21 January 2012

Perfect Oatmeal Cookies

I woke up craving oatmeal cookies today. What can I say? I must've been dreaming about them or something. The kids wanted to go to Grandma's house, and my husband had a slight case of cabin fever, so we decided to go bake cookies at Grandma's house...after a quick trip through Safeway, of course. :)

This recipe is totally not mine, FYI. It has been adapted from Smitten Kitchen's "thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies". I cannot express my love for Smitten Kitchen enough!

What ya need, "in order of appearance":

1 cup softened butter (I know I always say margarine is fine....but you need real butter for this....and don't be like me and forget to pull your butter out of the freezer...oops!)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (whatever you like, I use dark brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp good vanilla extract (I used bourbon vanilla....you could use a vodka vanilla....or McCormick...whatever...I won't tell...)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3-3 1/2 cups oatmeal (anything but instant will work...I use quick oats since that's what I buy for breakfast...)
1 bag chocolate chips (whatever you like...my crowd likes milk, and I prefer dark, so I used half and half)
2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups nuts (whatever you like....walnuts are good...as are pecans...or, well, anything, really...)

Typical cookie method--cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix up the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon with a fork, then combine the wet and dry mixtures. Stir in the oatmeal a cup at a time, then fold in the chocolate chips, raisins and nuts.

Chill the dough for half an hour or so. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and then drop the dough in balls about an inch apart (mine didn't spread much at all....but then my dough-to-stuff ratio was VERY heavy on the stuff so there really wasn't much TO spread).

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes or until browned to your liking. Allow to sit on the hot cookie sheet for an additional 5 mins or so after you pull them out of the oven, then move them to cooling racks.


10 January 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

*updated 06 March 2013*

I've only been meaning to blog this recipe for a month now, but it's so good I keep forgetting to take a photo until it's all gone!

Sorry, no real process photos, but it's really simple! Here's a general list of what you'll need:

1.5-2 lbs chicken breasts (or thighs)
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 big cloves of garlic, minced and crushed into paste
2 12-16 oz bags of Southwest Mix frozen veggies (the one I love is by Birdseye...use what you like)
2 cans of Rotel (Original)
1/2 cup of white rice
1/4 cup sour cream
1-2 teaspoons of chicken base (I like Better Than Bouillon, but you can use a couple bouillon cubes or substitute a can of stock or leave it out entirely, that's fine too....)
2 tablespoons of your favorite taco or fajita seasoning--I love the one over at Give Peas A Chance, as I've said before....but you can use McCormick if you'd prefer...no one will tell.

seasoning to taste (I use salt & pepper, garlic and onion powders, chile powder, lots of cayenne pepper...Montreal Seasoning works well, too)

Start out with a couple tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottom soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Toss in the onion and garlic paste and cook till the onions are translucent. Cut the chicken into 1/2" cubes and toss it in with the onion and garlic, and then use your misc. seasonings to season the chicken before turning the heat up to high and browning it a bit. Toss in the fajita seasoning and the chicken base, both cans of Rotel, the rice and the bags of veggies, and add about 2 quarts of water (enough to top off the pot). Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and cover and let it simmer for 20 mins or so (I know this seems like a long time for those of us who prefer their rice a little firm...but I think soft is better for this....so use your judgment). At the end, mix in the sour cream (I *HATE* sour cream straight up....but I still put it in this. It adds a little something and it doesn't make everything taste like sour cream, I promise!).

Spoon out the "good stuff" into a bowl with a slotted spoon, and then use a ladle or a measuring cup to pour the broth over the top of it--this way everyone gets their preferred "stuff to broth ratio." haha!!

Top with shredded cheese (cheddar...must...have...cheddar....monterey jack is good, too, but you simply MUST use cheddar, too! LOL!), more sour cream for those who like it, and tortilla strips or Fritos! I usually add shredded lettuce and chopped tomato and onion to the top as well.

Voila! Tortilla soup.