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Danny’s Peanut Butter Birthday Cookies

22 Jul

My fiances birthday was this week, in past years I have made him a cake. I was a little worried that I would have to experiment with my first gluten free cake on his birthday. But luckily this year he really only wanted cookies, peanut butter cookies.

I wanted to make a recipe that we both could enjoy, and I remembered I had a recipe melt in your mouth peanut butter cookies that had no flour. I never thought at the time they were for a specific food allergy but just a variation of a peanut butter cookie.

These cookies are ridiculously easy to make and taste delicious. But they are by no means healthy! But you know my rule of moderation; eat healthy 85% of the time and indulge 15%, it makes life more fun.

This cookie literally has only four ingredients! Because there is no flour in these cookies they are not chewy at all. Instead they are light and crisp, and almost melt in your mouth.  Use natural peanut butter in these cookie, there is no need to add hydrogenated oils and sugar to something as simple and delicious as peanut butter.

Happy Birthday Danny!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (no sugar or oil added)
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar, for decorating

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, evaporated cane juice, baking soda and the egg. Stir until smooth and completely incorporated.
  3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll balls in turbinado sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Using a fork, press tines into each dough place creating a cross hatch pattern.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will not look done, but will be lightly golden on the edges. Let cookies rest at least 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack to cool.
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Manchego Corn with Lime

16 Jul

It has been such a busy and exciting week! Last Monday was my first day as an official Foodie, and I couldn’t be happier with my new position. Thursday I was able to make and demonstrate a really wonderful summer recipe that featured mangoes and cucumbers. I wish I would have had my camera to take some shots because the recipe turned out better than expected, I will try to re-create it here in a couple of days.

The combination of Manchego, lime and roasted corn is so good you might be tempted to eat the bowl yourself. But please share with someone you love, they’ll thank you for it!

 

The lime adds a bite to the creamy, cheesy deliciousness of the corn. Take this dish to any party and it will be gone instantly.

 

Manchego Corn with Lime

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears yellow sweet corn, unhusked
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/2 cup Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chives, minced

Directions:

  1. In a 450 degree oven or on a grill, roast corn for about 15 minutes, until corn is crisp tender.
  2. Allow corn to cool, unhusk, and  cut kernels from the cob.
  3. In a large skillet heat the oil and then add the corn, saute corn until it is lightly browned in spots, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add butter to the corn and stir until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  5. Transfer corn to a serving bowl. Add lime juice, cheese and chives, toss gently to coat.

 

 

 

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

30 Jun

You may not be aware of this but I know a thing or two about cookies. I had a cookie company a few years ago and made delicious cookies for coffee shops. Before starting my gluten free diet chocolate chip cookies were always my favorite. And though I have had many gluten free desserts, I had not had a good chocolate chip cookie, until now. I know that claiming these are “the best” gluten free chocolate chip cookies is a bold move. But give these cookies to anyone and I doubt they would be able to tell they are gluten free. These cookies really are the closest to conventional flour cookies I have had.

Use an ice cream scoop to ensure that cookies are all the same size and shape, which allows for even baking.

These cookies have the perfect combination of crispy outside and chewy inside.

Try these cookies, you will thank me!

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Alton Brown’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies

makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup gluten free cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoon almond milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla
  • 1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  1. Pour melted butter in a stand mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment beat the melted butter while adding in both sugars. Beat until completely creamy.
  2. In a separate small bowl sift together the rice flour, corn starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, salt and baking soda.
  3. Add eggs in one at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Then add in milk and vanilla, mix a full minute.
  4. Slowly start adding the flours, mixing until completely combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon place rounded dough balls on prepared cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 6 minutes, rotate cookie sheets and bake another 6 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the edges.
  8. Remove from oven, let cookies sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Try not to eat them all in one day.

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

17 Jun

I live in Texas, there for I love Mexican food and Tex-Mex food. So when I went to make enchiladas I knew I had a high bar set before me. As I researched enchiladas recipes I found most used canned or jarred sauce. Now, I am not one to buy a sauce when I can make it, so I researched the spice mixture and I believe I came up with some mighty tasty enchiladas.

