Friday, August 26, 2011

Chocolate anyone??


Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 3.5 dozen

Note: This recipe is from my mom.  You can substitute chocolate pudding and white chocolate chips or make up your own combinations.  Chocolate-chocolate, chocolate-butterscotch, vanilla-chocolate… the list is long.  I usually eliminate nuts from any recipe, and this recipe doubles well.



1 cup butter

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pkg instant vanilla  pudding

1 – 12oz. pkg. chocolate chips

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)


DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 357 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add egg and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla, baking soda, and flour.  Mix until ‘just’ mixed.  Add pudding, chocolate chips and nuts.  Mix together.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet.  Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Planning meals & MSCD


As we look to start school after Labor Day, it’s also time to start up the menu planning and plan for a Mini Session Cooking Day (MSCD) while I still have time.  I planned out five week’s and left plenty of room for leftovers.  With Dash gone at supper time for football practice, it’s challenging to adjust the quantities appropriately!

Once school starts, free time for cooking disappears and it’s so nice to have a few home-made meals in the freezer to pull out on crazy days (you know the ones where you planned to be done at 2pm, but are still there at 5pm for some unknown reason??).

Monday was my opportunity for a MSCD.  I planned it out the night before and chose recipes for which I already had ingredients on hand.  This is what’s in the freezer (or frig or pantry) today…

2 gallons Italian Sausage Soup

2 gallons Taco Soup

2 dozen Meatballs

2 quarts Mexican meat filling

1 loaf Chocolate chip Pumpkin Bread (one was eaten, the other is on the counter!)

2 dozen Chocolate dipped Peanut Butter Balls*

2 dozen No-Bake cookies

2 quarts Taco Rice

10 bags Brownie mix (each makes an 8x8 inch pan)

Dash made the Brownie mix and prepared the peanut butter balls for dipping.  That helped sooo very much.  Some of the recipes are on my blog, others are available for free (some after joining) on the website of 30 Day Gourmet. 

*These are so easy and absolutely yummy.  Great treat for harvest time lunch boxes when the guys want something candy-like, but I don’t want to pay the price for candy.  I had about half of a White Chocolate Flavor Ghirardelli candy making and dipping bar (2.5 lbs purchased at Sam’s Club during Christmas season) leftover.  I used half (so a quarter of the package) for the recipe.

Favorite Taco Soup



Notes:  This recipe is from Suzie’s NE friend, Michelle M.
Servings: Approximately 12


2 lb. Hamburger
1 small chopped onion
4 oz. can Chopped Green Chilis
1 Pkg. (1.25oz.) Taco Seasoning (we make our own Taco Seasoning Mix)
1 pkg (1oz.) Ranch mix
2 cans (15oz.) Chili Recipe Stewed Tomatoes (I can my own Mexican Stewed Tomatoes)
2 cans (15oz.) Bush’s Hot Chili Beans (generally use the store brand)
1 ½ -2 cups Water
8oz. Mexican Blend Cheeses
1 Bag Fritos (Ranch or Chili Cheese Flavored are good, but plain Fritos are used more often at our home)
8oz Sour Cream (we use more sour cream!)

Brown hamburger & chopped onion, drain grease. Add chopped green chilies, beans, tomatoes, taco & ranch seasonings, and water. Simmer 30-45 minutes for best results or let it simmer in the crock pot for 4-6 hours. Serve soup over the Fritos. Then, top with cheese and sour cream.

Cool completely.  Transfer to a gallon freezer bag.  Remove as much air as possible.  Double bag for safety!  Label and freeze on a cookie tray to keep the bag flat.

Thaw in the frig or in microwave.  Reheat on the stove or in a crock pot.  Serve soup over Fritos.  Top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chocolate Substitution Chart


I recently had need for chocolate substitution…

Hubby’s birthday = German Chocolate Cake. 

German Chocolate Cake = Sweet Baking Chocolate 4oz. 

Bare Cupboard = Substitution!


Chocolate, Bittersweet:

Substitute 1 (1-ounce) square semi-sweet baking chocolate for 1 (1-ounce) square bittersweet baking chocolate.

Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate may be used interchangeably in recipes, but there may be slight differences in flavor and texture.

Chocolate, Semi-Sweet:

3 tablespoons chocolate chips for every 1-ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate.

1-ounce bittersweet baking chocolate for every 1-ounce semi-sweet bittersweet baking chocolate.

1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for every 1-ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate.

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening for every 1 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate.

Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet:

1 ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate for every 1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

1-ounce sweet baking chocolate for every 1-ounce chocolate chips.

1-ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoons sugar for every 1-ounce chocolate chips

Chocolate, Sweet Baking (German's):

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 teaspoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter, shortening or vegetable oil for every 1-ounce German's sweet baking chocolate.

1 ounce dark sweet chocolate for every 1 ounce German's sweet baking chocolate.

Chocolate, Unsweetened:

3 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening for every 1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate.

3 level tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shortening, butter, or oil for every 1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate.

1/2 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate chips or morsels - plus cut sugar by 1/4 cup and shortening by 1 tablespoon in your recipe.

Cocoa, Unsweetened:

Substitute equal amounts of Dutch-processed cocoa for unsweetened cocoa. Leave out any baking soda called for in the recipe.

3 tablespoon carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water for every 1-ounce unsweetened cocoa.

Do not substitute instant cocoa mix for unsweetened cocoa in any recipe.

Dutch-Process Cocoa:

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda for every 1-ounce Dutch-Process Cocoa.

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda (reduce fat in recipe by 1 tablespoon).

3 tablespoons carob powder for every 1-ounce Dutch Process Cocoa.

Milk Chocolate:

Substitute equal amounts of sweet chocolate OR semi-sweet chocolate for milk chocolate.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

At your repeated request!

Blueberry French Toast

Yield: 8-12 servings



12-14 slices day old bread (I used a large loaf of French bread cut into 1” cubes)

2 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese 

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

12 eggs

2 cups milk

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey


DIRECTIONS:  Cut bread into 1” cubes.  Place half into greased 9x13-inch pan.  cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and place over bread cubes.  top with blueberries and remaining bread.  In large bowl, beat eggs.  Add milk and syrup.  Mix well and pour over bread.  Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Cover with foil and back at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 25-30 minutes more or until golden brown and center is set.


1 cup sugar

2 1/2 Tbls. cornstarch

1 cup water

DIRECTIONS: In saucepan, combine sauce ingredients.  Bring to boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1 cup blueberries.  Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until berries burst.  Put sauce into pour pitcher to serve over hot dish. 


**This dish reheats fabulously!  We ate it almost three days in a row and enjoyed every bite.  I didn’t think to take a picture, but it looks wonderful, too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate

… is always a good combination!




Peanut Butter Finger Bars

Yield: 20 servings



1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbls. peanut butter

3 to 5 tsp. milk


DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add peanut butter and blend together.  Add egg and beat until mixed.  Add flour, oatmeal, baking soda, vanilla and salt.  Mix well.  Spread mixture into a 13x9 inch pan.  Press evenly.  Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

Immediately after taking bars out of the oven, sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips over the top.  Let stand 5 minutes, then spread evenly to coat bars. 

In a small bowl, mix together the Drizzle Ingredients.  Drizzle over chocolate frosting.  Cool completely and cut into bars.  These bars freeze quite well.