Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Valentine Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day! I made this today to mark the occasion and I was pleasantly surprised -- they are absolutely delicious! Very moist and soft - just the way I like cookies!

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder and salt; set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Add the flour mixture at low speed. Roll the dough on a lightly floured and cocoa-ed surface. Cut the cookies with a round cutter (or whatever cookie-cutter you want!)

Freeze cut cookies five minutes. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
To be festive, I iced the cookies with X's, O's, and hearts, and then sprinkled decorative sugar crystals on the icing. You can make these for any occasion and decorate them however you choose. I'm trying to think of an excuse of when to make them next!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crock Pot Pizza

This was pretty good and spiced up one of our week night dinners. It was also my first time to use my crock-pot so I had fun making it...easily amused, I know...

  • 1 package (12 oz) noodles...I used an assortment of shells, bow-ties, and egg noodles
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 package (3.5 oz) sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until done; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning. I also added in some pizza seasoning I had on hand and a sprinkle of fennel seeds.

Coat crockpot with cooking spray. Spread a third of the meat sauce in the bottom. Cover with a third of the noodles and pepperoni.

Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice. I also put a sprinkle of green onions on top to give it some color and extra flavor. Cover and cook on low for about 3 hours or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Homemade Pesto

This is not really a recipe. This is the outcome of my husband eating leftovers one night and I wanted something other than cereal. That's a lie...I don't eat cereal. I guess it's the outcome of me not wanting to eat mac & cheese, which is what I'll eat if my husband goes for the leftovers. Cereal just sounded healthier....

So I've seen pesto made on tv a million times and I've always wanted to try it...
I had some basil and parsley in my fridge that weren't going to last much longer so I put it all in my food processor (thanks mom!), threw in some pecans, garlic, parmesan cheese and gave it a whirl!

After this was all mixed together, I streamed in some Olive Oil as the food processor was still turned on and ta daa - pesto!

Beer Bread

This is my mom's *secret* beer bread recipe. It's the best bread ever! Just a warning though...this bread will not last long. Trust me.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9X5 loaf pan. Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Open the beer and add it all at once. It will foam up, but stir just until combined. The batter will be lumpy - it's ok, that's how you want it. Pour into the pan and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is crusty. Enjoy!