CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE MIX COOKIES

This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker Cake Mix Gooey Butter Cookies

While I follow some recipes completely, at least the first time, many of the recipes I read make me think ‘hmm, sounds good but I bet…would make it better.  So this is an adaptation of the original

My niece helped plan the ingredients although I did shy away from trying to stuff cookies with peanut butter; my tail gating buddies along with my favorite librarian tested them for me along with the niece.

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  • 1- 8oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1- 10 oz pkg Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1 box Betty Crocker GF Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
  3. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until well blended
  4. Add egg and vanilla and mix
  5. Stir in cake mix with large wooden spoon folding over (as dough becomes stiff) to blend well
  6. Stir in 1 cup Reese’s
  7. Using full tbsp drop rounded cookie dough on parchment 1 inch apart (makes approx 27 cookies)
  8. Bake 11-15 minutes until edges brown and top is firm
  9. Remove from baking sheet and cool

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NOTES:

  • dough should be stiff but it will combine completely with a little effort
  • hand mixer didn’t handle the dough well; a stand mixture with paddle attachment may work
  • use your favorite cake mix, I find the GF mixes to be less sweet
  • for double chocolate cookies swap chocolate chips for peanut butter chips
  • add coconut and crushed pecans for german chocolate cookies
  • for smaller cookies, use tsp
  • I did roll some of these cookies but they flatten slightly
  • size of cookie placed on parchment paper is basically size of baked cookie
  • cookies keep in airtight container 2-3 days and 1 month in freezer…if you have any left
  • if you share this recipe please link to this page

ENJOY

 

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Company’s Coming Corn Muffins

I have no connection with the companies listed within. All items listed are my personal preference.

This recipe is an adaptation from ‘Delish’ Maple Bacon Corn Muffins.  It is a great recipe to have on hand for when company is coming and you want something to tide them over until breakfast is ready, to add to your brunch table, to take as a hostess gift when you spend a weekend away AND to treat yourself on a Wednesday morning before you rush off to work.

I made these as a hostess gift and they were gone in a minute.  I warmed the whole batch of 12 in the oven but a microwave for one at a time works as well.  The only reason it wasn’t seconds is because they buttered them.

As for making the recipe the longest time was for cutting the bacon as I had cooked the bacon the day before.  These will be made again…and again.  I foresee more weekend invites coming my way.  Perhaps the next time in a baking dish…

maplebacon corn muffins

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup + 2 tbsp maple syrup for bacon
  • 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray 12 cup muffin cooking tin
  3. Brush bacon with 2 tbsp maple syrup and bake 25 – 40 min on wire rack over large cooking sheet until crispy
  4. Cool bacon slightly and snip into slivers and set aside
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl until well mixed
  6. Fold in most of bacon pieces reserving 6-12 tsps
  7. Divide batter into muffin tin(s)
  8. Sprinkle tops with reserved bacon pieces
  9. Bake 15 min until muffins are golden and cooked through
  10. Let cool slightly and serve with your favorite sides

NOTES:

  • I find the sour cream adds body to the muffin but if you prefer you may substitute milk per the package directions
  • I zoned out when I was snipping the bacon for my muffins and it all went in the batter – I think I liked having it be a surprise
  • I used disposable muffin tins for easier transport
  • If you prefer your corn muffins sweeter add an extra tbsp of maple syrup or serve it on the side

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Funfetti Cake Mix Halloween Cookies

I have no connection with the companies listed within. All items listed are my personal preference.

So I adapted a recipe from Deliciously Sprinkles Oreo Funfetti cookies and combined it with a Betty Crocker Cake Mix gooey butter cookie recipe to create this Halloween delight.  Now I wasn’t able to get all the exact ingredients for the Oreo Funfetti cookies and I nixed the Halloween OREOS (nasty tasting) so by the time I got around to making these I took the gooey butter cookie shortcut.  I amped up the chocolate chips by using Reese’s Baking Cups and Pieces and then I increase the amount to 1 cup and then I said what the heck and used the entire 8.5 oz bag…okay so maybe I tested a handful of pieces.

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  • 1- 8oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1- 8.5 oz pkg Reese’s Baking Cups and Pieces
  • 1 box Funfetti Cake Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
  3. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until well blended
  4. Add egg and vanilla and mix
  5. Stir in cake mix with large wooden spoon folding over (as dough becomes stiff) to blend well
  6. Stir in Reese’s
  7. Using full tbsp drop rounded cookie dough on parchment 1 inch apart (makes approx 27 cookies)
  8. Bake 11-15 minutes until edges brown and top is firmIMG_2239
  9. Remove from baking sheet and cool

NOTES:

  • dough should be stiff but it will combine completely with a little effort
  • hand mixer didn’t handle the dough well; a stand mixture with paddle attachment may work
  • for smaller cookies, use tsp
  • size of cookie placed on parchment paper is basically size of baked cookie
  • cookies keep in airtight container 2-3 days and 1 month in freezer…if you have any left
  • if you share this recipe please link to this page

ENJOY

 

ZUCCHINI AND POTATO FRITTATA

I didn’t know if I should call this ‘Empty the Veggie Bin’ or the ‘Garden’s Last Gasp’.  Either title would have been descriptive enough but unimaginative as to taste.  This frittata is filled with the final glories of zucchini and tomatoes as well as upcoming potatoes and the creaminess of eggs and cheese.  Oh yes there was that final sad clump of parsley as well.

Don’t get too excited by all this garden talk now.  Whilst I love the idea of a garden it is very difficult to weed by moonlight.  So my garden gems come to me courtesy of Sister #2 and her husband or are found at Farmers’ markets.

OK I hear a few whispered ‘what’s a frittata’ out there as I type…a frittata is like a quiche without a crust or an omelet that’s not flipped, it is a mass of eggs and extras started on the stove top and finished in the oven to set the eggs.  Stay with me folks this is no more work than an omelet and a bit less work than a quiche.  Just preheat your oven before you start your prep and everything will fall into place.

I normally use a variety of shredded cheeses in my egg dishes but this day my refrigerator held only a small amount of shredded mozzarella.  However the frig also held a partial container of ricotta that needed to be used.  Whole milk ricotta is a staple in my frig and I use it often for itself and as a dairy substitute.

Again this presentation is more a method than a recipe, most of the ingredients only suggestions and may be used in many of your other egg dishes; you can even saute the veggies and serve alongside your scrambled, over easy or other style of eggs sprinkled with your favorite seasonings and cheese.  This is also a fantastic way of using up leftovers.

The amount of eggs used are going to vary by the amount of servings desired.  Typically 2-3 eggs per person is a good serving and leftovers are easily heated in the oven or microwave for a quick breakfast or as lunch with a side salad.  A frittata is also great for that late dinner where you don’t want to overdo.  Serve with the side salad and a glass of your favorite white wine or bubbly and finish with some fresh fruit.  If you would like to make this in single portion size check out the omelet recipe from September – just don’t flip it and slide it into the oven as below.

However you plate this, for whatever meal, do enjoy and oh yes that is Sriracha drizzled on my serving.  IMG_2143

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 small zucchini, large dice
  • 1 small potato, parboiled and cut into thin quarter moons
  • 1/2 small onion, fine dice
  • 2-4 cherry tomatoes, fine dice
  • shredded cheese to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • fresh grated black pepper
  • minced parsley garnish
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 or 375 (depending on the skillet being used)
  2. Place medium to large oven safe skillet over medium heat on stove top
  3. Drizzle pan with olive oil and heat 30 seconds
  4. Saute zucchini until crisp-tender
  5. Add potato, onion and tomatoes sauteing until slightly softened
  6. Scramble eggs in medium bowl and pour over veggies
  7. Move veggies around with spatula to make sure evenly distributed on bottom of pan
  8. Continue to cook on medium heat 1-2 minutes or until edges of eggs firm up
  9. Sprinkle top of eggs with shredded cheese and pepper
  10. Dollop ricotta over eggs in random pattern
  11. Sprinkle with garnish
  12. Place skillet in oven
  13. Keeping an eye on the skillet cook frittata 10 -12 minutes until eggs are set and top is NOT too brown.
  14. USING A POT HOLDER carefully remove skillet from oven and slide frittata onto cutting board or serving platter
  15. Cut into sections as you would a pie

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NOTES:

  • size and type of veggies is up to you; smaller cuts cook quicker – you want your veggies to be crisp tender before adding the eggs
  • partially cooked veggies make the first few steps go faster
  • leftover vegetables only need to be warmed and coated with oil so they don’t stick to pan
  • this is a good use of tired out leftovers in the veggie bin – throw in your leafy greens as well
  • in the real world stuff happens…like me forgetting to use the onion and finding in on the counter after breakfast (hah – glad I hadn’t diced it)
  • size your pan by the amount of add ins and eggs that you are using – in other words a lot of veggies and or meat requires a larger bottom and more eggs require more diameter or you will find you have no room for all your eggs or spill over
  • if your pan is full place a rimmed baking sheet under it in the oven
  • ENJOY

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BUFFALO CHILI (BISON MEAT)

The weather can’t decide if the nights will be cool and chilly or cool and damp.  I am so ready for autumn’s chill I can hardly sit still.  Thoughts of stews, chilis, lasagna and baking dance through my head.  It is time to add more tasters for the kitchen’s bounty.

