Grape Nuts Cookies

I had a box of grape nuts cereal that I wasn’t eating very fast in the traditional way with milk, so I found another way to use them.  The resulting cookies are very much like your typical oatmeal cookie, but extremely chewy and they have just the slightest bit of crunch from the grape nuts.

Since they have cereal in them they are one cookie that’s totally  OK to eat for breakfast, right?

Grape Nuts Cookies

source: Post Cereal

Ingredients

½ cup softened butter
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup Post Grape-Nuts cereal

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add honey, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.

Add baking soda, salt, rolled oats, flour, and Post Grape-Nuts. Combine until just mixed.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 2-3 minutes; remove from baking sheets. Cool completely on wire racks. Enjoy.

Once cooled, store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield:  about 2.5 to 3 dozen
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Spaghetti Beef Casserole

This recipe calls for two of the dreaded gelatinous canned condensed soups, but I really don’t care.  I try to buy the low-sodium ones and try to avoid using them more than once a week.   I’ve been making this dish as long as we’ve been married and we really enjoy it!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – casseroles are just so good, man.

This makes a really big casserole so I divide it into two dishes and freeze one.  Win win!

{Picture was taken before it went in the oven.}

Spaghetti Beef Casserole

Source:  clipped from an unknown magazine over 4 years ago

Ingredients:

1 pound dry spaghetti

1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 of a jar of pimentos {probably 2 tablespoons} – optional

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup of water {to rinse out the cans of soup}

2 cups of shredded cheese – cheddar or mozzarella or other kind of your choice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray one large or two medium-sized casserole dishes with non-stick spray.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling water.  Drain.

Meanwhile cook the ground beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper in a really large skillet until beef is no longer pink.  Drain off grease.  Add soups and water and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Mix together, then add the cooked pasta and stir everything together.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish(es).  Top with shredded cheese.  If you are cooking one large casserole, bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot.

If you are cooking one smaller casserole now, bake it for about 30 minutes or until hot.

Cover the extra casserole with freezer wrap/foil, label it, and place in the freezer to be used within about 3 months.  When ready to use it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, set out on the counter for about 30 minutes before placing in a 350 degree oven and baking for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until hot throughout.

Almond Biscotti

Having realized that I forgot to make any biscotti over the holidays, I had to remedy the situation right away by making a batch.  I kept it simple and went with a fairly plain almond biscotti.  But sometimes plain can be so, so good.

Because I’m me, I made a few changes – I omitted the egg wash and orange zest and I mixed the dough in my stand mixer instead of in the same sauce pan that the butter gets melted.  Click the link below to Bridget’s blog if you want to see the original instructions.  But I was very happy with the results.  I found the dough to be a little bit more sticky than any other biscotti I have made.  It made shaping the logs slightly difficult, but the final product was just fine.  I should also point out that I don’t like my biscotti overly brown, so I shortened each baking time by a minute or two.

Almond Biscotti

Source:  adapted from The Way The Cookie Crumbles

3¼ cups (15.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 teaspoon salt
1½ cups (10.5 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest – sadly I omitted this
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix the flour and baking powder.

2. In a small sauce pan, heat the butter just until melted. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir in the sugar and salt.  Stir in the eggs, one at time; add the extract, liqueur, and zest.  Slowly mix in the flour mixture, then the almonds.

3. Divide the dough in half.  On the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a log 2-inches across and ¾-inch high. Brush with egg white. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.

4. Carefully transfer the logs to a cooling rack; cool for about 30 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

5. Slice each log on the diagonal into ½-inch thick cookies.  Lay half of the cookies cut side down on the baking sheet.  Bake 11 minutes; remove the pan from the oven and, using tongs, turn each cookie over onto its other cut side.  Bake 7 minutes, until the edges are browned. Transfer to a cooling rack.  Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Black Bean Soup

I’m on a roll with the super quick meals lately!  First, there was the pierogi skillet, then tortellini soup, then Mongolian beef, and now this black bean soup.  I’m stoked!

Meals generally take me 45 minutes to one hour to prepare, so I could not be happier to have a few go-to meals for stressful work nights.  If I leave work right on time and make no stops on the way, I get home at 6:15.  Usually, I’m starving and I would really prefer to eat at {or before} 7:00.  Unfortch, that doesn’t happen very often.  By the time I cook for an hour, eat, and clean up – my night is shot.  So, I can’t stress enough how thrilled I am when a meal cooks fast.  I’ll be even more thrilled when it is still daylight at dinner time for the sake of my pictures. 😉

What time to you eat dinner?

Another great thing about this recipe, in my opinion, is that it calls for prepared salsa which already has garlic and other spices in it.  So you don’t have to measure out a bunch of spices to add to the soup and the flavor is great.

