Friday, September 28, 2012

Golf Ball Size Goodness

Welcome back to Free Recipe Friday.
Today, we dive into the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.
But these aren't just any Chocolate Chip Cookies,
they are Randi's Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Ginormous delicious-ness.
Do you ever have one of those weeks
when you just need to have something sweet?
This has been one of those weeks around here.
Though we don't regularly keep many sweets around,
my sweet, tired, overworked husband
requested 'Randi' cookies to hit the spot.
What are 'Randi' cookies ya say?
Lemme esplain.

During our recent summer family vacation to Tennessee,
my brother-in-law's sister, Randi,
treated lavished us with the most amazing cookies.
They were huge!  And they were yummy.
We were all in cookie heaven.
Turns out, they are easy to make,
require very few ingredients AND they are chocolatey.
What more could you ask for?!

Thanks so much Randi,
for sharing these with the crew in Chattanooga!
And what better souvenir than to have the recipe.

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 eggs
4 teaspoons good vanilla
3 scant cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
(our salt quantity is increased

from the original recipe)
12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix the first five ingredients together
in a medium bowl.
Add in the dry ingredients
and combine just until mixed.
Stir in chocolate chips.

Prepare a baking sheet by
spraying with non stick spray

and/or lining with parchment paper.

Scoop up cookie dough with an

ice-cream scoop and drop the dough 
onto the baking sheet
leaving four inches or so between each.

(we could only fit 6 on ours)
Press each golf ball size dough mound
just a tad - do not press down to spread out.
Just press enough to barely flatten
the tops only.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes

until golden brown around edges.
Remove cookies from oven and drop pan
onto the counter.  Cookies will collapse a bit.
And this is a good thing. 

Let cookies sit for several minutes
to continue cooking.

Remove cookies onto a cooling rack.

Eat immediately or store in a sealed container.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Eatin' Like a Shepherd

I'll never forget the look and smell of
one of my favorite meals growing up.
Shepherd's Pie.
Even though I was never fond of veggies
until my later teen years and young adult life,
when my mom prepared this meal I was in heaven.
Shepherd's Pie was one of those comfort foods
that comforted AND
would trick me into eating a few veggies.

My mom always made her Shepherd's Pie
in a good ol' seasoned black iron skillet.
Oh, if THAT skillet could talk!
I remember she would dollop those
homemade mashed potatoes on top,
in five or six mounds, so we would all know
where our serving/portion was.

Then, as if all of that wasn't enough,
there would be shredded cheese
on each mound of potatoes.
Ohh the cheese.
As a kid, melted cheddar on mashed potatoes
was like dying and going to heaven.
At the time, it seemed to be ingenious!
Of course, we used to call it 'grated' cheese -
because we NEVER, EVER,
bought pre-packaged 'shredded' cheese.
Oh no.
Grating that big ol' block of cheddar
was a weekly chore for one of us girls.

Shepherd's Pie has been around since
the late 1700's when it was known as Cottage Pie.
Same principle pretty much -
leftover meat with potatoes on top and/or bottom,
with variations of meats used through the years.
We've always stuck with ground beef for ours.
If you've never tried this classic dish,
please do so as soon as possible!


(to serve 4-6)
1-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained

1 batch pre-made mashed potatoes
(for us, 8-10 med. potatoes to make homemade
or 2 envelopes if using instant)

2 cans 'Veg-All', as mom used
(on the canned veggie aisle)
1 med. bag frozen veggies, thawed
(green beans, sweet peas, cubed carrots)

1 can petite diced tomatoes, OPTIONAL
1 can mild rotel tomatoes, if you'd like some spice
(sometimes we do, sometimes we do neither!)

appx. 2 cups shredded cheddar

the spice trinity
salt/pepper/garlic powder

green onions to garnish, optional

your favorite baking dish
(iron skillet, 9x13, or other)


Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef.
Don't forget to season the meat while cooking.
(salt, pepper, garlic powder)
Drain when cooked.
Place cooked beef in a dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

Spread canned or thawed frozen veggies
on top of prepared beef.
Season a bit with salt/pepper
Prepare mashed potatoes.
Homemade, semi-homemade, whatever works for you.
(We do both.  Depends on how hungry we are.)
Either dollop or spread potatoes
over beef and veggie mixture.

Finally, sprinkle shredded cheddar,
as much as desired, on top of potatoes.
Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes
or until bubbly and golden.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Easy to Love!

 Wanna cook something easy
for someone you love this weekend?
Check out my Easy Omelets article in the latest
Wedded Bliss magazine.
That's what this week's
Free Recipe Friday is all about.
Make it easy on yourself and
enjoy a simple, yummy meal this weekend.
Omelets make a great breakfast OR easy supper
for any time of the week.
These photos are of an omelet my sweet hubby
made for me - he's the bomb like that.

Omelets are quick, inexpensive
and pretty spiffy looking. 
A great way to pamper those you love.
Venture out and try your hand
at omelet making if you never have.

If you haven't picked up a
Wedded Bliss magazine,
you can do that this weekend too!
(available at area restaurants and bridal shops)


Friday, September 7, 2012

So Long Summertime!

  Is it really September??? Say it ain't so!  We hope this means cooler some point.  But before those garden zucchini or the last of your tomatoes disappear, you need to make this delicious eassssssy little dish.  We call it Zucchini Casserole - although I believe it originally called for yellow squash, we've never tried it any other way. A friend of ours gave us this recipe more than 15 years ago and we've been making it ever since.  Thank you Renee!!!!  This recipe can be made with store bought zucchini and even canned tomatoes - sliced or diced - we have tried it every way and it's always just as good.  Zucchini, tomatoes, shredded cheddar and a few basic spices - that's it - that's all you need and it is A.mazing!

(for a 9x13 pan)
5-6 medium zucchini
2 cans sliced or diced tomatoes
5-6 medium fresh tomatoes
garlic powder
salt and pepper
non-stick spray

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray.
Wash and slice zucchini and tomatoes if need be.
Begin layering ingredients in the casserole dish.
You really can't mess this up.
Begin with tomatoes - cover the bottom of your dish
sprinkle lightly with salt pepper and garlic powder.
Next, cover tomatoes completely with sliced zucchini
and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle completely with shredded cheddar
and continue layering until you've used
the remainder of your ingredients
or your dish fills up - whichever comes first.
We usually end up with 2-3 layers.
Cover with foil and bake for
45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove foil at the end of baking
and continue baking a few more minutes.
This will be lava hot for a good 20 minutes or so!
Let it cool a bit before consuming.

Our kids have always loved it as well
zucchini and all!