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January 2016

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Jan. 21st, 2016

Red Dress

Old-School Beef Stew

Since the prediction of massive amounts of snow in my area, I have armed myself with a plan.  Make stew, bake bread.  Sounds like a good plan right?  Really there is nothing more comforting than making a stew when the weather is bad.  Except for making bread when the weather is bad.  This stew though, you have to make.

Old-School Beef Stew

Ingredients:

*  2 tbsp olive oil
*  1 tbsp unsalted butter
*  2.5 pounds chuck roast
*  1 tsp kosher salt
*  1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
*  1 spanish onion (medium) diced
*  2 tbsp minced garlic
*  2 tbsp tomato paste
*  4 cups beef stock
*  1 tsp fish sauce (or worcestershire)
*  4 carrots, peeled and diced
*  2 turnips, peeled and diced

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the chuck roast.  If the chuck roast cannot fit flat in the dutch oven, cut it in half and brown the meat in two batches.  Brown each side of the chuck roast about 2 minutes each side.  Remove the meat and place to the side.  If needed, brown the second batch of chuck roast in the same manner.

2.  Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven.  Scrap up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pot, cooking the onion mixture about 3 minutes.  Then add the tomato paste, stirring it into the pot so it coats everything.  Cook another 2 minutes.

3.  Stir in beef stock, and then add the fish sauce.

4.  Dice the beef carefully into 1 inch cubes.  Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.

5.  After, add the diced turnips and carrots to the pot.  Place the lid back on and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until the turnips and carrots are soft.  The broth should be thick, but if you like a looser stew, add a bit of water.

6.  Taste the stew and season as needed.  Serve warm with some fresh crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

Serve 6 (or 8 w/sides) | Calories 521 | Fat 22.7 g | Saturated Fat 7.8 g | Cholesterol 196 mg | Sodium 1186 mg | Potassium 935 mg | Carbs 10.4 g | Fiber 2.3 g | Sugars 5.2 g | Protein 65.6 g
Tags: ,
Flowers

Lentil Curry Stew w/Potatoes

When my sister isn't planning on eating with me, I vascilate between going hog wild (ordering Vietnameze take out or Indian take out) and just making something simple I know I will enjoy that I never would make for my sister.  Yesterday my sister was on a "liquid diet" in preparation for some minor surgery today, so I settled myself in to make something at home...resisting the Indian take out restaurant with everything I had.

This stew is a the result.  It's a fabulous take on a Epicurious recipe that I used as a base.  Go wild with it.  Add carrots, rutabagas, or cilantro.  Change up the curry for a dash of tomatillo sauce.


Lentil Curry Stew with Potatoes
Adapted from Epicurious Lentil Stew with Spinach and Potatoes

Ingredients:
*  1 tablespoon olive oil
*  1 tsp garlic cloves, chopped
*  1/2 cup diced spanish onion
*  2 tsp fish sauce
*  1 tbsp tomato paste
*  1 tsp kosher salt
*  1/2 tsp cracked pepper
*  1 tbsp chicken base
*  4 cups water
*  1 tsp red curry paste
*  1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed, picked over
*  4 ounces red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
*  1 tbsp rice vinegar
*  1 cup frozen spinach

Directions:
1.  Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add onion and salt.  Cook for about 7 minutes until starting to turn a golden color.  Add garlic and stir 30 seconds.

3.  Add chicken base, tomato paste, lentils, and curry paste.  Cook for about 2 minutes.

4.  Add water and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes.

5.  Uncover and add potatoes.  Cook uncovered until the potatoes and lentils are tender and cooked through.  This will take about 15 minutes.

6.  Add the vinegar, fish sauce, and spinach.  Cook another 2 minutes or so.

7.  Serve warm with a piece of toast to soak up the juices.  Enjoy.


Serves 2 | Calories 311 | Fat 8.5 g | Saturated Fat 1.4 g | Cholesterol 0 mg | Sodium 3958 mg | Potassium 958 mg | Carbs 44.1 g | Fiber 17.1 g | Sugars 4 g | Protein 15 g

Dec. 29th, 2015

Dancing

Sausage and Spinach Pasta

This recipe was an attempt at something new. Due to my sister's pickiness and our love for "repeat" dinners, we have been in a funk lately. We needed something new to try that would appeal to my sister and my niece. What I usually do is show my sister pictures of things that I would like to eat and see what her response is. This got an "ok" we could do that.

My sister might have celiacs's disease (she's in the testing phase now) so we are attempting to eat less gluten in our household...hard to do during the cookie frenzy of Christmas.  I subbed gluten free pasta here, which is an easy sub to do with increasing availability of acceptable gluten free products.  I used to make fun of products that were labeled "gluten free" that were naturally gluten free, but learning more about this disease had caused me to stop.  From what I understand celiacs is sort of like a peanut allergy.  While the product itself might be "peanut free" that doesn't mean that it was produced in a peanut free facility or environment.  If you have a severe allergy even the smallest contamination can cause horrible reactions.


Sausage and Spinach Pasta
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2016
"Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Penne"


Ingredients:

*  2 quarts water
*  8 ounces uncooked gluten free penne pasta
*  1 pound spinach
*  1 tablespoon olive oil
*  3 (3-ounce) italian sausages, each diagonally cut into 8 pieces
*  freshly ground black pepper
*  Kosher salt
*  1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*  2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add pasta; cook 2 minutes less than directed.   Add spinach to pasta pot and cook 1 minute.

2.  Drain pasta mixture, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid; keep pasta warm.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.

4.  Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally so that it browns beautifully.

