Wednesday, January 28, 2009


1/2 cup butter (112 grams)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 egg
2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon Sugar mix:
3/4 cup sugar
2-3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cream the butter until it is soft, smooth and light.  Add the sugars to the creamed butter and mix until they are fully incorporated and lighter in color.  Then add the salt and mix well.  Stirring vigorously, add the egg to the mixture and beat until the batter is uniform.  
In another bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and baking soda.  Then fold the dry ingredients slowly into the wet mixture.  Once the batter is smooth, spoon out a ball of dough and plop them into the cinnamon mix.  Place the dough balls about 3 inches apart, flatten the top and sprinkle on a little more of the cinnamon-sugar mix.  
Bake for about 7-9 minutes, or until the edges are brown while the middle is still blonde.  
Best fresh out of the oven.  Makes about 24 cookies.    

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Shrimp (aka Penne a la Betsy)

from Pioneer Woman Cooks

If you have never ventured over to the Pioneer Woman website, it is really worth a look.  A blog about her life on the ranch she has great recipes with step by step instructions and witty commentary.  This dish is one of hers, and it's delicious and hard to mess up.    

1 lb shrimp
3/4 lb short pasta
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (or stock)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp basil
salt & pepper
* I also added 3 diced tomatoes 

Boil pasta in salty water until al dente.  Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 lb of shrimp.  Heat 1 Tbsp butter and olive oil in a skillet, add the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes until just opaque.  Do not overcook them.  Set aside to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Once they have softened, add 1/2 cup of wine (or stock)  stirring occasionally for several minutes.  In the meantime, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails.  Chop them into small bite sized pieces and set aside.  

Pour tomato sauce in the wine mixture and stir until combined.  Then add 1 cup heavy cream.  Stir frequently and turn the heat down to low.  Add herbs and finally the shrimp back into the mixture.  Once combined, pour atop the pasta and mix it in.  Serve immediately.   

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Taco Soup

from a Relief Society program

This soup is so easy and you can add or substitute many of the ingredients depending on your preferences and what you have on hand.  It's a perfect meal when you don't have much time, plus it's a great way to use food storage.  

2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef 
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup corn, drained
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 14 oz  can Mexican style tomatoes
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 packet ranch dressing mix (optional)
1-2 chili peppers (optional, if you want some heat)
corn chips
sour cream

In the bottom of your soup pot, brown the ground beef, garlic and onion.  Drain excess fat, and add tomato juice, canned tomatoes, beans, corn, seasonings and simmer on low heat for about an hour.  Serve with a side of corn tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pasta with Olive Tapenade

adapted from Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater

Ben loves olives, and lately I have been looking for recipes that use them. This one was great, and easily adaptable. I added tomatoes and garlic, and sprinkled a little feta on top but you could just as easily do without. We liked the strong flavor, but agreed that this may not be kid friendly food...

1/2 lb pasta (The recipe calls for long pasta, like spaghetti. I just used what I had.)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp diced kalamata olives
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
2-3 tomatoes, diced
Crumbled feta (garnish)

Boil salty water and cook the pasta until al dente. Saute onions and garlic in a glug of olive oil, add capers, olives, and spices and pour hot mixture into drained pasta. Top pasta mixture with diced tomatoes and feta, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bran Muffins err... Bran Bread

I grew up with my mom's amazing Bran muffins, but her recipe requires a food processor (something I don't have at the moment) so I rooted around for a recipe that would be easier to prepare, healthy, and still pack a flavorful punch.  I found this recipe, baked it as a loaf (I don't have muffin tins either...) and it turned out lovely.  

2 cups bran cereal
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups flour (whole or white)
1/2 cup honey (or sugar)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large banana, mashed

Feel free to add raisins, nuts or other berries if desired.  As you can tell, you can make this recipe as healthy as you want depending on the ingredients that you choose.  

Preheat oven to 400 (350 if you are baking a loaf).  In a larch mixing bowl, combine bran cereal and milk.  Let stand for a few minutes to soften the cereal.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a small bowl and set aside.  Turn back to the cereal mixture and mix in the egg and oil, beating well.  Mash the banana and add it to the wet mixture.  Stir in flour mixture and pour the batter into a prepared muffin tin or bread loaf.  
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 or until golden brown (for muffins)
Bake for 50 minutes at 350 or until golden brown (for bread)

Best served warm, with butter.  Enjoy!