Saturday, January 26, 2013

Soft Cake-Like Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know how you sometimes make mistakes when baking? Like you run out of an ingredient? Like you already started making a batch of cookies before you realized you didn't have enough all-purpose flour? Well, that happened to me yesterday. And it was the best mistake I ever made! I have been making the same Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Pillsbury for years! They have always been so good! However, they are now better than ever before because of my mishap in the kitchen yesterday. I had the urge to bake chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I usually keep all of the ingredients I would need for this on hand at all times. (like any good baker should) I got the kids helping and we started mixing! We mixed the sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs... then came the flour. I opened my flour canister and knew right away that we did not have 4 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour... I know, it calls for a lot. So I started measuring and we ended up with 3 1/4 cups. I decided to add a cup of self-rising flour in place of the all-purpose flour... ingenious! The cookies puffed up so much more and have more of a cake-like texture to them but are still incredibly soft! Best mistake ever! Here is the new recipe!

Soft Cake-Like Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 5 Dozen

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened (I recommend unsalted stick butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 (12 oz) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips (I added a few white chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, beat sugars and butter until light and fluffy (very important that you get to the "light and fluffy" state. Otherwise they will not rise as well). Add vanilla and eggs; blend well. Add flours, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours or overnight. (If you do it overnight you may need to remove your dough about 30 minutes prior. The dough will be too stiff for your cookie scoop and it may break your scoop... I know this from experience.) Use a cookie scoop to measure and shape your dough. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes (I bake mine for 5 minutes and then flip the tray around and bake for an additional 5 minutes to ensure they bake evenly.) You want them lightly browned. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely... or grab one and dunk it in some cold milk while it is still hot! HEAVENLY! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Freezer Meals

Here are some freezer meals that will help make your life easier and allow you to spend more time with your little ones!

Chicken or Turkey Potpie (modified from Taste of Home Most Requested Recipes)
*Sorry no picture! Y'all know what potpies look like anyway!

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut in to 1-inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream, divided
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 pie crusts (store bought or homemade)
1 egg

In a dutch oven, saute the potatoes, carrots and onion in butter and olive oil until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the turkey or chicken, peas, corn, 1/2 cup cream, parsley, garlic salt and pepper.
Spoon into two ungreased 9-inch pie plates. Roll out pastry to fit top of each pie; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut out a decorative center or cut slits in the pastry. In a small bowl, whisk egg and remaining cream; brush over pastry.
Cover and freeze potpies for up to 3 months. To cook: Remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking. Cover edges or crust loosely with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, remove foil. Bake additional  55-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole (modified from Dream Dinners)
*Sorry, no picture again!

*This recipe is for three 9x13 meals. If you don't want to make that much just reduce your ingredients accordingly.

4 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
3 16oz. bags frozen corn kernels
3 cups diced carrots (I added these. It needed some veggies!)
6 cups (1.5 lbs) Shredded mexican cheese
6 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
3 cups yellow onions, diced
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp Chili powder
2 Tbsp Paprika
6 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water

Spray three 9x13 baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
Put the rice, corn, carrots, cheese, chicken and onions in a large bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, salt, and chili powder. Divide the rice mixture equally among the three dishes. Sprinkle equal amounts of the chili powder mixture over each. Sprinkle the paprika on top. Pour 2 cups milk into 3 resealable bags and seal. place one bag of milk on top of each baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 months.

To cook: Thaw in the refrigerator. Pour milk into the baking dish. Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until the cheese begins to bubble. Remove foil, gently stir to combine ingredients. Cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Here is a link to my Southwestern Egg Rolls! I love this freezer recipe because I can pull out one or two at a time. I like to get them out for lunch with my boys! I actually do have a pic of these on the link!

If you are looking for Crockpot Freezer Meals just click on the link! I cheated on this one. I haven't come up with my own recipes yet. I quickly did a search on pinterest about 20 minutes before I was headed to the Commissary and this is what I found... I made: Teriyaki Chicken, Lazy Day Stew and Sausage & Peppers!