Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OREO CHUNK COOKIES


This is a fun twist that Picky Palate put on a traditional chocolate chip cookie. You can use your favorite cc cookie recipe or this one. Grab a glass of milk cause you know you can't have an Oreo (in any form) without it!

OREO CHUNK COOKIES


1 stick softened butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ Cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 broken pieces Oreo Cookies
1 Cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.
2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.
3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.



Friday, March 25, 2011

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER and FRUGAL FRIDAY


I'm starting something new...Frugal Friday. It's where I will feature an ingredient or item you can make at home, that otherwise you'd regularly buy at the store.
It's no secret that my family LOVES peanut butter, so of course this would be my first post for Frugal Friday! 
With how much peanut butter our household goes through, you'd think I would have tried making my own peanut butter long ago, but no! This was my first attempt! 
One disclaimer to this being considered "frugal" is that it's only really considered frugal if you typically purchase higher-quality or natural type peanut butter. It also helps if you buy your peanuts on sale of course. 
I am a BIG label-reader, but of all labels, who would have thought you'd have to check dry roasted peanuts? I was shocked to find that some contain MSG! I was all geared up to stock pile the Planters brand because they are currently on sale at Smith's Marketplace for $1.49 for a 16 oz. jar. I ended up buying some of the lightly salted dry roasted peanuts because they did NOT contain MSG, however they still contain corn syrup solids, but oh well, still better than all the other stuff you find in cheap-o peanut butter right?
My food processor is small with a weak motor, so the consistency isn't as smooth as someone might get with a more powerful processor or blender (like the Blendtec I'm dying to get!) But I didn't mind the slight texture.

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER                    Cost: right around $1.50
Recipe from various Tasty Kitchen posts

2 1/2 -3 cups of peanuts should give you about 2 cups of peanut butter


1 1/2 C. dry-roasted peanuts
1 tsp. canola oil 
honey or sweetener, optional (I used 3 packets of Sun Crystals all-natural sweetener)

Place peanuts in food processor and blend until it starts to form a ball. Add sweetener if using. Stream in the oil and blend until desired consistency. You may need to add more oil. If you want chunky peanut butter, add chopped peanuts at the end and give the processor a few pulses to incorporate.
Refrigerate. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

GERMAN PANCAKE


Oh, German Pancake...so many memories. I remember begging my mom to make this for me all the time when I was young. I used to love watching it "magically" rise while baking in the oven. Because I loved it so much, when I was first married, I couldn't wait to share my love with my hubby who had never experienced one before. Imagine my heart-break when he about gagged! What? But EVERYONE (in my family) loves German Pancake. Fast forward 12 years...I decided in spite of his disgust, I was going to make it for my kids. Well, they loved it! And, my hubby actually tried it and this time didn't mind it. One of my daughter's now asks for "German Shepherd Pancakes"!



German Pancake              makes 4 large servings


3 eggs
1/2 C. flour (I used 1/4 C. wheat, 1/4 C. white)
1/2 C. rich milk (I used 1/4 C. 1%, 1/4 C. almond milk)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Set 9" clear glass pie dish into hot oven on lowest oven shelf until very hot. Meanwhile, mix eggs, four, milk and salt in small mixer bowl, blender or food processor. Beat until smooth about 2-3 minutes. Remove dish from oven; add butter and rotate dish until butter is melted. Add batter immediately. Bake on lowest oven shelf for 17-20 minutes or until golden. Serve hot with syrup, jam or applesauce.

Note: To serve more people, triple the recipe and bake in a 9"x13" baking pan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RAINBOW CUPCAKES FOR ST. PATTY'S DAY


We really don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day too much around here, but when I saw this cute cupcake idea at The Fickle Pickle, I knew it would be perfect for a little neighbor treat. If you go to her blog, you will see that hers are decked out more than mine. I tried to find something to make a "rainbow" like hers, but failed :(
These look fairly ordinary from the outside, but take a look at the inside
How cool is that? This one didn't turn out quite as colorful inside as others; you can hardly see the purple layer on the bottom and the red and orange layers kinda intertwined. My kids thought these were just magical!

Rainbow Cupcakes
makes approx. 18


1 box white cake mix, prepared according to package
Separate batter equally into 5 bowls and add food coloring to each to make red, orange, yellow, green and purple or blue
In cupcake liners, spoon each color of batter in layers* until liner is 3/4 full.
Bake according to package

* I imagine if you were to swirl the layers, you'd have a tie-dye cupcake!

Monday, March 14, 2011

SOFT WHEAT PRETZEL BITES


Every time we go to Sam's Club, my kids expect they will get a soft pretzel. IF for some reason they don't get one, I never hear the end of it! I've only made soft pretzels at home once before, but when I saw this recipe for pretzel bites from Two Peas and Their Pod, I thought it would be perfect the kids (ok, adults too!) And, of course, I had to make them a little healthier by using mostly wheat flour. I had made a hot broccoli dip that we ended up dipping these into that was pretty good, but if you want a more traditional cheese dip or other variations of this pretzel, visit their awesome site.
I will warn you, when I added the baking soda to the boiling water, it had a major volcano effect, making a huge mess everywhere! (But maybe you're smarter than I am!)


