Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

I finally made some shortbread cookies. This recipe kept showing up on several websites and blogs. These cookies are great straight from the freezer! I’ve noted the original amounts but I used only 1/3 each amount.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 unsalted butter, softened (I used 1/4 pound, or 1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 1/6)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I used just a sprinkling…about 1/12)
  • 6 to 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used half a bag of Nestle semisweet morsels/large chunks)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (to combine with the chocolate when melting)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sliced almonds, for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, until creamed.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating another 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add this mixture to the stand mixer bowl, beating slowly to incorporate all ingredients.
  4. Mix on low speed for about 20 seconds, until dough forms a large clump.
  5. On a floured flat surface, roll out the dough into a flat disk or a 2-inch diameter log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or in freezer for 10 minutes to harden.
  6. You can then roll the disk flat and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces using cookie cutters, or you can slice the log into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with some sugar if you want.
  7. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes (or 16, depending on how thick you made them), until the edges are slightly browned and toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. The original recipe suggests you bake them for 20-25 minutes, which would work well if you have a finger-shaped cutter that measures 3×1 inch. However, since I used small rounds, they baked quicker.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl, 25 seconds at a time, until chocolate and coconut oil blend together into a creamy consistency.
  9. Dip the cookies in the chocolate, using a spoon to cover all sides. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top or dip the cookies into a bowl of almonds to cover the chocolate portion with them. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with wax and place in refrigerator to harden, about 30 minutes.

You may store these cookies on the counter, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

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Oat Bran Muffins

I find all kinds of delicious recipes on Allrecipes. This muffin recipe is hearty and goes well with butter or jam. I made some changes that I’ve noted below.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chilled applesauce
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I added this ingredient)
  • 2 T sliced almonds (to give it some crunch)
  • 1 T flaxseed (more crunch!)
  • Cinnamon sugar (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line muffin baking pan with muffin cups.
  2. In a blender, combine the brown sugar, oat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the applesauce and vegetable oil. Mix well and spoon batter into muffin cups (filling them 2/3 of the way).
  3. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
  4. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Hasselback Potatoes with Rosemary

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet. I make this nearly every week! I adapted it from this recipe. These potatoes are delicious with rosemary but I bet you could use other roasted herbs like sage, thyme, oregano, etc and it would taste great.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Russet baking potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh sprigs of rosemary, washed, dried, and needles removed

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Scrub and dry the potatoes. Slice the bottom part of the potato off, about 1/4 inch, so that the potato rests flat against the cutting board. Repeat with the other three.
  2. Using chopsticks placed above and below the potato or just being very careful, slice the potato from left to right, leaving about 1/8-1/4 inch intact from the bottom (the chopsticks will provide a good ending point for this, preventing your knife from slicing further down). Continue slicing the potato into thin slices, about 1/8-inch apart. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
  3. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the olive oil mixture all over the potatoes. You can also do this with the bottom portion of the potatoes, to make “potato skins.” Place on a baking tray lined with foil and sprayed with Pam.
  4. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes and sprinkle with the rosemary and more salt. You may drizzle more olive oil on them if you like. You can nestle the rosemary inside the folds of the potato too. The potato skins will be ready at this point, so remove them from the tray.
  5. Bake at 400F for another 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

This is the slow-cooker pulled pork recipe I’ve been waiting for. Just prepare the spice mixture, rub it on the pork, set it in the slow cooker with some water, and wait. After 6 hours of cooking on high, the pork shreds easily. I like this on a hamburger bun with some homemade coleslaw and BBQ sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T paprika (I used 1/2 regular and 1/2 smoked)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 pork shoulder (butt), 3.5 pounds
  • 1 cup water
  • Barbecue sauce

Directions:

1. In a bowl, stir the salt, paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar until well mixed.

2. Spray your slow cooker with Pam and rinse the pork under cool water. Pat it dry.

3. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork, making sure to cover all sides. Place the pork in the slow cooker and add the water to the cooker.

