Monday, August 4, 2014

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies are a favorite around our house, especially when they are as big and delicious as these.  I made this recipe a couple years ago as a thank you gift for someone and my husband ooooed and awwwwed over them and maybe even drooled a little.  I let him taste test one to make sure they were as good as they smelled, and he has been begging me to make them for him ever since.  Fast forward two years and I finally did make him these for Father's Day.  They are a little bit of work, and they do take a little time as you need to refrigerate the dough for a day or two before baking but they are worth it!  
They really make a beautiful gift to give as a thank you, a birthday, or just because.
I packaged a few of these up to thank a friend of mine who helped me with designing flower beds and she loved them as much as my husband.
They are so amazingly good.  The recipe originally came The New York Times but I stumbled upon it via Lick the Bowl Good.

Let's get started!

NYT Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8.5 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cup (8.5 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs, at least 60% cacao content.  I prefer Ghiradelli baking chips and I used one bag of bittersweet chips and one bag of semi-sweet chips. 


Directions:
It is important that you weigh your dry ingredients for this recipe.  It really ensures your amounts are precise. If you don't have a kitchen scale, I recommend this one.  It is easy to use and comes in several colors. I use it daily for measuring my portions and tracking my food, as well as measuring servings for my son who is diabetic. 
Sift your flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
Measure out your butter and sugars.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.
It should look like this.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, about 5-10 seconds.
Add the chocolate chips.
Incorporate them without breaking them. 
Now your dough is ready to go hang out in the fridge.
Divide into two round discs and wrap well in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours (or up to 72 hours).
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.  Divide your dough into 3 1/2 ounce portions.  Again, your kitchen scale comes in handy here. 
Take your measured 3 1/2 oz dough and shape into a ball using the palms of your hands.
Because these are so big, you can only fit 6 at a time on a baking sheet.  Bake for 18 minutes, until golden but still soft.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool for another 10 minutes.
Continue with the remaining dough until you have measured, shaped and baked them all!
They are a piece of beauty.
Seriously, these cookies are bakery quality.
Did I mention they taste delicious?  I wish I had one right now.
So so good.
Eat, enjoy, or share.
Don't let the extra steps scare you from trying these cookies.
I promise, they are worth the effort!  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zucchini Recipe Round Up

This is my favorite time of year - when the zucchini starts growing out of control in my garden and I try to cook it in as many ways as I can come up with.  Thankfully, I have quite a few recipes using zucchini already posted on the blog so I am sharing them with you here in one post in case you have zucchini in abundance!

Crispy Baked Zucchini Sticks - one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini.  These are a healthy alternative to the pan fried zucchini sticks but still have that crispy outside.


Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake - casserole style dish that can be customized to your liking, using your favorite herbs and cheese.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - one of my most popular recipes, featured on Cooking Channel TV's blog!  Makes 3 loaves.

Fried Zucchini Rounds with Aioli Sauce - a great appetizer, snack or side dish to accompany dinner.  Your kids will love zucchini served this way.

Grilled Prosciutto Zucchini Sticks - a grown up way to serve zucchini.  The grilled prosciutto is a wonderful pairing to zucchini.


Cowboy Hash - a one dish dinner featuring zucchini, squash, tomatoes, ground beef and rice.  This dish can be made ahead.

Lemon Sage Marinade and Chicken Zucchini Kabobs - a fresh and flavorful way to enjoy zucchini along side chicken.  


I know there are several more great zucchini recipes out there but I hope you enjoy trying some of my  favorite recipes.  Happy Summer!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Moroccan Chicken with Citrus Carrot and Raisin Slaw

Last night for dinner I made a fabulous grilled Moroccan Chicken with a Carrot & Raisin slaw, dressed with an orange vinaigrette.  We chowed it down, even my 8 year old son.  It was easy to make, full of flavor and GOOD for you!  My friend Bekki told me about this recipe, which comes from Once Upon a Chef.
My camera broke a few months ago so I'm limited with pictures unless I use my phone, which is why I haven't blogged much at all this past year.  This dinner was too good not to share though, so despite the lack of step by step pictures please give it a try and see if you agree.  FYI, this dish is not hot or spicy, so your kiddos will like it too.

Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:
1. Slice chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, to make thin chicken cutlets.  You can also pound chicken breasts into 1/2 inch thickness.  Place chicken cutlets into a large ziplock bag.
2. Mix the olive oil, garlic and spices together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour the marinade over the chicken in the ziplock bag.
3. Place ziplock bag for at least 4 hours, the longer the better.
4. Grill chicken on outside grill, or inside on a grill pan, for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Do not overcook the chicken!
5. Serve with Citrus Carrot & Raisin Slaw and enjoy!

Citrus Carrot & Raisin Slaw
recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:
1 bag (10 oz) shredded carrots
1/3 cup raisins (or cranberries)
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup toasted walnuts (optional)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of one orange
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, from one orange
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar instead)
1-2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, mix shredded carrots, raisins, scallions and parsley (and walnuts, if using).
2. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small jar and shake until well combined.
3. Pour over the carrot slaw and let the flavors meld together for 15 to 30 minutes before serving for best flavor.

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

    Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas are one of my new go to dinners when I need something easy, fast and healthy.
     
    I love that it is a one pan dinner and that you can prep everything that morning and then just throw it in the pan and cook it that night.  Everyone in my family enjoys this meal too, which isn't always the case.  I did make a couple changes from the original recipe found here since the canned Rotel tomatoes they called for make the dish too soupy and too spicy for my kids.
    Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas
    recipe adapted slightly from Real Mom Kitchen
    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless all natural chicken
    2 bell peppers, any color
    1/2 - 1 medium sweet yellow onion
    1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
    2-3 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp taco or chili seasoning (I used homemade - click here for recipe)
    Optional toppings: tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado
     
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    Slice your chicken into thin strips and place in a large glass pan.
    Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the chicken.
    Sprinkle your taco or chili seasoning over the chicken.
    Use a pair of tongs to coat the chicken strips completely with the olive oil and seasoning.
    Add your sliced peppers, onions and tomatoes to the pan.
    Mix well, using the oil in the pan to help coat the veggies.
    Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.
    Serve with desired toppings - I like cheese.
    My kids liked these in tortillas, which I warmed slightly over a open flame on my gas stove.
     
    Enjoy!

    Friday, August 30, 2013

    Greek Chicken Salad

    I love eating salads in the summatime when all the cukes and tomatoes are ripe for the pickin' in my garden.  But we had flooding in our side yard this summer and I lost my sweet little garden.  It was sad, but I was so grateful the damage was minimal to our yard and basement.  It could have been worse.
    This salad is a great to make anytime of year because you use English cucumbers (the ones that you don't have to peel) and little grape tomatoes which are always available.
    This grilled chicken salad was inspired and the recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.  They did a pasta Greek salad but I wanted to make it more clean, so I switched it up a bit.  Our Best Bites has great salad dressing recipes, and this Greek dressing is delish.  It is white and creamy from the feta and coats the chicken and veggies well.
    Greek Chicken Salad
    recipe adapted from Our Best Bites
     
    Ingredients:
    1 lb chicken breasts, cut into thinner cutlets
    1/2 lemon
    grill seasoning
    1 English cucumber, with a couple strips peeled for show, and sliced down the middle and the seeds scooped out
    1 cup grape tomatoes
    1 cup of quartered artichoke hearts (I buy the cans of hearts in water, but you can use the marinated ones or frozen ones if you want)
    1/4 - 1/3 cup feta cheese, cut into chunks
    1/2 cup Kalamata olives
    1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
    Dressing:
    1/4 cup feta cheese
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    1/2 cup light olive oil (or canola oil)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
     
    Directions:
    Slice your chicken in half, making thinner cutlets.  Season with lemon juice and sprinkle with grill seasoning. 
    Grill on outdoor grill, or inside on a grill pan, until cooked through.  While the chicken is cooking, mix together all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
    Make your dressing by mixing your dressing ingredients together in a mini food processor or blender.
    I have a ninja pulse blender that I love.  It has single size serving cups that you can blend right in - perfect for making salad dressings.
    Pour the dressing over the salad, making sure to fully coat everything.  You may not need the entire amount.
    Once your chicken is cooked, place on a cutting board to cool slightly.
    Slice the chicken into thin strips, and then add to the salad.
    The dressing really pumps up the flavor value in this dish.  Doesn't that look great?  My husband and I loved it.
    This salad was a great summer dinner, but really you can make it anytime of year with all these ingredients available year round.
    Enjoy!

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