Black Bean Soup

Source:  adapted from Simple & Delicious Nov/Dec 2009

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil

half of a medium red onion, chopped

half a green bell pepper, seeded and chopped – optional

1 can of corn, drained {or 1 cup frozen corn}

3/4 cup salsa

1 can {15 oz.} of black beans, rinsed and drained – next time I will probably use 2 cans

one 14.5 oz. can of chicken broth

Directions:

Heat the oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion and bell pepper, saute until tender.  Add the corn, black beans, salsa, and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and/or tortilla chips.

Yield:  4 servings.

Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes

I have been on a mission to organize my recipes recently and it is no small task.   Really, it’s a major feat.  I literally have thousands of loose leaf recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines, printed from websites, or photocopied from various books.  I have accumulated them over the past 5 years and the collection is no joke.  Over that time I would try to place them in binders, but they weren’t really in any order.  I would guess that 3/4 of them made it into those clear 3-ring binder page protector things, but the other 1/4 were loosely stuffed in among the pages.  Soup recipes were among dessert recipes, a waffle recipe was next to a casserole recipe.  You get the idea – it was chaos.  I needed to sort it all out.

So, I have been sorting it out and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I guess my tastes have changed quite a bit over the years because I was able to throw away many, many pages that I was no longer interested in.  Also on the up side, I rediscovered some long-lost recipes that I’m really excited about.  This was one of those recipes.  🙂

I came across this recipe and wanted to make it because it reminded me of these two summer pasta dishes {here and here} that I made last year, but this recipe uses pantry staples more suitable to winter.

A 1/2 pound of sliced fresh mushrooms was listed in the recipe, but I left them out.

Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes

source:  Taste of Home magazine;  Simple & Delicious Edition Nov. and Dec. 2009

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1/2″ pieces

8 oz bow tie pasta – I used mini

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 tbsp white wine

1 can artichoke hearts; rinsed, drained, and quartered

1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes or Italian style diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained

fresh or dried basil

shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute chicken on olive oil until no longer pink.  Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, saute onion {and mushrooms if using} until tender.  Add wine, reduce heat to medium, stir in tomatoes, artichokes, and chicken.  Cook until heated through.  Taste and adjust seasoning with s&p.  Combine with the cooked, hot pasta.  Add basil.  Serve with Parm on top.

Yield:  5 large servings.

Mongolian Beef

I don’t remember if I have mentioned this before?  We buy 1/2 a cow once a year, so we have a ton of beef in our freezer.  Therefore, I’m always looking for recipes to use the cuts of beef that are plentiful.  Of course grilling steaks and ground beef are easy to use, but the numerous packages of roasts, stew meat, cubed steak, short ribs, brisket, and on and on kind of stump me.  One cut that is not included in our freezer beef is flank steak, which this recipe calls for, so I substituted beef stew meat which worked quite well.  It was maybe a little on the tougher side than flank steak would have been, but carefully trimming the connective tissue helped.

This meal had great flavor, pretty intense smells too.   Tim pointed out that the whole house smelled like soy sauce, but I didn’t mind.  🙂  I’ll definitely make this meal again, since it was very quick to prepare.  Actually I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today!

Mongolian Beef

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Prepared rice

1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise {I used stew beef that I trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces}
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar (measured, not packed)
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large green onion, sliced thinly {I used chives}

Pat steak slices dry and add to a bowl with corn starch. Toss to ensure all pieces are just coated. Shake off excess corn starch using a strainer.

Heat 1-1/2 tsp oil in a large wok or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stir until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl.

Turn the heat to high and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides. Pour the sauce back into the wok and cook until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Add the green onions (a pinch reserved for garnish), stir, and remove from heat. Plate, top with remaining onions, and serve over rice.

Tortellini Soup

Soup is one of the things that I feel confident making without following an exact recipe.  I find it really easy to just add several things, adjust seasonings, and really just wing it with the measurements with outstanding results most of the time.  Soup is also really easy to scale up or down to make a lot or just a couple of bowls.

My mind was racing with additions that would be welcome in this soup.  I think spinach would have been great, but if my memory serves me correctly Tim is not a fan of spinach so I left it out.  Sausage meatballs, zucchini, and celery are a few other ideas.

This was the quickest meal that I have prepared in a long time too, definitely under 30 minutes.  Keep in mind that we like things a little on the zesty side, so omit or reduce the red pepper flakes accordingly.  Also note that you can cook the frozen tortellini right in the soup pot, but I chose to cook it on the side for no apparent reason.

Tortellini Soup

Inspired by The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion, chopped {can use leeks or white onions}

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1.5 cups frozen peas and carrots

pinch of salt and pepper

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 {32 oz} carton chicken broth

water

1 package frozen tortellini {cheese or beef}

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

Cook tortellini in boiling water according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add all of the seasonings and frozen peas and carrots {if you wanted to add zucchini or celery you would add it now}.  Saute a few minutes, then add the vinegar.  Next add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, about 1 cup of water to rinse the tomato sauce can, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and add the tortellini {also add the spinach now if using}.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

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