Archive for January, 2015


I haven’t posted any sweets recipes lately. What is wrong with me?? Ha! Actually, I’m not baking as much as I used to. Instead, I’m trying new dinner recipes, which has been fun, but I still love my sugar!

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

The sugar-free cookie (right) is slightly thicker than the regular version.

I recently made these for a friend’s birthday and they disappeared off the platter in no time. Everyone LOVED them so I have to share!

I made a nearly-sugar-free batch too, and my friend asked if I was sure they were sugar-free. I assured him they were, but don’t mistake them for a “diet” cookie. They are full fat!

The batch I made was “nearly” sugar-free because I used regular peanut butter chips in them. You can make them sugar-free by using nuts instead of chips. It really depends on what you like and how much or little sugar you want.

The original recipe used white chocolate chips in them, but use whichever chips or nuts you prefer. I love nuts in brownies, so I would add walnuts or pecans if I make a batch for me. And peanut butter chips? Always great with chocolate, right?

I noticed the sugar-free batch didn’t spread as much as the regular batch; neither made a flat cookie. Both were chewy fudgy gooey fantastic! How could anything with cream cheese and butter be anything but??

Enough said. Make these and eat the whole batch at once. Why wouldn’t you?  😉

 

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

Slightly adapted from Cookies & Cups

 

Stuff you need [Sugar-free option in brackets]:

1 (19.5 ounces) Brownie Mix (for 9×13 pan) [I used a sugar-free mix for an 8×8 pan so I halved the amount of the remaining ingredients.]

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature [2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature]

1/2 cup butter, room temperature [4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature]

1 egg [1 egg]

2 cups total chocolate, white chocolate or peanut butter chips, chopped walnuts or pecans [1 cup total]

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350°

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in egg and continue mixing until incorporated.

Turn mixer to low and add in brownie mix until dough comes together. It will be very thick.

Stir in chips and/or nuts.

Using large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto lined pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Let cool a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Peanut Butter Banana Dog TreatsOne of the girls at work says she wants to come back in her next life as my dogs. I do too! They’re spoiled boys but I can’t help myself. They’re cute and sweet and cuddly and all that good stuff. I love them!!

I threw away Riley’s store-bought dog treats this weekend because they had some nasty ingredients in them. I bought them because both the dogs like them, but they can’t read labels, so it’s my responsibility to do that. I didn’t like what I read, so out went a nearly full bag of treats. Sorry, pups!

With all the warnings about dog treats I’ve been seeing, I decided to make them myself. I’m lazy and didn’t want to bring out the rolling pin / mat (I would have to bend down to get them out of the cabinet) so I searched for the lazy girl’s dog biscuits. Lucky me – I found a recipe, and I even had a banana!

This recipe has 5 ingredients, doesn’t require a rolling pin and cookie cutter, and you control everything that goes into them. No nasty chemicals! If your dog doesn’t do well with wheat, use a substitute flour (see the original recipe). My dogs do fine with wheat, so I used normal, all-purpose flour.

I mixed these in my stand mixer with the paddle, then let them sit for 5 minutes to soften the oats. I scooped them with my cookie scoop and got 14 treats. The dough is a bit sticky so I pretended they were peanut butter cookies for me and dipped a fork in flour to pat them down. I used a bit too much flour but my taste tester ate it anyway. 😉 PB Banana Dog Treats

I baked them on 2 cookie sheets because I wasn’t sure if they’d spread. They didn’t, but I don’t know that I could have gotten them all on the same sheet anyway.

I’ve got to admit they smelled pretty good when they were baking! Now every time I go into the kitchen, I see all these cookies on the cooking rack. I have to remind myself that even though they are peanut butter and banana cookies, they aren’t for me!

Spoil your dogs and make these treats for them. You’ll like how simple they are!

 

Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats

Inspired by this recipe from Whole Foods

 

Stuff you need:

1 banana, peeled

1 egg

1 cup flour [I used all-purpose. You could use whole wheat or any other flour.]

2/3 cup rolled oats

3 Tablespoons peanut butter

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the banana into a mixing bowl and whip until it’s fairly smooth.

Add the egg and whip until incorporated.

Drop in the peanut butter 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Mix the flour and rolled oats, and add to the mixture.

When all ingredients are incorporated, set aside for 5 -10 minutes.

Scoop into balls using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon and put on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. [I used one of those non-stick liners.]

Dip a fork into flour and press down like a peanut butter cookie.

Bake at 300 for 40-45 minutes until dry and golden brown on the bottom, switching the cookie sheets halfway through the time.

Cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the frig. They can be frozen but should be thawed before serving.

 

 

My son’s a fan of those boxed skillet meals. I admit to making them more than I should have when he was younger since they were easy and he ate them up. But now that we’re not on the run all the time, I have a little more time on the weekends to cook.One Pot Andouille Pasta

This recipe appealed to me because we both like andouille sausage and both like pasta, it’s quick, and there was only 1 pot to clean afterwards. Plus all the cheesy goodness you get to put into this didn’t hurt!  😉

If you like spicy food, make it as the recipe says. If you’re feeding children or others who can’t take the heat, use the adjustments in the recipe to tone it down a bit. I wasn’t sure how spicy this would be so I used cheddar instead of pepper jack. Next time I’ll go with the pepper jack cheese. I found some chicken andouille sausage which cut the calories / fat a bit. I wasn’t intentionally trying to be healthier, but it was a nice find.

The recipe was a hit with my son and me! It had great flavor, was cheesy (always a winner in my book!), and filling. It made enough for the two of us plus some leftovers – which I was happy to take to work for lunch.

Quick and easy, you can throw this together on a work night and have a great meal ready in a short time. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it!

One Pot Andouille Sausage Skillet Pasta

From Damn Delicious

Stuff You Need:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced [Milder: Use regular smoked sausage. I used chicken andouille sausage.]

2 cups chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes [I used petite diced tomatoes because The Pretty One doesn’t like tomato chunks.]

1/2 cup milk

8 ounces elbow pasta

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese [Milder: use cheddar, colby, monterey jack or a combination]

 

 Now what?

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and sausage, and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes (undrained), milk and pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12-14 minutes.

Remove from heat and top with cheese. Cover until cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately.