Monday, July 30, 2012

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

With the weather being as hot as it has I haven't used the oven in awhile.  The kids were wanting some cookies so I pulled out a recipe my family has been making for years.  No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies.

My first introduction to these cookies was at my elementary school cafeteria.  It was love at first bite.  I was delighted when I found out my aunt had a recipe for these cookies.
As the name states, these cookies do not require baking -  a big plus for hot summer days.  You heat the cookie mixture on the stove. Begin by putting some butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and milk in a saucepan and bring the ingredients to a boil  Then add the peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal.   Mix well and drop by tablespoon on waxed paper, cool and you have wonderful tasting cookies.

Most of my kids loved the cookies - Timmy wasn't that fond of them because he doesn't like oatmeal.  My other three kids were fine with that because it left more cookies for them:)

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


¼ cup butter
2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick- cooking oats


1. In a medium saucepan combine the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder.    Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Butter, Cocoa Powder, Milk, Sugar

Mixture Boiling for 1 Minute
2. Remove from heat.  Stir the peanut butter into the cocoa mixture until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and stir.  Add the oatmeal and mix until it is coated with the cocoa mixture.
3. Drop by tablespoon on waxed paper.  Cool before serving.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Note: For small cookies drop by teaspoon.
Yield 3 dozen cookies

Oatmeal Coated With Cocoa Mixture

Cooling on Waxed Paper

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lemon Barley Pilaf

This week I made "Lemon Barley Pilaf" for French Fridays With Dorie.   To be honest with you, the only time I cook with barley is when I make soup.     I was eager to see how this dish tasted.
It is quite easy to make.  Barley is cooked in chicken broth along with a diced small onion,  carrots, and red bell pepper.  You then add in scallions, salt, pepper, and grated lemon zest.  I left out the scallions being that the barley was already cooked with onions, and my family isn't that much of an onion lover.
The result was a flavorful and colorful side dish.  The barley absorbed the flavor of the chicken broth and the lemon zest added the right amount of zing to the dish. The carrots and red bell pepper not only added flavor, they added color.  I served the Lemon Barley Pilaf with chicken.  A nice change from Rice Pilaf.

This recipe can be found on page 383 in "Around My French Table" or here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sweet Peach Pancakes

Pancakes are a favorite anytime at my house.  I love them because they are so easy to prepare and I usually have the ingredients on hand.  Being that I had a few peaches in the kitchen, I  decided to  make some  Peach Pancakes.  I found this recipe in one of my favorite magazines, "Southern Living."  These pancakes have the sweetness of the peaches combined with the graininess of the cornmeal. I liked the texture the cornmeal gave to the pancakes.  Instead of using peach slices, I peeled and diced 2 peaches and stirred them into the batter.  I garnished my pancakes with powdered sugar, peach slices, and syrup.

These pancakes were outstanding.  Every bite was filled with the sweetness of peaches.   For a peach lover like myself, it doesn't get much better.  Perfect for the family but also for a nice brunch.  This recipe is a keeper.

Sweet Peach Pancakes
From Southern Living Magazine

3/4 cup all-purpose soft-wheat flour
3/4 cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola oil
3 medium peaches (about 1 1/4 lb.), unpeeled and cut into 10 thin wedges each*
Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, syrup, fresh mint


1. Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, and whisk just until combined.

First Six Ingredients Whisked Together

Buttermilk, Eggs, and Butter

Diced Peaches

Peaches Added to Batter

2. Melt a small amount of butter with oil on a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 3 peach wedges for each pancake on griddle; starting at outside edge of peach slices, carefully pour 1/4 cup batter over each group of slices to form a circle.
3. Cook pancakes 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked. Turn and cook other sides 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet; keep warm in a 300° oven. Repeat procedure with remaining peach slices and batter, adding more butter and oil to griddle as needed.
Note: We tested with White Lily All-Purpose Soft Wheat Flour.
*2 medium peaches, unpeeled and diced, may be substituted. Stir into batter at end of Step 1. Cook pancakes as directed, using 1/4 cup batter per pancake.

