exterior--just break apart, slather with creamy butter and munch away.  And all done in 60 minutes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I love taters.  It must be the Irish in me, but whatever it is, I can't get enough of them: fried, roasted, baked or mashed.  Mmm, mashed.  It's by far my favorite way to shovel potatoes into my face.  Since we're frying our turkey this Thanksgiving, I wanted a flavor-packed variation since I won't have pan drippings to make gravy.  I have some other gravy-making alternatives in mind, but in case those don't quite work out, at least these potatoes can stand on their own.  Loaded with cheese, sour cream, bacon and scallions, it's like potato skins in mashed potato form.  Creamy and delicious, how could you not want to pile these onto your plate?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Parmesan

Butternut squash is one of those perfect squashes that so easy to prepare in a bunch of different ways.  Since it's easy to peel and relatively easy to cut (compared to other squash), it lends itself to being treated like a potato instead of like other squashes that basically only want to be roasted with the rind on (I'm looking at you acorn squash).  So this version of butternut squash laden with garlic and Parmesan cheese makes an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving.  The squash bakes up flavorful and soft while the topping gets nice and crunchy.  Plus it's a rather light way to prepare squash so you can load up on this and still have room for pumpkin pie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pulled Pork & Beer Chili

As you know, we love chili. Like a lot.  It's easy to make, hearty and when the temperature decides to drop to the 20s, it's a great way to warm up, especially with some tortilla chips for scooping and a beer to wash it all down.  Of course you can also add the beer to the chili and bridge the flavor gap, which is of course what I did.  Loaded with beans, peppers, onions and shredded pork, this chili is so quick to make and is delicious.  A little bit of heat from the chili powder and tomatoes with green chiles, and the beer adds a nice depth to the background flavors.  I always cook with a beer that has a good flavor on its own, so this time I chose a lager, Yuengling, since we brought back a couple of cases from Pennsylvania and kicked the keg of Harpoon UFO Pumpkin (don't worry--we've ordered another one to have for Thanksgiving).  Keeping our beer supply well stocked is important.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tangerine Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are a holiday must have and one of Dave's (and my) favorite cookies.  But I'm always looking for a twist, especially with this type of cookie.  Besides the classic variety, I've made chocolate snickerdoodles, gingerdoodles, mapledoodles, and pumpkindoodles,  So given the opportunity to add a little citrus flavor to the mix, why not?  I have to say, I'm slightly disappointed that these aren't more tangerine-y, but they are still a good cookie.  The tangerine flavor is subtle and light, but I think I could have enhanced this in two ways--first, used more zest; and second, maybe turn these into orange snickerdoodles and used a big ol' navel orange, which would have yielded more zest as well.  But over all these are a great nsickerdoodle, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a cinnamon sugar shell, and just a hint of something different with the light citrusy notes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chicken Stir Fry

Last week we picked up our last farm box from the Summer CSA. There's an over abundance of squash now (so many squash...), but I also thought this was the perfect time to celebrate the bounty we enjoyed this summer, I whipped up this delicious stir fry using some of our favorites from the farm.  Diced onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli and celery all come together to add volume and flavor to this tasty chicken stir fry, seasoned with soy sauce and ginger.  The chicken browns up well and is nice and tender, plus the sauce become just enough of a gravy to top this hearty dinner, which I served over some sticky rice. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

I know cookies aren't the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but I'm hoping this year you'll reconsider and may add a batch of these delicious cookies to your dessert table.  I mean, these cookies have the prerequisite pumpkin flavor, but the addition of cranberries as well, for a true fall flavor.  Plus oatmeal for a great texture and flavor.  These cookies are different from last week's Pumpkin Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip cookies in that they have a slightly different texture--soft but still hearty--and without the browned butter.  These pumpkin cranberry cookies might be a little more my favorite, but here's an idea: make them both and have a taste test for Thanksgiving.  Or decide which ones you like best, hide those and serve the others.  No one needs to know--I won't tell.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Almond Meltaways