SOFT WHEAT PRETZEL BITES


1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
For the Pretzels: Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching.  Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. 







Friday, March 11, 2011

FRENCH BREAD "STICKS"


I saw this concept on Food Network a while back, and when I had some leftover French bread in my pantry, this came back to mind. It's basically toasted garlic bread just cut a different way. It's a fun change from the norm! I cut my loaf in quarters lengthwise and brushed all sides with the following mixture:
olive oil
melted butter
garlic powder
ranch seasoning
kosher salt for sprinkling

Place the "sticks' on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Post -- Sweet Basil -- TROPICAL NACHOS

I am so excited to have Carrian from Sweet Basil as a guest on my blog today! Her recipe sounds amazing! What better way to get a jump start on yummy summer-like dishes could you find? I can't wait to try it for myself. Her blog and mine have a lot of the same "feel" to them, so if you're a fan of my blog, chances are, you'll fall in love with hers too, so check it out!


Hi everyone! I'm so thrilled to get to do a guest post on Ambition's Kitchen! Kelli is so kind to let me pop onto her blog and post one of our faaaaavorite recipes ever.  My name is Carrian and I blog over at Sweet Basil. My husband and I met at college in Idaho. We were both personal trainers and we taught classes (abs that rock and pilates). Now we are married with two kids, ages 4 (5 in just a month!!!) and 8 months.
 I blog about recipes I've found to be good or have created myself. Sweet Basil is all about getting families back into the kitchen together. I think it's so important to eat together as a family and especially to let the kiddos cook with  you at least every now and again. Not to mention it's cheaper, and healthier to eat at home. 


Our little one has major sensitivities so I have a really restricted diet right now. I can't have dairy, soy, nut products other than peanut butter (weird that doesn't bother her) chocolate, or spicy foods. A lot of my recipes are dairy free ETC for the time being, or I show you the regular recipe and the adjustments I made to my serving to be dairy free etc.


Make sure you stop by to say hello!


Ok, enough of that!!! This is one of our favorite recipes to make and with Mangoes coming out it's a great time to try it for yourselves!


MMMMMMMM TROPICAL NACHOS!!!!!!!

Tropical Nachos
Recipe By Carrian of Sweet Basil blog


(Printable Recipe)


1 Pkg Wontons, sliced on the diagonal and fried
3 Chicken breasts
1/2 cup plus more for drizzling (or more depending on desired spiciness) Sweet Chile Sauce (found in the Asian Foods Section)
2 Mangoes (very ripe), chopped
1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Avocado, chopped
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded


Heat the oven to 350 and place three chicken breasts in a baking dish. Cover with the sweet chili sauce and then cover the pan with foil. Bake 25-30 min or until done.  Remove from oven and shred.


Meanwhile, toss together the mangoes, avocados, cilantro and red pepper. Set aside.


Turn the oven to 450. Place wontons on a cookie sheet and cover with chicken and cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly.


Place the chicken wontons on a plate and cover with mango salsa and drizzle with a little more sweet chili sauce. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

MAKE AHEAD SCRAMBLED EGGS


Yesterday my 8 year old daughter got baptized a member of our church; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). It's a special occasion where the whole extended family comes to share the experience. It's also customary for a meal to follow. We like to make any excuse for a get together with a lot of food! Because of the baptism time, I planned a brunch, which is something I've never done before for a large group. I scoured the internet for anything I could make ahead of time, or in the slow cooker so it would be right ready when we were done with the baptism. After viewing several slow cooker egg casseroles, I got nervous thinking, "What if it dries out or doesn't get cooked enough, then what will I do?" So, I decided to take a safer route and went with these YUMMY eggs. That way I could make them the night before and really know how they turned out. Everyone loved them! There wasn't a spoonful left in the pan. Even the men were telling that I needed to be sure to give their wives the recipe! 
You know me, I had to make it a little "healthier" (if you can even call it that). In spite of it being a special occasion, I just couldn't convince myself to go full-fat on everything! Believe me; they were plenty delicious with less fat!

To feed 30 people I did 2 1/2 times the recipe (30 eggs)

MAKE-AHEAD SCRAMBLED EGGS

12 eggs
1/2 C. heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 C. sour cream (I used part low fat and part regular)
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat eggs with cream in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Pour eggs into skillet and cook, gently stirring frequently, until eggs are scrambled, and just set, but still moist. 

Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream. Spread eggs into a greased 12x7 glass baking pan. Stir in salt and pepper and most of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover tightly and refrigerate. 


When ready to serve. Heat oven to 350 and warm through, approx. 20-30 minutes or until thermometer registers 140 degrees.


** Since I was heating mine while we were away, I set the oven to 250 and warmed for approx. 75 minutes and they were perfect!**