Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Double Chocolate Cookies

I am so backlogged with recipes that when I made these cookies they were for my dear friend, Gina's, baby shower at work. She has since had the babies and they are one month old! So...yeah... I'm a little behind. What can I say!

These cookies were a total hit. I have to say, I've made a few versions of chocolate chocolate chip cookies but these take the #1 spot in my book. They were so soft and rich. They were almost likely pillowy brownie bites. I could go for some of these bad boys right now! I might have to make them again soon.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

1- Preheat the oven to 350.
2- Melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and stir until well combined.
3- Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until well incorporated.
4- Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine until a dough forms.
5- Hold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.
6- Scoop by the tablespoon onto baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

OMG Crockpot Chicken

As I've evolved as a cook I rely less and less on easy ingredients and focus on more real ingredients. With that said... this meal is the LEAST "real" meal I've made in a long time! There's tons of processed ingredients, it's full of sodium, and therefore delicious. This recipe was all the rage in an online community I'm in so I decided to try it. John loved it. I liked it. I felt like it was a little "fake" tasting, a little salty, but overall tasty. I ended up keeping it on warm for a long time so the sauce dried up a bit. Next time I wouldn't let it sit on "keep warm" for quite as long as I did. I saved the leftover chicken to turn into paninis which I think will be very tasty! If you're looking for a super easy crockpot meal, this is for you.

Source: Complete Recipes


2 lbs boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 packet of dry Italian dressing
1 packet of dry ranch dressing
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese

1. Throw everything in the crockpot on low and cook 6-8 hours.
2.After about 4 hours of cooking I usually stir everything together- but if you're not home it's no big deal.
3. Just stir about 20 minutes before serving to really mix together the cream cheese and dressing packets.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Crispy Southwestern Chicken in a Salsa Verde Cream Sauce

If you follow me on Facebook you're aware of why I've disappeared for the past two months! If you don't, I'm so excited to announce that I am pregnant with our second child, due in July. I am just about 14 weeks pregnant now and finally feel great again. Not only did I not blog for two months but I didn't eat or cook! We survived on cereal and pasta with butter. I'm so happy to be back in the kitchen!

So many of the meals I'm sharing are pre-pregnancy. I have a huge backlog of recipes to share that got stalled from my inability to look at pictures of food. This meal was a meal that almost didn't happen. I made this when I was about 5 weeks pregnant and I planned to make it with grilled chicken. When I opened the package of chicken, which was still good, it smelt horrible. I decided to toss it and switch directions of the meal. I used my favorite chicken tenders, Coleman's All Natural chicken tender, and proceeded. This was DELICIOUS. Best of all I usually have all these ingredients on hand so it's an easy meal to make. John and I were both huge fans. The sauce makes it look a bit sloppy but the flavor or the sauce pulls the whole meal together!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

8 breaded chicken tenders, homemade or frozen
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup salsa verde
1/3 cup light cream
Juice of half a lime
1 cup of corn
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

1- Cook the chicken tenders according to packaging directions.
2- Meanwhile, heat the oil and garlic in a sauce pan. Add the salsa verde and heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and lime juice and heat over a low heat for 10 minutes.
3- In a small skillet combine the corn and bell peppers and heat over a low heat, stirring regularly, until hot.
4- Dice chicken. On a plate place rice at the bottom. Top with chicken, veggie mix, and sauce (to taste).

Monday, November 24, 2014

Creamy Balsamic Chicken

Before I was a mom I had visions that I would be the mom who had a kid that was a great eater. Then I had Landon and the fist year and a half he was a great eater, so I assumed I rocked. I mean, I cook! A lot! All types of stuff! I assumed it was a given. I was even smug about it. "Oh...your kid eats XYZ?! No...not mine... He LOVES healthy foods..." (of course this occurred in my head... but it did occur).

Then Landon turned 18 months. Then two. Then 2.5. Now he's turning 3 this week. It seems like every six months the list of foods he likes gets smaller. By 3.5 I am sure he will live on air and crackers alone.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Get to the point, right? So this chicken. Look, Landon LOVES chicken and will usually used to eat it any way I present it. Then I made this. I made a point to make sure it wasn't gloppy, mostly unsauced, but no. He told me it was gross, looked messy, and was "too yucky to even taste." ::sigh::

But let me tell you, my kid has no taste. This was so delicious that John and I swept the carefully cut pieces off of Landon's plate and back onto ours. It was too good to go to waste. The sauce had a nice balance of creamy and tart. The chicken was so tender... just an all around winner!

