Eggnog Pancakes

Eggnog Pancakes

Well, the holidays are in full swing – I wish I could say I was ready for them.  Every year I am behind, but this year things are a little out of control.  They are so forgone, that this weekend I completely forgot about the Rocky Rods, that my friends and neighbors look forward to each year.  Needless to say, I am going to have to make it up to them in other ways.  Maybe some Valentine’s Day treats instead?  I just couldn’t fit it all in, and in order to avoid a complete nervous breakdown, I had to prioritize, and unfortunately they didn’t fall to the top.

Something else that completely slipped my mind – my annual holiday post highlighting my favorite gifts for the season.  So here I am, with my list.  Every year it is so easy, and this year was no exception.  I created this list in about 5 minutes – and if it helps just one of you with holiday shopping this year, it was completely worth it.

  1. The Nutra Ninja Blender Duo - wow, this blender blew me away…I was not really a blender person before I used this – I love the smoothie cups it comes with, not only do the smoothies blend perfectly, clean up is a cinch.  I cannot recommend this one enough…
  2. Artic Chill Cocktail Muddler – this is a must if you are a cocktail maker – particularly if you like making drinks with fresh herbs like mint – I have also used this with peaches and cherries, and it does wonders.  Before I had one I used the back of a wooden spoon – I had no idea was I was missing.  It is the grooved nylon tip that does all the magic…
  3. Lori’s Salt Caramel Syrup – I am not much of a syrup person, that was until I tried this stuff.  I seriously could drink this in a glass, it is that good.  Oh, and put on top of these eggnog pancakes?  Just stop.  We were all licking our plates in delight.
  4. Lemon and Lime Juicer – I didn’t realize how easy it could be to use fresh lemon or lime juice before I got this contraption.  There is no reason to ever buy bottled lemon or lime juice again – this makes it so quick and easy, and seriously your food will taste better using fresh juice.
  5. Large Cookie Spatula – this has been on my favorite holiday gifts list ever since I started this.  I use this for just about everything – cakes, roasts, anything that has to be moved, and requires a large surface area to do so. I have even got my husband to start using it…

You can thank my mother for the recipe – when I was in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, she woke up at 6am, just to make these for my girls before they went to school.  They loved them so much, I had to give them a try.  They are a perfect holiday treat – particularly if you have some eggnog that you are looking to use up.  Fortunately school break is coming up, and you won’t need to get up before sunrise to make them…

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (fresh) or cinnamon
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups eggnog (can be low fat)
  • 1/4 cup oil

Preparation

Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, mix wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until combined.  Do not overwork, the batter may be lumpy.

Heat a small amount of butter or oil and cook pancakes on medium (or if using a non-stick pan, you might be able to skip the butter/oil).

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Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

I don’t deal with this much anymore, but when my children were younger, I felt like I should change their name to Sam.  And for those of you who have made the connection, you are correct, they did not like green eggs and ham. Now if they were just eggs and ham, move out of the way.  But anything green just turned them off.  It was funny, when they were babies, they LOVED their green peas, avocados, and pretty much anything I put in front of them.  It was such a treat to have anything other than milk, that they could actually touch and play with, and more often than not find a way into their mouth.

When I hear from new parents that say their baby is not a picky eater, I congratulate them – and then tell them not to freak out when that ends.  It will come back – particularly if you don’t make a big deal about it.  We never forced our kids to eat anything, and always asked that they took a “no thank-you bite.”  If they ended up liking it, they could have more.  No pressure.  I actually thought I was a genius and was the only one to have it all figured out – and then I read this book.  It was seriously one of the best parenting books I have ever read (ok, maybe I have only read a couple, but still).  I felt like he had written this book about me.  And it just so happens that he is the father of a parent at my daughter’s school.  Still, affirmation feels good.

So, when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, it actually made me laugh.  Then after I finished laughing, I ran to the kitchen to try them out.  I have been hanging on to this post for quite a while, waiting for the perfect opportunity – and I decided that now was the time.  When you are trying to figure out what to bring to that holiday potluck, or what to bring to that party you were invited to – look no further.  These were amazing.  They were polished off instantly – and my children helped out.  Fortunately they are over their green fetish now.  These are good for any season, but I have to admit, the red and green is just a little festive.  So just like the book, give them a try, and I am sure that you will eat these little babies just about anywhere…

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 3/4 cup diced avocado
  • 2 tablespoons grated red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ounce prosciutto slices, crisped and crumbled

Preparation

Steam eggs in a vegetable steamer 16 minutes; cool slightly, and peel. Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and remove yolks; mash yolks.

