Sunday, February 27, 2011

Marble squares

Hungry for chocolate chip cookies, but short on time?

Need a yummy dessert for a pot luck?

Marble squares are a delicious solution to both of these predicaments. They are essentially chocolate chip cookie bars, which means they are cooked in one pan and you don't have to spend an hour or more baking 12 cookies at a time!

Marble Squares
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F, or the appropriate temperature for your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
  2. Make the batter for your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, using about 1/3 to 1/2 less chocolate chips than it calls for. One of our favorite recipes can be found here, with the ingredients listed below:
    1C shortening
    3/4 C sugar
    3/4 C brown sugar
    1 T vanilla (liberally)
    1 t salt
    1 t baking soda
    2 eggs
    2 C flour (may take up to 1/4 C more)
    12 oz. Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate chips
  3. Spread your cookie dough into a 9"*13" baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top.
  5. Set into your preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until chocolate chips are melted. Remove baking dish from oven. Using a knife, "cut" into the dough length- and width-wise in straight lines, pulling the chocolate as you go. This is to create the "marbled" look. See photo below.
  6. Continue baking for about 15-20 minutes, until done.
  7. Cut into squares and serve (goes great with ice cream!)
It will be sticky, but try to spread the cookie dough evenly into your baking dish.

The dough may shift in the direction you "cut" it, but it will slide down the edges of the pan as it finishes cooking.
Notice the lines running horizontally in this photo. Cut vertically also.
The final product!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spoonbread (with Jiffy mix)

Recently, I threw together the ingredients (minus the beer) for the Bowl o' Red chili mix from Cibolo Junction Thomas had been given a while back. While it finished cooking in the slow cooker, I decided we needed to have some cornbread to go with it. I like cornbread, but it often tends to be on the dry side, so rather than just following the instructions on the back of my Jiffy mix, I decided to see if I could find a spoonbread recipe that used the Jiffy mix.

This was my first experience with spoonbread. I learned about it recently on this blog and it made me ever so curious! Fortunately, I found a recipe that called for my Jiffy mix and whipped it up. Here it is, with my alterations:

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 can cream corn (the orig. recipe called for an 8-oz. can, but I used the normal size)
1 c sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 c oil
1/2 tsp salt
I also added about 2 Tbsp flour to compensate for the additional cream corn
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease square baking dish. [I put a little bit of butter in my 9"*9" glass Pyrex and put it in the preheating oven]
  2. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into baking dish. The original recipe suggests the dish be a "hot, greased skillet."
  3. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center; original recipe says this should be about 35 minutes, but it probably takes 45 minutes or more.
  4. Serve with your favorite chili! We found that when we served it right away, it was pretty soft and crumbly, but on leftover night, it was able to be sliced like standard cornbread (still moist, though).

The spoonbread went perfectly with this chili - which was pretty darn good itself!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stuffed Bell Peppers

A meal that we ate somewhat frequently at my house growing up was stuffed bell peppers. They're pretty easy to throw together, although they do take some time to cook, and they're tasty and filling.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
2-4 green bell peppers
1 lb ground beef, less if you want juicier peppers
1 can stewed tomatoes
about 1 cup uncooked rice; less if you want juicier peppers
cheese of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to about 375°F. Slightly brown ground beef, seasoning as desired, and cook rice per package instructions.
  2. Cut stem from peppers and remove seeds
  3. Drain beef. Combine with rice, tomatoes, and a little bit of cheese.
  4. Fill peppers with this mixture, and sprinkle some cheese on top. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. When done, peppers should be tender and cheese should be melted. You can make this without cooking the rice and beef first, but it will take longer in the oven.