5.  Add 2/3 cup reserved pasta water, pasta mixture, and salt and pepper to taste to pan; bring to a boil.

6.  Cook 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in juice, and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 4 | Calories 518 | Fat 26.1 g | Saturated Fat 8.5 g | Cholesterol 64 mg | Sodium 700 mg | Potassium 827 mg | Carbs 48.5 g | Fiber 3.5 g | Protein 24.2 g
Books

White Bean and Ham Soup

I make some variation of this soup every year at Christmas and Easter time.  Why?  Because for some reason everyone I know likes to throw out their ham bones.  I beg and plead for those bones, and then lovingly rescue them to a new home...my soup pot.  There is really no wrong way to make this soup.  You can flavor it how you like or add/remove things to the pot.  I like this with kale or cabbage (of which I had none) and seasoned with fresh thyme.

Now this recipe may be odd to some people as I do NOT soak the beans.  I rarely soak beans (quick or long) with the minor exception of kidney beans which need a good hard boil for about 5 minutes.  After which, all the precious liquid the kidney beans boiled in must be pour offed and fresh water added.  This kills me every time, but some kidney beans retain a toxin that can make life very uncomfortable if not dealt with properly.  Other beans, though, are not soaked.  Not from laziness, although there is something to be said about that, but because I don't see the point of wasting all that flavor pulled from the bean during the soaking process.  I know some think that soaking beans reduce their flatulence effect, but I find that science to be faulty.  See the following links if you don't believe me.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/soaking-black-beans-faq.html

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-dont-soak-dried-beans-20140911-story.html


And not soaking your beans?  Doesn't really add any time to this soup.  Remember you would have already wasted at least an hour if you had soaked.


White Bean and Ham Soup

Ingredients:

*  1 ham bone or knuckle with plenty of leftover meat stuck to it (beg this from family or friends or save it from your own roasting)
*  144 ounces of water (about 18 cups)
*  1 pound white beans (I like great northern, but use your favorite), picked through for stones
*  6 carrots, divided
*  6 celery sticks, divided
*  1 tbsp italian seasoning
*  4 tbsp olive oil, divided
*  1 spanish onion, peel removed and quartered
*  2 cloves garlic
*  1 green pepper, seeds removed and quartered
*  kosher salt to taste
*  fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Add 2 tbsp of olive to the bottom of a deep stock pot at medium high heat.  When the oil cracks when you flick water at it, add the ham bone with attached meat to the pot.  Stir infrequently to brown the meat.

2.  Add the water to the pot and loosen the meat/ham bone if stuck.  Add 3 carrot quartered, 3 celery sticks quartered, the remaining olive oil, italian seasoning, the onion, garlic, and green pepper to the pot.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Reduce to a simmer and add the beans to the pot.  Add about 1 tbsp of kosher salt.  Cover and cook at a simmer for 2 hours.

4.  Remove lid and taste several beans for doneness.  They should be plump and their jackets starting to slip.  The bean should have some bite to it, but otherwise soft (sort of like a cooked potato, firm but easy to eat).

5.  Remove the ham bone, carrots, celery sticks, green pepper, garlic, and onion from pot carefully (don't bother to skim the pot just keep it simmering away).

6.  Discard the cooked vegetables and shred the meat from the bone.  Save the bone for another soup pot (you can get about 2-3 uses out of a ham bone).

7.  Add the meat back to the pot and add the remaining carrots and celery (dice the carrots and celery before adding to the pot).

8.  Simmer another 15 minutes or so, or until the celery and carrots reach the desired "doneness" stage.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.

9.  Serve warm with a small hunk of bread.  As leftover you can smash the beans a little more to get a thicker soup.   

Serves 6 | Calories 475 | Fat 17.4 g | Saturated Fat 3.8 g | Cholesterol 45 mg | Sodium 1040 mg | Potassium 1679 mg | Carbs 51.7 g | Fiber 13.2 g | Sugars 3.3 g | Protein 30.5 g
Tags: , ,

Dec. 24th, 2015

Flowers

Cream Cheese Frosting

Here is my "base" cream cheese frosting I use on cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, and cakes.  Its wonderful, but completely modifiable.  My mother uses this base and subs the vanilla extract for almond, which I rarely do.  I have also added shredded coconut to this frosting which is wonderful.


Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:

*  8 ounces cream cheese (you can use the lower fat stuff), softened
*  1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
*  1 cup confectioners sugar
*  1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1.  Add all four ingredients in a bowl and beat with hand mixer or stand mixer until well combined.

2.  Spread on finished baked goods once they are completely cool (don't attempt even if they have the slightest hint of warmth to them...you'll be sorry if you do).
Tags: ,

Dec. 15th, 2015

Sunflower

Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini

Did I mention how much I adore my slow cooker?  No?  Yes?  Ok.  It's self evident, I get it.  For the nights when you have errands to run or the gym to go to, make this delicious and quick cheesy tortellini.  This is a base recipe and all sorts of additions could make it even more lovely.  I recommend browning the meat and sauteeing the onion and garlic, but I didn't bother with the "base" reciepe as I wanted something super simple.  Feel free to go crazy with this one.


Slow Cooker Cheesy Tortellini

Ingredients:

*  1 pound ground beef, 88/12
*  1 spanish onion, diced
*  1 tablespoon minced garlic
*  1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
*  1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes
*  1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
*  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*  1 (9-ounce) package frozen three cheese tortellini
*  1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
*  1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1.  Add ground beef, onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and Italian seasoning to Crockpot and set on low for 8-10 hours.

2.  Skim the fat off the top of the tomato mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Add frozen tortellini and cook on high for about 20 minutes or until the tortellini are cooked through.

