Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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These cookies are so good and easily in my top five! They’re cakey, fudgy, rich and chocolaty. I’m not usually a fan of softer cookies, but these are so perfect. I am really glad that I made two batches – not all for my family of course!  Once every few weeks, my husband serves as assistant director and I always send goodies for the production crew. I know they appreciate the baked goods, and I love hearing about it 😉 Eight people polished off nearly three dozen cookies! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3) In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.

4) Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

5) Stir in the mini peanut butter cups.

6) Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick.

7) Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Buttermilk Pancakes II and Strawberry Sauce

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I wanted to try a new recipe for pancakes that didn’t require lots of ingredients or that made a huge batch, (like our favorite, go-to recipe). The pancakes are more dense than I prefer, but I’m sure pastry flour or even cake flour would take care of that issue. I also decided to make this simple strawberry sauce because I had less than a pint of strawberries left in the fridge that needed to be used up. The strawberry sauce is so easy to throw together and would taste great on top of waffles, ice cream, cheesecake, angel food, yogurt or you could stir it into milk, or lemonade! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
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Best Buttermilk Pancakes – adapted from Nummy Kitchen
  •  2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions –

Sift flour, soda, salt, and sugar into bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter, stirring only until flour is barely moistened.
Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle or electric skilled heated to 375 degrees. For uniform pancakes, use a 1/4 cup measure – or use a drip-cup pitcher and count 1-2-3 as you pour. Turn cakes when center springs back to touch, or when bubbles on surface break. Flip cakes only once. Makes about 1 and 1/2 dozen 4 inch cakes.

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Strawberry Sauce – adapted from Our Best Bites 

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/3 c. white sugar (*I used vanilla sugar, so I omit the extract*)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract or vanilla extract

Directions –

Wash strawberries and remove stems. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can roughly chop the berries, but I say you’re already feeling ambitious enough by making your own strawberry sauce. So don’t sweat it.

Combine berries, sugar, and extract in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring/breaking strawberries up with a wooden spoon constantly.

After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough, transfer mixture to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

 

PW’s Baked Ziti

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I don’t normally make a meal for someone when I haven’t made it before, but PW has yet to steer me wrong; so I went for it. I also don’t get many chances to make meals like this, (the hubbs doesn’t like baked pasta dishes!), so when a friend from home group was scheduled for surgery, I thought that this would be a comforting meal for her and her family. This pasta is rich and filling and what you see in the picture is only half of what the recipe makes! I don’t think a 13 x 9 baking dish could have contained it all – so if you have a lasagna pan, you might want to use it!  Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Baked Pasta – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Directions –

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.

Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

Shrimp Tacos with Adobo Sauce

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These were really good and I will definitely use this recipe again. Even my picky daughter ate her serving up! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Shrimp Tacos with Adobo Sauce – adapted from Coupon Clipping Cook

  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds large raw Shrimp, Deveined and Shelled
  • ½ teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 3 dashes Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Red Onion
  • 1 cup shredded Green Cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded Purple Cabbage
  • 1 whole Lime

For the Adobo Sauce:

  • 5 teaspoons Adobo Sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; 11 ounce can)
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 of a whole Lime
  • 2 dashes Salt

Directions –

Chop the cilantro, and thinly slice the green and purple cabbage. Chop the onion and set the veggies and cilantro aside.

In a small bowl add the adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Mix and set aside.

Put the shrimp in a medium size bowl and add the chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, cumin, and salt. Mix together so that the shrimp is coated with the spices.

In a medium size skillet add the olive oil. Then add the shrimp. Turn the shrimp as they cook until each side is lightly browned (about 6 minutes). Reserve the olive oil in the pan, and remove the shrimp on to a cutting board or plate.

Cut the shrimp in half and put them in a bowl. Then add the remaining olive oil from the pan in with the pieces of shrimp and mix together.

Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave for about 10 to 12 seconds.Then top with the shrimp, onion, cilantro, and the green and purple cabbage. Drizzle the adobo sauce on top. Serve while the tortilla is still warm, and with a quarter piece of lime.

Broccoli Cheese Soup II (with Ham)

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Even before I baked ham the other day, I already had plans for the leftovers! I wanted to make ham and potato soup, but he had a different craving. M loves Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup – I like it too. That’s not the problem…when I have a plan, I’m not immediately flexible to accommodate different ideas! He doesn’t really like my version because it’s not as thick as Panera’s – but I have a feeling they accomplish this by adding processed cheese. After deciding to go ahead with his plan, I quickly looked for a recipe that called for the stuff, but I couldn’t find one. I was in the parking lot of the grocery store, using my slow phone and didn’t have a whole lot of time. This recipe makes a small batch of thick, rich soup – all that half and half kept the base nice and creamy. I usually double my go-to recipe and use whatever milk I have, so it’s much thinner.

Verdict: Okay…this recipe is better than the other one. It’s rich and creamy, thanks to all that half and half! Also, the addition of diced ham (from a new recipe I’ll share soon) was a tasty, meaty and a perfect complement. Everyone loved it and the rolls I paired with it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup – adapted from Cookbook-Recipes

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 heaping cup of diced ham, optional

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

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Pictured with Broccoli Cheese Soup II – I’ll be sure to share this with you soon! It’s a new favorite 🙂

These rolls are soft, buttery and so much better than canned! I haven’t had a canned crescent roll in ages, but these more than make up for the wait! I had to make some modifications to the recipe (posted below), but if you live in a drier climate,  you might want to stick with the original amounts of water and flour. When I started making these, I knew that this dough was going to be much too loose for my tastes – loose dough is sticky, aka a pain in my ‘tox to work with. First, I reduced the water by 1/4 cup, but had to add about 3/4 cup more flour than called for to make this a workable dough. After kneading, my dough was tacky, not sticky, soft and smooth. In my experience with bread making, I have learned that recipes are a guideline more than a hard and fast rule to be followed. There are so many variables to consider, so don’t be afraid to make changes when they’re needed. This recipe makes a large batch so it’s perfect for big holiday meals or for freezing. To warm them up again, bake at 325 degrees for about  for about 5 minutes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Best Dinner Rolls – adapted from Nomemade

  • 1 3/4 c warm water
  • 2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour

Directions –

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined, holding back about 1/4 of flour.

Knead 5-7 minutes. Add more flour 1 TBSP at a time if needed. Dough should be soft, smooth and not too sticky

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Cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled in volume.

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Punch the dough down, weigh and divide in half. Roll the first half of dough on a lightly floured surface into a large circle (mine was about 15 inches in diameter). Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 slices. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the wide and tuck the small point underneath.

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Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops with oil and cover with plastic wrap to rise until doubled. Repeat these steps on the second half. Preheat your oven to 375.

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Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter.