Tuesday, February 7, 2017

M&M Cookies

This recipe is almost exactly like my increasingly popular recipe for Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (EF).  I just replaced the chocolate chips with miniature M&Ms.  I did make them a little bit bigger, flattening them slightly before baking.  So, they had to cook for another minute or two.  Although the two recipes are very similar, I am listing them separately because they taste like a whole different cookie.  What a difference a simple substitution can make.  One of my kids way prefers M&Ms over chocolate chips.  Happy kid!!

M&M Cookies

½ c unsalted butter 
½ c vegetable shortening
¼ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 t vanilla
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
2½ c flour
1/3 c milk
1½ c mini M&M candies

Preheat oven to 375o Cream together the butter, shortening, both sugars, pudding mix and vanilla.  Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt mixing constantly.  Gradually mix in the flour.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time until dough starts to stick together.  Gently stir in M&Ms.  (I used my hands to mix in the M&Ms.)  Roll into balls, slightly flatten to make a thick disk and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing.  Makes about 28 cookies.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Southern Peach Cobbler

Happy New Year!  For our meal today, we had Hoppin' John (EF, DF, GF) and this peach cobbler made with frozen peaches from the summer.  I prefer more of a cake like cobbler, while my husband prefers a pie like cobbler.  My favorite cake like cobbler recipe can be found here Easy Peach Cobbler (EF).  The more pie like cobbler below is an adaptation of two recipes I found.  Enjoy!

Southern Peach Cobbler

Pastry Dough
Adapted from epicurious.com

2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
2 T granulated sugar
1 t salt
2 sticks (1 cup) less 1 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
6 to 8 T ice water

In a large bowl with a pastry blender, in a food processor or stand mixer blend or pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 2 tablespoons ice water and toss with a fork or pulse until incorporated. Add enough remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing or pulsing to incorporate, until mixture begins to form a dough. Pat into a ball and chill 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough.  With about 1/3 of the dough, cut into one inch squares (or smaller) then place on a cookie sheet.  Bake the squares on 375 F for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Peach Filling
Adapted from iheartrecipes.com

2 lbs sliced frozen peaches, drained (reserve juice)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T unsalted butter
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
1½ c water or reserved peach juice
2 t pure vanilla extract
3 T all purpose flour

Place the peaches in a large pot.  Add 1 cup water or peach juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Turn the heat to medium high.  With the remaining ½ cup of water or peach juice sprinkle in 3 tbsp of all purpose flour then mix.  Once the peach mixture starts to bubble, pour the flour mixture into the peach mixture. Stir, and reduce the heat to low.  Once mixture is slightly thickened, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Toss the cooked pie dough squares into the peach mixture and fold in. 

Pour the peach mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Roll out the remaining dough, and cut it into strips Place the dough strips on top of the cobbler, lattice style.  Bake for 40 minutes on 375o.  Cool slightly and serve topped with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Grandma's Banana Nut Cake

Every holiday at my grandmother's house, you would find this cake on the counter.  So good, so full of memories!  I shared my egg-free adaptation of my Grandmother's recipe for Banana Cake (EF, DF) in May, with the ever popular pairing of cream cheese frosting.  Here is the same recipe with pecans and my Grandmother's amazing banana nut icing.  I have never seen this kind of icing outside of my family gatherings.  The icing is kind of like a banana nut syrup.  Because it is made with fresh bananas, it does darken the longer it sits out.  Although, the longer it sets, the more the icing soaks in to the cake.  Yum!  Regardless, this cake won't last long.

Grandma's Banana Nut Cake

6 medium mashed bananas
½ c vegetable oil
½ c milk 
2 t vanilla extract
3 c flour
2 c sugar
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T white vinegar
½ c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350o.  Cut out wax paper into a circle that fits the bottom of two round cake pans.  Place wax paper in the bottom of the pan then grease with shortening on top of the paper and up the sides.  Set aside.  

Mix cake in a bowl or with a stand mixer.  Blend the bananas until smooth.  Add oil, milk and vanilla mixing until combined.  Slowing add in the dry ingredients, while mixing the batter.  Lightly dust the pecans with flour, about 1 teaspoon and mix into batter.  Once batter is smooth, then mix in vinegar.  The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise, so you don’t want to put it in too early. 

Pour batter evenly in the two prepared pans immediately and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cake in pans on wire rack for about 20-30 minutes.  Invert onto wire rack, carefully peel off wax paper and cool completely.  When cooled, frost with banana nut icing.

Grandma's Banana Nut Icing

1 c sugar

¾ c milk
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 c nuts

In a sauce pan, mix sugar and milk.  Cook on medium heat until thickens.  Add banana and nuts.  Stir.  Cool slightly before topping the cake.

Friday, October 21, 2016


I made a quick updated to my new and very popular Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (EF) recipe.  I liked it a little better when I used salted butter and omitted the added salt.  I still left a note at the bottom, if you use unsalted butter to add 1/2 t of salt.

In honor of this lovely fall season, I am sharing some of my favorite fall recipes...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Quick Cherry Cobbler

In July, I ordered ten pounds of cherries from a local farm and made this delicious cobbler.  This recipe is an old recipe my Mom had and I am not sure she knows where she got it.  But it is similar to many other cake-like old fashion cobbler recipes.  I still have some cherries in the freezer.  I hope to experiment with them soon!

Quick Cherry Cobbler

1/3 c butter or margarine
¾ c sugar
1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ t salt
¾ c milk
½ t almond extract
2 c red cherries, pitted
¼ c additional sugar

Preheat oven to 325o.  Melt the butter or margarine in a 9x9 baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, combine the ¾ c sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk.  Pour over melted butter or margarine but do not stir.  Add almond extract to cherries and pour cherries over batter.  (You can substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract but the almond is recommended.)  Again, do not mix.  Sprinkle ¼ c sugar over cherries.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  The batter will rise and the cherries will settle to the bottom.  Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream!
Serves 8

Monday, August 29, 2016

Roasted Sausage and Summer Vegetables

I love fresh summer vegetables.  I don't grow them myself, but my local grocery store does a good job of stocking locally grown produce this time of year.  I always try to be sure to incorporate some into my menu.  I especially love the summer zucchini and squash.  There are several recipes similar to this one floating around.  I made this one similar to how I like to roast my vegetables in my other recipes.  It turned out really well.  I debated on how much oil to use.  This time I used 1/cup.  I think I may try reducing that to ¼ cup the next time I make it.  That may depend on your own taste.  This recipe is a good, quick recipe that we all need during the busy back to school season!

Roasted Sausage and Summer Vegetables

2 13 oz packages of turkey kielbasa, sliced*
2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 medium yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 sweet onion, cubed
1 orange bell pepper, cubed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t seasoned salt*
1 t pepper
1 t Italian blend seasoning
¼ - 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425o.  After slicing and chopping, place sausage and vegetables in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with garlic and spices.  Drizzle with oil.  With a large spoon, gently mix until oil and spices are evenly coated.  Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spread sausage and vegetable mixture evenly on pans.  Place both pans in preheated oven.  (The pans can be placed on two different oven racks.)  Bake for about 30-45 minutes.  While cooking, stirring once or twice and rotate pans to roast evenly.  Serve with your favorite couscous*, quinoa or rice.

*These items could contain gluten.  If you have a gluten allergy, check the labels carefully or use a safe substitute.