Recipe: Kitchen Sink Chip Cookies

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Yeah, I have on a cute apron too!

It’s finally winter in San Diego! It’s rainy, cool, and we even had an awesome thunderstorm this afternoon. Cooler weather means that I can turn on the oven and get cooking!

 

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That’s a lot of cookie dough!

I made these cookies for the first time last weekend for a Cast Party. They were so well-received (read, I think only 3 came home, out of the 3 dozen I made) that I knew I had to make them again.

So why Kitchen Sink Chip? You can use whatever kind of chips or candy you’ve got. Everything but the Kitchen Sink. The first time I used peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, and M&M’s.  This time, I used butterscotch chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and M&M’s to accommodate a friends peanut allergy. Additionally, you could use white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate, speciality holiday chips, M&M’s (of any variety), or any yummy candy- I got Andes Mints pieces to put in my next batch. Whatever sounds good to you.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 4C. AP Flour
  • 2t. Baking Soda
  • 1t. Salt (I use pink salt)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2C. softened butter or shortening or coconut oil (or some combination of two or more- I use half butter and half shortening)
  • 1C. white sugar
  • 1C. brown sugar, packed
  • 2T. Vanilla
  • 1.5C Chocolate Chips (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1.5C. Butterscotch Chips (or whatever kind you like)
  • 3 oz box M&M’s- movie theatre sized box (or whatever kind of candy you like)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Using mixer on low, slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture.
  6. Once two mixtures are completely combined, add chips/candy one variety at a time and mix well.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets lined with silicone baking pads.
  8. Cook in a 350 degree oven. You can adjust the size and baking time, depending on the size cookie you want. I used rounded tablespoons and it took about 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  If you make them smaller, adjust cooking down to 8-10 minutes.

Tablespoons: 2 dozen large cookies

Teaspoons: 4 dozen smaller cookies.

These cookies are dead simple to make. You can make adjustments as needed: 1 for 1 gluten free flour for AP flour, Sola or Splenda for white sugar. I like that these cookies are not overly sweet. They use approximately 1/2 cup less white and brown sugar than other cookie recipes. I think that and the salt help the flavors of the chips/candy pop.

 

 

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Recipe: Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

DSCN9789.jpgThis is of of those family recipes that I think everyone has had, but never realized was so dead simple to make.

My mom made these a lot when I was a kid. They are peanut buttery, butterscotch-y, and so rich an tempting, I’m making a batch tomorrow.

This recipe can me made Gluten free by using gluten free Krispie Rice Cereal, but it cannot be made vegan- you need both marshmallows and butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Butterscotch chips
  • 1/2c. Peanut Butter chips
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 40 marshmallows
  • 6 cups Krispie Rice Cereal (in the past I’ve also used the Fiber One Original Bran instead- They come out a little heavier, but are good)
  • Spray Release
  • 1/4-1/2 c. extra chips, optional

 

Directions:

  1. Spray both a 13×9 pan and a rubber spatula with spray release, set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the chips and butter over low heat.
  3. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cereal and stir until cereal is completely coated.
  5. Using previously sprayed spatula, evenly pour and press cereal mixture into greased pan.
  6. If desired, while still hot, sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 cup of chocolate or peanut butter chips, as the chips melt, spread with greased spatula to cover the bars.
  7. Once cooled, cut into squares. They last 3-4 days in the fridge, but, really, they’ll be gone in a flash.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your favorite cookies/sweets from childhood!

Meal Planning 110: Batch Cooking

file6951293850756.jpgOk, so I’ve discussed Meal Planning here, and I try to post our weekly meal plans on Mondays, but I’m sure you’ve wondered if/how I actually do it.