4.  Top the mixture with the cheeses and cover until melted, about another 10 minutes.

5.  Serve warm with crusty bread and a side of spinach.

Serves 6 | Calories 442 | Fat 15.6 g | Saturated Fat 7.1 g | Cholesterol 105 mg | Sodium 668 mg | Potassium 458 mg | Carbs 34 g | Fiber 6.8 g | Sugars 10.9 g | Protein 40.9 g

Dec. 7th, 2015

Books

Split Pea Soup with Ham Steak

I have a confession to make.  I was that child who brought split pea soup (Campell's condesnsed, of course) in a thermos to elementary school.  I unashamedly slurped it down while my classmates were horrified.  I instantly loved that scene in "My Big Fat Wedding" where she ate moussaka...except for the girl's shame at not having wonderbread (yuck so not a wonder).  So it's a little bit surprising that I didn't have a go to from scratch split pea soup receipe.  This is the soup I eat when I'm sick.  Why didn't I have a great homemade version?  Well...look no further.  This is the receipe you need to try...don't be horrified peas are yummy.
Split Pea Soup with Ham Steak

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Split-Pea Soup


Ingredients:

*  fresh cracked pepper, to taste
*  kosher salt, to taste
*  3 stalks celery, sliced length-wise in half and diced (include leaves)
*  2 dried bay leaves
*  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
* 2 medium carrots, quartered length-wise and diced
*  1/2 large spanish onion, minced
*  1 tablespoon minced garlic
*  1 ham steak (7 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch squares
*  1 pound split peas
*  32 oz unsalted or low sodium chicken stock (I used leftover poaching liquid - homemade or canned is fine here)
*  32 oz water, plus more if needed

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 9 minutes.

2.  Add garlic, ham, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook for 3 minutes.

3.  Add split peas and cook another 2 minutes letting the split peas soak up the flavors.

4.  Add water, stock, and garlic to pot and bring up to a boil.  Add about 1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper.

5.  Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are completely tender and begin to fall apart, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaves.

6.  Taste and season accordingly.  Add some water if you need to loosen the soup up.

7.  To reheat, add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water to keep the soup from becoming a loaf.

Serves 4 | Calories 548 | Fat 9.1 g | Cholesterol 28 mg | Carbs 78.2 g | Fiber 31 g | Sugars 13.6 g | Protein 40.8 g
Tags: ,

Dec. 3rd, 2015

Red Dress

Baked Ziti

While I wouldn't exactly say that Baked Ziti is a Northern USA thing, I think of this dish that way.  Growing up in Florida I had never heard of such a thing.  Spaghetti, Lasagna, Fettuccine, yes, yes, yes.  Baked Ziti?  Nope.  Here is an easy ziti that takes a little more time than some, but still something that is perfectly suited for weekday dinners.  Make sure to save some for lunch tomorrow!

Ingredients:

*  1 (16 oz.) package ziti pasta
*  16 oz ful fat riccotta cheese, divided
*  4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
*  ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
*  1 egg
*  2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
*  1 large spanish onion, chopped
*  3 garlic cloves, minced
*  1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
*  1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
*  2 tbsp dried basil
*  kosher salt, to taste
* freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook according to package directions two minutes short of al dente.

2.  Drain and set aside ziti.
3.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

4.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dried basil, salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Let the sauce simmer on low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile bring the oven up to 375 degree.  Once the noodles are done remove from heat and let cool.

6.  Spray with cooking spray a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.

7.  In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of ricotta cheese, ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese along with an egg. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in about 1½ cups of the sauce, reserving the rest. Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to coat.
8.  To assemble the dish, add half of the coated pasta to a baking dish, then spread lightly the surface with ½ cup of ricotta cheese and top with 1/2 of the reserved sauce.

9.  Add the rest of the pasta and sauce on top. Top with dollops of the remaining ricotta cheese and sprinkle on top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
10.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 | Calories 505 | Fat 19.6 g | Saturated Fat 8.7 g | Cholesterol 128 mg | Sodium 344 mg | Potassium 605 mg | Carbs 54.8 g | Fiber 2.2 g | Sugars 5.0 g | Protein 28.9 g
Tags: , ,

Dec. 1st, 2015

Red Dress

Veggie Lentil Soup

I'm on kind of a lentil kick and lentils do fabulously in quick soups. I like that they add bulk to a vegetable soup and cook extremely fast. If you aren't able to find a great lentil selection in your area, dried split peas make an excellent sub as they cook about the same amount of time as lentils.


Veggie Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

* 1 tablespoon good extra–virgin olive oil
* 1 cup chopped Spanish onions
* 3 stalks chopped celery stalks, including leaves
* 1 cup chopped carrots
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 128 oz of chicken or vegetable stock (I used a gallon of homemade chicken stock that I had previously frozen)
* 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 small or 1/2 large)
* 16 oz cups yellow lentils, rinsed and drained
* 14oz canned peeled, diced tomatoes, in juice
* Balsamic vinegar, to taste (add a tsp at a time into each bowl until satisfied with taste)
* kosher salt, to taste
* cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oil in medium stockpot over medium–high heat.

2. Add onions, celery, green pepper, carrots, and garlic and sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Add broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

5. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar. Serve warm.

Serves 4 generously | Calories 325 | Fat 4.5 g | Saturated Fat 0.6 g | Carbs 44 g | Fiber 15.7 g | Sugars 10.4 g | Protein 25.9 g

NOTE: Sodium and potassium is not included because of the homemade broth. Calculate your own sodium based on what type of broth you include.

Nov. 26th, 2015

Moulin

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

  Ordinarily I would scoff at such a recipe...slow cooker mashed potatoes?  Why waste your slow cooker on a side dish?  Well I was singing a different tune at Thanksgiving.  This recipe and three others we used for Thanksgiving were life savers by removing heat from the kitchen and freeing up burners/oven space.  While I wouldn't use this recipe on a daily or even monthly basis, I will keep it in my back pocket for large dinner occassions.


Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from The Kitchn's How to Make Mashed Potatoes in the Crockpot

Ingredients:

*  5 pounds yukon gold potatoes
* 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
*  Freshly ground black pepper
*  3 to 3 1/2 cups milk
*  1/2 cup unsalted butter

Directions:

1.  Peel and chop the potatoes into about 1 inch pieces.

2.  Lightly grease the slow cooker insert with butter or cooking spray.  Use a large slow cooker at least 5 qts.  Transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker.

3. Stir in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

4.  Pour in 3 cups milk and stir the potatoes once.

5.  Cover the slow cooker and cook 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or until the potatoes are very tender and soft.

6.  Reduce the heat WARM and add the butter to the crockpot and cover.

7.  Once the butter is melted whip the potatoes adding milk if needed.

8. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired.

9.  Leave in the covered slow cooker on the WARM setting until service, but no longer than 3 hours.

Nov. 25th, 2015

Flowers

Brussel Sprout Gratin

Here is an amazing vegetable side dish that, well, is not great for you. I love brussel sprouts pretty much in any form, but I have always preferred them pan seared or roasted. They become sweeter, the more bitter tastes soften. And well...most things are better a little toasted. While I have a special affection for the leaves that fall off during the roasting process and become little brussel sprout "chips" this recipe adapted from the Homesick Texan website is something else entirely. Coated in cheese, flavor magnified by the jalapenos, and then broiled briefly under the oven element. Basically it's magical.



Ingredients:

*  3 quarts of Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (if especially large cut the sprouts in half)
*  1 tablespoon kosher salt
*  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
*  2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
*  4 cloves garlic, minced
*  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*  2 cups milk (I used 2%)
*  fresh cracked pepper
*  3 cups shredded cheddar (about 12 oz)
*  6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled


Instructions:


1.  On high heat, bring a 4-quart pot of water to a boil. When the pot of water is boiling, add the salt and the Brussels sprouts to the pot and cook for about 4 minutes.

2.  Drain the Brussels sprouts in a colander and let sit under running cold water to shock the vegetables and stop the cooking process.
3.  Preheat the broiler and place a rack 6 inches away from the heat.

4.   In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and add the jalapenos softening them for about 3 minutes, stirring infrequently.  Add garlic and cook for another half a minute or so making sure that the garlic does not burn.

5.  Whisk in the flour and cook it out about 1-2 minutes.  You want the flour to have a light to medium caramel color.  (If you need to freeze the cooking process for timing reasons, now is the time to do it.  Pull the flour mixture off the heat and let sit.  Bring the mixture up to temperature before proceeding).

6.  Pour in the milk and whisk until everything is well combined. Do not let the milk do more than simmer.  The goal is to avoid a rapid boil.  The milk should thicken in about 5 minutes.  Be sure to stir frequently to prevent scorching of the milk.
7.  Turn off the heat and stir 2/3rds of the cheese into the sauce until it’s melted.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding black pepper and salt to taste.

8.  Stir in the Brussels sprouts and crumbled bacon until well combined.

9.  Evenly top the sprouts with the remaining cheese and place under the broiler for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes or until the top is browned.
10.  Allow the gratin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Serves 6 | Calories 300 | Fat 12.8 g | Saturated Fat 7 g | Cholesterol 36 mg | Sodium 1766 mg | Potassium 817 mg | Carbs 24.8 g | Fiber 6.8 g | Sugars 7.8 g | Protein 25.4 g

Nov. 16th, 2015

Moulin

Beef Lasagna

Cooking for a picky eater takes an adjustment.  Everyday cooking style must be explained and recipes that you adore have to be adapted or put on a shelf for when that picky eater isn’t eating with you.  About half of what I like to eat, the picky eater in my household won’t eat (curries I’m looking at you, stroganoff you also are a no go), but other things that I enjoy can be adjusted so that we both can enjoy.  Whether that is serving some things on the side (like mushrooms), pulling servings out before “finishing” a dish, or changing the ingredients, adjustments while not easy, can be made to make all parties satisfied.  I’m thankful that my picky eater isn’t vegan.

In this recipe, I changed what I usually do for a lasagna the following ways:

            1)  I changed 1 pound of mild sausage and 1 pound of 85/15 ground beef to 1.75 pound   ground beef
       
            2)  I removed the fennel
        
            3)  I used canned sauce instead of homemade (mostly to shorten time)
        
            4)  I upped the mozzarella cheese from ¾ cup to 1.5 cups

Please note that while this recipe is very easy to make, it does take time and has a lot of steps.  If you layer it differently that listed below, that's fine it'll still be yummy.  I recommend taking the full time to reduce the sauce with the beef.  The flavor will pay out of this.  If you wish to make this for dinner, I recommend this on a weekend or you will have a late dinner after work.  This recipe takes approximately 2.5 hours to make as written, but the vast majority of that time is hands off.

Beef Lasagna

Ingredients:

*  1.75 pound 85% ground beef
*  1 yellow onion, minced
*  5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
*  1 tbsp tomato paste
*  48 oz Classico tomato and basil
*  ½ cup water
*  1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
*  2 tsp kosher salt
*  1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*  12 lasagna noodles
*  16 ounces ricotta cheese
*  1 egg
*  1.5 pound mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced your choice)
*  3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  In a stock pot or dutch oven (use one that is not cast iron here, unless your cast iron is coated in ceramic) bring 1 tbsp of olive oil to medium high heat.  Add the onion reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the onion, stirring infrequently for 6-7 minutes.

2.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, then add the tomato paste.  Break up the tomato paste so the onion become brick red.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add beef and brown, breaking the beef down into a fine mince.  Drain the fat at least once, preferably twice.

4.  Once the meat is fully browned (no pink showing) add the tomato sauce.  I listed the one I used in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite.  This recipe used two glass jars.  I loosened the sauce that sticks to the jar with ¼ cup water per jar and added the watery sauce mixture of both jars to the pot.  Salt and pepper the mixture.  Add the Italian seasoning.

5.  Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot partially.  The lid should be crooked and facing away from the kitchen to allow the steam to leave the pot and the sauce to reduce a bit.  Cook the sauce for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer (about 40 minutes is ideal).

6.  Remove the sauce from the pot and reserve in a large bowl.  Rinse the pot out and add about 3-4 qts water.  Salt the water with about 2 tsps salt (not in the ingredient list).  Bring to a boil.

7.  Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F.  My oven takes about 15 minutes to come up to temperature.  Start your oven earlier if yours takes longer.

8.  When the water boils add the first 6 noodles.  Cook the noodles as directed (mine took 8 minutes).  Meanwhile prepare the ricotta by placing the ricotta in a small bowl and adding the egg.  Whip the mixture together until the egg is well incorporated.

9.  Also assemble your ingredients in an easy fashion so that it makes putting together the lasagna a snap.

10.  Place 1 cup of the beef mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan and spread till smooth.  Add the six cooked noodles to the pan so that they overlap well.

11.  Bring the pot to a boiling and add the remaining six noodles.  Cook the second batch as directed again.

12.  Layer ½ of the ricotta mixture on the noodles in the pan, spreading so that the mixture is fairly smooth.

13.  Add 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta.  Cover the mozzarella with about 1.5 cups of the beef mixture.  Top the beef mixture with 1/2 of the parmesan.

14.  Remove the second batch of cooked noodles from the pot and layer on top of the parmesan.

15.  Add remainder of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles.  Add ½ of the remaining mozzarella and the remainder of the beef mixture.  Cover with remaining mozzarella and the remaining parmesan.

16.  Grease the inside of some foil and cover the lasagna.  Bake for 25 minutes covered and then remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.

17.  Pull the lasagna and let rest about 15 minutes prior to cutting.  This keeps the lasagna together when you cut.  Don’t worry, it’ll stay plenty warm during the resting period.

18.  Slice width wide into five strips and length wise into three strips.  Makes about 15 servings (unless you have seconds).  Serve with a small side salad and a slice of garlic bread if you wish.  Leftovers of this are divine.  Eat this for lunch with some fruit.

Serves 15 | Calories 504 | Fat 21.6 g | Saturated Fat 10.5 g | Cholesterol 105 mg | Sodium 955 mg | Potassium 69 mg | Carbs 37.6 g | Fiber 1.0 g | Sugars 4.2 g | Protein 39.9 g 

Nov. 12th, 2015

Books

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

It’s that time of year officially now.  Pennsylvania has had a spate of extremely warm weather this fall.  Even a week ago, the high reached 70 F.  But that stretch of warmer weather I think is finally over.  While we are still not as cold as per usual, the shorter day combined with the usual Pennsylvania cloudy fall days have conspired to dreary blah days.  Time for something hearty.

Our house uses the slow cooker pretty heavily, usually at least once a week but three times a week is not unusual.  We grew up in the far south, so slow cookers in the summer always made sense to us.  They just don’t heat the house up as much.  While here it makes sense also to use the slow cooker during the fall and winter months as well.  Hearty stews are perfect for the season, but the real plus is having a warm meal on the table quick after work.  It’s hard this time of year to get motivation to cook when it’s basically pitch black out when you leave work.  Slow cooker to the rescue.

I vastly prefer a beef pot roast that is cooked in a Dutch oven.  I like the contrast of textures you get in the oven, however that said, this slow cooker version is never one we will turn down.  A sacrifice of extra crunchy bits and the darker broth is somewhat easily traded for the convenience of dinner being ready after work and the gym.  (And it gets my young niece to bed quicker too!)

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

Ingredients:

·         1 3.5-4-pound beef chuck roast (or other suitable stew meat, avoid the precut stew meat packages)
·         1 tsp Kosher salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
·         3 tbsp olive oil
·         1 tsp garlic powder
·         1 tsp onion powder
·         3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
·         4-6 medium Yukon potatoes, cut into quarters
·         1 medium yellow or Spanish onion onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
·         1 tbsp minced garlic
·         3 tablespoons tomato paste
·         1 cup water
·         3 cups low- or no sodium beef broth
·         2 bay leaves
·         2 sprigs fresh thyme

Directions:

1.  Bring a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil.

2.  Sprinkle the roast all over with 1 tsbp kosher salt, cracked black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

3.  Coat the beef in flour and shake off any excess.

4.  Add the roast to the skillet and cook until browned on each side of the meat.  This will take around 8-10 minutes.

5.  Transfer roast to a large crockpot (at least 6 qt).

6.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium.  Scrape the bottom of the skillet to release
any leftover bits from the roast.

7.  Add the tomato paste and garlic.  Stir the mixture until oil begins to turn brick-red and the garlic is fragrant.  Add the beef broth and water.  Let simmer about 2-3 minutes.

8.  Add the broth mixture to the crockpot.

9.  Add the carrots, onions, and potatoes to the crockpot along with the bay leaves and the thyme.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  (I usually do around 10 hours)

10.  Remove the roast and let it rest covered with tin foil on a cutting board for a few mixtures.

11.  Remove the vegetables and reserve them in a separate container for service.  Strain the broth and remove the bay leaves and thyme.

