Orzo with Parmesan and Basil


Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 Tbsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.  Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil.  Cover.  Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Mix in Parmesan cheese and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

*Note:  If you use fresh basil, measure 1 cup of whole leaves, then chop.  I highly recommend using the fresh basil.  It's a completely different dish when you use the fresh herb.

 Source:  allrecipes.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl; set aside.  In mixer, mix butter and sugars.  Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Bake 11-14 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Source:  Annie's Eats, originally from Baking Illustrated

Change of Pace

Ok Go is one of my favorite bands, and I particularly enjoy their music videos.  They're hilarious and creative.  If you're bored, some of my favorites are Here it Goes Again, and This Too Shall Pass.  Their newest video is the best they've done so far.  It is awesome!  Watch it here...


Cowboy Cookies


I made these Cowboy Cookies because I was trying to use up some ingredients.  When I found the recipe, I thought they sounded okay, but I wasn't expecting anything fantastic.  These cookies are wonderful; I loved them.  I couldn't stay out of them.  I don't love coconut, so I used less than the recipe called for, but I won't make that mistake again.  The texture of the oatmeal hides the texture of the coconut, so you barely notice the presence of coconut.  Next time, I will, however, use fewer chocolate chips.  Also, this recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I didn't count mine, but I'd say it was close to 4 dozen.  I made mine a little smaller than the recipe directs.  This would be a very easy recipe to half; you could also freeze the dough.

Cowboy Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder 
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or line with a silicone baking mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.  With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans.

For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart.  Bake until the edges are set but the middles still look light and puffy, about 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets.

Source:  Brown Eyed Baker 

Buffalo Chicken Dip


It's September, and in Alabama, that means it's football season!  I know what you're thinking...football season started two and a half weeks ago.  Well, Jim Bob and I are helping our friends, Jonathan and Kathleen King run a vending tent on gamedays.  If you haven't been by to see us, we're at all of the home games, located on 10th Avenue between Bryant Drive and 12th Street (in between Tutwiler and Evergreen Cemetery).  You can see the new t-shirts on my Facebook page. 

But I digress...One of my favorite parts of football season is all of the great tailgating food.  Buffalo Chicken Dip is one of our favorites and has been nicknamed Crack Dip.  I know you'll love it as much as we do.

Roll Tide Roll!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 10 oz. can of chunk chicken, drained
1  oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup pepper sauce (I use Texas Pete.)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat chicken and hot sauce in skillet over medium heat.  Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing.  Cook stirring until well-blended and warm.  Mix in half of cheese, and transfer into slow cooker.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, cover, and cook on low setting until warm and bubbly. 

Source:  www.thenest.com


Grama Bonnie's Banana Nut Bread

Banana Bread

There is something comforting about eating a slice of warm banana bread.  There are many variations on this classic recipe, but Jim Bob's grandmother, Bonnie, has found the perfect combination with her recipe.  Banana bread is the perfect thing to throw together if you have company coming over or if you want to take something to a sick friend.

In my effort to encourage Jim Bob to eat healthier, I buy bananas for him to snack on, but invariably, only one or two will get eaten, and then I'm left with ripening bananas.  I freeze these ripe bananas in a Ziploc (with the peel still on) and leave them in the freezer for the next time I'm ready to throw together a loaf of banana bread.  When you're ready to make your bread, set the frozen bananas out for a few minutes to defrost.

Bonnie's Banana Nut Bread

3 cups sugar (per Grama Bonnie's notes use 1 1/2 cups brown sugar + 1 1/2 cups white sugar)
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted this.)
2/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
2 1/4 cup ripe mashed bananas (I use 3-4 bananas, and I don't typically measure the bananas.)
1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts, but pecans will work well, too.)

Grease 3 loaf pans and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine sugars, oil, eggs, water, and bananas.  In mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients together.  Make a well in center, add banana mixture.  Blend just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in nuts.  Bake in moderate oven approximately 1 hour.

*Note:  When I used to make this banana bread recipe, the middle of the bread was always a little too gooey and not quite done, even after baking for the full hour, plus a few minutes.  I thought it might just be the way the recipe was supposed to turn out, but I was wrong.  I recently bought an oven thermometer to put inside my oven.  It hangs on the top rack, and I can see it easily when I open the door.  It turns out that my oven is about 15-20 degrees off, so I was actually baking at a lower temperature than I should have.  Now that I have the thermometer, I can adjust the oven temperature more accurately.  The banana bread turns out perfectly now!

Source:  Grama Bonnie Turner
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