One of my secrets is that I try and do meal prep and batch cooking once every few weeks. For us that means:

  • Setting aside an hour or so after grocery shopping to clean the produce, and prep it in single serving containers (they are reusable, don’t worry) if they are for lunches or snacks. Little bags of carrots, or grapes are both popular in our house.
  • I make my own smoothie kits too- cut up over ripe bananas and other fruits and put them into single servings ziploc bags.
  • Make frozen veggie bags too: I cut up onions, carrots, and celery for mire poix bags. They are the perfect base for most dishes, especially soups.  I also cut up fresh brocolli, cauliflower, bell pepper strips. Whatever I bought that we’ll be using in recipes.
  •  Depending on what is on the menu for the next week or two, I’ll prep some of the proteins.  I try to buy large packages of proteins, and re-package them with herbs and seasonings perfect for meals. Mostly chicken, because we don’t really eat all that much meat. Sometimes I’ll even prep ground beef into hamburger patties. This afternoon, I made chicken meatballs. I’ve included the recipe below.
  • Once the veggies are prepped and bagged, and the proteins are prepped and bagged, I get a bigger zip top bag and place everything needed for one meal into it, write on a sticky what it is, put the sticky on the bag and pop it into the freezer. Then we are all set to get cooking!
  • I try and prep a few crockpot meals as well. Salsa Chicken, Moosie’s Pot Roast are two great options. Crockpot freezer meals are perfect  for those mornings when you know you’ll want a hot meal after work, but won’t be in the mood to cook.
  • I also like to break up large packages of cheese, like I did here. Less waste, and we’re less likely to eat all of the cheese quickly.
  • Making baked goods. I prefer to make muffins, brownies, and cookies at home, that way I can control the amount of sugar that the family consumes.  I also add little healthy things: milled flax seeds, pumpkin, bananas. I try to do healthy swaps that aren’t really noticeable. This is a favorite cake in our house. It’s also great as muffins too. This time of year I also like to make Pumpkin Donuts too. YUM.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 10.12.05 PM.pngAll of these things make meal planning a lot easier. Having ingredients already chopped, proteins mixed with seasoning, even snacks pre-packaged and set in a specific area of the kitchen.

I use a plastic Sterilite Basket to pack most of our shelf stable snacks that go into our lunches. I frequently skip buying large containers of pre-packaged snacks unless they are a better deal. If you notice, the goldfish are in Ziploc bags. The kids bring them home and I reuse them. But I only reuse them for more snacks.

I have a second shelf that stores all of our crackers (saltine, Ritz, graham, etc.) and puffed rice rolls, we eat those at other times besides lunch, but I grab them and pack them into individual containers or plastic bags for lunch as well.

Not shown are the lunch drinks which I have to keep hidden from the kids so they don’t drink them all after school/on weekends. I have a cache of goodies in the fridge and free to have in our lunches: fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, milk boxes, and bottles of water to choose from.

This “hack” aka pantry shortcut keeps my time making lunches a lot shorter, and I can spend more time with my kids!

Recipe: Ground Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of a white onion, minced
  • 1 /2 Teaspoon of each: Salt, garlic powder, pepper
  • 2 T

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Divide mixture into 12-20 balls and roll between your palms until uniform in size.
  3. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet or plate and stash in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in large pan, fry meatballs in batches, and drain on a paper towel to blot out any excess oil.
  5. Once meatballs are cool to the touch, place them in a freezer safe container with a lid or zipper top bag. Store in the freezer.

I like to make several bags of meatballs, and I put as many in a bag as we need for one meal. For us, that 6-8 large meatballs- about the size of a cutie tangerine.

These meatballs are great because they work with a variety of sauces and cuisines.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about some of the ways that you use batch cooking and food prep to make your life easier! What is your favorite time saving kitchen “Hack”.

Weekly Meal Plan

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This week, I’ve got a bunch of event planning and scheduling to do, so I’m trying to plan out some easy/quick meals that use what we’ve got on-hand.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I bought a lot of very ripe bananas recently, chopped them up and froze them in individual bags along with other fruit to make “shake/smoothie sacks”.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

I’m only posting our dinner plans, and links to recipes.

Monday: Pancakes and sausage with fruit (it’s our Group ABA night, so we don’t get home until late)

Tuesday:  Leftover Pizza with  a fresh green salad

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veg

Thursday: Stir Fry- I picked up a bunch of new sauces recently, I’m pretty excited to try the mall!

