Keepin’ It Classy: Chocolate Chip Cookies

The forever beloved Chocolate Chip Cookie. Simple, basic, and it’s something everyone loves. Who dislikes a classic chocolate chip cookie?! ‘Cakes’ wanted cookies Sunday. (Introducing ‘Cakes’ this post!) So, I do what I do best, hop online and make it more complicated! I’m never satisfied with something too simple…or something with too much fat in it. The other complication… ‘Cakes’ likes thin cookies…OR big fat ones that are almost under-baked just a tad. ‘Cakes’ and I go back, WAY back. Like… almost 9 years now back. I’m fully aware of his cookie expectations leaving me with quite a conundrum between his preferences and mine! I love more chewy, cakey cookies, something you can really bite into and savor. How does one accommodate all of these things at once!? I FOUND IT, I FOUND IT! Confession: It’s been awhile since I made cookies…but it’s been even longer since I’ve made good cookies. I’m kind of a Dessert-Nazi, especially for cookies and cakes. Part of my problem (note the above paragraph!) is that I make things too complicated and try to do too much at once, or I want to take out a bunch of the butter…you know, the part that makes them awesome! I’ve found several oil based recipes, but this was not the day,and so, the search began. I’m not sure what made me more happy, the fact that I have a new Chocolate Chip recipe, or the fact that I didn’t burn them!! I have a such a ‘super oven’ that I normally knock off 25 degrees off the temp, and 4 minutes for cookies, and 10 min for cakes ect. That’s a lot!! Stupid oven. Can’t wait to have a big fancy perfect kitchen. I got this weeks recipe from The Curvy Carrot Blog. Great blog, definitely check it out, she’s got some great recipes and my favorite…picture! I love seeing what it’s supposed to turn out like before just diving in 🙂  I did alter the ingredients so I’ll post my recipe, but wanted you to have Curvy Carrot’s original as well. Here goes!

Thin and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: approximately 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3.Use your standing mixer to combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup together on medium speed for about 1 minute.

4..  Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, mixing well until combined.

5. Turn the speed down to stir, and add the flour.

6. Hand stir in the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

7.  Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough about 2 inches apart.

8.  Bake the cookies for about 11 minutes.

9. Place on wire racks to cool

Jalaboats: Stuffed-ish Jalapeños

Another food day work was upon me…what to do,what to do?? Apparently stuffed jalapeno were a common staple at such work gatherings, but I’ve yet to see them, so why not! I got some tips from some co-workers and was ready to hit the pepper aisle immediately after work!

Confession: It was really hard to pick out jalapeños… I didn’t want overly large ones, so I was really going to town on the pepper bin at Ghetto Russ’s trying to find  the right sizes (in hopes of getting as many the same approximate size!). I did a little research before the trip to the store, and found out that the more….sketchy they look, the more heat they will have! Who knew?! If you want some extra heat, pick out peppers that seem to have more striations. More striations means they were more stressed during the growth processes. The lack of water/dirt quality during growth means more oil, which is where the heat comes from besides the seeds. Go get those witch-nose lookin peppers! More kick! 

Unfortunately what I didn’t know…was that at least for jalapeños, they lose their heat when they’re cooked, figures. I had one before popping them in the oven and it caused me to grab a quick drink…after however I could share these with anyone scared of heat! They have the flavor of green peppers after baking. I’ll have to add Yutan (sauce-hot hot hot!) or red pepper flakes next time to bring the spicy back up to my level. You know what else is awesome? 24 jalapeños boats cost me maybe….if even $5. The bag of jalapeños was $1.23 and I only used about  2 oz of cream cheese and half can of tomato paste. Yes!! Simple, easy, win! 

