Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are a must have during the holiday season. Every year, I find myself experimenting with new recipes, old recipes, and traditional recipes. True fact: I will never use white chocolate. Why? It’s not real chocolate and it tastes nothing like real chocolate in delicious cookies. Aside from that, find ingredients you love and test a way! This recipe, I did just that. I love a chewy oatmeal cookie. I also love chocolate and dried cranberries just scream, it’s the Holidays! Give this spicy recipe a try, and see for yourself.

Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes approximately 24-36

 

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1/2 cup White sugar
  • 1 cup Brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled)
  • 1 cup Old fashioned Oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Dried cranberries

 

Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, with the paddle attachment, add in the eggs, sugars, spices, and vanilla. Mix for about 1 minute on a medium low speed until everything is combined. Add in the melted butter, flour, and baking soda. Mix until a dough has formed. Finally, add in the oats, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Turn the mixer on low for about 30 seconds to combine the dough completely.

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Next, with a teaspoon, scoop out the dough and lightly press into a ball shape. Please the dough on the baking sheet about an inch apart from the other cookies. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and cool.

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Yes, your home will smell of gingery spices. Enjoy these cookies with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Miranda’s Tasty Chili

 

 

With the colder weather approaching and football season upon us, why not cook up a delicious chili for your tailgate. When I was growing up, and the snow would pile up, my mom would start a big batch of chili. We would eat it for a couple days, especially if we were snowed in. Although, my recipe is different in taste and texture, it still brings back memories with every bite. Give my chili recipe a try at this weeks tailgate or even for a large crowd during the holidays.

 

Miranda’s Chili

12-18 servings

 

  • 2 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80/20)
  • 1 large Yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 large Green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper (de-seeded and finely diced)
  • 3 Garlic cloves (diced)
  • 2 cans Diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Mild chili beans
  • 1 can Black beans (drained)
  • 1 can Dark red kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can Corn (drained)
  • 3-4 cups Tomato juice (depending if you want it thicker)
  • 1 tbsp Parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp Franks hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • S & P to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • Corn starch (approx. 5 tbsp-optional)

 

In a large pot, begin cooking down the ground beef on medium heat. After it has started to turn brown, add in the garlic, onion, and peppers. Cook this mixture down for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle in 3 tbsp of corn starch. This will start the thickening process of the chili. Stir until it is all dissolved.

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Add in all the beans, tomatoes, and all remaining spices except the hot sauce and sugar. Stir and then add the tomato juice. Bring the chili to a small boil and then turn the heat to low. Add the hot sauce, sugar, and remaining corn starch (to thicken even more). At this point, you can transfer the chili to a crock pot to continue cooking for 4-6 hours.

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About an hour before serving the chili, add in the corn and parsley.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and/sour cream. As always, enjoy!

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Harvest Kale Salad

Kale hasn’t been a veggie that I can say I was comfortable using in my cooking. I thought it tasted bland and dry. The only flavoring, besides salt, was butter and after a while that isn’t just unhealthy but boring. Recently, I tried coming up with some salads that would be healthy, flavorful, and allow me to use fall veggies. This salad does that plus you can adjust it to what you like. For example, skip that feta cheese and use goat or blue cheese. My point, don’t be afraid to try new food out of your comfort zone. You may just fall in love with it. Get it? “Fall”! Try this recipe out and see for yourself just how delicious it really is.

 

Harvest Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

Serves 6-8

 

  • 4-5 cups Fresh kale (wash, dried, chopped, and stems removed)
  • 3/4 cup Dried cranberries/cherries
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes (cubed and roasted)
  • 1/3 Feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/4 cup Almonds (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • S & P

Dressing

  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of ground pepper
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar

 

First, preheat the oven to 375°, peel and dice that sweet potatoes. Toss in the olive oil, cinnamon, garlic powder, and S & P. Place on a cookie sheet, lined with foil. Bake the potatoes for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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While the potatoes are cooking, prep the kale, almonds, and dressing. (Dressing: combine all the ingredients and whisk together) Place the salad in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes, salad dressing and remaining ingredients. Toss gently, refrigerator for one hour, and serve. As always, enjoy!

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Turkey Meatball Soup

 

Since fall in right around the corner, and we all want something warm to eat, why not try a soup that is not only delicious but is great for your waistline. My turkey meatball soup is jam packed with veggies that can be changed to your liking. For example, I didn’t include butternut squash but the next time I make it, it sure will include it! Use veggies that you have from the farmers market or your own garden. And surly, don’t skimp on them either. This soup freezes well and is awesome the next day.

