Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pecan CookiesAnd A Bag Of Chips
I keep chocolate chips in my pantry because you never know when you are going to have to make something for some event. Or for that matter, you never know when inspiration will strike and it will be a good idea to put them in pancakes. Side note: It is always a good idea.

It was not in my plans to make chocolate chip cookies over the weekend until I opened my pantry and noticed that someone or something with opposable thumbs had opened the bag of chips and apparently had been using them to satisfy a craving. The result was chips spilled on the shelf. Sadly enough, I don’t think this is one I can blame on the children—unless you think 49 still qualifies as a child.

So that is how I found myself making chocolate chip cookies Sunday afternoon. Since it is January and I have been trying to avoid such things, I justified my actions by telling myself I had no choice because the chips were just going to keep spilling everywhere. That and the kids were going back to school…so it would be a nice way to take the sting out of having homework again. Never mind that it was January 7th and I was already about to blow up my New Year’s resolution. Sigh.

I did make an attempt at healthy. I added pecans and some oatmeal. (What? That counts, right?) While it may not actually have made the cookies healthier, it did make them taste pretty good. And I really only had one…handful. Right out of the oven.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies
Yields approximately 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on size

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to a rack to cool.

Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage

Chicken Stew with White Beans and SausageSoup’s On!
The fact that the rest of the country is enduring record-breaking cold temperatures has inspired me to ramp up the soup making. Well, this, and the fact that it is the New Year and I can’t just go on eating the way I did through the holidays. I have found that soup is a satisfying way to fill you up with a lot of veggies without feeling like you haven’t eaten anything.

I have a number of go-to soups that I make all the time. This Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup one is a staple as is my Spanish Chickpea Stew with Kale and Salt Pork from our cookbook club. Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill is a no-brainer this time of year—as it seems everyone is catching a cold. and of course, it’s a favorite with the kids.

This is also the time of year where I find myself using dried beans in the slow cooker during the week, or filling the house with wonderful aromas on the weekend. Gam’s Navy Bean Soup Soup is perfect for cold winter evenings. But, a little spice can be welcome too in our Spicy Chicken and Rice Flu Chaser Soup or Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup.

If you are one of those who is part of the Instant Pot craze (or maybe you got one as a gift for Christmas) they are great for producing tasty, authentic-tasting Pho in half the time. Check out this article on Epicurious.

With the rain moving in this week (Finally!), it’s the perfect time to stock your freezer with healthy and hearty soups for the new year. For me, I am breaking out the crockpot this weekend and making this oldie but goodie…Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage .

Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage
Recipe adapted from of Slow Cooker Revolution
From America’s Test Kitchen
Serves 6 to 8

This Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage is inspired by a classic Tuscan white bean stew—we added sausage. Browing the chicken, sausage, and aromatics makes for a richer, deeper flavor. The abundance of spinach wilts down substantially.  Read more…

Amy’s Favorite Roast Chicken

Amy's Favoirte Roast Chicken RecipeThe Aftermath
We survived the holidays mostly intact. I say mostly because I don’t think anyone can consume that much cheese, beef, and heavy cream without some sort of adverse effects. I couldn’t bring myself to step on the scale this morning for fear it would laugh at me—I chose to live in ignorance. Even the dog gave me a You’ve got to be kidding me look when I filled her bowl.

It’s times like these when it becomes difficult to figure out what’s for dinner mainly because no one is really that hungry, (except my two boys…constantly). But, we gotta eat and whatever I make has to be easy and actually be good for you…preferably with a salad on the side.

What would this perfect meal be? Roasted Chicken. There are few things more satisfying than a nice, juicy roasted chicken. Served with a fresh green salad on the side, it is the perfect meal to get back into the daily routine and to lighten things up.

Roasting a chicken is not difficult and there are hundreds of ways to do it. One of my favorites is this recipe for Bundt Pan Rotisserie Chicken that I shared back in March.

But, the easiest way is to rub it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and throw it in the oven for an hour or so. If you have the energy, you can also chop up your favorite herbs and rub it as well as some olive oil all over the chicken for some great flavor.

Below is the recipe for Amy’s Favorite Roast Chicken that I use the most because it is the most reliable and I can do multiple chickens. (See the point about my boys above.) Having a thermometer to check the temp is key so that you know the chicken is cooked through.

Amy’s Favorite Roast Chicken

Read more…

Let the Christmas Begin

Let the Christmas BeginI have always been one of those people that work better under pressure. Probably because I was a procrastinator in high school, but I digress…

When there is a lot going on, and even more to be done, I get hyper-organized and efficient. This is why I have spent the last hour organizing my shopping list for the holiday weekend. I have it split out by day (‘cause I am going to have to do multiple trips) and by aisle to make it easier to maneuver and get it home. You may be asking what could possibly require multiple trips to the store and aisle mapping? Let me explain…

Most years, I am responsible for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas dinner—which is also my husband’s birthday dinner. This year my sister is hopping on a plane Christmas Day. Therefore I am responsible for Christmas Eve dinner for 14 people, Christmas Morning breakfast for 7, and Christmas/Birthday Night dinner for 8.

So, you see why my fridge may not be able to handle it all at once (and you can believe there is some wine on that shopping list!) It is also why I start planning the menu pretty far in advance so I can map out what can be made ahead and what is last minute.

In case you’re curious here’s what’s on the menu:

Christmas Eve
Spinach Salad
Roasted Fresh Ham
Ginger Glazed Turnips, Carrots and Chestnuts
Potatoes Au Gratin
Sticky Toffee Ginger Bread Read more…

Fig, Ricotta, and Goat Cheese Tart

Fig, Ricotta, and Goat Cheese TartFinger-Lickin’ Good
It’s the second week of December and holiday parties are in full swing. Between work parties and our own, I think I’ll see my husband for a total of 20 minutes this week.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a caterer at this time of year. I think I would lose my mind—those caterers are way better at the one party food that usually throws me for a loop, hors d’oeuvres.

I am known for my awesome guacamole. Most of my friends have enjoyed a Hot Cheezy Thing a time or two and I almost always have a cheese and cracker plate or veggie platter whenever I have people over. But the cute little bite-sized tasty tidbits? Not really my thing. I’m just not that great at coming up with that super yummy finger food idea.

The funny thing is that it can be difficult to find recipes for little appetizers unless you are looking just before New Years Eve. Hors d’oeuvres are to New Year’s as turkey is to Thanksgiving.

When I do come up with something, I tend to gravitate towards anything in puff pastry, cause it’s relatively simple to use and and it always impresses. Even better, you can take whole sheets and turn it into a tart (think carmelized onion, brie and pears!) that can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. Easy Peazy.

The recipe for Fig, Ricotta, and Goat Cheese Tart is a perfect example. And the tart is so pretty you may not want to cut it up…

Happy holiday partying!

Fig, Ricotta, and Goat Cheese Tart
Yields 20 to 24 bite-sized pieces Read more…