What’s Cookin’ – Double Peanut Butter Cookies

Every now and again when I’ve been exercising regularly and cutting back on the sweets, I lose my mind and make things like Double Chocolate Cream Pie and these Double Peanut Butter Cookies. They are soooooooo good!

Double Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup chunky peanut butter (or smooth if you prefer)

1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 10 to 12 oz. bag of peanut butter chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and eggs on medium speed until creamy. Then on low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in peanut butter chips by hand.

I used the Pampered Chef Medium Scoop to make the cookie balls, although you could just roll them with your hands about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2″ in size. Dip the tops of the cookie balls into granulated sugar and place on a cookie sheet a few inches apart. When I was a kid, my Mom would smash them in two directions with a fork, which made that pretty criss-cross design in the top. However, this recipe spreads beautifully on its own so you don’t need to do that. And using the Medium Scoop, I got about 3-1/2 dozen cookies out of this recipe.

Bake approximately 10 minutes or until just turning a light, golden brown. Keep an eye on them so you don’t over bake. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks or paper towels.

These cookies are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, the perfect combination. You could substitute chocolate chips or even mini chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips, or use both flavors together.

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What’s Cookin’ – Honey Lime Marinade

We eat a lot of chicken and I love the flavor a nice marinade adds before sauteeing or grilling. One of our favorite marinades came about with a little experimentation and it’s very tasty. Every time I whisk this mixture together, hubby walks by in the kitchen and comments on how good it smells.

Honey Lime Marinade

2 limes

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup honey

2 T. rice vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

Zest and juice the limes into a bowl. Finely mince the garlic and add to lime juice along with with the olive oil, honey, rice vinegar and salt to taste. Put chicken breasts and marinade in a ziploc baggie and refrigerate for at least one hour, but a couple of hours is better.

Chicken Breasts in Honey Lime Marinade

Chicken Breasts in Honey Lime Marinade

This marinade would also be great for fish, like tuna steaks.

What’s Cookin’ – Pico de Gallo

A long-time (I won’t say “old” because it sounds so awful) friend came to stay for a few days and made this absolutely amazing pico de gallo. It’s simple and wonderful and tastes so fresh …

tomato and avocadoPico de Gallo

1 large tomato

1 small onion

1 avocado

1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

*optional* jalapeño chili peppers – fresh, seeded and chopped; or canned, diced

*optional* cilantro, fresh chopped

Cut the tomato, onion and avocado into small dice. Zest the lime over them, then juice the lime over them and mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a little heat or spiciness, add chilis ’til you’re happy. Although we’re not fans of cilantro, add it now if you like it. Chill. This is delicious on burgers or scooped with tortilla chips.

Microplane Adjustable Grater

There are a couple of Pampered Chef tools I bought at a party a few years ago that I love for the zesting and juicing.

For zesting, their Microplane Adjustable Grater is wonderful. I zest a lot of oranges, lemons and limes for recipes and we are fortunate enough to have a few citrus trees in our yard.

 

Citrus Juicer

 

 For juicing one or two pieces of fruit, I like their Citrus Juicer. Works like a dream and easily gets every last drop of juice.

What a great way to eat your fruits and vegetables!

What’s Cookin’ – Hawaiian Salad

Mom, apparently you should have published a cookbook because it seems so many of my favorite recipes that we make over and over are from your kitchen.

We are having a few people over for a barbeque on Sunday. We’ll be doing burgers, brats, pasta salad, pico de gallo, chips. As I’m running through this with hubby he asks, “Aren’t you going to make Hawaiian Salad?” This is another one of his all-time favorites and I usually have to make two bowls — one for company and one to hide away just for him. I have seen him eat right out of the serving bowl with a large serving spoon. Sorry, honey, but it’s so cute!

Hawaiian Salad

This salad could not be easier to make and it’s fast. This is the kind of thing you can put together quickly if company is on the way over. You just need these ingredients:

 

Hawaiian Salad

2 – 20 oz. cans Dole Pineapple Tidbits (drained)

4 – 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges (drained)

2 cups mini marshmallows

1 cup unsweetened flake coconut

8 oz. fat free sour cream

Mix it all together in a big serving bowl and chill. You can certainly adjust the amounts if you like more coconut, etc.

 

This salad is especially refreshing when it’s hot outside, but we eat it all year long.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

What’s Cookin’ – Eva’s Dill Sauce

Eva’s Dill Sauce is what I never knew I always wanted! I have, in the past few years, fallen in love with salmon, especially poached salmon, usually with a little lemon juice squeezed over it. Oh, yum! But I have recently been introduced to something that is so indescribably good – Dill Sauce – specifically, Eva’s Dill Sauce.Salmon

A woman who is – no kidding – one of the best cooks I’ve ever met, treated us to Dill Sauce over chilled, steamed salmon the last time we were invited over for dinner. Hubby and I both looked like slobbering idiots, drooling, rolling our eyes, groaning with pleasure over this Dill Sauce. Since then, I have made it and it is so easy and so amazingly delicious. In fact, I had some left over from making salmon and used it the following night as marinade on sauteed chicken breasts. It was great!

