Bread (7) Buns (1) Cheese (1) Christmas (7) Comfort (8) Cookies (7) Crock Pot (1) Dessert (13) Easy (13) Entrees (4) Fast (9) Fruit (7) Healthy (3) Italian (4) Muffins (4) Not-so-healthy (8) Pastry (2) Pub food (1) Pumpkin (2) Savoury (1) Scones (2) Slow Cooker (1) Soup (3)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This has been my favourite cookie recipe since I was about six years old. These cookies are chewy and soft and yummy and almost healthy because of the oats. You can read my roommate's description of them here at Breakfast Monkey... just in case you don't believe me that they're yummy.  She totally did beg me to make these multiple times a month, whenever we were supposed to be studying.

Beat together:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar (or slightly less, I tend to only fill my cup about 3/4 full)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Add and mix well:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Add and hand-mix:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1.5 cups chocolate chips (I usually use 1 cup chocolate, half cup butterscotch or Reese's or white chocolate chips!)

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Do not let the cookies get brown!  They should come out soft and they will harden when they cool.  This gives them the chewy, melt-in-your mouth texture that is so desirable. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

These were always a favourite growing up. With milk. Or frozen as dough and scooped out piece-by-piece.  The baked cookies just melt in your mouth.

Cream together:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (don't underfill, or you'll end up with very sticky dough)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
Squish with a fork both ways to get the signature look. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Try not to break them when removing them from the pan... but don't beat yourself up about it... it's all the same in the stomach.

Saturday, February 09, 2013


Taken directly from Annie's Eats.  She has a whole-wheat version too, if I remember right, but so far I can't fathom making anything other than these.

These pitas are so easy if you're bumming around the house and can attend the dough occasionally.  Just like Annie said herself - you won't be able to eat store-bought pitas anymore.  Today my husband asked me to make them as a base for pizzas... and then we just ate them plain with Greek salad instead.

  • 3 cups flour, and a little more as needed
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or honey in 1 cup warm water (not too hot!)

Mix the salt and flour together, and add the yeast to the cup of sweet water. Let it foam for 10 minutes if you're not sure if your yeast is still kicking, then add it to the flour mixture.  Mix together and knead for about 10 minutes (this is where I thank the Lord for the KitchenAid stand mixer).  Add a little flour if needed to get rid of the major sticky factor.  The dough should pull away from the sides and be tacky but you should be able to handle it decently without it getting all over your hands. 

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled - probably about 1.5 hours.    

Divide risen dough into 8 portions, shape into balls and let them rest for 20 minutes or so - this will allow them to be pliable. 

Use a rolling pin on a floured surface to shape each ball into a disc, about half an inch thick.  They should be about the diameter of your finished pita.  Place them onto parchment paper or something else non-stick and let them rise, no cover needed, about half an hour.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone inside. 

Once heated, place as many as you can fit (I usually get 4) into the oven for about 3 minutes. They will puff up and should be cooked through - but I usually flip them over for another minute or so just to get markings on both sides. They will still be good, I promise. If you want a very defined pocket inside, don't flip it over.

Enjoy fresh out of the oven with tzatziki sauce.  You will not regret it. 

Thursday, February 07, 2013


I married an Italian... with many relatives that live nearby... and for that I am eternally thankful. Gnocchi are small light bites of pillowy goodness - potato dumplings loaded with cheese and spicy meat sauce. We bought the packaged ones from the store once, but they are nothing like Grandma's.  She, in her unique grumpy-grandma style, refused to teach us how to make it like she learned in Italy.  So, we decided to try it on our own and give her a run for her money. 

This is one of those "by feel" recipes that I normally avoid, but after several successful productions (with rave reviews from even the Italians) I am happy to say that we can add this to our cookbook. 
  • 3 large russet potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 1 egg
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • flour as needed (probably up to 2 cups)

The most important step of the recipe is this: you must put the potatoes through a potato ricer.  When they're cool enough to handle and peel, take portions of the hot potatoes and squish them through.  This will make the finished gnocchi light and fluffy. 

Add the salt, egg, and mix briefly together. Add most of the flour and mix, again briefly.  Do not mix this dough for long - it should come together but not be completely homogeneous.  Add flour until the dough (still warm!) is pliable and doesn't completely stick to your hands. Essentially it has to be enough like a pasta dough that you can roll it out into long snakes. You want to add the minimum amount of flour necessary, as the finished product will be more dense if there is more flour in it. 

Cut the snakes into small pieces and squish halfway with a fork (I find the dough should be sticky enough that it would cling to the fork in an annoying way... so flour the fork to keep this from driving you crazy).  This creates grooves for the pasta sauce and cheese to cling to. Grandma is very good at quickly whipping them off the fork... we will need a lot more practice at this.

Prep a pot of boiling water, well salted, with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking. Cook them like pierogies - drop several into the water, remove right away once they float to the top (this will be 10-30 seconds or so).  Taste to confirm that the dumpling is light and cooked fully through.

Load with cheese - parmesan, friulano, romano - anything white and sharp and tasty.  Add your favourite sauce - we usually take something that's good from a jar or can and add sauteed onions, peppers, and pieces of Italian sausage from a local butcher.

Enjoy with a salad and ciabatta bread.