 

Turkey Meatball Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 lb Ground turkey (85% lean)
  • 1 Carton chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 Medium onion (1/2 chopped fine for the meat, 1/2 rough chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped and separated)
  • 1 cup Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 Celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 box Frozen spinach (defrosted and squeezed) or 2 cups fresh spinach
  •  S & P to taste in soup and meatballs
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/8 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Greek dressing

 

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a large bowl, combine the turkey,  fine chopped onion, 1 garlic clove, bread crumbs, half the parsley, garlic powder, S & P, egg, milk, and Greek dressing. Use your hand to mix and form the meatballs. It should make about 12 regular size meatballs or 24 mini meatballs. Bake for  35-40 minutes and cool for 5 minutes before putting the meatballs into the soup.

 

While the meatballs cook in the oven, in a large pot, melt the butter on a medium to high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes to soften the veggies. Add the garlic, beans, chicken stock, parsley, and S & P. Stir and cover for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach. Add the meatballs after they have cooled from the oven.

 

Cover and simmer the soup for about an hour. Serve with garlic bread or biscuits.  As always, enjoy!

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If stock is used, you may need to season the soup more with salt than you would with the broth.

 

Miranda’s Tips and Tricks

ATTENTION: Informational post, no pictures.

Since I have had several requests for tips and tricks when I am cooking/faking, I figured I’d better start brainstorming. First off, I’m sure these aren’t all of tips and tricks but these are the ones I use pretty frequently. Secondly, they all work! I will never share something that isn’t of use or won’t work when you try it but with that being said; follow the instructions. Many of mine will be up for debate until you try them for yourself. I’ve tried alternatives that I have come across through the internet and through others. If there is a tip you are questioning or one you don’t see on my list, feel free to ask me below in the comments. I’d be happy to test them or may have a direct answer for you!

  1. Hard boiled eggs– Completely cover in cold water. Add 3 tbsp white vinegar and cover. Bring them to a boil on the stove, lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave covered for another 5 minutes. Place the eggs in an ice bath for 5 more minutes. The skins should remove easily in the ice water and the yolk is perfectly cooked with no gray ring.
  2. Pasta water– Bring water to a roaring boil and place 1-2 tbsp salt in the water. Add the pasta and wait until the water is boiling again. Stir the pasta and turn the heat down at least half way. The water will continue to boil just not as frantic. Cover and with a low boil, the water does not boil over.
  3. Cutting onions-Refrigerate the onion a couple hours prior to cutting and place knife in the freezer 5 minutes before chopping. It may not stop you from completely tearing up but it will minimize the effects.
  4. Thickening soups, stews, etc.– Gravy: 2 tbsp corn starch and 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Soups and stews: 2 tbsp flour and 1/3 cup warm water or milk. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Macaroni and cheese: always use flour to conduct the rue. Cornstarch does not act the same and you will have a much thinner consistency.
  5. Fresh herbs-chop small enough to fit in ice cube trays. Fill with olive oil or melted unsalted butter. Freeze and use in different recipes such as oven baked chicken or pot roast.
  6. Tomato based foods– for soup, sauce, or any tomato filled dish; store in plastic containers or zip lock bags. Steel or aluminum will break down after the acid in the tomato is on it for so long. Wooden bowls will begin to absorb the tomato and it makes it almost impossible to remove that tomato stain.
  7. Excess cookies or brownies– freeze in air tight containers or zip lock bags for up to six months.  I freeze all of my Xmas cookies so I can enjoy them months later. (you’re welcome 😊)
  8. Cast iron pots and pans– never, ever, EVER put them in the dishwasher. Always wash by hand with warm soapy water and oil after every use. This will ensure that they remain a true cast iron with no rust. Put a couple drops of oil in the dried pan and rub the pan with a paper towel.
  9. Bacon– Yup! Let’s talk bacon! Bake it, don’t fry it! Why? More crispy, completely flat, little to no mess. Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. Preheat the oven to 375° and bake until crispy (about 20 minutes). You’ll never go back to pan frying ever again.
  10. Prepping fruits and veggies– Why? It makes for a quicker and smoother transition when cooking a meal. How? Chop, dice, peel, etc. to the same size. They cook evenly and look pretty when serves.
  11. Prevent fruit and veggies from turning brown– toss in 1 tsp or lemon/lime juice or vinegar. It won’t flavor anything but it will keep it from turning brown and looking old. Also, sanitize the same way. Add a cup of water with the lemon/lime juice or vinegar. Toss the veggies/fruit in and place on paper towels to air dry.
  12. Melons– how to tell if they’re ripe? Cantaloupe and watermelon should have a yellowish color on the skin. A watermelon will have no smell but a cantaloupe will have a sweeter smell to the skin. Pineapples will not be bright green. They will be starting to turn yellow and if you gently pull on a leave it should easily come loose.
  13. Buttermilk– if you can’t make it to the store, just combine 2 cups whole milk, 2-3 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp cooled melted butter. Stir it together and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. It should thicken a bit.
  14. Sinking chocolate chips or berries– toss them in 1 tbsp of flour and add them to the recipe. They won’t sink to the bottom.
  15. Hot peppers– place the peppers in an ice bath for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. This will help with watering eyes, or in my case, choking from the spicy fumes. Remove all the seeds since they contain additional heat. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and lemon juice. Avoid contact with eyes for at least an hour.
  16. Small lemons and limes– place them in the microwave for 10 seconds and roll with your palm. This with allow you to get as much juice as possible from them.
  17. Garlic– if raw garlic is too strong, roast a couple cloves in the oven. Place the cloves in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Form a packet and bake it for 20 minutes and 350°. The garlic will be less intense, a little sweet, and just squeeze out of its skin.
  18. Restaurant style home fries– bake the potatoes for 25 minutes at 350°. Cut them into squares and fry. Season with seasoned salt and they will taste like diner style home fries. You can freeze them after they are cooked for a quick breakfast during the week or for additional filling for burritos.

