Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crunchy Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


I have always loved the combination of mint with chocolate. But I wasn't convinced that crunchy candy canes would be a good addition to the already-perfect chocolate chip cookie. I am so glad I was wrong. :) Kevin and I have been thoroughly loving this variation of a favorite recipe. The crunchiness of the candy canes brings an amazing new level to the soft, chewy cookies.

With all those leftover candy canes cluttering your house, maybe this is exactly the recipe you need! 

Crunchy Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe 
Makes 3-1/2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg 
1 egg yolk 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
2-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
4-5 full size peppermint candy canes, chopped 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, shortening, brown sugar and sugar. Mix in egg and egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped peppermint.

Drop by tablespoonful onto a large cookie sheet (preferably lined with a silicone baking mat.) Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges and tops of cookies are just golden. Let rest on the cookie sheet 2 or 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Recipe

I am a fan of all things peanut butter. And granola is one of my favorite snacks and best-ever yogurt topping. Making your own granola is not only more economical than purchasing the store-bought varieties, but it eliminates tons of excess sugar from the ingredient list. I'm all for actually nutritious granola, aren't you? 

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Recipe
yields 8-12 servings

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
4 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup sweetened coconut
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 

In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, peanuts, salt and cinnamon. 

In a glass measuring cup, add water, brown sugar, and vanilla. Microwave on high 90 seconds. Add in peanut butter. Microwave an additional 45 seconds, stir. Peanut butter should be melted. 

Pour the liquid mixture over the oats and toss until every oat is coated. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat and cook for 30 minutes. Stir. Bake another 15 minutes or until lightly golden and barely crisp. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Italian Pasta Soup Recipe


After spending a few minutes chopping peppers and onions and defrosting our gift of lean ground venison, I was quickly beginning to have an idea what we might be having for dinner. This is what I knew: a) it was going to be some kind of soup, b) I was leaning toward a broth-y soup, c) it would be a bit spicy, d) it would taste good with a mix of peppers and onions and celery. 

I tossed this and sprinkled that until the final product was taking shape in the pot. By the time I added the whole wheat penne to the soup, I was fairly certain this was going to be a winner. I was so thrilled to hear Kevin say, "This needs to go on our 'must make again' list."  

Italian Pasta Soup Recipe
Serves 4 

1/2 pound ground beef or venison 
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce 
2 cups beef broth or bouillon
2 cups water
2 cups short cut pasta, ditalini or penne
for topping, Parmesan cheese and additional crushed red pepper

In a large stock pot brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add in onion, jalapeno, green pepper, garlic, and celery. Saute until softened. Sprinkle in pepper, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper, then stir in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes. Stir in broth and water and bring to a full rolling boil. Add in short cut pasta and cook until pasta is softened. 

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and additional crushed red pepper if desired.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ham Stew Recipe (Slow Cooker)


Crockpot meals are perfect for Sundays. Step one: throw ingredients into slow cooker. Step two: turn on slow cooker. Step three: wait a long while. Step four: come home to a perfectly cooked meal.

With leftover ham still on hand, this chunky ham and vegetable stew was the perfect option. Easy and most importantly, delicious.

Ham Stew Recipe (Slow Cooker)
recipe by adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com
Serves 4-6

1 cup ham, cubed (leftovers are perfect)
1/2 pound baby carrots
3-4 small potatoes, cubed
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasonings
2 cups beef or chicken broth or bouillon
1-2 cups water (depending on desired amount of juices)

Combine all ingredients into a small slow cooker/Crockpot. Cook on high 4-5 hours, until vegetables are softened.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

French Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)

*this recipe was originally posted May 11, 2010

I am a bread lover through and through. This version of French bread is rustic and beautiful. Not to mention incredibly easy with the help of a bread machine. If you love your bread machine as much as I do, this recipe is a must! (If you don't own a bread machine, check out a few yard sales this spring/summer. You'll find at least one for probably between $2 and $10. worth it.) Your family will love you forever. 

French Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)
recipe from my bread machine recipe book
Makes 1 loaf (serves 7-10)

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
2 tsp margarine or butter, softened
3 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp regular active or bread machine or quick acting yeast 

Add ingredients in the order listed--creating a well in the flour to add sugar, salt, and yeast. Place pan in machine and select "dough" cycle. 

When cycle is complete turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a 15x5 inch rectangle. Roll up along the longest length of the dough, pinching after each roll. Place dough log on a large baking sheet. Make 3-4 shallow diagonal slits in the dough. Cover with a light cloth and let rise 30-60 minutes, or until double. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until loaf is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crunchy Chicken Fingers Recipe


I love chicken. Always, in any form (fried, baked, grilled, shredded, etc). But one particular afternoon (yes afternoon) I was craving-- I mean hankerin' --for chicken in a bad way. I decided it was going to be a dinner-for-lunch kind of day, and Kevin didn't mind.

These chicken fingers were fast and easy to prepare, and in my opinion are WAY more delicious than any already-breaded frozen chicken finger. At the very least they are much healthier. Kids and adults will love for dinner (or lunch. or game night. whatever.)

