Monday, February 1, 2016

Nolan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have found the one!  This is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I use anymore.  It is amazing!  One of the keys to making them the best is to really mix the batter well before you add the chocolate chips.  Plus, it's versatile!  You can make a chocolate base, also, by just switching one of the ingredients.

Nolan's Chocolate Chip Cookies
From my friend, Nicole Anderson



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars and pudding mix.  Add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

This soup is so delicious.  And healthy because it is packed full of vegetables.  If you want to make it vegan, skip the cheese and get vegan pasta.  But, either way, it makes a lot, and its super satisfying.  I made this when we had the missionaries for dinner and served it with a salad and some crusty bread. Perfection.
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
From A Bountiful Kitchen (modified slightly)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (yellow or sweet)
2 cups chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper (I had to put quite a bit more salt in)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
14 oz can vegetable OR chicken stock, if you aren’t concerned about going meatless (check to make sure it’s MSG free)
1 cup water
1 cup “ditalini” pasta or other small pasta shape
2 cups chopped zucchini or fresh spinach (optional)*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1- 15 oz can Great Northern beans, drained
1 tablespoon basil, dried
additional water, if needed
Using a large, heavy stock pot,saute onion and carrots in olive oil on medium heat about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
Season with salt and pepper (use more salt to taste and I also added a sprinkle of garlic salt)
Add fresh tomatoes, fresh zucchini or spinach, chicken stock, and water. Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes until al dente.
Stir in tomato paste, beans and basil. Cook just until combined.
If needed, add a little more water to the soup.
Serve immediately with lots of fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves about 4-6.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake

I made this for dessert a few weeks ago when we had guests over and it was a total hit.  Brian even requested it for his birthday cake- he said it was the yummiest thing he'd ever eaten.  I made the fruit topping with the suggested blueberries and that really put it over the top.  It is seriously creamy, delicious, amazingness.

The Best No-Bake Cheesecake
The cheesecake is delicious plain but you can add fruit for serving which makes it extra delicious. Fresh, juicy fruit works great (sliced strawberries, blueberries, etc); if you want a simple fruit sauce recipe combine 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring often, until thick and syrupy (you may need to increase or decrease the sugar as needed depending on the fruit as well as adding a little water, a couple tablespoons at a time, if it is overly thick).
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7.25 ounces, about 13 rectangle graham crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (but not warm)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
    1. For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the melted butter until well-combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1- or 2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan or into the bottom and sides of a 9.5-inch pie plate (a regular 9-inch pie plate might work but the crust and filling will be extra thick). Refrigerate until the filling is ready.
    2. In a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer (or using an electric stand mixer), mix the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and light, 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream and whipping cream and mix until very thick and creamy, 4-5 minutes.
    3. Spread the filling evenly into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Serve plain, with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce (see note above)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Best Vinaigrette

I topped a salad with this amazing stuff the other day and couldn't get enough of it.  I seriously am excited about eating salads now.  Its so much tastier than bottled dressings and cheaper too.  It lasts for about a week in the fridge.  It would go well with any greens and with any other ingredients- fruit, savory, greek, whatever...
The Best Vinaigrette

(I usually half this if its just me and Brian eating it)

1 C Canola or Grapeseed Oil
1/2 C Red Wine vinegar (I do more like 3/4 C)
S&P 1/6 C sugar ( you can also use honey )
1/3 C finely chopped purple onion
Shake and refrigerate! You can double or triple this amount as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Homemade Tortillas

I made these tonight with this chicken for tacos and they were so delicious.  We can't get yummy tortillas around here so this was my last resort and I'm so glad I tried it.  They were super easy and fun to make.  Plus, there's something so fulfilling about making something from scratch.

Homemade Tortillas
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 cups flour (more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm water
3 Tbs. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl or mixer, knead for about 3 minutes by hand or mixer. Scrape sides of bowl down.  Add additional 1/2 - 3/4 cups flour until dough isn't that sticky.  Break off 8-10 pieces and roll out to desired thickness on floured surface with rolling pin.  Grease griddle. Cook each tortilla for about 2 minutes per side on hot griddle.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

Mmmmm, this was serious comfort food, but also generally healthy. And I love that it was made in the slow cooker.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

  • from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 (15-ounces each) cans kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse or freshly cracked black pepper (see note above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa or chicken sausage, sliced (see note above) 
  • Hot, cooked brown rice, white rice or quinoa for serving

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the kielbasa/sausage in a medium slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Add the sausage and cook until warmed through (anywhere from 20 minutes to another hour). 
  2. Add additional salt to taste before serving. Serve over hot, cooked rice (white or brown) or quinoa.

Mel's notes:
For the kielbasa/sausage, you're looking for precooked sausage that you slice into rounds - I like using the chicken sausage (Aidell's brand). Something similar, pork or beef or turkey, would work for this recipe.

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

The other day we were in need of a quick easy dessert, preferably chocolate, and this one was the perfect solution. Not only was it really delicious, but it was made completely by my 10-year-old! We will definitely be making this again.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup yogurt (see note above)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted almonds or toffee bits (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-inch round or square cake pan (or a similar sized springform pan if you want cleaner edges) and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, yogurt and eggs. 
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until combined and a few streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips; don't overmix.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the nuts, if using, on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs - you'll need slightly less baking time the larger the pan you use. Err on the side of underbaking just slightly so the bottom stays melty and gooey. 
  5. Serve warm for the hot fudge effect (the chocolate chips will sink to the middle and bottom of the cake and melt deliciously). The cake is also delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.