Stir avocado, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt into yolks. Divide among whites; top with prosciutto.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Green Eggs and Ham

Fennel Blossom Soup

Fennel Blossom Soup

Is it seriously Sunday already?  Where did my relaxing weekend go?  I guess that’s what happens when you have a child with the flu, Thanksgiving, a Birthday celebration and a sleepover with 4 tweens all in one long weekend.  I should have known it was going to end like this, but for some reason I was hoping for a little quiet time somewhere in between all that.  If I can make sure the rest of the family doesn’t get the flu, then maybe everything will be ok.

Nothing is as it should be right now.  It is hard to explain – but even my husband agrees that my universe is just plain off.  The reasons why are just too difficult to explain, but even he had no advice to offer.  He just shook his head.  The conclusion that we came to is that we just try too hard, and it is time to stop.  Sometimes it is best to just let it go and have some fun – playing hard to get might just be a good thing.  Fortunately I can always count on food – healthy, fresh and locally grown.  And there is no need to play any kind of games.

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables of all time – and it is not often that it gets center stage.  Usually I use it in a recipe with other main ingredients – but this time I wanted it to shine.  This recipe came to me through my weekly CSA basket – along with some delicious fresh fennel straight from the farm.  This soup captured the beauty of the vegetable completely.  Every bite was better than the last – and the fennel flowers on top as the garnish was the icing on top.  What a wonderful healthy soup to look forward to at the end of a long day.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fennel, diced
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced, white part only
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons fennel blossoms, plus additional for garnish
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Cook the leek in the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the leek wilts. Add the fennel bulb and chicken broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the fennel blossoms Purée the soup in two batches in a blender until very smooth. Be very careful when doing this – fill the blender no more than half full so that the hot soup does not splash out, and pulse it in quick spurts before switching it on continuously. Pour it back into the saucepan and reheat it until it simmers. Taste the soup, season with pepper, and add salt as needed. Serve hot or chilled, garnished with a small pinch of fennel flowers.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Fennel Blossom Soup

Burmese Semolina Cake

Bermese Semolina Cake

I am going to try and get this post out before my head falls onto the keyboard in utter exhaustion.  I am not sure which time zone I am in at the moment, but I know that I am not really in my own.  It is somewhere between here and Madrid – but I still managed to get all my errands done this weekend – and drive the kids all around the city.  Yes, I am finding that I am not only a Mom with a full-time job, I now have a part-time role as a chauffer.

Coconut anything still fascinates me.  I love that tropical flavor it has – and all of a sudden I close my eyes, and I am on the beach wearing my straw hat (the sun is not good for you).  I am also a sucker for simple yet strange recipes – which this one definitely qualifies for.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit months ago.  At first glance, there were not a lot of ingredients, and one of them was coconut milk.  Then I read the description – I could almost taste the cake before I made it.  The thought of a creamy and custardy cake was exactly what I was in the mood for.

This cake was very interesting.  Without the coconut ice-cream, I was not overly impressed. I did like the texture of the cake – although it didn’t have ton of flavor – that was until the coconut ice-cream went on top – then I felt like I was on vacation.  It’s just amazing how food can do that, and boy do I need a vacation – with some coconut ice-cream on the side please.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly, divided, plus more
  • cups semolina flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 14-oz. can coconut milk
  • cups half-and-half
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Coconut ice cream and toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (for serving)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter an 8×8” baking dish. Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; let cool slightly. Serve with coconut ice cream, topped with coconut flakes.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Burmese Semolina Cake

Apple Streusel Muffins with Maple Drizzle

Apple Streusel Muffins

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, next to dinner, lunch, and all the snacks in between.  I definitely like to eat all day, it keeps me going.  My most favorite days are when I can start off with a couple of hard boiled eggs, and then a couple hours later, I eat a muffin.  That only happens when there are muffins in the house, and they didn’t all get claimed by the kids – which is not that often.

