Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies
My family turned up their noses when I made these, but they tried them anyway. We had to go out and buy more mints for the next batch.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups 300g all-purpose flour (spoon and level)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups 400g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 85g unsweetened cocoa powder (spoon and level)
  • 3/4 cup 175ml vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 48 Andes or After 8 Mints Chocolates unwrapped (from two packages)
Instructions
  1. nstructions
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment blend together sugar, cocoa powder and vegetable oil until well combined.
  4. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Scrape bowl and fold to ensure it's evenly incorporated.
  6. Scrape dough up the sides of the bowl (this is just a trick I use so it chills faster and more evenly). Freeze 45 - 60 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during the last 15 minutes of dough chilling.
  8. Scoop dough out and shape into 1-inch balls (about 22 grams each). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat spacing them 2-inches apart.
  9. Flatten dough balls about halfway (with greased hands or cup). Bake in preheated oven about 9 - 11 minutes (they should appear slightly under-baked). Meanwhile unwrap chocolates.
  10. Immediately after removing chocolates from oven gently press one Andes Mint into each cookie. Let rest about 5 minutes until softened then spread over cookie.
  11. Chill to set faster or transfer to a wire rack and let set at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

ips for This Recipe
It will seem closer to brownie batter than cookie dough batter, chilling is an absolute must. You can chill overnight in the refrigerator or freeze 45 – 60 minutes.
If you are in higher humidity and tend to have trouble with sticky cookie dough I recommend adding in 3 extra Tbsp of flour so dough is easier to work with you could even try using medium eggs.
Be sure to add the chocolates right after removing cookies from the oven. The warmth of the hot cookies will melt each chocolate making it spreadable.
Cut the recipe if half if you don’t plan on making them for a lot of people.

Chicken with Spinach in Creamy Parmesan Sauce

CHICKEN WITH SPINACH IN CREAMY PARMESAN SAUCE

This became a fast favorite in our family.

Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes drained from oil and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or more if desired
  • 1 large package spinach
Instructions
  1. Thoroughly season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon oregano on both sides.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter with a bit of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until browned. Once done and no longer pink, transfer grilled chicken breasts to a plate and set aside.
  3. To make the creamy spinach parmesan sauce, add the remaining tablespoon butter to the same pan. Cook onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and sun-dried tomatoes. Slowly add chicken broth, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese and mix to combine until smooth while simmering for 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Add spinach to the mixture and continue cooking until wilted. Add the chicken breasts back to the pan and reheat for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

A soup that resembles Chili. High in protein because of the meat and beans.

Ingredients
  • 800 grams Ground beef Fried
  • 1 large Onion Fried with ground beef
  • 1 pkg Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pkg Ranch Salad Dressing Mix (or dip mix) 3 tablespoons
  • 3 cans tomatoes (400g ea) 2 +1 Rotel if you can get it - all undrained
  • 1 can chili beans undrained
  • 1 can white or pinto beans undrained
  • 1 can black beans undrained
  • 1 can kidney beans undrained
  • 2 cans corn undrained
  • 2 cans green chilis, chopped undrained
  • 1/2 can chilis in adobo sauce To taste. None if you've used rotel tomatoes.
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef and onion.

  2. Sprinkle taco seasoning and ranch powder. Mix well.

  3. Add all canned goods - all undrained

  4. Simmer at least 1-2 hours

  5. Taste and add more chilis in adobo if you want it spicier.

Mashed Potatoes

No reason to smother these in gravy, but I do it anyway…..

Mashed Potatoes

Wanting something new, I'm changing a recipe from a former co-worker - a work in progress

Ingredients
  • 1 kg Potatoes
  • 1/2 package Cream Cheese about 4 oz/100 grams
  • 1/2 container Sour Cream about 4 oz/100 ml
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • Heavy/whipping cream As needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsb ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs Chopped chives optional

Paella

This recipe makes me wonder why I ever boil rice in water….

Traditional Spanish Paella
Nourishing, vibrant, and served without pretension, paella has held a place of honor and practicality in Spanish homes for centuries. If mussels aren't your favorite, you can easily substitute littleneck clams in their place--just be sure to thoroughly scrub the clams' shells in cold water before using. To round out the meal, choose a good Spanish red wine from the Rioja region, grab a crusty baguette, and serve with a light salad.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 8 servings
Ingredients
Herb Blend:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
Paella:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 16-ounce cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 unpeeled jumbo shrimp about 1/2 pound
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 skinned boned chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 2 links Spanish chorizo sausage about 6 1/2 ounces or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 4-ounce slice prosciutto or ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 8 mussels scrubbed and debearded - can substitute with shrimp or prawns
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Lemon wedges optional
Instructions
  1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.

  2. To prepare paella, combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage and prosciutto; saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage mixture, and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some mistakes are good, and this recipe proves there’s nothing wrong with change.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are a lot of versions of Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Mine started with the original Tollhouse recipe that got changed by a mistake, and then later brought in some ideas from other recipes.

Author: mikeh
Ingredients
  • 350 grams flour (2.25+ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbs Corn Starch
  • 225 grams Butter (1 cup) softened
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 250 grams packed brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 400 grams Chocolate (whatever type you want) Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 cup chopped nuts Optional
Instructions
Prepare
  1. Preheat oven to 180° C or 350° F

  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt and corn starch in small bowl.

  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 

  5.  Stir in morsels and nuts. 

Use a dark cookie sheet if you use butter
  1. I've made this recipe with Crisco shortening and double-layer/insulated cookie sheets and it worked fine. But when I switch to butter they spread out more, and were much thinner. After a tip to try single layer, dark backing sheet or pan, they went back to normal - the dark pan transferred the heat quicker so that they set properly.

