Thursday, January 16, 2014

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Does your Valentine love chocolate and peanut butter? Mine sure does! This time I've decided to look beyond the Reese's.


 Before I had my daughter, I baked a lot in my spare time. *Somehow* the baking has really slowed down in these last 4 years. I wanted an easy cookie recipe for this post and remembered these that used to get such rave reviews. All I did was toss some milk chocolate chips into my peanut butter cookie dough!

Mind blown.

I use the same Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom did when I was little. From 1974. That Betty Crocker can cook, and thanks to her (and my mom), so can I. This is where the recipe for my peanut butter cookies
comes from.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 egg
1 1/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Combine sugars, peanut butter, and shortening till light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Mix flour, soda, powder, and salt in separate bowl, then stir into sugar mixture till you have a nice dough. Finally, add milk chocolate chips, stir by hand till they're all mixed in.

Roll a rounded tablespoon of dough into a ball, place on cookie sheet and flatten by hand or you can use a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Place cookies 3 inches apart, they will spread a little more. Bake for 10-14 minutes, closer to 10 if you like a softer cookie, or closer to 14 if you prefer more crunch. (I like the ones that are a bit more crunchy.)

Cookie gifts are fun to give and receive! You can stack a few cookies and tie with baker's twine, you can add some to a goodie bag and make a cute tag from scrapbook paper, or place them on a a plate with a heart shaped doily. How will you give these to your sweetie?



Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone and for me, there's always a little bit of sadness because I never quite capture it like I want to.  We moved the weekend before Thanksgiving and while we moved into a beautiful new home, it was still a stressful time!  We are finally starting to feel settled and as our pictures are being hung and meals are being prepared in our kitchen instead of being served out of a greasy paper bag, it's finally feeling like home.

I think my favorite room in our new house is the kitchen.  There's an ISLAND.  I've never had an island before!  I'm loving it.  Another thing I love is our gas stove.  No more impossible to clean glass cooktop, uneven heating, and random shutting off!  I'm in love, I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it! 

On tonight's menu is our favorite soup.  

Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Soup sure warms the soul on these cold winter nights.  I found this recipe many years ago on Allrecipes.  The great thing about this recipe is that it's versatile, you can add whatever you want to it and adjust the heat to your liking.


It's amazingly delicious!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 T. vegetable oil (you can sub chicken broth for this)
8- 6 in. corn tortillas, coarsely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1- 29oz can diced tomatoes
2 T. ground cumin
1 T. chili powder
6 cups chicken broth (1 and a half cartons)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
5 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I like to use a rotisserie chicken, about 2 cups shredded.)

Heat oil in a large stockpot.  Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro and onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves and chicken broth.  Return to boil, reduce heat to medium and add salt and cayenne.  Simmer for 30 minutes, remove bay leaves.  Stir in chicken. Heat through and serve.

Top with sour cream, cheese, broken tortilla chips, and more cilantro if desired.