12.  At this point you can either thicken the gravy or serve as is.  Make sure to test the seasoning and adjust if needed.  If you wish to thicken the gravy, slurry one cup of broth with 1 tbsp of corn starch.  Add the slurry to the gravy and stir.

13.  Carve the roast into slices and serve warm with gravy and reserved vegetables.  Enjoy!

Serves 9 | Calories 440 | Fat 16.2 g | Saturated Fat 5 g | Cholesterol 158 mg | Sodium 654 mg | Potassium 1145 mg | Carbs 14.4 g | Fiber 2.5 g | Sugars 3.4 g | Protein 56.6 g

Nov. 4th, 2015

Moulin

Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese

A few notes to this recipe.  I had to sub some items that I would not normally sub due to thinking I had certain ingredients and then realizing later that I didn't have them.  (Later being when I already was in the process of making this recipe.)  I usually would use a whole spanish onion chopped along with dried basil and red wine instead of white.  I also did not have celery which I like to add to this dish.  I don't keep anchovies in my house, but I like that umani taste in a bolognese so I subbed fish sauce for the achovies.

I also engaged in some short cuts because this was a spur of the moment sort of dish.  I was planning on making it later in the week but my sister decided she wanted it today...at 8 am.  I would usually cook the milk down in the turkey mixture prior to adding it to the crockpot.  Stirring all the ingredients prior to adding the milk and cooking on a low temperature should help with the milk being incorporated in a different stage of the dish.  Additionally, the milk if added to the ground turkey would have been doubled as I cook it down pretty far in the usual rendition of this sort of dish.


Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese
Adapted from Slow Cooked Bolognese Sauce
Ingredients:

·         2 tablespoon olive oil
·         1/2 large red onion minced
·         2 carrots, halved
·         1 tbsp minced garlic
·         2 tbsp tomato paste
·         2 pounds 93/7 ground turkey breast
·         1 tbsp kosher salt
·         3 tbsp fresh basil
·         1 tbsp Italian seasoning
·         1 tsp fresh ground pepper
·         ½ cup 2% milk
·         2/3 cup white wine
·         44 oz diced tomatoes no salt added (1 28 oz can and 1 16 oz can)
·         24 oz tomato puree
·         1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
·         1 tbsp fish sauce

Directions:

1.  In a large stock pot heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat.  Add ground turkey breaking apart the meat and browning.  Add to a large crockpot.

2.  In the same pot heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and cook onion for about 5-6 minutes.  Add garlic and tomato paste and cook another minute.  Add mixture to crock pot.

3.  Add the diced tomato and tomato puree to crock pot along with 1 cup of water.

4.  Add basil, halved carrots, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, and wine to crockpot.  Stir the mixture and then add the milk.  Stir again so everything is well combined.

5.  Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours.

6.  In the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, check the sauce.  If it looks too loose, remove the lid and raise the temperature too high to allow the extra liquid to evaporate.

7.  Cook the pasta during this last 30 minutes or so as the pasta directs.  Make sure the water is well salted.

8.  Serve over pasta with parmesan shavings on top.  You can also use this sauce for lasagna.  Freeze the extra in freezer bags laying flat.  The frozen sauce will be good for about 3 months if stored correctly.

Serves 9 | Calories 259 | Fat 11.3 g | Saturated Fat 3.8 g | Cholesterol 74 mg | Sodium 1198 mg | Potassium 456 mg | Carbs 18.2 g | Fiber 4.5 g | Sugars 10.6 g | Protein 23.2 g

Nov. 2nd, 2015

Flowers

Best Stove Top Mac & Cheese

If you’ve been around you have seen my struggle to get a stove top mac recipe to be what I want.  Every time I have tried a new recipe I hope that this one will be my stove top mac & cheese, but they all have failed.  Even Alton Brown let me down.  So with some surprise I admit that this weekend’s attempt…SUCEEDED.  The recipe bones I’ve seen many times on Pintrest, but have discounted it every time.  It was too radical.  It was too weird.  Damn it, it works.

A thanks to Budget Bytes blog without which I would have continued to resist to try this recipe.  This recipe serves two but is easily doubled or tripled.  Please note that if you use pre-shredded cheese the mac will have a slight grittiness to it.

Best Stove Top Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Miracle Mac and Cheese


Ingredients:

·         1.5 cups 2% milk
·         1 cups dry macaroni
·         1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
·         1 tsp salt
·         1/8 cup shredded parmesan cheese
·         1/2 tsp ground mustard
·         Ground pepper

Directions:

1.  Combine 1.25 cups milk, parmesan, and the pasta together in a medium saucepan with a lid.  Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

2.  When the milk begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer or until the pasta is tender.  Keep stirring infrequently to prevent the milk from sticking or burning at the bottom of the pan.  This step should take around 7 minutes or so.

3.  When the pasta is finished cooking and has retained most of the milk, season the mixture with salt, ground mustard, and pepper.

4.  Add the shredded cheese and stir till it is all melted.  Add the reserved milk and mix together until everything is creamy.

5.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2 | Calories 410 | Fat 17 g | Saturated Fat 10.3 g | Cholesterol 55 mg | Sodium 1557 mg | Potassium 233 mg | 41.5 g Carbs | Fiber 1.5 g | Sugars 9.6 g | Protein 23.2 g


Sunflower

Maple Nut Granola

Granola is my weakness in the winter.  I could dive straight into a vat of it and be perfectly happy munching away.  I tend to stay towards the less fruity types and focus on the granolas that emphasize more subtle flavors.  I save the fruit for fresh toppings.
Maple Nut Granola
Adapted from Maple Nut Granola

Ingredients:

·         1 cup maple syrup (use the real stuff)
·         2 tbsp olive oil
·         1 tsp real vanilla
·         3 cups old fashioned oats
·         1/2 cup chopped cashews
·         1/2 cup chopped walnuts
·         1/2 cup slivered almonds
·         1/4 cup flax seed
·         1 tsp kosher salt
·         1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon, and flax seed.  Set aside.