Makes 10 pancakes

Monday, July 23, 2012

Glazed Carrots

When my kids found out I was making carrots for dinner they weren't excited.  They are not big fans of cooked carrots.  I told them these carrots are simmered in ginger ale.  Two out of four kids agreed to try one bite.  I smiled and started making the carrots.
I found this recipe on "Alton Brown's" Website.  What peaked my interest in this recipe was that the carrots were simmered in ginger ale and they were seasoned with chili powder.  The recipe uses medium carrots, but I substituted baby carrots.
This recipe is quick and easy.  You put carrots, ginger ale, butter, and salt in a saute pan.  Add the chili powder and cook until the ginger ale is reduced to a glaze. Top with parsley and serve.

The carrots had a fantastic flavor. The ginger flavor was absorbed by the carrots and the chili powder gave them an extra zing.  The kids even ate more than one bite.

Glazed Carrots

1 pound carrots, approximately 7 medium, peeled and cut on the bias 1/4-inch thick
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt
1 cup good-quality ginger ale
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


1. In a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, combine the carrots, butter, salt and ginger ale.

2. Cover and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, remove the lid, stir, and reduce the heat to low.
3. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, add the chili powder and increase the heat to high.
4. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the ginger ale is reduced to a glaze, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce

I adore Hot Fudge Sauce! I put it on ice cream, frozen yogurt, sliced bananas, fruits, pound cake, just to name a few foods.  The recipe that I use from "Gourmet" magazine is practically foolproof and very easy to make.
You start by putting cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and chocolate in a heavy bottom saucepan.  The recipe states to finely chop the chocolate, but I grate me.    I find it melts quicker.   You then bring  the mixture to a boil and cook 5 minutes.  Then you add  butter, vanilla extract, more chocolate and stir.  The sauce is then cooled before serving.

The sauce has a rich velvety texture that is not too sweet and ever sooo goood:)

You can store the sauce in the fridge and reheat it before using.

Hot Fudge Sauce
Gourmet, February 2004

Grated Chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt, and half of the chocolate to a boil in a 1 to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted.

2. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, then remove for heat.

3. Add butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate and stir until smooth.  Cool sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 2 cups

Note:  The sauce can be made 1 week ahead and  cooled completely, then chilled in an airtight container or jar.  Reheat before using.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summertime Peach Ice Cream

With the hot weather we have been having, I have been making a lot of ice cream.  My latest was a creamy rich peach ice cream recipe  I found in my "USA" cookbook by Shelila Lukins.  If you like peaches, you'll love this ice cream.   There are two secrets that make this ice cream great.  First, ripe peaches and second the custard.

Ripe peaches.  How do you tell when a peach is ripe?  You use your three three senses - sight, touch, and smell.
1. Look at the peaches.  Do they have a great deal of yellow with just a little red coloring?  If they do, they are not yet ripe.
2. Touch the peaches.  Do they feel stone hard?  If so, not ripe.   Or try this other test - gently squeeze the peach between your thumb and third finger.  Does it feel a bit soft?  If yes, it is ripe.
3. Finally, smell.  As you are approaching the peach bin,  do you smell the sweet lingering sent the peaches have?  If yes, they are ripe.

In a nutshell, you want peaches that are red with very little yellow, are a little soft, and smell sweet.

Now, back to making the ice cream.  You start with fresh ripe peaches that are sliced and are  tossed with lemon juice and sugar.  Then you prepare a creamy custard that is  cooked with the pits and peels from the peaches.  At first, I wasn't too sure about this, but when I tasted the custard I knew Ms Lukins was right.  The pits and peels enhanced the flavor of the custard.  The custard is then cooled, strained and processed in your ice cream maker.  Freeze and serve. You have an ice cream that is rich, creamy and peachy good:)

Summertime Peach Ice Cream
Shelia Lukins USA Cookbook

Special Equipment:  Ice Cream Freezer


2 pounds fresh, ripe peaches
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups heavy (or whipping) cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks


1. Peel, pit and slice the peaches, reserving the peels and pits.   Place the peach slices in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Toss well and set aside.

2. Combine the cream, milk, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, and reserved peach peels and pits in a heavy saucepan.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the milk is hot but not boiling and the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat.

3. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk to mix.  Whisking constantly, slowly pour in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture and continue whisking until well combined.

4. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly until smooth.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir the mixture constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. The mixture should never boil.
5. Cool to room temperature and then strain into a bowl.

