Brownie Cookie Dough Sandwiches

I don’t know about any other new moms out there, but I have a big craving for desserts. The nurses tell us to consume 500 more calories a day while breastfeeding and although they tell us to make sure it is a healthy, nutritious 500 calories, all I want is sugar and chocolate. Those first few days after my son was born I had to have dessert after each meal and my mid-morning snack was a brownie and Kool Aid. I baked a brownie mix each week for the first three weeks of his life. Not good!

I have since started hitting a weight-loss plateau and go for daily walks with my baby in order to jump start the metabolism a little bit but that craving for chocolate is still there. I recently came across this recipe while reading another foodie blog. I pretty much had to make it that day. These cookies are awesome! I was worried that the brownie cookie would get hard and crispy and then when you bit into the sandwich, the filling would smoosh out the sides but that wasn’t the case at all. The cookies were soft and didn’t get too soft and mushy once filled and eaten a few days later. A warning, these are super sweet and rich. I had trouble eating a half of one. If I made them again, I would probably use half the amount of cookie dough filling in each sandwich.

Brownie Cookie Dough Sandwiches

Brownie Cookie:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Directions for cookies:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and then the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Combine the salt, cocoa, flour, baking powder and baking soda and gradually stir into the creamed mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1 1/2 T-sized balls (I used a medium cookie scoop) and place on a silicone mat-lined baking sheet, about 5 per baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass or your palm. (The dough was very sticky so I tried spraying either the glass or the tops of the dough with cooking spray before flattening. Spraying the dough directly actually worked better).

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are puffy and the tops are cracked, but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookie Dough Filling:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 T brown sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1- 14 oz container marshmallow fluff

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions for filling:

With an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat well. Add flour and beat until all the flour is incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and beat until mixture is smooth.

Assembling the sandwiches:

Scoop about 3T of filling (I used a large cookie scoop) onto the bottom of a cooled cookie. Top with another cookie and eat.

Yield: About 17 cookie sandwiches.

Recipe from Heat Oven to 350

Posted in Cookies, Desserts | Leave a comment

Green Monster Smoothie

After a few months’ hiatus, I’m back with a new post! I have to admit that my second pregnancy was a lot tougher than my first. This little man took any energy I had out of me. I neglected this blog and I feel bad about that but with working full time and raising a  very active 3 year old girl, I just didn’t have anything left at the end of the day to photograph food and write about it. My son was born February 5th and now that we have exhausted our freezer meal stash and restaurant gift card stack, I have no choice but to start cooking again. Plus, being home during the day allows me to photograph what I’ve made during daylight hours!

When my daughter was a newborn, my husband and I would have smoothies for breakfast every day. We had a pretty good system down: 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup fruit juice, 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 frozen banana, some protein powder and some ground flax seed. This was enough for two servings. He would blend everything before he left for work and when I rolled out of bed, I grabbed my glass and sat down to nurse my baby. I had one arm free to drink my breakfast! Super slick and easy. This time around, he has to get our daughter up and ready for school as well as himself and it wouldn’t be fair to expect him to make me breakfast, too. We haven’t had many smoothies since our son was born. I’ve been looking at several Green Monster Smoothies on Pinterest and what I learned was there is usually juice, fruit and spinach in some quantity and that the fruit must be whitish/yellow/orange because anything dark in color (berries) will turn the smoothie brown. So for this smoothie, I used the formula we set up years ago to make my own Green Monster. It looks a bit scary and unappetizing but I assure you, it doesn’t taste at all like spinach or a salad or grass or whatever you imagine. It tasted like a fruit smoothie with the added nutrition of green leafy veggies!

Green Monster Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup fruit juice (any kind)

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup frozen fruit (such as pineapple or pears)*

Blend in blender until smooth.

*I tried to use half an orange, peeled, the first time I attempted this and it was a fail. The orange pith didn’t incorporate well and I ended up getting it stuck in my teeth and it was really unpleasant. I’d stick to the bananas, pear, pineapple combination.

