Friday, February 24, 2012

Robin's Cowgirl Cookies

I have never really been a fan of the traditional Cowboy Cookies.  I really don't know what it was about them that I didn't like, but they seemed to be really popular where I live so I decided to make up my own version.  My family are purists when it comes to cookies....plain Peanut Butter Cookies, or regular Chocolate Chip get the idea.  I don't make these cowboy cookies often since I am the one who eats most of them, but I have been craving the taste of these cookies since Christmas, so today I made them!

Robin's Cowboy Cookies

1C. Margarine - softened
1 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 C. Flour
3 C. Oats
1 C. Raisins
1 C. Pecans
1 C. Mini Chocolate Chips
1 C. Toffee Bits

Cream together Margarine, Brown Sugar and Sugar
Add Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Salt and mix
Add Flour and Oats and mix
Add Raisins, Pecans, Mini Chocolate Chips, and Toffee Bits
and mix with a wooden spoon
Using a cookie scoop or a spoon drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes
Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute before
moving to a cooling rack.
These are so yummy and full of texture.  My original recipe said to bake 8-10 minutes but today my cookies needed a full 12 minutes to cook properly - you be the judge on how your oven is cooking them. Just keep an eye on the first batch and then you should be fine!
  This recipe made 4 dozen cookies.

As always I love your comments - Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken

I really enjoy this dinner.  My family eats it just fine, but I think I like it much better than they do.  I guess it is the combination of flavors with the artichoke, green olives, chicken, etc.  I realize that there are several ingredients in this dish that may not appeal to the masses, but if you are feeling adventurous then give it a try!

Mediterranean Chicken

2 T. Olive Oil
1 Pkg. Chicken Breast Tenders
1 can Small Artichoke Hearts
25 Green Olives
2 T. Green Olive Juice
1 jar favorite Spaghetti Sauce
1(1 lb.) pkg Mini Bow Tie Pasta

To begin, put pasta in a large pot of boiling water
 and cook according to package directions.
Heat Olive Oil in a large skillet. Dice chicken tenders and brown in oil.
Drain liquid from artichoke hearts and cut in half.  Add to the cooked chicken.
Toss in the 25 green olives and 2 T. Olive Juice.
Add the jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. 
 For this recipe I really like the Newman's Sockarooni Sauce.
Mix the sauce together and let it simmer until the pasta is done cooking.
Looks delicious.....right?
Add cooked pasta....
And toss together.....
YUM!  I served this last night for dinner with a tossed salad.  

Love to hear comments....let me know if you try this!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shrimp Stew

This is one of those nostalgic recipes for me that brings my mind back to memories of home, my mom and dad, and dinner around the table with my family.  This Shrimp Stew recipe is not a favorite among my children, but my husband and I like it and I do crave the taste and the memories from time to time.  About 50 years ago my Dad was stationed in Taiwan while he was serving in the Air Force.  He and my mom went out to dinner one evening and this is what they had.  They liked it so much the asked the chef for the recipe.  My mom still has that original piece of paper with the chef's handwriting in broken English.  I am glad they asked for this recipe, it is something I had never seen them do in my life, but at this little restaurant in Taiwan they did. 

Shrimp Stew

12 oz bag of small cooked shrimp
 (or whatever type of shrimp you like best)
1 Big Chopped Onion
2 Chopped Green Peppers
1/4 C. Corn Starch
1/2 C. Ketchup
1/4 C. Vegetable Oil
4 C. Chicken Stock (or water if you prefer)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop Onions and Green Peppers into equal sized pieces
Put vegetable oil into a large skillet and heat up. 
Add onion and peppr and cook until a tender crisp
Add shrimp.  I put mine in frozen, but defrosted would be fine also
Combine Chicken Stock, Cornstarch, Ketchup, Salt and Pepper.
Pour into skillet with Shrimp and Veggies
Bring to a boil and cook until Shrimp is hot and sauce is thick
Serve over rice

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

With today being Valentine's Day I guess it is only fitting that I post a sweet treat.  I have adapted this cheesecake recipe from a friend.  I don't know where she got hers from.  This so so delicious that I am asked often for the recipe.  I decided that the blog was the best way for me to get it out there. 
I only have the one picture today so get a good look and
 hopefully I can talk you through the process!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 pkg. Double Stuff Oreo Cookies
2 T. Melted Butter or Margarine
4 (8 oz) pks. soft Cream Cheese
1 C. Sugar
3 T. Flour
4 Eggs
1 C. Sour Cream
1 T. Vanilla
1 pkg (12 oz) frozen Mini Chocolate Chips