Friday: Date Night!! WOO HOO!

Saturday: Tacos with the fixins, after all, it is Cinco de Mayo.

Sunday:  Probably Bean, Rice, and Cheese bowls. We’ll have leftovers from the night before!

I’d love to hear about what you’re having this week! What new recipes are you trying?

Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies!

img_8846.jpgI know today is Pi Day, but Henry doesn’t really like pie (except Cheesecake), and I’m always looking for ways to get more protein into my buddy. He has a lot of food aversions, so most meat is a no-go (I don’t really count the occasional chicken nugget he inhales), same with beans, lentils, peas, and most other traditional sources of protein.

And who doesn’t love chocolate chips cookies…..

On the Back of the Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix I noticed that they say you can swap their mix  1 for 1 with flour, leavening, and salt in any baking recipe. Challenge accepted!

I turned to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, the one on the back of the Tollhouse Chips Bag.

Making a few modifications based on what we had in the house, and we were ready to bake!

Here is the Original Recipe. One thing I really recommend is to cream the butter (basically use the electric mixer to “fluff up” the butter) for 30 seconds to a minute before adding the sugars.

IMG_8851.jpgIngredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups Kodiak Cakes Mix
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar or Splenda (I used baking Splenda)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

 

 

 

 

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Cookie Dough

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Directions:

  1. Cream the butter for 30 seconds to a minute.
  2. Add Sugars and mix until combined.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, and mix completely before adding second egg.
  4. Add vanilla, Kodiak Cakes mix, blend until dough forms.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon 1 Tbs. blobs onto a greased cookie sheet or a silicone cooking pad on a cookie sheet. I love Sil pads.
  7. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Here are the calorie stats for the entire batch of cookies and per serving, which is 2 cookies. I serve Henry 2 of these with an 8 ounce glass of milk. So the total protein for his snack is 12 grams.

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This recipe makes 5 dozen cookies.

Do you have a secret to getting your kids to eat more protein?

4/11/17- Meal Plan!

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So I’m a day late… Mr. was sick yesterday, paired with the first day of spring break and I was toast by 11am! That being said I picked up some cheese, milk, and veggies yesterday. We’ll be good for the rest of the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! This week is spring break, so I’ll be cooking lunch at home or we’ll have a picnic/sack lunches if we are on the go (but we may have pizza out- I haven’t decided). Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D:Everyone was in bed by 7:30! We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) We had these last week and they were soooo good, and super easy. I caramelized a bag of onions and peppers in the crockpot, made rice with broth in the rice cooker and added cheese and a can of Ro*tel Tomatoes to a can of refried beans.

Weds:

  • D: Roasted chicken with veggies (made in 1 pan- very easy!)

Thursday:

  • D:  protein pancakes, eggs, and sausage (maybe fruit salad(

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (it’s a complete meal with veggies and quinoa!)

Sunday:

  • D:Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first.

We went to the Zoo today with friends, and I made sure to fill up our snack backpack and bring our drinks!

Tasty Chewy Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies!

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 6.11.51 PMDuring a recent pantry clean out, I discovered 3 pounds of brown sugar.

So, I unleashed my google fu to find a recipe to use some of it up. I discovered this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, but it didn’t quite meet our needs (aka what was in the kitchen). So with some changes, I whipped up a batch of chewy, yummy, spiced oatmeal cookies that are sure to please even the finickiest cookie monster!

 

I had to make 3 batches because they just kept disappearing!

Spiced Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies (Adapted from this recipe )

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Salted Butter, Softened
  • ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cups (packed) Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons each: Cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Beat together the butter, coconut oil, and sugars until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs.

Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices in a separate bowl. Add it into the wet ingredients, mixing it until just combined. Mix in the oats until just combined. Don’t overmix!

Drop scoops/spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, spacing them a couple inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until dark and chewy.  These cookies spread when you bake them, so make sure to give them room to grow!

Let them cool slight on the pan after removing from the oven, then transfer the cookies.

Makes 24-36 cookies (depending on the size cookie you make)