Friday, December 21, 2012

Gooey Chocolate Chip Bars

These are very gooey. Which is a very good thing when it comes to Chocolate Chip Bars. Licking chocolate off your fingers makes baked goods taste better in my book.

This recipe comes from the cooking portion of one of my favorite blogs, Clover Lane. These bars were easy to whip up and doesn't use as much butter as most baked goods. It seems like a lot of vanilla (a whole tablespoon??) but it is not overpowering. Just yummy.

Gooey Chocolate Chip Bars
Recipe from Cooking on Clover Lane

1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Combine melted butter and brown sugar.  Add beaten egg, and vanilla and blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Spread in a square (9x9x2) pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

This is an easy recipe to get close-to authentic Deep Dish pizza. It uses a cast iron pan, as other recipes I've found for Chicago Deep Dish needed a springform pan. Anything I can cook in my cast iron pan always has a fighting chance at turning out spectacular.

For toppings, I have used pepperoni, italian sausage, ground beef, onion, olives and broccoli. (OK, so one time I needed to use up some leftovers!)  I loaded up the layers, and followed the directions by putting it into a cold oven.

The crust is really sturdy and can support alot of toppings, so load it up! And don't forget to let it rest and cool down for at least 10 minutes after baking! Burned mouths are no fun!

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
recipe adapted from Baking Serendipity

Pizza Dough (used PW's Pizza Crust recipe)
Marinara Sauce
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
Dried basil
Toppings of your choice

Grease a cast iron skillet. Then line the skillet with the pizza dough, bringing it all the way up the sides to form the deep crust.
Begin with a very thin layer of sauce at the bottom. Sprinkle the sauce with basil, add a layer of your toppings and then the cheese. Repeat (sauce, basil, toppings, cheese), ending with the sauce on top.
Place the cast iron skillet in a cold oven and set the temperature at 500 degrees. When the oven reaches 500 degrees, knock the temperature down to 400 degrees and bake for about thirty minutes. Let the pizza sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Almond Biscotti

This is great sweet treat to add to any cookie platter. This is a baked good that doesn't use any butter, so it could be a cheaper cookie if you already have the almond extract on hand.

This recipe makes two loaves, so it's very easy to make two varieties with one recipe. The last time I made this, one half had roughly chopped natural almonds, and the other plain, which I dipped in chocolate.

I love these with coffee, and my husband is always surprised that these came from our kitchen. They are that good!

Almond Biscotti
recipe adapted from

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup roughly chopped natural almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. (I use a silicone baking mat)

In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and almond extract until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.

When the cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (with a cake mix)

This is such a great, quick, and yummy recipe. I buy cake mixes when they are super cheap and stash them specifically for this recipe.

This came from my extended family cookbook (Thanks Rachelle!)  I have also used a Devil's Food cake mix, and it created Brownie-like cookie bars. Very versatile!

Chocolate Chip Bars
Makes 12 servings

1 cake mix, yellow or white
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I have used applesauce here, and it changes the texture a little, but tastes very similar)
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, mini or regular or baking M&Ms

Mix all ingredients together except chips. Put in 9x13 pan.

Press chips on top. (I literally sprinkled the last bits of the chocolate chip bag over top!)

Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sausage, Lentil & Kale Soup

This is one of my favorite ways to eat kale, and it's pretty inexpensive to make. The kiddos really like the sausage, but pick past the kale. Oh well.  This soup is really good and the kale adds a great texture. Savory and earthy and yummy all in one.

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup
recipe adapted from Dec 2009 issue Everyday Food

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup dried lentils
6 cups chicken stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
1/2 cup water
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) kale, stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high. Add sausage and brown, breaking into pieces. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.

Add kale and season with salt. Return soup to a rapid simmer, cover and cook until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat and stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oreo Pudding

This recipe is more often used as Dirt Cups, but in a big 'ol bowl, this is pure. chocolate. heaven. I bought this to a family picnic once, and people from age 1 to 75 ate the crap out of it. They were literally scraping the bowl to get the last drops. This isn't pretty, but it's yummy.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law as it's one of my husband's favorite childhood foods.

Oreo Pudding

Two 3.9 oz boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
1 16-ounce container whipped topping
1 package Oreos or chocolate sandwich cookies

Make pudding to package instructions. Break Oreos into bite size pieces. Mix all together and chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This tastes like store bought, makes four times as much, and is as easy as pushing a button on your food processor. I have another recipe on this site for Garlic Hummus, but this is the preferred hummus in our house.

This recipe makes a large amount, so I like to freeze half for another time. Once it's thawed, just give it a stir and you're in business.

We eat this with veggies or crackers for dipping, but I really like it as a replacement for mayo on sandwiches.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
recipe revised from

12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, juice reserved
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika

In a food processor, process the red peppers until roughly chopped. Remove 2 tablespoons as a garnish for the finished hummus. To the processor bowl with red peppers, add remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, adding the reserved bean juice a tablespoon at a time (I used about 2 tablespoons or so) if needed to get to the consistency you want. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Spoon into your serving container and top with the reserved chopped red peppers.