Category: Easy


We were getting ready for another big storm to hit KC. Like most people, I’m sick of the snow but what are you gonna do, right?

Well, with nasty weather coming in, I did what most normal women would do to get ready. First, I got a pedi. Everything’s better with fresh nails, right? And then, I baked cookies!Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

With fresh nails, warm cookies, books on my Kindle and plenty of movies, I don’t mind being snowed in!

We “lucked out” and this last round wasn’t as bad as it might have been. Still, I’m home waiting for the snowplow. We live on a cul-de-sac and are the last ones to be plowed out. It’s usually a combination of a bobcat and a snowplow. So far I haven’t seen either, but that’s OK with me. I’ve got cookies!

This recipe is simple and tasty. It doesn’t use any weird ingredients, so if you’re snowed in you might have everything in your pantry to make these now. I used peanut butter chips and no nuts, but you could use any combo of chips and nuts you like.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Slightly adapted from She Makes and Bakes

Stuff you need:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups oats (quick or regular – both work)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

Now what?

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugars until soft and mixed.

Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low until combined.

Mix the cocoa powder and flour together and add gradually with mixer at low speed.

Once combined, add in the oats and mix.

Stir in the nuts and chips and mix until just incorporated.

Form the dough into one-inch balls or use a cookie scoop and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes until set, but don’t overbake.

Let them cool for one minute on the sheet and then remove to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container or bag.

Spring is soon approaching (fingers crossed!), and my thoughts are turning to grilling! Here is a recipe that gets more requests from friends than almost any other –  Two Step BBQ Sauce. Sounds easy, IS easy, and is SOooooo much better than anything you can buy at the store!Two Step BBQ Sauce

My kids’ school even asked me to provide a half gallon of this sauce to auction off with a Pig Roast (Pastor favorite!)  Not to brag (much!) but when the auctioneer mentioned it came with Alicia’s Special BBQ sauce, the bidding went up and they got TWICE what they normally do for the pig alone!!

Two Step BBQ SauceIf I could eat it with a spoon (NOT that I ever HAVE….ahem), this would be the sauce I’d want to eat!!   You can adjust the seasonings to taste.  One note: The amount of cayenne shown does NOT make it hot. Just gives it a nice “twang.” And this amount of sugar is needed to offset the dark flavors of the malt vinegar, soy and Worcestershire.

This sauce is red gold!! Great on chicken, ribs, burgers, and well….. even a spoon! J

Two Step Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Stuff you need:

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tablespoons minced or pressed garlic

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste – make the sauce, simmer and then add more if you like)

60 oz. Ketchup (1 40-oz bottle, and 1 20-oz bottle)

1/2 cup Malt Vinegar

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (natural liquid smoke flavoring)

Now what?

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add the onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 10 minutes).

Put in large Ball jars (about 3 will do), or another container, and refrigerate. Keeps in fridge pretty much forever (due to ketchup and amount of sugar).

Sit back and wait for the compliments (and requests) to start rolling in!

Sweet Potato Hummus? I couldn’t decide if that sounded good to me or not. I only like sweet potatoes once in a while, and only in small quantities. And I’m picky about my hummus. So I’m not sure why I had to try this recipe.

Sweet Potato HummusIn fact, when I tried it the first time, I wasn’t sure I liked it and I gave away probably 2/3 of it. And then a couple of weeks later I had to make it again. But this time, I only gave away a little bit and kept the rest for myself. I think my body was screaming for beta carotene, and this was a good way to get it.

The recipe calls for using a food processor but since I killed mine last year making peanut butter balls for Sensei Peterbilt and haven’t replaced it yet, I used my mixer. The second time I made it, I put the chick peas in a zipperbag and smooshed them with my hands before I put them in the mixer with the rest of the ingredients. This method doesn’t produce the super-silky, smooth version but I didn’t mind!

You can use your choice of oils for this. I used walnut oil and I think it adds a slightly nutty flavor. The original blogger suggests replacing the oil with OJ or a splash of soy milk if you want to reduce the fat.

In terms of spices, I used a couple teaspoons of blackened Cajun spice and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. I like sweet & spicy combinations, and I think the combination of these spices plus the sweet potato and maple syrup work well together. Adjust the spice if you like more or less seasoning.