Almond cookies with a light almond glaze?  Sure, why not.  I'm told not everything has to be chocolate (although I'm still trying to figure out what that means...)  But these cookies really are tasty.  Appropriately named almond meltaways, these cookies literally melt in your mouth as a soft, buttery cookie that's light and full of flavor.  Delicious almond notes permeate both the cookie and the glaze which creates a slightly crunchy coating that contrasts the soft cookie texture in the best of ways.  And I do appreciate a non-chocolate cookie every once and a while. I use them as a palate cleanser between chocolate confections, kind of like sorbet between the appetizer course and entree.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Southwest Winter Squash Soup

It's definitely soup season and since I've got a ton of winter squash, that's what's going in the soup pot.  Or in this case, the crock pot.  Unlike the acorn squash soup I made last month, this soup has a kick and some south of the border flavor.  In this soup, the acorn squash gives a bit of sweetness to start, then the chiles, pepper and chili powder come in at the end with a nice kick of heat that kind of sneaks up to say, "hi!"  I was actually surprised by the kick of heat, since I wasn't expecting it to be so pronounced, but it can be tempered with a bit of lime juice or some sour cream to cool things down.  The soup is very tasty and makes a lot--I brought in extra portions for some workers who enjoyed it for lunch--filling, but still light and definitely tasty.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken

I told some friends last week that I was going to post a crock pot rotisserie chicken recipe soon and they all said they wanted it.  I kinda thought they might not let me hold out on them this long.  But I promise it was worth the wait!  This chicken might be one of my favorite fall/winter dinners.  It's only slightly more work than going to the store and picking up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (or less, if you're like me and don't pass a grocery store on the way home from work).  Plus, you can control the fat and sodium content, which can be important.  I do take most of the skin off of the bird before cooking, so if your crock pot runs hot, it might dry out.  I've always had success with this method, but there are a few things you can do it you tend to get dry chicken.  Leave some of the skin on (you can always take it off before you eat if that concerns you); add a bit (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of water or chicken broth to the bottom of the stoneware before cooking; or cook for slightly less time (maybe an hour less) and check with a meat thermometer to ensure it's fully cooked.  Another way I save time with this meal is that I whip up a big batch of the seasoning mixture and keep it on hand so that I always have some ready for this recipe.  Saves me from measuring out all the ingredients each time, especially since I'll make this several times over the next few months.  There's lots of flavor from this juicy chicken that's delicious just sliced and serves or however you like to use a rotisserie-style chicken.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zen Cookery

Inspired by today's Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Bread and a woman I work with, I'd like to ask you to take a moment and check out Zen Cookery.  I work with Erica and she's trying to launch her business based on her passion for baking while considering food allergies and sensitivities so everyone can enjoy dessert.  Developing goodies "free of allergens and full of joy" sounds like a pretty good business plan to me, but it doesn't stop there.  Zen Cookery has launched a 31 day challenge to raise the funds it needs to grow, using the money for renting kitchen space or booths at farmers' markets, as well as the legal permits and other licenses necessary to start a business. 

I'm inspired by Erica's dedication and entrepreneurial spirit and can definitely get behind a fellow baker.  Please check out her project and if you are equally inspired, consider contributing to the Zen Cookery campaign.  Just $35 gets her an hour in the kitchen, and you can get a lot done in an hour!

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Bread

It's been a while since I baked up some bread.  But I couldn't just make one big loaf, so I opted for a pile of little mini loaves, made dairy-free with pumpkin and lots of spices.   In fact, this bread is so well spiced, that you might stop for a second, like I did, and wonder if it's gingerbread, thanks to a little bit of added molasses.  Soft and tender, this is a delicious little loaf.  I had a bit with my breakfast and then later a little nibble for a late night snack. It's just too good.  And since it's vegan, you know there was a reason that I decided to make this recipe, as my tendencies rarely lean toward vegan or dairy free cooking.  So a vegan recipe and the last day of the month can only mean one thing: Foodie Pen Pal reveal day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maple Toffee Cookies

