Friday, December 19, 2014

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Cookies take on a whole new meaning when you add the word "Christmas" in front of them.  For some reason, that one simple word just makes an ordinary cookie sound unbelievably appealing and completely irresistible.  Most of the time, I can turn down a cookie but if someone offers me a CHRISTMAS COOKIE - forget about it - I HAVE to eat it. 

These may LOOK like ordinary chocolate chip cookies but trust me - adding dark chocolate chunks to a cookie makes them anything but ordinary.  Not to mention the fact that if you bake them in the month of December, they automatically become CHRISTMAS cookies which makes them even more over the top.  A Christmas cookie with dark chocolate chunks!?! - there may not be any left for Santa.

Dark chocolate just makes everything better.

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugars with a hand-mixer for about one minute.

Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix briefly, just until there are no flour clumps left.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop ¼ cup of cookie dough at a time and roll into balls.Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure you have the racks in the middle of the oven.  Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden, but the center of the cookie still looks soft and just slightly under-cooked.

Add a glass of milk and voila - a Christmas eve treat that Santa will be happy to snack on. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

It's December 18th - does the word "busy" even begin to accurately describe your to-do list for today?  Presents to buy, food to prepare, rooms to clean, laundry to finish, parties to attend, teacher gifts to send to school - sound familiar?   If you're feeling overwhelmed today - You're not alone.  Trust me!

I think it's time to take a collective deep breath.  Ahhhhhh.  OK - Time to tackle my list of tasks for the day. Did I mention that Courtney is taking her drivers test today too?  :)

It's days like this when I am so thankful that I have some freezer meals that I can pull out and heat up without a whole lot of prep time.  I'm pretty sure that was thinking about my crazy life when she posted this chicken enchilada casserole recipe because it is absolutely perfect.  It can be made ahead of time AND it's delicious. 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3 cups red enchilada sauce homemade red enchilada sauce
16 corn tortillas, halved
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
6 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) shredded cooked chicken
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

homemade red enchilada sauce

2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
2 Tbsp. all-purpose or gluten-free flour
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

To make red sauce:

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute.

Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).

Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

To make casserole:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Pour about 3/4 cup enchilada sauce in the baking dish, and spread until the bottom of the dish is coated. 

Top with a layer of about 8 tortilla halves so that the entire dish is covered. 


Sprinkle evenly with black beans.

Sprinkle with corn.

Add 1/2 of the chicken.

Add the green onions. 

Sprinkle with cheese, and repeat layers.  Finish with a layer of tortillas and sauce. 

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan and remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top of the enchiladas evenly with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese, then return to the oven (uncovered) and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Now to take a moment to sit back and enjoy a meal with my family. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grinch Cookies

I don't normally post cake mix cookie recipes but I just couldn't resist posting these Grinch cookies from  They are super cute - ultra-easy to make and really yummy - the trifecta of the perfect Christmas cookie!

This week I am absolutely swamped with Christmas orders and present wrapping and I'm not even going to mention the fact that my house is a DISASTER.   Soooo, when Courtney came home and announced that she needed to take cookies to a school party, I pulled up this recipe on Pinterest and turned the kitchen over to her.  (This really is the perfect recipe for kids who love to bake.)

Courtney did a fantastic job with these cookies and I was even able to snap a few pictures in between my gift wrapping.  Apparently the kids at school loved them too because the box came home empty from the party.   
Grinch Cookies

1 box french vanilla cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
green food coloring, 1 drop
Confectioners (powdered) sugar for dusting
Sprinkles or candies, large heart-shaped
Combine ingredients a mixing bowl.
Chill the dough for 10-15 minutes.
Drop by Tablespoon into confectioners sugar and roll into balls.

Place on baking sheet and press 1 large heart candy in the center.

Bake for 8 minutes until just set.

Let cool 2 minutes on pan before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

 There you have it - 6 simple ingredients and 30 minutes = delicious Grinch cookies.