I was ready for stew this week but could not decide if I would make it with turkey (white or red chili) or beef (definitely red) when I walked by the butcher case with a mental gasp.  Buffalo meat as in ground American buffalo (bison) meat not the seasoned chicken or wing meat.  Although now I am thinking about a buffalo chicken chili, maybe with the harissa chicken…no that’s for another day and time.  I will get back to you on that.

So a different meat called for different components – not just red salsa but green salsa as well.  Not kidney or navy beans but black beans and lots of Southwestern seasonings.  Such joy simple ingredients bring to the cook and the dinner as well.

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By the way this was perfect for Monday night football.

  • 1 lb ground buffalo meat
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 small can diced green chilis
  • 1+ cup green salsa (to taste, may be hot)
  • 1 cup red salsa
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp onion salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • toppings
  1. Pour diced chilis into bottom of slow cooker
  2. Place ground meat on top of chilis
  3. Season buffalo meat
  4. Pour blend of salsa over seasonings
  5. Pour black beans over salsa
  6. Cook on High 4 hours or Low 6-7 hours
  7. Break meat apart with spoon
  8. Serve with favorite toppings – I used fresh cilantro and additional Verde Salsa
  9. ENJOY

NOTES:

  • No need to drain the diced green chilis
  • I used PACE (no affiliation with this blog) salsas and found their Verde Salsa in the International food aisle
  • Mix the salsas and taste – add more green salsa as you like
  • You can use your favorite chili seasonings or packaged mix – I used the same measurements as I do for beef chili
  • Between the onion salt and the canned black beans there was no need for additional salt
  • I seasoned my black beans with the same amount of chili powder, cumin and cayenne as I used for the meat – this makes the dish spicier
  • Yes I did place the square of raw meat on top of the chilis
  • Yes it does cook completely in the slow cooker without browning
  • Yes brown it (quickly) if you prefer to cook it that way

 

 

Potato and Sausage Omelet

So the days veer from humid to glorious and my appetite goes from ‘nope not eating’ to ‘what else can I eat’.  The other day I was wishing I had potato salad to go with my leftover chicken…so I made some.  I have found that boiling a medium to large white potato until fork tender  makes for the perfect amount of potato for one salad.  I don’t peel my potatoes before boiling – learned that at my Mother’s side as she boiled 5 or more pounds of potatoes for her potato salad.  Much easier to peel as they start to cool off; just slip the skin off with fingers or a butter knife.  (Don’t try that with mashed potatoes though as you lose the heat.)

So I boiled a few small potatoes because that was what I had and why waste the time, energy and electricity.  The largest potato of the trio was earmarked for potato salad, the medium potato was earmarked for the left over chili and the smallest potato became the star of this omelet.

The co-star of this omelet was spicy sausage meat left over from a batch cooked for sauce and soup.  I am great fan of freezing bits and pieces of future meals, especially if I’m not going to eat the leftovers in time.  I believe I have mentioned that I consider the freezer to be part of my pantry, although I do date everything for best flavor.  If I had any spinach I would have added that as well.

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  • 3 eggs
  • one small boiled potato sliced or cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup cooked hot Italian sausage meat
  • shredded mozzarella or favorite cheese to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • olive oil (optional)

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  1. heat sausage in medium pan over medium heat adding 1 tsp olive oil if dry
  2. saute potatoes until start to crisp
  3. scramble eggs with water and pour over pan
  4. pull sides of eggs gently towards center of pan
  5. when edges set sprinkle with cheese and crushed red pepper
  6. fold one side of omelet over the other and turn off heat
  7. let sit 1-3 min depending on required doneness (on electric stove remove from heat after 1 min).
  8. garnish your dish with fruit, parsley, cilantro, spinach
  9. serves 1-2

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NOTES:

  • also good with sauteed peppers and onions
  • use your favorite seasonings
  • if you love spicy food feel free to add Sriracha sauce to the side as well
  • it goes without saying any omelet makes a great frittata just as any frittata makes a great omelet
  • amount of eggs used is personal choice
  • milk may be used instead of water if that is how you scramble your eggs
  • so spellcheck didn’t like the word doneness but Merriam Webster dictionary tells me it is a word
  • I’ll post potato salad recipe another day
  • Enjoy your day!