Using a food processor, crush 2/3 pkg. Oreo cookies.  Combine with melted butter and press into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  Run some more cookies through the processor for garnish on top of the cheesecake and set aside.  The amount of garnish you use is completely up to you but I like the little crumbles and use the entire remainder of the package of cookies.  (well maybe not the entire package, I do need to taste one.....or two)  In a mixing bowl mix Cream Cheese, Sugar and Flour.  Add eggs mixing a little between each egg.  Add Sour Cream and Vanilla. Using a spatula scrape the edges of the bowl and gently combine the batter.  Pour the entire package of frozen Mini Chocolate Chips into the batter and mix with the spatula.  Pour over cookie crust and gently even out the batter in the pan.  Do not mess with the batter if you are able to leave it alone.  The more you fiddle with it the more likely you are to have a crack in your cheesecake.  Bake at 350* for 45 minutes - 1 hour.  You just need to kind of keep an eye on the cheesecake.  It will be done when the edges are dry looking and maybe slightly cracked and the center of the cheesecake has a small wet looking spot no bigger than a dime or even less.  Try not to slam the oven door or do things in your kitchen that will cause your cheesecake to fall.  When done cooking, gently remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  Let sit for 3-5 minutes and then run a very sharp knife carefully around the edge.  If you wait to long to do this your cheesecake will crack in the middle because it wants to shrink a little while cooling and if you don't loosen it from the sides it will pull apart.  Let the cheesecake cool completely and then run the knife around the edges again.  Cover the top with the cookie crumbs.  This helps to hide any crack you might have gotten in the top of the cheesecake.  Put in the fridge overnight or at least for several hours.  When ready to serve run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the spring form pan.   Put the tip of your knife between the crust and the bottom of the pan and gently slide
 the cake off the pan onto a serving platter.  

Hope all those little tips help you make a great cheesecake!  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

French Bread

If you could smell my house right now you would find it hard to resist cutting into these warm loaves of freshly baked homemade French Bread.  I plan to make some garlic bread out of this to go with our spaghetti dinner tonight.

French Bread

2 C. Hot Water
3 T. Yeast
2 T. Sugar
1/4 C. Margarine or Butter
6 C. Flour
2 tsp. Salt

In a mixing bowl combine hot water, yeast and sugar.  Using a whisk mix all the ingredients together.  Thinly slice the butter into the hot water mixture and let it stand for a minute.  Using the whisk again blend in that butter.  The hot water will melt in nicely.  Add flour and then salt.  Using a fork stir your dough.  You may have to get your hands down into the dough to combine the last little bit.  Your dough will look like this......
Spray some cooking oil on a sheet of plastic wrap and loosely cover the bowl. Set it aside and let it rise until double in size.  Like this.....
Punch this dough down and using a very small amount of flour, just enough to keep the dough from sticking, cut in half and roll out into 2 loaves. 
I have this pan that I use for french bread, but before I got the pan I used a cookie sheet, it worked just fine.  Just be sure to spray whatever you are using with a non stick spray.  I like to cut some slits in the top of the bread like this.....
I bake breads and rolls all the time and I will admit that I never double rise, however if you want this french bread to taste and look and feel like french bread then it is absolutely necessary to take the time to do a double rise.  When it has doubled in size it will look like this.....
Place in a 375* oven for 25-30 minutes.
 Loaves will be nicely browned and have a hollow sound when you thump them.
Good Luck keeping this bread in the house.  It gets eaten around here as fast as I can make it.  This is great for all kinds of things like grilled cheese, croutons, french bread pizzas, let your imagination go wild!

I would love to know if you have tried this recipe and what you think about it! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Cake Plate

This past week my husband came home from work with a cake plate for me.  He said that I had admired the plate on a recent trip to a local antique store.  I honestly don't remember the cake plate, but he did, and it would be a shame not to put the plate to use, so I baked a cake. 
 The plate is a light green glass with detail on the pedestal.

I decided to make a Chocolate Cake.  Now I am pretty sure that I get this character trait from my Dad, but I don't usually like homemade cakes.  I much prefer a store bought cake or a cake mix from a box.  I do however have a really good chocolate cake that I make and it is really the only cake I do from scratch.  I have received many compliments on this cake ranging from the delicious flavor, to the density and texture of the cake.  This will be one to add to your recipe box for sure.

Chocolate Cake
2 C. Cold Water
2 C. Sugar
3 C. Flour
2/3 C. Cocoa Powder
3/4 C. Oil
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vinegar
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Eggs

Mix all ingredients in a large batter bowl or mixing bowl. 
This makes 6 1/2 C. of batter.
Generously Grease and Flour a Bundt Cake Pan.
Pour batter into pan and bake at 350* for 1 Hour.
Let cake cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around the edges. 
Flip over onto a cooling rack.
I dusted mine with powdered sugar today. 
If you like a frosting this is delicious with butter cream, or chocolate.  Once again I prefer pre-mixed store bought frosting.  There is a chocolate frosting recipe that I do like a lot and often use it to frost this cake....
like I did on Shelby's last birthday.
This is the frosting recipe I use.

Chocolate Frosting
 1 stick Butter or Margarine
1/2 C. Cocoa
1/4 C. + 2 T. Hot Water
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 (16 oz) pkg. Powdered Sugar

Combine butter, cocoa, water, and vanilla.  Gradually Add Powdered Sugar.  Makes a generous amount of frosting.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Let me know what you think!