Monday, May 31, 2010

This is NOT a dream....Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies


Yes, this is NOT a dream!  These cookies are actually made with vanilla ice cream.  I repeat, ice cream is in the cookie batter.  And boy oh boy is it a lovely cookie that is created by this recipe. The cookies are moist, have a wonderful vanilla flavor (of course the vanilla ice cream helps out loads with this) and a chewy softness closes the deal on these cookies. 

 This recipe was so brilliantly created by the lovely lady from Picky Palate - be sure to go check out ALL her amazing recipes on her blog.....lovely oh-so-delicious goodies on this blog!

Here are the ingredients of this recipe...


Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

*recipe makes 3-4 dozen cookies*

(Picky Palate was the source of happiness for this recipe)


Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

A heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream - which equals 1/2 cup (frozen from the container)

4 cups flour

1 1/2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 (16oz) bag of chocolate chips - I used a bag of  milk chocolate chips with a 1/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (it's always good to have more chocolate than less right!?!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. 



And now for the magic of this recipe.....add in the vanilla ice cream...





....and beat to combine into batter....



2. Place flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl - mix well all together.   

3. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients - mix just until combined.  Now gently add in chocolate chips.






4. With a medium (or small) scoop, scoop dough onto silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets.





5. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are baked through - (10 minutes worked best for me).



Cool cookies for 5 minutes before removing from sheet onto a cooling rack.





For extra fun serve with a marachino cherry (or a "wet cherry" as my DD calls them) on top!




Here is a sneak peek of my next fun recipe to share with you.....






Happy Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking!


This post has been linked to Mommy's Kitchen for Potluck Sunday


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crescent Chicken Packages


Ok, so are you ready for something new, EASY and (of course) delicious for dinner?  Something that even your kiddos will like?  Yup, that's what I thought! Of course you do!  Well, I have just the thing for you....Crescent Chicken Packages.  Yummy!!!! 

This is a meal oh-so-gently wrapped in a Crescent roll (reduced-fat Crescent rolls at that) that produces lots of happy tummies.  The filling is a delicious chicken, cheese and a couple diced onions mixture that is all combined together in one happy melting exsistence (ok, so I'm getting a little carried away....but seriously this little recipe is gauranteed to give you an easy, happy, yummy meal).



Crescent Chicken Packages
(recipe has been adapted from The Tasty Kitchen site )

Ingredients:

2 whole chicken breasts - cooked and cut into cubes

1 can (8 oz) Crescent Rolls - I used reduced-fat Crescent Rolls

1 cup shredded Colby Monterey Jack Cheese

3 oz Cream Cheese - I used Trader Joe's Onion Chive cream cheese.  Reduced fat cream cheese could easily be used here too.

1/4 cup Diced White Onion

2 tbsp Milk

2 tbsp butter - recipe called for 3 I used 2 with plenty left over

1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt

Pepper to taste

Paprika

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cook the chicken, either by baking, grilling or boiling it.  Cut into cubes.  I discovered Tyson FULLY COOKED Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast at my local Target recently - this chicken is perfect for this recipe! - plus is takes away 1 step in that you don't have to cook the chicken before adding it to the recipe.

3.Combine the cream cheese, diced onion, milk, 1 tablespoon of butter and seasoned salt....



....and mix well all together.....



4. Add the chicken and shredded cheese.....



....mix well until chicken is well coated. Add pepper to taste...



.... then I divided the mixture into 4 sections so that I could easily see how much was going into each Crescent package....



5. Take out your Crescent Rolls and divide into 4 sections on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Gently pinch together the perferarated sections so that 2 "rolls" become one.  





6. Fill each square with the chicken-cheese mixture.....


.....fold over each corner of the Crescent roll on top of the chicken-cheese mixture....


8. Melt remaining butter and brush all over the "package".  Sprinkle with Paprika if you'd like.



9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!



Mmmmmmm mmmmm gooood!



Happy Crescent Chicken Package Baking!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Mmmmmmm Homemade Sloppy Joes





That's right.....made from scratch, homemade Sloppy Joes.  Delish!  Once you make this recipe you will never again open up a can of Sloppy Joe sauce to add to your ground beef, chicken or turkey.  You will actually be ashamed of yourself if you do so.  I say this because not only is this recipe perfectly delicious, it is HEALTHY and easy peasy to make.  I promise you - you can trust me 100% on this. :-)

Here we go.....


