Monday, August 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Reese's Pieces Cookies

Happy Birthday to me!

I did not actually make these cookies for myself, but they are chocolate and peanut butter, so clearly I loved them. Dave is a big fan of cookies but I'm not huge on desserts. I'd rather get an appetizer or eat something salty. But the peanut butter and chocolate combination is too good to pass up. This recipe yielded a lot of cookies. I ended up with about 28 and was able to bring them to a cookout, a friend's birthday celebration, and keep some treats at home. These cookies are packed with flavor but they stay on the softer side as I prefer. The most amazing way to eat these is while they're still warm. This recipe comes from Averie Cooks.

And since it's my birthday, I'm now going to polish off the bag of remaining Reese's Pieces...

You will need:
*1 egg
*1 cup light brown sugar, packed
*3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (homemade won't work here)
*1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
*3/4 teaspoon baking soda
*pinch of salt
*1 cup Reese's Pieces
*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2.  Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt, and until just incorporated. (Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl) This should only take about 1 minute. Gently stir in the Reese's Pieces and chocolate chips.

3. Use a cookie dough scoop to form mounds of about 2 tablespoons. Place prepared dough mounds on a large plate and flatten slightly with your palm. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (up to 5 days) before baking. Chilling the dough will keep it from flattening and spreading in the oven.

4. Preheat oven to 350F and remove dough from the fridge. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or coat with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, rotating half way through baking. You want the cookies pale and glossy in the center with set edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack.

5. Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kickin' Chicken

Where did summer go? I can't believe it's time for me to setup the classroom for another school year. I am looking to squeeze in a few more weeks of grilling before the daylight disappears after work and the air chills.

This recipe was another Pinterest discovery. I was interested in the fact that there were few ingredients and they seemed tasty. I am so glad that we tried this. We've enjoyed this chicken on its own, on salads, and in wraps. This is a great recipe to grill marinated chicken and use it for the week in lunches and/or dinners. If you like Frank's sauce, then I think you will love this chicken. It is flavorful rather than very spicy. This recipe came from Sweet Little Blue Bird.

You will need:
*2-3 pounds of chicken (we used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I think wings and thighs would work well too)
*1 cup Frank's Red Hot Original
*1/4 cup olive oil
*juice of 2 limes
*2 cloves of garlic, minced

1. In a medium bowl, mix together Frank's sauce, olive oil, lime juice, and garlic.  Place chicken in a pan, bowl, or Ziploc bag and cover in marinade.  Marinade in the fridge for at least four hours.

2. Preheat grill. Remove chicken from marinade and grill. With butterflied or thin chicken breasts, I usually cook them for about 5-7 minutes a side.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Recipe Swap: CPK's Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

It's time for another What's Cooking recipe swap hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking. This month's theme was summer salads. Dave and I often talk about how we should make some new entree salads, but then we never actually follow through. I was thrilled to receive this salad recipe from Sarah herself for this swap. I've only eaten at California Pizza Kitchen once or twice and never tried this salad. So I can't speak to how much like the original it is, but I can tell you that we loved it! I often grill too much chicken so this was a great way to utilize some leftovers. This meal also comes together quickly which makes it another weeknight rotation option for us.

You will need:
*2-3 Romaine hearts, chopped
*1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
*1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
*1 cup sweet corn
*2 tablespoons minced red onion
*1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
*1/4-1/2 cup ranch dressing
*1 large tomato, diced or grape tomatoes, halved
*1 ripe avocado, sliced
*2 grilled chicken breasts, diced and tossed in barbeque sauce (or you could grill in BBQ sauce)
*additional barbeque sauce for serving

1. Combine the lettuce, basil, cilantro, black beans, corn, red onion, and cheese in a large bowl. Toss with enough ranch dressing to coat. Place tomatoes around the edges of the bowl; top with avocado slices and diced grilled chicken. Drizzle barbeque sauce on top and serve.