Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Espresso

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A friend served these at our playgroup recently and I had to get the recipe. So, so yummy. Rich, chocolatey, soft and yummy. They can be made without the espresso too, if you prefer.

Source: Martha Stewart
prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 12-15 minutes
total time: 32-35 minutes
makes: 18-22 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 4 ounces melted and 4 ounces coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla.
4. Combine espresso powder and melted chocolate; beat into butter mixture. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in chopped chocolate.
5. Drop dough by two heaping tablespoons, 3 inches apart, onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until edges are dry, 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spanish Rice

This dish is super easy to make. I've always been afraid to make Spanish rice (or any rice on the stovetop for that matter... I tend to stick with my rice cooker), but not anymore! I found the recipe in an online search but changed it enough that I am going to claim it as my own :) This recipes make a lot so I recommend either cutting it in half or making the full batch and freezing smaller portions!

Servings: about 8

1 ½ cups rice
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 green onions, cut into ½-inch slices

1. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute. Add dry rice. Stir until rice turns golden brown (about 5 minutes - do not burn!).
2. Slowly stir in broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid - the rice needs to steam!
3. Stir in green onions and simmer 5 minutes more, covered.

This went really well paired with the chipotle marinade below.

Chipotle-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

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Source: Eating Well

1 canned chipotle chile in adobo plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat

1. Combine chipotle and sauce, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor; blend or process until the chipotle is chopped and the mixture is relatively smooth. Pour into a sealable plastic bag, add pork and seal, squeezing out any excess air from the bag. Turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
2. Preheat grill to high or heat a large indoor grill pan over high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade (discard marinade). Grill the pork, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of the meat registers 165° F, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Kitchen Tip:
1. One pork tenderloin typically weighs about 1 pound, enough for 4 servings. You can marinate a whole pound in the same amount of marinade used to marinate the 8 ounces in this recipe and have enough cooked tenderloin for 2 dinners (for 2 people). Or freeze half for up to 3 months
2. Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapeno peppers. They freeze well which is great because most recipes call for just one. I bag them individually (1-2 chiles per bag) with a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. Don't forget to label each bag with the number of chiles. Then place all the bags in one quart-size freezer bag and stick them in your freezer! They thaw very quickly, too.
3. We recently discovered that this marinade tastes great with chicken also.
4. Use half the marinade today, and freeze the other half with pork tenderloin or 2 chicken breasts. Thaw and cook - no need to allow for extra marinating time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

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Source: adapted from several recipes
Yields: about 6 servings

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 packet McCormick's beef stew seasoning
1 potato, diced (or a handful of fingerlings, chopped)
2 medium-sized yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-2 carrots, sliced
add your other favorite root vegetables

If you have a little time to prep:
1. In a small bowl mix together the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. Toss meat to coat.
2. Brown the meat in a little bit of olive oil. Don't cook through, just cook until browned. Transfer to slow cooker.
3. Saute onion and garlic in the same skillet. Transfer to slow cooker. Deglaze skillet with beef broth and Worcestershire. Pour into slow cooker.
4. Stir in the bay leaf, paprika, seasoning packet and vegetables.
5. Cover and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

If you are in a hurry to get out the door...
1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, seasoning packet, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, and vegetables.
2. Cover and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Apple Crisp

I went apple-picking with some friends recently and now have a bag full of apples to get creative with! I made this crisp with Jonagold apples (pictured below) and served it warm with vanilla ice cream on top.

Source: adapted from
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Yields: 6-8 servings

6 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 4-5 apples)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup water

2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x9 inch baking dish. Mix the white sugar, 2 teaspoons flour, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
3. Combine the oats, 2/3 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies have a fluffy, cakelike texture and they taste like fall. Yum!

Source: adapted from
Yields: about 5 dozen

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in.
4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
5. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
6. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, press cookie dough to flatten the cookie.
7. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Apple Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

1 boneless pork tenderloin (about 2 lbs)
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 cups apple cider or apple juice
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
½ cup dried cherries, pits removed
5 tsp cornstarch

1. Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally on tenderloin and brown in frypan with cooking spray, frying for 4-5 minutes per side.
2. Add half apple cider/juice to crock pot, then add one sprig rosemary. Place tenderloin in slow cooker, then remaining rosemary. Cover with cherries.
3. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove roast from slow cooker, wrapping in foil to keep warm.
4. Pour sauce into saucepan, removing cherries and rosemary (use a strainer). Add ¾ cup cider/juice and bring to boil. In a small bowl, combine last ¼ cup cider/juice with cornstarch and slowly add to saucepan. Boil for 1-2 minutes until sauce is thickened. Serve sauce over pork.

Kitchen tip:
Pork tenderloins come 2 in one package. Use one and freeze the other for up to 3 months.