Friday, September 30, 2011

Cookies and Cream Brownies

It's been at least a week since I added any Oreos to anything so I decided while making brownies that I should give them an Oreo infusion. I'm not sure if they were more brownies with Oreos or Oreos with a brownie binder but at any rate they were delicious. I topped them with some cream cheese frosting that I had sitting in the fridge but I think I would have liked a vanilla drizzle better. Or, maybe I should have just thinned the cream cheese down so it wasn't so thick....next time right?

I just used a boxed mix because I've honestly not found a brownie recipe that can beat Betty Crocker. Add an extra egg and you're golden.

Cookies and Cream Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker brownie mix (13x9 recipe size)
2 1/2 c. crushed Oreos
frosting of your choice if desired.

Mix the brownie mix together according to package directions using 3 eggs.

Crush the Oreos and mix them into the batter well.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 28 min at 350 degrees.

Let cool completely. Add a frosting drizzle if you like. It's good both ways.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dorm Room Fudge


I have to be honest, I've never actually lived in a dorm. My sisters all did and from what I can remember, cause let's be real that was a long time ago, the amenities are pretty sparse as far as kitchens go. That said, most college students have access to a microwave so even they could make this fudge. And it really is that easy. I kid you not.

Randy came home last week and out of the blue requested fudge. I looked at him and thought...."OK, random much?" but decided to humor him and throw some fudge together yesterday after work. This came together really easily, almost too easily if you are concerned about your weight. It was seriously a dump, microwave and stir kind of deal and it is YUM. Smooth and silky texture, rich flavor, no weird granulated sugar. Quite possibly the best basic fudge I've ever made. I can see this with nuts or marshmallows added, this is a great jumping off point to get creative. Or, it's good just like this, pure, chocolatey goodness. 

Dorm Room Fudge
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 T. Butter
1 T. cream (I used milk)
  1. Place chips and milk in microwave safe bowl. (You can use just the one package of semisweet chocolate chips, or add the milk chocolate chips for a fudge that is slightly sweeter and creamier.) 
  2. Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Microwave, stirring at 1 minutes intervals, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in butter and cream until combined. 
  3. Pour into greased 8" square pan and cool. You can also melt the chips and milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meatloaf a'la Jiggle

Everyone has a meatloaf recipe that is supposedly the best. Mom, Grandma, Aunt Louise, they all swear theirs in the best. I've tried many and am not convinced that any one is significantly better than another. It really all boils down to your own taste and that of your family. My family won't eat it if they can see oats in it and they don't like the texture of crumbled bread. If I add carrots in an effort to up the healthy it's just understood that I will be eating the whole thing by myself. Not always a bad solution but maybe more meatloaf than I really need...

This version is super easy and tastes like steak. That probably has something to do with the generous amount of A1 that I dump in and I'm totally ok with that. My family likes it and that's the important part right?

Meatloaf a'la Jiggle
serves 6 (4 if you are feeding starving boys)

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 c. milk
2/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs (crushed Ritz crackers would be good too)
3 T. yellow mustard
1/4 c. A1 steak sauce
2 T (ish) Canadian Steak seasoning

1. Mix all ingredients with ground beef in a large bowl. Don't over mix, just kind of smoosh it altogether until it's mixed.
2. Turn into a 9x9 baking dish and loosely shape into a loaf.
3. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes. At this point you can add a ketchup or BBQ sauce to the top if you like. Bake another 15 minutes.
4. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fan Cut Spuds

With Mr. Jiggle in India we've kind of slacked on the cooking. I know I've said that in previous posts but seriously, we've all lost weight. Now why can't that happen and still eat good treats and dinner?? If someone knows the secret please let me know cause I'm still looking for the "silver bullet of weight loss".

I saw these potatoes on Rachel Ray a while ago and just kind of stashed them in my "remember for someday in the future" section of my brain. Today in straightening up my kitchen I discovered a bag of forgotten russet potatoes (spuds if you grew up in Southeastern Idaho) that needed to be used immediately if not sooner but didn't want to do baked potatoes and I was too rushed to peel anything. So Fan Cut Potatoes here we come.

Although these take a while to cook the prep is easy and fairly quick. We just cut them, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled them with seasoning salt and pepper. Add a little shredded cheese the last 10 minutes and they are yum. Crispy on the outside and steamy and soft on the inside with the deep flavor that roasting vegetables gives them.

A nice change from baked potatoes!

Fan Cut Spuds
adapted from Rachel Ray

1. Scrub potatoes well.
2. With a sharp knife cut slices partway through the potato about 1/8 inch thick. Don't slice through the bottom.
3. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. I used Johnny's seasoning salt instead. Sam's Club has a giant bottle and it's the best seasoned salt I've tried.
4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on the top and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

I had a family reunion the other day and had every intention of baking some super cute cupcakes to take. Then I tried to chop my finger off with some sewing shears and had to have a tetanus shot. That really cramped my style with the whole fever, finger glued back together on the left side and crippled shot arm on the right side. Stupid scissors anyway! Maybe someday I will learn how to use big girl scissors but that's not any time soon apparently. :)

I still needed something to take to the luncheon so I rummaged through the pantry in a panic. My mom would have frowned on showing up empty handed, a "gently smiled on the outside but you know she's rolling her eyes on the inside" kind of mom frown but the guilt would have killed me...I don't know how she does it. I've obviously not perfected that look because my kids would totally show up without the assigned dish and be alright with it. Maybe what I haven't perfected is that "Aw shucks mom I know I didn't do what you asked but I'm cute and so you love me anyway" look. I'm thinking if I haven't figured that out by now I should just stick with doing what I'm told.

I found some Orzo pasta that I had bought one day thinking I was going to attempt something Greek, I don't even remember what, but it obviously never actually happened. That was intriguing and I had some grape tomatoes in the fridge. I ran out to my neighbor's garden (Hi Alice!!) and "helped" her pick some of her cute orange cherry tomatoes cause I know she likes to share and I was in business. This was a super easy salad. It had a really clean, not too fussy taste and for those at my house that don't care for Italian dressings this was a good alternative. B doctored hers up with Salad Seasoning when she ate it at home and it was good that way as well. Definitely a do again!!

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad
Serves 10

1/2 box Orzo pasta cooked to al dente.
1 pt grape tomatoes, halved
1 pt orange cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, diced
2 T. chopped fresh oregano
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
Black Pepper
1 c. Feta cheese

1. Cook pasta and drain well.
2. Add tomatoes and cucumber and mix.
3. In a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, oil and pepper to taste.
4. Drizzle over the pasta and mix in gently.
5. Just before serving fold the cheese into the salad.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Zesty Lemon Salad Dressing

Have you ever eaten a particular food so often that you finally get to where you just can't make yourself gag it down any more? That's kind of where I'm at with salads. I did that diet a couple of years ago that you eat lettuce until you are sure you are going to sprout bunny ears and start to hop and I honestly can't force myself to eat green salad now. Part of that is I got used to having only vinegar on it instead of gloppy salad dressing but who am I kidding...I'm not going to only eat vinegar unless there's some kind of guaranteed, ginormous weight loss payoff involved and at the rate I consume treats weight loss is not anywhere on my horizon. So, I've kind of gotten into the habit of eating salads that are mainly spring greens or spinach and trying different combinations for homemade salad dressing. It just takes a minute to whip up and there is just no comparison to that goop in a bottle. I may never go back. Remind me to post the strawberry vinaigrette that I concocted a few weeks ago. Yum!

This lemon based dressing came from thesisterscafe.com. I'm pretty sure that I'm their biggest fan, I've praised their blog several times before and I'm sure it will happen again. I didn't fiddle with their formula much at all and it was great. I would maybe double it if you are taking salad to a potluck or something that you needed a bigger version for. And, I'm not a big "dress the whole salad" fan as there are too many people in my family that don't like the same dressing so I just drizzled a little on after plating my salad. I'm sure the end result was the same.

The salad was we ate it on was baby spinach, sliced strawberries, toasted almond slivers and a little bit of feta cheese. Again, we let everyone do their own here so that they can leave the undesired components off if they want. Cuz, you know, I'm a cool mom like that. :0)

Zesty Lemon Salad Dressing
adapted from www.thesisterscafe.com

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 T.)
3 T. sugar
1 T. Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 Tish)
Pepper to taste
1/4 c. light olive oil

In a blender mix all ingredients until well blended and sugar is dissolved. Drizzle onto salad just before serving.