Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strawberry Milk Chipster Cookies

I will never cease to love Paradise Bakery because of their endless supply of sample "Black & White chipper" cookies.  I mean, who can resist "trying" a piece...only to be followed by another.  And possibly one more after that. (Not that I did that or anything)  These cookies faintly resemble the famous Black & White chippers...except for the obvious color swap- they are rather PINK and white!

That's right...  these babies are made with STRAWBERRY milk powder.  This genius idea came from Jenny Flake over at Picky Palate.  I thought they would be a perfect gift for my mother and mother-in-law on Mother's Day!  Not only were these SO incredibly cute (the picture doesn't do it justice because of the hot pink paper plate behind it...) but they were DELICIOUS!  I wondered how strong the strawberry flavor would be amongst the other ingredients, but it was a perfect amount!
These are the ultimate spring cookies :)

Strawberry Milk Chipsters
from Picky-Palate

2 sticks softened butter
1/2 Cup strawberry milk Powder (Nestle)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1-2 drops red food coloring
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz bag White Chocolate Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter, strawberry milk and brown sugar until well combined.  Place eggs into a bowl and whisk in 1-2 drops of food coloring.  Pour into mixer along with vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.   Place four, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix to combine then slowly add to wet ingredients along with white chips.  Mix on low until just combined.
2.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-11 minute or until edges just start to brown.  Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
about 3 dozen cookies

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna

This lasagna is FABULOUS!!  In an effort to eat a little less meat recently, I've been searching for vegetarian recipes that are healthy and great-tasting.  Well, this one is a winner!
 I found the recipe on  To be honest, first it was the picture that sold me.  It looked so delicious...second, it was the ingredients.  Mushrooms (I love them!) and cottage cheese (it is SO good in lasagna recipes) seemed like great ingredients to this awesome meal.

I am definitely going to make this over and over again... my husband and I absolutely loved it and did not miss the meat at all!

Vegetarian Lasagna

2 cups tomato pasta sauce
1 medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup)
1 (12-oz.) container (1 1/2 cups) low-fat cottage cheese or 1 (15-oz.) container low-fat ricotta cheese
1 9-oz.) pkg. Green Giant® Frozen Spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain well
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
8 precooked lasagna noodles (shelf-stable or frozen), each about 7x3 inches (can use uncooked noodles, just cook them before, and trim if too long)
1 (4-oz.) can Green Giant® Mushroom Pieces and Stems, drained
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1. Spray 12x10-inch sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine pasta sauce and zucchini; mix well. In another medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, spinach, Parmesan cheese and oregano; mix well.
  • 2. Spread 1/4 cup sauce mixture in ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. Spread about 1/2 cup sauce mixture over noodles. Drop 1/2 cup of spinach mixture by small spoonfuls over sauce mixture; spread carefully. Sprinkle with 1/4 of mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
  • 3. Repeat layers 3 more times, beginning with noodles. Cover with foil, sprayed side down; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • 4. Heat oven to 400°F. Bake covered for 45 minutes.
  • 5. Uncover baking dish; bake an additional 10 minutes or until lasagna is bubbly around edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
 Nutritional Information (per serving):  Calories 395, Total Fat 13g (Saturated Fat 6g)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Before making this recipe, the last time I made a homemade pizza/crust was in my 8th grade Foods/Home-Ec class!  The pizza was cooked on a pizza stone, and I remember thinking to myself that it was the best pizza ever and I was going to make this all the time from then on...  I didn't.  Because we didn't have a pizza stone!

Well let me tell you that I was SO happy when I got a pizza stone as one of my bridal shower gifts!  It was one of the first things I planned on making in our new little house as a newlywed couple, but for some reason I kept putting it off, even though I already had bought the ingredients!

This was after the first time taking the pizza out and finding it to still be doughy

 I finally found the right night to bust out the pizza stone... and I did not regret it!  Our pizza was very large and barely fit on the pre-heated stone.  Word to the wise: BUY and USE cornmeal on your pizza peel if you have one and are going to use it.  I didn't have any so I assumed flour would be fine.  HA the pizza wouldn't slide off the peel onto the stone at all! So with the help of Forrest, we had to carefully lift it/slide it onto the peel... it was a difficult process that could have been completely avoided!  ALSO.... I cooked the pizza too long.  The stone makes the crust very crispy and awesome but after the first time taking it out I found it to still be a bit doughy in the middle, so I put it back in the oven... for a tad too long!  The crust was a little too hard for our liking, but that was just my own fault and lack of accurate judgment.  

