Chocolate Cobbler

I love all cobblers, and of course I love chocolate, so when I saw this I had to try it. The best thing about this dessert is that you probably have all the ingredients on hand in your kitchen right now! So just make it, like me :-). We all LOOOOOVED it! (recipe from Tasty Kitchen)
Ingredients:
•1 cup All-purpose Flour
•2 teaspoons Baking Powder
•¼ teaspoons Salt
•7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, Divided
•1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
•½ cups Milk
•⅓ cups Melted Butter
•1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
•½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
•1-½ cup Hot Tap Water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.
Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. I prefer my small oval Corning Ware glass dish.
In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.
Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.
Let stand for a few minutes if you can hold yourself back. Serve with homemade ice cream (I used store bought :-) using the gooey sauce to spoon over all.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I found this recipe on Jamie's Cookbook and thought it looked delicious. It was! I loved it and will definitely make it again. I served it with a mushroom wild rice mix that was absolutely the perfect match!

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices ham
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream

Directions:
Pound chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle each piece on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on each breast. Roll up each breast using toothpicks to secure if necessary. Dredge each in flour, shake off excess, then in egg and finally in bread crumbs. Place seam side down in baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each piece of chicken.
Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes until juices run clear. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine broth and whipping cream; season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano). Simmer on low stirring until thickened; Pour over chicken.

Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast

This yummy roast comes from the Pioneer Woman, but was fresh on my mind after seeing it recently on Peachtree Cooking. I LOVED it. I thought it had a nice fresh flavor due to the fresh herbs and the red wine. I served ours up with mashed red potatoes and thought it was perfection. Who doesn't love a good roast?!

Ingredients:
* 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
* 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* 2 whole Onions
* 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
* Salt To Taste
* Pepper To Taste
* 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)(I used red cooking wine)
* 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
* 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
* 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Directions:
First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. (I put mine in the crock pot on low for 7 hours)

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I needed to make some chocolate chip cookies for a lesson I was teaching at church on Sunday and wanted to try a new recipe so I did a search for the best chocolate chip cookies, of course. After looking at a few different recipes I decided to try these ones from Savory Sweet Life. They were a hit with everyone who tried them and super easy to make!

Makes approx. 45-48 cookies using a sm-med 2tbl. cookie scoop

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour *If at all possible, please weigh the flour
1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt
*please do not use table salt, the sea salt gives the cookies a nice flavor and hints of texture. If you only have table salt, use 1/2 tsp. *When using sea salt, you will get small crunchy flecks of salt when you bite into the cookie. If you do not like this taste, go with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt.
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips *I realized grocery stores sell bags of chocolate chips in 12 oz bags but this recipe really needs every last chip. Otherwise you’ll get cookies with only a few chips in each one and this recipe requires lots of chocolate to bulk the cookie up. You’ll need about 1 1/2 bags.

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed on a K-5). Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

*Troubleshooting*
-If you’re cookies are coming out flat and not like the pictures there are probably 3 reasons for this.
#1) Baking powder and Baking soda is old. If your baking powder and soda is older than 1 year and has not been in a sealed (preferably air tight) container, it has lost some of it rising qualities.
#2) Creaming. It is not enough to just cream the butter and sugars until it has come together. This recipe requires you to beat it with a mixer for 3 minutes until the texture of the butter and sugar turns to light and fluffy-just like the picture.
#3) Flour. Flour should be weighed. This can make or break the recipe because just scooping flour into a measuring cup will never yield ideal or consistent results.

Lemon Curry Tilapia with Cool Cucumber Salad

This was a light and healthy, but still flavorful way to eat Tilapia. The recipe is from the latest issue of Rachael Ray and I really loved the fish. The cucumber salad on the other hand didn't do much more me. The flavor wasn't bad, but the texture didn't do much for me. I think if I make it again I won't shred the cucumbers, just dice them. I served with our leftover basmati rice and it was a great, healthy little meal!
Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used Greek)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and shredded (I suggest dicing instead)
1 carrot, shredded
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
4 4-oz tilapia fillets (I just used 2)
1 t sweet smoked paprika
1 t curry powder
1 scallion, finely chopped

Directions:
-In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, carrot and 1 T lemon juice; season with salt.
-In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the tilapia with the paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
-Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice. Serve with the cucumber salad and top both with the scallion.

Grilled Chicken with Zesty Peanut Sauce

This yummy chicken and sauce is a recipe I was emailed by Swanson awhile back. I served it with Basmati rice and Oriental Green Beans and is was a match made in heaven...absolutely delicious!!!

INGREDIENTS:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS:
(I halved the amount of chicken and therefore halved the amounts to make this marinade too)
1. Stir 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, the oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup lime juice, half the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a shallow nonmetallic dish or gallon size resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (mine marinated about 3 1/2 hours)
2. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade.
3. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the chicken for 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning the chicken over once halfway through grilling. (I used my George Foreman grill)
4. Stir the remaining peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper, the coconut milk and ginger root in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the stock and heavy cream. Serve the sauce with the chicken. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies

This Martha Stuart recipe was passed on to me by Amber (of Zanie Zoo). You would never know that there is no flour in these babies! They are almost as easy as my other gluten-free PB cookies, but so much better! Definitely try them :-)!