Get Ready to Bake - choose one based on how patient you are
  1. In a hurry?  

    1.  Drop by rounded tablespoon 2-3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

  2. Want a better result?  Are your cookies spreading out too much?

    1.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Now pick up each one and roll it into a nice ball - doesn't have to be perfect.  

    2.  Now place into the refrigerator for about 2 hours so they are all a consistent temperature.

    3.  When 2 or more hours have passed (or you loose your patience), transfer from the refrigerator to new baking sheets and bake at normal temperature and length of time.

    4. You can also freeze the balls in a container or ziploc bag and take them out when you want to use them.

  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

I like preparing a batch at Christmas and then just baking a dozen at a time together with other variations so there are always fresh cookies.  

A variation I haven't tried:

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Preheat oven to 350° F/180° C. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Super Fudgy Five Chocolate Brownies

These are super-fudgey and really good – so good I don’t make them often. Calories really do suck….

Super Fudgy Five Chocolate Brownies

I have to take a picture next time I make these - I can't even find a picture of them on the internet.  These are super-fudgey and really good - so good I don't make them often.  Calories really do suck....

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 CUP Unsalted Butter Cut into tablespoons
  • 1 CUP Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 18 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocalate Chips About 3 cups
  • 2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate Coarsely Chopped
  • 5 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Walnut Halves
Bittersweet chocolate glaze
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 6 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate Coarsely Chopped
Decoration
  • 1 Ounce Milk Chocolate Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 Ounce White Chocolate Coarsely Chopped
Instructions
  1. Make brownies Position a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 Line a 13 x 9 pan with aluminum foil so that foil extends 2 inches beyond the two long sides of pan. Butter bottom and sides of foil-lined pan.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, combine butter and sugars. Over medium heat, stir mixture with a wooden spoon for 5-7 minutes, or until butter is melted.
  3. Place chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade. Process chocolates for 15-20 seconds or until finely chopped. With motor running, pour hot butter mixture through feed tube and process for 15-20 seconds or until chocolate is completely melted, scraping down work bowl as necessary. Add eggs and vanilla and process for 10-15 seconds or until combined. Add flour and salt and process for 5-7 seconds, just until combined, scraping down work bowl as necessary. Add walnut halves and pulse about 10 times to incorporate them into mixture and to chop them slightly.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake brownies for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted 2 away from center comes out slightly moist. Do not overbake brownies.
  5. Cool brownies completely in pan set on a wire rack. Using two ends of foil as handles, lift brownies out of pan. Invert onto a flat plate or cutting board and remove aluminum foil. Reinvert brownies so they are top-side-up. Using a sharp knife, trim sides of brownies so that they are straight and smooth. Place brownies on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Glaze
  1. Make the bittersweet chocolate glaze Do not make the glaze until brownies are cool. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream to a gentle boil. Take pan off heat and add chocolate.. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to melt chocolate. Using a wire whisk, stir chocolate and cream until smooth. Strain glaze through a fine sieve into a small bowl to remove any air bubbles. Coo glaze for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened but still pourable. Pour glaze evenly over brownies allowing glaze to drip down sides onto baking sheet. Spread glaze with a small metal offset cake spatula, making sure that top and sides of brownies are completely covered.
Decoration
  1. Decorate brownies In top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering water, melt milk chocolate, stirring often, until smooth. Transfer milk chocolate to a small paper cone or small plastic bag.
  2. Repeat step 7 using white chocolate.
  3. Cut a 1/16 opening at tip of both paper cones of plastic bags. (Trim plastic bags if they are too big and cumbersome.) Pipe thin straight parallel lines of milk chocolate at 1/2 intervals across top of brownies. Pipe tin straight lines of white chocolate in between lines of milk chocolate. At 3/8 intervals, draw the tip of a toothpick or metal skewer completely across brownies perpendicular to the piped chocolate lines, reversing direction in which you pull toothpick across brownie. Wipe toothpick tip clean between each pull. This will create a feathered design. Refrigerate brownies for 15 minutes, or until glaze is set. Cut into bars.
Recipe Notes

Store brownies in an airtight container at room temperature or in refrigerator. If stored in refrigerator, they will be even more fudgy.

French Onion Soup

I love onions, and especially French Onion soup. Being married to someone who doesn’t like them means that I don’t get to have a dish with a lot of onions in it very often

French Onion Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

I love onions, and especially French Onion soup.  Being married to someone who doesn't like them means that I don't get to have a dish with a lot of onions in it very often, so when I do, I make it good.  This recipe takes time to make, and amazes people when I don't use sugar to carmelize the onions.  It's well worth the extra time.

Course: Soup
Servings: 4
Calories: 223 kcal
Author: mikeh
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 4 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup water
  • 2 Tbs Cognac or Brandy
Instructions
  1. For easiest slicing, first cut onions in half lengthwise, then set cut side down so they don't roll.  Cut into thin slices.

  2. In a Dutch oven or thick bottom pan, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir.

  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until onions are carmelized, about 1 hour 15 minutes in all.

  4. After about 30 minutes of cooking, the onions should be a light golden brown.  If they are not, adjust heat accordingly.  45 minutes later, oinions should be a deep brown.  Dark, carmelized onions are the secret to good onion soup.

  5. Stir flour into onions, bring to a bubble and then cook 2 or 3 minutes.

  6. Slowly sir in stock, water and cognac.

  7. Simmer, partially covered, about 15 minutes to blend flavors.

  8. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

Recipe Notes

Serve with bread and topped with cheese if desired.