Friday, May 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

I decided to make some cookies this afternoon, and settled on Peanut Butter Cookies instead of the usual Chocolate Chips. This recipe was from

1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup margarine (I used butter)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, margarine (butter), brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Form dough into walnut sized balls and place them 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Dip a fork into flour and criss cross each cookie to flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until just lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baseball Ice Cream Cake

This is the cake I made for Jackson's 10th birthday. The recipe is from

1 package (10.75 oz.) frozen prepared pound cake or angel food cake, thawed (I used pound cake)
1 container (1.5 qt.) your favorite Breyers® All Natural Ice Cream, slightly softened (I used Kemp's New York Vanilla ice cream)
3/4 cup hot fudge topping (room temperature)
1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 jar (7-1/2 oz.) marshmallow cream
4 pieces thin red licorice (I thought I bought the thin red licorice, but I got home and found it was not; it worked anyway)
Red decorating gel
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 tsp. green food coloring
1/4 tsp. water

Line 2-1/2-quart glass or aluminum bowl with plastic wrap leaving 6-inch overhang; set aside.

Slice pound cake into 14 slices. Line bowl with cake, cutting cake into triangles as needed to fit.

Scoop 1/2 of the Breyers® All Natural Ice Cream into bowl (I filled the bowl about halfway), pressing to form an even layer.

Pour in room temperature hot fudge topping, leaving 1-inch border.

Scoop in remaining Ice Cream, pressing to form an even layer;

cover with overhanging plastic wrap. Freeze 4 hours or overnight. Freeze serving platter 30 minutes before serving. (I did not freeze the serving platter; it wasn't a big deal.)

Lift Ice Cream from bowl using plastic wrap and invert onto chilled serving platter; remove plastic wrap.

Spoon whipped topping into large bowl. Whisk in marshmallow cream until smooth. Frost cake with marshmallow mixture.

For Baseball Decorations, arrange licorice for "seams". Add "stitches" along seams using decorating gel.

Combine coconut, food coloring and water in resealable plastic bag until coconut turns green. Sprinkle around cake for "grass".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Banana Bread/Muffins

This recipe is also from the Joy of Cooking. I usually make muffins rather than bread as the kids are more likely to eat muffins.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking power
5 1/3 T. unsalted butter (I use salted butter, and use less salt instead)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (I NEVER add nuts, but I do sometimes add chocolate chips.)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inche (6 cup) loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the flour mixture until blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in eggs. Fold in bananas and nuts until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.
For muffins: Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 regular size or 24 mini muffins.

Potato Salad

We got a Joy of Cooking cookbook for a wedding gift, and it's been a great resource through the years. It ranges from basic cooking/baking/ingredient information to gourmet food. At over 1100 pages, you can't go wrong! This potato salad recipe is the only one I use.

2 pounds red or other waxy potatoes (I have used russet potatoes, or even leftover baked potatoes)
1 medium celery stalk, diced
2 T. finely snipped fresh chives, or 2 scallions, minced, or 2 T. minced red onion (I usually use white onions as that's what I have on hand, but I have used red onions)
1/4 cup parsley ( I don't think I've ever added parsley)
I usually add 2-4 hard boiled eggs as well.
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
2 T. milk or red wine vinegar (I always use milk)
I also add a "squirt" of mustard--a little goes a long way.
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, peel if desired, ,and cut into bite-sized pieces. (I usually cut into bite size pieces before I boil the potatoes. They cook faster and I don't have to try to cut hot potatoes.) In a medium bowl, toss the still-warm potatoes with celery and onions.
Stir together mayonnaise and milk/vinegar. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the warm potato mixture and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled. (I always chill before eating.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes and Asparagus

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I didn't have fresh garlic, so I sprinkled with garlic powder)
4 tsp. dried rosemary (I didn't measure, just sprinkled the rosemary and thyme)
4 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. kosher salt (I used regular salt)
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. (I would spray the dish with cooking spray to prevent the potatoes from sticking) In a large baking dish, toss the red potatoes with 1/2 the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and 1/2 the kosher salt. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix in the asparagus, remaining olive oil, and remaining salt. Cover and continue cooking 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Remove foil and continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned. Season with pepper; serve.
When I made this, the potatoes were nearly cooked when I took them out to add the asparagus, so 15 minutes initially should be enough, plus and additional 10-15 with the asparagus (including the 5-10 minutes without foil). Just use a fork to test if the potatoes are tender/done.

Mexican Pasta Skillet

1 pound hamburger
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Brown hamburger in skillet; drain. Stir in salsa, tomato sauce and water. Heat to boiling. Stir in macaroni and corn. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
To "healthify" (eat better america), use 93% lean hamburger, multigrain macaroni, and reduced-fat cheese.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chicken and Rice

This recipe originally came from my mom. Quick, easy and tasty!

3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup uncooked rice
2/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup celery (I usually don't add celery)
4-6 chicken pieces
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water and pour into 9 x 13 pan. Add rice, carrots and celery, evenly spreading mixture. Sprinkle chicken with marjoram, salt and pepper; place in single layer on top of rice mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until chicken and rice are tender.