Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Just look at these beauties!!

Sinfully decadent and shamefully easy ;-p

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  • 1 Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • 1 roll of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

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Prepare brownies according to package directions. Top with chocolate chip cookie batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean and cookies are golden brown.

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You could of course make both from scratch, but I had a box mix of brownies on hand so I kept it easy and purchased a roll of cookies to go along with them.

Recipe inspired by Another One Bites the Crust

And the Blogger Secret Ingredient Is...


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I was thrilled when Elizabeth @ Guilty Kitchen asked me to host the next BSI challenge. I <3 Oats: 1) I eat them in some form almost daily 2) they are a super food and 3) they have such versatility. Some of my favorite ways to use them are in my homemade granola; cookies, energy bars, crisps, breads, and dessert squares; as a hot oatmeal or cold breakfast muesli; and even in savory dishes such as the binder in meatloaf.

All participants/entries welcome – we love newcomers!

If you’d like to participate using OATS as this week’s blogger secret ingredient, please submit your recipes to me. You may either comment (below) and leave a link to your blog post (your post should link back to this post or to my blog) OR you can e-mail it to: andyjess2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com

I’ll reply back to your post once I receive it.
Deadline: Please submit recipes before 9:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 6th. There will be a round-up of everyone’s posts on Monday, September 7th. The winner will also be announced on Monday along with next week’s host site.

Your time starts… NOW!

A RT on Twitter would be much appreciated so you can let others know about the challenge...

Here is the listing of other Blogger Secret Ingredients hosts & ingredients (this is week 46). Be sure to take the time to check out all of the other blogs!

Week 46: Johnstone’s Vin Blanc – Oats Week 45: Guilty Kitchen – Figs Week 44: Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet - Peanut Butter
Week 43: The Sophisticated Gourmet - Brown Sugar
Week 42: My Kitchen Addiction - Lime
Week 41: Nutmeg Nanny – Coffee
Week 40: Chaya’s Comfy Cook - Broccoli
Week 39: Healthy Delicious – Plums
Week 38: Zoe - Feta
Week 37: ChezWhat- Potatoes
Week 36: Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice - Blueberries
Week 35: Girlichef -Greens
Week 34: The Ungourmet – Watermelon
Week 33: Bread + Butter – Bell Pepper
Week 32: Burp and Slurp -Corn
Week 31: Say Yes to Salad – Kabocha
Week 30: Thinspired – Bananas
Week 29: To Be The Whole PackageAlmonds
Week 28: Kristas Kravings – Lemon
Week 27: From French Fries To Flax Seeds – Coconut
Week 26: Plentiful Plants – Avocado
Week 25: Training Fuel – Eggs
Week 24: Dinner at Christina’s – Cabbage
Week 23: Hey What’s for Dinner, Mom? – Strawberries
Week 22: One Bite at a Time – Basil
Week 21: Just Sweet Enough – Black Beans
Week 20: What I Ate Yesterday – Kale
Week 19: What’s for Dinner – Orange
Week 18: BranAppetit! –Spinach
Week 17: Tales of Expansion Dates
Week 16: Biggest Diabetic Loser – Zucchini
Week 15: Sweet & Natural –Peppermint
Week 14: bella eats [and runs] – Ginger
Week 13: Coffee Talk – Walnuts
Week 12: For the Love of OatsPumpkin
Week 11: Trying to Heal – Sweet Potatoes
Week 10: The Inner Workings of a College Graduate – Eggplant
Week 9: Itzy’s Kitchen – Pears
Week 8: The Fitnessista – Cranberries
Week 7: Tri to Cook – Lentils
Week 6: Rhodey Girl Tests – Polenta
Week 5: Eating Bender – Butternut Squash
Week 4: Care to Eat – Apples
Week 3: On a Lobster Placemat Mushrooms
Week 2: Hangry Pants – Tomatoes
Week 1: sportsnutritionliving – Quinoa

Menu Plan Monday


This isn’t a very exciting cooking week – we have a couple things going on in the evening towards the beginning of the week and then I’ll be packing and headed to Asheville, NC to enjoy time with my family over the Labor Day holiday.

Monday: leftover Meatloaf Patties and Cheesy Squash Casserole

Tuesday: Five Guys Burgers & my Monthly Massage Night!

Wednesday: Scratch Bakery: Roasted Corn & Tasso Ham Empanada and Tomato & Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Thursday: Olive Nut Spread Tortilla Wraps

Friday: Drive to Asheville, NC

Saturday: Laughing Seed Cafe and The Chocolate Fetish, Asheville NC

Sunday: Brunch at Grove Park Inn, Asheville NC

Fig and Walnut Energy Bars & Fig Bran Muffins

I love these and am very happy with the turn out! Out of the other granola bars I’ve made, these are the most like the texture of Kashi granola bars. Both of these dishes fit into Elizabeth’s BSI challenge too.