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Beer Bread

It’s now October, which means the weather is supposed to get chilly and you’re supposed to warm up by eating yummy comfort food like soup and casseroles. However, we’ve had some very odd, unseasonably warm weather. I still have the cravings for some warm, comforting soup. I think it was in the high 70s the night I made this bread to go with some cheeseburger soup. This couldn’t be more easy to put together. I used a darker beer, which gave the bread a very “beery” flavor. If you want something milder, I’d suggest using a lighter beer. This would be delicious with a sweet honey butter and some chili, too. Oh the possibilities! I’ll be making this bread a lot this winter.

Beer Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3 C. all-purpose flour

3 T. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 bottle (12 oz.) beer

1 stick unsalted butter, melted.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. *The batter will be very thick. Place the loaf pan onto a baking sheet to catch any butter that might overflow.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe from Ezra Poundcake

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Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

So it’s officially fall and I am looking forward to baking a lot of pumpkin and spice recipes. Fall is my favorite season; after a hot summer and the drama that ensued in August, I’m ready for a change in seasons. Although the recent string of 80+ degree days has taken a bit of the wind out of my sails, the changing leaves and the impending cool weather makes me excited. This recipe caught my eye the first time I saw it. A pancake that tastes like a cinnamon roll? Yes, please. I have an easy  go-to pancake recipe that I got from a Martha Stewart Everyday Foods issue a few years ago, so I just adapted this recipe using that one. It doesn’t have anything a normal person’s kitchen wouldn’t have (ex. buttermilk) and turns out light and fluffy every time. These made about 8 pancakes and our little family of three devoured them. If you’re feeding more people you might need to double or triple the pancake recipe. However, there was quite a bit of cinnamon filling left over which I would expect to be enough for at least another batch of pancakes.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Makes about 8 pancakes

Ingredients:

PANCAKES:

1 C. all-purpose flour

2 T. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 C. milk

1 egg, beaten

2 T. melted butter

CINNAMON FILLING:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR CINNAMON FILLING:

In a small bowl, mix butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Allow to cool until it thickens into a toothpaste-like consistency. Pour into a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off or a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip.

FOR CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:

In small microwave-safe bowl, melt cream cheese and butter. Remove from microwave and mix in powdered sugar and vanilla.

FOR PANCAKES:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not over mix; a few small lumps are fine).

Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Using a ¼ C. measuring cup, pour batter onto greased griddle. Swirl cinnamon filling over wet batter. Like this:

When underside of pancake is golden brown, flip and cook swirled side. Cook until golden brown. Transfer to platter or baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. The cinnamon filling leaves a residue on the griddle, so wipe clean with a wet paper towel before adding more pancake batter to the griddle.

Remove pancakes from oven and serve with cream cheese glaze.

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl

Pancake recipe from Martha Stewart

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Easy Egg Rolls

I’ve had a hankering for Chinese food this week. Not in the mood to order in or go out, I turned to my trusty recipe for homemade egg rolls. These are a simple weeknight meal to make and take no time at all. I’ve adapted the recipe from one I found on Allrecipes so that it couldn’t be more easy since substituting the shredded veggies with a bagged coleslaw mix. We rarely go through a dozen egg rolls in one or two meals, so I opted to freeze the rest for another night when I don’t feel like cooking or a quick weekend lunch.

Easy Egg Rolls

Makes 12

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground pork, chicken or turkey

1 bag of coleslaw mix

1 tsp. ground ginger

1tsp. minced garlic or garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for frying

12 egg roll wrappers

Brown meat in a large skillet. Add seasonings and coleslaw mix, stir well. Cover skillet and allow coleslaw mix to wilt.

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of oil on medium-high heat to about 375 degrees.