 

PUMPKIN COOKIES quick and easy

So the September Cook Book Club had a FARMERS’ MARKET theme and there were so many recipes I had in mind.  Of course then I take a step back and remember that my dish will have to be at room temperature (unless it is in a slow cooker) for awhile; since I go early to prep for next month’s meeting and to set up for the evening.

Pie Pumpkins (or sugar pumpkins) are just now appearing at my local farmers markets and even the stores.  These are easy to roast and puree – wash 2-3 lb pumpkin, cut off stem, cut pumpkin in half and place on cooking sheet lined with foil cut side down and roast at 350 35 to 50 minutes or until easily poked with a fork.  Carefully scoop out the flesh and puree for your baking.

Or you can open a can of your favorite pumpkin puree…

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  • 1-15 oz can pumpkin puree (I use an organic pumpkin puree unless I make my own)
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (makes approximately 48 cookies)
  3. Pour cake mix into large bowl and sift with fork to remove large lumps
  4. Add pumpkin
  5. Mix well by hand, making sure to scrap bottom of bowl
  6. Drop onto cookie sheet by large teaspoonful or small tablespoonful
  7. Make cinnamon sugar blend and dust cookies lightly if desired
  8. Bake 13-15 minutes until edges start to crisp and cookie lifts easily from sheet
  9. Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes
  10. Cool completely on wire rack.
  11. Cookies will keep up to 5 days in air tight container or 1 month in freezer (if you have leftovers…)

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NOTES:

  • cooking time depends on cookie size
  • I used 1/2 tablespoonful for 4 dozen cookies
  • nuts, raisins, and or roasted pumpkin seeds may be added to mix
  • I haven’t decided if I am adding espresso powder or cacao to my next batch
  • dark chocolate chips did not work for me

SPICY BEEF STEW

The weather readers are calling for a first taste of autumn this weekend.  It can’t come soon enough for me.  I am ready for open windows and chilly evenings.  Even if it is only a taste of what will be here sooner or later I’m firing up my slow cooker.

This recipe isn’t spicy hot just as brother # 3 says “seasoned well”; although you can up the heat by adding more jalapenos or chilis or your favorite taste bud kicker.  Use what is on hand, leave out what ingredients you don’t like, substitute chicken or pork for the beef and have a totally different stew.  As always serve it with your favorites sides from crusty bread to mashed potatoes to noodles to polenta.

Life in the kitchen should be fun!!

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  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb stew beef cut into large bite size pieces
  • 2 lb new or white potatoes washed (peeled optional) cut into small chunks
  • 1 large white onion peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 – 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place half the onion and half the jalapeno on the bottom of your slow cooker
  2. Layer half the potatoes on top
  3. Season potatoes with salt and pepper
  4. Layer half the stew beef on the potatoes
  5. Season the beef with salt and pepper
  6. Layer remaining onion and jalapeno over beef
  7. Layer remaining potatoes, seasoning again
  8. Top with remaining beef and season
  9. Pour wine over top of beef
  10. Cook on low 6 – 8 hours
  11. 1 hour before complete stir stew to make sure all potatoes are cooking
  12. 30 minutes before complete add frozen peas

NOTES:

  • the smaller the onion and jalapeno are cut, the more they ‘disappear’ into the stew and the more mild the flavor
  • the more jalapenos used or the less de-seeding produces additional heat
  • for more kick also season the stew with cayenne pepper
  • initially I layered the potatoes last but the uppermost potatoes took longer to cook, it works well just requires stirring 2-3 hours before complete
  • I used new potatoes well scrubbed with the peel on – makes a more rustic stew
  • use the wine you are serving with dinner or that last bit left over from last night
  • omit the wine and add beef or vegetable broth

ENJOY

FROZEN FRUIT EQUALS COOL SNACKS AND SUMMER DRINKS

As the heat and humidity continues, my freezer door opens and closes more than it probably should.  The ubiquitous bowl of frozen grapes has now been joined by trays and plates of fruit slices.

Fair warning to all – line your baking sheet or plate with parchment paper so that you can remove those frozen goodies.  Once frozen your pretty chunks and slices may be stored in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months.  (Larger meaty fruits may be stored longer but the taste will start to fade.)

Bananas ripen in the blink of an eye and days before the urge to bake.  Peaches go from sublime to bruised if you blink.  Strawberries perfume the produce section and turn fuzzy overnight on the counter.  Need I go on…

Of course I could refrigerate my summer bounty but then those melting flavors lose their joy.  So let’s begin with the grapes.  I enjoy seedless green grapes whenever I find well ripened ones.  They’re a great portable snack, go well with cheese and crackers along with topping a salad.  But rinse off the little buggers, drain well and place in a small bowl in the freezer and you have an any time of day frozen treat.  Perfect refresher for the middle of the night when the temperature meets the dew point and you groan awake.

