April 24, 2010

{recipe} Snickerdoodles

Test Recipes Week 16! (the finale)

Here's the last of the recipes I tested out this week.  Maybe it's because the other three recipes were actually pretty healthy, but for some reason I got a craving to bake some cookies mid-week.  All the ingredients for these cookies were in my kitchen, so I decided on Snickerdoodles. 


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I only had salted, so I left out the additional salt in the recipe)
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In mixing bowl, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, and mix to combine. Mix in dry ingredients until combined.  Chill for 30-60 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon. Use cookie scoop, or large soup spoons to make balls of the dough (I rolled the dough between my hands), and then roll in cinnamon sugar until completely covered. Place about two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400* until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.

I had never even tasted Snickerdoodles until a couple of years ago, and had never attempted to make them myself.  After tasting these, especially immediately after they cooled, they are now near the top of my favorite cookies list :)  Soooo easy to make, and the simplicity of the taste makes it really enjoyable to eat.  Rated EXCELLENT!  Go ahead, eat 3 or 4!  (They were also a hit at work!)

{recipe failure} Apple Celery Smoothie

Test Recipes Week 16! (continued)

When I made the PW's Chicken Salad this week, I needed a way to use up the leftover celery.  I'm not a huge fan, other than the crunch it adds to salads (chicken salad, tuna ring-noodle salad, etc.)  And I really can't stand it when it's mushy (like in soup...bleh).  A couple weeks ago I bought a new recipe book - 100 Best Smoothies & Juices, and while looking through it I came across a recipe with celery as one of the ingredients.  I decided to test it out:


1 sweet apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 c. chopped celery
1 1/4 c. milk
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt

Place apple, celery, and milk in food processor or blender and blend away until smooth.  Add a pinch of salt and sugar if desired.  Pour into chilled glasses and serve.  Makes 2 servings.

Bleh.  Bleh, bleh, bleh.  My dislike for celery was not cured with this drink - I could not even finish it.  Thank goodness I only made half a recipe.  Maybe I just hoped too much that the milk and apple would sweeten things up and mask the taste of the celery a bit.  Not so, I could barely taste anything other than celery.  I'll just have to eat Ants on a Log to use the rest up.  I will never make this again.  Sorry celery-lovers out there, I rated this BAD.

{recipe} Chicken Salad

Test Recipes week 16! (continued)

Chicken Salad is one of my favorite sandwich fillings.  Since I moved to South Texas, I have discovered that chicken salad here usually consists of ground up chicken.  Good, but a little too much 'mush' for my taste...This week I had a craving for good chunky chicken salad, so I decided to try out the recipe from Pioneer Woman that I've had bookmarked for a long time.

CHICKEN SALAD (Pioneer Woman)

3 large cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 1 grocery store rotisserie chicken), shredded/chopped into bite-size pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 green onions, minced
2 c. grapes, quartered
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
small handful fresh dill, minced (I used ~ 1 Tbsp. dill weed)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
*I also added a couple teaspoons mustard and a few shakes of cayenne pepper*

Prepare cooked chicken into bite size pieces or shred.  Place chicken, grapes, celery, and onions into medium bowl.  Place remaining ingredients in smaller bowl and whisk until combined and smooth.  Taste test and adjust until you like the taste.  Combine dressing with chicken mixture.  Serve as sandwiches, wraps, lettuce wraps, or straight salad mixture on a plate.  Makes 6 servings.

I rated it GOOD, not great.  I think it's a good starter recipe that can be tweaked according to your own tastes.  Next time I'm going to add pine nuts for even more crunch.  I'm not a huge celery fan (hate it in soup!), but I love the crunch it adds to this salad.  Stay tuned to see what I did with the leftover celery!

{recipe} Broccoli Slaw

Test Recipes week 16!