3.  In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the maple syrup and olive oil.  Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.

4.  Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla to the pot.

5.  Pour the maple syrup mixture over the oats and stir to combine.

6.  Spread the oat mixture over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

7.  Bake for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally and spinning the pan in the oven.  Pull the oats when they start to toast and let completely cool.  (The nuts and oats will continue to harden while cooling).

8.  When completely cool, store the oats in a Mason jar or Tupperware container.  This will keep for about 2 weeks on the counter in a cool spot.

Makes 3 cups – 12 servings (1/4 cup per serving) | Calories 347 | Fat 13.4 g | Cholesterol 0 mg | Sodium 198 mg | Potassium 336 mg | Carbs 48.9 g | Fiber 5.9 g | Sugars 17.3 g | Protein 8.4 g


Dancing

Red Curry Coconut Shrimp Soup

 When my sister isn’t home, I indulge in food that I don’t really get the opportunity to make at home any more.  I’m looking forward to splitting households for that reason, but at the same time will miss the craziness that happens when you combine two adult women, a toddler, and a dog in a house.

This soup is adapted from Wok’s of Life 15 Minute Curry Soup.  I changed it for my purposes, but check out the original for more ideas.

Red Curry Coconut Shrimp Soup

Ingredients:

·         2 tablespoons olive oil
·         2 garlic cloves, chopped
·         2 tablespoons chopped white onion
·         2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
·         2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
·         6 oz. deveined and peeled medium shrimp
·         5 cups water
·         3 tsp chicken base
·         1 tablespoons fish sauce
·         2/3 cup coconut milk
·         1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
·         1 cup thinly sliced baby portabella mushrooms (or other firm small mushroom)
·         4 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles
·         1 lime, juiced
·         Chiffonade basil for serving

Directions:

1.  In a large saucepan over medium heat add the oil, garlic, onion, ginger, and Thai red curry paste.

2.  Toast in the oil the aromatics for about 5 minutes, stirring infrequently. 

3.  Meanwhile, bring a smaller pot filled with water to a boil.  Cook the vermicelli noodles as directed (unless the noodles do not require precooking then skip to the serving step.  Add them to the bowl and pour the hot broth over top)

4.  Add the water, chicken base, fish sauce, coconut milk, and shrimp to the pot with the ginger mixture.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Add bell pepper and mushrooms.  Let boil for about 4-5 minutes.

5.  Taste the broth for seasoning and adjust if needed.  Add water if too salty.

6.  Place the noodles into two bowls and top with the basil.  Squeeze the lime into the broth and then pour the broth into each bowl.

Serves 2 | Calories 694 | Fat 39.4 g | Saturated Fat 20.5 g | Sodium 3848 mg | Potassium 598 mg | Carbs 63.7 g | Fiber 3.8 g | Sugars 5.4 g | Protein 20.1 g





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Red Heart

French Baguette

French Baguettes
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s French Bread

Ingredients:

·         3.5 cups bread flour, plus more if needed
·         2 tsp kosher salt
·         1.5 tsp instant yeast
·         1 cup water, plus more if needed

Directions:

1.  Place the flour in the stand mixer and start the mixer on low.  Add the salt and yeast and continue to process.  Bring the speed up to medium and add a cup of water a little at a time into the mixer.  If you need to stop and push down the flour, feel free.

2.  Once the water is incorporated wait to see if the dough starts to travel on the hook.  If so and the dough looks relatively smooth don’t add any more water and let the dough kneed for about 1-2 minutes.  If the dough looks too dry and shaggy add another 1 tbsp of water or so.  If the dough is sticking to the side of the mixer and not becoming a ball add another 1 tbsp of flour.  You are looking for a slightly wet ball of dough. 

3.  Oil a separate bowl with about 1 tsp of olive oil.  Dump the dough into the large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise at least 2 hours but preferably 3 hours.

4.  Once risen, shape the dough on a lightly floured counter into baguettes.  Place the baguettes on a baking sheet if using.  Allow the baguettes to rise another 2 hours.

5.  30 minutes prior to baking bring the oven up to 450 F.  Place a cast iron skillet or similar shaped baking dish on the bottom rack while the oven is coming to temperature.

6.  Slash the baguettes and then place the baguettes in the oven (either on a baking sheet or directly on a stone) on the top rack about 10 inches away from the top of the oven.  Drop 1 cup of ice and 1 cup of water into the cast iron skillet on the bottom rack.

7.  Close the oven and bake the baguettes about 20 minutes or until golden. 

8.  Once golden, pull from the oven the bread and allow to cool on wire racks.  Wait until entirely cool and then serve.

Serves 6 | Calories 268 | .8 g Fat | 0 ml Cholesterol | 778 mg Sodium | 99 mg Potassium | 56 g Carbs | 2.2 g Fiber | 7.9 g Protein

Oct. 23rd, 2015

Flowers

Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

In an effort to continue to eat well but cheaply during the week, I turn more and more towards my crockpot. Already a vessel that I adore, there is something so satisfying to start a meal in the morning and come back in the evening with it 98% done.

This week I ate pretty cheaply and well for lunch. I started my crockpot on Sunday and used some ingredients I already had. My grandfather gave me a couple pounds of potatoes last week and I had some leftover kale from a neighbor desperate to get rid of his excess. I made a big batch of chicken stock a week ago out of scraps.  Basically the only things I paid for was the meat, the onion, and the milk.  Love those sort of meals.