My sauce ended up being a mixture of chili powder, oregano, cocoa, tomato paste, brown rice flour and water. This sauce tastes very authentic.

For the filling on these enchiladas I used leftover rotisserie chicken, azuki beans and fresh Anaheim pepper picked from the garden. These were all things I had on hand. I feel the filling for enchiladas can be whatever you want, so experiment and have fun with it.

Assembly is probably the most fun and messiest part of enchiladas, but it is all worth it in the end. Lining the bottom of the baking dish will help seal the seams in place and make the enchiladas easier to remove from the pan.

I topped mine with shredded queso fresco, because it is more authentic and readily available in my area, but feel free to top with any cheese.

These are too good to miss!

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

makes 12 enchiladas

Ingredients:

enchilada sauce

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cup of water

enchiladas

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked azuki beans or black beans
  • 1 Anaheim pepper or jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 5″ corn tortilla
  • 1 cup queso fresco or cheese of choice, shredded

Directions:

enchilada sauce

  1. Place all spices and flour in a small bowl, add just enough water to form a thick paste.
  2. Add spice paste and the remaining water to a medium saucepan, whisk until paste is dissolved in water. Continue to cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Whisk in tomato paste and cook until sauce is smooth, about 5 minutes.

enchiladas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  1. In a deep saute pan heat the olive oil, when the oil is hot add the pepper and cook until soft, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and beans to the pepper, add the chili powder, cumin, and onion powder. Cook until thoroughly heated and combined, about 6 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken mixture from pan into a bowl.
  4. In a 9 x 13 baking pan coat the bottom with a 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
  5. Heat the tortilla up slightly, either in a pan or in the microwave, just until they are soft enough to fold.
  6. Drag each tortilla in the enchilada sauce to coat one side completely.
  7. Take each tortilla and fill it with around 2 tablespoons of chicken and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll the tortilla up and place it in the pan seam side down. Continue with the remaining tortillas.
  8. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas and then sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Put pan in oven and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Let the enchiladas rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Eggplant Roll-ups

15 Jun

I just picked the first eggplant of the season!!! With an abundance of basil and my freshly picked eggplant in hand I figured it was time to make some eggplant roll-ups.

I had a hard time getting a beautiful finished picture, but let me tell you this dish is delicious!

After lightly frying the eggplant, spread each slice of eggplant with this wonderfully creamy ricotta and fresh herb mix.

Roll it up and place it in a pan.

Top it off with fresh mozzarella slices and some grated Parmesan and pop it in the oven.

Eggplant Roll-ups

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants; 1- 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade cut
  • 2 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 2 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Directions:

preheat oven 350 degrees

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy saute pan, when oil is hot add eggplant slices in single layer. Cook around 4 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel line plate. Repeat until all eggplant has been cooked.
  2. Using a medium size bowl combine ricotta cheese, herbs and egg, stir to combine.
  3. In a 9 x 13 baking pan thinly cover the bottom with tomato sauce and basil leaves.
  4. Take each eggplant slice and thinly spread with the ricotta mixture. Roll the eggplant up and place in the pan. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  5. Use the remaining tomato sauce to spoon over the eggplant rolls, place on piece of fresh mozzarella on each roll, and then cover all with the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Place pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Let eggplant rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

7 Jun

Do you crave those expensive store-bought fruit and nut energy bars? I did, but I discovered I can make my favorites at home with just a few ingredients and at a fraction of the price. My first experiment is with the Coconut Cream Pie Larabar. The Larabar website lists the ingredients as dates, coconut, almonds, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. I varied the recipe a little based on what I had on hand, so no cashews in this bar.

Chopping the nuts alone in the food processor ensures the nuts don’t become powdery. Remove the nuts and add the dates pulsing them into a sticky paste. Then combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand.