 

Eva’s Dill Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon (approx. 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup olive oil

4 T. fresh chopped dill

2 T. dijon mustard

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

Whisk together the lemon, oil, dill, mustard and garlic, along with a little salt and pepper.

 

HouseboatAbout 10 years ago, on a Lake Powell houseboat vacation with four other couples, hubby and I were fortunate enough to spend five days sharing a houseboat with Eva and her hubby. We definitely had the best houseboat because Eva is an amazing cook and baker and, oh, the hungarian pastries we consumed!

Whoa, I believe I just gained weight thinking about all the yummy food. Anyway, Eva has a wonderful recipe website that you are sure to enjoy, Eva’s Recipes. The Dill Sauce is included in her recipe for Dilly Salmon.

What’s Cookin’ – Stuffed Bell Peppers

The gorgeous red bell peppers from the farmers’ market made delicious Stuffed Bell Peppers. I’ve taken several different versions and tweaked them into this recipe that everyone seems to enjoy.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups water

cooking oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground hamburger (ground turkey or chicken would also be good)

salt and pepper

1 – 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce

4 large or 6 medium bell peppers (red and yellow are our favorites – mild and sweet)

1 cup shredded cheese (we use colby jack)

Directions:

Place rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes. When the rice is done, remove from heat and leave the lid on until time to add to the hamburger mixture.

In a large skillet, heat oil (I use extra virgin olive oil). Add onion and garlic, saute. Add hamburger, season with salt and pepper, cook until browned.

Melon Baller

Melon Baller

While onion, garlic and hamburger is cooking, wash and prepare peppers for stuffing. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, cut out stems and scrape out white membranes and seeds. (I have found the easiest way to do this is with a melon baller. They’re small, round and sharp and it goes much faster.) Place pepper shells, cut side up, in a large baking dish.

Once the hamburger is done, drain any grease. Stir in the cooked rice and the spaghetti sauce. Add a little hot water to the spaghetti sauce jar and shake it to get every last bit – put this in the hamburger mixture as well.

Spoon the hamburger mixture into the pepper shells. (I use a Pampered Chef Large Scoop for this.) Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle grated cheese over the peppers and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I have found that you can sneak other vegetables in, too. I like to chop mushrooms and saute them with the onion and garlic. This dish serves 4 to 8, depending on size of appetite. Hubby eats 2 pepper halves, I eat one at a sitting. They taste really good reheated, too, which is a bonus.

Cook Yourself Thin

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

The day of birthday feasting was great. The herb-roasted chicken and roasted veggies that we had for dinner are from my favorite new cookbook, “Cook Yourself Thin.”

MyLifetime.com aired a television show of the same title a few months back and I just loved it. The guest of the week would tell the hostesses/cooks about their favorite dishes. Total calories would be calculated and were ALWAYS way over the number of calories the guest should eat in a day to get to their goal weight. So the hostesses would re-make those recipes, slimming them down to usually around half of the normal calories.

While you can get the recipes online — here is the link for the Easy Herb-Roasted Chicken and Roasted Veggies — I love the feel of a book in my hands. Had a Barnes and Noble gift card from Mother’s Day to spend, so I ordered one. I have repeatedly made several of the dishes from this cookbook and they are absolutely delicious and do not taste de-calorized (is that a word?).

In addition to the roasted chicken, I can recommend the Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas and Turkey Chili Crunch (this one might be my very favorite so far). Instead of the chipotle pepper called for, I just use a small can of mild diced chiles and we scoop the soup with Baked Tostitos Scoops. OMG, I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is!

A little cupcake heaven

A little cupcake heaven

The cupcakes hubby requested for his birthday cake, we saw on an episode of Food Networks’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: With My Hands.” It is a devil’s food cupcake (I like the Duncan Hines boxed mix), iced with cream cheese frosting and rolled in sweetened flaked coconut. They are so good! But hubby’s favorite part of the show was when the chef (sorry, can’t remember her name) made a Cupcake Sandwich … tear off the bottom of the cupcake, put it on top of the frosting and you have a sandwich with the frosting in the middle. It really is great and fun to do. Little kids, as well as big Old kids love it!!!

The cream cheese frosting is one of mom’s recipes:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 T. butter, softened

1 3-oz. package cream cheese (I used Fat Free and it was just fine)

2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Blend until creamy.

Yum!