Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie recipe never fails me. It’s so good and never lasts more than a couple days in the cookie jar. Make some with nuts and others without and tell me which ones you prefer.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Credit to Smitten Kitchen again!

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (130 grams) pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C).

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts if you’re including.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

I’ve refrigerated cookie dough balls to cook later (these are delicious freshly baked). They worked out great and just require that you bring them to room temp before baking.

Enjoy!

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Mufaletta Sandwich

This is a great sandwich for parties. The briny olive salad cuts through the rich provolone and fatty salami. And ham, I mean, come on!!

These are French rolls made by Safeway and they’re perfect since they don’t get soggy but aren’t too crunchy. Your belly and the roof of your mouth will thank you.

Party Sandwiches (Mufalettas)

  • Olive salad (see below)
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced salami
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced ham (I like Boarshead)
  • 1/2 lb of sliced provolone
  • 3 packs of Safeway French rolls (4 in each) or other

Olive Salad:

  • 1 cup green pimento olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalmata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers, chopped
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Mix it all together.

Assemble sandwiches with 2 heaping tablespoons of olive salad, 1 piece of provolone, 3 slices of ham and about 6-8 slices of salami.

Cut and serve with a side of giardiniera pickled veggies.

Enjoy!

Best Pesto Potato Salad

Spring is here and my belly wants crisp salads and fragrantly fresh from the garden herbs. Winter is hanging on a bit so this salad is a perfect marriage of comforting potatoes and herby pesto with crisp green beans.

It’s a good pot luck hit too.

Pesto Potato Salad

Smitten Kitchen Recipe – no adaptation

  • 4 pounds small Yukon gold and red-skinned potatoes mixed, halved
  • 1 pound green beans, cut into two-inch segments
  • 1 to 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bunches of basil (about one ounce each)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons (or more to taste) mild vinegar, such as champagne, white wine or a white balsamic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add beans; cook four minutes longer. Drain well and let cool, then transfer potatoes and beans to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, discard the stems from the basil and wash and dry the leaves. Puree them in a food processor with garlic, drizzling in enough olive oil that it gets saucy. Add a handful of pine nuts and Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. [Alternately, you can swap this step with one cup of prepared pesto, but seriously, I think you’ll be missing out.]

Toss the beans and potatoes with pesto. Stir in vinegar, green onions, pine nuts and season with salt, pepper and/or additional vinegar to taste. Finally, shave some wide flecks of parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler.

Serve immediately, or make this up to two hours in advance. It can be stored at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Lemony Lemonade

If your tree is poppin like mine, there’s lots of lemonade in your future. This is the best recipe with the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. It’s definitely a fan favorite and the kids like making it too!

Lemony Lemonade

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 6 cups water

Boil 2 cups water and mix in the sugar until dissolved. Add lemon juice and remaining water. Pop it in the fridge to cool completely. Or if you’re like us, grab a glass loaded with ice and drink some immediately.

Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Alfredo Ziti

The husband loved this dish. I think mostly because it was made of leftovers but totally remade. We had some ziti that was cooked for meat sauce and we had the beer can chicken leftovers. Luckily, we had milk, Parmesan, chicken broth, garlic and some mozzarella too.

I cooked 2 cloves of minced garlic with 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter. Then I added 1 Tbsp of flour and cooked it a bit. Then, I added 1/4 cup of chicken broth and about a cup of milk, a good pinch of salt and a couple shakes of dried oregano. I let it cook until it thickened a bit. I then added freshly grated Parmesan.

In a pie dish, I layered cooked pasta then cooked cubed chicken, then a sprinkling of mozzarella, finished with more cooked pasta and dumped the sauce over all of it. I added a bit more Parmesan and then popped it uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 17 mins.

I let it sit for 10 mins before serving.

You can add other stuff to. I think some red pepper flakes would be good or cooked mushrooms. My kiddos don’t like either so, it was made just as I said above.

Enjoy!

The Best Belgium Waffles

People! The holidays are just on the horizon and that means we can indulge a bit on the sweets and decadent breakfasts. Who am I kidding? We make these monthly.

These waffles are a family favorite. They freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast. You can serve it with fried chicken or cheesy toppings to make it savory.

The trick to making the best waffles is the waffle maker and mix. You can get both at Williams Sonoma. The waffle maker is an investment. Well, shoot so is the mix but it’s sooooo worth it. The waffle maker is the All Clad 2 waffle maker. It’s great and consistent. The mod is the gluten free or regular Willams Sonoma Bellgem Waffle Mix.

Go out and splurge on this set for yourself, your kids or someone who has those little humans running around their house. It’s a great gift.

Notes: I heat the waffle maker to 4. I add an extra tablespoon of butter to the mix (and always let it sit 15mins before cooking). I use a 1/3cup mix for each waffle. I freeze them flat in the freezer and then bag them (otherwise they bend in funny shapes and won’t fit In the toaster).

Happy Waffle Wiggles!!

Honey Cakes

These are typically eaten for the Jewish New Year to insure a sweet new year. I’m a bit late posting because I wanted to see how well they froze. The answer: perfectly! These would be wonderful holiday gifts too especially in the little loaf pans.

Honey Cake

Exact recipe from Smitten Kitchen

    3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
    1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    4 teaspoons (about 8 grams) ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
    1 cup (340 grams) honey
    1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
    3 large eggs at room temperature
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
    1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
    1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. I made mine in one full-size loaf pan plus four miniature ones.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

Freeze once cooled and store for up to 3 months.