I like small bites. So I cut these bars into 2″ x 2″ squares, wrap them up individually and store them in the fridge.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

makes 18 2×2 bars

Ingredients:

  • 20 dates, pitted (medjool dates work best)
  • 1 cup almonds, raw
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Put almonds in the food processor and pulse until almonds are finely chopped but not powdery. Remove almonds to a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Place pitted dates into the food processor and turn on, scrape down sides as needed. Remove dates when they resemble a sticky paste. Then add to the almonds.
  3. Add coconut and coconut oil to the almonds and dates, mix by hand until completely incorporated. Wear gloves to help with stickiness.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper or foil. Press mixture into the pan creating an even thickness. You can make the bars as thick or thin as you would like.
  5. Place pan into the freezer for at least an hour. Remove and flip upside down onto a cutting board and remove backing.
  6. Cut bars into whatever size you would like and wrap each individually for storage or in an air tight container. I like to store mine in the fridge, but  the bars can be stored unrefrigerated as well.

Strawberry Mint Sangria

3 Jun

It’s a lazy Sunday, the perfect time for some delicious sangria. I prefer white sangria over the traditional red, but I am willing to drink both.

The fresh mint that I used came straight from my garden. It was so aromatic. It’s really what makes this sangria.

Strawberry Mint Sangria

makes approximately 4 Liters

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Liter White Wine (I choose a Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 Liter Italian Soda or Sparkling Mineral Water
  • 8 ounces pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces orange juice
  • 8 ounces orange liquor ( I choose Paula’s Texas Orange)
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 2 oranges, sliced thick

Directions:

  1. Combine all liquid ingredients, stir to combine.
  2. Add strawberries and mint. Let Sangria chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
  3. Place orange slices on a cookie sheet, and place in freezer.
  4. Pour Sangria into serving pitcher.
  5. When ready to serve glasses place a frozen orange slice and ice cubes in glass then pour Sangria to fill.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

12 Nov

It is definitely time for some comfort food. After being sick for a week and the weather getting cooler, I feel deserving of something a little decadent. I have never made chicken pot pies before, but it gave me a great excuse to buy those Le Creuset mini casseroles I have had my eye on.

They are just so darn cute! So with my 5×5 baking dishes ready, I just needed a recipe. I thought about this for quite a while. My first thought was to make a healthy chicken pot pie. On further consideration I decided that I deserved and needed true comfort food. So I decided to throw healthy out the window for this one.

As with any recipe, a variety of yummy veggies will be the base. Add to that some chicken breast and I think we might have something going on.

The recipe starts by cooking the veggies and chicken, in chicken stock until the chicken is done.

Once the chicken is done, remove all the chicken and veggies from the pot leaving only the stock. To the stock, add the flour and milk mixture. Cook this until the sauce has thickened.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the spices, the cooked veggies, and chicken back into the pot–Cook until well combined.

At this point spoon the filling into four 5 x5 casseroles or one 11x 7 casserole. At this point the recipe is not really unhealthy, because we have not added the puff pastry yet.

Puff pastry is the key ingredient in making this recipe truly decadent.

Golden and flaky on the outside, warm and veggie filled on the inside. Truly feel-good food!

Chicken Pot Pie

adapted from Cooking Light

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

10 fingerling potatoes, diced or 1 cup of diced potato

2 parsnips, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast; diced in 1 inch pieces

2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup fat free milk

2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

a pinch of red pepper flakes

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the puff pastry sheet from freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature.
  2. Bring stock to boil in a large pot.
  3. Add peas, potatoes, parsnips, and onion to the stock, reduce heat and simmer for about 6 minutes.
  4. Add chicken and cook for another 5 minutes or until chicken is done.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and veggies to a bowl, leaving just the stock.
  6. Add flour to a small bowl, slowly add the milk and whisk until completely smooth.
  7. Increase heat to medium and add the milk mixture to the stock. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
  8. Stir in chicken mixture and spices, and remove from heat.
  9. Spoon the mixture even into either 4- 5×5 casseroles or an 11×7 casserole.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out so that it will cover the casserole.
  11. Place the puff pastry on the casserole tucking into the edges. Cut small slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.
  12. Place casserole on a baking sheet. Put casserole in the preheated oven and bake for around 16 minutes or until crust is golden and flaky.
  13. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Orange Scones

28 Oct

Nothing else says lazy weekend morning  like big fluffy yummy scones! I rarely get weekends off, so it’s a nice treat when I get to make these.