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  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped stemmed dried figs
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Place the oats, cereal, flour, walnuts, figs, dry milk, cinnamon and ginger in a food processor; coarsely chop.

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Add the honey and eggs; pulse until well combined.

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Transfer the mixture to the pan; spread evenly with your fingers. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

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Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Fig Bran Muffins

Moist and tender muffins with a wonderful complexity from the figs.

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  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs, plus 3 whole dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups bran cereal (recommended: All-Bran)
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup natural applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray. Thinly slice the whole figs.

In a large bowl, combine the cereal and milk. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

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Add the applesauce, honey, oil, molasses, and egg to the cereal mixture and stir until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently stir in the chopped figs. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and top each muffin with a fig slice. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.

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Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. If necessary, run a knife around the muffins to loosen. Unmold and cool completely on a rack.

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Note: Make a batch of these muffins on the weekend, then wrap them individually in waxed paper and freeze them in a sealable plastic bag. When you want a muffin all you have to do is take 1 out the night before to defrost at room temperature. Enjoy with a skim latte or a to-go container of lowfat milk for a perfect start to a busy day.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Cheesy Squash Casserole and Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Yummy, yum – tender local summer squash with a buttery, crispy, and cheesy topping.

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4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 sleeve buttery round crackers (such as Ritz)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons butter

3-4 tablespoons corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350. Put squash, onion, and about a cup and a half of water in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until squash and onions are tender, about five to ten minutes. Drain well. Add a tablespoon of butter and let melt.

In medium bowl, crush crackers and stir in half of the cheese. Add salt and pepper, stir. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the squash. Add corn meal.

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In small bowl, mix together milk and two eggs. Pour into squash mixture. Stir well. Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining crumb mixture and remaning cheese. Dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until top is browned.

I topped the casserole with the vibrant colors of the slow roasted tomatoes.

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Recipe courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Assorted tomatoes
Olive oil
Herbs such as thyme or rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 225°F. Halve each cherry or grape tomato crosswise, or Roma tomato lengthwise and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, Sprinkle herbs on and salt and pepper.

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Bake for about 3 hours. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside–this could take more or less time depending on the size of your tomatoes.

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“Either use them right away or let them cool, cover them with some extra olive oil and keep them in the fridge for the best summer condiment ever and for snacking. “

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Share and Tell

Last night we enjoyed babysitting for baby Elliott, Andy’s first cousin once removed. His cousin and her hubby live in Charlotte and were in need of a sitter while visiting the Triangle this weekend. We happily obliged :-)

Elliott August 2009 (15)

He is such a calm, easy going “big” guy.

Elliott August 2009 (8)

Brinkley Farms Summer CSA – Week 6

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1 lb heirloom tomatoes
1 pt yellow cherry tomatoes
1 pt red cherry tomatoes
1 lb okra
1 lb squash

Our new loot for routing on UK this season: Andy’s hat, my earrings, pup scarves, and a house flag.

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I’ve heard such good things about Barney Butter!! Amazon finally started selling the almond butter and it really richer, thicker…better than the average natural peanut butter or almond butter.

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Fiesta bouquet from Whole Foods – they sent a free bouquet coupon email out to those of us in NC. I was surprised at how gorgeous the free bouquet was, very cheery :-)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Hosted by The Tortefeasor

The dipping sauce made this recipe. I’m not sure the chicken marinade was worth the effort, but I loved the slightly spicy peanut butter laded sauce!

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  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (or 2 additional teaspoons low sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast pounded slightly and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 3/4 cup Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, recipe below
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, coconut milk, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and ginger. Add the chicken strips and marinate for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Spray a nonstick grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over a medium-high flame. While pan is heating, thread chicken onto skewers. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until meat is cooked through and has light grill marks.

Serve chicken skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce, and garnish with basil or cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Sauce can be made 1 day ahead of time, and will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fig, Smoky Bacon, and Edam Panini

I adore figs…and am happy to see that Elizabeth @ Guilty Kitchen does too. She chose them as this weeks BSI challenge - here’s my entry that really allows the figs texture and flavor to shine.

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2 slices of bread
2 figs, sliced
2 slices Edam or Brie cheese, sliced
2 slices bacon, cooked
brown sugar

1. Assemble the sandwich. Spread butter on the outside of the bread slices and sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.

2. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Fig, Smoky Bacon, and Edam Panini

Tuesday: CEiMB - Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Cheesy Squash Casserole and Corn-Bacon Spoon Bread with Tomatoes

Sunday: Fig and Walnut Energy Bars, Fig Bran Muffins, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Tomato Bread Soup, “Better than Fried” Okra, and Basil Parmesan Drop Biscuits with Chorizo Sausage

This is the best homemade fresh tomato soup recipe I’ve found. The bread pieces thicken the soup and the list of simple and few ingredients keep the fresh tomato flavor.

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Serves 4

3 pounds plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sourdough bread, without crusts, cut into small cubes (I used sweet wheat slices with the crust from 9th Street Bakery)
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves

1. Core and quarter plum tomatoes. Place tomatoes in food processor and pulse to chop, but not too fine.

2. Heat oil in 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, but not browned. Add tomatoes and their juices. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a slow simmer and cook 45 minutes, covered, stirring from time to time.

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3. When the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, stir the bread cubes into the soup and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Optional: Puree soup with a stick blender until completely smooth.) Check the seasoning.foodblog 020

4. Serve hot or at room temperature, with grated minced basil strewn on each serving.

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Recipe courtesy of Bill Telepan

“Better than Fried” Okra

It’s at least just as good – I loved this stuff and ended up eating the whole pan as my dinner last night. So good, so simple (this seems to be a major component to my cooking philosophy).

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  • 1/2 lb okra
  • 2/3 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO, drizzling

Slice okra into bite size pieces, discarding the tops.

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Beat egg with splash of milk, toss in okra pieces. and coat. Place them into the cornmeal and again coat. Place onto a baking tray and drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes. Serve with ketchup.

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Recipe courtesy of Kath Eats

Basil Parmesan Drop Biscuits

It was so hard for me to resist diving into another one of these!! In order to resist, I promised myself one for dessert tonight drizzled with honey!

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 c whole wheat and 1 cup ap flour)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in basil and cheese.

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Combine milk and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Drop biscuits onto a greased baking sheet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 475° for 10-14 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool.

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While these were baking I cooked up some chorizo sausage patties. Let’s just say, these didn’t last long!

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Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

I’ve been enjoying this Riesling, 2007 Kreuznacher Scheurebe, all weekend. It’s sweet with lots of peach, melon, and green apple flavors - one of my very favorites from Wine Authorities.

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Hubby loves Sunday napping…he fell asleep laying his head on Wilson (our beagle), but as you can see his pillow didn’t hold out. I gently woke him up after these photos and helped him get more comfortable so he wouldn’t wake up with a stiff neck and back.

Aug 2009 (1)

Aug 2009 (2)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baking: Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter-Banana Stuffed French Toast, and Rhubarb Mountain Pudding

All three of these recipes taste just as good as they sound!

Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

Crisp, light and refreshing – they make the perfect mid day snack.

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Recipe from Everyday Food
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp packed finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 325*. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until thick dough forms.

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Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment–lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25-30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks. Makes 20-24 cookies.

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Cafe 222 Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast

This weeks Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) is Peanut Butter, so here’s my entry!!

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serves 2

6 slices day-old wheat bread
2 ripe bananas, slice width wise and then each half into 3 (total of 6 thin slices per banana)
8 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Honey, for drizzling
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash salt
Butter or oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for topping
Maple syrup, for topping

Lay bread out on counter and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each slice. Peel banana and slice enough to cover every other piece of bread. (You will be making 3 complete sandwiches). Drizzle a small amount of honey on each piece of bread that does not have banana on it. (These are the tops). Place honey drizzled piece of bread on top of a piece with bananas on it to make a sandwich. Repeat until you have made 3 sandwiches.

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In a shallow medium size bowl, gently whip, by hand, the eggs, cream, OJ, vanilla extract, rum, cinnamon, and salt.

Heat skillet to medium heat, around 350 to 375 degrees F, or until butter melts and begins to sizzle. Dip 1 sandwich at a time into rum batter and place into skillet. Cook until golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes before turning) on each side. Remove from skillet and cut in 1/2 diagonally. Top with powdered sugar, butter and maple syrup.

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I cooked us individual slices of French toast with the leftover batter, because the aroma of it smelt too good to toss down the drain. I remembered my sister saying earlier in the week that she has cooked up extra French toast the other day, cooked it, froze the slices individually, and was planning on popping them in the toaster for quick breakfasts (similar to what you’d do with leftover pancakes or waffles). I decided to try this out too, I’ll let you know if they reheat well.

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Rhubarb Mountain Pudding

I adore rhubarb and before this year I have always made rhubarb crisps with it. This year, each time I use it I’m trying it out in a new rhubarb recipe. This time I cooked down the rhubarb with a little sugar and poured it in top of my families mountain pudding recipe. It was stellar with a little vanilla ice cream!

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Next month I plan to make Rhubarb Blondies!