The only downside of this recipe is taking the time to de-seed all the peppers. It’s a little time-consuming but I had a little help. ‘Cakes’ and I were watching basketball, so I cut, and he stuffed most of them during the Heat game. I didn’t go off a recipe so I just kind of wing’d it and they turned out fantastic.  This is one of those dishes where I can’t wait to do again, just to come up with more variations. Mushrooms, green onions, mozz, pastrami, chicken, ground sausage/turkey….endless possibilities! How great are these for upcoming summer BBQ’s and family gatherings! Easy to make, easy to transport, have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jalapeño Boats….Jaleboats!

12 jalapeños cut in half with seeds and veins removed.

2 oz (use your judgement here, it will vary depending on how big your peppers are. I tried to get the smallest ones…which were still decent sized)

1/2 can of tomato paste

1/2 red onion diced

1/2 tsp hot chili pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/8 cup cilantro

Warm the cream cheese so that it becomes soft and stir in the rest of the ingredients, Baked them at 350 for 25-30 minutes.I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper knowing that there would be some drip-off from the cheese which made cleaning a cinch. 

Happy Mother’s Day! 66 Calorie Lemon Bars

Happy Mother’s Day all you Mom’s. I was privileged to have spent all Saturday and Sunday with some special Momma’s in my life! Sunday was Dad’s side Family-Mom-Day. Although I love my mother dearly, I think the only inspiration she gave me with anything to do in the kitchen….was to branch in angst of never wanting leftovers again! ha! Thank goodness for Dad’s side! 🙂

I grew up with simple recipes, lots of leftovers on repeat, and many cold sandwich meals. This has turned me into a “I never want the same thing for supper” kind of person. I’ll eat supper and can repeat the next day for lunch…but never two suppers in a row. I also love being in the kitchen, so cutting corners by making tons of leftovers just means I don’t get to cook as much. The more I get to play, the better I get, and the happier I am!

 My Dad’s side has some fantastic chefs in it. I have two Aunts (one which caters) that are both fantastic in the kitchen, both of which never bring anything but the most quickly cleaned out dishes to every occasion. My Grandmother, whom used to own the local cafe in her home town, also still caters a bit on the side can make homemade beef noodle soup and any kind of pie that you would cry for! And finally, my cousin, whom has recently moved back to Nebraska from California, is a pasty chef and connoisseur of anything food. So glad he’s going to be able to join us for more family events, he never disappoints my taste buds! (today which of was no different!)

Confession: In hopes of always trying to rise to any family occasion, I always feel the pressure to bring something worthy.. Everyone is so good at what they do, I definitely have big shoes to fill! Challenge of the day (after spending Saturday burning Cinnamon Rolls….SO PISSED) was to make something noteworthy to bring to this family gathering, yet… have it something that my immediate family will also be able to eat. My father is very food-sensitive (so many things make him sick) and my mom is always on some diet (for the past 20 years) to try to lose weight…even though she looks great. Wonder where I get it from!?! 😉

Lemon Bars! Something almost everyone loves. It’s a light and refreshing dessert that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy, even after a full meal. Did I mention that they’re also one of my Dad’s favorite things….ever? Besides, bread pudding, boston cream pie, snickerdoodles, cinnamon rolls, mac&cheese, chocolate cake…oopps, got carried away. Anyways, I have a weakness for attempting his favorite things, but in low-calorie form, this which of was no different.

After a little research I found out that lemon bars are apparently quite sneaky! Ranging on average from 160-191 calories per slice? I never would have guessed! May as well eat a piece of cake  loaded with frosting!

After my weekly Pinterest sprawl yesterday, I stumbled upon 66 calorie Lemon Bars! Only thing I did different was that I used whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour so I’ll post the recipe along with the link from Cooking Done Light. I thought these tasted fantastic, if not even a little better than regular ones. The common mouf probably wouldn’t notice any different at all, but I think they were just a tad more airy and light.

I always serve these cold!! I think they taste much better, however my dad prefers them at room temp. I also cut out some hearts before dusting with the powdered sugar for some Mother’s Day love! ❤

Low Cal Lemon Bars

1/4 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 eggs

scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

additional confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.