Sloppy Joes
(recipe has been treasured from The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter

2 1/2 lbs ground beef, turkey or chicken (I used 85% lean ground beef)

1/2 of a whole large onion, diced

1 whole green pepper, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup water

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp chili powder (more or less if you wish)

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes - optional

Worcestershire Sauce to taste

2 tbsp tomato paste - optional

Tabasco Sauce - optional

salt and pepper to taste

rolls or pasta

Directions:

1. Melt your 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.  Drain most of fat.

2. Add into the ground beef the onions, green pepper and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes to soften veggies.


3. Add in ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard and water.  Stir to combine and simmer for a good 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If desired add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco at this point.

4. Serve on buttered and toasted rolls........



or over pasta.....



 And as Ree Drummond has said, "top with a slice of cheese if it makes your skirt fly up." I just love this woman!



Happy Sloppy Joe Cooking! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Part 3 of "Going Bananas"....Jumbo Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping



Recently I discovered that "JUMBO" muffin/cupcake liners exsist....oh happy day!  Did you know this already?  They are lovely and can be found in your local grocery store in the baking section (my favorite section of the grocery store - BIG surprise right!?!)

For my last post of "Going Bananas with Bananas" I thought I'd share the last of five recipes I made with ALL my bananas - (Jumbo) Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping.  These muffins are moist and soooo tasty - you won't regret the little time it takes to throw these muffins together.  And of course if you wish you can make this recipe into regular size muffins rather than JUMBO size muffins. :-)

Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping
Makes 12 regular size muffins or 10 JUMBO size muffins
(recipe can also be found at allrecipes.com)

Muffin Batter Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 sour cream

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans - optional

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp butter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease muffin tins or line with muffin papers.

2. In a large bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, powder and salt.  

3. Beat together mashed bananas, sugar, egg, sour cream and melted butter.

4. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in chopped nuts if using.

5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.....



and then make Crumb Topping.....

Crumb Topping Directions:

1. Combine brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.

2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (a pastry cutter works great for this step).

3. Sprinkle topping over muffins.....





4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
Enjoy!



Happy Jumbo Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping Baking!



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Part 2 of "Going Bananas with Bananas" - Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting


Here I am with the 2nd installment of my "Going Bananas" topic.  Today I will be sharing with you a delightful recipe of Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting.  I've seen this recipe on a couple of other blogs and then I bought myself a wonderful cook-book called, Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott and found the recipe in there too (along with a multitude of other recipes that I can't wait to make).

The cake it's self is moist and full of fabulous banana flavor - easy to make.  The chocolate frosting on the other hand....well....was not what I had hoped it would turn out to be.  I say this for it was not the easiest frosting to spread (even after I added more milk to thin it out) and because of that I don't think this cake was as beautiful as it could have been.  A BIG disappointment for I LOVE beautiful things - especially to create beautiful things.  I honestly almost thought of NOT even serving this cake because of my feeling of it NOT being very ascetically appealing.  I am glad I did serve it for it was truly yummy - both the cake and the frosting.  So now I put this recipe out there for all of you to see in hopes that you can offer me some advice as to how to perfect this chocolate frosting.  My arms are wide open for help on this!  Please don't hesitate to help me out here. 

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
(recipe originates from Southern Cakes)

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/3 cup cocoa

1/3 cup evaporated milk or half and half (I used half and half)

4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cake Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9" round baking pans or a bundt pan (I used a bundt pan).

2. Combine the flour, baking soda and powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir with a fork to combine well.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl beat well butter and sugar - about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla extract.  Beat all together well for a good 2-3 minutes - scraping down the bowl occasionally, until you have a very smooth batter.

4. With a large spoon stir in 1/2 the flour mixture - just until combined.  Now add buttermilk and then the remaining flour - just until combined.  Quickly but gently fold in the mashed bananas and then pour your batter into your desired baking pan/pans.

5. Bake for 25-30 - until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched lightly in the center and begins to pull away from sides of the pan.  Cool for 10-15 minutes then place on desired platter to cool completely before frosting.

*Chocolate Frosting Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and evaporated milk (or half and half).  Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.  Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the cocoa dissolves into a dark, shiny essence.

2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in sifted confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract.  With a hand beater beat on low speed until you have a smooth, thick frosting. Frost cake.

*My frosting got thick alright...had to thin it out with a little milk....and there were little specs of dark brown that never went away - must have been the cocoa (maybe I should have sifted the cocoa powder too) - thus the frosting won't be "completely" smooth.  After thinking about the sequence of events next time I think I will frost the cake once it is not completely cool....thus the warm cake may help the frosting spread a little bit better.  Just a thought.