Source: Adapted from Lauren's Latest

1 pound chicken tenders
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Cracked black pepper
1 tbsp butter
1/2 15 oz jar light alfredo sauce (or more if you like it saucy)
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (depending on how tart you want it)

1- Season chicken with Lawry's and pepper. Set aside.
2- Add butter to a skillet over medium/high heat and melt. Add the chicken and allow to brown on one side, then flip. Once brown on both sides, remove.
3- Add the sauce and vinegar. Allow to heat together for 5 minutes, scraping up the brown bits from the pan.
4- Add the chicken back to the pan. Top with dried parsley for color (if desired). Once hot, serve over pasta.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lemon Orzo Soup

It's so cold in the Northeast right now. I really can't complain because Buffalo is under 6 feet of snow with more coming, and I've yet to see a flake this year, but none the less we're all freezing here! When it's freezing one of my favorite things to eat is soup. If I'm being honest I really like to eat soup because I REALLY like to serve it with crusty warm bread. To me there is no substitute for a good loaf of bread with soup.

I made this recently and it was a total hit. John and I loved it and my mom ate the leftovers and also was singing its praises. The lemon flavor really came through which is important to me if I want a lemony soup. I've made lemon noodle soups before and they were ok, but this one nailed it. It was obvious but not overpowering. I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this soup. I predict this will be a staple this fall/winter!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

2 tbsp butter (divided)
3/4 cup orzo
1 small onion, chopped small
1 cup carrots, cut into coins
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp dried parsley
Garlic Salt
1 lemon

1- In a large pot, melt one tbsp butter and add the orzo. Stir frequently until lightly browned. Then remove the orzo from the pot and set aside.
3- Melt the other tbsp of butter. Add the onion and carrots and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and stir well, about 2-3 minutes.
4- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
5- Add the orzo and the juice of one lemon to the pot. Season with  parsley, garlic salt, and pepper to taste. Cook on medium/low until the orzo is cooked and the veggies are soft, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ranch Chicken Enchiladas

It wasn't too long ago when I had realized I had never had a "real enchilada"- meaning one from a Mexican restaurant. Sure, I've been making them at home for a few years, but I had never gotten them out. We went out a couple weeks ago and I ordered enchiladas and I can honestly say... I prefer my own. There. I said it. I just love the fun varieties and versions that you can make at home! There are many foods that I find are just as good if not better out, but not enchiladas.

This version in particular was deliciously easy. Mix some of this with some of that and TA-DA... you have a delicious and easy meal. I can't wait to have these again.

Source: Heavily adapted from The Recipe Critic

Yields 6 enchiladas

Tortillas (I like the half corn/half flour ones)
2 cups cooked, diced, chicken (rotisserie works great)
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
Green onions

1- Preheat the oven to 350.
2- In a bowl mix the salsa and ranch. Spread a little bit onto the bottom of a baking dish.
3- Take a tortilla. Spoon about 1 heaping tbsp of the sauce mixture onto the tortilla and spread. Top with chicken and cheese. Roll up and place seam down in the baking dish.
4- Repeat until all enchiladas are full.
5- Pour remaining sauce over top and top with additional shredded cheese.
6- Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until all cheese is melted and edges golden.
7- Top with green onions and lightly drizzle with additional ranch dressing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lemon Parmesan Tortellini

Once upon a time I didn't like cream sauces. I thought they were gross, globby, and too heavy. I still often feel that when it comes to cream sauces that you get at restaurants, but I have found the perfect balance for a homemade cream sauce: 1 part chicken broth:1 part cream. For me this prevents the "globby" texture but keeps the deliciously rich and velvety flavor. Once I discovered that I started making way more cream sauces at home, so perhaps this isn't the best thing I ever discovered, but it is one of the more delicious revelations.

This pasta was delicious. I lightly sauced it, as you can see from the picture, but the sauce had enough flavor that it didn't need to be heavily coated. This is one of the recipes I will make over and over again.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup light cream
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated (not the white powder- fresh cheese only)
Basil leaves, torn
1 pound tortellini (fresh is best)

1- In a skillet heat the oil and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the broth and heat over a high heat, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cream, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp lemon zest, Italian seasonings, and heat over medium heat 10 minutes.
2- Meanwhile, cook the tortellini per packaging directions.
3- Add the parmesan cheese to the sauce, stir well. Allow the cheese to melt into the sauce.
4- Add the cooked tortellini to the sauce. Toss.
5- Serve with basil leaves, if desired.