Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cookies with Attitude

I've dreamed about these cookies and finally made them this morning. They're really simple and quick and made with one of my favorite ingredients- Nutella. And when you take your first bite, the chocolatey chewiness, crunchy hazelnuts and ooey-gooey marshmallows put you in a place that says, "One is not enough". Plus the recipe works beautifully if you want to make a double batch. And I recommend you do just that.

Nutella Rocky Road Cookies

1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats gound in spice grinder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (I used Splenda)
1 egg
1 tsp hazelnut flavored ground coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup mini marshmallows

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees
In medium size bowl add flours, ground oats, salt and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to incorporate. Set aside.
In large bowl cream butter and sugar with hand mixer about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and ground coffee and mix another minute more. Add Nutella and continue to mix until all ingredients are combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix to incorporate. Now add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips, nuts and marshmallows and combine with a spatula. Form balls out of the batter that are about ping pong ball size. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 9 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, and dig in. You won't be disappointed. This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Fix

When you're pressed for time, and the holiday shopping season seems to be taking over your life (you know it's coming soon) here's a quick little ditty that you can put into your weekly repertoire and make in no time at all. It's my version of Cold Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce. I sometimes eat this dish at night in a big bowl when I'm starving and really want to chow down some carbs, but mostly I wrap a small amount of noodles in lettuce leaves and pack them for travel when I'm on the go in my car. This is one of my go-to-meals when my fridge is almost empty and time is short. I think you'll like this noodle dish because it tastes just like the take-out version.

Asian Inspired Peanut Noodles

4 oz linguini or spaghetti cooked al dente
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 oz snow peas
1/2 cup scallion sliced 1/4 inch

Peanut Dressing
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T hot sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

2 T chopped peanuts (I like the dry roasted)
Cilantro- however much you like- I like about 1/2 cup chopped, or whole leaves

Cook Pasta according to package directions. About one minute before pasta is scheduled to be done add snow peas. Cook another minute. Drain pasta and peas and rinse with cold water. Add red pepper and scallions to cooled pasta mixture.

In separate bowl add all ingredients for the dressing. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over pasta mixture. Toss and place pasta mixture on lettuce leaves if you like, or serve in soup bowls and garnish with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

Here's the re-mix: This one's all about canned items. Make this as vegetable laden and easy as you can by adding canned Chinese mushrooms and sliced baby corn. My cupboard is usually stocked with all sorts of Asian vegetables, but this week I was out of luck. Another addition for this kind of dish is canned bean sprouts. At first I was hesitant about using them (because they were canned and not fresh), but trust me, they are pretty darn fabulous and help you stretch that dollar.

Monday, November 1, 2010

North African Chicken

In my never ending quest to keep things exciting in the kitchen, the other night I took my tastebuds on a trip and made what I'm now calling North African Chicken. I have a collection of miscellaneous, loose recipes that I recently perused, and left a recipe for North African Meatballs on top with the hope that I'd make it before it got lost in the stack again. The thing that intrigued me about this recipe was the combination of ingredients in the sauce.

I've been making a lot of meatballs lately and didn't have any ground meat in reserve. But I did have two chicken breasts and all the other ingredients the recipe called for, so I got down to business and made a flavorful, exotic, low fat dish that simmered on the stove top for 40 minutes. It's another quick, one-pot wonder that I'll definately make again.

I have no idea where the original recipe came from since my copy was handwritten by me, so I can't give anyone credit. I'm thinking it was an internet site where no name was published. Anyway, thank you internet.

North African Chicken

2 tsp canola oil
1 cup onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 lemon zested
12 olives chopped (original recipe called for 1/2 cup) I used Kalamata
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
black pepper
2 chicken breasts, skinned with bones left in
2 cups cooked brown rice (my contribution)

Salt and pepper chicken breasts and set aside. In large saucepan saute onion in oil over medium low heat. You want to sweat the onions and not brown them (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute more. Add lemon zest, olives, cinnamon and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Add white wine and let it reduce for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and water. Add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and sugar. Bring to boil and add seasoned chicken breasts. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook 35 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken, cool slightly and take the meat off the bones. Place chicken pieces back into the sauce and serve.

I added 2 cups of cooked brown rice to my dish and it was delicious. However, I did some research after preparing this, and discovered that couscous is a staple in the North African kitchen, and that would be a wonderful way to soak up the aromatic liquid.