Bananas I crave on the oddest days and I love their overripe sweetness for baking.  Sometimes a banana or two works when I shop, sometimes I buy a bunch.  Ripe bananas will hold for 2-3 days in the frig, although the skin blackens.  Longer than that and I freeze them – peeled and cut in 1 to 2 inch chunks.  The frozen chunks work well in smoothies and eliminate the watering down of ice cubes.  Two things to note – I wrap about half a banana’s worth of chunks in waxed paper before placing in a freezer safe plastic bag.  I do this because even pre-frozen chunks tend to clump when too many are bagged together and so that I have measured amounts for smoothies and baking. The second thing to note – frozen bananas are not as moist as fresh bananas so add additional liquid to your recipe OR use an extra 1/2 -1 banana per recipe.

Peaches, plums and nectarines scream summer to me and are eaten best over the sink so that the juiciness is contained.  For fruit that has softened I cut it up and blend with yogurt for a snack or to add to my overnight oatmeal.  When there is too much soft fruit I cut it into chunks and freeze for baking.  Peaches I peel first but I don’t mind the skin on the plums and nectarines.

Strawberries sliced adorn salads, baked goods and oatmeal.  But I examine them everyday and either eat or cull the ripest.  Strawberries don’t last long once they have been washed.  So for those I am freezing I wipe well with a dampened cloth and air dry before slicing and freezing.  Frozen strawberries go anywhere a fresh berry has been.

All these fruits work well to chill your favorite summer beverage from sangria to plain water.  The fruit that has worked it’s way to being my go-to ‘crushed ice’ this summer is watermelon.  It did take me a while to get this ‘recipe’ down more because I eat the fruit up before freezing it and then to get the lime right.

watermemlon margarita

  • 1-11/2 ice cube tray of watermelon cubes
  • 2-3 large tbsp fresh watermelon
  • 1/2 lime zested and juiced
  • 3-4 tbsp tequila or favorite white liquor
  1. Place watermelon and lime in high powered blender or food processor and blend into slush
  2. Pour over tequila
  3. Garnish glass with lime slice and watermelon chunk
  4. ENJOY

NOTES:

  • freeze the watermelon the day of or the night before using
  • watermelon will start to crystallize in the freezer and does not last longIMG_1917
  • use the same recipe with your 1 – 2 cup strawberry slicesIMG_1789
  • Frozen peaches go well with breakfast mimosas or a pre-dinner glass of Prosecco
  • I tried cutting the lime up into chunks as well but ended up with small chewy bits of lime – which works fine for me

ICE BOX CAKE – IRISH STYLE

Both sides of the family lay claim to a dessert known as ice box cake.  I posted the recipe Mom’s family uses back in May and today this is the recipe Dad’s family uses.  It is a favorite of mine, easy to make and hard to resist.

There are really only four steps to this recipe – shop, whip cream, layer and chill.  And I mean chill literally (in the frig) and figuratively (as in wait until it has chilled hours).  Then slice on a diagonal for thin decorative slices and enjoy…in moderation.  This dessert really goes a long way for a 9 oz box.

The recipe originated on the long thin box of NABISCO FAMOUS CHOCOLATE WAFERS.  As the name indicates these cookies are thin chocolate wafers that crumble (and break easily).  It is not a sweet, let’s eat handfuls type of cookie but oh, what a great cake it makes.  And if the cookie breaks you ‘glue’ it with whipped cream and if the cookie crumbles you dust the finished dessert.

The cake can be made in any form you choose from our traditional circle to a log to a loaf pan with rows stacked aside the other to individual servings stacked in a muffin tin that fits the wafers.icebox cake Capture

This makes an amazing birthday cake and you won’t have slaved over a hot oven.

  • 1 box chocolate wafers
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whip cream adding vanilla as it starts to stiffen
  2. Whip until stiff peaks
  3. Spread whipped cream with butter knife or offset spatula between wafers stacking as you go
  4. Lay wafers down in log or circle pattern on large plate
  5. Spread the sandwiched layers with the remaining whipped cream
  6. Refrigerate minimum 3-4 hours, best overnight.
  7. Cut on diagonal and serve.

NOTES:

  • each box of wafers serves 12 people
  • if using one box of wafers, it is easier to use log pattern
  • if using two boxes of wafers, it is easier to make a circle or two side by side logs
  • makes a great refreshing breakfast on a hot humid morning
  • only lasts 1-2 days in frig before whipped cream starts to separate (if you can stop eating it)
  • ENJOY