Crunchy Chicken Fingers Recipe
recipe by adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com
Serves 2

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1 egg, beaten 
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (*homemade if possible, coarsely ground)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp chili powder

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small, shallow bowl, beat the egg, adding in a few drops of water.
In a second shallow bowl stir together bread crumbs and seasonings.

Take the large chicken breast and butterfly it (cutting it in half through the middle so there are now two thinner breasts.) Slice each half of chicken into 1/2 inch slices.

Place a cooling rack on top of (inside) a large cookie sheet. This will allow the heat to circulate and crisp tops and bottom of the chicken fingers

Working in assembly line fashion, dip each chicken finger into the egg, coating well. Then dip it in the bread crumbs, patting on to coat thoroughly.

Place each chicken finger on the cooling rack/baking sheet, one or two inches apart. Once completed, bake for 20-30 minutes, until the insides are no longer pink and the coating is golden and crisp.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and roasted potato wedges.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creamy Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup Recipe


We still have a few large butternut squashes in our "cellar" and it was about time I use them up. You all know how I feel about butternut squash soup (delicious, but textually disturbing), but I wanted to attempt a new version of the creamy squash soup. By adding in chicken, celery, onions, garlic and loads of spicy spices I created a butternut squash soup that I can really get behind. I hope you and your family love this healthy, hearty, creamy soup. 


Creamy Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup Recipe
Serves 4-6

1 medium butternut squash, roasted 
drizzle of canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2-1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg 
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt 
2 cups chicken broth or bouillon
2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds. (You can reserve the seeds and roast them if desired. This makes a great soup garnish.) Place flesh-side down on a cookie sheet. Fill the cookie sheet with 1/4 inch of water. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Remove from baking sheet to cool. 

While squash is cooling, drizzle a 5 or 6 quart pot with canola oil and heat to medium. Add in chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes without stirring. Then stir the chicken and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add in celery, onions, garlic and seasonings. Stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softening and fragrant. 

Once squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the soft flesh (leaving the skin behind) and transfer to a food processor. Process in batches until smooth. 

Add approximately 2-3 cups pureed squash to the pot with the chicken. Stir to combine. Pour in chicken broth. Add in water, one cup at a time until preferred consistency is reached, adding more than 2 cups if desired.  

Bring soup to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes (to an hour). Serve hot with chili sauce (Sriracha) and oyster crackers or roasted butternut squash seeds. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Leftover Ham and Potato Soup Recipe


I always have grandiose plans for holiday dinner leftovers. But they almost always fail to come to fruition. I'm either burnt out on ham or turkey or mashed potatoes OR I'm just burnt out on cooking (or being in the kitchen) altogether. Maybe you can relate? 

Well, this soup is the solution to all of my problems (and hopefully yours, too.) Starting with the idea of a ham and potato soup (rather than ham and bean, which my husband detests really dislikes), I pulled out the ingredients and washed up a few fresh potatoes. But then I thought to myself, "Self, you have another container in the fridge full of leftover mashed potatoes. Are you really ever going to eat those? Mashed potatoes the second (or twelfth) time around really aren't the best. But put them in a soup and it might be creamy and thick and delicious."  My brainstorm did not lead me astray, friends.

This soup is out-of-this-world delicious and way too easy. Kevin and I were both in love with the taste, the texture, and the perfect combination of leftovers and fresh ingredients. YUM.


Leftover Ham and Potato Soup Recipe
recipe by adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com
serves 4

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cup chopped leftover ham
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 beef bouillon cubes
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
for topping (optional)
chili sauce
oyster crackers

In a small crockpot (slow cooker) combine all ingredients, except toppings (chili sauce and oyster crackers). Stir together. Cook on high 4-5 hours, until celery and onion are softened and soup is fragrant. Serve (with chili sauce and crackers, if desired.)

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Egg & Potato Frittata Recipe


For an extremely cheap, super fast, very nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner, this egg casserole is where it's at. It's customizable according to your love of peppers, onions, or (pre-cooked) breakfast meats. Serve this to your family and have a happy crowd.

Egg & Potato Frittata Recipe
recipe by adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com
Serves 4

4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 extra large (or 2 medium) potatoes, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rich Hot Chocolate Recipe


If you want something warm and decadent in these cold, winter months, this rich hot chocolate is the place to go. Simple ingredients. Easy to make. You'll be snuggled up on a couch under your warmest afghan in no time. 

Rich Hot Chocolate Recipe
recipe adapted from simplyrecipes.com
Serves 1

1 cup milk 
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao)
1 tsp powdered sugar 
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Finely chop the chocolate into small pieces. The pieces have to be able to dissolve easily in the liquid.

Place the milk into a small, thick-bottomed pot on low heat and bring to a low simmer. Whisk once in a while to ensure that the milk doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and chocolate and whisk vigorously until the chocolate has melted.

Heat for another 4 minutes, constantly stirring.
Serve. Add a dollop of whipped cream or a a few mini marshmallows, if desired.