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

Slightly adapted from Lunchboxbunch.com

Makes about 3 cups

Stuff you need:

1 cup oven-baked sweet potato, skin removed [I won’t tell if you microwave your potato!]
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini
4 Tablespoons oil (olive oil, walnut oil, etc.)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup or 1-2 tsp agave [I used maple syrup -pure, not the fake stuff]
Optional: 1/4 cup orange juice – for a zesty sweet accent of flavor!
Salt and spice to taste*

* I used about 2 teaspoons blackened Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a pinch of salt
* Add more oil/vinegar for silkier hummus – if desired.
Now what?

1. Add all the ingredients to a Vitamix or Food Processor.
2. Pulse or blend until smooth. For chunkier hummus – pulse the mixture and keep a few of the beans half-chopped instead of pureed. I went with a full on puree for creamier hummus.

Mixer Method:

If you don’t have a food processor, smoosh the beans in a zipperbag, then beat them with an electric mixer until they’re fairly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Scoop up with sliced apples, carrots, bagel chips, jicama, or whatever appeals to you.

The Super Bowl is coming!  Need a last minute appetizer that everyone will RAVE about?? Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Try this winning recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Dip. We make this often. It is so wonderful and tasty! Hard to describe – lots of flavor and so versatile.

Use as a tortilla chip or veggie dip. We use this in chicken wraps with lettuce and rice. Delicious!! We also use it as a sauce (cold) when we serve grilled steak.

And, honestly, what’s not to love? Put everything in the blender or food processor and blend it up. So easy!

You can use the jarred red peppers, but it is so easy (and more flavorful) to make your own! (Instructions for this appear in the recipe.)

One of our most requested party recipes – try it and you’ll see why.

Hope you enjoy!
~ Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s Sis)

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Stuff you need:
1  7-oz jar roasted red sweet peppers, well drained (or 3 home-roasted red peppers, skinned, seeded, and sliced)
1  8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temp
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise [can omit this if you want – don’t sub Miracle Whip]
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tablespoon lime (or lemon) juice
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh, snipped parsley)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon cumin
Now what?
In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
Taste for seasoning. (Wait to add more cayenne – when the flavors blend it may sneak up on you!)
Yield:  2 cups.**To roast your own red peppers, place whole peppers directly onto stovetop flame. Once one side is nice and charred BLACK, turn and continue charring until all sides are black.
Place in plastic or paper bag, cover with a cloth. Let sit for 15 minutes to loosen skin.
Peel black skin off, cut open, take out seeds and veins, and dab with a paper towel to dry a bit.
Don’t worry about getting ALL of the black specks, it adds mucho flavor! This is messy, but soooooo good!!

Quinoa Pancakes

These Quinoa Pancakes are part of my attempt to get myself back on track. I’ve gotten into a bad habit lately — picking up breakfast sandwiches on the way into work.

Quinoa PancakesI’ve been too tired (aka lazy) to plan my meals ahead of time so I gravitate towards what’s easy – fast food. I love breakfast sandwiches – don’t get me wrong! It’s not the eggs that are the problem, it’s the bacon or sausage, coupled with the croissant / muffin / biscuit that holds all that goodness together. Too much fat, too many carbs, not so many health benefits.

I’ve made oatmeal pancakes before and I really like them, so quinoa pancakes seemed like a no-brainer. Don’t expect light and airy pancakes. The quinoa gives these some body.

Most pancakes, including these, can be made in advance, packaged in portions, and put in the frig or even frozen. In the morning when I’m tired I can just grab my food and stumble out the door. I can heat them up at work, top them with some fruit (fresh or frozen), and it’s a nutritious, low-fat start to my day!

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe. I didn’t have wheat bran so I crushed up some bran flakes and used those. I used 2 whole eggs instead of 1 egg + 1 T oil because I didn’t want to waste the yolk. I also added more spice because I love spices! The batter is thick, similar to muffin batter, so I used an ice cream scoop to drop it onto the skillet. I patted the batter down on the skillet to make them about 1/4 inch thick.

These are delish and I’ll be making them again. I hope you enjoy them too!

Quinoa Pancakes

Adapted from Rachel Cooks

Stuff you need:

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons ground flax-seed (flax meal)
1/4 cup wheat bran or crushed wheat bran cereal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almond milk or skim milk
2  tablespoons pure maple syrup

Now what?

In medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, ground flax-seed, wheat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and syrup until smooth.
Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not overmix!
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or non-stick spray and heat over medium-high.
Drop batter by ice cream scoop onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2-3 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes.
Serve with maple syrup or top with fruit.