These cookies scream fall in New England without being pumpkin or apple flavored.  There's nothing like stopping at a sugar shack in Vermont while leaf peeping to pick up a jug of maple syrup, and possibly some other maple goodies.  But cookies are not a maple treat I typically see in our New England travels, so I was eager to try them and they certainly are delicious.  These maple toffee cookies have a strong maple flavor and are studded with crunchy toffee and speckles of chocolate.  A delicious and crisp cookie perfect for enjoying with coffee or tea, you might find these as a new fall favorite.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

There's a lot going on in these cookies and I can tell you it all comes together in one delicious bite of pumpkiny, oaty, cinnamony goodness.  This is also the first time I've used brown butter for a cookie and I'm very pleased with the subtle, but delicious, difference.  I think I like it because the brown butter has a nuttiness to it that goes really well with the oats in these cookies.  The cookies are really soft, thanks to the pumpkin, but still hearty with the oats.  And cinnamon chips a perfect mix in. In hindsight, I which I had tossed in some dried cranberries as well, but there's always next time.  I have a feeling these will be requested in the future.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Butterscotch Pudding Triple Chip Cookies

So I've heard all the rage about adding pudding mix to your cookie dough, but I hadn't yet tried it.  Now that I have, I can honestly say, I'm a believer.  These cookies ended up soft and fluffy in a way that I don't think I've had before.  With the addition of enhancing the dough with great butterscotch flavor, the perfect palate for adding a bunch of chips--chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch.  Plus, I got the best compliment on these cookies.  I took them to work for a training session and was questioned about whether I actually baked them, being told "They look too perfect to be homemade."  Aw, shucks.  That's just how I roll.  The cookies are delicious, slightly salty in the best way because there is plenty of sweetness to go around.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pretzel Crusted Chicken

I love this chicken.  Tender and juicy, coated with a salty pretzel crust held on by a thin mustard glaze, this chicken is a delicious entree, and we have it pretty often in our house.  I love that it's simple to prepare but has a ton of flavor.  Plus, it's a unique twist on baked "fried" chicken.  The pretzels keep their crunch, and I even though I'm not a mustard fan, it's a perfect complement to the pretzel coating.  Serve this up with a salad and maybe some roasted squash or potatoes for a delicious dinner.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Beer Chili

It's October.  The temperatures are cooling and football is in full swing.  That means chili season, pumpkin season and beer season.  Well, it's kind of always beer season for us, but now that I've discovered the excellent flavor enhancing skills of beer when added to chili, beer and chili go together in a whole new way in my kitchen.  So I completely devoured this chili made with a mix of turkey, pepper and onions, tomatoes, pumpkin and lots of seasoning, as well as a nice, healthy serving of beer.  This is a perfect chili for October--oodles of flavor, hearty and filling for cool fall evenings, and a savory pumpkin base.  Yet another chili for our rotation, and that's just fine with me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Lover's Cookies

Soft, chewy, peanut butter cookies that are almost overloaded with peanut buttery goodness.  Almost.  Peanut butter, peanuts, peanut butter chips, and chopped peanut butter cups all mix in to this batter with amazing results.  These cookies are more than good.  They're heavenly, and a completely different way to enjoy peanut butter than the monster bars I made last month..  Sweet without being sugary and all the peanut butter goodies you could want, these cookies represent perfection in birthday baking for my nephew Aidan who hit double digits yesterday.  He could survive on peanut butter alone and as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew he'd love it.  Dave did, too, so that was a good indication I was on the right track.  Perfectly soft cookies and bit peanut butter flavor are just about all you need to turn 10, right?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Acorn Squash Soup

For two weeks in a row, we got cute little acorn squashes in our CSA.  While I've never cooked acorn squash before, I was really excited about it.  The possibilities included roasting them or stuffing them, but then Dave asked for just a simple soup.  Done!  I'm all about something that's simple.  And this soup is also delicious.  Rich, creamy and perfectly seasoned, this soup is filling and hearty without being heavy.  Savory seasonings help this soup feel less like a starter and more like a meal, which is how we had it, complete with rolls and salad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice

I can think of all kinds of meals for which this black beans and rice dish would make the perfect side, but my favorite way to have it has actually been for lunch with a green salad.  It's filling but still has light, fresh flavors that keep me going through the afternoon.  Dave surprised me by really enjoying this as well, and he's figured out that wrapping some of this in a tortilla with a little taco sauce or salsa makes a perfect and quick burrito.  There is a bit of sweetness from the tomatoes and a gentle heat from the diced chilies, plus lots of flavor from cilantro, cumin, onion and garlic. Definitely yummy and healthy never hurt anyone.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Loaded Caramel and Chocolate Monster Bars

Monster bars are what you make when you find a bunch of half used bags of yummy mix-ins in your pantry.  I feel compelled to make them every once and a while so that I don't feel guilty for buying new bags of mix-ins.  Plus, they taste delicious.  Any cookie base will do and then just go to town combining as many of those leftover handfuls of this and that--caramel bits, leftover Twix eggs from Easter (I'll admit--those things must have been hiding from me), milk chocolate chips, Hershey's Cookies and Creme Drops, and fudge brownie goldfish graham crackers.  Yes, that will do for a full on chocolate and caramel experience.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

I'll admit it: this combination simultaneously intrigued and scared me.  I mean, I thought it could be tasty, but the back of my mind told me that pumpkin and peanut butter just didn't belong together.  But I ignore that little voice in my mind and went with it for these bars.  They are soft, moist, chewy and nutty with sweetness and spice.  Neither the pumpkin or the peanut butter overpowers the other, but compliment each other, making and excellent duo paired with the oats.  Dave and I both enjoyed them, as did the ladies as work when a took a few in to share at a training.  What can I say?  I'm a believer in the pumpkin/peanut butter combo.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

I love a twist on a recipe standard.  Like meatloaf. It can be dressed up in so many ways (like this one or even this one).  And this recipe is yet another way of proving, you don't need to make your grandmother's meatloaf (unless her recipe is fantastic, then definitely make it).  But if your standard meatloaf leaves you wanting more, try this variation to turn your meatloaf into a cheeseburger dinner, without the bun.  Ground beef is doctored up with ketchup, mustard, onion and burger season, then stuffed with cheese, only to have more cheese melted over top for a delicious dinner and a new way to make meatloaf.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

October means it's pumpkin season and now I can unleash all the delicious pumpkin recipes I've been wanting to make since last fall.  Truth be told, I love pumpkin so much I'm not afraid to cook or bake with it "out of season."  Regardless, pumpkin taste like fall and these fluffy, soft pancakes are a perfect way to start your crisp fall mornings.  Spiced with pumpkin pie spice, these pancakes have an excellent pumpkin flavor and are just lovely for brunch. Or cook up a bunch on a weekend and freeze them for quick breakfasts during the week.  Warm and covered in maple syrup, pancakes like this are exactly why I enjoy fall mornings.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Skinny Fudgy Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are rich, delicious and full of fudgy flavor, have a chocolate glaze and are just over 100 calories each.  Let me give you a second to get up off the floor.  Better?  Yeah, I fell over too when I saw the stats on these figure friendly and amazingly delicious cupcakes.  And fell over again when I tasted one.  While the majority of what I post here would indicate otherwise, I do try to indulge in moderation and keep things healthy from time to time (so that I can indulge in the decadent and rich stuff on other occasions).  My boss and a coworker have birthdays a day apart, and my cousin Angela enjoyed her 21st birthday a few days later, so these cupcakes where a hit all around.  You'd hardly believe there are just four ingredients in these awesome cupcakes.  There are five ingredients in the glaze!  But I'm pretty sure I've found the perfect cupcake recipe for Girls' Night.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet, salty, soft cookies that just make me smile.  Bits of caramel, chocolate chips and big salty pretzel pieces are packed into these soft and chewy cookies for an amazing combo of salty and sweet, and a twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie.  I'm always up for an easy drop cookie and these are delicious.   In fact, these are so good, they are likely going to end up in the Christmas cookie tins this year.  I'd been wanting to make them for a while and finally was convinced to do so when I got my September Foodie Pen Pal match who was clamoring for something sweet and salty.

