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snick6 Snickerdoodles, when make correctly, are the best cookie ever. Soft, warm, cinnamin deliciousness. I can’t make it through the mall without buying one, and the homemade version is even better.

I, without shame, stole this recipe from Allrecipes.com

Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

snick1Make dough, blah, blah. Roll balls in cinnamon/sugar mix. Lick fingers. Repeat.

snick3Drop on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Space about 2 inches apart. Really, don’t smoosh them all close. Nothing is worse than cookies that mush together.

snick52I make mine a nice ice-cream scoop size and only bake 8 minutes. Seriously, don’t mess around. 8 minutes, that is it. They won’t look done, but they will be.

Chewy Apple Cookies

apple6Ahhhh. Apple. Cookie. Chewy. Good. These are sort of a gingerbread tasting, spicy cake taste mish-mash of yum and anytime I eat one I feel like a little girl again. That’s always a plus in my book.

The trick for good apple cookies is to saute the apples before adding to dough. Otherwise the apple stays a bit too crisp.
Chewy Apple Cookies

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped apples, plus 2 tbls butter, 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Peel and chop apples, saute in butter and cinnamon until soft, let cool. Cream the shortening and brown sugar together. Mix in the egg and milk.  Add the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, allspice, ground nutmeg. Stir in apples.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees  for 8 to 10 minutes.

appleSaute apples. Try to not eat all the apples before the dough is ready.

apple1Mix dry indredients into wet. No danger of eating the dry ingredients.

apple2Proceed to mix, then sample dough. Taste again to ensure goodness.

apple3Drop onto cookie sheet. I use a plain old ice-cream scoop. Make sure to leave room between balls as these spread a bit.

apple4Peek-a-boo, I see apples. Let cool. Inhale, repeat.

opbc6It’s almost the end of the month which means my pantry is very, very bare. I still need to feed the kids though, so today I committed a mortal sin. You guessed it, I made cookies with shortening.

ACK! I know, I know.

Shockingly, they didn’t suck. I did make the mistake of tasting the batter after creaming the not-butter with the sugars. I might have to scrub my tongue soon.

Chewy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups peanut butter chips

Preheat to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cream sugars and shortening, add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda, salt, mix well. Add oats and peanut butter chips, mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (I use an ice-cream scoop, it’s about a  big tablespoon) onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool before transferring to wire rack.

opbcDough is safe to sample at this point. Do not taste prior to adding the flour. No really, don’t. It isn’t a little reward for your tongue like creamed butter and sugar is. It’s a punishment for not using real butter.

opbc1If, for some really weird reason, you don’t like peanut butter chips, feel free to use raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips or nuts.

opbc21

Did I mention this dough is thick? Don’t use your favorite wood spoon.

opbc3Switch to sturdier spoon. This is what the mixed dough should look like, after removing wood shards.

opbc5Two inches apart. Don’t chill the dough or they won’t spread correctly. Ask me how I know that.

opbc8

Quick, easy and a good way to use up shortening that you don’t know why you bought.

saus3This is probably the easiest dinner I make. Yay for easy and tasty.

This is another recipe that can work for whatever ingredients are on hand. I usually use bratwurst and keilbasa, but any types of sausage will work. I also add bell pepper when I have it, but it’s good without too.

Could food possibly be less demanding?

This is good over rice, pasta, or by itself.


Sausage and Onions

6 links Bratwurst, cut in 1 inch slices
1 link Kielbasa, cut in 1 inch slices
2 to 3 onions, sliced (we really like onions)
1 bell pepper cut in strips
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper

In a deep non-stick skillet heat butter. Add onions, salt, pepper. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced Bratwurst. Cook until browned. Add Kielbasa, red pepper, garlic. Cook on medium heat until Bratwurst is nearly cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Add beef broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook until liquid reduces an makes a gravy, 10-15 minutes.  Serve over buttered pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, or plain.

saus1The sausage is easiest to slice when it’s still partially frozen.

saus11Add Bratwurst to onions and cook until browned

saus6Add broth to pan after sausages have almost cooked through and seasonings have been added

saus4Boil seriously until sauce reduces to a nice thick, juicy gravy of oniony goodness.

saus5I had battery issues, this is the best picture I could get. Serve meat any way you’d like. Tonight I went with Latkes, Brotchen and Sauerkraut. Usually I make warm German potato salad but the kids wanted Latkes, so like a good (hungry) mom I gave in.

nc3First of all, I’d like to apologize to my chicken for exploiting it this way. A poor, naked chicken always looks a little naughty. Or not, could just be me. Moving on now.

This 6-7 ish pound chicken is the base for three upcoming meals. Yay for endless chicken!

The best thing about a roasted chicken is that you can season it 20 different ways and it always tastes yummy.

I prefer fresh rosemary tucked under the skin and inside the cavity, but alas, Winter hath killed my herbs. I need an indoor window garden. Watching my plants croak was my welcome to non-Texas weather.

