Monday, September 30, 2013

Chocolate Chip Blondies

  What a great fall weekend here in NW Arkansas!  We had a nice soaking rain on Saturday (perfect for watching college football on TV!) and Sunday was what the weather announcers frequently call, "a top ten day."  It was crisp in the morning and mild in the afternoon.  On Friday,  even though I'm still using an uncooperative electric oven here in our apartment, I decided to bake something.  I must have had autumn fever (it's like spring fever, but instead of cleaning and washing windows, you are compelled to bake!)  There's a cool breeze outside, and all-of-a-sudden I feel I should mix up some dough, toss in chocolate chips and rev up the oven.
  So, I went through my recipe file to find a cookie recipe that I could not ruin in this oven.  There were just  no guarantees here, no matter the recipe or its ingredients;  an undependable oven is an undependable oven!  It does not bake evenly (OK, enough whimpering).  I pulled out a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I decided I would double it and spread the dough  out in a greased cake pan, because I've had better luck with cakes in this oven than individual cookies.  I had never attempted this with my Original Hershey Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, so I wasn't sure how these bar cookies would turn out.  I stayed near the oven during baking time so I could check and recheck.  To my surprise,  it was a success!  Hubby ate a couple and Ben loved them!  They are like blondies  (light brownies) with chocolate chips melted in them,  They have a chewy cake-like consistency that's great with hot tea or coffee.  I hope you will try this out-so quick and easy to make a plate of cookie bars!

The Original Hershey Chocolate Chip Cookie-1940

1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, room temperature (I used margarine)
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/3 C walnut pieces (I omitted these)
8 oz. chocolate chips

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.
-Gradually add combined dry ingredients.  Add nuts and chocolate chips.
-Drop by rounded TBSP onto ungreased cookie sheets.  
-Bake 10 minutes;  let stand on sheets for 2-3 minutes.
-Transfer to wire racks.  Makes 2 dozen cookies.
NOTE:  I doubled this recipe and spread the dough evenly in a standard size rectangular cake pan with dark coating.  Even though it was a non-stick pan, I sprayed it lightly with cooking spray.  Oven was set on 350 degrees;  when done it should be a golden brown color and spring back in the middle.  Don't over bake!  Cool and cut into bars. 

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Chicken Gnocchi Soup

If you Like the chicken gnocchi soup at Olive Garden, give mine a try!  It's quick to make;  you can chop the veggies and garlic while you're roasting the chicken tenders in the oven and boiling your gnocchi!

I have an easy method for making chicken gnocchi soup.  I made it for dinner tonight, and decided to share it with you this week.  Here's a picture of the soup we had for dinner in one of my snazzy orange Fire King mugs!

  • First, roast 5 or 6 frozen chicken tenderloins in the oven (according to directions on the bag).  
  • While those are in the oven, bring a pan of salted water to a boil;  add a package of vacuum-packed gnocchi to the boil until the dumplings float to the top.  
  • Remove dumplings to a bowl.  
  • Chop two stalks of celery, 1/2 C onion, 1/2 C carrots and 3 cloves minced garlic into a microwaveable container;  sprinkle with a little water and cook on high for about 2 minutes (until soft). 
  • After you've drained the water off of the dumplings, use that same pan to blend 1 large can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup and 1 large can of Swanson's Chicken Broth until smooth.  
  • Dump in the microwaved vegetables, chopped roasted chicken tenderloins (canned chicken if you want to make this a really quick recipe, but the flavor is not as good) and a little white sauce (flour and water shaken in a sealed jar)  until thickened.
  • Simmer until all is hot through.   
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Marcia's Extra Fiber Chili


Nothing goes better with football games on TV than a cup of hot chili and crispy saltine crackers.  I like a hearty, thick chili with lots of spice and beans.   Here's how I make my spicy fiber-filled chili;  delicious and healthy!

Marcia's Extra Fiber Chili

-Brown 1 lb. of extra lean ground beef (or ground turkey) in a large skillet.  Add  1/2 chopped large Vidalia or red onion, 2 stalks chopped celery, 4 cloves of garlic that's minced.  Cook until meat is done through.  Season to taste with garlic salt and black pepper.  Add  crushed red pepper to taste and 1/2 C wheat germ to meat mixture.  Finally, add 1/2-1 can of vegetarian, no-fat refried beans.  Stir until mixed smoothly with the meat.
-Coat your crock pot with cooking spray.  Dump in the meat mixture from the skillet, 1 or 2 large cans of tomato sauce (depending on how soupy you like your chili).  Next, add 1 can dark red kidney beans and juice from the can and 1 can canellini (white) beans and juice from the can.    Add a teaspoon or two of sugar to mellow the tart taste of the tomato sauce.  Check seasoning to make sure it's to your taste.  Put lid on and turn crock pot to LOW to cook for several hours. I put mine on in the morning for dinner (football games) that evening.
-Serve with shredded cheddar, sliced jalapenos, chopped onion, sour cream... 

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