 

I hope these tips, tricks, and ideas help you in the kitchen as they have myself. Please, leave me comments of you have questions abut any you see here or any for the future. As always, enjoy!

Triple Berry Pie

Homemade pies always seem to take people back to their past or even to childhood memories. My grandmothers both make amazing pies and nothing I could do, would match the taste, warmth from smiles, and love that each bite holds. My favorite pie, growing up was strawberry but as an adult, there are too many to count. I have made this triple berry pie for several years and this has truly become a top favorite just because there are so many textures that take your taste buds in different directions. Please, give it a try and it may give you a glimpse back to your past for a few moments.

 

Triple Berry Pie

Approximately 8 slices

 

Crust (Optional)

  • 2 Cups AP flour
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Crisco (Butter flavored)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tip Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Ice cold Water (maybe more or less)

Mix all ingredients together except the water in a large bowl. The dough should turn into pea size shapes. Add the water slowly and then use your hands to combine into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours. * Feel free to use store bought crust.*

Once the dough is cold, flour a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Depending on the pie plate size, the dough should be rolled into a round shape approximately 10″ in diameter.  Carefully roll the dough onto the rolling pin and roll back off onto the pie plate. The dough should hang over all the side. Pinch the sides or use a fork to crimp the crust.  Prick the insides about a dozen times all over to let steam escape when baking.

 

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups of each berry- blueberries, strawberries (sliced), cherries (pitted and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup White sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Spiced Rum
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup corn starch or tapioca (according to directions on back)

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour. If the mixture is very soupy, add more corn starch to thicken it before pouring into the pie crust. After the filling has set and is fully combined, add to the pie dough in the pie plate.

 

Brown Sugar Topping

  • 1/2 stick Butter (cold and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp AP flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Pour into the pie crust with the berry filling and press down slightly. Make sure the topping goes to all the edges. Preheat the oven to 325° and bake for 60-65 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for one hour. Place in the refrigerator for another hour or so. This should make the pie easier to cut and solidify. Cut and serve.

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*Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm before adding ice cream or whipped cream. As always, enjoy!

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Refrigerator Pickles

If you are wanting to enjoy fresh ingredients, make wholesome food for your families, save a little green, then this recipe is great way to start off. Pickles are a low fat food to begin with and are great for additional flavor for diets. Double or even triple this batch and share them with your family and friends with any meal or even during summer get togethers.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

1 serving

  • 1 English cucumber (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup White distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp White sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dry dill (fresh dill-1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 3 large Garlic cloves (cut in half)

 

Combine all the ingredients into a air tight container. Let the pickles set at least 24 hours to maintain dill flavor. Serve on burgers, sandwiches, or eat plain. These pickles will last up to 10 days in a refrigerator. As always, enjoy!

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