Last night I was exhausted – and I knew I had to get up super early in the morning – not my regular early time, but a couple of hours earlier than that.  Unfortunately for me, I was up most of the night worried that I would sleep through my alarm.  Boy do I hate when that happens.  Instead, I very lightly slept (if at all), and turned off my alarm before it even went off.  I was so tired I wasn’t even hungry.

When I finally was hungry enough to think about food, these muffins were what came to mind.  Right out of the oven, with a nice cup of tea.  These muffins have been long gone though, but I still think about them.  I know what you are thinking – what is so special about these?  Well, it was the maple drizzle.  It was almost like I was eating an apple pancake shaped into a muffin with some syrup on top.  Yes, they were that good.  The perfect breakfast to get you out of bed – and from Cooking Light, what could be better?  Sleeping in and then eating these muffins…

Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons spelt flour (if you don’t have spelt flour you can use all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Muffins:

  • 5 ounces spelt flour (about 1 cup) (if you don’t have spelt flour you can use all-purpose)
  • 2.5 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

To prepare muffins, weigh or spoon 5 ounces spelt flour and whole-wheat pastry flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine buttermilk, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and egg in a bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in apple. Divide batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups; top evenly with streusel. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon water in a bowl; stir until smooth. Drizzle evenly over muffins.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Apple Streusel Muffins with Maple Drizzle

Autumn Sangria

Autumn Sangria

There is both an art and a science to turning lemons into lemonade.  I may not be a glass half-full type of person, but for some reason, when it comes to food – that is my specialty.  At work. people often joke about my motivational speaking.  But still, they keep drinking the lemonade and showing up each and every day.  It is what keeps me going, and puts a smile on my face – even if the lemonade wasn’t as sweet as we all wanted.

I never really thought about it like this, but for me – turning lemons into lemonade is similar to turning wine into Sangria.  I love a good glass of wine, but it is not what I look forward to on a Friday evening after a long hard week.  It is a well balanced cocktail that really puts a smile on my face.  Last weekend I was invited to a party and was asked to bring mixed drinks.  I was right in the middle of an extremely busy weekend – if I wasn’t driving kids from one place to another, I was in my office on the computer.  There was not a lot going on in the kitchen this weekend – and I had these drinks hanging over my head.

I could have just brought some bottles over to the party and mixed drinks a la minute…but I wanted something easy.  Something that was already prepared, and that people could just pour for themselves.  It finally hit me – it was time to turn lemons into lemonade.  Maybe it was because I was thinking about my upcoming business trip, or because I was looking at all the apples and pears on the counter – but I knew that Sangria was answer.  I went right back to the computer, and started searching for the perfect recipe.  I wanted something with fall flavors – something not too heavy, but perfect to go with a meal.  I found this recipe on NeighborFood Blog and it was exactly what I was looking for.  This Sangria was probably the best I have ever made, it just oozed of fall flavors.  The cinnamon was incredible, with all those apples and pears – it was like a pumpkin pie in a glass.

So the next time you are looking to turn lemons into lemonade, I have a better idea…turn wine into Sangria.  Then invite me over for a drink.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of pinot grigio (see below for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 3 cups apple cider + ¼ cup maple syrup whisked in (the maple syrup part is optional)
  • 1 cup club soda
  • ½ cup bourbon (see below for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 2 pears, chopped
  • 2 plums, chopped

Instructions

Mix all the liquid ingredients together in a BIG pitcher and stir it up really well. Drop in the cinnamon sticks and fruit, give it another good stir then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Give it one more good stir before serving.

Note:  if you do not drink alcohol, or want to make a version for kiddos, use a bottle of sparkling cider instead or wine and bourbon, and add the cinnamon sticks and fruit.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Autumn Sangria

Apple-Toffee Hand Pies

Apple-Toffee Hand Pies

A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders today, and for part of the day, I actually felt like I was actually going to be able to breathe again.  My mind is like a three-ring circus these days.  When one act finishes, there is another act starting up on another part of the stage.  There is always something going on, and everyone around is becoming way over stimulated.  It is hard to know when to just stop the show.  So far that has not happened yet…and it is becoming a little scary.  Can the performers actually keep going day after day, night after night?  No way, it is not sustainable…but somehow they keep going.