To assemble egg rolls, lay out a wrapper in front of you with the bottom corner facing towards you. Place a scant 1/4 C. of meat mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold bottom corner upwards over the meat, pull wrapper back towards you to tighten. Fold left and right corners in toward the center and continue to roll wrapper towards the upper corner. Moisten a fingertip with water and wet upper corner to seal. Place finished egg rolls on a baking pan, seam side down until you are ready to fry. Place about 4 egg rolls in the hot oil and fry until they reach a golden brown, turn over and fry the other side until brown. Place egg rolls on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and continue to fry the remaining egg rolls. Serve warm with sweet and sour sauce and a side of white rice.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Posted in Main Dish, Pork | Leave a comment

I’m Back, With a New Recipe, too!

So it looks like it’s been about two months since my last post. I was thinking it had been longer than that considering all that has happened in my life in the last two months. I have a good excuse for the absence in posts, two very good excuses in fact. First of all, in June, I found out that I was pregnant with our second child. Shortly after the happy news hit us, so did my morning, noon and night sickness. I felt fatigued all day long and had an unsettled stomach all day long. Needless to say, I didn’t do much cooking, thinking about cooking, nor did I have the energy to photograph and write about food. Just as I was starting to get my energy back and headed back into my kitchen, Mother Nature struck our household in the form of lightning. In the wee hours of August 1st, our house was struck by lightning, causing a fire in the exterior wall of our dining room. Once the fire was put out, we were relieved, thinking this nightmare was now over. Little did we know it would take over a month to get our household back to normal. We were not able to live in our home for ten days, had to send out most of our clothing and “soft goods” to be cleaned and deodorized and had repairmen in and out of house for a few weeks. We are pretty much back to normal, with the exception of some window treatments and picture frames to hang back up and I feel like I have more time and energy to focus on other things, including this blog.

So without further ado, this is the first recipe I’ve photographed in the past six weeks or so. I was having a craving for a queso dip similar to the one served at Qdoba. It’s a white queso dip, which I’ve never made before. Usually I just opt for good old orange Velveeta and salsa. This one isn’t too far off from that idea, still using Velveeta, only this time the new white Velveeta. It comes pretty close to Qdoba but maybe next time I will tinker with using some roasted/grilled chili peppers.

Queso Blanco Dip

Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 C. white onion, diced

1 large jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, diced

12 oz white American cheese (I used Velveeta queso blanco)

4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

¼ C. half & half

1 can Rotel

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low.

Add the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted. Add the Rotel and cilantro. Stir until completely melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride

Posted in Sauces and Condiments, Sides | Leave a comment

Cake Batter Ice Cream

So July is National Ice Cream month and I had high expectations of making tons of ice cream recipes to share but alas, that did not happen. I made two and only managed to photograph one of them. But this recipe is so dang good we made it twice in about three weeks and ate it all gone. I’m sure everyone has experienced cake batter flavored ice cream at some yummy yummy chain stores, I know I have. But I thought it was way overpowering to eat a whole serving of it, especially when there are lots of candy mix-ins. I always did wonder how they got it to taste just like raw cake batter. I happened upon this recipe while doing a search online for cake batter flavored frosting, which sounded delicious when paired with cupcakes. I was curious to see that the flavor came from boxed cake mix. Although it asks for yellow cake mix, and that’s what I used, I would think other neutral flavors like white or funfetti would also work. I still have an opened box of cake mix in the cupboard waiting for me to finish it off with another batch or two of this dessert. Unlike the chain store version, the cake batter taste is subtle and not overpowering.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup yellow cake mix

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream, divided

1 1/2 cups milk

Over medium heat, bring 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, salt, and cake mix
to a simmer. Separately, beat the egg yolks lightly in a medium sized bowl. Add
1/4 cup of the simmered cream mixture to the egg yolks and whisk. Add a bit
more and whisk, then add the entire egg mixture to the simmered cream. Stir
with a whisk until the mixture forms a thin custard, about 5 to 10 minutes (or
it reaches about 175 on a thermometer). Take off heat and pour through a fine
mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Add the remaining milk, vanilla and heavy
cream. Stir, then chill in the fridge at least 8 hours or overnight. Add the
mixture to your ice cream machine and chill accordingly.

Recipe from The Kitchy Kitchen

Posted in Desserts, Ice Cream | Leave a comment