Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roasted Party Dip

My tastebuds came alive when this creamy roasted party dip made an entrance onto my palate. My eyes sparkled with delight from experiencing new combinations of flavor. Scooping up more of this dip with cut veggies and assorted crackers, my mind was racing about with ideas of how many people I could impress with this easy-to-prepare party dip. I could easily purchase all of the ingredients and mix them all together. That is easy entertaining with no fuss.

Purchase from your market:
Roasted red peppers
Roasted eggplant
Hummus of choice
Goat cheese

What you will need:
Kitchen knife
Large spoon
Cutting board
Serving bowl

Preparation of dip:
Cut red peppers and eggplant into small pieces
Break goat cheese into small pieces
Put hummus into serving bowl
Add cut veggies and goat cheese into hummus and stir.
Option: puree all the ingreditents for a finer dip.

Serving suggestions:
Cut fresh veggies of choice on a plate for dipping.
Have an assortment of crackers or tortilla chips for dipping.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I smell these cookies baking in my home my mind wanders back to memories of a tummy-warming breakfast of oatmeal as well as my love for a chocolate bar. Two favorite flavors in this hearty cookie recipe.
My first bite into a warm, just-out-of-the-oven cookie 'cause I can't wait until they cool down has me saying "Mmmmmm". An old fashioned cookie with a modern twist. Does it get any better than that? This recipe produces a firm, thick cookie with a softer center even when cooling process has been completed.
Try a batch to see the difference with this recipe. (my version of Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies)These cookies vanish, right into your tummy.

What you will need:
1 cup (two sticks) margarine or butter (I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread in a tub)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
3 cups Quaker Oats uncooked (quick oats or old fashioned)
1 cup Nestles Chocolate Semi-sweet Chocolate Bits
Two large baking sheets
Parchment Paper
Wooden spoon
Large mixing bowl
Medium mixing bowl
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Electric mixer (standing or hand-held)
Pot holders
Wire cooling racks
Large platter or plate for finished cookies

Prepare to bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine (or butter) with sugars using an electric mixer until mixture is creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla into the above mixture and put mixer on beat rather than cream.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the mixed dry ingredients into the large mixing bowl with the creamy wet ingredients that was previously beaten together in the larger mixing bowl.
Use the wooden spoon to stir the dry ingredients into the creamy mixture thoroughly.
Stir in the uncooked oats and mix well with the wooden spoon.
Add the chocolate bits and stir into the above mixture.

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper and prepare to bake the cookies:
With a rounded tablespoon, drop the cookie dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cookie size is optional therefore more or less dough will determine the size of baked cookies. I use a very rounded tablespoon and do not press the cookie dough down once it is on the baking sheet. This will allow for a very rounded cookie that is soft in the middle.
Bake the cookie dough for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
(Hint: for a softer middle, take the cookies out of the oven before they look browned and let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes to finish cooking.)
Continue the cooling process by putting the cookies onto a wire rack.

Finished cookies:
Depending on size, this recipe will make up to four dozen cookies.
Hint: Using the Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (or margarine) allows the cookies to be firm on the bottom and top yet softer in the middle.
These cookies practically melt in your mouth.

Nachos - Easy Appetizer or Meal

Warm melted cheese gets my attention every time. It is like a fluid sensation coating my tongue and cheeks. The gooiness sticks to any choice of food enhancing flavors to the moon! Here is a tasty snack food transforming into complete meal with very little effort, right in front of your eyes. Comfort food all to yourself or share it with your best friends. Get ready for the compliments on your cooking skills. Only you will know how simple it is to create this homemade dish. Grab your favorite easy chair and watch some football with your comfort creation or put a baking dish full of Nachos on a buffet table and quietly watch your friends stuff their mouths with joy because you cooked.

The Souper

What you will need:
1 lb. block of fresh cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips of choice - two bags
Can of beans of choice - white, navy or red (optional)
Jar of favorite salsa
Guacamole - prepared from the market
Sour cream - purchased from the market
Large baking dish
Large bowl
Small serving bowls - three
A box grater
Pot holders

Preheat your oven to 400-425 degrees F.
Grate your cheese into a large bowl
(Optional)Open a can of beans - rinse with cold water and drain out the liquid
Open a bag of tortilla chips
Put salsa, guacamole and sour cream into small serving bowls

Create your Nachos:
In the large baking dish, put one layer of the tortilla chips
Cover the tortilla chips with some grated cheese
Cover the layer of grated cheese with some rinsed beans (optional)
Continue layering of tortilla chips, grated cheese and beans
Tope layer is grated cheese

Put the full baking dish of Nachos into the preheated oven
Bake until the cheese is melted - about 10 minutes depending on your oven temp.
Remove the baking dish from the oven with pot holders

Eat Nachos directly from the baking dish
Have individual serving dishes ready to put all the fixings for the Nachos - salsa, quacamole and sour cream.