Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The fall and winter really awaken my desire to bake! I think chocolate and peanut butter are an excellent combination in desserts and usually a big crowd pleaser. I tend to make peanut butter-chocolate kiss cookies the most but wanted to try something new. These were great because you get nice big chunks of chocolate in addition to your peanut butter taste.

My one piece of advice is that your dough consistency may turn out differently depending on the type of peanut butter you use. My dough was a little oily, probably because I used a natural peanut butter that usually separates from its oils. If you used something like Skippy, it may turn out better.

This recipe is from Home Cooking Adventure and I’ve pasted below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 oz semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
  3. In a separate large bowl, add peanut butter, butter, sugar and dark brown sugar. Mix well with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly add in dry ingredients, in increments, to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, drop cookie dough on a baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart.
  8. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar, press down each cookie to flatten it slightly.
  9. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pan-Seared Chicken with Roasted Squash and Apple

As a wedding gift, my husband and I received a month long Blue Apron subscription. It’s a little expensive but super convenient, since it gives you the exact ingredients you need and a recipe. It’s been fun because we cook things we wouldn’t have cooked otherwise, but there were only a few recipes I would want to try again on my own. Still debating if we’ll continue with a subscription.

This recipe with chicken, squash and apples was really delicious and easy to make! Plus all the ingredients seem easy to find. The sage-brown butter sauce with almonds was really delicious. A perfect meal for fall.

The website has more detail but I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience. Also, please note this was intended for 2 people only, so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 gala apple, medium diced
  • 1 honeynut squash, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, medium diced
  • 1 bunch of sage, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Place squash and potato on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss to coat and spread in an even, single layer. Roast for 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Add apple and shallot to the sheet pan of vegetables. Stir to combine and roast for another 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. While vegetables are roasting, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add chicken, skin side down, and cover loosely with foil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until brown and cooked through.
  8. Remove chicken from pan, leaving behind any browned bits.
  9. Add butter to pan and heat on medium-high until melted. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until deep golden brown and fragrant.
  10. Add the sage, almonds and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, up to 1 minute. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Split the vegetables and chicken between your dishes. Top with a few spoonfuls of the sage-brown butter sauce.

 

Orange Cranberry Cookies

I’m a big fan of the orange and cranberry flavor combination and these cookies capture it perfectly! With the glaze, they almost remind me of scones, especially since they are soft. I found this recipe on My Baking Addition and it was pretty easy to put together. (Except chopping cranberries took longer than I thought …) A perfect recipe for the upcoming holiday season, too. (Thanksgiving cookies?)

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience but the actual blog post has a lot of great pictures and tips too.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • orange zest, from one large orange
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a separate large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, light brown sugar and orange zest. Use fingers to mix well.
  4. Add sugar mixture to the butter and mix for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Beat in egg, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of orange juice. Mix until combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients slowly, in increments, and mix well after each addition.
  7. Carefully fold in the cranberries.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool on sheets for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  12. When completely cool, make glaze by mixing 3 tbsp orange juice and confectioners sugar. Add more sugar to make it more thick, if needed.
  13. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies. Allow it to stand until set.

Chicken and Dumplings

I had Chicken and Dumplings for the first time when I went to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival and always wanted to try my own. I found this recipe from Rachael Ray that is not only yummy but easy to put together on a weeknight. It’s thick and hearty and perfect for the chilly fall nights we have right now.

One problem I had was finding biscuit mix; my local grocery stores did not have them! Instead, I bought Bisquick mix and added as much water as they said on the package in order to make biscuits. It turned out great. I also find that using chicken breast tenders (instead of chicken breasts) really makes a big difference. My husband bought just chicken breasts by accident once and the chicken got really tough. Meanwhile, the tenders were perfect.

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth (I used stock)
  • 1 cup biscuit mix (like Jiffy or Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice chicken breast tenders into bite sized pieces.
  2. Put a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
  4. Add flour to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Stir in broth or stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add chicken to broth and stir.
  7. Place biscuit mix in a bowl and combine with water and parsley.
  8. Drop 1 tbsp balls of dough into the pot, spaced evenly.
  9. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove cover and stir to thicken. Stir in peas.

Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

I love easy dinners, especially ones involving pasta! I found this recipe from Little Broken and it was perfect. It’s pretty easy to make and the chicken meatballs turn out really moist and delicious.

I did end up modifying it a little bit. I doubled everything except for the amount of pasta, which resulted in a solid 4-5 servings. I think if I would’ve stuck to the original, it would’ve been a good dish for 2 people, but then I would have ingredient leftovers. By doubling it, I was able to use everything I bought from the store.

Also, since the meatball mix was very moist, I used ice cream scoop to form my meatballs, but they didn’t hold their shape well and ended up with flat bottoms. I broiled them for 6-7 minutes because they didn’t seem remotely cooked at the 3-4 minute mark, like the recipe advises.

I’ve pasted the recipe below the way I made it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh is better but I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 – 1/2 reserved pasta water
  • 1 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls/pearls (or you can dice fresh mozzarella)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
  3. Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
  4. Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
  6. Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
  7. Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
  10. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  12. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki over Rice

I’ve mentioned previously how to make a vegetable stir fry featuring teriyaki sauce, but sometimes you want some protein too. It’s a similar recipe, except that I cook the chicken and vegetables separately, and then combine then with some warmed up sauce. I don’t have a real grill at home, just a small George Foreman grill, so keep that in mind if you try this at home!

This can be made using whatever vegetables you want; I’ve just included the ones I like the most. You can add as much or as little sauce as you like and you can also replace the rice with noodles or quinoa or your favorite starch. (I should try my veggie spiralizer to make noodles for this …)

I’ve adapted this from the Cooking Classy recipe, but I’ve changed parts of it to suit my tastes. Personally, I find using teriyaki sauce from the grocery store that is already slightly thick is better than making teriyaki sauce from scratch. I also like to mix in a few other things.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, diced
  • 3/4 – 1 cup teriyaki sauce (I like to mix two parts island teriyaki with one part light soy sauce, with some hot chili sauce for a kick)
  • Cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker!)
  2. Brush about 1 tbsp olive oil onto your chicken breasts and, if necessary, onto your grill.
  3. Season the chicken with pepper.
  4. Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  5. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then dice into cubes.
  6. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add all vegetables and garlic. Saute 4-5 minutes until tender.
  8. While vegetables are cooking, heat up sauce in a small saucepan and let thicken slightly. (If necessary, you can add corn starch for more thickness)
  9. Turn off the heat. Add cubed chicken and sauce to the saute pan and combine.
  10. Serve over bowls of rice.

 

Tomato Basil Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese & Asparagus

I wanted to try out more “spiralized” vegetable recipes so I went to the Inspiralized website to research. They had a surprising variety of recipes but the most common zucchini recipes were “pasta” ones with tomato sauce. This one with goat cheese and asparagus seemed interesting, so I gave it try.

In the end, we liked it; the goat cheese gave it a nice flavor and the asparagus was a nice touch. However, shaving asparagus was really hard, so I think next time I would just cut bigger asparagus chunks. Also, the can of diced tomatoes I bought didn’t have that much juice, so my sauce was not as liquid and more chunky than I wanted. (However, the moisture from the zucchini helped a little) If you’re sauce is already thinner, you may want to remove moisture from the zucchini before cooking.

Since the meal was low calorie, I bought a fresh loaf of bread to make some garlic bread on the side. I posted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onions, diced
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes with juices
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 large asparagus spears
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • red pepper flakes, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  5. While the sauce cooks, shave the asparagus and and spiralize the zucchini. You can choose to include the asparagus tips or not.
  6. Once the sauce is done, cook the zucchini and asparagus in a separate skillet for 2-3 minutes, until al dente.
  7. Add basil to the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute.
  8. Remove sauce from heat and stir in goat cheese.
  9. Add the noodles to the pan with the sauce and toss.
  10. Serve and top with goat cheese, basil and red pepper flakes to garnish.