6.Puree the peaches in a food processor until smooth.  Stir into  the cream mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 2 quarts

Sliced peaches Ready to Puree

Pureed Peaches

Ice Cream Making Time

Dish of Peach Ice Cream

Monday, July 16, 2012

Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken

It sure has been hot lately!  With weather like this I usually try to grill out as much as possible.  I don't enjoy cooking in a hot kitchen on hot summer days.
Last night, I grilled chicken breasts marinated in buttermilk with rosemary.   I found this recipe on "Martha Stewart's" website.

I liked this recipe for two reasons.  First,  it was quite easy and quick to make and second, it was nice and light.
You start by marinating the  chicken breasts in buttermilk, rosemary, salt, and pepper. After the chicken is done marinating,  shake off the excess marinade and grill.  Dinner is ready:-)

The result was a moist and flavorful chicken breast with a hint of rosemary. A nice meal for  a summer day.

Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken
From Martha Stewart
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon  coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)
Vegetable oil for grates

1. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken to marinade, turning to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).
Buttermilk Marinade

Chicken Marinating
2. Heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates.  Lift chicken from marinade, shaking off excess; discard marinade.  Grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken register 165 degrees F, 5 to 8 minutes per side.  Remove from grill.  Tent loosely with aluminum foil; let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Friday, July 13, 2012

Green Chili Alfredo Sauce

I bought some fresh pasta the other day.  Usually, I serve it with  Basil Pesto, but today I decided to do something different.   I  decided to do a cream sauce.  Instead of doing the traditional Alfredo Sauce, I added a Southwestern touch - Green Chili.  In New Mexico we believe everything tastes better with Green Chili.

This sauce is super easy to make.  You put the milk, cheese, green chili, flour, and salt in a blender.  Melt some butter in a saucepan, add garlic and the ingredients from the blender and cook until thick.  Add your cheese, let it sit and serve over your favorite pasta.  

The aroma of the sauce as it is cooking is intoxicating.  The taste -  a nice mild chili flavor.  Not at all overpowering.  It adds a little pizazz to your pasta.

                                               Green Chili Alfredo Sauce


2 cups whole milk
3 ounces cream cheese
1 (4 ounce can) diced green chili
2-tablespoons flour
1-teaspoon salt
1-tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pasta cooked according to package direction

1. Place milk, cream cheese, diced green chili, flour and salt in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

2. Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Add minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Pour milk mixture into the skillet stirring constantly.  Continue to stir and cook until mixture coats the back of a spoon.

4. Remove from heat.  Whisk in Parmesan cheese until smooth.  Cover and let sauce sit for 10 minutes.  The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.

5.  Serve over your favorite pasta.

Note:  If you have sauce leftover, place in fridge.  To serve, remove from fridge and heat.  If the sauce is too thick, thin  it with some milk.

Makes approximately 2 ½ cups of sauce

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Southern Peach Cobbler and Award

I found some beautiful white peaches the other day at the store.  We love peaches at my house.  In fact,  I put some away in a special hiding place so I could make one of my favorite desserts  - Peach Cobbler. I do love a good cobbler.  To me, it is just as good as pie and so easy to make.

In this recipe I found from "" a biscuit dough is made and dropped over the fruit mixture.   When making the biscuit dough, instead of cutting my butter into small pieces, I grate my butter.  I find it is easier to blend with my fingertips.   Then you sprinkle white sugar and cinnamon over the whole thing.  My it is good:)   The family loved this cobbler, too - not a crumb was left.

A great big THANK YOU to Caity from the Awkward Kitchenette Blog for nominating me for this award.  I greatly appreciate it:)


My nominees for this award are:

1.Bread and Milk and Blackberries
2.Candy Girl
3.Happy Valley Chow

The rules of this award are:
1. Thank your nominator (and link back!)
2. Nominate 5 other blogs, with less than 200 followers and post a comment on each blog letting them know they have been given the award.
3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.

Southern Peach Cobbler

8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Mix Together:
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2-quart baking dish.  Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Peaches Mixed With Sugar and Spices

Fruit In Bottom Of Baking Dish

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in water until just combined.

Butter Blended in flour Mixture

Biscuit Dough

4.  Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them.  Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Removed From Oven

Ready to  Bake


Ready to Eat