Blondies!

My favorite baked desserts, aside from kick-ass cheesecakes, are the bar cookies. I think it’s because they’re easier to make than cookies, and versatile enough that you can customize them to your own tastes.Blondies

I was craving cookies but didn’t want to watch several pans of cookies closely enough that I didn’t burn them. I thought about brownies but didn’t have the right chocolate to make them from scratch. I saw this recipe and thought it would do the trick – quench my cookie craving while catering to my laziness today.

You don’t need a mixer for these; they’re mixed in a saucepan and poured into the baking pan. My Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies use the same method, and it’s an easy one.

The base to these have a slight butterscotch flavor due to the butter and brown sugar base. I topped them with semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. If you want a less-sweet bar, consider using bittersweet chocolate chips (but don’t go overboard!) and/or walnuts instead of pecans.

These are really easy to make and the recipe can be halved if you don’t want to eat them all yourself.  😉  They’ll travel well and would be great in lunches or to take to a pot luck.

Blondies

Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

(Recipe can be halved; bake in 8×8 pan.)

Stuff you need:
2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Now what?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a medium saucepan heat and stir butter and brown sugar over medium heat until smooth. Cool slightly. [I cooled mine about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggs will “cook” when they’re added if you don’t cool the mixture a little.]
Stir in eggs, one at a time.
Stir in vanilla.
Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Press down slightly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm.

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut ToppingMy daughter and her children befriended an elderly gentleman neighbor. For his birthday, he requested an Oatmeal Cake. Tish said that was all he wanted – just a simple oatmeal cake.

This morning, tired from working so much that many mornings I wasn’t sure what day it was, I decided to take the day off and do anything but work. I hadn’t baked anything in a couple of weeks, and I felt like I couldn’t go another day without playing in my kitchen!

While I was reading cookbooks in bed I ran across this Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut Topping. I remembered Tish saying she’d made one, realized I’ve never had it, and discovered I had all the ingredients in-house so I didn’t have to take my lazy butt to the store.

I’m not much of a cake person so I don’t make them often, but the “homey” feeling of this appealed to me. If there is a “comfort food” cake, this is it. It’s a bowl of oatmeal folded into a cake; a bit denser than most cakes because of the oatmeal yet not too heavy, and that may be why I like it.

The other thing I like – OK, maybe like isn’t a strong enough word – is the broiled nut topping. Mmmm… Mmmm… MMMMmm!! It’s definitely worth the extra steps required. In fact, I think it makes the cake memorable.Oatmeal Cake w/Broiled Nut Topping

I added a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg than the original recipe called for because I wasn’t really smelling the spices in the cake batter. I’ll see if the flavors meld overnight and come out a bit more. If not, I’ll double the spices the next time I make it. In my world, you can never have too much nutmeg.  =D

If you want a simple, homespun cake, give this a try. If you don’t want to make the broiled nut topping, you can serve it as-is; sprinkle powdered sugar on top; or serve it warm with ice cream, caramel sauce and nuts.

If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, you could pretend this is a good choice. After all, oatmeal with cinnamon is a common breakfast, right? So why can’t it be in a cake? (I can justify just about any food choice when I try.) Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Nut Topping

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (the pink Limited Edition)

Stuff you need:

CAKE

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1 cup rolled oats [not quick cooking]

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon [More if you like more spice.]

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg [More if you love nutmeg!]

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 recipe Broiled Nut Topping (see below)

 

Now what?

CAKE

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In small bowl pour boiling water over oats. Stir until combined; let stand 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a 9-inch springform pan; set pan aside. [I don’t think a regular 9-inch pan will work – this bakes up higher than a regular cake and will need the tall sides of the springform.]

In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.

Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla; beat until well combined.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternately add flour mixture and oatmeal mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool on wire rack at least 1 hour more.

Transfer cake to a baking sheet. [For easier clean-up, put some foil on the baking sheet.]

Spread Broiled Nut Topping over warm cake. Broil about 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

BROILED NUT TOPPING

 Stuff you need:

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons half-and-half, light cream, or milk [I used milk and it worked fine.]

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/3 cup flaked coconut

Now what?

In a medium saucepan combine butter and half-and-half, light cream, or milk.

Cook and stir until butter melts. Add brown sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat. Stir in chopped pecans or walnuts and flaked coconut.