This week I went wild.  I tested out FOUR different recipes! :)  I don't know what came over me, but I guess it was just indecisiveness when it came to picking the recipes I wanted to test.  So here is the first of FOUR recipes for this test week:

BROCCOLI SLAW (scaled down from Erin'sFoodFiles)

1 crown broccoli, chopped
1/2 c. cherry flavored Craisins (Or any dried cherries you prefer.  These are what were available to me.)
1/4 c. minced red onion
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/8 c. mayonaisse
1/8 c. light sour cream
1/8 c. Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
black pepper

Combine broccoli, Craisins, onion, and almonds in a serving bowl.  In smaller bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Pour over broccoli mixture and stir well.  Make the night before so that flavors have a chance to combine.  Although, I could only wait about an hour before digging in ;)

Sooooooooo good and refreshing. I really love the occasional hints of sweetness that come through when you bite into a cherry. And the broccoli and almonds make things nice and crunchy. This is another one you really need to try.  I rated this recipe EXCELLENT, and I'm going to go ahead and actually say it's my favorite recipe that I've tested in all of 2010!

April 15, 2010

{recipe} Texas-Style Egg Rolls

Test Recipes Week 15!

I like to check allrecipes.com daily just to see the photos of the day. I have bookmarked sooo many recipes just from doing that. The most recent bookmarked recipe being Southwestern Egg Rolls. I think it was the yummy-looking picture/mostly healthy ingredients that drew me to check it out. I'm going to go ahead and say this recipe was adapted from allrecipes because I actually changed it quite a bit - a few ingredient changes, baked not fried, proportions doubled, and a name change ;) Below is the recipe as I made it:

TEXAS-STYLE EGG ROLLS (adapted from allrecipes.com)

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 can (12.5 oz.) canned chicken (can also use chx breast or grocery store rotisserie)
1/4 cup minced green onion
generous 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I used fresh - steamed, cooled, and drained)
1/4 cup diced green chiles
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pinches ground cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
12 egg roll wrappers

Next time, I am going to use jalapenos instead of the chiles because I wish these were a little more 'pica' (spicy).

Doesn't that look YUMMY?!

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes until tender. Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, chiles, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheese so that it melts. Spoon even amounts of the mixture onto each egg roll. Roll tightly around mixture (*see below*). Arrange on cookie/pizza sheet and bake 350* for 10 minutes; turn over and bake 10 more minutes.

 How to Roll an Egg Roll
(based on a quick internet search...please comment if you know better)

place filling in bottom half

dampen all edges with water and roll bottom corner tightly around filling

fold in sides

and roll the rest of the way up!

after first 10 minutes, before flipping

Look at the yumminess!!

These are definitely rated EXCELLENT!  I would rate them double-excellent if I could :)  This would also be yummy with Margaritas!  Based on some of the recipe comments, I decided to serve with this dipping sauce. So glad I did!


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 (7 ounce) can tomatillo salsa (I used leftover diced green chiles from the egg rolls)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt (I skipped this b/c I didn't have any, and it still tasted great)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl. Makes 2 cups. I made 1/4 of the above recipe and it was twice as much as I needed for a dozen Texas-Style Egg Rolls. The website says this makes a great dip or can be used as a sauce for chicken/fish. This one's going in the favorites file!  It definitely earns an EXCELLENT rating.

not very healthy, but dang good

April 10, 2010

Mmm, mmm, Margaritas!

Test Recipes Week 14!

I love me a good margarita (I like on-the-rocks better than frozen).  It's a 'girly' drink that appeals to guys too.  Nice and refreshing - great for summer days.  It's getting close to 90 here in South Texas, so today was a perfect day to test out a homemade margarita recipe.  They're also a great way to unwind after a long day trying to keep 2-year-olds in a chair.

MARGARITAS (Erin'sFoodFiles)
First step: make a simple syrup.  This can be stored in the fridge for a couple months.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Boil water, add sugar, and stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool.
Agave nectar can be used as a substitute.

For the Margarita:
1 1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz triple sec (can also substitute Orange Juice)
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. simple syrup (more or less to taste)
Kosher salt

Wipe rim of glass with lime wedge, then dip into a plate of salt.  Fill martinia shaker half full of ice.  Pour tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and syrup into the shaker; cover and shake thoroughly.  Pour into ice-filled glass and enjoy!  Can garnish with lime wedge.

my glasses are orange, not the drink

I rated this recipe EXCELLENT.  It is so much better than margaritas made from a mix.  Not so syrup-y and not too sweet.

April 1, 2010

Pasta Ban

I was looking through all my previous posts yesterday and I noticed one thing: I make a lot of pasta recipes.  So I hereby declare April a No-Pasta Month.  I am not going to allow myself to test any recipes containing pasta this month.  However, I'm not going to stop myself from bookmarking them for later! ;)