Recipe: Maple Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies!

DUDE!! These cookies were specially requested and made for a potluck and man, did they evaporate.

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Now, these cookies didn’t get really brown, but I think that may be because of the maple syrup used instead of white sugar, which causes cookies to brown while baking.

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Maple Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4C. Coconut oil
  • 1/4C. Peanut Butter
  • 1/4c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 T. Maple extract
  • 1.5 C Kodiak Flapjack Mix
  • 1 C. Oats
  • 8 pieces of bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped

 

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with wet ingredients until incorporated.
  4. Add chopped bacon pieces, and stir to combine.
  5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (or use silicone baking pad.)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Allow to rest on the cookie sheets for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Veggie Tuscan Soup

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It’s not a filter, it’s steam!

This is my vegetarian version of the Zuppa Tuscana Recipe found here. This recipe is vegetarian, but not vegan.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and chopped
  • 4 cups kale, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery, cook on medium/low until onions are soft and clear.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add water, broth, bay leaves, and potatoes.
  5. Cook on medium low for 45 minutes to an hour, or until potatoes are soft.
  6. Add Milk, Kale and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for about 10 minutes, until Kale is cooked, but not soggy.

Serve with breadsticks or cheese toast. This soup makes great leftovers and tastes even better the next day!

 

Recipe: Protein Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 7.56.56 AM.pngIt can be hard to get the big kid to eat enough protein. He doesn’t eat meat, and a lot of the non-meat protein sources are foods that don’t appeal to him (or have “gross” textures- So is the life of a kid with ASD).

Like moms who have been trying to sneak in healthy foods for ages, I’ve been trying to find ways to add protein to foods he already enjoys without making the textures or flavors “weird”.

I really love the Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix– You can substitute it 1 for 1 with AP flour in baking to ramp up the protein in your baked goods without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 7.57.18 AM.pngI am also a huge fan of peanut flour, like PBFit. I add it to shakes and baked goods all the time. I decided to play around with it in our favorite cookie recipe, to see if we could add some protein and flavor without making the cookies “weird” in texture or flavor. Luckily everyone in the house LOVES peanut butter cookies.

I entered all the ingredients into to Spark Recipes Nutrition Calculator to get the information on the amount of protein per serving. If you make more or less cookies with cookie dough, your nutritional info will vary slightly.

Protein Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 18 servings or 2 cookies each (approx 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup softened butter or butter flavored crisco (NO NOT USE SPREAD OR MARGARINE)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix
  • 1/2 cup PBFit
  • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter/shortening
  3. add sugars one at a time and mix until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated fully.
  5. Mix in soda, salt, flour and PBFit. Once all are blended into dough, add chocolate chips.
  6. drop tablespoon sized dough balls on cookie sheets that have been greased, or are lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking pad.  I prefer the silicone baking pads.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cookies may not be golden or as brown as you are used to- but they are done. Let cookies rest 1-2 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.

Notes: Cookies contain less sugar than most traditional cookie recipes, which means they do not get as brown in the oven as they cook. This recipe makes approx. 3 dozen cookies and each serving of two cookies contains 275 calories and 7 grams of protein.

 

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Soup!

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Yummy soup made with my favorite Seasoning Blend from Penzey’s

I love making chicken soup from scratch. The cook time is lengthy, but, you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the soup for most of the cook time.

You can use whatever kind of spices/herbs you fancy. I love Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, it’s a great smoky, rich compliment to the veggies in the soup.

Speaking of veggies, I use carrots, onions, celery, Italian squash/zucchini, but you can use whatever is in your fridge. Good additions would also be diced bell peppers, diced fresh tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes).

You can omit the noodles/macaroni is you don’t care for them or are GF/low carb.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of chicken parts, bone-in or a rotisserie chicken with some of the meat removed and set aside
  • 2 cups of carrots chopped, divided
  • 2 cups of celery chopped, divided
  • 3 cups sweet onion diced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic diced, divided
  • 1 large shallot diced, divided
  • 1T. cooking oil, your choice. I’ve been using grapeseed oil lately
  • 12 cups of water
  • bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups Italian squash/zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 14-ish ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice, or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (optional)
  • other herbs/spices as desired
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta/noodles/rice (your choice)
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After cooking all day! Yummy Chicken Stock!

Directions:

  1. If starting with 5 lbs of raw chicken, place 1/2 of the carrots, onions, and celery into a large stock pot with the cooking oil.
  2. Cook on medium until veggies are soft, and onions are clear.
  3. Add 1/2 of the garlic and shallots, and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add raw chicken, and cook for about 10 minutes, until chicken browns.
  5. Turn stove down to low, add 12 coups of water, bay leaf, salt & pepper, and cover. Cook stock on low for about 4-6 hours- you can cook it for up to 12 hours in your crockpot if you wish instead).  Pull out a few pieces of chicken, pull off the cooked meat and set aside (you want about 2 cups of chopped cooked meat). Put bones back into the pot. Cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Take the stock off the heat, and once cool, strain off the solids, and discard. The remaining liquid is your chicken stock. While you start with 12 cups of water, after cooking the stock down, you may end up with 6-8 cups of rich, velvety stock.
  7. Place chicken stock on the stove in a large pot, add in chopped chicken, remaining veggies, and any herbs/spices.
  8. Once veggies have started to soften/cook, add noodles/macaroni/rice if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.
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Mire Poix- Aka carrots, celery, and onions with a bayleaf, garlic and shallots. The perfect start to any soup!

As soon as noodles/macaroni/rice is cooked, remove soup from heat. Serve with hot bread (and butter).

*If you are starting with a rotisserie chicken, pull off 2 cups of meat, and add the carcass after the veggies are cooked and fragrant. proceed with remainder of recipe.

Recipe: Pasta Free Lasagna

img_3880WHAT? Pasta free lasagna? Are you nuts? I know that’s what you are all thinking, but bear with me.

I know so many people are sticking to their New Years Resolutions of eating healthy, but they are longing for the warm, cheesy, rich gooey-ness of their favorite comfort foods. Mr. just finished a 10 day cleanse, and we are slowing adding things back into his diet. He missed cheese, so I set to find a recipe that contains cheese that I could make a little more healthy by omitting some of the other things that he isn’t quite ready to add back in (meat and lots of heavy carbs). I did make spaghetti to go on the side, but you can skip that if you want.

We had a bag of yellow squash in the fridge, so I decided to make lasagna using the squash in the place of the lasagna noodles.

With this recipe, you can add as many veggies as you want. I opted for mire poix (I had bags of it prepped in the freezer), garlic, shallots, tomatoes, and little pieces of the squash that I chopped into bite size pieces. These were the neck or end that I couldn’t cut into planks. I recommend that you use what you’ve got on hand that you really like. You can add ricotta between the layers, but I skipped it because we didn’t have any, and Mr. isn’t ready to add eggs back in yet (if you’ve never made lasagna before, the ricotta filling is a mixture of egg, Parmesan cheese, and ricotta).

img_3875This recipe makes a big 9×13 inch baking dish- There will be leftovers!

Pasta Free Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow or green crooked neck squash (zucchini), cut into planks, Reserve remaining pieces for sauce
  • 1 jar sugar free pasta sauce (or use your favorite)
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 can (approx. 14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian seasonning
  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesaen cheese
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese
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Dinner is served (salad not shown)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large stock pot, saute onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and shallots, reduce heat. Cook until garlic and shallots are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Burnt garlic is gross.
  4. Pour wine over veggies and scrape any yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot. This is called De-glazing the pan. Those brown bits are full of flavor.
  5. Add pasta sauce, herbs, and both cans of tomatoes (diced and paste). Cook on medium for 15-20 minutes. If you want, you can simmer the sauce on low for as long as you want. Make sure to stir frequently and put a lid on the pot.
  6. Add reserved squash bits to sauce. They will cook quickly, so you need to add them last.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the 9×13 baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish.
  9. Cover the sauce with planks of squash, then layer cheese, and sauce.  repeat until the pan is full- the top layer should be cheese. If you like lots of cheese, use more than the 2 1/2 cups listed above.
  10. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. after 20 minutes, uncover pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
  11. Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve with salad and a small portion of whole wheat pasta. I made whole wheat pasta and topped it with a dollop of Chef Shamy Garlic Butter. It’s amazing.

Variations: This meal is already vegetarian and gluten free. If you are vegan, use dairy free cheese. I cannot promise it will be as gooey and delicious, as I’m not familiar with how dairy free cheese cooks.

If you just gotta have meat, start by sauteing 1 lb of ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey), then continue the recipe as written.

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Made with Olive Oil)

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So chewy and fluffy!

I posted on Instagram yesterday about my adventures in baking. I promised the kids cookies, but after consultation with my pantry and fridge, I lacked butter, coconut oil, or Crisco. I quickly searched the google machine and found a bunch of different recipes for chocolate chip cookies with olive oil!

 

Looking over the various recipes, combined with what we had on hand, and I cobbled together a pretty decent batch of cookies. This recipe made 3 1/2 dozen decent sized cookies.

They are fluffy, chewy, and soft. They can burn easily, due to the amount of sugars used. Remember to take them out of the oven before they look done. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after they are removed from the oven.

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 9.03.10 PM.pngIngredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup White sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. Milk (whatever kind you use, non-dairy is cool)
  • 2 4oz bars of Semi-sweet chocolate, rough chopped

 

 

Directions:Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 8.52.08 PM.png

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugars together, until mixture is fluffy. I use an electric mixer.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until well incorporated, add milk as needed to give dough desired texture.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.
  6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet (or use Silicone baking pads like I do).  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

The kids were so happy they got cookies, and I was happy to be able to make them!My 2019 motto: Use it up, improvise, make do!

 

Talk Back: What is your motto or mantra for 2019?

 

 

 

Dinner Party Idea: DIY Ramen Potluck!

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We love to entertain. Dinner parties are a great way to have friends over to hang out and enjoy a good meal without breaking the budget.

We also love Ramen- not Top Ramen, but delicious, mouthwatering, tempting noodles, velvety broth, veggies, and soft boiled eggs. Doing a Ramen potluck is great way to try out new flavors that you may have never thought of.

In doing research for this article, I found out that there are so many ramen toppings and ingredients that I had never heard of (like corn, which you can see in the picture above). So some of the ingredients listed below may not make it into your potluck, but know that somewhere out there there is someone putting it on/in their ramen.

The host can provide the broth. As far as ramen broths, there are lots of options. I like Tonkatsu, which is pork and chicken based. Here is a great recipe.  Not interested in making it from scratch? You can buy Tonkatsu broth concentrate on Amazon.

If you are vegan, Ocean’s Halo makes a great seaweed based ramen broth. Miso is also a popular ramen soup base (Ocean’s Halo also makes great miso, pho, and veggie broth). We usually try to have two big pots of broth to choose from.

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 9.26.13 AM.pngAs far as noodles, you can get regular ramen noodles at any Asian grocery store (or most 99 Cents Only locations). I’m not talking about the kind that come in a little bag with a pouch of salty broth, those are fried so they cook super fast and aren’t really all that healthy.

I like the Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods. As a bonus these are gluten free and have protein in them. Our local Costco sells large packages, which is great for parties.

Some people like Soba noodles (thick buckwheat noodles), and some people like zoodles (the spiral cut zucchini “noodles”).

Now that you’ve got broth and noodles down, it’s time to get creative with toppings! Here are just a few ideas for guests to bring:

  • Eggs: I love a good soft-boiled egg on my ramen.
  • Scallions/green onions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Seaweed/Nori sheets
  • Canned Bamboo shoots (they will need to be rinsed and probably sliced to made bite-sized.
  • Corn Kernels (defrosted frozen, fresh, or canned with no salt- drained and rinsed).
  • Mayu/Black Garlic Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Fish Sauce
  • Kimchi
  • Fried Tofu
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sliced fresh Jalapeños
  • Fried or pan steamed Gyoza
  • Roasted /braised slices of pork (fattier cuts of pork are great in ramen)
  • Cooked Shrimp (I can’t really give you any other suggestions on cooking/serving, I’m allergic to shellfish)
  • Fish Cakes (available at your local Asian Market)
  • Bok Choy
  • Mushrooms (Sliced shiitakes are nice, as are enoki)

And some people like rice as a side to their ramen. I prefer sticky rice, it’s easier to eat with chopsticks.

If you’ve got friends that don’t cook, don’t forget you’ll need chopsticks, bowls, spoons, and beverages.

Talk Back: What is your favorite type of Ramen?