Beat the 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the 1/2 cup of flour and mix on low-speed until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until just golden brown (about 10 to 12 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

While the oven temperature reduces, whisk the eggs on medium speed until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and return to the oven until “set” (about 20 to 25 minutes – do not touch the filling with your fingers or it will stick to them and you will have a big dent in your bars!) Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into 12 squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 12 servings (squares). Per Square: 66 calories, 2 g total fat, less than 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 14 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 6 g added sugar, 4 g protein, 46 mg sodium, 92 mg cholesterol.

Meat: Chicken Meatballs!

Guilty once of again of lacking posts: I blame this counting calorie diet. >1200 a day, it’s much less tempting to eat, snack, and munch on all my favorite carb and fatty yummies if they just aren’t around. I haven’t so much lost the ol’ L.B.’s but I’ve definitely carved off some inches, helllllllo skinny jeans once again!

Meatballs….go. OK, ready for the facts? Here we go: Normally, fried in a pan with any combination of beef and/or pork (unless you’re going all out and throwing down your wallet for the veal too. Who can blame you for being authentic?! No one!).These can have upwards of 100+ calories PER meatball. Let’s take it down a notch…on your belt loop that is. Same beef and/or pork combo…BAKED, you’re looking at anywhere between 70-90 calories depending on the size. (I made medium so I’m basing my numbers off that) One more notch, chicken, baked, meatballs. A whooping skim number of 40-50 calories and about 1.5 grams of fat (vs 5-7 with beef)! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! 

Confession: As much as I hate watching every single thing I eat, and blame the fact that “myfitnesspal” app calorie counter has made me a calorie counting freak. You name it, I know it. I can spend and hour just plugging things in to see what the nutritional content is. For instance…something you don’t need/want to know. Donut holes…ughhh I’m a sucker…for donut holes. Cake donut: about 46, Glazed: about 60. It’s been very interesting over the past 3-4 weeks really paying attention to what I’ve been putting in my body. Next week starts the workout regime again…hopefully to drop an actually number on the scale, not just inches!

On accident, I’ve become a ghetto grocery store junky. The main chain stores in town are not in path from work to home…but there are several ghettoquestionabledoublechecktoseeifyourdoorsarelocked ones. In attempts to save on gas and time, I’ve been trying out more the junky stores in route. 

Confession part two: I’m addicted to junky stores! Even though they look trashy on the outside, trashy on the inside, less of a selection, kind of dirty, even more questionable cashiers and clientele ….I can’t seem to stay away. Although many of your normal boxed goods, milk, pastas, and produce are more expensive…their yogurt and meat selections are impeccable in every way (the two things I stock up on!). They almost always have a ‘managers special’ steal sticker on them, and as long as you plan on making them the day of….ain’t no thang! (or just stick them in the freezer) I save hundreds of dollars by buying things on sale at the grocery store and sticking them in the freezer or just stopping by to see whats  been marked for quick-sale on the way home for dinner that night. I go to the store so often I make it a point to pinch pennies were I can. I love cooking at home, but when you’re cooking small portions it’s just as easy/cheap to go out.

Enough of the money-saving rant, let’s get down to recipe. Whole-wheat pasta, chicken meatballs, and a vodka sauce.

These were super easy, and made a really nice yet quick dinner. They took longer to bake then actually put together! Not to mention they made a ton, so it will be great to freeze these for next time. Meatball sandwiches….or perhaps….a meatball pizza?!!??!?

Also, here’s a a great simple-complicated-different-exotic variation meatball sitehttp://food52.com/contests/168_your_best_meatballs

Chicken Meaballs

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

3 Tbsp Parsley

s/p to taste

1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup of Bread Crumbs

1/2 cup cheese (I used mozz/parm)

Mix everything down to the chicken together in a bowl. Then add the last three ingredients and mix well. I used an oversized tablespoon to make medium balls and I got about 26 meatballs.

Topping

1 Tbsp Grape Seed Oil

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbsp Tomato Pasta

Bake for 30 minutes at 325.