4. Cover and cook on High for 6 hours. Baste once in a while to ensure pork is moist.

5. Use 2 forks to shred the fork when it is done. Top with barbecue sauce and coleslaw to make a tasty sandwich!

 

Tangy-Sweet Coleslaw

Most coleslaw I’ve had is dripping with cream and saturated in mayonnaise, and I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise. One exception: the delicious coleslaw at City BBQ, in Dayton, Ohio. It had the perfect combination of creamy texture and tangy taste. Please go there if you are ever in the Centerville or Beavercreek area. And Dorothy Lane Market. And The Winds in Yellow Springs. And…I could write a whole book on where you should go if you are in Dayton to get delicious food.

So, I looked for a recipe that called for less mayonnaise, or none at all. I found this one at the Taste of Home website, and it called for a variety of vegetables. I only had shredded cabbage, so I used that.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage mix (1 bag at Publix)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Stir all ingredients together and place in the fridge until you are ready to top your sandwiches with it!

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Steak and Bell Pepper Fajitas with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I usually buy the pre-sliced steak and bell peppers at the grocery store, but this time I wanted to find a recipe that I could make from scratch. Here it is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds steak (skirt, flank, sirloin–I used flank)
  • 2 peppers (red, green or yellow), sliced into strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tortillas

Directions:

  1. Combine the olive oil, lime juice, spices, and garlic in a bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  2. Place the sliced vegetables in a container with a lid or a resealable plastic bag. Place the meat in another.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the marinade onto the vegetables and another 1/3 onto the steak. Seal the containers or bags and shake. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or longer.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the sliced vegetables and saute for about 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are starting to get soft. Remove the vegetables from the skillet.
  5. Drizzle a bit more olive oil into the skillet and add the steak. Cook, turning every few minutes, for about 15 minutes or until steak is desired temperature. Add the reserved 1/3 marinade and vegetables and toss.

Serve on tortillas with: avocado slices or guacamole, black beans and cilantro rice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, mashed sweet potatoes (see recipe below), or plantains. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and dry them. Wrap each potato in foil, making sure to crimp the top and sides so steam does not escape when cooking.
  2. Place potatoes on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 1 hour 20 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let sit about half an hour.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them lengthwise and scoop out the potato, discarding the skin. Mash in a bowl with the butter, nutmeg, and salt.

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Roasted Chickpeas

This is a fast easy snack to make. Roast them longer to get them crispier. They tend to get chewy if they are placed in a covered container.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Make sure the chickpeas are completely dry. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Spread flat on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with Pam. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.

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Chicken Pot Pie (Milk-Free)

I can’t believe I found such a great recipe for a milk-free chicken pot pie! I used Puff Pastry as well, and it came out great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (I used 2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (you can also use dairy-free butter)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 12 oz. bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
  • 3 1/4 cup chicken broth (I used 3 cups)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken first. Marinate the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, and olive oil. Place in a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove half of the puff pastry (for the bottom layer) from the freezer and leave out on the counter to thaw, about 40 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven, remove foil cover, and let cool.
  4. Spray a square baking pan (2 quarts) with Pam or other cooking spray. Press the puff pastry sheet onto the baking pan, prick holes in it with a fork, and cover with foil. Pie weights would be good for blind baking here. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.
  5. While the puff pastry is baking, remove the second sheet from the freezer and leave out on the counter to thaw.
  6. Chop the chicken into small chunks and set aside.
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the onion, celery, and bay leaf. Cook for 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft, stirring often.
  8. Discard the bay leaf. Add the flour to the saucepan and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the mixture turns golden.
  9. Add the chicken broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and add the chicken and thawed mixed vegetables, stirring well. The mixture will be thick. Remove from heat.
  10. Once the baked puff pastry is out of the oven, remove the foil and let it sit for a few minutes. When the chicken mixture is ready, pour it into the baking dish, making sure to spread it in an even layer.
  11. Place the second puff pastry sheet over the chicken mixture, pressing the sides down to meet the sides of the bottom sheet. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown.

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