Saturday, July 18, 2009

Food, glorious, food!

I've been cooking! Here are some of the great things that have been coming out of our kitchen:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Okay, so these are nothing out of the ordinary for most people, but I have always struggled with chocolate chip cookies. They come out flat, they're inconsistent, they burn or they're doughy. I have drilled Adam many times on how he makes his cookies come out so well, but none of his tips worked. Guess what did? Extra flour. Yep, that's the big secret. Here's the recipe I followed, it's just off the back of the Hershey's chocolate chip bag, but I changed the flour amount to what I actually did.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat butter and sugars together until creamy, then mix in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet with cookie scoop. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack and cool completely. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Zucchini Bread
For whatever reason, we didn't have zucchini in our garden this year, which actually made me sad. Luckily, my mother-in-law did, and she left some with us, so I got to play. This zucchini bread recipe is really yummy, and it makes two loaves, so you can make one to eat and one to give away.

Chili and Broccoli Bread
We've really been loving our new ward's playgroup, which meets on Tuesdays for Lunch Bunch, a potluck lunch and kids' class/activity. One of the best things about it is trying everyone's yummy food. One day there was this aromatic, savory cornbread I couldn't stop eating (and neither could anyone else). Luckily, Tina had pity on us and shared the recipe, which is really simple. (Sorry, Anne, I forgot the picture. We were hungry and ate it before I remembered! I need to keep my camera in the kitchen.)

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs
1 med chopped onion (I did much less, about a quarter onion)
1 box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained (I used fresh, also worked great)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 stick butter

Mix together. Pour in greased loaf pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

And in order to have an excuse to eat cornbread for dinner, I made chili. Here's my chili recipe. I threw in two diced tomatoes out of the garden, it only made it better.

1 lb ground beef
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups water (I reduced the water to one cup this time because I added the tomatoes)
1/4 med onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Brown ground beef, crumble and drain. Add remaining ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
This is a simple dish, but one of our favorites. I like it because it's dinner in one pan, and it's versatile; I can add vegetables or leave them out if I'm planning a side dish. This last time I added broccoli; you can also do peas or a frozen mixed vegetable blend.

2 chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup rice
1 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper to taste
1/2 cup cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together rice, milk, soup and seasonings. Place chicken in a 2-quart casserole dish; pour mixture over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes; stir, replace cover. Bake 15 minutes; remove cover, stir and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake 5 minutes more.

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