The first rule for making fluffy, flaky scones is to use cold butter.

Blending the dry ingredients with cold butter in the food processor makes the mixture mealy. This is the key because when the scone then goes into the oven those tiny balls of butter will release and create nice pockets of air.

Whenever you use dried fruit in a baked good be sure to soak the fruit to plump it up. I soaked my dried cranberries in hot water and a few drops of orange oil for about five minutes. Drain the fruit completely once it has plumped. I used Boyajian Pure Orange Oil, it is not an extract, it adds an intense flavor explosion that you will not get by using an extract. If you can find Orange oil in your grocery, pick it up, it is worth the money!

Mix the wet ingredients in by hand, just until combined.

Toss the sticky dough onto a floured work surface and knead a few times.

At this point you can choose to shape your scone into a large circle and cut into wedges or use a biscuit cutter and make round scones. I prefer round scones!

My scones were on the thin side, but you can easily make them thicker by not stretching the dough as much.

For thicker scones just add a little more baking time.

This recipe can make 24 thinner round scones, 12 thicker round scones, or 8 wedges.

I tagged these both 15% and 85% because if you eat just two thinner scones you can stay within the 85%. But if like me you want to eat 4, then you move into the 15%. It’s all about moderation.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Adapted from Currant Scone recipe by Nancy Marr, Central Market Cooking School Instructor

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon of salt 1 stick cold butter, diced

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure orange oil, or zest of one orange

1/2 cup dried cranberries, plumped*

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt in food processor and pulse to combine.
  3.  Add butter and pulse till mixture is mealy but still dry and powdery. Transfer the mixture to medium mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and orange oil together. Use a fork to toss egg mixture into the dry ingredients, tossing until all of the flour is evenly moistened.
  5. Toss dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead dough 3 or 4 times, or until smooth. Pat the dough into a till it is evenly thick. Using a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place cut scones onto prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  6. Place cookie sheets one at a time into preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from oven when scones are golden and firm to touch.

* To plump dried cranberries: place cranberries in a bowl, cover cranberries with hot water, cover bowl with a towel or lid to trap the steam. Soak cranberries for at least 10 minutes, then drain completely.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 Oct

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to bake, and cookies are my specialty! I am always on the lookout for great new cookie ideas, so when I found this recipe post on The Amateur Gourmet blog, it piqued my interest.

I have never made cookies with whole wheat flour before and was very uncertain about how they would turn out.

I have to say that these are the finest chocolate chip cookies I have EVER made!

Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside.

The whole wheat flour adds a nutty and oatmeal flavor to these amazing cookies.

In order for me to keep up with my moderation lifestyle I had to remove these cookies from my home after making them. Because I surely would have eaten all of them in one day!

Knowing my self-control was wavering in the presence of these cookies, I packed them up and took them to work. I was asked for the recipe by almost everyone and was told more than once that they were the best cookie they had ever tasted.

I used Guittard 63% Extra Dark Chocolate Chips, not too sweet but impart an intense rich chocolate taste.

Look at all the grainy goodness!!

These cookies are perfection.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cookies

adapted from Kim Boyce’s “Good To The Grain”

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (fine)

16 tablespoons ( 2 sticks ) cold salted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup evaporated cane juice or white superfine sugar

2 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Fleur de Sel for sprinkling, if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix lightly with fork.
  3. Combine butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Beat on low-speed for about two minutes, until just blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing till incorporated and vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture slowly and beat till JUST combined. Stop to scrape down bowl.
  5. Add chocolate chips and fold in by hand.
  6. Scoop dough onto prepared pans, leaving 2 inches between each. Sprinkle with fleur de sel if desired.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Cookies will be golden on the edges. Move to wire cooling rack.