Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Deep Dish Nutella-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie for One

Yep... it's a mouthful of a name for this post. But one mouthful of this lusciousness and you'll want to make these quick little desserts for yourself every day. This version of the personal cookie is much better than one I posted quite a while ago (with or without the Nutella middle). Go ahead... give it a try. It's only one cookie!


Deep Dish Nutella-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie for One
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Dash of vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I like to use mini chocolate chips for this)
1 tablespoon Nutella (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Coat a small ramekin with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter for about 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Whisk in the sugars and vanilla. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour and whisk to evenly combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Spoon half of the dough into the prepared ramekin. Add the Nutella on top of the dough in a dollop.  Top with the remaining dough and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (don't over cook it... it's supposed to be soft and gooey). There's no egg in this dough so don't worry about cooking completely. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes before eating. 


slightly adapted from

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes was always one of my favorites as a kid. This version is a bit different from my Mom's recipe, but absolutely delicious.

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes
6 tablespoons butter
5 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup shredded cheddar (or whatever cheese you like)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the cream, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by one third (about 15 minutes). Stir in the salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and two thirds of the cheeses. Stir in the cream mixture until potatoes are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and level with a spatula or spoon. Cover with aluminum foil and seal the edges. I also usually place the baking dish on a cookie sheet just in case the cream mixture bubbles over the edge of the dish (saves me from needing to clean up a big mess in the oven).

Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and the cheese as browned, about 30 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest of 5 minutes before serving.


slightly adapted from 'Nordstrom Entertaining at Home Cookbook'

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Celebration Flags Cake Topper

Need to decorate the top of a cake? Here's a way that's quick and easy. You can use this on any cake you've made or a cake that you've bought. The personal touch of these flags will get everyone ready to celebrate!

Celebration Flags Cake Topper
Here's what you'll need...
two pieces of card stock in any colors you desire
some yarn in any color you like
a large needle
two wooden skewers
letter stickers

Cut a strip of card stock about 2 inches wide. Then cut to form a triangle with about an inch to two-inch base. Use that first triangle as a template to cut the number of flags you need. In this example, I cut 8 of one color and 5 of a second color. You'll need to plan out how many lines of flags you want and what pattern. Be creative!

Once you've cut out all of the flags, lay them out into the desired pattern and add letter and number stickers to create the message you want. You could also use a marker to write the letters and numbers if you don't have stickers. 

Thread a large needle with a piece of yarn. I actually took one strand of yarn and separated it so that it would be thinner (using only two strands of the yarn for each line of flags). Now you work backwards... start with the far right flag and poke a hole from front to back on the right side of the first flag (see the picture on the left below). Then use the needle to poke a hole on the left side of the flag from back to front, pulling the yarn through with the needle (see picture in the middle below). Be sure to leave several inches of yarn at the end. The picture below on the right shows the view from the back of the first flag. Continue this process, adding each flag until you get the message you planned out. Leave several inches on the left side of your flags. 


If you're creating two lines like I did, you repeat the entire process for the second line of the message.

Next, tie one side of each celebration flag message to a wooden skewer.


Insert the skewers into the top of your cake at an angle so that the celebration flags droop just a bit, just like they would if you hung them from the ceiling for a fun party!

Decorate your cake with any additional fun finishing touches you desire.
I added these little ugly monster dolls (along with some on cupcakes for extra fun).


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Here's another simple, yet delicious dinner. You can make it in your crockpot or slow-cooker. You can double the recipe for a larger crowd without doubling the amount of work you need to prepare. This chicken only has a few simple ingredients that you may even have on hand already. It's great for a weeknight meal if you slow cook the chicken on low during the day.


Chicken Tinga Tacos
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt & pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 to 4 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1 cup chicken broth

for serving...
warmed corn tortillas
Cotija cheese, crumbled
diced red onion
lime slices
guacamole (optional)

Coat your slow-cooker with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Top with the chicken. Pour the tomatoes, peppers, and chicken broth over the meat. Season with salt and pepper. For mild - use only 2 chipotle peppers... for hot - use all 4.  Set the slow-cooker on low and cook for 6 to 7 hours. The chicken will get very tender and shred easily (chicken thighs will shred better than breasts, but you could also use breasts).

When the meat is done cooking, transfer it to a platter. Allow the sauce to cool, then transfer it to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Shred the chicken and pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the sauce over the meat and stir to coat. Save the rest of the pureed sauce for serving.

Top each tortilla with some of the chicken tinga, cheese, cilantro, red onion, and gaucamole.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Paintball Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes recently for a paintball birthday party. They are so fun and deceptively simple to make. Start with your favorite cupcake (I used vanilla)... here's a link to a dairy-free version - Dairy-free Vanilla Cupcakes. You could use any flavor you like!


Paintball Cupcakes
1 batch cupcakes of your favorite flavor
1 batch frosting (something white works best)
gumballs in assorted colors
food coloring in assorted colors

Frost your cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (or you could also use cream cheese frosting). Here's a vanilla bean buttercream that's delicious! Click here.

Color about 1/4 cup each of yellow, green, blue, red to match whatever color gumballs you have. Place each colored frosting in a separate ziplock bag. Trim a small piece from the corner of each bag and pipe a small amount of frosting in various colors on each frosted cupcake. This creates the "paint splatter."

Top the cupcakes with a gumball in corresponding color as the "paintball" on top of each "paint splatter."

Enjoy! (kids will love these)