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I doubled it and used 1 c creamy and 1 c crunchy)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg (lightly beaten), 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined. Stir in 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts.
With moistened hands, roll dough, about 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, into balls. Place 2 inches apart on two baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.
Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

Creamy Summer Vegetable Stew

This recipe from Family Circle was a great way to serve up veggies...especially to Preston who still doesn't have all his teeth :-). We all ate it up but I was definitely the biggest fan. I will add more chicken broth next though, I didn't think there was enough liquid to really call it a stew.

Ingredients:
8 ounces frozen pearl onions
2 cups baby carrots, halved
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used 1 cup chicken broth)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (I looked this up since I didn't have any and used mostly thyme, some basil and some savory)
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup light cream (I used whole milk)
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
2 cups cooked white rice (optional) (I made some)
(I also added one can chicken to make it a little more hearty)

Directions:
1. Place onions, carrots, corn, broth, vinegar and 11/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours. (I did it on the stove top in a large pan...until carrots were tender)
2. Stir in zucchini and chickpeas; cook for 45 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together cream, cornstarch, salt, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence; set aside.
3. Stir in cream mixture and tomatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes or until thickened. Sprinkle with Asiago and serve with rice, if desired.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad

This isn't really like a potato salad in the classic sense...no mayo involved :-). I LOVED it and have eaten the leftovers for lunch the past couple days. I thought the mix of veggies was really, really good...especially paired with the tang of the dressing. I preferred the salad warm, but it was good cold too! (recipe from Cooking Light) (and a warning that you do have to get your kitchen warm making it - using the oven to roast the potatoes and corn)

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used red potatoes)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
3/4 cup diced zucchini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Ingredients:
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Place corn and potatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Place mixture in a large bowl. Combine tarragon and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle potato mixture with dressing; toss gently to coat.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and zucchini to pan; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini mixture and tomatoes to potato mixture; toss gently to combine.

Chinese Five Spice Oven-Fried Chicken

This recipe from Family Circle looked easy and yummy...and it was! To make it gluten-free I'll use potato flakes next time instead of the panko bread crumbs (the consistency was about the same I thought). It was a winner with the whole family!!!

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice (I had an Adams Reserve Asian Spice Rub that I used for this...it contains sesame seed, garlic, sweet pepper flakes, red pepper, green chili pepper, turmeric and ginger)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 broiler-fryer chicken (about 3-1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, skin removed (I used 3 chicken breasts)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Fit a large rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Coat rack with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a shallow dish, whisk together panko, Chinese five spice and salt. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together honey, 1 tablespoon warm water and lemon juice.
3. Dip each piece of chicken into the honey mixture, shaking off excess. Roll in the panko mixture, pressing to adhere and place on the prepared rack.
4. Bake chicken pieces at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Spritz chicken with nonstick cooking spray and bake an additional 30 minutes or until internal temperature registers 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. (I only baked mine an additional 15 minutes and the chicken was done)
5. Remove chicken from oven and serve immediately.

Southwestern Cobb Salad

This yummy salad from Cooking Light was WONDERFUL!!! It included so many things that I love...avocados, black beans, cheese, a good dressing, a southwestern twist. I had more for lunch today and it was even better than I remembered it from the night before :-). (and I totally copied how they set up the picture in the magazine...it looks much prettier that way)

Ingredients
Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used red since that was what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salad:
3 slices center-cut bacon
Cooking spray
8 ounces skinless, boneless turkey breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used chicken breast)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup refrigerated fresh pico de gallo
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:
1. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; set aside.
2. To prepare salad, cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle turkey with salt. Add turkey to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done.
3. Arrange 2 cups lettuce on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 2 teaspoons bacon, 5 tablespoons turkey, 2 tablespoons pico de gallo, 2 tablespoons avocado, 2 tablespoons queso fresco, 1 tablespoon onions, and about 1/3 cup beans. Drizzle vinaigrette evenly over salads.

Dill Potato Salad

We just got home from a week at the beach with my family. Each night someone else was in charge of dinner and on our night we served up those delicious bacon-wrapped hot dogs , that I loved, with this new potato salad that I found on my old college roomie Kim's blog. According to her post, she needed to make potato salad for a reception (which was funny because she doesn't even like potato salad) and she went with this Ina Garten recipe because after 181 reviews it still had 5 stars. I happen to LOVE potato salad so I was excited to try this one. It was simple to make and sooo good. I have never used fresh dill before and I loved the summery flavor it gave the salad!

Ingredients:
3 pounds small white potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion

Directions:
Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Spiced Lamb (or Beef) with Corn and Rice Pilaf

This recipe from Rachael Ray was quick and easy and I reallly liked it. I used beef because I'm scared of lamb :) and topped with lots of pepper and soy sauce. A nice light dinner for summer!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups rice (I used 1 1/2 cups)
2 ears corn, husked
1 pound ground lamb (I used 1/2 lb beef)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
1.In a large saucepan, bring the rice and 2 1/2 cups water (or 3 cups if you up the rice like me) to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 18 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium. Arrange the corn on a well-oiled grate, cover and cook, turning frequently, until slightly charred, about 12 minutes; let cool slightly. Scrape the kernels into a bowl.
3.In another bowl, combine the lamb (or beef) and garam masala; season with salt and pepper. Form into 16 meatballs. Brush the scallions with the butter. Arrange the scallions and meatballs on the grill and cook, turning, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes for medium. Chop the grilled scallions and add to the corn. Add the rice and meatballs.