Tonight there was a little break in my show though, and for about 60 minutes, I was actually floating.  There were a lot of stories about Paris, and about the people in France – how they don’t like to bake – that’s what bakeries are for…and then there were the descriptions of different recipes.  Wonderful recipes, where you can obsess over how delicious the end result is.  And those cream puffs…that were filled a la minute.  Pinch me.

Yes, tonight I was lucky enough to see Dorie Greenspan talk about her latest book.  She is just incredible – such a pleasure to experience.  It really reminded me why I started this blog to begin with.  It was a break, a deviation of normal life – and a way to share recipes and food with others.

I have not had a lot of time to focus on posting lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking.  It is my favorite season right now, and I have not be wasting it away – but I also have run myself ragged trying to keep up.  I saw this recipe twice before I really couldn’t let another weekend go by before making them.  This recipe came from Cooking Light - although one of my favorite food bloggers also recently posted her version.  What a cute and delicious treat.  The only thing I would change here is to use a homemade crust – but desperate times call for desperate measures – and I settled.  The concept was perfect, and the filling tasted like fall…and next time with a homemade crust, these will shine – just like the tight rope walkers…yep, the circus is starting up again.  The show must go on.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely chopped Gala or Rome apple
  • 2 tablespoons toffee chips
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 12 cubes

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine apple, toffee chips, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Roll the pie dough on a lightly floured surface into 2 (12-inch) circles. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut each dough portion into 12 rounds. Discard any remaining dough scraps. Place 12 dough rounds on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush half of the beaten egg over dough rounds. Spoon about 1 tablespoon apple-toffee mixture onto each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the dough. Top each round with 1 piece of butter. Top pies with remaining 12 rounds of dough; press edges together with a fork to seal. Brush remaining half of beaten egg over each pie. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Apple Toffee Hand Pies

Pear Vanilla Jam

Pear Vanilla Jam

I can’t believe that October is almost over – where did this month go?  Time is just flying by, and I am seriously concerned if I blink, I might just miss something big.  October is my favorite season, and I love to savor every minute of it.  The farmer’s markets are just overflowing with amazing produce right now – and colors.  Even as busy as I have been, I have tried hard to carve out time each weekend to meander.  Usually my mind starts racing though…and I think of all the things I want to make.  Then I calm myself down, and decide if I can just make one favorite every weekend, that will be enough, but it never is…

Last spring when I was in Paris, we finally made it to this jam store that I had read about.  We walked in, and I was overwhelmed.  I thought I had a jam problem…but my pantry only has a few shelves full.  This place was overflowing with jam, all types.  It was incredible.  Then we started sampling, and I swear I was in some type of jam coma – because why on earth would I ever buy jam?  I could go into business myself.  But no, I couldn’t stop myself.  I ended up with this jar of Pear Vanilla Jam.  It was the most delicate yet sophisticated flavor of jam, and one that I just had to have.  The consistency was perfect – nice and runny.  I had to make it for myself.

I have been waiting months to see if I could reproduce that delicious concoction of pear and vanilla, and finally the pears have hit the market in full force.  Last weekend I gave it a try – and the flavor is spot on – the problem is that the consistency is a little more firm than I would like.  I am fine with it though – once it gets on that warm English muffin, it softens right up.  Although I found another really good way to serve this jam…with some creamy blue cheese.  Wow.  Talk about savoring the season.  Just give me some cheese and this jam, and life can get as hectic as it needs to be.  I will be sitting on the side, savoring every minute.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chopped Bartlett pears (or any smooth, thin-skinned pear. There’s no need to peel.)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 packet liquid pectin

Preparation

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine chopped pears, sugar and vanilla beans (and all that bean-y goodness you scraped out). Cook over medium heat until the fruit can easily be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to break the fruit down into a mostly-smooth sauce (remove the vanilla bean solids before blending).

Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for a full five minutes in order to active the pectin, so that the finished product will have a nice jammy consistency.

Fill jars, wipe rims to remove any residual jam, apply lids (heat canning lids in a small pot over very low heat while you’re preparing the jam to ensure a good seal) and screw on the rims.

Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start the timer when the pot has returned to a boil). When the time has elapsed, remove jars from pot and place the jars on a towel-lined countertop. Let them cool undisturbed for at least two hours. During this time, the lids should seal. Check to ensure the jars have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If it feels solid and doesn’t move, it is sealed.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pear Vanilla Jam

Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

I am trying to convince myself that there are really only 5 work days that stand between another weekend.  For some reason, I know that doesn’t mean anything.  These days the weekend doesn’t mean no work – it just means that I am not at work, and I guess if I think back to 16 years ago, before I had a laptop, when I had work to do – I actually had to drive to work.  It was a different world back then.  In a way, even though work never stops anymore, at least I am not wasting hours away sitting in the car.

When I think back to those times, I remember what I used to do about meal planning.  This was before kids – and my husband worked just as much as I did.  We would usually make it home around 8pm most nights, sometimes even later – and at that time, I couldn’t start making dinner from scratch. So – Sundays was my “cooking day.”  I would make 2-3 meals that I could put in the refrigerator and just stick in the oven when I got home.  In about 30 minutes, I would have a delicious meal for us – while I was sitting on the coach watching TV.  It was awesome.  This was also before the Big Green Egg.  We ate a lot of one dish meals back then – and we loved them.  I would usually make one casserole with rice, and one with pasta.  If I had enough time, I would also make a hearty soup.  When we ran out of the meals I had prepared, then we would order take out…but some weeks we had plenty to last until the weekend.

One of the dishes I used to make was a chicken-noodle casserole.  Each week it was slightly different – but always healthy, and always with fresh vegetables.  When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light - it reminded me of those days.  Now I am just too busy on the weekends to prepare meals for the week – and my husband actually does it for me – he will smoke up some extra chicken breasts or pork, that I will use in my recipes during the week.  It is definitely a huge time saver.

This mac-n-cheese was a huge hit – and it covered all the food groups.  For less than 400 calories a serving, you cannot go wrong.  And hey, it was awesome warmed up the next day.  So – even if you don’t have your act together to make your meals ahead of time – this one will feed a crowd…so enjoy the leftovers – particularly when it is warming up in the oven, and you are sitting on the couch recovering from the day, instead of slaving over a hot stove…

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)

Preparation

Preheat broiler to high.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.

While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with turmeric; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

Combine remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, milk, stock, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add pasta mixture and 2 ounces cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces cheese and bacon. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free cookies.  Right away there is a strike against the cookies when those words are involved.  I hate to admit that, because I am all for people being gluten-free, but there are some things that just need gluten to taste delicious, and in my opinion, cookies are one of them.  I thought I had made the one and only delicious gluten-free cookie already, and that there would be no others that could even compare.  Boy was I wrong, just WRONG.

I am sure someone has already thought of this – but one of the reasons why gluten-free cookies scare me is because there is notoriously some special ingredient or flour (made without gluten) that you have to use.  I walk down the baking isle in our market, and I see all those special flours – there are tons of them, but they don’t exist in my house.  That means I would actually have to plan to make them and buy the ingredients in the house, which would also require me to plan.  Seriously – do you know my life these days?  Planning is just not part of the routine.  “Just in time” is my new mantra. So back to where I started this paragraph – I am sure someone has thought of a gluten-free cookbook, where you use only regular ingredients.  Because seriously – you can make a delicious gluten-free meal without even thinking about it – we had one tonight.  Just fresh vegetables, some nice potatoes, and delicious meat smoked on the egg.  Magic.  No tapioca flour, sorghum, or arrowroot starch.

So, when I saw the title of these cookies in Cooking Light, I almost turned the page – but then my eyes wandered to the ingredients, and I couldn’t believe it.  Just like those chocolate brownie cookies, these also just used regular ingredients.  I thought it was too good to be true.  Well, that’s exactly what these cookies were.  You seriously would never know they lacked flour.  They were soft and chewy, yet crunchy on the outside.  I washed them down with some chocolate milk, and it was like eating a Reese Peanut Butter Cup – except a delicious one, since they are way too sweet for me.

I think the tides may be changing, and I may start taking that strike away when I see the words gluten-free.  Or maybe I should just write my own cookbook – gluten-free baking without the fancy ingredients.  Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it. I will put that on my list…let’s see, number 1,729.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup reduced-fat chunky peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place salt and egg white in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until white is frothy. Add peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and chocolate chips, stirring to combine.

Divide dough into 20 equal portions (about 1 tablespoon each); arrange dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork; press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern, and flatten to a 2-inch diameter. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies