Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Not only is cooking food a passion of mine, but cookies are as well. They are atop all the rest of my food and desserts. The reason? They always, ALWAYS make you smile! It takes some people back to their youth, makes you think of a distant memory, and/or may create a new one. I have always believed, learning to cook and bake is mandatory because you eat to live. But, why not enjoy what you put in your body? For all those that may not agree with that, that is totally fine. It’s mine and I’m here to share this heart warming cookie recipe that is quick, easy, and so worth it!

 

Miranda’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Make approximately 24

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats (Old fashion not instant)
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup White sugar
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • Dash of Salt
  • 3 Eggs (beaten)
  • 2 sticks Soften unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Raisins

 

** 1 hour prior to baking, take the vanilla, 3 eggs, and raisins and place them together in a bowl. Put in the refrigerator to keep cool. This infuses the raisins with amazing flavor and keeps the cookie moist**

Preheat the oven to 325° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.  In a mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars. Mix until this has become creamy (about 1 min) Add uin the remaining ingredients except the oats. Mix to combine all the ingredients. Finally, add the oats and let the mixer run for about 15 seconds on low. If you do this step too quickly, the oats will become ground up.

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Next, with a tablespoon, scoop up the dough and form into a lightly pressed ball. Place on the baking sheet. Make sure the dough balls aren’t too close together because these cookies will spread out. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool. Enjoy with milk or a hot cup of coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Wing Soup

Two staples in the Buffalo, New York area are chicken wings and soup. With Buffalo being the city with the best known chicken wings and an area that measures snow in feet, this soup totally makes sense as to why it’s popular there. I spent the first 25 years of my life growing up in a suburb of Buffalo. So, I consider myself an expert in chicken wings and their flavor. This soup is perfect for any sporting event you are tailgating at, any party, and definitely any evening you want an easy but delicious soup.

 

Chicken Wing Soup

Serves 4

  • 4 Chicken Thighs (seasoned and cooked)
  • 4 cups Chicken stock
  • 2 Celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 Medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Garlic cloves (finely diced)
  • 2 tbsp Ranch dressing
  • 1 tbsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • S & P
  • 1/4 cup Franks Wing Sauce + extra for topping
  • Blue cheese crumbles (topping)
  • Blue cheese dressing (topping)
  • Rue for thickening (1 tbsp flour and 6 tbsp water, mixed)

 

First, preheat the oven to 400° and place the cleaned chicken thighs in a baking dish. Sprinkle with S & P and  bake for 35-40 minutes. Let the chicken cool completely. De-bone the chicken and chop into bite size pieces. Set them aside.

While the chicken is cooking in the oven, in a large pot, place the onion, carrots, celery, garlic,and butter. Cook on medium high heat for about 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently, so nothing sticks and everything begins to cook evenly. Add in half the parsley, S & P, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken broth, and hot sauce. Turn the heat to medium low, cover, and let the soup come to a boil.

 

Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the chicken and ranch dressing. The dressing will almost look like its curdling but it isn’t. It has lots of oil in it, so it is separating. Stir until it has dissolved into the soup. If you choose to thicken the soup, add in the rue and stir. You can thicken it as much as you would like but just be cautious, this isn’t a stew. Let this cook for another 5-10 minutes.

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Ladle the soup and top with wing sauce, blue cheese dressing and crumbles, and parsley. Keep in mind, there is hot sauce in the soup but you can decrease or increase that amount if you choose and the additional on top gives an extra kick. As always, enjoy!

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Rustic Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is surely not anything you would find from a can. It has all fresh ingredients and in my opinion, it’s healthy meal option for your family. You can use organic ingredients, if you so choose to and you know exactly what is in it. With no preservatives, you can make extra and freeze the soup for a later date. Plus, as always, it’s easy to make!

 

Rustic Tomato Soup

Serves 4

  • 2-2 1/2 lbs Roma tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (smashed and skin removed)
  • 1 medium White onion (sliced)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp White granulated sugar plus additional for taste
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup Water or Chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup half & half or heavy cream
  • Fresh parsley (chopped for garnish)
  • Fresh cheddar cheese (grated for garnish)

 

Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, S & P, onion and garlic powder, sugar, and EVOO.  Pour the content from the bowl onto the sheet and spread everything out evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the skin on the tomatoes begin to peel off. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

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With a pairing knife, peel the skins off the tomatoes and place everything on the baking sheet in a blender or a deep pot with an Emerson blender. Add the water or chicken broth and blend carefully until the soup is smooth. If you used a blender, pour the mixture into a pot. Add the half & half and turn the heat on to medium. Stir every couple of minutes until the soup boils. This is the time to add additional salt, pepper, and sugar.

Ladle the soup into bowls and add the shredded cheese and parsley. Serve with grilled cheese for the ultimate mind blowing experience. Enjoy!

 

 

Savory Beef Stew

What can I say? Beef stew is the ultimate comfort meal and is even better the next day as leftovers. Personally, I make this meal, about twice a year because it is so rich but it is so worth the wait. You can add different veggies, such as parsnips instead of carrots or potatoes and you can add mushrooms for extra richness if you desire. I truly enjoy adding dumplings to stew. They are light and fluffy pillows of deliciousness. You don’t have to have them but I highly recommend trying them, at least once.

 

Savory Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

  • 2 lbs Beef stew meat
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 Celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (finely diced)
  • 1 cup Baby carrots (chopped)
  • 2 large Yellow or Red potatoes (cubed)
  • 3 tbsp Fresh parsley (chopped and divided)
  • S & P to taste
  • 2 tbsp AP flour (beginning)
  • 4 tbsp AP flour plus 8 tbsp water (rue to thicken stew)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3-4 tbsp Browning seasoning sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Beef boullion cubes
  • 1 cup Red wine (not too sweet)
  • 3 1/2 cups Water
  • *Bisquick mix for dumplings-per instructions on box

 

Heat a deep pot to medium to high heat, add the meat to begin browning all the sides. If any of the meat sticks to the pot, don’t worry! Once the liquid is added, it will lift off and add flavor to the stew. After the meat has browning on all sides, add in the onion, garlic, S & P, onion powder, and garlic powder. Toss all together and then sprinkle in the flour.

Stir and as everything begins to sizzle, turn the heat down to medium. Add the boullion cubes and wine. Let everything in the pot cook down for about 5-8 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, 1 tbsp of parsley, bay leaf, worcestershire sauce, and the browning sauce. Stir to combine. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Let the stew cook for 2-3 hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

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After the stew has cooked down, approximately and hour before dinner time, add the potatoes. This will ensure they aren’t over cooked. After 45 minutes, turn the heat up to medium and add in the rue and butter.  This will thicken the stew if desired. This would be would be when the dumplings would be added to cook. Follow the instructions on the box mix Generally, dumplings will take about a half an hour to cook. (15 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered)

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Once the dumplings are cooked, serve in a bowl and add parsley. Enjoy! This stew can be made in the crock pot but dumplings are not recommended if you choose this cooking method

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Taco Quesadillas

Tacos have never really been a favorite of mine until I began trying them in different ways. My husband had requested them (Taco Tuesday) and I honestly wasn’t in the mood for them. I wanted something different and crunchy so I thought well nachos would be good. I kept thinking and realized, I hadn’t made Quesadillas in a very long time and all the taco fixings would be amazing in it. Voilà! Dinner was decided! You can make them however you want but this is my version.

 

Taco Quesadillas

Serves 4

  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 8 Flour tortillas (taco or burrito size)
  • 1/4 White onion (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 2 tsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Ortega taco sauce (mild or medium)
  • 1 can Refried beans (warmed)
  • S & P
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 cup Shredded colby jack cheese
  • 2 cups Lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 medium Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 Avocado (diced and slightly smashed) *optional
  • 4 tsp Sour cream *optional
  • 4 tsp Salsa *optional

 

First, in a skillet, cook the ground beef completely. As the beef is cooking, chop it into small pieces so it is easier to distribute. Add in the onion, garlic, parsley, S & P, onion powder, garlic powder, and taco sauce. Completely cook the ingredients added to the meat.

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In a different skillet or a cast iron, heat up to medium and spray with non stick spray. On the bottom tortilla, smear the refried beans to the edge of the tortilla. Top with a little cheese and meat. Place the tortilla, ingredient side up in the warmed skillet. Add any additional toppings of your choice. (I personally added tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese)

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Finally add the top tortilla and place a separate skillet on top to ensure even cooking to the bottom tortilla. After about 1-2 minutes, flip the quesadilla over to cook the other side. After the second side is cooked, remove the quesadilla from the pan and slice into quarters. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole/avocado, and spanish rice. Enjoy! Quesadillas are versatile so add what YOU like

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