Friday, April 30, 2010

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Another sweets recipe. I got this one from my dear friend Erica's blog, Erica's Pantry. They are so so yummy. They made lots so thank goodness I had some people to take some to. Little B loved them (what child wouldn't). We had fun getting flour all over the kitchen with his help and as soon as they came out of the oven he was asking for a "ookie." They were the perfect thickness and sweetness and they were good days after I made them too. This is the perfect recipe to make with your kids help. It will be messy that way, but forget about that and have fun! Thanks Erica for sharing!

originally from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


2 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)


Preheat the oven to 325. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. (It took about 30 minutes in my oven) Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.


Apple Chicken and Couscous

This recipe seemed odd to me, but I thought it would be interesting so I wanted to try it. I found it on the website. This was another success. My Little B absolutely loved it! If you knew him, you'd know how picky of an eater he is, especially at dinner. It is hard to get him to eat lots of things, but he just gobbled down the chicken and asked for more. He loved the sauce. It wasn't just him. These are flavors that I wouldn't have put together before, but they are so good. I loved the dijon mustard in the sauce and, since I used pre-diluted apple juice, it wasn't too sweet. Try this and I hope you love it too! You can get the original recipe here, or use mine (with my modifications) below.



1 cup unprepared couscous
1 cup baby spinach, chopped

1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
(If you don't have the concentrate, you could use prepared apple juice, then just don't add water to dilute it)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or however much chicken you'll need for your family, and I used chicken breasts cut thin)

1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard


* Place couscous and spinach in bowl. Heat 1/3 cup of the apple concentrate and 2/3 cup water to boiling over high heat in large nonstick skillet. Pour apple liquid into couscous. Stir and cover tightly with foil; set aside.

* Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Fluff couscous with fork. Place chicken on top; cover.

* Whisk together remaining 2/3 cup apple concentrate, honey and mustard. Add apple concentrate mixture to skillet; cook 3 minutes over high heat. Drizzle chicken and couscous with sauce; serve with additional sauce on the side.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Butterscotch Roses

With this pregnancy, I have had a serious sweet-tooth. I cannot get enough of all things sweet! A few months ago I came across this recipe at, saved it as a bookmark, but I just never got around to making them. Last week I was craving something sweet again, so I decided to finally give it a try. They turned out so well! They were really easy to make, even with my extra set of little hands pouring and sticking fingers in the dough. He loves eating them too. This is on my list of things to make for my family when they come when the baby is born. The recipe, with my modifications and pictures, is below. Or you can get the original here.



3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (if desired)
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening (or I used light margarine and they turned out well)

7/8 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Butter 8 large muffin pan cups (I was actually able to get a full 12 out of this recipe). Set aside. In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Mix in nuts, if desired. Spoon 1 tbsp (15 mL) mixture into each cup. Set aside remainder. In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in shortening until granular. Make a well in the center. Pour in milk. With a fork, gently mix to a soft dough. Flour a clean, even surface. Roll out dough to a square, 12 inch (30 cm) wide by 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick. Spread remaining caramel mixture over dough. Roll.

Slice into 8 rounds. Place over caramel in muffin cups. Bake in oven 20 minutes or so.

Unmold at once!!! If you don't they might just be stuck in there...

(This picture does not give them justice!)

Enjoy warm or cool with a nice glass of milk!


Classic Baked Penne Casserole

I found this recipe on Living a Better Life, which is a money-saving blog. They have a section for frugal recipes and it looks like they have some great low-budget recipes there. I'll have to explore it a little more! This recipe was submitted by Michelle and it was delicious. It was so easy and it turned out so well! It's a mixture between a lasagna and spaghetti and my family loved it. I made a few changes to my liking and I hope you enjoy! I will definitely be making it again!

8 ounces of Penne pasta, cooked and drained (I used Farfelle (bowtie) pasta instead)
1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained (add some spices while cooking if desired) ( I added some curry and garlic. Oh so good!)
1 26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or about 3 cups of your homemade sauce)
2 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded (you can also add a little parmesan cheese if you have it on hand) (I live near a cheese factory and our favorite cheese in the colby jack, so I used that instead)
Parsley, dried or fresh and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* In a large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, beef, sauce and 1 c. of the shredded cheese.
* Place pasta mixture into baking dish and cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
* Take dish out of the oven and remove cover, top with remaining 1 c. of shredded cheese and sprinkle with parsley. Bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings. This recipe can be double easily and cooked in a 10x13 baking pan.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekly Dinners

I am going to try every week to post what I plan to cook for our dinners. Most weeks I have at least a few new recipes that I try. If they are good, I will take pictures and post the recipe. Tonight I am planning on a Baked Pasta Casserole. I'll let you know how it tastes. It's really easy and I hope it tastes just as good! Happy Cooking!