This soup is very similar to the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana, but different enough that I didn't call it a copycat.

Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

*  1 lb ground Hot Italian sausage (I found a package without casing, but if you can only find links, pop them out of there casing prior to cooking)
*  5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced.  Should be around 5 cups of potatoes.
*  1 medium yellow onion, diced (Spanish not sweet)
*  2 tsp chopped garlic
*  128 ounces chicken stock (I used homemade)
*  1 bunch of kale, destemmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces
*  1 cup 2% milk (I used organic milk purchased for my niece)
*  Salt and pepper, to taste

NOTE:  If you like a thicker soup, use about 1-2 tbsp flour slurried into the milk prior to using.

Directions:

1.  Heat large saute pan over medium high heat and brown sausage.

2.  Yank out the slow cooker, turn onto low.

3.  Add cooked sausage to slow cooker, reserve the fat in the pan.

4.  Add the onion to the sausage fat and saute about 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute about 30 seconds.

5.  Add onion mixture to slow cooker along with the chicken stock.

6.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours up to 9 hours.

7.  30 minutes prior to service, add the kale and milk.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.

Serves 6 | Calories 439 | Fat 22.5 g | Sat Fat 7.4 g | Sodium 2039 mg | Potassium 1068 mg | Carbs 35.9 g | Fiber 4.9 g | Sugars 7.2 g | Protein 22.9 g 

Oct. 6th, 2015

Sunflower

Sugar Cookie Cut Outs

My family has been making one sort of cut out cookie for as long as I can remember and likely as long as my mother can remember.  I am not a fan of them.  We call them "Kris Kringles" and they only show up around Christmas time like a cherished affair.  I make them dutifully for my family upon request the whole time thinking...there are better cookies out there.  Yet like a well worn pair of pants that should really be trashed, I still come back and eat them-of course, after all of my favorite cookies are gone and the Kris Kringles are appropriately stale.  It's Christmas time.  I am usually desperate for more sugar like an addict.

In any event, my sister recently mentioned to me that she wanted to make sugar cookies for her 15 month old daughter to decorate.  (My sister is very into sensory activities with her daughter.  It's a thing).  She, of course, purchased one of those packets that promise perfect sugar cookies.  I appropriately said I'll make some.  Mind, that I have NEVER made sugar cookies before.  So I reached out to some of my favorite blogs and adapted a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

They turned out fabulous.  Optimately you will want to make these cookies at least 12 hours ahead of frosting, if you wish for frosted sugar cookies.  I made the cookies the night before we frosted and cooled completely before bagging them for the next night.  Then, out of the bags and into a toddler's hand they went to be decorately frosted.

Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Cooling Time in Refridgerator:  At least an hour
Cooking Time:  Approxiately 8-10 minutes at 350 F.  (The second batch at 10 was too long, so watch them carefully)
Cooling Time:  At least 12 hours

Ingredients:
*  3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1-2 hours is what I usually aim for.  The butter should be somewhat soft when pressed)
*  3/4 cup white granulated sugar
*  1 large egg (remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before mixing)
*  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*  2.25 cups white unbleached all purpose flour (don't pack this)
*  1/8 tsp cream of tartar
*  1/4 tsp baking soda
[Or if prefered, instead of the cream of tarter and baking soda use 1/2 teaspoon baking powder]
Directions:
1.  In a stand mixer's large bowl (you can use a handheld here, but standmixer is preferrable) fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.  This should take about 1 minute, but do not go longer than 1.5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as needed.

2.  Add the sugar and beat on high speed until fluffy, around 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as needed.

3.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium until combined around 1-2 minutes.

4.  Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar and baking soda (or the baking powder in place of both).  Add one cup of flour.  Start the mixer on low at first and slowly bring up to medium speed until the flour is all incorporated.

5.  Stop the mixer and add the remainder of the flour.  Start on low at first again and slowly bring up to medium speed until all the flour is incorporated.

6.  Stop the mixer and remove bowl.  Split the dough in half and roll each half into a ball.  On two sheets of parchment or wax paper place one ball on each.  Flatten the balls into ovals and stack the papers on top of each other.  Place the two papers on top of a half-sheet pan and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  If refrigerating overnight, cover the top cookie oval with another piece of paper.

7.  15 minutes before you plan to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F.

8.  Bring the cookie dough out and roll each oval to a rectangle about 10 inches by 8 inches and about 1/4 inch thick.  (If your rectangle is smaller or large than that, it's ok.  Just make sure it's consistently 1/4 inch thick throughout and you'll be fine.)

9.  Prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper, silpat, or cooking spray.  Cut out the cookies with your desired shapes (or use a drinking glass to create perfect little circles).  Place each cut cookie about 1/2 inch away from the next on the prepared sheet pans.

10.  Bake each tray for about 8-10 minutes a piece, making sure to turn the cookies halfway through the time.  If cooking together watch carefully.  They may need to cook another minute or so.  You are looking for the edges and top to become a light golden color but not toasted.

11.  Pull the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet pans around 20 minutes.  Remove the cookies carefully from the sheet pans on to wire racks to let cool completely (about 1 hour or so).  Transfer to bags once completely cool.  If there is the slightest bit of warmth, hold off on the bagging.  The cookies will become soggy if you don't.

12.  12 hours later, remove the cookies from the bags and frost.
Makes 14 large cookies or 20 medium cookies.  Calories calculated on 14 large.

Calories 207 | Fat 10.4 g | Cholesterol 39 mg | Sodium 97 mg | Potassium 35 mg | Carbs 26.2 g | Fiber .5 g | Sugars 10.9 g | Protein 2.6g

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