SO... moral of the story is- 1. Make this pizza! It's incredibly easy, fun and so versatile because you can add whatever toppings you like.  2.  USE cornmeal on your pizza peel!  And 3. Adhere to the correct baking times listed on the recipe! And if you think it is still doughy, then pop it back in the oven for short time periods (like 3 minutes or so) not 8 minutes like me ha!

This was after taking it out the final time... as you can see the top got a little scorched, and as you cannot see, the crust is even more scorched.  But it was STILL delicious!

Homemade Pizza Crust
 from my friend Gina Peterson

1 1/2 c. water
1 Tb. yeast
1 1/2 Tb. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. flour

Preheat your pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. Combine ingredients in order.  Mix in Bosch or Kitchen Aid or knead (this is what I did) for 10 minutes.  Let stand for 20 minutes.  Pinch off and divide into 3 balls (or just make one very large pizza) and roll out into a circle.  Place cornmeal onto your pizza paddle or flat pan.  Roll your dough into a circle and place dough on top of paddle or flat pan, making sure it wiggles when you shake it.  Poke holes in the crust, then spread tomato sauce on top of dough, cheese on next and top with pepperoni, meats, vegetables and/or any other toppings you would like.  When oven is ready, slide pizza on top of hot stone and cook for about 7-10 minutes (for my oven, I think 12 would have been perfect) until it is hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken with Provencal Sauce

Why have I been slacking at posting lately?  The answer to this is: I don't know.  All I do know, is that I want to make this post short and sweet.

Sorry this picture sucks, I know.

I will just tell you straight up.  This chicken dish is the bomb.  In case you live on a different planet and don't know what that means, it means it's the bomb diggity.  Oh gosh.  I really don't know why I just said that but I feel like an old-school high school cheerleader from "Bring it On."

HA.  But really, in all honesty I had my doubts about this chicken recipe from Cooking Light.  I shouldn't have, because almost all of the recipes I have tried from Cooking Light have been successes, but for some reason this just did not really excite me too much.  But boy was I WRONG!  It was SO flavorful and moist and overall YUMMY.  The recipe originally calls for the "Herbes de Provence-" a french herb blend. If you can find it, great.  I could not, so I looked up the ingredient components in Herbs de Provence- thyme, savory, marjoram, rosemary and lavender flowers.  I found this "recipe" here.  Basically, I scaled down the proportions, left out the lavender (didn't have it and didn't buy it) and it worked great.  I just mixed the spices together before beginning the recipe.

Chicken with Provencal Sauce
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence (or roughly about 1/2 tsp. thyme and rosemary each, 1/4 tsp. savory, and 1/8 tsp. marjoram combined together)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional- I left them out)
  • Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  • Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth and herbes de Provence; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat; add butter and lemon juice, stirring until butter melts. Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

FINALLY.  School is done for the summer for me! I could not be more relieved... although that means I have to find another summer job to keep me busy.  Nonetheless, we'll just pretend that I'll have a lot more time to blog.

Yes, I like pretending.

I like pretending that I made these tonight and I'm a super diligent blogger and that these are the best cupcakes ever.  Oh wait, that last part isn't pretending!  This was my Easter gift to my family and they were SO good. Honestly some of the best cupcakes I've ever had.  

Wanna know the best part?


They're LIGHT. In calories and fat.  The original recipe is actually for Carrot CAKE but I got super duper creative by baking it in muffin cups... I know.  A little crazy with the imagination here.  

Anyway, 262 calories and 8.8 grams of fat per cupcake.  Okay so it's no diet soda cupcake... but the stats could be much worse.

They are deeeeee-lish and no one will ever know they are "light."

Carrot Cupcakes with Toasted Cream Cheese Frosting
from Cooking Light
  • Cake:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 (2 1/2-ounce) jar carrot baby food
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated carrot (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Cooking spray 
  • Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until well blended. Place flour mixture in a large bowl. Combine granulated sugar, canola oil, baby food, and eggs; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Stir in grated carrot and raisins. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray or filled with cupcake/muffin liners.
  • Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • To prepare frosting, combine cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Spread over cake; sprinkle with coconut. Cover and chill.
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