The Lean Green Bean

Friday, September 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Lover's Monster Bars

Oh these bars are good.  You know Dave and I are peanut butter junkies--it's Dave's favorite for desserts and right up there with chocolate for me.  So a peanut butter blondie stuffed to the gills with peanut butter goodies?  I'll take two, please.  We had game night with our friends Felise and Nick, so I made these bars when we went to their house.  These bars have everything--peanut butter, peanuts, peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips, toffee candy bits, and peanut butter M&Ms.  They are so loaded with peanutty mix-ins that there's barely any batter--which is just fine.  There is exactly enough batter--peanut butter flavored, that is--to keep all the tasty bits and candies together.  So much so I wouldn't be surprised if Dave asked for these for birthday baking.  Or because it's a day that ends in 'y'.  One of those.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple Pie Pancakes

One of my favorite things about fall is apple season.  We love apple picking and have been getting lots of tasty apples from our CSA and the farm stand so far this season.  We are perfectly content just snacking on these sweet and tart fruits (depending on the variety), sometimes with a smear of peanut butter, but of course I'll use any excuse to try a new recipe, particularly if it involves pancakes.  Plus, yet another excise to combine dessert and breakfast, which is always a win in my book.  And these pancakes are so delicious.  Sweetness from brown sugar and the apple, plus a perfect spice combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and you've got a breakfast that can stand up to any apple dessert just fine.  Fluffy pancakes that taste like pie?  I'll definitely take on that combination.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

Finally, I've come across a zucchini recipe that Dave will eat!  And the zucchini can be replaced with other squash like summer squash or even delicata, so just use what you have on hand this late in the season.  This yummy rice is cheesy and full of flavor with a great texture.  Plus it's easy to make.  I've toasted rice before when I made this Mexican rice and it really brings out a difference flavor in the rice and I think it helps absorb the liquid better to create a fluffy rice that blends well with the added squash and cheese.  I'm so glad I stumbled across this dish.  I've made it three times and am thrilled that Dave likes it so much.  At last, he's a believer in zucchini!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

I love my grocery store because they are always sending me coupons so whenever I get a mailer from them, I'm sure to scan through it to see if they might be discounting a pantry staple or some other frequent used item for our home.  Recently they sent a flyer with some coupons that also included a recipe for this corn chowder.  I was intrigued by a few things.  First, it was made for the slow cooker and since it's getting cooler out, my slow cooker will be making even more frequent appearances for dinners.  Second, I had a ton of corn in the fridge as the farm kept loading our CSA box with more huge ears of corn every week.  And third, this recipe uses the naked corn cobs to flavor the soup, so it ends up with this deep, roasted corn flavor that is really delicious.  Corn chowder isn't something I otherwise would have thought to make with all those extra ears of corn, but I'm certainly glad my penny-pinching side scanned through that mailer because this dish is definitely tasty.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

S'mores Banana Bread

I'm a fan of a quick bread and it is my go to solution for overripe bananas on the kitchen counter. But since I make banana bread so often, I need to keep it varied and add some other flavor--some of my favorites being this celebration version and these two boozy versions, one with rum and one with bourbon.  So the thought of transforming my go-to quick bread into a s'mores delivery vehicle, with crushed graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows all throughout got me super excited for some overripe bananas.  This bread is moist and full of flavor.  The banana plays nice with each of the s'mores flavors, and the marshmallows get nice a gooey, exactly like a campfire marshmallow should get. Plus melty chocolate chips and a sweet graham crunch, and this bread is a lovely variation on banana bread.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beef, Bean and Beer Chili

It's triple B chili where the B stands for flavor in the shape of beef, beans and beer!  Surprisingly I've never put beer in my chili and now I'm wondering how I missed out on that glorious addition.  This chili is hearty and filling, with lots of flavor and delicious chunks.  Thick, like a good chili should be, I served this topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions and a side of beer bread.  The heat can be adjusted, but we liked the spicy chili powder and the addition of a diced jalapeno.  Dave was in love with this chili, calling it one of the best I've made.  Not too shabby considering I've got eight other chili recipes, some that I've been making for years.

Secret Recipe Club