Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homemade Slice and Bake Cookies

I don't think I'm alone when I say that I love cookies, and cookie dough, especially when it's easy, but do you ever feel a little dissatisfied eating cookie dough out of a tub? Well maybe not. How about sometimes you're in the mood to make cookie dough but not in the mood to back, or necessarily in the mood for cookie dough. So what do you do with all that cookie dough? Roll it up and save it for a time when you are in the mood for cookies but not in the mood to go through all that trouble.
It's simple!

Step One:
Wait until you're in the mood to make the dough and go for it.
My favorite cookie recipe is the one on the back of the Hershey's chocolate chip bag. In case you don't have a bag handy, you can find the recipe on the web site or just click here. Don't be afraid to mess around with what you put into the cookies, this time I used M&Ms, but my favorite is chocolate chips and pretzel bits! Sweet and salty is oh-so-good!

Step Two:
Put the dough in the refrigerator for an hour or so to make molding easier. Divide the dough in half and sculpt each half into a log like the slice and bake cookies you'd buy from the grocery store (Wegman's if you're lucky)! Wrap each log in a bunch of saran wrap and trow them in the freezer for that not so distant day when you have those cravings for cookies!

Step Three:
Easy. Slice and bake.

Ta-Da! You have cookies!
Simple, fun and easy.
Let me know what you like to mix in your cookie!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Delicious Chicken Tenders and Apartment Pictures

So those cookies I said I was making... apparently the meeting isn't until next week so I'll post that later, but for now I thought I'd share with you a recipe for one of my new favorite dinners and finally show you what I've done with my little apartment!
As for the recipe it is for delicious spicy basil chicken tenders which are easier and more fun to make than you're think! There's also a recipe for a basil dipping sauce for said chicken tenders.
These measurements are not exact, just an estimate, I pretty much just throw in ingredients and hope it turns out well, but hopefully these measurements will help! The recipe makes enough for a very hearty dinner for one.

Spicy Basil Chicken Tenders
5 Chicken tenders
1 cup breadcrumbs (-ish This is probably more than you need but air on the safe side)
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Basil Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F You'll need three bowls for this.
Bowl One: Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Bowl Two: 2 eggs beaten
Bowl Three: Bread crumbs, dried basil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (go light on the cayenne if you don't like spicy food), salt and pepper to taste.
Drench each chicken tender in the flour, move to the egg and roll in the bread crumbs and transfer to a cookie sheet (you may want to cover it in aluminum foil).
Bake tenders for 12-15 minutes, flip once half way through.

Mix all ingredients for dipping sauce and serve with fresh veggies!

Now I've been talking forever about putting up pictures about my weird little apartment and I've been cleaning all day so now I can shamelessly post some! Now I just need to figure out what to do with the blank walls... unfortunately the one big wall is concrete so I can't drill and I don't want to paint that much, if you have any suggestions please share!

Have a great weekend everyone!
You'll hear from me soon!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Tailgating with Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

So this weekend I decided to go home when my mom reminded me that it was that time of year again! Time for the Genesee Valley Hunt, a tribute to the days when fox hunting was the it thing to do, with horse races, the running of the hounds and of course, fancy tailgating! The tailgating competition is something that my mom does every year and has always come home with a ribbon, this year was no different.

Since I was tagging along I decided to contribute to the menu, and what better for a chilly fall tailgate than hot chocolate? Hot chocolate cupcakes that is, with delicious whipped cream frosting!

I cheated a little with the cupcakes because I was short on time, but it would be easy to make them from scratch!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
1 package Vanilla Cake Mix (or vanilla cupcake recipe of your choice, enough for 24 cupcakes)
3/4 cup Rich Chocolaty Ovaltine
2 tablespoons Hot Chocolate
Hint: If you're using a cake mix, make sure to replace the amount of water called for on the box with the same measure of Buttermilk.
Mix together ingredients (This amount of Ovaltine and hot chocolate will make your cupcakes barely chocolate, you may wish to add some unsweetened coco for a more chocolate taste.) Follow baking instructions on box or as called for by your choice of recipe.

This frosting has definitely become my new favorite. I have a lot to improve on but it's a less sweet alternative to butter cream and is increadibly tasty. I need to figure out how to make it thicker and will surely try again, but for now here is how the wonderful hot chocolate topping was made.

Almond Whipped Cream Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar (I used more like 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (imitation is fine, the real stuff is too expensive)
2 cups heavy cream
1 package gelatin powder

Mix together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and almond until smooth. Continue mixing at medium speed and slowly add in cream, occasionally stopping to scrape the bottom. Once all cream has been added and frosting is fluffy and holds a peek, continue to mix while adding the package of gelatin (this will help the whipped cream stiffen)
Frost and enjoy!

As for the tailgate, it looked amazing! You would never know from the pictures that this was all served out of the back of a car! My mom is genius when it comes to presentation. Now maybe you can all understand the incredible amount of pressure I feel being a tad on the uncreative side with a mother who uses pottery tools to carve designs into pumpkins in about 30 seconds flat. Maybe someday I can pull this off on my own, but for now, my mom is creative god.

Here's the Menu:
Tenderloin Sandwiches on a fresh baguette with mock boursin cheese
BLT mini quiches
Beet, pear and goats cheese tart
Mini Carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond whipped cream frosting

We took home 3rd place for best overall food out of about 30 tailgaters! But we're going for 1st place next year!

I think I'm going to make some cookies or something for a water polo meeting on Wednesday so it shouldn't be too long until you hear from me again!
Until then!