Some of the leftover chicken will become part of an egg-chicken-onion Naan sandwich thing that my husband learned how to make last time he was in Iraq. The remaining chicken, along with the carcass of my innocent bird, will be turned into Chicken and Barley soup. If I’m really stingy I can probably pull a chicken pot pie from this as well.

Endless Roasted Chicken (Warning: the following recipe is very loose, go with what you like. The key is in the cooking.)

1 huge whole chicken. I try to get one at least 7 pounds
1 med-large onion, cut into wedges
Carrots, cut cork size (however many you’d like)
4 or 5 large potatoes, cut into largish squares
1 cup beef or chicken broth
5-6 garlic cloves, minced, diced, whatever
1 stick butter, sliced into pats
Herbs: again, use what you like, don’t be stingy. (Oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, they all work for me)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Wash chicken and pat dry. Season cavity with salt, pepper, wedge of onion (if I do a Rosemary chicken, I like a wedge of lemon). Rub olive oil over entire chicken, season to your liking. I don’t put salt on the outside because my mom said it dries out the chicken and what mom says goes. Gently slide a finger between the skin and the breast, making a pocket. Insert herbs and 2 pats of butter under skin of each breast. Ignore chicken.

Add potatoes, onions, carrots (and any other vegetables you’d like) to the bottom of a deep roasting pan. Add garlic and broth. Season with same herbs used on chicken. Drop remaining pats of butter randomly, or in a pretty little design if that makes you happy, all over vegetables.

Breast side up, add chicken (on a roasting rack if you have one) to pan.

Cook on 450 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375, and continue roasting for an additional hour to an hour and 40 minutes. The chicken is done when the leg wiggles freely in its joint and when the juices run clear from the thigh when you prick it and from the cavity when you tilt the bird. A thermometer inserted into the lower meaty part of the thigh should register 170°F. I like to cheat and use a chicken with a popper. It makes life easier.

When chicken is done, remove and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to let the juice set. Stir vegetables and return roasting pan (sans chicken) to the oven to crisp up a bit while the chicken rests.

Pig out.

This is probably the most ridiculously least technical recipe I have ever written. This is how I give my girlfriends directions for cooking. No wonder they’re all so happy I started a blog. It forced me to write recipes like a grown up. This is my rebel recipe, but danged if it isn’t awesome, and pretty foolproof to boot.

nc1This is the recipe I have used for years. I always end up with a tender, super juicy and flavorful chicken. At least, that’s what my very smart husband tells me.

cp I killed my dough. I have no idea what happened, it just died. I guess it’s just one of doughs days. (HA! OK, I’m done)

I wanted to make these beautiful cinnamon swirls but something went horribly and terribly wrong.

My dough just sat there. My yeast was good, my rise temp was good, I just got no rise.  Even if a naked stick of butter pranced by, Viagra couldn’t have helped this dough get a good rise. (OK, now I’m really done)

I can’t just throw something out and start all over, especially when I have children to feed and a food budget to stick to, so I needed to come up with something … and quick.

Like any real woman would in a time of emergency, I grabbed my cast iron skillet and oil. When all else fails, fry.

cp52

Here’s my beautiful dough, all sweet and round. Sadly, it’s done rising and looks the exact same as when it went in my very bright bowl.

Hrumph.

cp1

I decided to make faux-churros and rolled a few strips of dough, pinched them off and popped them in hot oil.  After “testing” (code for devouring) the first one, I realized they were a little too thick.

cp2Since I had already pizza wheeled (I told you people, I have no kitchen gadgets and make do. When I use it to cut dough it’s called a dough cutter, so there) the dough and sprinkled it with a little cinnamon and a little sugar I figured I’d just fold it over and make squares.

They look like little ravioli’s. Cute. No reason to make them pretty since they were headed to the fryer and soon to be covered in sugar.

Basic sugar cinnamon mixture in a loaf pan so I could just plop ’em in and swirl them around to coat.

cp41YAY! fried dough!! Cinnamony, sugary, warm fried dough.

cp7And finally, all drizzled with raspberry sauce (fine, it’s melted raspberry preserves, whatev.) I’m sure you could use any dough for these. My attempted dough was just a cinnamon roll base.

nbcSome days you just need chocolate. Quickly. No bake cookies have been around since the beginning of time, and that’s about as long as I’ve been making them. One pan, 20 minutes, no fuss, no effort. Chocolaty goodness. What more can a girl ask for?

There are about a thousand recipes for no bakes, but my favorite os from Ezra Pound Cake. I think it’s my favorite simply because the description is so fun to read.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 to 3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats
2 teaspoons vanilla

Add the first four ingredients into a 4-quart saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute.

Remove from heat.

Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.

Let cool until set.

nbc1Feel free to eat these before they cool, I do. Heck, feel free to eat ’em with a spoon straight from the pan.