No matter what it is a yummy YUM cake....enjoy!


I love how you can see pieces of the banana still in the cake - as mentioned in my first post of "Going Bananas with Bananas", I like to have some chunks of banana present not a full puree "mashed" bananas.



Happy Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting Baking!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Going BANANAS with BANANAS - Part 1 "Banana Coffee Cake"


Yes, I've been going bananas over bananas this past week!

A friend of mine brought me 3 lovely (HUGE) bunches of organic slightly browning bananas a week ago.  What a gift!  I made at least 5 different recipes with the bananas - WOWsers!  I thought I'd share with all of you my 3 top favorites.  I'll do this in 3 separate posts (part 1, part 2 and part 3).

I discovered three very important factors as I made my different banana treats.  The first being that whenever there is sour cream (or even yogurt) involved in a banana recipe you are guaranteed to have a moist result in your treat. Yummy! Secondly, I have mastered the art of "mashing bananas".  I do so with a fork in a glass Pyrex 2 cup measuring cup.  This allows me to not only have a good tool to measure my "mashed bananas" but it also gives me a hard surface -against the glass with the fork - to successfully perform the mashing.  Thirdly, I have found that I enjoy the final result of a banana treat better if I don't mash the bananas to a full puree....in other words leaving some chunks of banana is good - it allows a better consistency in the end result (that's my opinion at least).

The first banana "treaty" (as Jolie would say)  I made was a combination of two recipes - a simple banana bread and a cinnamon swirl banana bread made into a "Banana Coffee Cake".

Banana Coffee Cake
(a slightly altered recipe from The Neely's and Lovin' From my Oven)

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, at room temp

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 large very ripe bananas

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream (yogurt can be substituted if need be)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans - optional

Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x9 baking dish if you'd like to make a coffee cake or if a bread is more your thing use a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder and salt.

3. In a small bowl or glass Pyrex measuring cup mash the bananas with a wooden spoon or fork, leaving a bit of texture.

4. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time.  Stir in mashed banana, sour cream and vanilla - beat just until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and gently stir in nuts if you wish.  

5. Mix together your 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon for your Sugar-Cinnamon mixture.

6. Pour 1/2 of your banana batter into prepared pan than sprinkle with 1/2 of Sugar-Cinnamon mixture.....and again the banana mixture.....




.....ending with the sugar-cinnamon mixture.






7. Pop into oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes.
Cool and enjoy!




Happy Banana Coffee Cake Baking!
~avril :-)

This post has been linked to...



Friday, May 14, 2010

Rhubarb meets Strawberries....in a pie! - on a "Fruity Friday"



Strawberries are sweet and red.  Rhubarb is tart and greenish-red.  Mixed together they are lovely....especially with a little sugar and cornstarch and placed in a pie shell.  Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is lovely!  And oh yes, YUMMY yum YUM!!!! - especially made with a crumb topping.  

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
(recipe originates from Very Culinary)

Fruit Ingredients: 

4 cups rhubarb - ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1/2" pieces

2 cups strawberries - well washed and quartered

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/8 tsp salt

prepared deep-dish pie crust (I made mine from The Pioneer Woman's recipe or you can simply use a store bought pie crust....totally up to you).

Ingredients for the crumb topping:

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

6 tbsp COLD unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place oven rack to the lowest level. 

2. Gently mix together the prepared rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl.  Add in sugar, cornstarch and salt.



3. Toss (gently) all together with a wooden spoon or a large plastic spatula.  Set aside.

4. Make the crumb topping in a medium bowl.
Combine well the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt......



.....then add the COLD small pieces of butter.....


 ....then  your hands or a pastry cutter (one of my favorite tools in the kitchen) combine all ingredients together until large clumps form......


5. Place mixed fruit into prepare pie shell.


7. Top with crumb topping.  

Place your pie on a cookie sheet that has been lined with tin-foil (this will catch any of the juices that overflow from the pie - you don't want the juices to overflow onto your oven floor....it's a sticky mess).



8. Place in oven - reduce oven temp to 375 degrees F.  Bake until topping is browned and crust is lightly browned - about 1 1/2 hours.  Keep an eye on the crust for if it looks like it is getting too "browned" you will want to cover with tin-foil.

Cool (as long as you can stand to) and serve.  Vanilla ice cream goes lovely with this pie if you happen to have any on hand.



Such happiness!  Spring-time happiness at that!



Happy Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Baking!
~avril :-)





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