My sis sent this recipe recently. Sounds like a great snack for New Year’s Eve parties and football!!

Kitchen Kween's Ranch PretzelsI wanted to pass this recipe on — something for the guys. I tried this recipe for Jerry’s fishing trip last fall, and it was requested for Thanksgiving by the guys.

One my nephews calls these “crack” pretzels. We broke them open before dinner on Thanksgiving and everyone ate so many, they were almost not hungry for turkey! (And I say “almost” because all 4 of the “boys” are 6’2″ and larger — you can imagine how much they can put away!)

They have become a new family favorite. I always double the recipe when taking them somewhere. It’s really NOT too many!!

If you make these once, you’ll see why I recommend doubling this recipe. Great snack!!

~ Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s Sis)

Ranch Pretzels

Stuff you need:

1 package (16 oz) pretzel nubs (thick bite-sized pretzels) [See picture.]

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed

1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (can reduce by 1/2 teaspoon if too strong)

Now what?

Mix salad dressing mix, vegetable oil, dill and garlic powder in a large bowl. Stir in pretzels to coat well.

Pour onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Strawberry Confetti CookiesCookies so easy a 6-year-old can make them? You betcha!

My daughter, the grandkids and I had a cookie-making extravaganza this weekend. I cheated and made some of my cookies in advance, since my daughter had to take Cutie Patootie #1 to a dance recital and we were tight on time. I chose two cookies to make with the kids that I thought they would enjoy. One was this Strawberry Confetti Cookie, the other was the traditional Spritz recipe, which I’ll post later.

These are quick, have only a few ingredients, and they don’t even require a mixer! The munchkins will build up some bicep muscles with the stirring, since the dough gets thick, and you might have to help them out a little.

Strawberry Confetti Cookies

Cutie Patootie #1 adding lots of sprinkles to our cookies!

Choose whatever cake flavor / color you like, and then choose a contrasting color or mixture of sprinkles. We chose a strawberry cake mix because we thought the pink (red) color would be a nice addition to holiday cookie trays. If you want a darker color, add a couple drops of food coloring.

Make sure you’re using sprinkles and non-pareils, not anything that’s classified as sugar. Sugar will dissolve and you won’t get the effect you want. We used a combination of holiday-shaped sprinkles and teeny white non-pareils.

The cookies are cake-like and moist, and hold well so you can make them in advance. A co-worker and I think they’d be great using lemon cake mix or even pineapple. Make some with your Cutie Patooties and let me know what you think!

Strawberry Confetti Cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Stuff you need:
1 box (18.25 oz) cake mix, any flavor [Strawberry, lemon, orange, white/yellow…]
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sprinkles

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan or grease and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand.

Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir well (by hand – no mixer needed) until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Do not overmix – it’s OK if there are some small lumps in the batter, just not large lumps. This is where the munchkins will build their muscles, and may need your help!

Gently mix in the sprinkles until they are just distributed. Again, don’t overmix, so don’t add them in the previous step with the dry ingredients.

Use a cookie scoop or drop rounded 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Ours did not spread, so they can be put fairly close together, but leave room for air to circulate between the cookies.

Bake for 9 minutes – do not let the cookies brown. If baking 2 pans at once, bake for 5 minutes then switch the racks and bake another 4 minutes.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will  be very soft at first. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies CookiesI love Saucepan Peanut Butter Cookies! They’re one of my all-time favorite cookies, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them. I’d often wondered how they would be if rice krispies were substituted for the corn flakes, so of course I had to try this recipe.

These bars contain brown sugar and vanilla extract, which the corn flake cookies don’t, but the flavor is very similar. They’re a little harder to smoosh into the pan than they would be to drop as a cookie. Be sure to work quickly once you stir in the vanilla and rice krispies so they don’t set up before you get them in the pan.

I liked these and probably would have eaten the entire pan before the day was out — but I didn’t. Instead, I sent a good chunk of them to school with The Pretty One. See? Occasionally I can be a responsible adult!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

from Mad Hungry, by Lucinda Scala Quinn

Stuff you need:

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups salted peanut butter [Regular peanut butter, creamy or chunky – your preference]
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups Rice Krispies

Now what?

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with wax paper or baking parchment.
Place the corn syrup and sugars in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the peanut butter and mix well to combine.
Quickly stir in the vanilla and Rice Krispies.
Working quickly, spread into the lined baking pan.
Cool and slice into squares.