Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

I’m obsessed with Pinterest.  I look at it for an hour each day during my lunch break (when I really should be walking around the city for exercise).  I use my phone to look at it every morning and every evening on the train to/from work.  I look at it at night (because I didn’t ruin my eyesight enough staring at the computer for 9 daylight hours already).  I look at it when I wake up at 4am because I can’t sleep (thanks to violent scenes from Sons of Anarchy and a preview of the horror movie Sinister).  And as if I don’t already have a stack of recipes that I still have yet to make, I just keep adding more recipes that I find on Pinterest.  These Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies are one of those glorious finds that had me at hello and call my name each and every time I see them.  Salty and sweet?  Umm…okay!

Milk chocolate chip and peanut butter chips are mixed into cookie dough with broken pieces of pretzels and baked to salty and sweet perfection.  These cookies were easy to make and could be made with any variety of chips.  I took the whole batch to the office (since I can’t trust myself to have cookies in the house) and they were a big hit.  A couple people in my department kept coming over for one more, and one more, and two more.  And the next day after the cookies were all gone, they still wanted more.  So I guess I’ll have to make them again.  Oh, darn.

The ingredients:

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).

On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract.  Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour.

Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with sea salt (optional).  Bake for 10 minutes.   Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Sea salt

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Sugar Cooking Blog

Kung Pao Chicken

One of the biggest cravings I often get (which is nearly impossible to satisfy) is Chinese food.  Once I get the thought of Chinese food in my head, it becomes all I can think about.  The only thing I can do is pick up the phone and call my favorite Chinese food restaurant (which I have programmed into my phone, mind you), place an order, and stuff my face.  There is no getting around it.  And as much as I try to replicate my favorite dishes at home, it’s never as satisfying as the take-out I get.  Maybe it’s the additional oil or MSG that makes it so good (I don’t know and I don’t care) but I’m not ready to give up making healthier, just-as-tasty dishes at home.  This Kung Pao Chicken is probably the closest I have come to making a perfect Chinese dish.

Chicken is sautéed with garlic and onion in sesame oil (a flavor punch) before being bathed in a spicy mixture of water, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flake.  Once the sauce has thickened slightly, fresh snow peas and red peppers are added until bright in color and perfectly crisp.  Unlike a typical restaurant dish, this version gets its kick from the red pepper flake instead of chili peppers but it doesn’t disappoint (if you like it spicier, add more flake or use chili peppers instead).  Snow peas are a fresh addition but other vegetables, such as broccoli, celery, cabbage or scallions, will work too.  Like the typical restaurant version, peanuts dot this dish adding a salty layer of crunch.  If you’re someone like me who gets that Chinese food craving and want something healthier, try this dish.  It comes together fast and it’s as tasty as ever.

The ingredients:

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add chicken; sauté 3 minutes or until chicken begins to brown.

Combine water, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger and crushed red pepper, stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves.  Add water mixture to pan; bring to a boil.

Add bell pepper and snow peas to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with nuts.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Ground ginger

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili

The beautiful fall weather seemed to be a topic of conversation amongst everyone all weekend.  Blue skies and cooler temperatures seemed to put a pep in my step and I’m quickly becoming obsessed with fall weather, fall clothes and fall food.  I’ve already bought my second bag of apples that I’ve been eating everyday and I’m chomping at the bit to break out pumpkin recipes and scary movies.  Yesterday, with the windows wide open and football on the television, I was excited to make a bit pot of chili.  I typically make chili the first weekend of football season but it had been too warm so when I woke up yesterday to a chilly breeze, I knew it was time to make Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili.

Turkey sausage is mixed with vibrant spices, diced tomatoes, poblano peppers and two different kinds of beans to make for a thick and spicy chili.  Using sausage instead of regular turkey gives this chili another layer of flavor and if you use hot sausage instead of sweet sausage (like I did), it creates even more intense, firey burst.  If you don’t like so much heat, you might want to stick to regular chili because the poblanos really do pack a punch but the older I get, the spicier the better.  Adding a touch of sour cream or plain yogurt helps to tame the heat a bit and a topping of cilantro gives a fresh element.  I’m obsessed with this chili.  I plan on eating it all week and might just make it again next weekend.

If you like this, also check out Jerk Chicken Chili.

The ingredients:

Add oil to a Dutch oven pan heated over medium-high heat; swirl to coat.  Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until browned.

Remove casings from sausage; add sausage to pan.  Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, poblanos, and bay leaf; cook 4 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble sausage.

Add 1 cup stock, tomatoes, and beans.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Combine flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons stock in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry.  Add slurry to chili, stirring with a whisk.  Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and black pepper.  Discard bay leaf.  Serve with sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Hot sausage

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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